Meyer Lemon Trees The Prudent Homemaker

We had beautiful, warmer than usual weather last week, and I took advantage of it, working in the garden every afternoon.

I planted seeds in the garden for poppies, dwarf hollyhocks, larkspur, Armenian cucumbers, lettuce,  and alpine strawberries. 

I mended drip irrigation lines that were broken.

I transplanted parsley seedlings into new spots in the garden where they can grow larger. I am completely out of dried parsley and I want to grow enough to dry enough parsley for our yearly use; we go through quite a bit and so I will need to grow it in several spots in the garden. Each year I grow enough parsley, oregano, basil, chives, thyme, and mint in the garden that I never have to purchase them dried or fresh.

I also harvested fresh parsley and used it in a dish.

The century plant I had purchased as a tiny plant at a garage sale a couple of years ago put forth two babies. I dug them up and transplanted them to two pots I already had.

I dug up a small mulberry tree that the birds had seeded in my garden and transplanted it to a pot I already had. 

I dug two boxleaf euyonomus starts and transplanted them to other places in the garden.

I transplanted nasturtiums that had self-seeded to another spot in the garden.

I pulled dandelions from the grass by hand (I never buy a pre-emergent weed killer; I just pull the weeds out of the lawn myself).

I took cuttings from my honeysuckle plants with hopes of starting some new plants to grow elsewhere in the garden.

Johnny JumpUps The Prudent Homemaker

I collected shower warm-up water in buckets and used it to water potted plants on my patio.

I harvested Swiss chard and green onions from the garden.

I picked up my hairspray at Walmart instead of Target. Both places seem to have trouble stocking it (I often have found an empty shelf) but I went to a different Walmart than usual and not only found it, but it was $1 cheaper than Target’s price. Henceforth, I’ll be buying my hairspray at Walmart.

I picked up the baby registry goodie bag from Target when I went to get the diaper deal, which included three diapers, some baby wash, and baby lotion that I’ll use. 

We enjoyed watching the Thunderbirds flying overhead while they practiced. We saw them fly right over our backyard three times in formation; one time as we were watching they released and ended smoke trails all at the same time, which was pretty neat.

Leucojum Aestivum The Prudent Homemaker

Leucojum Aestivum (blooms in May/June in cooler climates)

I read two e-books from the library.

I mended a pillow.


What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. Many years back, when we were stationed at RAF Wittering, I used to go near the runway and watch the jets take off and land.

  2. Hi Brandy,
    You had many wonderful accomplishments last week, and I’m also ready to get started in the garden! Unfortunately, we still have a good deal of snow falling and temperatures hovering around the twenties. I will have to practice patience, but it gives me time to plan for the garden and begin my seed starts.

    Last week, I continued working on our 72 hour kits largely off your previous post! You did an excellent job getting to the essentials. I’ve been working on these kits for awhile, and I feel like the time is right (and critical) to finish these. I’m also trying to make two for my elderly parents, which should be feasible since I bought multi-packs of many items to fill all bags. I’m trying to also fill our long term food storage, and plan to use some surplus funds to slowly build our supplies. I’m having a tough time planning quantities, as I know in a real emergency that our house would be filled with our nearest and dearest (most of whom do not prepare).

    We enjoyed all homemade meals last week. I try to incorporate one new, frugal meal each week to add to our family favorites. Last week I made a new recipe from food storage: Mexican Lentil Stew from Budget Bytes, and it was a hit (although I decreased the amount of spice/heat a little). Some are hits, and others misses. It’s fun to try something new and experiment in the kitchen. We’ve had a few days with internet outages in our area, and it reminded me that I need to be sure to have recipes written down offline, and other important information offline as well. I plan to consolidate info into an ‘offline essentials’ binder.

    I enjoyed a library ebook, Ender’s Game, and cooked a meal and dessert for my mother’s birthday at her house. I used saved Swagbucks to purchase her gift, and we all enjoyed a relaxing afternoon together. This week, I’m glad to work from home for a nonprofit while it readily snows outside! I hope everyone has a wonderful week.

  3. Watching Olympic ice skating on TV with hubby is a nice free date night! Made homemade spaghetti and meatballs for our son’s visit and had enough to freeze for future meals. Will be hiking the San Tan mts. Today using our state park pass which gives us free entry.I have to pay a fee for the pass each year but we hike in a lot of state parks and I consider this a less expensive alternative to a health club membership, plus time in nature=always better than anything! AND it supports maintenance of our beautiful parks.

    Am eating down our groceries and pantry and watching food waste very carefully.Am tracking grocery spending this month as I got a little spend in Nov/Dec/Jan.

    Going to a concert at local high school next week with a girlfriend (John Denver cover!!) and instead of pricey meal out, we are both making food to share a nice dinner at home before the concert.I will use a roast I got on sale during holidays that I have in freezer.

    Giving up coffee! I lost my taste for it and prefer a nice red zinger tea in the mornings now.. and less expensive than coffee!!

  4. Hi Brandy, It’s been awhile since I’ve visited. Always love hearing what you have done in your garden. It’s so inspiring. We are still pretty cold up here, Portland, Or; so i haven’t really thought much about putting out any posies just yet but the primroses are in the garden stores now. I’m thinking I might get some!

    I always plant an oregano plant but have never harvested it. It winter’s over pretty well though so I might do that when it gets a bit warmer.

    I love your lemon trees!
    We are in the middle of re-doing our laundry room, new cabinets etc. So It’s been a difficult couple of weeks with all my stuff everywhere. I am still cooking from home though. And our favorite neighborhood restaurant just closed forever so no “I forgot to take something out for dinner” going out to eat. Just using what I have here.

    Have a great day!

  5. We don’t have flyovers, but we live in hot air balloon country, and frequently on weekends the skies will have a number of hot air balloons floating by.

    Also, we are about five miles from a world famous (for some reason) sky diving airport. We will be driving by and look up to count a dozen or more people floating down from on high. Always fascinating.

  6. We used to live near Williams Field Air Force Base and the jets would practice right above our house. We loved it!

    Had a pretty good week.

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in most of the week. Ate out twice. The first time we had a gift card to offset the cost and the second time my daughter and son-in-law paid as a thank you for all we do for them.
    • Hubby took his lunch to work 3 out of 4 days this week. I worked in the office 3 days and took my lunch. I took leftovers from last Saturday’s dinner twice and one was a single serving of spaghetti I had frozen.
    • My brother gave me $50 in gift cards to use when I take my Dad out for his weekly lunch. My brother lives out of town so is not able to help as often. I actually asked him if he would mind doing it, since it is an expense I incur and he doesn’t. He happened to have the gift cards already in his wallet and was happy to give them to me. Also, for my Dad’s birthday present, my sister gave him a gift card for Applebee’s and said it was so he could take ME to lunch one week!
    • Made whole wheat pancakes with mix I had gotten on clearance and served with real maple syrup that I got for free as part of a white elephant gift at Christmas.
    • Cut open bottom of empty toothpaste tube to get the very last bit out.
    • Worked 22 ½ hours contract work.
    • Got another 10 lemons from work. Squeezed and froze 4 – 1 ½ cup ziplocs for lemonade made 1 quart of lemonade with the ¾ cup leftover. Also zested them and froze the zest.
    • Frugal surprise: I had bought Arm & Hammer laundry detergent pods at Walgreen’s a while back for only $1 per package. I use 1 pod per load. Just realized this week that for our washer size they recommend 2 pods per load. Our clothes have been clean enough with only using 1 pod. So I inadvertently was saving 50% per load. Haha! Was able to buy 2 more packages of the pods and 2 bottles of the liquid detergent for 99c each.
    • Other good purchases this week: Got over a free sweetarts packet for the Friday Freebie, 5 lbs. of butter for 99c each, 8 lbs. of chicken quarters for 40c / lb., the butt portion of ham for 87c / lb., 8 lbs. of bananas for 44c / lb. (I put those in the freezer for smoothies), 2 deodorants for 99c each, 2 containers of cottage cheese and 3 containers of sour cream for 99c each, 4 lbs. of asparagus for 87c / lb. that I blanched and froze, instant oatmeal for 50c / box (good to take to work), a container of ketchup for 89c, 2 cans of tomato soup for 39c each and a bag of cocoa krispie type cereal for 99c (saved $4 on that.) I eat it for a light dessert. I also had 2 – $25 off $25 coupons at a jewelry store. I got a sterling silver chain for me (needed for a crucifix I received for Christmas) for $10 and a sapphire bead for my daughter’s charm bracelet for $5. She will get that for Christmas.
    • Since my Dad was here last Saturday for his birthday party, I did not drive the 45 minutes to see him on Wednesday and did not have to pay for lunch out.
    • Tried making homemade window cleaner for the first time. Worked fine and I had all the ingredients already.
    • The house we bought in October has 2 rose trees in the front yard. One is yellow, one is dark pink, which is wonderful as my china pattern is Royal Doulton Old Country Roses so they match perfectly. I cut 2 and put them in a bud vase for a nice indoor decoration.
    • Got some Ibotta rebates in.
    • Had to buy paint for touch up around the house. Found a 15% off coupon in the paper. Yay!
    • Checked out a book from the library.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful, frugal week!

  7. Your garden photos are lovely Brandy. I love seeing them.

    I once worked near Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego. One year, the Blue Angel practice flyovers were so low that we could see the contrails below us-and we were no more than three or four stories high. That was a bit unsettling. There was a bad accident in Italy not long thereafter in which civilians were killed, and after that, the flyovers were not so low.

    The Flint area has received twice as much snow as usual this winter, over five feet so far. So we have spent a lot of time in the house. Last week was no exception. The only grocery shopping we did was so not frugal. We ordered a home-delivered two pizza and pop special that was $22 including tip. Our incredibly kind around-the-corner neighbor plowed our driveway again so all I have to do is dig out the car and we will be able to run errands when the weather is nice Tuesday and Wednesday. If we limit our pantry restocking to $53, we will stay within a half-of-USDA-Thrifty grocery and restaurant budget for three weeks running. I think that is a very realistic goal.

    The thriftiest thing I did this week was turning 2/3 can of leftover Campbell’s chunky beef vegetable soup and some mashed potatoes into a four-serving shepherd’s pie by making a whole wheat pie crust with oil and milk, pouring the soup into the crust, placing the mashed potatoes on top, and baking it. Mom looked at the pie in the oven and decided to improve it by adding a slice of sharp cheddar cheese to melt on top.

    I just took a call from my sister that reminded me of the importance of life insurance for family breadwinners. My nephew’s boss, after working a normal day, went home and dropped dead while talking with his wife. He leaves behind at least two young children, no older than kindergarten age.

  8. Beautiful flowers! I am going to try some this year again and hope hubby doesn’t mow them down by mistake. LOL! I also want to try some berry bushes too… It has been a slow week but was a little frugal:
    -Gifted some food but we don’t eat that kind (high carbs and salt)so I took it to work and set all on the “free table”. Regift to someone who would need it.
    – Made homemade pizza 2x and shared with other family members. Had all ingredients in pantry and freezer.-turned in receipts on rebate apps to get refunds and points.
    -Received coupons in mail from a certain store for being a loyal customer. There are a few freebies in the bunch.
    – Used GC to buy Valentine’s Day gifts with free shipping.
    -Used coupons for Date Night.
    -Sold 3 items on Ebay.
    -Had to buy a new Instant Pot and hubby found one on Amazon for a bigger size and half off with free shipping due to the box was damaged at the warehouse. We asked for it to be sent in another outside box and it was. When it got here- the so called damaged was minimal and nothing wrong with the appliance.
    -FREE GROCERY ITEMS= 1 yogurt cup, 1 large bottle of sports drink.
    While we were in San Francisco last October, it was Fleet Week. We really enjoyed all the fly overs and sights in the bay. We went to the Blue Angel Air Show one afternoon and it was so exciting! Being an Air Force brat-brought back memories of living near Buckley Air Field in Aurora, Colorado and where my Daddy was stationed. They are going to be here this summer in NC and we are planning on going.
    Have a blessed week!

  9. Wow, spring has definitely arrived in Vegas! Sounds like you had a very productive week in the garden.

    My week was a bit quieter than usual, but I still got some things done:
    – I made Quick & Easy Orange & Lemon Scones ( using homemade candied orange peel (made from an organic orange that I traded for a few weeks ago). Using ingredients that I normally would have thrown out (orange peel) makes for a frugal yet fancy breakfast!
    – I redeemed survey points for $5 to my Paypal account, which I then used to reduce the cost of a purchase a gift online. I also googled for a coupon code to use and saved $1.25 using it.
    – My husband’s computer headphones broke so I glued it back together. It should hold until we have a chance to find one on sale.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gc to Starbucks (which I add to my registered Starbucks card, to collect points that I can redeem for free items).
    – For Valentine’s Day, I downloaded a free template from the datingdivas website onto pink sticky notes that I bought at the dollar store. It’s a list of 100 things that I love about my husband, and I plan to stick it on a wall in the shape of a heart. It only cost me the price of some sticky notes and printer ink, and it’ll make a big splash. I also have a card that I bought at the dollar store, and some metal puzzle toys that I traded for previously. Very little OOP (maybe $1.50 max all together) but just something to let him know that I appreciate him.
    – I’ve been planning my balcony garden on paper. I can’t plant now, as it’s snowy winter where I am, but am doing research to see whether or not I could add a lemon and/or fig tree to my balcony, where to purchase them, and pricing them out. I know it would take a number of years to produce fruit, and I would have to overwinter both trees inside (the improved meyer in my condo and the mission fig in a cold basement somewhere), but I think it’s doable. Aside from that (and I have a few gift cards to put towards that), a few tomato starts (I’ll try to grow some as well), and a few herb starts, I have everything ready to go! And, I’ve started growing my sweet potato slips using an organic sweet potato I traded for two weeks ago.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  10. We once had a blimp fly over our neighborhood. They look like they are floating when you see them on TV but trust me, they are LOUD! People came out of their houses to see what that strange noise was. Very cool. I’ve seen the flyovers at my parents’ house. The one plane came out of the clouds and was so low that we could practically see the color of the pilot’s eyes.

    My new washer was delivered and it’s very nice not having to wipe up water from the floor whenever I wash clothes.
    I took advantage of my birthday freebies by picking up a free pastry at Panera and an 8 inch Ledo’s pizza (a mid-Atlantic chain) that cost me just $1.59 because I added green peppers and mushrooms to the free cheese pizza. I was also taken out to dinner by friends.

    I found out that my hours at work might be reduced by 20 to 25 percent, possibly as early as May. I’m in a position to handle this financially but I would prefer to not do so since I want to save as much money as possible before retiring in 2 years. My boss and I came up with a plan to keep me on full-time through at least the end of April and his boss thinks she may have an assignment that will fill the gap in hours for me but she’s still checking. However, if I need to go to 30-32 hours a week, my company will still pay the same percentage of my benefits as they do now because I’ll still be considered a full-time employee. Aside from losing the income, it would be nice to have a 3 day weekend every week and I’ll use the Fridays when I’m not working to do things around the house that need to be done and for which I never seem to have enough time. In the meantime, I’m just being very careful with my spending.

  11. It seems like every week at least one and often several readers are mentioning having their hours cut or losing their employment completely. I am very sorry to hear this.

    I am glad you were able to get a new washer. What a wonderful perspective you shared about no longer having to mop up the floor!

  12. A friend gave me some fabric and it was enough to cover our 18 year old throw pillows that were falling apart and cover a foot stool.
    My husband brought home a scrap of plywood from work to mend said footstool as the top had been broken. I used scraps of batting to cover the plywood and screwed it all back together. It looks so nice and this was a free project as these were items that we were given to use for things we needed. So pleased and it adds a pleasant new light to have fresh fabric in the living area!

    Also ordered potato starts, yeah spring is coming!

    Our new little farm was approved for a Maple Syrup license which is so exciting! We should have at least 20 gallons of syrup to sell this year!

  13. Your lemon trees are amazing! How old are those trees? I’ve been trying to get my citrus trees to grow for years but am not succeeding. Any advice?

  14. I forgot to mention that my main project this week has been sorting through my mom’s wardrobe, throwing out the completely worn out items (and shoes stiffened by age), hand-washing all the wool skirts and sweaters to avoid dry cleaning bills, mending sweaters (I can mend little holes in cashmere invisibly and finally sewed on the knit elbow patches I made long ago to cover the large holes mom had worn in the elbows of one favorite lambs wool sweater.), sewing a dozen (!) matching buttons I found in our button box onto a dressy cardigan that had lost a few so mom can continue to wear it in the spring. I have been consolidating items by type so mom will easily be able to find what she wants to wear. Right now, her knit tops are in five neat piles on the spare bed. I have about a 18 inches of closet rod still to fill along with four empty drawers and three cubbies in one closet so I don’t think we will be storing the out-of-season tops in the basement. Some of her tops are too big and some of the waistbands on her skirts are too small but I haven’t yet convinced her to spend time and energy trying things on so that we can take the items that no longer work for her to Goodwill. 94-year-olds don’t always have a lot of energy to spend. I still have some of her hemming to do and a few things left to machine wash and dry. But I am getting close to wrapping up this long-postponed project and look forward to keeping this part of our life organized.

  15. I’ve never heard of century plants until I read this post. I love reading about plants that I’ve never heard of before.

    I’ve been blogging my frugal accomplishments each day over at my blog, The Frugal List. Like you, I’m always looking for cheaper sources of things we use on a regular basis. This weekend, I found a cheap source for hand soap, dish soap, and cleaning solution: Cash and Carry, a restaurant supply supply shop that is open to the public. They sell bulk-sized containers of generic products, which are the cheapest prices I’ve seen per fluid ounce.

  16. Holly–

    Your comment caught my eye as I grew up south of Flint. I’m now located on the west side of Michigan, which I sometimes refer to as the Land of Perpetual Snow. It was a shock to me to deal with the amount of lake-effect snow we get over here. I bet you and I are both winter-weary. It was nice to see Brandy’s springlike pictures today.

  17. I really love your photos. They are so cheerful to me. Thank you for sharing them. I wish I could drink lemonade – it makes my acid reflux go crazy. But I used to love it. Wish I could figure out how to get rid of acid reflux 🙂

    This past week wasn’t as frugal as I would have liked. Everyone has been sick. I did have all the supplies on hand except for one prescription that was needed.

    I made a menu plan, adjusted the menu plan as needed, paid bills online, combined errands, shopped sales and used coupons to restock. We stayed home more which saved on gas money. We watched the Olympics which is always fun. I worked on my cross stitch project in the evenings.

    Love reading everyone’s post. Thanks to all for sharing such great ideas.

  18. I made homemade oatmeal using gifted coconut and free mulberries from my tree. I also made a frozen yogurt/mulberry concoction for dessert. I made chicken and vegetables, using the cheap vegetables that I usually eat, turnip greens, onions, carrots, and potatoes. I made mulberry juice. I figured folks make orange juice, I could make mulberry juice. I made homemade ranch dressing, based loosely on the recipe in The Tightwad Gazette. I walked after work outside. It is in the 70’s here now, with some days in the 60’s so it is very nice, but very sloggy. My backyard looks like a pond. The good thing is that I saw two robins taking a bath in my back yard. I guess it was one big birdbath…lol. I had to buy my car tag this month. I went to sacrament meeting up where my son’s live. It is a college town, and I always enjoy attending church there, since they have several professors and students in that ward, and it makes for some very interesting talks.

  19. Brandy, I also have noticed that many folks seem to be commenting on their work hours being reduced or losing their jobs. It seems to me that widespread stable employment is a thing of the past, and it is more important than ever to have rainy day savings and food storage.

  20. This week to save money I learned how to prepare 2 new to me recipes. One of them was ham and pinto beans soup, the other a Shepard’s Pie recipe. Other than the recipes, I didn’t do much. I actually spent my grocery budget as well as went out to eat which wasn’t in the budget. For Lent one of the things I’m giving up is going out to eat. I hope to also report by the end of Lent that I have saved a specific amount of money as well as didn’t buy anything except what is needed for birthday celebrations and Easter Sunday. For years I’ve tried to accomplish a no grocery shopping month but always fail miserably due to my lack of discipline. I hope I can report that I make it this time!

    Have a great week everyone. I always enjoy hearing how everyone saves. It encourages me greatly! And Brandy, keep putting up great pictures of your garden. I’ve been asking my husband if we can grow fruit trees for awhile now to which he would say no. Lately I have been showing what you can do in your yard. I think he is beginning to see the possibilities! Granted we have a smaller yard than you but if we can do something in front and back then it would be a great help to our resources.

  21. Kudos to you, Samantha, for working on those kits and helping prepare for others who would come to your house! It’s always heartwarming for me to see that others feel this need and follow through with it.

  22. This has been a good week for us too! I was in charge of a compassionate service activity where we made 22 freezer meals in just over an hour. I had a sign-up for ingredients to try to defer some of the cost to our budget and called and left reminder messages to each of the donors. Since I didn’t hear back from some of them and we had just had a level 2 snow emergency in our city the day before, I was concerned that some of the ladies wouldn’t attend and that we might be missing ingredients to make our freezer meals! So I took from my own pantry and was pleased that I had every ingredient from the recipes to make those 22 dinners without making a big dent in my supplies! As would happen, everyone came and brought the ingredients so I went home with my ingredients in tact!
    Since I already had those ingredients out, I made up 7 freezer meals and then withthe excess rice that i had already cooked up, I dehydrated it into Minute rice and vacuum sealed it into a half gallon jar!
    At my produce market I saw that there were 9 individual quart containers of yogurt marked $1 each. I had seen them in their refrigerated section a week before, so I asked the sweet cashier if I could get a better price if I bought all 9. She smiled and asked if $2 total for the 9 containers was a price I’d like! I said yes please and came home with 9 quarts of plain yogurt for $2!!!
    We sold another 3 dozen eggs which paid for almost a month’s worth of their dry chicken feed!!
    I bought 5 jars of Kroger peanut butter for 89 cents/jar after using their digital coupon!
    I made all of our meals at home and made a DIY Vegetable Beef Soup Seasoning mix that one of the freezer meals called for. It only took 6 spices I always have on my shelf and when I priced it out at Krogers, the same seasoning was on sale this week – 2 for $5, regularly $3.19 each!!! I used that as a demo Thursday night before we made the freezer meals as an example of how saving time and money by DIY in the kitchen doesn’t have to be hard!! The ladies were enthused!!!
    We have been reorganizing our sewing room and office by using materials/furnishings that we already have and we are pleased with the results so far! It’s almost like a game to do these remodeling/reorganizing projects to see how much we can do without having to buy materials!!
    This has been a good week! And Sprng will come here to the mid-West eventually!!!

  23. Love that you are able to mend so much for your mom so she can enjoy things like her sweater. I bet she’s delighted and feeling so loved with how you are updating and organizing for her!

  24. I stepped out of my comfort zone this weekend and started downloading some savings apps. I still feel rather awkward with the smart phone but I had a grand time finding cash back offers on items that may be on the grocery list. If nothing else, it was some free entertainment for me! haha! This week I’ll be grabbing all the local sale flyers, my coupons, and sales apps and comparing it all to my grocery list to see where I can save the most and earn back the most cash. I’d be grateful for tips from any who really know how to work the deals. I’m still learning this method, so if anyone has ideas and is willing to share what I should do, the apps I’ve grabbed are listed on my blog post:

    Next up I hope to sign up for Swagbucks and app. Keep your fingers crossed that I can figure those out! 😀

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  25. Had a Valentine party for my family and daughter’s family using super cheap ham I bought and froze from Aldi’s. Made Brandy’s orange balsamic dressing to put on top of butter lettuce, pear, craisins and shaved parmesan cheese salad. Also served crockpot baked beans and bacon green beans. Served ice cream from gourmet ice cream store bought with gift cards. Dinner for 9 of us less than $15. Had a huge Valentine’s box that grandsons “delivered” Valentines to all of us. Made up candy bags to pass out too. Bought a whole chicken that I cooked in crockpot and served with rice and veg for one meal and then made cream of chicken soup in the crockpot for lunch today. My daughter went to the Time Tebow Night to Shine Prom in a dress that cost under $20 on sale at Target. The dress is black with a tulle over skirt. She wore my jewelry and a hot pink very large scarf as her wrap. She looked stunning. Bought a huge box of Marigold seeds at the dollar tree and a pair of gardening gloves…$1 each. Read your blog for more money saving ideas.

  26. I have been sick for quite a few weeks so went to the doctor again. I still had credit from a prior visit so did not have to pay anything out of pocket. I am hoping that this 3rd round of antibiotics will do the trick. In the meantime I’m also trying all of my home remedies (neti pot, fire cider, elderberry syrup, vitamin c) in the hopes that something will work.

    I have not been going out much so saving money by staying home. I returned a pair of shoes that I ordered online. I went to Costco and spent more than anticipated. I usually only go about once a month so was due for a trip. I am trying to keep eating away at the food in the pantry and freezer.

    I started some seeds this weekend- tomatoes, eggplants, and herbs. I bought a heat mat last year which greatly helped the tomatoes and eggplants to grow from seed. I purchased a few new varieties this year but am trying to use up what I bought last year. I still have some bags of frozen veggies that I need to turn into dinner.

    My (container) Meyer lemon is finally flowering. I have had it for about 2 or 3 years and this year is the first with buds. I am keeping a close eye on it and the weather. We’ve had warmer than normal temps so it is outside to enjoy some sun. C’mon lemons!

  27. Thanks, Brandy and Cindy. I work on federal government contracts and the one project just has fewer hours available for the next 6 month period. As I said, we are exploring various options for me to work on and stay full-time but if it happens and I’m cut back, I am at least in the very fortunate situation that I can handle the income cut. My daughter is now out of college and self-supporting (except for being on my medical insurance). I worked on budget projections this weekend and will still be able to save some money, just not as much as I like. However, I can use the time for projects that I would probably hire out, such as painting my home interior. I’ll have the time to do it now. 🙂 In the meantime, I’m making sure I have all the toiletries I will need and stocking the freezer with some extra chicken and other items.

    Two years to retirement! Maybe cutting back some now will show me if I’ll have any difficulties living on my projected income/budget after I retire. Hopefully it will show me that I’ll be just fine.

  28. Goodness, your photos are visions of loveliness! I just looked yesterday to see if my snowdrops were poking through the ground, but not yet. The broom has started blooming though, so that’s encouraging. I love that you received a mulberry as a bird gift. I’m planning on planting more parsley this year as well, as I haven’t had as much as I’d like. The one I tried to overwinter in the house didn’t survive. I look forward to reading everyone’s comments, and am joining in here:

  29. I am interested in what you learn about growing a lemon tree on your balcony. It is too cold to grow them here but I have always wondered if I could grow one in a pot. My concern is that I do not have much sunlight in areas of the house where it would be good to put a potted plant.

    Jeannie @

  30. I love how you set goals and then attack them. Sounds like you have been a gardening ninja!

    • Made swag goal x 5 and also was awarded 102 bonus points for meeting January daily goals.
    • Worked on decluttering and posted eight items on Ebay
    • Friends were going away for three weeks and offered me their perishable food and I said yes.
    • Made Valentine’s Day cards using supplies on hand
    • Watched a DVD from the library
    • Tried a new recipe: Sichuan spicy orange beef over rice
    • Made oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried cranberries; risotto with arugula and gorgonzola; and blueberry muffins
    • Came down with a cold on Friday and am very thankful for the homemade soups I had previously frozen as they make quick and easy meals.

  31. Saving money has been up and down recently. I was making progress cleaning out the pantry and using up the extra food before it expired, then the natives revolted. No more healthy food preserved from last year’s garden they said, my family wanted junk food. I gave in. I was in the big city, passing by an Aldi’s so I called home and asked if anyone wanted anything? Big mistake. Everyone circled around the phone calling out their fantasy foods, hot dogs, pizzas, potato chips, real Pringles, corn chips…. At least it was after the Super Bowl and all that stuff was still on sale. I will be patient knowing they will tire of the junk and begin craving healthy food again. In the meantime, it is a break for me in the kitchen because they can cook that crap without my assistance. Win, win, sort of???

    *I was gifted a bag full of assorted AWESOME tea from Margaret at She received more than she could use and passed some on to me. It has created a backlog around the microwave. Everyone must smell each and every kind before deciding which to try. I am happy re-steeping anyone’s leftover tea leaves because I can’t abide a tea bag being used only once. I am the true, hardcore tightwad in the family. Just in case no one knows, Margaret is a fantastic person.

    *Waited until Saturday to use a $5 off $25 coupon at Dollar General along with other coupons. I kept a running list of items I needed and forced myself to wait until I had enough to total $25.00. My savings were 23.93%.

    *Hair color was on sale at DG so I loaded up and then colored my hair myself.

    *Also went to Kroger and purchased ONLY what was on my list, on sale and for which I had a coupon, saved 18%. All items replaced used pantry items. Absolutely no junk food was purchased.

    *We finally had one warm sunny day and hubby used it to give Scooter a clipping saving us lots of money. Scooter is wearing his new doggy sweater that Nana gave him and he does not like it at all. I keep the electric blanket up on high during the day so his belly will be warm while snoozing.

    * We have eaten almost all of the greens from the garden. Everything is dormant. It is possible to still pick one big bowl each week.

    *We are not starving and still have plenty of food left from last year’s summer garden, especially peanuts. As promised, I have shared more details about growing and harvesting them.

    *Mostly I have been hibernating, enjoying my sons being home and enjoying the slow time of winter. OK, OK, I WILL TELL THE TRUTH! I have been secretly reading everybody’s blogs, but not commenting.

    Jeannie @

  32. I was let go from my job right before Christmas and am still actively looking. I am deeply grateful for the food I have in storage, the money in the bank, the knowledge of how to live frugally, and that self worth is not net worth.

    One thing I’ve noticed from reading blogs written by 20 somethings is they often talk of having multiple streams of income so they are not entirely dependent upon one job. I have been ruminating about this and how to do it in my life.

  33. It was a quiet week in Lake….
    Oh wait. Wrong comment. But it was a quiet week here in the mountains.
    I mended a pair of tights.
    I bought 5 lbs of butter for $1.49 a pound when City Market put them on special.
    My wireless on my phone went out and my husband spent most of two days getting it to work again. The wireless store was no help at all. I was afraid I was going to have to do without wireless, but he is stubborn and persisted until it was fixed.
    I made bread and cooked all meals at home. I turned some leftover rolls into croutons.
    I made homemade Valentines for my husband and my best friend.
    I cleaned out the bathroom cabinet and threw away empty bottles, expired products, and samples I know I will never use.
    I spotted my husband’s name on our state’s Found Money website and he applied for and will receive a $39 refund from a check that was apparently lost.
    While looking in our safe for some other paperwork, I came across a $100 savings bond my father gave me many years ago. It is no longer earning interest, so I cashed it out and put the money in our savings account.
    We checked out ebooks, audiobooks and print books from the library.
    We have a neighbor who was taken very ill and has been hospitalized for a couple of weeks. All the neighbors have been pitching in to provide meals and take care of the house. One neighbor is keeping her dog, another is feeding the cats — my husband is keeping the driveway plowed. I am so proud to live in a neighborhood where so many people are willing to pitch in and help.

  34. I hemmed some Goodwill work pants I bought for my upcoming mission trip.
    I buried some more compost in my back yard. I save it in a compost container in a compostable bag, then bury the bag. It composts amazingly well when I bury it, but takes 40 forevers when I try to make a compost pile above ground. The nicer, fresher scrap veggie and fruit pieces go to the worms living in my worm farm (stacked buckets). We have very poor soil, and this is part of my program to improve it — compost and worm castings.
    I trimmed my bangs again.
    I was in need of a huge gift bag this past Christmas, and although someone gave me a plastic bicycle-sized bag, it tore from what little use it got on that one gift. I was hunting for a cheap fabric to make a giant bag for next time I needed one, when I remembered the sheet set with the pattern I love, which I finally had to quit using. One sheet and one pillow case are still in good condition, and I think they are about to become a Christmas gift bag.
    I made too much gravy the other night. It’s been saved, and will become part of a casserole or pot pie.
    I sent a small present to my sister for her birthday, some Thieve’s Blend anti-microbial spray. I had the essential oils and a small bottle to make it, already. I was able to borrow the tiny amount of grain alcohol that it needed. She had asked for the spray so I know she wants it. I added a birthday card I already had in my card stash.
    Since joining a larger county’s library, I’ve been happily listening to audio-books on my commute and reading hard backs in the evening when I have a few minutes to spare. My husband has planted the free seeds we got from their seed library.
    The lemons and flowers look lovely!

  35. Look at your beautiful weather!

    Here in Pennsylvania we are thawing out before more snow later in the week. Tomorrow in our Pennsylvania dutch world is Fastnacht day (Shrove Tuesday) in which the rich foods are historically eaten up before the more penitent season of Lent. ( They are fun to make and eat and I all about remembering our region’s rich heritage.

    I’ve had some frugal missteps this week..A failed loaf of bread (from a new recipe) and some real successes (keeping our grocery bill low). I’ve recently perfected the corn and flour tortilla which is nice to make at home. I found both really require some practice.

    I’ve been busy watching a favorite BBC series on youtube, “History Cold Case, but now they have episodes in the US as well. If you like forensic archeology/paleontology/history this is a great series for free.

    I love the Spring look of your garden, Brandy, especially as we face more gray days ahead here.

  36. Hi Marilyn. I had my hours cut a few years back. With the additional time at home I was able to concentrate more time on saving/cooking/planning. Along with a little extra time for myself and no gas $ spent on those days, I think I came out ahead and it worked out better for me than I could’ve hoped. Im so glad you are financially in a good spot and I hope this is an unexpected blessing of more time for you.

  37. We are preparing for 6 months away from home (will rent our house to the relative of a friend for 4 months while we are away). We are packing and sorting items. We are preparing for a community wide garage sale in April. And we are cleaning out those boxes that never seem to get sorted – such as memorabilia, photos, old letters – as well as the easier extra camping gear, craft supplies, books, etc.

    With food, we are trying to eat the pantry items and the things in the freezer. Each week I buy milk, lettuce, bananas and a few other items. This week I made the following items to use up food – spinach rice casserole, a double recipe of pumpkin muffins with the addition of diced mature (okay, old) apples and brownies for a church potluck. (I have 4 more boxes of brownie mix , 1 box of cake mix and 1.5 cups of pumpkin puree to bake and take to potlucks or other events in only 2 months. I am not sure I’ll make it.)

    I am not buying much of anything because we need to “unacquire” many items that haven’t been used in 10 years. I did buy a pair of leather loafers for $28 (regular price was $138) from Talbot’s. I love Talbot’s but it is generally too pricey for me. So I counted and I have 38 pairs of shoes, boots, sandals and sneakers, so I don’t “need” any shoes for a long time. But I love Talbot’s shoes and I had a coupon for $25 off and really black leather flats are so practical! I am afraid this was a frugal fail.

  38. My favorite thing you did was watch the Thunderbirds. I love seeing them, but for me it’s very rare.

    I was able to trim off another bin full of things that needed pruning. Each week, I’m trying to fill the bin, and get more pruning done. Someone thought it was a good idea to plant ivy here, years ago, and it it trying to take over. Every time I prune plants, I also try to chop off some more ivy, just to keep it under control, and always put it in the bin so it won’t re-grow, as it will from the cuttings. I am no longer fond of ivy. I was able to plant seeds in my greenhouse and a few are starting to come up. My husband got the lights up in there yesterday, so the baby plants won’t be leggy.

    I made good use of the Super Bowl leftovers, and we ate chili several times this week. I had a package of salmon I had frozen previously, and we ate that twice. There were 4 pieces, and my husband and I each ate 1, both times. The kids didn’t want any, so I didn’t insist:). We ate lots of baked potatoes this week. My friend brought African food when she came and visited and we pretty much lived off of that on Saturday. I made a delicious, gluten-free chocolate cake for Family Sunday Dinner (it was a birthday) and saved a lot of money from both buying a cake, and even from buying a gluten-free mix. It is a recipe that tastes really good, with a home-made buttercream chocolate frosting. I put a picture on my blog with my sister’s 53 candles on it–one of the kids insisted: I do feel it’s kind of scary to see so many candles, since she is my LITTLE sister!

    We used our YMCA membership several times.

    We got some Friday freebies, butter for $1.99 (5 boxes), peanut butter for 99c/little jar (5), and some more things from Fred Meyers. (Kroger). Then, we used the Safeway coupons my aunt gave me for the great deals there..water for $1.50 case, bacon for $3/lb., shredded cheese for $1.50/8 oz. We also got produce wherever it was the least expensive, and are in great shape again. This morning, early, I thawed a very old package of pork chops, cut the meat up, and made fajitas for dinner tonight with an old pepper that was in the fridge and had been forgotten and an onion. They taste fine, and I was glad to use those things up. I made a rhubarb/strawberry crisp with some strawberries marked ’13 and some rhubarb that was probably the same age. It turned out great, and now those items that had come to light in the freezer are used in a tasty fashion. I also have some beef marinating in the fridge for tomorrow. It’s not old at all, but this makes it easy for my husband to throw it onto the BBQ tomorrow night after work, as he gets home more than 2 hours before I do. I’m hoping to go out and see what else I can find in the next few days. I want to get those freezers emptier over the next few months, to make room for fresh produce. 2 summers ago, when we lived in the camper between houses, I neither preserved new food, nor used much up. Then, with the commotion of moving into this house, some things became jumbled in the freezers. I’ve tried to organize it over this past year and a half, but still keep finding odd items that got overlooked. So, it’s a real priority now, since last summer’s berries and peaches have likely gotten put on top of some old produce in the chest freezer. I’ve been making some real progress on this project in the past few weeks. I know the home-canned food is placed properly, with the new in the back, since I made a big point of arranging that cupboard properly last summer.

  39. After 3 days of winter storms rolling through southern Ontario, your beautiful floral photographs are a good reminder that spring will come eventually. We just have to wait! This is also reminding me of the new report about the groundhog trying to escape it’s pen on Groundhog Day and the new reporter who was bit trying to stop it. You know it’s a rough winter when even the groundhogs are so despirate to get out of here. Thanks for brightening our day up here in the cold Northern hemisphere, Brandy!

    Well, my hopes for my daughter having a better second semester in high school were quickly distroyed on day 3 when she had yet another incident at school that involved the police. Yep, she’s home again and I’m loosing what little faith I had in the school system. They are trying to figure out what to do with/for her at this point…lots of meetings happening…no answers yet. Needless to say, lots of mixed emotions being experienced by me. DD, on the other hand, hates school so much, being home is like a pleasant vacation from the emotional torture she is experiences when she is attending school. Seriously hoping this whole situation will force the school board to step up their game for Autistic children…but forgive me if I don’t hold my breath. Anyways, between DD and the weather, I’ve stayed home more than I had planned to this week. I guess that is a positive. Our frugal accomplishments this week included:
    *Meals made at home included choice between taco bake or turkey tater tot casserole (from the freezer), “piggies in a blanket” (breakfast sausage & cheese) with corn, hot chicken sandwiches with peas, “Cracked Out” chicken and rice cassserole (new recipe, see below), my mom’s macaroni & cheese casserole (I have never met anyone else who makes it like my mom…kind of similar to scalloped potatoes with chunks of cheese…no cheese sauce!) with salad, hamburger helper with carrots, and make-your-own pizzas.
    *At Costco, I found a sale on breakfast sausages (huge package of fresh sausage for $11.50), so I picked up 1 pack to add variety to our meals. I cooked all the sausage at once to make it more convenient for meal use later, which also saved on energy use. We used some for dinner that night, then I packaged up the rest in meal sized portions for the freezer. There was also a sale on tortillas, $3 for 20 wraps, which is a really amazing price for here. I picked up 2 packages and put them directly in the freezer to keep for later use.
    *I’ve been wanting to find some yummy rice dish recipes to add to my “family favourite meals” list. DD is not really into pasta right now and I’d like some non-potatoe options. So this week I tried a new recipe…”Cracked Out” chicken and rice casserole (recipe link: I made sure to cook just 1 extra chicken breast the day before, to use in this recipe (2 cups of meat is excessive). I modified the recipe slightly, by deleting the bacon (DD is having bacon issues as well), exchanging the canned chicken soup with cheddar cheese soup (personal taste preference), and adding leftover green/waxed beans and corn from the fridge to make it a complete meal. Everyone seemed to like the meal (they ate it with no complaints…that’s a rarity) and it made just the right amount for 4 adults (note: if you wanted to extend this meal for a slightly larger family, I’d pair it with a salad or veggie side). I’m happy to report this recipe has been added to my family favourites list!
    *I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies for the family to enjoy, to use up some eggs. My family agreed it was a good use of the eggs.
    *Hubby and I did some banking stuff this week. We were pleased to hear that our hard work on our finanical situation is really improving our credit scores. We will continue to save for a house and wait patiently, so we will be ready when the next housing market crash happens to look at buying a home. Because there is no way we can afford the insanely inflated prices of houses in our area as they stand right now.
    *Forgot to mention this last week. I bought a brand new pair of casual dress pants on clearance for $4.50 and a beautiful brand new blouse for $15 at Old Navy. They were both on 50% off because the store does not carry those sizes in-store (only available on-line). So for a little over $20 with taxes, I have a brand new outfit.

    I have to say, I really look forward to reading everyones comments each day. It really uplifts my spirit and brings me such pleasure. So thank you all for being a part of this community. I truly hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.

  40. Hi Brandy,
    Love seeing that loaded lemon tree.
    I have a fully loaded orange tree here in my house in the Pacific Northwest. The oranges are very small and not good for eating but makes for a fun hobby. I love how it makes the house smell when it blooms. I like to try growing things that are not suitable for my climate just for fun. I have an olive tree that produces a handful of olives each year. I am currently growing a pineapple plant which seems to be doing well-started from a pineapple top. My orange tree is well over 20 years old now. I also have a Christmas cactus in full bloom which really brightens up the house.
    We had a sunny Saturday so I was able to work out in the yard all day doing winter clean up chores and I even mowed the lawn. I know I love gardening because I just loose all track of time when I am out in the yard/gardens.
    I bought regular all occasion greeting cards for my family of five at the thrift store for $1 and made them into valentine cards by adding red hearts with my red marker. My husband and I plan to take our adult children and their families out for a Mexican dinner for Valentine’s Day celebration-not frugal but better than buying grandson a bunch of candy and we get quality family time.
    I have started my spring cleaning efforts. I put a fresh coat of white paint on the inside of a couple kitchen cabinets that were looking worse for wear. I washed down all the outside of the kitchen cabinets with Murphy’s oil soap. I already had the paint and brush so no cost cleaning- things look much nicer now.
    Sending good wishes to everyone here for a good, frugal week.

  41. I’m in the U.P. and have a potted Meyer Lemon tree. It’s in a southern window. I got seven lemons last year. It does drop a lot of leaves before Spring gets here. Last year, when I put it outside on the porch, it was completely denuded Of leaves. I really didn’t know if it would survive. But, it did. It looks like we’re repeating the process this year. I ordered it from amazon. I think it was two or three years old at the time. I’m thinking I may order another potted tree.
    Margaret, I forgot to mention…I followed the link from last week to the pasta dish with basil. It was so good! It’s a keeper! So, thanks for that!

  42. After that horrendous light bill this month, I have shut the heat off completely. Thankfully, it is about 55 at night and not to many complaints about it. I unplugged everything in the house except for the 4 main appliances. The only lights being used for the most part are in the children’s rooms. I have requested that the length of all showers be cut in half. I managed to get all laundry done and hung out to dry before the rain arrived. Sugar cookie had a birthday. I bought her a huge rice crispy treat for 5.00. She had admired them over the holidays and it was much cheaper than that cookie cake she requested from the mall. I had bought her several brand new items over the last few months from the thrift store. Her favorite is a 1000 piece puzzle of colorful doughnuts. I spent less than 6.00 on all her presents. Reading this blog has inspired me to not be hesitant about buying things there and gifting them. Well, we are halfway through the month and still broke. Thankfully that stockpile of food is everything we need to be comfortable. All the bills are paid and we are just sitting back and waiting for next month to arrive. I have used my time to make lists of things to stockpile for long-term needs. After reading a post, Erica in Alaska wrote, I realized I needed to investigate all my options about where I could purchase these items. Holy cow, dry freeze food is expensive. I am so happy I checked this subject out. Now, off to try my hand at another batch of homemade spaghetti sauce. I hope that the sun is shining wherever you are. It’s cold, wet and rainy here.

  43. Jeannie-
    You should get a side gig in comedy! I thoroughly enjoyed your post! Circling the phone calling out their fantasy foods…hilarious!

  44. The photo of your lemon trees is just gorgeous! It’s been snowing for days here and Spring is nowhere in sight at the moment. There is a big airshow on Labour Day weekend in Toronto and since I live close to the lake (where it takes place) I get to watch the practice runs and the show each year. Love watching them – but boy is it loud!

    It has been a frugal week as I’m still sick. Only went out twice (briefly) so saved transit costs and money. I did buy some extra food items, anticipating a friend coming to lunch, but since that had to be cancelled I will freeze a few items for later. A friend is bringing some milk tonight so that means I won’t have to go out for another few days so more No Spend Days! I’ll make some pancakes tomorrow (already have pancake mix and maple syrup) and then I’m giving up meat (beef, lamb, pork etc.) for Lent. I’m eating poultry and fish/seafood so tomorrow I’m going to go through my freezer and rearrange a few things. I already have turkey breast and ground turkey, a couple of chicken breasts and some cod fishcakes in the freezer so I will move them upfront and pack away any meat items to be used later. I’ve got frozen veg but will need some fresh very soon.
    I’m enjoying the Olympics so at least I’ve got something to do while I’m confined to quarters.

  45. Hi Libby, my husband and I both experienced a job loss while I was pregnant with my first. Since then, we’ve both found employment and he experienced another job loss (and was hired into another job), but through all of it we’ve always had a second source of income. It’s can be exhausting, but having a cushion and being able to get ahead on our debt while we both have jobs, makes us feel like we’re making hay while the sun shines so that in the event (god forbid) of another job loss we’d be ok.

  46. Vickie: Loved the game you made, and the door-prize bear! Will you make clothes for him/her/it as part of the present? Or maybe for later holiday gifts?

  47. It seems so unreal, to look at your garden…then outside. We have a mix of snow and brown patches, gray skies — and cold.

    Our home in Colorado is just north of the Air Force Academy. When AF football is active, we’ll occasionally have wonderful practice sessions overhead by the Blue Angels.
    But your comments brought back another set of memories: when Brother and I were kids, the folks would take us to the Grand Rapids (MI) airport to watch planes take off and land. Then we would go inside to maybe have a drink (if the folks were flush), but always to stare at an indoor fountain area that people threw change into for good luck. (Think ‘From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’) I thought then that the GRR airport was the most elegant in the world…and would have never guessed that I’d fly out of many others, far larger.

    We went to Tucson with Daughter and her fiance while they bought inventory at the citywide gem and rock shows. Unfortunately, someone else was handing out freebies — we ended up with the worst flu I have experienced in a long time. Thank God Daughter and and Son were able to drive us home — I’m not sure either Husband nor myself could have made it.
    It’s been nearly a week since then — and today is the first I didn’t wake up with a fever. We’ve been living on milk, tea, coffee, juice, a few slices of toast and canned soup, plus chicken soup thoughtful neighbors brought over. Today is the first I could type without fuzzy thoughts and hands shaking. This version is NASTY stuff.

  48. Hi Rhonda,

    Sorry to hear that things are difficult for your daughter at school. I too have a special needs kid, and have had to endure some school difficulties. I don’t really have any advice, but know that you are in my thoughts. One day school will be history for your daughter. I’ll pray for more support from the school.


  49. There’s a whole series of books about Ender. We like them because they appeal to a wide range of ages.

    Great idea to put together a binder. I’m working on one for camping, but it would be good to have for home, too.

  50. Marilyn in MD, the March 2018 issue of Kiplinger’s magazine has a terrific article, “Retirement Reality Check: Are You on Track?” that contains a graph/chart to help make your personal $ calculations. We subscribe to this magazine (also Money which also has great articles on finance & retirement); you can check their website at or perhaps your library carries it. We retired early 5 years ago (I was 55 and dh 60) and have enjoyed every minute of it.

  51. Hey Jeannie! I did read that it’s entirely possible to grow lemons in Ontario (i.e. in cold and snowy winter weather); one just has to grow them in pots. They do best when outside in the summer and then they have to be brought inside in the winter, and kept in a sunny spot. They do need to be fertilized with special citrus fertilizer several times a year (I haven’t gotten as far as figuring out exactly when), and pruned in a certain way so as to encourage them to grow fruit. I believe you’re also supposed to pluck off the first fruit(s) when they’re very small, so as to encourage the tree to put its effort into growing as opposed to reproducing. It will take quite a few years to get fruit, as the trees are sold quite small (unless you buy a very expensive larger tree). Brandy has some great tips on her Instagram pics of her lemon trees.

    Fig trees are similar — except that they need to be kept in a dark cool place over the winter. People sometimes bury them over the winter (I believe that was done in Paris a lot 100 or 200 years ago), but that’s a lot of work. A garage, a well-insulated shed, or a cool, dark basement is ideal. That said, fig trees are having a moment in home décor, so whether or not they’re fruiting, they’re super trendy right now. Win-win!

  52. I’ve been researching mulberries, as we love berries and want to have more fruit in our yard. I think I’ve settled on a dwarf, as they are a shrub rather than a 50′ tree!

    There are male and female mulberries. Males produce a ton of pollen, but no fruit. Females produce fruit; but some varieties will have infertile seed or seedless if there are no males around to pollenate them. You can’t tell if a seedling is a male or female until it starts flowering…which takes 5-10 years. As an aside, male mulberries have been prohibited in Tucson, El Paso, Las Vegas/Clark County and other western communities for decades. We used to live in Vegas and the pollen was horrible in the spring between the mulberries, olives and pines.

  53. That is interesting. My granddaughter, who is almost 26, has 4 jobs that she is working right now. I thought it was just her–didn’t know it was a trend.

  54. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 . It has been so incredibly hot here at the moment nearing 40 oc during the days so not a lot of chance to get out into the gardens unless it is really early in the morning or after 6pm at night.

    Brandy have been working likewise this year to dry all of our herbs for our own use in the gardens and some for sale too and do use them fresh as well. I would also like to take some cuttings from our French Lavender when they get large enough to propagate other plants from.

    Financial –
    – DH earned $50 from doing a mowing and trimming job for our next door neighbour which we banked into our saving for our home deposit account.
    – Banked more money into our saving for our home deposit bank account bringing us to 24.07% of the way there.

    eBay listings –
    – Listed 10 handmade items using a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Grocery purchases/food storage –
    – Found lychees on special for $1.68 per tin (usually $2.75) and purchased 22 tins over our usual amount to stock the pantry saving $38.52 on usual prices.

    In the garden –
    – Picked a huge amount of sage, thyme and a small amount of French lavender from the gardens and hung them to dry in the house and on the veranda behind shade cloth. We also separated some dried lavender and rosemary I had drying for household stocks.
    – Picked 1.1kg of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $13.20 over purchasing them.
    – Planted a 7mt row of silver beet and bush bean strike bean seeds in one of the newly amended garden beds.
    – Seasoned our 2 in 1 wood smoker/BBQ so we can use it shortly to cook some roasts on. We are waiting for the weather to cool off and a still day to do this which will save hugely on electricity running the oven and won’t heat up the house.

    Water preservation –
    – Used vegetable/herb washing water, vege steaming water to water newly emerged seedlings in the gardens.
    – Made use of saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to hand water the house paddock lawns all week.

    Electricity savings –
    – Saved around $7.50 in electricity by using our solar lanterns to light our home and by only turning on the electric hot water system when needed.

    Have a wonderful frugal week ahead everyone 🙂 .

  55. It is a joy to see your garden. We are covered in ice right now. The snow is gone. Next week is a vacation week and I am hoping for some snow. I decided to not go anywhere next week, but to stay home and save money.

    Instead if driving to shop, I ordered a couple things online…including some food. It was nicely priced and free shipping. We are very conscious of not buying processed foods, but have found it difficult to manage this winter with the cabin. We finally just gave up and are eating simple foods that are healthy. Cooking will have to wait for summer. The oven doesn’t work either now!

    I received a free zipper baggy, some toilet paper rolls to use as fire starters and some more newspaper. We are continuing to eat what we have so that nothing goes to waste here. My son and I are on a mission to reduce our portion sizes as well. Keeping at it.

    Frugal fail…I have to pay for an event that I wasnt able to attend because of the flu. My cousin was going with me, but came down sick suddenly.

    We were able to do significantly less laundry because of two days of snow and ice. Stayed home and rested up…thus saving on gas and car wear as well.

    I read a free book excerpt and re-read a book I own.

    Happy frugal-ing as we work toward our goals.

  56. As always, your colorful photos bring such joy Brandy ! Also reading your garden achievements each week. It’s been in high 40s/low 50s here with lots of rain. I want to start seedlings in the garage but feel it may be too soon since last frost date here is end of April and don’t want to end up with lanky plants to transplant outdoors. The birds also leave me lots of mulberry but I pull them up – Thought they would need to be grafted to bear fruit. From now on, I will transplant them and see what happens. I’m glad you were able to find the hairspray you like at less cost.

    It was a good week. Some good deals: 3 lb Halo clementines for $2.99, reg price $5.99; 80% lean ground beef $1.99 lb; fresh salmon filet $5.99, reg price $7.99 lb. Free Hershey chocolate bar and Arla cream cheese tub with store coupon. Primrose plants at $0.99 each. I bought several & will transplant to garden.

    My monthly trip to BJ’s was under budget as I purchased only what was on my list & used BJ’s & manuf. coupons (allowed to combine them at BJ’s). My girlfriend and I did notice though that their prices have been creeping up each month on just about every item except “junk” food. For example, I buy English cucumbers there. A 2-pack is now $2.99, a few months ago it was $2.49.

    My weekly lunch date with 3 girlfriends was a brunch date instead and then we went to see a movie – the matinee on every Tuesday is deeply discounted (for any age) – we enjoyed each other’s company & saved money.

    Took several walks on boardwalk; car-pooled 4 days with a neighbor to our clubhouse (we live in a planned development with a clubhouse, a variety of clubs & activites, outdoor pool, exercise room) for Zumba classes and fitness classes (classes are $3 each with certified instructors) it’s only an 8 minute drive each way to our clubhouse but we enjoy taking the classes together & do save a little gas & some wear & tear on our cars.

    Thank you for this blog Brandy. I love reading these posts.

  57. Libby, good luck with your job search. You have such a positive attitude. I am sure good things will come your way soon.

    Several of my cousins’ children are in their 20s and they also speak of having multiple streams of income. They are all college educated and have good jobs but they also believe in the “sharing” economy. For example, one of them is working very hard to save money for a down payment on a house – he drives for Uber & Lyft in his spare time to earn extra money.

  58. Brandy, that is so neat that you grow many of your own herbs. I need to be more committed in growing our own dill. My husband and I both love it!

    Here are our frugal accomplishments:
    * Combined appointments on one day so that I was not out and about every day
    * Used our 5% discount at the coop to purchase grapefruits that were also on sale and some meat we needed
    * Grocery shopped for a family member not able to drive right now and for myself at the same time
    * Packed my husband’s lunch and cooked him breakfast every day
    * Opened our blinds in the mornings to warm up the house and let sunshine in.
    * Scheduled our tax appointment to be done over the phone rather than my driving 30+ miles. We are glad to use this accountant because he really knows what he’s doing!
    * Cooked extra food one day so that we would have leftovers to use the next day
    * Cooked an entire chicken at one time for the same reason as above
    * Purchased paper towels and am making my own “wipes” to use in public places such as the library and stores (shopping carts) to stay away from illness instead of buying wipes with who knows what kind of chemicals in them
    * Paid cash for gas to receive a discount at one gas station and used a competitor’s coupon at another gas station

  59. Brandy, people working jobs with seemingly excellent job security are getting laid off left and right. I was offered a job for a gas/oil company back in 2011 (I was a temp). God just did not give me peace about taking it. Well, since then, they’ve laid off hundreds of employees, and of course I would have been one of them, since I would have been so new.

  60. Thanks, Louise. I already work from home full-time, which I love, but I think the extra time will be good for gardening, maybe shopping on a non-weekend day, etc. It could just possibly work out really well.

  61. Andrea, not all mulberries and olives are prohibited in Clark County. Fruitless mulberries are prohibited unless they already exist on the property. You can buy fruiting mulberries at Star Nursery. I had not read about male and female plants so I will have to look into that to see if it is worth keeping this seedling. My neighbor has a fruiting mulberry that the birds planted in her yard and it has borne fruit in the past, though I haven’t seen any on it the last two years (usually she has us pick it). There is a white fruiting mulberry that Star Nursery sells that I think would be ideal as it wouldn’t stain and the birds wouldn’t know it was ready.

    I think a dwarf tree would be ideal. The seedling I have is tiny and in a pot. It’s the second one I’ve had from the birds; the last one died when we missed a day of watering the pot in summer. This one may not make it, but if it does, for now it can be a fun topiary.

    What I liked about my neighbor’s mulberry tree is that it is ripe in early April. That makes it ripe before EVERYTHING I have in my garden–even my super-low chill Katy apricots. I want to have fruit throughout the year and having something ripe when nothing else is ready yet is pretty fantastic.

    You should be able to have so many berries there! If I lived in your climate I would grow gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries, currants, sea berries, cranberries, blackberries, and bush cherries. Have you checked out Jung Seed’s catalog? They have a lot of plants for cold climates.

  62. Love your springtime pictures (even though it’s technically still winter :D). How fun to be able to see the Blue Angels fly over!

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate home-prepped meals all but one time.

    * Hubs washed our vehicles.

    * Made ww bread, two loaves of “breakfast” bread, ranch dip, hamburger buns, veggie stock, black bean burgers, chocolate chip muffins, cashew chicken, broccoli cheese soup, French bread, Lemon-Cake Pudding (thanks to whoever shared the recipe here; it was a hit with the family), honey-mustard dressing, and cranberry-pomegranate compote.

    * Harvested carrots, a lemon, green onions, parsley, thyme, lettuce, radishes, and rosemary.

    * Colored my hair (it was way past due).

    * Found a quarter while walking the dog.

    * Accepted produce for our hens.

    * Saved rinse/warm-up water.

    * Opened doors and windows (the weather has been beautiful).

    * Cut up scratch paper.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  63. Our last frost date is in just a couple of days, Roberta! That means we can plant tomato plants in the ground 🙂 It was in the mid-70’s here all last week.

    This week is going to be cooler, which is good and bad. I loved the warmer weather, but I have some things I also need to accomplish inside, so I will be able to focus more on those since there is a cold wind blowing out there right now!

  64. Susan, my daughter is developmentally disabled and went to a Tim Tebow Night to Shine two years ago. It was fabulous–and free. Our local Specialized Needs Recreation organization puts on a similar “prom” every year and it is a huge event for the very special guests.

    Brandy, I envy you for being able to work outside in the garden. It was 35F here today…20F last night! I got some potting soil and started potting up daffodil and hyacinth bulbs that didn’t get planted last fall. Hope to salvage the bulbs for in-ground planting in the fall. The bulbs have been chilling on my front porch since about October. A few had gone soft, but the number of doubles and triples makes up for it. Wish me luck!

    1. I bought the potting soil with a $10 birthday card from Ace Rewards. $10 saved.

    2. Planned to spend $1.79 on store brand cereal but found an even bigger box in the clearance basket for .50. $1.29 saved.

    3. Dropped a $5 HBO add-on to our streaming package. Saved $5 this month–$60 for the year.

    4. Received a $51 gift card from Macy’s for participating in their holiday gift promotion. This was the result of my DH buying a suit for DS’s wedding. We are going to Hawaii for our 50th anniversary, so I will use this for some summer threads. Only if they are on sale, LOL!

  65. Forgot to mention–got an e-mail that I had 998 points in my Honey (online cashback app) account, with another 2,000 pending. Each point is worth a penny and a minimum of 1,000 points can be cashed in for gift cards. I like Honey because it automatically checks for discounts as well as paying cash back. It saved me $14.25 on a $50 phone a few weeks ago.

    I had 4 no-spend, no-gas days last week (not difficult when you live in a town of 200 people out in the middle of nowhere!). All meals cooked at home–again not hard, for the same reason. We went to a church potluck Sunday.

    Is there a way to edit a message while it is awaiting moderation? I no sooner hit Submit
    than I remembered these.

  66. I know your pain, Jeannie! Whenever I ask my husband to help me decide what to have for dinner, he always suggests take out. Not helpful!

  67. What was even funnier was me on the phone at Aldi’s standing in the aisle trying to write it all down. I gave up since I was already giving in and just bought the cheapest junk I could find. I silently wished they would get tummy aches and feel ashamed of their behavior. Nope.

    The junk is almost all gone now and I feel no sympathy. Yesterday was a crockpot full of pantry vegetables (close to expiration dates) in soup with homemade crackers. They are not suffering at all.


  68. Just a note of caution … I brought my meyer lemon tree inside for the winter. It blossomed and was the most fragrant thing ever! However, the blossoms were accompanied by an oil which got all over the floor. The next year I made sure to put a drop cloth under it.

  69. for Kim Heller: My pineapple top grew well too, after several years it produced two pineapples, great excitement!! One was small, the second tiny … when the larger finally ripened we cut it open, only to find it very sour. I wonder if I should have put something into the soil, or if the temperatures were not right for the plant. (sunroom, zone 7). good luck with yours!

    Brandy: There are two cookbooks I cherish produced by women of your Faith, one studied Home Ec at Brigham Young U. It is Make-A-Mix Cookery by HP Books Arizona. They make mixes for every possible occasion, the recipes are delicious, their mixes save time and money. Book II has many recipes for seasoning mixes. I include the easy, handy “Ready Hamburger Mix” from Book I.
    4 lbs. lean gd. beef; l large onion chopped; 2 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp garlic salt.
    Brown beef in heavy skillet, drain. Add onion & continue cooking over medium low heat until onions are golden. Add remaining ingredients. Cool. Spoon mixture into four 1-pint freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch space at top. Freeze, use within 3 months.
    There follows many recipe ideas to use this mix.
    Authors are Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward & Madeline Westover. My books are from 1978.
    This book has been a great help to me over the years, I hope it is still available for your readers.

    Ann Lee S, BC, Canada

  70. I’m not sure if you’re asking me or Sarah, but I haven’t checked any catalogs. I stopped requesting catalogs because they just give me the wantsies for things that aren’t in the budget! We also try to buy trees and shrubs that are locally raised. I don’t think mulberries are popular here, so it may be a challenge to find one, in which case, I’ll try to keep that catalog in mind. Thanks!

    We have blueberries, native wild blackberries and non-native black raspberries. We’ve created an area to build a bed of black raspberries and will attempt to transplant some this year. They grow like weeds, so it should be fairly easy. I have a spot with an invasive shrub and a dying azalea that would be perfect for a self-fertile dwarf mulberry, so hopefully it will find its way into the 2019 budget. Our lot is heavily shaded, and it isn’t cost effective to spend $10,000 on tree removal in order to enlarge the garden. We have a couple of trees with dying tops that need to come down and I have my fingers crossed that that will open up enough canopy to have two or three apple trees. Right now, I only have enough space for one.

  71. Wow! I recognize Kroger (or family store of that company) deals! I got the sweetarts & 5 of the butters as well, but looks like I missed a bunch of deals. I have only recently expanded to shopping there. I need to step up my game 😉

  72. 1. Finished up a no spend week on Thursday (It was a great idea, because the rest of Frugal February will feel like a breeze compared to a no spend week)
    2. Bought butter for 1.99 and a few more stock up deals at Kroger
    3. Made a “fun” meal at home instead of buying pizza for family game night. A fun meal involves no veggies:) ***aka the kids idea of what makes a great meal!
    4. Found a new series to read next for my 6 yr old (He just finished his learn to read program, so instead of buying a new book, I found a series called “I read to you, you read to me” at the far he likes it.)
    5. Did our taxes myself…good times…

  73. We grow tons of herbs also. There is nothing more expensive per pound then herbs and spices. It is well worth the effort.
    -My biggest money saver this week was on my dishwasher. It has not been cleaning well which means I’m using extra water to wash items that weren’t coming out clean. So I tore it apart this week and scrubbed everything. I then ran it on the hottest setting with vinegar. It’s working great again. Took me an hour to do.
    -I brought some cookies into work that my son had brought home from work. Everyone enjoyed them.
    -A coworker brought in donuts which was a nice treat.
    -Grilled a package of chicken that I got on clearance right before its best buy date. Made a Big salad with some of it for dinner and leftover lunches. Made chicken salad with some for lunches. Lasted several days.
    -Brought water, snacks and lunch to work/school.
    -Used the crock pot 2 days that I worked this week, mushroom barley soup and marinated flank steak. Froze some of the soup.
    -The state sent us a check for a rebate on our property taxes. Put it right into savings.
    -My husband brought leftover food home after a meeting that was going to get thrown away.
    -My son’s car wouldn’t start at the end of his classes. My husband drove the 20 miles and jumped it. Its been working fine since.
    -Went out to breakfast with friends. Used a gift card I had. Drank water with it.
    -Went to a friend’s Surprise 50th lunch. It was very nice. Brought home leftovers as they had appetizers, big salad, an entrée and 2 sides. As favors I was given a box of very good chocolates and a lovely picture frame.
    -Went food shopping and saved almost $40 on coupons and another $1 on Ibotta.
    -It was my husband’s birthday. He wanted a tool so I bought it with a 20% off coupon at Harbor Freight. Also grabbed a three pack of micro fiber rags for free with purchase and gave him them too. Got him a shirt from Kohl’s because I had $10 in Kohl’s cash. Shirt cost me 71 cents. Made him French toast (his request) out of bread that my son brought home. Made him a non dairy cheesecake with cherry topping(one of his favorites). Cherries and pie crust I bought at dollar tree. Made homemade cards.
    -My sister was dropping her dog off for 2 weeks and offered to take us out to eat for my husbands birthday. It was a wonderful meal and we came home with some leftovers. They became dinner the next day with a few other leftovers in the fridge.
    -Gave same sister some bread and pastries since my son has been bringing home a ton.
    -Same sister took littlest sister’s computer that husband fixed because she was going to see her. Littlest sister lives over 3 hours away.
    -Made a double batch of dog food since I will have sister’s dog for the next 2 weeks. she did bring a bag of dog food which I will mix in when I feed them.
    Have a wonderful week!

  74. Rice is very good for bulking up food supplies. As long as you have a water source. It is cheap and most picky eaters I know will eat it plain. Good luck.

  75. I grew up in Ortonville, south of Flint, too. Well, my version of south…maybe more like southwest? Directionally challenged, here! My sister lives in Goodrich.

  76. My husband was laid off atChristmas 2010. Being 51 at the time, his prospects for a job, especially in his field were zero to none. He was one of hundreds that got the ax. It took two years to find any job at all. These days, we both have several different income streams. No matter how small, it all adds up. I think attitude is everything, as well. My daughter works two teaching jobs and buys books at auction to turn into book credit. She also has an Etsy store. Although, I think i’m Her biggest customer. One son is a meat manager at Kroger and processes deer during hunting season. We all try to have more than one income to put away extra. Living in America is not what it used to be, that’s for sure!

  77. Wow, so much to do in the garden! It makes me itchy just to get out there, but the ground is still frozen solid where we are. Maybe next year I can consider starting some seeds indoors. (It’s just too much right now with two little boys running around, twirling and bumping into everything!)

    We maintained pretty well this past week, even with the extra expense of $100 worth of supplements for me. The biggest fun frugal thing was the new free yoga class little man and I went to at our local Children’s Council. It was fabulous, a dinner provided afterwards, and little man got some great play time with other kids.

    Check out our other accomplishments:

  78. Brandy–Kudos for getting so much done in your garden and yard. Your photographs are a lovely reminder that spring will eventually make it’s way to the frigid midwest. I lost 25lbs and now I am always cold. Who knew that extra weight was my insulation to keep me warmer!!
    I enjoy reading and getting new ideas from everyone’s comments.
    We ate all meals at home this week except a free lunch at my part time job. I work at Omaha Steaks and this was a thank you for all the helpers that made the Christmas season a success. It was for spouses/so and everyone got a door prize as well.
    We were able to stock up on butter and tuna at our Kroger store. We went after the free lunch. We both have cards so we got 10lbs of butter for $1.99 and 10 tuna for $.50. We also found almost 4bs of Golden apples for $1.98 and 4 small yellow squash for $.99. We also bought a head of lettuce and grape tomatoes. Our savings totaled $20.01 and we are done shopping.
    I made a stir and pour bread recipe that we both like so I’ll be baking bread now. This recipe takes less than 2 hours start to finish and is very adaptable. The recipe is
    4c ww flour
    2 teas yeast
    2 tbls sugar or honey
    1 teas sea salt/salt
    1 egg (optional)
    1/4 c cream (optional)
    2 c warm water
    Mix all of the ingredients together. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes. Pour into 9×5 greased bread pan and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Allow it to cool in the pan for 15 minutes and cool completely before slicing
    That’s it. I got the recipe from Heavenly Homemakers. You can make swirl bread by dividing the dough in 3rds and adding the filling in between. For rolls you scoop the dough into greased muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.
    I used half white flour and I did add the egg, It makes great toast too.
    I stayed home as much as possible, paid bills online, only did full loads in the washer and dishwasher.
    We lost our windbreak in a storm last summer and the NW wind blows directly on my kitchen. I have been baking alot to warm it up and run my dishwasher at night to keep the pipes from freezing.
    Have a great week everyone!

  79. I have never tasted a fresh lemon picked straight from a tree and would love to do it someday. Garden fresh vegetables taste so different from store-bought that I also wonder about lemons. Fig trees will grow outside here but no one does it. I don’t know why.
    I will follow you and see what you learn.

  80. Not all the deals were at Kroger. I went to 3 different grocery stores this week. I shop by the ad and only run in and get what is on sale and check the clearance racks. The chicken, ham, bananas, ketchup, tomato soup, oatmeal and cereal were all on clearance. And I got extra lucky on the oatmeal because it was marked down to 99c, but the boxes had a coupon on them for $1 off 2! They are pumpkin spice flavor, but I don’t mind eating that at different times of the year!

  81. My husband is no help either. He will suggest eating out so I don’t have to cook. He won’t do take out because it will be cold by the time we get home. We have a microwave but it is not the same he claims. He likes his food hot and will put his cup of coffee in the microwave until it boils. The cup cools the coffee down. So as for me, getting dressed, driving to a restaurant, waiting for the food, eating, then driving back home, does not help me at all.

    Lately, I am not asking what anyone wants. Our meals are being determined by the expiration dates on the packages.


  82. Marilyn in MD… as we are retired and buying a new house and doing rehabbing on said house the best info I can give anyone looking at retirement down the road is start living on what you would have then NOW. We even put back what our health ins was estimated to be (I rolled it up). We just came out of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and are doing good because of that. Even when I told the mortgage guy the payment couldn’t go over a certain amount as that was all the budget would allow (and not put us in a crisis when the stock market drops). He loved it. Changing from a weekly paycheck to one once a month wasn’t as hard as I though it would be. My daughter told me to divide it by how many weeks in the month and base things on that. Daddy told me to pay all the bills even if not due and just hold the check, then you really see what you have left.

  83. I would love to see the Blue Angels! When I lived in Va. Beach, we were so close to the airport that we had to stop conversation when the planes went by. They were so low that the dogs cringed. It was kind of scary to witness. But, exhilarating, too.
    I used the gift card I got with CC points to send to a niece for her baby shower.
    I made cookie dough for the freezer. I baked six cookies, first. They were so good! These were oatmeal and raisin. I’ve never had much luck with these until a friend told me about using the butter flavored Crisco. It made all the difference.
    I walked at the Tribal Center, around town and did yoga and other exercises at home.
    I listed a few things on eBay and sold one item.
    After reading about Cape Town going dry, I decided I needed to up my water saving game. (It will always be a work in progress.) I’ve started keeping a small tin pitcher by the tub to catch the water from the sink while I wait for it to warm up. I also shower less and just wash “the smelly bits.” (That from meanqueen)
    I bought gas with our local coupons and paid a bill at the credit union and Charged my phone in the car. (That’s when I turn it on and remember that it’s probably dead!)
    I’ve been enjoying yooootooobe documentaries while I stand at the kitchen counter doing my domestic Goddess routine.
    I order cling/sticker labels from my daughter to attach to my herbs and spices jars. I bought a few fresh herbs and spices from the co-op to refill some of my jars. I used the last of a Christmas gift card to pay for most of it.
    I used a washed cereal bag to bash more bread ends into crumbs, used cold water for all wash, saved shower water for the wash or toilet, washed baggies and ate all meals at home. Another good week at the homestead!
    Have a fabulous week ahead!

  84. Ortonville is more like southeast of Flint since both it and Goodrich are south of Davison. The snow is pretty but I am at the point where if I knew the upcoming thaw was this year’s spring thaw I wouldn’t be sad. The amount of snow people get near Lake Michigan amazes me. Tough people.

  85. Wow, I have never heard of any type of trees being prohibited here. I have a huge mulberry tree (actually it sits on the neighbor’s side, but drops half of its mulberries on my land and they never gather them and do not care if I gather them) and I gather mulberries in May and freeze them. I have no idea what kind it is, mulberry trees are common here, as are pecan trees.

  86. I am sorry for the difficulties your daughter is enduring at public school. We went through the same things with my older son years ago and it is painful to watch their struggles. I gave up and finally pulled him out and began homeschooling. Within three weeks all his symptoms disappeared and he became a different child. The school was overwhelmed with the massive influx of illegal immigrants and could not cope. The teachers were trying, doing the best they could, but it was not enough.

    Hang in there. You are not alone.

    Jeannie @

  87. Vickie@Vickies Kitchen And Garden…I’m old and boring also but found if I wait until evening, the later the better I qualify for surveys from Swagbucks more often, especially the peanut surveys. You have to click more on the survey list to get them to come up.

  88. Frittia , beef roast followed by hash the next day, pasta and then breakfast and then Popcorn for Sunday night supper with apples and grape juice..that’s Hubby’s standard answer… helps he was a single parent with custody of the kids.

  89. I am always amazed at how much you are saving for your house! Good for you! I am so excited to hear about when you purchase or build it!

  90. Ladies, I have three mulberry trees in the backyard. They are growing IN the fence. 🙁 I “discovered” them last year. I was gonna make jam/jelly but they went rotten on me before I could do it. Do you pick them, freeze them and then can them? or do you eat your berries whole? I would love to take advantage of all this fruit.

  91. I have spent time daily reading your blog Brandy and am so thankful you share so much. I love the pictures and Hubby even thought about raising fruit trees after seeing how you do yours but 10 yrs from now we will be in our 70s I don’t think gathering fruit is going to be what we want to do.Daughter 2 who has been staying with us (gets her place March 1st if not sooner and the guy who she is seeing is moving the lady out) brought home her older son the other night. He has bounced around from place to place since she lost their home. I heard the comment from his dad and stepmom he was too picky of an eater which he isn’t as he has acid reflux and IBS, health issues not being a picky eater and the stepbrother and friends said the same thing…. I asked him for a list of what he could eat and went out and bought items to fill in with what I had like my homemade pasta sauce would be too spicy for him and can’t eat pork. Still was able to keep in within $60 for 2 weeks of menu plus I got him some snacks that he said he could eat.He offered to pay me for the food which I was proud he offered but was a but frustrated that my 17 yr old grandson felt he needed to pay for his own food. I started seeds from last year’s field paste tomatoes we were given and transplanted them to bigger pots. We are still looking for some things for the new house through Habitat to restore and thrift shops. I “cashed” in points for Amazone gift cards at Pinecone research and Swagbucks. Made over 2200 points by meeting goal 7 times and then the points they gave me for my birthday. We had to take the dog food up before Charlotte and Wilbur had surgery and found Charlotte doesn’t get us up during the night when we did thats so that’s a nightly thing. Not saving any food but definitely are getting better sleep.

  92. Holly, we have relatives along the Michigan Indiana border area and up by Grand Rapids and it seems like it would be sunny and clear coming around the bottom of Lake Michigan and as soon we started east and north it would cloud up and begin to snow.

  93. We’ve had such a warm winter this year–one of our tomato plants actually overwintered and has blossoms and green tomatoes on it! I’m hoping we’ll have enough cool hours for our plum and peach trees to set fruit . . . .

    This week is supposed to be a bit cooler (Mt. Baldy even got snow last night), with nights down into the 40s and even a couple of nights into the upper 30s, so I’m hoping for at least a small crop. Our very low chill peach has lots of blossoms (and even some tiny fruits forming), so I think we’ll get some peaches from that tree at any rate.

  94. Alissa – I started following a blog called that matches coupons and digital coupons with the local Kroger ads. It’s helped a few times with some really great deals at a Kroger store. She posts a lot of stuff everyday and I don’t need/use most of it. But it’s helpful to me – I hope as well to you.

  95. When I was very young I worked a doctor’s office reception area during the day 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM I worked nights doing in home care for the elderly 7 AM to 7PN went straight to my day job from this. would go home from my day job shower grab food and clothing and go on to my night job worked Monday through Friday on my night job On Saturday I cleanned the halways and laundry room and lobby of an apartment complex and in the evening I babysat. Sundays I would cook food for my family as I was never home and then Sunday evening prep for the entire week again. I never missed a day of work , I never missed church , my home was clean everyone ate and life went on for years this way. I was able to sleep on my night job when the older people were sleeping , I had to get up if they had to go to the bathroom or needed medications. I just thought this is what Moms do when children are small and they still go to work so it was never a big deal and I never felt like woo is me I just did it. I purposefully picked jobs that I could do even if I was ill . So it really was not that tough. You can do it if you really put your mind to it.

  96. Rhonda, it is really nice to read that we are not all alone in this world with are special needs children. We had originally planned on leaving sugar cookie in the school system until she aged out but that turned into a joke. The issues over the state mandated testing were a nightmare. The child can’t read and they constantly had her in a state of hysterics. She graduated at 18. Sadly there are no programs for her. It seems like each year we have a new struggle. I can only hope that your sweet daughter will find her way. I feel like most of my life has been spent battling every system known to man for her. Now that I am older it is exhausting. The autistic young man she knows had convinced her they should get married. My goodness that would be a nightmare at every level. Meanwhile her brother has taught her to play Minecraft so she is steadily working on that. I try to smile and have patience and take it one day at a time.

  97. I live outside a base so we have planes and helicopters overhead regularly. I have gotten good at identifying the model of aircraft.
    Helped a friend install her dishwasher, saving her the cost of installation. The space never had one, so I had to run the plumbing and a new outlet. As a thank you, and to celebrate our success, she made dinner and opened an excellent bottle of wine.
    Picked up a piece I needed to repair the storm door damaged in Hurricane Irma for $1 at Habitat for Humanity. A new one was nearly as much as a new door.
    We had an unusually warm weekend (mid 80’s). Realized the AC was not cooling after running the oven all day for a dinner party on Sunday. Ugh. Repairman comes tomorrow. I hope that it just needs Freon. Opened the windows in the meantime and have had lovely breezes and the house aired out.
    Dinner party success made predominantly from materials in my freezer and pantry. My guests brought the wine. My mother is here so that means more meals at home this week, although I bought lunch 2 days because I wasn’t’ organized enough to bring it. One meal out, but it was a fundraiser at the VFW.
    Mom surprise treated me to a pedicure and a brow wax. Received a free pair of Lula Roe leggings at the Mardi Gras parade in town, but then bought a new dress. (Solid black so it will be super versatile and stretchy so… yeah). I also picked up a fine woven sea grass basket for a good price direct from the basket weaver.
    Installed a batter operated led motion light to light the side stairs. I was fine, but I was concerned for my mother coming and going at night.
    I joined Grove Collective to buy some needed cleaning supplies. As a new customer, there were a ton of freebies and the products are more natural. I will probably cancel it in a month or 2 once my stock is built back up.
    Scoured my fabric stash to make 4 baby quilts for upcoming family babies. I managed to design the quilts to reuse leftover blocks and leftover precut pieces from other quilts for them. I need only cut sashing and borders (from my stash). I will need to purchase batting and possibly backing, but I have coupons for that.
    Ordered a prescription through Express scripts as it is $4 for 90 days that way and $50 for 390 days through Walgreens. You really have to ask questions.

  98. No way! I grew up in Goodrich! Go Martians! (OK, that only makes sense if you are local to the area … ). And here we are, meeting up in cyberspace. Went to church in Davison when I was in high school, but went to church in Atlas before that (if you know where that is, you are truly local). Southeast of Flint is accurate. 🙂 Now I’m in Muskegon, yes, close to Lake Michigan and lake effect snow, although this past week you may have gotten as much snow as we did. We aren’t tough–ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

  99. Hello All

    Love reading all your comments as well as Brandy’s blog. I have been inspired and so bought loads of seeds. I’ve checked local planting and last frost dates (London UK) and they seem ages away. Oh well. I’ve realised that while I love reading comments from all around the world ( it is lovely to figure out where everyone is from I feel so well-travelled) that means I need to comment as well! Here goes ( should point out that I comment very little as just can’t remember what I do- live in awe of some of all your abilities to keep track).

    Let’s start with the failures ( get them out of the way):
    Forgot lunch one day last week- dived into local store ( M&S) . But surprise ( ha ha)- found blueberries for £1.40 for 400g. Reduced as near use by date. Bought all I saw (4 packs). Took them home where they were a huge treat. None went to waste. My children are now fully loaded vitamin C-wise. Also – friend managed to get hold of concert tickets and asked if I wanted one. I accepted and will pay her. Not frugal but a huuuge treat. I will not get this chance again and intend to fully enjoy this.

    Moving swiftly on from the wobbles. Have made myself available for more freelance work ( I started to do this when I cut down my hours). Have picked up quite a lot this week. Yippee. I have also applied to do some more lucrative work. If this comes through it will be great. People were commenting earlier about having different sources of income and I think this is a very good idea. I think it was mentioned in ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ ( need to get teenagers to read it).
    Six year old has loads of birthday parties- bought numerous items of same present at cheapest price and also got extra Avios points. Re-using present bags and using cards bought in bulk from the book people ( much cheaper).

    Stopped at Lidl on essential trip elsewhere- did basic shop for £60. I have not stocked up since early January ( except milk and fruit/veg) so much needed. I have been using freezer as had been lucky at clearance racks last July ( still eating that shop). Another Supermarket had offer of 10p off litre of petrol coupons if spent £60 in-store in January. I split a shop and got 2 coupons- used last week.

    Fifteen year old son decided to cook his late father’s pasta dish yesterday. This is an iconic dish in our family. We were out of cream so I decided this was worth going to the shop for. While there I checked the clearance ( reduced) racks. I found some great reductions- large chicken, pizza, ready meal to microwave at work for £1.66 ( my treat as I eat at desk-yes I know this is not great) but the best was when I checked it the second time when about to leave. I found 2.9 kg of salmon from the deli for £9! I brought it home and have made a salmon dish for dear friend and her family visiting in 2 days then vacuum sealed the rest ( bought a food saver from eBay recently). I also found six 4-pint bottles of organic semi-skimmed milk for £0.95. I have frozen this. It will be used- we go through milk incredibly fast.

    When my friend visits I will give her and her family the salmon dish ( Delia Smith recipe using homemade breadcrumbs) and boeuf bourguignon (made with reduced beef chunks) I had frozen. I have apple pie filling made with garden apples and pastry frozen after been bought reduced. My son will make brownies. My teenagers know how to cook – it came about accidentally but is very useful. My daughter made pancakes for dinner tonight so haven’t cooked 2 evenings in a row. Such luxury.

    I can’t think of anything else ( I’m sure there is something but can’t recall it). Happy frugality everyone.

  100. Margaret, I tried to find the past pesto bake mentioned above. I found a portobello mushroom pasta pesto. Is that it, because on the post it said you were camping. I mean you could have been camping last week in the snow and cold because I have heard people do do that. Is that the recipe? I make a lot of pesto and 99% of the time I just serve it on angel hair pasta. They like it that way, but I could try to be a little bit more imaginative.

  101. Congratulations LauraLee on starting the sugaring business. My husband’s family has a home business doing that. He gets paid in syrup for helping.

  102. Thank you ladies for the encouragement! I am enjoying your blog, Melonie K. I didn’t realize that there was a series to the Ender Game book- how exciting! It was a fairly family friendly book (some violence PG-13), but still kept my attention. Adding rice is an excellent, low cost idea. I do have some family members with gluten issues, and they seem to enjoy and tolerate rice (beyond an emergency even). I was struggling with what to store for picky eaters, and I think you hit the nail on the head Marybeth. Thank you!

  103. Anxious to start yard work, but our frost date is a ways off. We had fresh snow yesterday. We’ve been eating out of pantry and freezer and trying to spend cautiously on groceries. There have been some wonderful stock ups that I couldn’t pass up. Any money I saved from our monthly grocery budget of 200.00 goes towards my new dishwasher. The next special purchase will be a roto tiller.
    I wanted to make something sweet for Valentine’s day. Planned to make chocolate coated strawberries, but I forgot to buy them. Hubby said that’s ok I’m not that crazy about them. My favorite is chocolate covered orange slices so I’m making those instead.
    Instead of rib steaks which we both love I opted for baby back ribs. Hubby is happy.
    Food waste is zero. Everything that we don’t eat plus any food scraps go to our chickens. We’re getting 2 dozen big eggs from them every week.
    I have recently purchased a range mate microwave cooker at the thrift store. It has silicon muffin cups. I can make 4 cupcakes at a time in 4 minutes, the perfect amount for us so we don’t waste any.
    Got our taxes done, and came out close to even, so that worry is gone for another year.

  104. Cindy, check your state’s invasive plant list. Most states have a list of things that nurseries can’t sell, including trees. The laws usually say that no one can propagate/move/transport specific plants, but usually have no criminal penalties for homeowners. And there’s always a grandfather clause. Where I live now, burning bush and Japanese barberry are prohibited (among others). I have both in my yard. They were planted years ago by the previous owners before they were prohibited, but now it is technically illegal for me to transplant them. Norway maple, privet, a few types of honeysuckle and over a dozen other plants are also prohibited by my state.

    Male/fruitless mulberries are prohibited in many western communities because they make so much pollen, but the females that produce fruit are still allowed. The existing trees typically don’t have to be removed, but nurseries can’t sell new ones.

  105. For berries in general, I have gleaned and foraged in the past for pies and jelly. I have also frozen them and then made berry-applesauce for canning in October when the apples are in season. Except mixed with apples, I’m not a fan of canned berries. I have also frozen berries with a bit of sugar and then used them as a topping for ice cream. There are recipes for syrup, too. But mostly, we just eat them fresh.

  106. Hi Kris, I spend many happy days of my childhood in Muskegon as that was where my grandparents and other family lived. I loved Lake Michigan and I think I recall my aunt would rake me to Twin Lakes??

  107. Last week was a great frugal week. I started a new FULL time job after over two years of searching for a job. I now get paid for 40 hours each week plus I am eligible for overtime, if needed, as opposed to 8-12 hours each week at a much lower hourly wage. (THE best piece of advice I have for someone who has been looking a while is to take a part time, temporary or volunteer job. It improved my outlook tremendously. It won’t solve all your problems but it may help.)

    I took my lunch four of five days and DH took a lunch a couple of days. We both ate breakfast and had coffee at home. Kept grocery spending to a minimum and had very little food waste. Picked up a few grocery items from the clearance table. We ate dinner at home each night except Friday.

    My gasoline usage was no higher traveling to work five days than going three days for a part time job plus extra errands. Our home heating costs should be significantly lower since I am not home and the thermostat is turned way down during the day.

  108. Yes, Twin Lake is in the Muskegon area, you are right. It’s truly a beautiful area out here. We live about 15 minutes from Hoffmaster State Park and spend a lot of time there–for the beach in the summer, and hiking/snowshoeing the rest of the year. There are multiple wonderful beaches and state parks around here and I am grateful to live where we can do so many outdoor activities.

  109. *There is flu & a couple of nasty Norovirus bugs going around, too. I have been fighting one of the bugs. Elderberry, rhubarb juice when it is gut issues, and lots of vitamin C: cherry tomatoes, real lemonade, real limeade & even a little orange juice. OJ & I are not good friends, but when I need massive C, it does the trick. Washed a lot of bedding, which also helps, & humidified the air as well. Since I was not feeling well, the most frugal thing I did was stay home & rest.

    *Pruned more of the fruit trees. We have had such a mild winter here along the Wasatch Front, that I will have to spray this spring, or we will be inundated with bugs. I don’t usually have to do that, & prefer not to, but I have both the spray & the equipment, & this year it is needed.

    *Trimmed more of the branches from my curbside rescue fir trees. As they dry out, they are dropping their needles on the back perimeter beds, helping acidify them.

    *Drove up to Washington week before last. Took some things to our daughter & brought back different things from her to us & her sisters. One of the items was some “sleeping mats” that were being replaced at the school where her daughter attends. They are not full size camping mats, but would keep the head & torso off the ground, along with most of the thigh, for an adult, & so she rescued those, with permission, to redistribute within the family, a scout group & some close friends for “camping” use. Free is the best price, & the cover on these is fairly heavy vinyl, so they are disinfectable, which is always a plus. They also fold, which is very convenient for storage.

    *Decorated last week for Valentine’s Day, using the decoration from our plastic shoe box.

  110. Haven’t really commented in awhile. We have so much going on I feel like I haven’t really been keeping track.

    Rec’d a huge bag of organic garlic and three dozen eggs from a cousin. I am hoping to dehydrate the garlic in the next couple of days – need to do it outside so it doesn’t stink up the house so need some warmer weather. The eggs are amazing – so full of flavor.

    Going through everything, and I mean everything, in preperation for an auction. My SO has gone through most of the outside stuff left from our former corn maze/pumpkin patch and what was left in storage buildings we inherited. We need to go through the garage that has all of the household stuff. It is the accumulation of several households and things that a friend left when she literally “hit” the road in an RV fulltime. Want to get it done so the auction people can come in and asses it and then take it away for auction. I went through my closet and drawers and now that I am retired realized that I need nothing, absolutely nothing, for years and years. I have many nice things that are classics from when I was in corporate America – black slacks and skirts, Coldwater Creek and Talbots jackets, sweaters and tops. So more formal events are covered. I have a lot of mid-type clothes as well due to my recent stint in a more casual environment.

    Cooked mostly at home. I don’t really bake but did make a dessert all from pantry and freezer supplies. A 99c angel food loaf cake bought ages ago and in the freezer, a 50c packet of vanilla pudding (added some lemon oil I found in the cupboard), raspberries and kiwi fruit that needed to be used up. Sliced the cake in thirds, put pudding and fruit between layers and on top. Boy was that good! Did stop for take out Mexican food one day when a friend and I went shopping. SO always love Mexican food and it was enough for three meals.

    Today was my birthday (65 – how did that happen!!!) so we went to the next big city for a special meal. I selected a place that I had wanted to go to for a long time. Should have checked the menu prices – ended up being about twice what I thought it would be. After we picked ourselves up we just decided it was a special day and we’d just be okay about it. This place has a bookstore as part of it so I treated myself to some used books and rarity of rarities – bought a book for full price! I bought “The Nightingale” based on comments here.

    We are updating a used 5th wheel travel trailer in anticipation of doing a lot of traveling in the future. We are “shopping” our home, shed and workshop for the supplies to furnish it and renovate it. We did buy a couple of new comfy chairs for each of us as the chairs and sofa were trashed. We also have to buy a new mattress. It is part of our retirement plan – to really see a lot of the US that neither of us have seen.

    Decided to not have a garden this year due to our travel plans. Our cousin has graciously offered to grow a few things for us. He gardens organically and really has a green thumb. The garlic he grows is some he brought back from visiting his family’s home in Italy. It is so flavorfull. I have asked him to grow shallots and Padron peppers (a type of small pepper that I had when in Spain – they are roasted and sprinkled with sea salt – so yummy).

  111. Thank you all for sharing!
    I wanted to ask does anyone know how to replace cooking paper with something homemade? I use quite lot of it and have bought it so far. Thanks!

  112. Last week, for the first time in more than 20 years, I was able to travel with my husband on a 3 day business trip. This trip was to San Diego. Husband had a Biotech/ Lab Automation conference to attend. His employer paid for his airfare & our hotel room. We got one of those Southwest Airlines flights for $49 for my ticket.

    I was very limited in what I could bring, but I slipped a large baggie of granola, a small baggie of almonds and a couple tea bags of my favorite herbal tea into my carry-on. While we were on the plane our flight attendant was a jokey gentleman who tossed the bags of snacks out like crazy. I tucked the extra snacks into my purse as well.

    Before we left I downloaded several free books to my Kindle.

    Food is always a big cost when traveling and our boutique hotel didn’t offer free breakfast, so when we arrived we took a walk around our hotel and found a tiny grocery store and bought a couple of breakfast items.

    I figured out how to use Lyft to get around and it was much cheaper than a car rental or taxi and much easier to navigate than the city bus.

    Before we left I researched what to see and decided that Balboa Park (similar to our Golden Gate Park) would be my destination on my days when I was on my own. There are 15 different museums, botanical gardens and other exhibits. With so much to see & do in one place I knew I wouldn’t need to go all over the city, I could take a Lyft there & spend all day, until I got tired and then I went back to the hotel to read in the quiet.

    Some of these museums were pricey and some of them were inexpensive and some of them were even free. I saw all of the free ones 🙂 I packed snacks and a free water bottle that was in our hotel room that I refilled during the day. The first day I went to the visitor’s center and inside they had coupons for some of the more expensive museums, including several 2 for 1 admissions. Husband went with me back to the park on the last day, so we chose one of the museums that had a 2 for 1 coupon for the two of us. One of the museums was having some renovations done so as a “pardon our dust” they were offering a 1/2 price admission so I got to go to the big art museum that I might not have been able to.

    At one of the museums we attended, at the exit they had a box of quarter size button/ pins at the exit marked free. I asked if we could take more than one and the docent said sure, so husband & I sorted through the box and found a pin for each of the kids. Perfect souvenirs; small & easy to pack for the return trip.

    One way I accidentally saved money was on first day that I was alone in the park, I discovered that I had left my credit/ debit card at home so I had to stay within my cash budget that I had with me 🙂

    The second evening husband & I went to dinner with his co-workers. His boss chose the restaurant and the company paid. I chose the second least expensive thing on the menu. It was a $36 salmon filet, with a side of roasted cauliflower. Husband had a $48 petite filet mignon with 4 leaves of arugula on the top. I couldn’t believe the prices. Husband’s boss ordered a sushi sampler for appetizers and everyone else had alcoholic drinks. The restaurant gave complimentary desserts so we tried a chocolate mousse cake and a caramel tart that was garnished with popcorn. One good thing that came out of it was while the food was excellent, it wasn’t any better than I cook at home.

    Before I left I cooked ahead easy meals that the kids could manage themselves and set up rides to all their activities. I requested several movies that we haven’t seen from our library so they would have something fun to do in the evenings while we were gone. Our middle daughter dropped us off & picked us up from the airport so we didn’t have to pay for parking.

    I enjoyed my relatively inexpensive mini vacation. I also packed up the mini toiletries each day for new ones so those will probably show up in my daughters Easter baskets or put aside for camp or other trips this Summer.

  113. Cindy in the South thank you for your encouragement 🙂 .

    We are hoping to be ready to approach the bank for the other 50% loan in around 2 years all going well. The way we look at it is the more we save the less we have to borrow and pay interest on, always good.

  114. Welcome – and how wonderful that your teenagers do so much in the kitchen!
    I am always envious when I read about the “yellow sticker” deals that UK folks get – best I can do here is 50% off meat occasionally (and I have started looking more closely for those items)!

  115. Wow what a great Valentine meal for so cheap ! It is amazing what we can do when we plan ahead. I just fed 8 people for 5 days for $80.00 meat bought on sales and deep discount with senior discount etc…

  116. I agree about all the nasty bugs going around lately. As soon as one of us gets well another comes down with something. I am cleaning and disinfecting constantly. Be glad when this season of sickness is over. Hope you get feeling better soon.

  117. Thanks, I went to the list. Kudzu is prohibited here ( I was not surprised at that) but I do not know anyone who would want to plant it….lol…I did read that that Kudzu was edible on another website! Wow, I do not know how much nutritional value it has and I noticed there were several other invasive plants, like privets, which smell good in the springtime, but grow everywhere down here.

  118. Melonie,
    I just discovered that has a cash back thing from Walmart. You click on coupons that you want, buy the item and submit the receipt. In a few days they will refund you the money via paypal. Yesterday I got a 5lb bag of potatoes that I will be refunded on, and last week it was eggs up to $2.50.

  119. I must have been having a senior day yesterday. Should have realized that the ww would be whole wheat! Thanks to all.

  120. Siiri, do you mean parchment paper? An alternative is to purchase reusable silicone baking mats. It may not work for every situation, like if you need to wrap the food in parchment to cook, so you may need to still purchase some. But if you are using the paper to line baking sheets, the reusable silicone baking mats will definitely cut down on cost.

  121. I have been baking bread at home for a while now. I got tired of paying 3 and 4 dollars per loaf for squishy bread. My breadmaker, bought at DI, is long paid for with the savings. I buy bread flour and yeast at Costco. We are just a family of three now, so one loaf a week is plenty. If we have leftovers, I turn them into bread crumbs or crouton. Since I work full time, using a bread machine is much easier for me.

    I made all meals at home and took my lunch to work every day. My commute is 12 minutes, in traffic, door to door, so I am very lucky! I have been there just over 6 years and am lucky to have great benefits and relatively decent pay. I applied for a promotion which would be a significant raise for me. It has been a grueling process and is still on-going….since mid December!

    I bought an instant pot online on black Friday (my only purchase!). I purchased it at and used my Savings Catcher funds from last year to pay the 49.95 for it, so it was basically free. Free shipping sweetened the deal. The best thing about it is that I can cook dried beans start to finish in less than an hour, brown rice in 22 minutes and oatmeal in 5 minutes. We are eating healthier, both monetarily and dietarily. My husband and 33 year old son with Autism have been fairly willing to try new things. We have instituted “oatmeal night” every Thursday. it’s a busy night for us, so an easy and inexpensive meal is a blessing. I jazz up regular rolled oats (bought last year in bulk during our case lot sale) with chopped apple, cinnamon or sometimes raisins. Quick, easy and filling. Everyone is happy. I know it may not be everyone’s “thing” but it is working for us right now. Our waistlines and wallets are happy.

    My husband lost his job in October, leaving me to be our sole earner. It was quite the eye opener for him to see that we could live nicely on what I made. As I have been following this blog for many years, I was prepared! A well stocked pantry and freezer and a nice supply of cleaning and personal care items left us only needed to purchase fresh produce, eggs and occasionally milk. We even handled the holidays without difficulty, without stress and without debt. He is now in his second week at his new job. While is negotiated salary is less than it was, being 60 this year, I am just glad he has a job. He is now paid hourly for the first time in decades. The upside is he has fantastic benefits and gets paid for every hour he works!

    I made some “new” potholders with a stray bath towel. I have no idea where this towel came from but we ended up a couple of years ago with a very high quality RED bath towel. It developed a fist size hole in it. I wasn’t thrilled with the color of it for a bath towel, but once it was cut to size, doubled and serged around the edges, it made 5 very nice potholders for me. I have worn out my good quality terry potholders…my secret shame…no matter how I tried and how I washed, they always looked so shabby. I wanted to replace them but they are so expensive and I just didn’t feel good about it, regardless of how much money we were earning. I am glad I held out!

    I found some nice new to me work clothes at our local DI (thrift store). Laundering and pressing made them look good as new. Some were actually new with tags. I love buying a pair of 90$ dress slacks for 8$!

    After considerable thought, earlier last year I decided that I was tired of coloring my hair. I went grey very early–almost completely white by 35. My stylist help me by gradually lightening my hair until I could grow out my roots without an obvious “skunk” look. I love the freedom of it. I no longer worry about roots or touch ups, I no longer have the expense of a professional coloring every 12 weeks ( I always touched up my roots myself in between and had her do the all over base color and foils). What I love the most is the freedom to be who I am! My family has been very supportive as well as my co workers who have also watched my transformation. Only one person in my congregation has disliked it. Too bad, it’s my hair and I love it!

    I have a few things that I would like to see addressed here on the blog if possible:

    What do you do when your better half does NOT want to economize?

    How do you handle food waste?

    What do you do/where do you shop/what is your strategy for purchasing non food items like toilet paper, shampoo, etc? I know you make your laundry soap and I have done that in the past. Not currently doing it..

    Thank you so much to Brandy and everyone else for providing such a supportive forum for a thrifty lifestyle. I live in Utah County (not from here!!) and while people love a “bargain” there is a tremendous amount of conspicuous consumption….

  122. Years ago, Pizzeria Uno had an appetizer that my daughter and I both make. Split a loaf of Italian bread or sub rolls down the center. Top with pesto, spinach, fresh tomatoes, and shredded cheese (Uno’s used Monterey Jack and that is what I usually use). Bake for 10 minutes or so until the cheese is melted. I then usually broil it for a couple minutes to brown the cheese. Take it out of the oven, slice it horizintally into two inch wide pieces, spritz it with lime juice or lemon juice if you don’t have lime, and serve it. We eat it as an appetizer or as a main course, especially for lunch.

  123. That sounds wonderful Amber! My DH travels for work, too and often has a suite with a king size bed for a room. Someday, I want to tag along just to read in the hotel all day!

  124. Yes! A nightmare! My disabled son has declared that now his girlfriend is his “fiancee.” She is also developmentally disabled. He lives in a group home, and has for years, and we don’t have much to do with his day to day life. He has Aspberger’s syndrome, so is quite high functioning in some ways, and not in others. So, our part is to just smile and nod while the workers figure everything out. Thankfully, they have meetings and laid down “goals” for him to accomplish before it would be possible for them to get married. Since he cannot do those things at this time, I don’t think I actually need to worry yet. (There are criteria that he has met, at 18 and at 21, to be in this group home, and they mean he needs a lot of support for daily functioning in certain areas–also, this has been going on for over a year) This girl is a real sweetie, and we like her a lot, and we invite them over for holidays, etc., but it would be very difficult for either one of them to run a household without staff support. So, it remains a matter for prayer here, as well.

  125. Starting out the month, I was worried that I wouldnt be able to pay the extra $563 that we need to pay each month to get our mortgage paid in 3 years. Especially since I’m on a new diet which includes expensive health foods (but its totally been worth the cost as I feel 100% better). However, I asked hubby for cash instead of flowers and he gave me $50 and also paid for diapers for our girls so I will just be able to make that $563 goal.
    Our 2nd daughter is turning 2 in a week and I still hadn’t found a gift so I went to Goodwill and found some “plastic junk” toys but I don’t like to buy that stuff so I wasn’t keen on accumulating more stuff in our house. Then right before I left I noticed an almost brand-new Schwinn bike with training wheels for $20!!! I was so excited. It had only been there 2 days. It will be perfect for this summer as our two girls fight over the bike we already have. Even though she was only 1 last summer, our daughter lived being pushed around on her older sisters bike with training wheels.
    I also picked up 3 pairs of 2/3T under wear that looked like they had just come out of the package. We were getting by with 3 pairs but with #2 potty training soon, it will be nice to have more pairs. I spent $1.50 versus Target which was $6-8 online.
    Oooh and on my diet I’ve lost a few lbs!!! I don’t feel inflamed in my digestive tract anymore. This is a Mediterranean type diet.

  126. I just wanted to add that I make about $800/month so putting $563 on the mortgage is a huge goal. I only pay for food, my life insurance, car registration, gas $58, and $15 in property taxes each month so I don’t have other expenses. I’m hoping hubby buys my cell phone plan for my birthday again this year which is $550. He is very generous 🙂 especially since he knows I’m throwing my income at our mortgage.

  127. I know this is a personal question, so feel free to not answer. But is there a reason you and your husband don’t have a joint checking/savings account for family/household expenses like mortgage, taxes, car expenses, diapers, cell phones, etc? It just strikes me as unusual that each of you would pay for different things. My husband and I were in our 30s when we married and were used to our “own” money, so we opened a joint account to pool money for household and family expenses, but each kept a personal account. These days the personal accounts mostly come in handy when buying a gift we want to keep a surprise!

  128. Kerry, I have covered non-food item purchases in my grocery shopping posts. Those are part of my grocery budget. I just recently covered toilet paper and shampoo purchases. I don’t buy those every month.

    Food waste–well, we do our best not to waste food. We have leftovers or soup for lunch most days, and with 10 people, someone will want something from the leftovers. There are times when something goes bad and gets thrown out, but of course, we try not to let that happen.

    My husband and I are both pretty frugal people. We differ in some aspects of how we save money (for instance, he will research every single purchase for days to find the lowest price), and I’m better about turning off lights and using less water when I do dishes. We’ve always been able to talk about purchases and we are both in agreement about saving money.

    The important thing is to have a budget. You have to know what you have and where it’s going to go. We talk about where things are at several times a week, as our income varies and comes in piecemeal.

    If you have a steady paycheck and it covers your bills, you can more easily allow for each of you to have a “fun money” budget on items. We don’t personally do that as our income is low, but it works for a lot of people, especially when one person is a spender.

    You really have to talk about money together and come to an agreement on how your money will be spent.

  129. Kerry, when your better half does not want to economize, the decision has to be on a case by case basis. DH just replaced our dishwasher a few months ago. I couldn’t care less if we even have a dishwasher, but it was important to him, so we have one now, & he picked it out & arranged for the installation. With just the 2 of us, we seldom use enough dishes in a week to justify using a dishwasher. It wasn’t a hill I was willing to die on.

    On the other hand, when we moved from Idaho to Utah, I refused to go to work until we had already bought the house, because with both of us in our 50’s at that time, & all of our children over 18, there was no way I was willing to pay more for a bigger home than the one we had left behind, so I would “have” to work. We needed to downsize, especially given the higher housing costs in Utah County. My better half did not agree, so I pointed out that I was not going to even look for a job until we had the house & everything was unpacked. We have a nice house, & I did work for 6.5 years to try to recoup what we had lost when he was laid off, & to make sure the house was paid for before retirement. I was willing to die on that hill, & we had many intense discussions about it. We were asked multiple times why we didn’t buy a house “up on the hill”, & you are dead on the money about conspicuous consumption in Utah County!

    Most of the time, I just economize on something else.

  130. They have nasty thorns! On a larger branch they can be 3 to 4 inches long each! I almost always forgot about them and then get stabbed–even through leather gloves. I pruned my trees some earlier this year and even after I had just mentioned the thorns to my son, I immediately after grabbed a branch to cut and grasped it firmly–stabbing myself deeply through my gloves in two places, including the palm of my hand.

    They’re not all over the branches, which is why I tend to forgot about them. They’re just here and there.

  131. Dear Brandy…loved your Valentine’s ideas…your beautiful garden pictures..your recipe ideas for winter..and frugal ideas. When we visit our son n family in Nevada we’ve seen the air show fly overhead. It was nice.
    Here are a few frugal accomplishments for this week.
    .Was able to get Free Pancake mix ..several.. at our grocery store free give away.jewel
    .Found eggs .59 a dozen Meijer
    .A few roast marked down $1.99 * always a good idea to watch for Mark downs.
    .Made homemade bread for soup…made homemade
    Cinnamon rolls for breakfast…homemade short cake
    And used summer frozen strawberries for desert.
    . Did my nails and toes myself
    . Made VDay inexpensively using what we had and few I had.
    . Cleaned out drawers ..fridge..pantry…which saves as I go to purchase more.
    . Made meals from freezer pantry..

  132. Thank you for your thoughts Becky. I have had to confiscate all her legal documents to keep him from sneaking off with her. This situation is so much different than trying to prevent a young couple from getting married. He functions at a much greater level than my daughter.

  133. Kerry, My husband and I go round and round sometimes on how to ‘save’ money. He won’t save shower water and needs both lights on in the living room, one on the other side of the room from where he sits. Since he’s been laid off, the furnace isn’t turned down like I do when i’m home alone. But, when he mentions that I do a good job of taking care of bills and savings, I agree and mention that i’m able to do that because I don’t have to send more money to the heating company, the water company etc. I just keep plugging away and hope he catches on. I did mention to him the other day that Cape Town South Africa may be the first city in the world to run out of water. So, we did have a (small) discussion on saving water and the implications of running out.

  134. Brandy, I didn’t know they had thorns, either. I got up to check my Meyer lemon and, by golly, there are thorns! I never got bit enough for it to leave an impression. That is just the strangest thing! I even grab the branches and shake it to mimic wind. How lucky have I been?

  135. Momsav, can you change the bulbs out in those lights to LED bulbs? We have been slowly changing ours out and we started with the areas that have the lights on the most often. Our LED bulbs are kind of pricey as we have a smaller bulb that is dimmable (almost every room in the house has dimmable lights, which my husband installed when we moved in). But if you need just a regular size bulb, my husband found some LED bulbs at the dollar tree! (And they are just a bit more per bulb at Lowe’s). My parents switched their whole house over to LED bulbs. They have the lights on all the time and their bill went way down.

    I like what you said about mentioning savings. I always look at our water and electric usage and I talk to my family about it as well.

    Also, the water crisis in Sao Paulo, Brazil meant water was only on 2 days a week there a couple of years ago. They are still in danger of running out of water.

  136. That seems like a great idea. Life is never as cut and dried or as easy as people make it out to be. All we can do is keep plugging forward:). Hang in there.

  137. Ladies, ladies, ladies! I don’t wish to sound too feminist here, but your husbands are not your BETTER halves…think of them as your OTHER halves. We pull together.

    My DH is a bigger spender than I am (but I am CHEEEEEEP) and I mostly handle this by not allowing him to go to the grocery store, and by picking my battles. I’ve also found that delayed gratification (i.e., procrastinating) works well because if he has to wait, he often forgets about it, or decides we don’t need it. This seems to work pretty well on everything except cars. We keep our cars 10 years or longer, but when we do buy, he calls the shots. He also can rationalize having every tool in the book.

    Interestingly, we have never fought about money. It isn’t because we ever had so much that it didn’t matter, nor that we get along on everything (we don’t!). In general, we always have had what we needed and some of what we wanted. What we have done, works for us. (Also, he admits that I am better with money than he is, and is willing to let me handle it!).

    PS I buy Scott 1,000 sheets when the 12 packs are on sale (usually at Walgreens, or if you still have a Kmart). If my OTHER half complains that it is scratchy, I tell him I am not big on flushing money down the toilet! I did buy a big pack of Costco TP once and he complained the whole time because it clogged our toilet!

  138. Wow, that excellent. Way to go Mama!
    Could you please tell me what type of Lemon Tree that is? I was thinking Meyer but unsure. We would like to add a few this year but sizing and space are an issue. Thank you so much!

  139. Have your grandson look into the FODMAP elimination diet. It has worked wonders for both my acid reflux AND my IBS – D. It may help him with the anxiety that both issues can bring on. I know what my main triggers are and mostly avoid them – I can even enjoy eating out with some planning ahead. It is not picky eating when eating something causes severe pain (and with reflux it can also cause some severe damage!) as well as bathroom issues!

  140. I can’t comment on the husband question because I’m single. But in relation to food waste if something is beginning to look old or off I cook it up immediately. Often old or off items are fine if you cook them. Milk for example can be used in baking even after it has gone chunky. Tomatos can be used when the get wrinkly in pasta sauce. If for some reason I can’t do that, the food goes either on the worm farm or is dug into the garden.

    In relation to groceries, I get them from a clearance outlet
    and I have a rule for toilet paper, triple ply has to be [u]under[/u] 50c a roll before I will buy it. Double ply under 25c. When those prices come up, I stock pile.

  141. I’m posting awfully late this week but here it goes:

    I gained a side job as a catalogue delivery person! It only pays about $25 a week but keeps me accountable to walk at least once a week and fills a gap in my resume for the time being. 😉 We have decided to transfer this money and the reimbursements from my volunteering straight into the mortgage.

    Someone kindly offered me a free pram to use for delivering catalogues when I asked on a local FB page. Someone else was giving away seven books that now live with us. 😉

    I volunteered once and will be reimbursed a small amount.

    I found a card in my stash that we can use for an upcoming wedding.

    We started sweeping our tiled floors instead of vacuuming them.

    The air-conditioner was running for the most part of six days and the ceiling fan was used for five nights… We kept curtains and blinds shut to keep the house as cool as possible.

    We made all meals at home except for one planned lunch out. We cooked meals from our normal rotation when we had guests over instead of buying special ingredients. All leftovers were used up and my husband took lunches to work all week. I made zucchini slice for lunches using a free zucchini and baking it while the oven was already in use.

    My husband had accumulated enough overtime for a paid day off. We combined errands and took our water bottles. We bought a fast food lunch with a voucher and made use of the free drink refill.

    We cashed in our bag of recycling bottles which topped up our spending money jar.

    Thanks to our health insurance we got free dental check-ups.

    We bought needed materials to complete some home renovation projects. Even though we didn’t receive a discount it is still cheaper than hiring someone to do the work.

    Our car had to be serviced as my husband ran into some problems he could not fix himself. The technicians found some other issues but we refused to have them repaired as my husband could fix those. My husband then comparison-shopped for the parts and used a 25% voucher.

    I bought some wonderful Christmas decorations at 86% off. Thanks to keeping track at the register, I caught an overcharge straight away, saving me having to return to the store for a refund.

    I finally found a 3-minute hourglass to use in the shower. The old one broke a long time ago and I had been looking for a replacement ever since. It was a bit dearer than it should have been but the reduced water usage will pay for it eventually.

    I picked up free plums, peaches, chillis, dried parsley and lemons from our local produce carts and my SIL.

    One day, I caught the bus to an appointment to save fuel and parking fees.

    We woke up one morning to ants in the kitchen… I mixed up a batch of any bait using icing sugar and baking sugar on hand and the problem is mostly under control now. This also prompted me to thoroughly clean and organize the pantry to avoid an infestation. So far, so good!

    I only bought a loss leader item at the grocery store.

    My husband bought walking shoes for our upcoming trip using a 25% voucher. He also bought new pants and a shirt at the thrift store.

    We skipped watering once due to rain, then watered from our rainwater tank.

    We saved all warm-up water in the kitchen to soak dishes, washed Ziploc bags, only washed full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine and hung all laundry to dry. We used appliances during the cheapest time of the day and were careful with our utility usage.

  142. I’m in the UK too and it’s great if you can time going to the store just when the reduced stickers go out. My youngest has Kung Fu lessons on Wednesday evenings at 6pm and if I throw him out of the car (not literally I do slow down a little) and scoot to the small Co-Op in that town by 6:05pm I can get armfuls of reduced bread, my freezer is groaning with high cost, sometimes organic bread. This week I paid £1.85 for bread and baked goods that would have cost almost £6.00 at normal retail prices. Thank goodness for Kung Fu!!

  143. No, no, NO, Maxine! This has nothing to do with feminism. My husband is very much “my better half”. I judge myself far more harshly than he judges me, and he judges himself far more harshly than I would ever do. He is definitely “my better half” and I am definitely “his better half” as well!

  144. Hi Kerry! Loved your story about coloring your hair because I am thinking about letting my hair go gray. I am almost 58. I am shocked someone would mention it at church, but then, I live in a small, very poor branch (church) and members struggle to keep their lights on, and the water bill paid. There is zero conspicuous consumption here because of the surplus of poverty all around us. It is a different story when I travel to the college town of Tuscaloosa, where my three sons live, and the housing prices are triple what they are here, in my small town. I actually did the math to see, if I took a higher paying job up there, if I would come out ahead. I could not justify moving for the higher paying job. Of course, I would like to live closer to my sons, but I just cannot afford it. I just do not “get” how folks up there afford the clothes they wear, the fancy vacations they take, their cars, their fancy phones, gyms, and their gorgeous houses. I guess it is not for me to know, and I just need to do the best that I can for my family. I lived in Utah County almost 40 years ago, when I went to BYU and graduated in 1981, so it probably has grown a lot since then. My daughter bought a house in Salt Lake, and I almost fainted at the purchase price because it was twice what it costs in Tuscaloosa, which is expensive to me…lol. I guess things are all relative.

  145. Would you be able to give the proportions of each please? The city seemed to have an ant infestation last summer and while the cold has killed them off I’m nervous about this summer – and I don’t like using poison if I can avoid it. Also, how do you spread it and where?
    Thank you so much.

  146. I laughed about a husband who researches things before buying. I admire my husband’s diligence in searching out the best deal but I have to leave the rom because it makes me crazy to watch him compare ads and internet prices and mumble to himself about the best deals!

  147. My frugal accomplishments from last week include:
    -convincing my wife we should eat food that isn’t our favorite because it’s less expensive (at least part of the time)
    -making a hook board with materials we already had
    – planning the menu with cost in mind and totally impressing myself with my low, low price at the grocery store!
    – ordering seeds with a friend so we could buy less and swap them.
    – planning a clothing swap a couple weeks before our spring garage sale

  148. Hi Margie,

    I mix the icing sugar and bicarb soda roughly 1:1. In our house, the ants only come in through the back door into the kitchen so I have put tiny pots of the mixture into all cupboards, especially the one that holds the bin and the bottom of the pantry. You could also sprinkle it where the ants come in and along their path but I was worried our cats would eat the powder, that’s why I opted for little pots in the cupboards. It takes a day or two to work but we usually have great success with this method.

  149. Kudzu blossom jelly is lovely and yummy. You first make a tea of the blossoms. The ya is a nasty looking color. But when the sugar is added it turns a beautiful pink.

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