Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Apricots in White Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested the first apricots from our garden.

 Artichokes and turnips The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested turnips and artichokes from the garden.

Fig Tarts 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I made fig tarts using figs we froze from the garden last year.

I watched a couple of episodes of Call the Midwife on Pbs.org.

My husband had some work done on our vehicle. He had everything written out and he paid half down and had the work done the next day. When they had finished, they told him that they replaced the brake pads (something he had not agreed to have done). He refused to pay for it, as he already had agreed upon the work that was being done. They told him the brake pads were under warranty, so he could skip paying for those, but that he would have to pay $200 for the labor. He reminded them that he already had a signed contract with them and had paid half down, and he was not going to pay for more work than he agreed to have done.  He came home with new brake pads, free of charge.

May Flowers The Prudent Homemaker

Yellow Graham Thomas roses, pink Earth Angel Roses, purple rocket larkspur, and Dusty Miller

I cut flowers from the garden for our table.

We were blessed with several new things this week:

My mom brought over several clothing items for my girls that she had found at garage sales for $0.50 each, including jeans and a brand-new coat! She also brought us some books that she found for $0.25 each.

We were given some hand-me-down clothes from my sister-in-law that will fit one of my daughters.

A friend brought by 18 eggs from her chickens.

Grand Canyon The Prudent Homemaker

We took atrip to the Grand Canyon. It’s a 5 hour drive from my house. To save money, we chose to make the trip in one day. We brought food with us, including homemade French bread, chocolate chip cookies, almond blackberry muffins (I substituted frozen blackberries from our garden and some almonds I bought in bulk for the blueberries in this recipe), and balsamic vinaigrette. I did not make enough salad dressing for both lunch and dinner, so I stopped at a grocery store to buy a bottle of salad dressing. The kind I wanted was on sale, and a coupon fairy had left a $1 off coupon for me, which I gratefully used!

Route 66

My husband cut my hair (the day after this photo was taken!)

I gave the baby a haircut.

We celebrated the baby’s first birthday with a simple party at home. We had ice cream and homemade brownies.

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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108 Comments

  1. Sounds like a lovely trip!

    How many artichoke plants do you have? I just put my first ones in last year only one survived our drought and heat wave, but I’m not thrilled with the yield.

  2. Gorgeous produce pics as always, and I’m so glad that you were able to take a trip to the Grand Canyon!

    My frugal accomplishments were as follows:
    – I bought 20 lbs of carrots at 50 cents/lb, which is the cheapest I usually find here unless it’s the fall.
    – Borrowed my parents’ high end juicer so that I can make fresh carrot, apple, & ginger juice.
    – Carpooled with my parents to do some shopping
    – Made 5 dozen raspberry-almond thumbprint cookies, using up the last of some raspberry jam I received. I sent 40 of those cookies into work with the DH, brought 15 into my workplace…and ate the rest. 🙂
    – Made a loaf of cheddar bread, using up the last of the cheddar cheese that I bought on sale a few weeks ago. I used homemade yoghurt instead of buttermilk since I didn’t have buttermilk in the house, and the bread turned out so delicious! Yum!
    – Came up with a new smoothie recipe, Peanut Butter & Jam (http://approachingfood.com/pb-j-smoothie/), that is high in protein and fibre, using things that I had in my house. So, so yummy, and I didn’t need to buy any special ingredients for it!
    – Used a Starbucks gift card from Swagbucks to treat myself to a ½ price Frappuccino on my lunch hour today. Great weather, yummy drink, and lunch hour equals happy!
    – Regrew some green onions in water
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 Starbucks card
    – Saved a pretty jam jar for home canning
    – Was gifted tickets to see a movie at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto. The couple the DH and I went with, also paid for our drinks after the movie. Plus, we got to talk with the filmmaker! Was a very fun evening!
    – Made cream of mushroom soup, using mushrooms on sale, and leftover table cream, and froze half for future meals.
    – Made brownies as a hostess gift, using walnuts gifted to me, dried cranberries instead of dried cherries, and chocolate chips purchased in bulk instead of more expensive chocolate. And also using up leftover whipped ganache as the topping.
    – Also brought a bottle of wine which I put into a home-sewn burlap wine sleeve, and tied with a reused brown silk cord. Looked very chic, and it only cost me the cost of the wine (which actually, came from the DH’s wine collection, aka mostly wine gifted to us).
    – Used my Amazon gift cards (from Swagbucks) to buy myself a canning tool set and a round cookie rack to set inside my water bath canner (that I bought for $2 at a bazaar!), as well as a 50-pack of Canadian flag cupcake liners, and a package of Wilton food markers. I wouldn’t buy these items without gift cards because I don’t need them – but what a treat to be able to get them! It kind of felt like Christmas. 🙂

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as always!

  3. Those fig tarts look so tasty! I might have to try those someday. I’ll check to see if the recipe is on your site. I appreciate the inspiration. 🙂

    Happy Birthday to the little one! My accomplishments include making lavender goats milk soap, opening my Etsy shop, and reading free ebooks from the library. Lots of things are going on right now so I need to make a point to come here again weekly so I can stay on track and save money.

    Here are my other frugal efforts:
    http://2minimize.blogspot.com/2017/05/recent-frugal-efforts.html

    Happy Monday night!

  4. We called a tree trimming company and asked to be put on their list for wood chips if they are in our area. Last week we got a HUGE truck load of wood chips, which we have been using on some landscaping projects. It would have cost so much if we had bought wood chips.

  5. The Grand Canyon trip looks fun!
    The last few weeks have been very busy for us because spring is full of holidays here.
    I had a day off from work giving me a three-day weekend so we decided to take a weekend trip. We had considered taking it later but it would have been high season and very crowded. We took the train and rented a car. The car rental was only $40 for the weekend. We rented a condo cheaper as it was the last weekend of off season. Instead of eating out we stopped by a supermarket and the fish market and grilled seafood and zucchini.

    Last weekend was Buddha’s Birthday and we watched the Lotus Lantern parade. It was amazing watching several thousand people walk down the street with lighted lanterns. Instead of dragging my 5 year old home late at night by subway we decided to stay at an inexpensive hotel. We’d taken some snacks and refillable water bottles with us to avoid buying when the munchies hit. The next day we went to the festival and made our own lantern, picked up several coloring sheets, pens, postcards, popcorn, and drinks for free. My son also participated in a hackisack contest and won a few small things. We took the subway home.

    For Children’s Day we watched a movie using a discount coupon and spent some time at home as a family. The next day I met up with an old friend at the mall only to find out they were sponsoring a Children’s Day event sponsored by Hot Wheels. My son got a brand new Hot Wheels car and got to play with their race tracks. We were also given a ticket for a bouncy castle by a woman with a child too big for it.

    We played Pokemon Go for entertainment instead of spending money.

    I baked bread.
    Ate almost all of our meals at home.
    I traded some clothes my son has grown out of for a big box of craft items, some shower gel, and fabric softener.
    I sorted through hand me downs and now my son has a “new” wardrobe and I realized I don’t have to buy anything for summer except shoes.
    I’m cooking as many meatless meals as possible to save money.

  6. We drove past, and stopped, at the Grand Canyon on our way back from a conference my husband had, years and years ago. (It was a case where the family could go along if we paid our own way, so we stopped at every attraction/park/sight there was, but only for a few hours, since we had a schedule to keep–his way was paid, and we had to make it to the conference on time, obviously). Your pictures bring back memories of how amazing and awesome it was. I’m glad you got to go. I’ve never regretted my whirlwind tour of that and the other sights I saw on that trip. We only could stay a couple of hours, but it was so breathtaking. It was worth going, even for the short time.

    Taking food on trips really helps. That’s what we did for part of our trip this past weekend.

    We took a little trip to a medieval village in Washington, near Seattle. It was a living history experience and they were having a May Day festival. It was a great learning experience for the kids, and the adults enjoyed themselves as well. We did a good balance of eating food from home and eating out. I felt good about the savings we were able to accomplish.

    I did some cooking, and a few other money-saving things this week. I put them on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/saving-money-may-7-2017/

  7. Wow! Octavius is one already? Geez time flies!

    It’s been busy around here lately with my husband starting a new job and coming to grips with my son’s behaviors getting worse and more violent (he’s autistic). I am seriously considering trying to find money to get him into a naturopathic doctor to see about the natural helping autism route. I’ve tried everything else and am constantly trying to find something to help the poor guy.

    Anyway, my list for the week can be found here…

    http://makedohomemaker.blogspot.com/2017/05/frugal-friday-money-saving-weekly-recap.html

  8. Love the picture of you two and your youngest! Your husband did a great job with your hair. Is he self taught or did he learn from a book/formal education?

    Octavius is has grown up so much and is such a handsome little boy!

  9. My frugal accomplishment occured on Sunday evening. I purchased four bras online from the JCPenney website during their Buy 1, Get 1 for a Penny sale. At the time of my purchase, there was a coupon code for 33% off. I also had a $15 credit for making a previous in-store purchase. I ended up paying $10.29 for each bra that was originally $40!

  10. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 . Brandy I am so glad you and your husband had a great day away together and that your DH stuck up for himself in not paying the additional $200 on the additional unauthorised work too, I would have done the same 🙂 .

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week are –

    Financial –

    – Banked more money into our saving for our home with cash bank account bringing us to 20%.
    – Got more building quotes for building our home with to compare costs.

    General frugalities –

    – Repaired 3 skirts rather than buying new ones.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Watered the garden less with town water and supplement watered with rain water from our tanks.
    – Picked strawberries, cherry tomatoes and pumpkins from the gardens.
    – Planted broad bean, early Massey pea, beetroot, brown onion, silver beet and spinach seeds in the gardens. The onion and pea seeds were saved seeds from previous crops.
    – Watering our lawns with saved grey water.
    – Using our solar lanterns instead of using mains powered lights to light our home at night.

  11. Happy first birthday to Octavius! Time has sure flown by 🙂
    We (my husband, myself and our 6 year old daughter) took a day trip to Chicago, IL (we live 1 and a half hours away). We went to the top of the Sears Tower, walked around a little downtown, and went out to eat at a restaurant my hubby has always wanted to go to. He took me to a store I have always wanted to go to that we do not have anywhere near where we live. I brought breakfast and snacks with and the restaurant was a late lunch, early supper. I would have planned the food better but he surprised me with this trip that morning lol.

    I was offered a job! I am waiting for my start date. It’s part time and 10 minutes from my house, I can sit down frequently which I need for my health issues. 🙂 Super excited!

    Excluding our Chicago trip I prepared all meals from scratch at home. I continue to do weekly meal plans which helps me reduce food waste and not get in the “i don’t know what to make for supper, let’s eat out” glut.

    Exchanged books at the library.

    I made more lotion and all purpose spray. I made coconut milk once and pistachio milk once (from free pistachios). I dried the ground up coconut and nut meat and saved them to be used in muffins, granola, etc.

    I stayed home! When I do have errands to run I wait until I have several and complete them all on the same day, planning my route to save time and gas.

    I washed and reused several zip top bags and glass jars.

    Have a great week everyone!

  12. We have stray cats, birds, rabbits, and occasionally deer that run through our yard and get into the garden. We have had fencing up around our big beds and our raised beds but last year something got in anyways. GGRR! I totally understand the garden frustration/worry!
    I hope your son’s medication works soon! You all must be very stressed out (to say the least).

  13. We ate from the pantry this week, and delayed a grocery trip. My trip this week will probably be an expensive one, but I didn’t make any impulse buys last week (since I just didn’t go). We used coupons to reduce the price of the one meal we did eat out, and we did a lot of staying home last week.

  14. I forgot: to try to figure out some health issues I am having I have taken gluten and dairy out of my diet (for now) to see if it helps. So far it does. I went to Aldi and purchased a couple of gluten free items (wraps to use in place of bread and pasta) to help ease the transition. I also purchased some coconut “butter” spread. I have two different Doctor appointments this week, we shall see if I get any answers.

  15. One day trip? Wow that is a long day. We can’t do that. We’ve tried! Six hours is our limit for one day

  16. That is so wonderful you and your family were able to visit the Grand Canyon. Love the picture, too. We did a side trip to the Canyon when we visited Vegas. Have to admit it was a bit scary standing near the edge! I also can’t believe that your little guy is already a year old. Boy, time really flies buy when your having fun, doesn’t it? Happy belated birthday, Octavius!

    Well, life is still very busy right now for us. Between work, appointments, getting my daughter ready for her grade 8 graduation next month and everyday life, I’m just outright exhausted! My frugal accomplishments this week include:
    *Meals made at home included chicken strips with potato wedges and peas/carrots mix, corckpot meatballs in Diana sauce with scalloped potatoes and corn, hamburger helper with salad, and pasta with choice of sauce.
    *Due to appointments, errands and total exhaustion, we had dinner out twice and take out Chinese food another night. Not frugal, but worth the extra cost this week. The Chinese food did had have enough leftovers to extend over multiple meals.
    *The grocery store I frequently shop at has had a dollar sale for 2 weeks. I bought a frozen turkey for $1/lb to put in freezer for next fall (in case they don’t have a good sale for Thanksgiving) and have stocked up on several pantry items, including 12 cans of spaghetti sauce. Best buys this week were 2 bags of spinach for $0.25 each (not clearance either) and a 1kg (2.2lb) package of sliced cooked turkey luncheon meat for only $1 (will divide into smaller portions and freeze most for future use)!
    *I attended a manditory work orientation on Monday for seasonal staff. We were fed very well, including free breakfast treats and free lunch. They also try very hard to make learning all the manditory policies fun with little competitions and rewards. I came home with a $5 gift card for Tim Hortons, a reuseable water bottle (which my daughter immediately claimed), a nice pen with a touch screen tip on one end, a small sticky note pad and a small pot of play dough (daughter claimed that too). Best of all, I was paid for attending!
    *We traveled to a mall located in a city 45 minutes from our home to look for shoes for my daughter’s upcoming grade 8 graduation. My daughter has a very wide foot that is extremely awkward to find shoes that fit well and are comfortable. She was so pleased when we found a pair of shoes that she absolutely loved. They even have a small square heel that makes her feel grown up but she can walk easily with. I loved that they were on sale and only cost $35! So far her entire outfit has been purchased for well under $100.
    *My daughter’s respite worker started back with us on Sunday. We discussed having her work on getting our daughter a little more “street smart” (paying attention to surroundings when walking, how to safely walk along busy roads with no sidewalks, etc.) and learning how to take the city bus this summer. This is in preparation for going to high school in September. My daughter is happy to be hanging out with her again! Thankfully we have funding which helps cover her wages.

    That’s all I can think of for this week, but there could have been more. So busy, I have little energy or time to keep really good track! Looking forward to slowly reading through everyone’s comments. Have a wonderful week everyone!

  17. Last week I shared how I expected this week will be less than optimum frugality wise. I was right.

    [b]First the positives.[/b]

    *I harvested the following from the garden: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, lettuce, cabbage, collard greens, onions, miner’s lettuce

    *Used coupons at Dollar General and saved (according to the receipt) 37%

    *Used coupons at Kroger and saved 23%.

    *Resumed my weekly trips to the Amish to purchase fresh milk and also purchased honey.

    *I am purchasing the bare minimum and walking past anything required to be refrigerated. I am cooking only enough for one day at a time expecting the refrigerator to stop any minute.

    *Shopped Goodwill’s half-off Saturday and found two work shirts (.$99) and a pair of jeans ($3.50). I have continued to be disappointed in the way they are changing their policies toward the customers. Now they no longer accept any exchanges. In the past I would shop for everyone’s clothes, bring them home for them to try on then exchange what did not fit for other sizes. I can no longer do that and shopping with four men is not a pleasant option. My youngest son moved into an apartment last week (in another city) and sent me a list of what he needed. After looking at GW’s prices, I realized I can purchase everything (new) at the dollar store for almost the same price. A big disappointment.

    *The plumbers repaired the leaking pipes. They only had to knock one hole in the wall so I think we came out good.

    [b]Negative[/b]

    We decided it will cost more to fix our refrigerator than it is worth after hubby researched repairs on Youtube. They managed to get it to cool, but is slowly dieing. We began shopping for another. The kitchen space for the refrigerator is very tight and only one size will squeeze in. We also must measure the door in person because some brands swing out further and won’t fit. I searched the internet but could find no sales, rebates or discounts on the few that would work. Time is of the essence because my old refrigerator is fading fast. It is turned up on high and we are watching the thermometer closely.

    Sometimes you just can’t win. We bit the bullet, paid full retail price, plus paid for delivery and a disposable fee to remove the old one. It is a special order and will take two weeks to arrive. In the past we would have delivered, installed, and trashed it ourselves. With the boys gone and hubby’s back hurt, none of this was possible. Life has changed.

    I did not fret or lose sleep over any of this. I am a master at money saving but realize sometimes there is nothing you can do. The small pennies saved in the other areas of my life makes up for times like these. We have money in the bank saved for emergencies, we were prepared. We chose to not pay cash but instead used Hubby’s Cabelas’ credit card to earn points to go toward free bullets. He has never, in his life, paid an interest charge on any credit card.

    [b]Positive[/b]

    I have continued posting daily for my Mom (my biggest fan) for her Mother’s day present. She is getting up early, checking her computer regularly to see when my post will arrive. Then she reads it over and over. When I call to check on her (as I do daily) we discuss it. Sometimes the most expensive present is not always the best. Your time, is always more valuable than anything else.

    This week on by blog I have posted the following:

    I recommend these if you are discouraged about the condition of American and need to be encouraged:
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/05/american-flag.html
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/05/all-flags-from-here-to-there.html

    On the subject of being frugal, I took my first step toward attaining my new year’s resolution of finding new, free healthy teas by either growing or foraging them.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/05/red-clover-tea.html

    And then I shared some nonsense to please Mom such as:

    A forlorn turkey in search of love,
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/05/what-is-she-thinking-she-loves-me-she.html

    A mailbox in worse shape than Mom’s (We have ordered her a new but I could not resist teasing her),
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/05/what-were-they-thinking-duck-tape.html

    Rocks for sale (yes people do that around here),
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/05/rocks-for-sale.html

    And her favorite, Scooter, floating on a cloud.
    http://getmetothecountry.blogspot.com/2017/05/scooter-floating-on-cloud.html

    I wish everyone a frugal week!
    Jeannie
    GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

  18. The fig tart looks spectacular.
    Went to the theatre with friends (bought the tickets months ago). We carpooled since the theatre is an hour away and used a groupon for dinner. Going again on Thursday (different show).
    Went to dinner at a friend’s house. I brought a jar of homemade jam as a hostess gift and collected 2 previous jam jars to refill this summer. I traded another jar of jam for getting my dogs nails trimmed.
    I chaperoned the prom, dinner was provided, and I wore a dress I had in my closet already.
    It was teacher appreciation week at school so several lunches and daily snacks were provided. Made tzatziki with the last of some Greek yogurt and the cucumbers left on a vegetable tray. Chick fil A offered a free sandwich yesterday, so that was dinner last night, then I joined a friend for an impromptu birthday party. I brought a bottle of rum I picked up on my last trip to the DR and a jar of jam.
    A friend who is a flight attendant brought me a box of macarons from Paris. We enjoyed them with a cup of tea while we visited. It was amazing realizing they had been made halfway around the world only a few hours before!
    I actually did eat some meals at home and I brought lunch from home on the days it wasn’t provided. Spent less than $20 in groceries for the upcoming week/pantry this week. It could have been less, but I bought lunch meat to share with my colleagues. Others are bringing breads, salads, desserts, other meats, etc., so none of us will need not pack our lunches this week. Very helpful as the school year winds down.
    I did the mending, cleaned the dishwasher, the dryer, the washing machine, and all of the household drains. I played with the baby chicks.
    Fail – Had to close the windows and turn on the AC due to the raging wildfires here in south Georgia. Watching carefully, as they are less than 20 miles away right now. I am packed and have an evacuation plan for myself, and the animals, if I have to go. Pray for rain and the safety of the firefighters and evacuating residents.

  19. What a lovely trip. Did you take your foreign exchange student?

    I love your produce photos.

    I have spent the last week rearranging my sewing room/ study. I’m trying not to buy anything new for it, save a piece of peg board.
    I did buy a new serger…mine is 4 years old and is just not reliable. Since I have a goal of almost a85% me made wardrobe for myself and the little girls it was a beneficial purchase. I bought a new babylock, so much better.

    I receive three bags of mushroom mulch from my friend for the garden (we have commercial farms here and their mulch is fantastic. I bought new plants for my garden although we still have frost warnings here so it is too early to put in anything but cold weather crops.

    I modified a favorite recipe for my instant pot. http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2017/05/dinner-party-macaroni-au-gratin/

    have a good week!

  20. I too have been finding great deals at JCPenney for my oldest who is 6′ 4″ and weighs 300lbs. He needs nice office work attire. They seem to offer great sales plus I got one of their credit card which adds (sometimes) an extra discount. We ALWAYS pay our cards off immediately. In addition, the clothes seem to be good quality. So far I have also been pleased with the service.
    Jeannie
    GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

  21. Darling picture of y’all with baby! I am just under three hours from Florida beaches, so I will sometimes leave home at 4 a.m, get to the beach at 7 a.m., leave at 4 pm and get back home at 7 pm….such fun!!! I am so glad y’all went to the Grand Canyon with the kids, and I know they enjoyed it. I did some huge things, I completed refinancing my home at a lower rate, and was able to pay money into my work’s retirement system and vest. This was important in case my son becomes sick again, and I have to retire to take care of him. Hopefully, I can continue to work either another five, or ten years, but we never know what will happen in life. I cut open a used up tube of toothpaste and I aim still getting toothpaste out of it, two weeks later! I bought hair dye on sale for $1.53, used it and cut my own hair. I have very fine, straight hair, that I keep chin length, so it is fairly easy to cut. I have been trimming the bamboo in my back yard, and have counted that as exercise since it has taken me about an hour a day, and I am still not done. I am definitely sore, and I have been getting all sorts of strange bugs in my hair doing this chore…lol. I took leftover chicken, from when my daughter visited, and make a chicken, tomato and cheese soup, with lots of spices…it was very good. I also took some of the leftover chicken and combined it with lettuce, onions, tomatoes, a little cheese, and homemade ranch dressing, for a salad. I made the ranch dressing from a variation of a recipe I have used for years from the Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. My $35 smart phone I bought a year ago, is about toast. I did research and discovered that Total Wireless phones will run on the Verizon network. Verizon works well where I live in the boonies. I bought a flip prepaid Total Wireless $19.95 phone, and my monthly prepaid card will be cut in half, so I hope this works. I really do not need a smart phone, I have decided, because I am not too smart about using it since I drop it in water, on the floor, etc….lol. At least I will not be out much money if I destroy this one…I am so rough on phones! I also decided I waste too much time on my smart phone. I cannot remember if I listed last week getting my car fixed under warranty last week or not, but I did that also. I also have decided I am going to the cash envelope system to buy groceries. I think I will spend less. I will try that a while and see if it works. I bought a can of asparagus at Family Dollar for $1.00. That is the cheapest I can find canned asparagus anywhere. I bought two cans of carrots for a dollar. I bought mayo at $2 a can. I do not have a food processor, and my blender seems to have conked out, so I do not make homemade mayo much, I cannot seem to get it to bind together when I try to make it without a blender, although I do like it much better than store bought. I bought some vegetable oil for $2.00 also. I cleaned my house with Dawn, and vinegar. I made a big pot of dried green lima beans and stuck the leftover chicken bones in it for flavor.I also threw the leftover carrots and rice in for flavor. I hate to waste food and will combine stuff just to not waste it. I listened to public radio bluegrass on Saturday night. I also went for a walk around the neighborhood. What I did not do: I did not buy a purse to replace my thrift store purse, that popped a strap. I am still looking around for a replacement, if I cannot repair it. I will just use it broken until then….lol.

  22. We all went to the Grand Canyon, including our foreign exchange student. We wanted to make sure he got to see something of the country while he was here, so we made the trip specifically while he visited. My husband has always wanted to go, so we just planned it for this time. It was a beautiful day and not too hot yet, which was wonderful!

    Congratulations on organizing your sewing room! It seems to be a constant chore . . .

  23. Great pictures, Brandy! The Grand Canyon looks lovely (I would love to go someday), and it sounds like you had a great time. Day trips can be so fun.

    Let’s see… we had some unexpected expenses, so we are in what we call “hunker down” frugal mode (i.e. no unnecessary spending). All of our meals have been out of the freezer and pantry. Fortunately we keep ourselves stocked up, so we are just fine. I made yogurt at home for the first time, since I use it daily in breakfast smoothies. It was easy in the crock pot & came out great! We are working on our garden, but since we got a late start, we don’t have anything coming up yet. I have planted lettuce, chard, tomatoes, okra, peppers, dill, basil, green onions, rosemary. The lettuce is in a side flower bed that is very heavily shaded, so I’m hoping we will at least get a little bit of harvest before it gets too hot here (Texas). So far our spring has been somewhat cool. In years past I have seen it hit 100 on Easter Sunday! I had a brisket in the freezer I’d bought on markdown. We cut it in half & did half as a Mexican brisket for tacos, and the other half I am brining for corned beef.

    We made a budget of $25 for yard sale “fun” spending, since it was the neighborhood yard sale weekend for our neighborhood & a couple of others. Over the years we have figured out which neighborhoods have sales worth hitting, and which do not! We usually have good luck in our neighborhood. We picked up a few decor items for the house, and I got a nice large painting for my office. My husband found several brand new polo shirts in the performance type fabric (wicks moisture, keeps you cool), which will be very nice for our summers.

  24. JCP has been having a ton of deals lately — every 4-6 weeks they’ve been offering $10 off/$10 item coupons and I’ve gotten tons of things for free/close to free. If you have the patience to dig through the clearance section you can make those coupons stretch. At the last sale, I got 2 workout tops and a pair of knickers for about $12 ($2 after the coupon). Its great to keep an eye out.

  25. How do you prepare your turnips ….I have some growing but other than simmering them and serving with butter and salt &pepper I haven’t got any ideas?

  26. I’m packing lunches to work as I always do — I can’t remember when I last had to buy a lunch because there was nothing leftover, in the freezer or in my emergency stash at work to eat at lunch. It’s been over a year.
    I’m making Brandy’s Rosemary White Bean soup, with homemade stock, home grown rosemary, and dried beans. I’ll use fresh onions and garlic because I always have them on hand. I’ve decided to create more meatless meals, as my husband is finding it harder to digest meat than he used to do. It will also save us money, which is a good thing.
    I’m also trying to plan simpler meals. Since I work away from home, making me gone from the house about 42-45 hours a week, I find that by the time I cook a meal and clean up, my evening is gone, and projects are going neglected. Frugality can take some time, so I need to prioritize my time.
    Our anniversary is coming up (38 years), and we plan to spend it quietly, with just a meal out, no gifts. I’m going to look for any coupons, of course.
    Re: the figs. We have a fig tree, and when the squirrels and birds don’t beat us to them, we like to dry figs or preserve them. I bought a dehydrator a few years back, one reason being the figs. Preserved figs go into a great cake that my former boss makes. I gave him a jar of figs, so he gave me the recipe.
    I always enjoy the pictures, and the one of the Grand Canyon is fantastic. I’m glad you got to go and so glad your friend got to see it, too!

  27. I also cut flowers from our garden for the house, in our case they were tulips. Early in the week I cut purple ones, & when they faded, I cut white ones with red stipes in them.

    Continued to fill at least one tree tub per day with weeds & grass from the growing beds. Dead-headed the last of the grape hyacinths & shared some of the seed with our next door neighbor. Finished weeding the rest of the strawberry & red raspberry beds, both of which are large. Some of the weeds were tall grass, so when I pulled those, I cut the roots into the tree tub & threw the grass itself out onto the lawn, to become added mulch the next time I mow.

    Cut a couple quarts of rhubarb & cut the stalks to simmer & juice, then froze the juice in the base of some ice tups. When it was frozen, I turned them out of the molds into a zip bag & put them in the freezer. I use 2-3 ice cubes ( hence using the ice tup base, since it is the size of 2-3 ice cubes) in a glass of lemon lime soda, or in water when I have any type of GI upset. In 4 years now, it has NOT worked only twice.

    Removed the western yellow jacket nests from under the eaves of the shed, while it was still cool enough that they were moving very slowly, then added those to the garbage can, just before I added a tree tub full of weeds & roots.

    Removed the tuteur from the climbing yellow rose in the back yard. The rose bush was bending & tipping the tuteur, so it did not need the support. I pruned back the rose & removed the tuteur, then installed it along the back perimeter, to be a support for pole beans that I intend to plant there. If it works well for that, & I see no reason it should not, I may consider removing the smaller tuteur from the red climbing rose in the front yard. Planted 4 hills of pole beans, one on each side of the tuteur, & covered them with small glass cloches, since we still have 2 weeks to go before the last frost date here. Watered them with rainwater from the new-to-us rain barrel – it works fine. Planted more peas to replace those that did not sprout.

    Speaking of seeds, my oldest daughter opened one of those “good for 25 year” survival packs of seeds – they had several. This one was 3 years old. Less than ¼ of the seeds sprouted. She was glad she had backups. “Two is one, one is none”…

    Continued to work on trenching the area around the front bed at the end of the driveway. I have been slowly acquiring pavers from various sources – freecycle, gift cards, & discards – and I have 59 now. If I begin the project, those pavers “store in place”, & I don’t have to find room for them elsewhere.

    Completed a pine cone survey, & requested the funds in a check. That will buy a few more pavers. I also have funds on a partially used gift card I can use for pavers or bark.

    The dry stack brick tower in one of the beds at the end of the driveway had a collision with something that knocked off the fake concrete topper. In the process, another good-sized chip was knocked out of the topper, revealing the orange inside, so I spray-painted the entire thing with some left over oil rubbed bronze paint. It looks pretty good, & is sitting back on top of the tower, now that bricks are re-aligned.

    Bought 4 one-pound packages of organic, grass fed ground beef from the bargain basket for over half off. I won’t pay extra for it, but when it is the same price or less, I buy the grass fed, because it is better for us.

    Drafted a pattern for a dress for Little Stuff’s doll, & sewed it out of some curtain scraps. It fits the doll (which means I am getting better at making my own patterns), but is not easy to put on & off, so I will hold onto it until she is a little older & can manage it. I believe that playing with dolls is really important to developing nurturing behavior in young children, hence my time spent making doll clothes for my granddaughter. Finished 2 little crocheted pair of pants for the doll, with a waistband knitted of ribbing to cinch in the extra needed to go over the rather well-padded behind of this particular dolly. Paired with the two little sweaters I crocheted, it makes more outfits that Little Stuff can put on & take off by herself. Used a 55% off coupon at JoAnn’s to buy a skein of baby yarn in black, & the next day used a 50% off coupon to buy a skein of grey baby yarn.

  28. Cindy, sounds like things are looking/good better for you. (I hope that came out right). Good deal on getting all that done. I switched to the envelope system for groceries and it really helped me stay in or under budget. I hope it does the same for you. Hope you find a great deal on a purse soon!
    Jen

  29. Hello everyone. I love coming here every week and reading everyone’s accomplishments. I can’t believe Octavius is already one!. The trip to the Grand Canyon looked like so much fun — it is on my list of places to visit one day.
    It is finally warm enough here to plant, so we were busy in the yard and garden. I harvested lettuce and arugula from the greenhouse and cold frame a couple of times. I pulled the mulch back from the asparagus bed and did some weeding. I planted onion sets and carrot, parsnip and radish seeds. My husband reinstalled the wire trellis for the raspberries and the strings for the hops to climb on – which we had to take down when we had the house stained. Planted tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and bean and collard seeds. Bought annual flowers at a local nursery and used them to make 5 hanging baskets, a window box and two large plants for my porch.
    In the kitchen, I made homemade mustard from mustard seed, vinegar and a little sugar and salt. I don’t think it’s cheaper than buying prepared mustard, but it is so good! I made chicken and tortellini soup from the carcass of a roasted chicken. Froze half the batch for another meal. One night we had pork fried rice, made with lots of veggies and a single pork chop. My husband loved it and there was enough to freeze for another meal. Two days last week we had to go to the city 45 minutes away, and knew we would be gone over lunch, so we packed food to take with us and ate it between errands. I made another batch of laundry detergent. I hemmed a pair of pants for my husband and patched a pair of my jeans. I killed weeds on my walkway with boiling water.
    In the not-so-frugal department, my puppy destroyed one of my new blueberry bushes, and I bumped the dresser in the guest room and knocked over a lamp my father had given me — shattered the blown glass shade to smithereens. All these years and moves I have had that lamp and one careless step and it’s destroyed. It’s only a lamp, but it does make me a little sad.
    And this morning I wrote a letter protesting the tax appraisal for our home. I discovered ours is the highest-appraised property on the street by about $75,000! I hope my letter and the documentation I’m providing will be persuasive.

  30. I’ve been reading this blog for years and it’s interesting to think back through all that has happened in that time. Babies, employment to self employment and back, etc. And now my husband is unemployed again. He has been since January, but he’s been able to do temporary work for most of that period.

    This week , I’ve accomplished some things in the area of frugality including accepting hand me downs and cooking at home. More than anything else I have been working on changing my attitude about my circumstances . I still have so very much to be thankful for! I’m trying to post things on Instagram (My only social media account) that make me smile and feel grateful!

  31. You look so young Brandy!

    I cooked all meals at home this week.
    2 of my sons had a bass fishing tournament on Saturday and brought home a whole bunch of food (hot dogs and burgers). We had enough for dinner on Saturday and Sunday, plus I have a whole package of burger patties in the freezer for another time.
    Bought strawberries at $.79 per 1lb package. I bought 5 packages and prepped and froze them for smoothies, shakes, etc.
    Hubby and I celebrated 21 years of marriage and hubby wanted to get chinese take out. Weirdly, our favorite place was closed so we ended up just eating leftovers. I was kind of glad as we’re going on a little family day trip on Mother’s Day and that’s less $ we are spending. 😉

    I love reading (actually hearing as I copy the comments into a text to speech app on my phone) everyone’s frugal accomplishments. It helps motivate me not to spend unnecessarily. Thank you!

  32. What a great photo too. I am impressed with how you pack your meals for road trips. I do my best to do that too. I can’t believe the baby is one. It went fast! For me anyway. We had a road trip planned this summer to AZ, CO, UT. Now we are flying instead. Oh well.

  33. SOunds like a wonderful trip to the GRAnd Canyon! I’m ashamed that in being a native Southern Californian, I never once went to see it!! My family always took Forest & Lake trips so they could fish and we could water ski….we weren’t much for sightseeing.

    With all the rain we had this spring, the yards are spectacular. Everything is lush and green. I have butterfly bushes, purple irises, yellow day lilies, white peonies, & orange Asiatic lilies on the brink of blooming. I planted pots of yellow & red petunias for the front door steps last weekend.

    In the savings area, it was decent.

    * I made 2 batches of laundry soap.
    * Emptied our rain barrels for about 100 gals. of plant & toilet flushing water (we line the bottles up behind the shower curtains in the tubs!)
    *We haven’t used either the a/c or the heater for at least 6 wks. now. I keep expecting the utility people to show up and check our meter!!
    *We got grocery store freebies- cheese popcorn, tortilla chips, & yogurt.
    * We had a check get lost in the mail. The stop payment was going to be $35. I asked if we could have it waived and they said YES!
    * I refashioned another skirt & blouse to make them cooler and more comfy for summer. The skirt used to be a dress and I wore it today. It was so comfy and cost me nothing but a few yards of thread!
    * I made 6 greeting cards to cover May events.
    * I made 3 necklaces for birthday gifts. They were made from washers from the garage, alcohol ink, wire, & beads. I had all of it & borrowed the ink.

    Since I had everything, all the above cost absolutely nothing! 🙂

  34. I wanted to thank everyone for their congratulations on my graduation! I really appreciate them. Also, the commencement ceremony was fun, many of my extended family members and friends showed up to watch!

    Our frugal accomplishments for this week:

    * Went shopping at Aldi to fill in the gaps on the last of the meal plan and for the meal prep for my friend’s freezer. I’ll probably go one more time near the end of the month to pick up some diapers and wipes and such to give to her as well. We’re planning to spend under $100 this month again on food/household, and we’ve got $40 left after that shopping trip.

    * My SO picked up a 5 dozen package of eggs again from Walmart for under $3. I’ve been eating a lot of eggs for breakfast and we have eggs on the meal plan for dinners, so I figured we’d get through them before we move at the end of May.

    * I used apples from the freezer to make applesauce and I cooked a chicken and made broth with the bones. I also made jello from my pantry and I dug through the freezer to find all of the remaining popsicles in there. Lastly, I picked up a 6-pack of store brand Ensure. My SO had wisdom teeth removal today (Tuesday), so I’ve prepared lots of foods that are easily eaten without chewing. The surgery went well, though we had to go back in to get stiches again on one side as he was bleeding heavily. He’s doing much better now (and is currently taking a nap!)

    * We took my SO’s car to a different mechanic under a friend’s recommendation, and they determined that the other auto shop (that quoted us $1300 to fix a timing belt and a power steering leak) was likely lying to us, as the timing belt on my SO’s car was perfectly fine and they couldn’t find a power steering leak. We had them look into a muffler issue, and they recommended a muffler shop to repair a small hole. So, for under $300, we fixed the muffler issue and “fixed” the timing belt/power steering. We’re still debating becoming a one-car household, but in the meantime, at least we know that both of our cars work.

    * I took the bus to campus several times this week, saving wear and tear on my car.

    * I started my herb garden and my spinach and lettuce plants. I’m hoping for lots of spinach plants!

    I hope everyone else has been having a good week!

  35. Your garden is producing already! Here in the northeast US, we had snow squalls yesterday morning. The blossoms have been on the apple trees for over a week, I hope they don’t freeze. Blueberries, and gooseberries are starting to bloom. I wont be putting any tomatoes, peppers or other warm weather vegetables in until after the end of this month. We put in four new raised beds and four more this coming weekend. Planted raspberries and strawberries last month. Wont see much on those until next year. Hubby gave my boys each a much needed haircut a couple weeks ago, he trimmed mine last weekend and my mom is coming over Saturday to have me color her hair after my hubby does her haircut. I really don’t have the time for the salon or barbershop, let alone the high cost. I’m with you, hubby can do the job, so I tell him when I want it done and he does it. My mom fired the salon a few months back after the lady who used to cut her hair retired, moved south and the new girl cut her hair poorly, too short and charged $20 more. She said she had it with that place and my husband has cut her hair for her twice since for her. She likes his work, he does a nice job, cuts it as she wants, and she likes the part it is free. She used to think it was horrible that I had him cut my hair, but she came around and realized not only do I always get great looking hair, but it saves me a lot of money. My mom is retired now, so the savings are now more important to her.

  36. Good for your husband for insisting that his contract be honoured!
    One day, I will get to the Grand Canyon. It is on my bucket list. One day.

    This week we did a lot outside as the weather has finally warmed up. Our activities included hanging the laundry on our clothesline and working in the garden. I planted several plants that I got free from work, either as “expired” seasonal flowers or bits of veggies that I know I can use to regrow a whole plant.

    The hummingbirds have returned. We are supplying a homemade nectar in our hummingbird feeder and they are providing hours of entertainment.

    I have started walking again to get back into shape. I took one long walk down my big hill to pick up a DVD from our mobile library. The DVD provided a night of free entertainment for The Man and me.

    I bought a bread maker from our local Facebook buy and sell. I am going to try and make my own gluten free bread instead of paying almost $9.00 for a loaf.

    Have a great week everyone!
    https://hiproofbarn.wordpress.com/2017/05/09/frugal-endeavors-hello-may/

  37. Jennifer, my prayers are the same as Brandy’s. I remember when we had wild fires some ten years ago in South Georgia and the smoke was thick all the way up into middle Georgia area.

  38. Lovely photos as always. I join in with all the others: that the baby is a year old is absolutely dumbfounding, lol, and indeed you do look terrific. I truly mistook you for Winter for a few moments until I realized it was YOU and not your daughter. I have been doing a good deal of spending this past week. Not typical but there are seasons when one must purchase things and this is apparently my season.
    http://bluehousejournal.blogspot.com/2017/05/frugal-friday-penny-plan.html

  39. Aldis had close dated chicken drumsticks marked down to $.35 a pound, so I bought 20 pounds. Apples were marked down to $.33 a pound, so I bought 12 pounds. This will stretch my grocery budget for the month.

    We mostly ate out of the pantry, so I only spent $25 on groceries this week to fill in the gaps.

    We went with a friend to the zoo who has a season pass so we got in for free. We brought our lunch, so other than gas to get there, it was a free outing.

    Our dishwasher broke, so I found the parts online to fix it ourselves for $17.

    Despite 86 degree weather and being 36 weeks pregnant, we have yet to turn on the air conditioner.

    I cut up the chocolate Easter bunnies given to my kids to use as chocolate in granola bars.

  40. Hello Brandy,
    It was lovely to see you three in the photo, Octavius is so big! And you are so tiny, you look wonderful! Congratulations on getting into shape.

    Now for frugal activities:

    -Planned May dinners based on food in pantry and using up freezer meals. Decided on five new recipes this month. First three were great and will get added to the successful pile of recipes 😉
    -limited electric usage of major appliances (dishwasher, showers, washer/dryer) to off peak hours
    -stayed out of the grocery store last week! Goal is to limit the whole month to $100 and after the first week, have spent $24. I have tried to limit to $100 before, earlier in the year, and went over when I found “extraordinary” deals….this month I am going to ignore those “incredible” deals. I can stock up later in the year.
    -made homemade fabric softener
    -ate all but one meal at home, many meals I cooked extra so that I could freeze extra portions for future meals. We are eating a lot of soups lately (split pea, navy bean, turkey noodle, black bean) so extra portions are easy to use.
    -made homemade bread, sliced it and froze in ziplock bags for future use.

  41. I enjoyed your beautiful pictures and I always enjoy coming and reading all of the comments each week. I was glad last week to be able to use some Extra Cash at CVS on peanut butter. My daughter and I enjoyed watching a Hallmark series for entertainment. A spring virus is making its way through the family so we have been keeping meals easy and using what we have on hand.

  42. That is a difficult situation that you had with the mechanic. I wonder if the best way to of handled that would of been to split the difference on the bill. We all make mistakes, and showing an extra measure of grace would of probably been much appreciated! And you would of had a new brake job for $100 and the mechanic would not of lost too much.

  43. I work in an auto/body shop. $200 to replace brake pads is ridiculous. Please find a new shop to do your work in the future. I drive a high performance vehicle very hard and pay considerably less.

  44. They didn’t really need to be replaced yet, and their price was too high, which was why my husband didn’t agree to have them done in the first place. In the past he has felt this place has been much more honest about their pricing, so we were surprised they did this.

  45. They had a written contract on what was to be done and my husband had already paid half of the bill. The brake pads did not need to be replaced yet and he did not agree to have them done–just the other things that were clearly stated in writing. It felt very much like a bait and switch; they did work that they were not supposed to do and then wanted to be paid for work that they were not supposed to be doing. The brake pads were still under warranty so they did not cost the shop anything. It was the labor for which they were charging–labor that should not have been done. They also replaced the pads with a kind that wears down faster. While I understand a mistake, this seemed like a trick. We only agreed to have work done that we could afford to pay for. As a business owner myself (and the long-time employee and daughter of self-employed parents as well), I understand that sometimes we have to eat our mistakes.

  46. I work full time. With commuting and unpaid overtime I’m usually gone 60 hours a week. We tend to do soups, crockpot meals, stir-fries and freezer casseroles. Usually, we cook and chop on the weekend and reheat, making fresh pasta or rice during the week as needed.
    Naan “pizzas” have been a staple this season (I get the naan at Costco if I don’t have time to make my own). We use leftover alfredo, spaghetti sauce, tzaziki or hummus and top with whatever meats or veggies you have. Either warm the naan first or pop the whole thing under the broiler to heat up. Quick to make, easy to clean up and easy for picky eaters.

  47. I agree with you Brandy. If they thought they were going to have to do brake work that was outside the contract, they should have called you and asked for permission. That was not done, so they made the mistake. The fact that they did not call you, would really raise my suspicions. I would not use that mechanic shop again. I would also not pay for unapproved work outside the contract.

  48. Your photos are beautiful as always!

    I am always interested in food prices around the country… I believe our food prices here in North Texas have started to go down. Is anyone else experiencing this trend? Here are some prices to give you an idea (all prices are from the new Aldi that opened last new – it is an amazing store and has significantly reduced our grocery bills):
    -a dozen eggs .59
    -chicken thighs .69 per pound
    -baby carrots .49 per pound
    -strawberries .99 per pound
    -organic ground beef 5.29 per pound
    -boneless pork roast 1.99 per pound
    -American cheese slices 1.49 for 12oz
    -yellow mustard .59 for 20 oz
    -infant formula 12.99 for 22oz
    -cream cheese 1.29 for 8oz
    -orange juice 2.19 for 59oz

    We do not purchase all the items listed but I wanted to pick a variety of things. Do these prices seem high, low, or about the same as yours???

    Endless blessings to everyone!!!

  49. The photos of the Grand Canyon are stunning! What a great family day trip.

    Spring is so slow to arrive here in the Midwest. We are still having freeze warnings, and struggling to climb above 55 degrees during the daytime. But the trees are lovely, there are enough leaves that I can hear them rustle as the wind blows thru.

    Last weeks frugal accomplishments: read library books, hung all my laundry, attended a state sponsored dinner celebration of notable businesses ( thanks to Mr. Money Tree’s employer), attended a lengthy college graduation ceremony ( amazing people watching! most in attendance had come from Middle Eastern countries) shopped at the half off sale at my local Goodwill ( I typically buy items to re-sell) and ate from the freezer/pantry.

    Love the encouragement I get from Brandy’s posts and the wonderful comments!

  50. Ahhh, those fig tarts are beautiful! We’re set to get a whopping 8 figs from our itty bitty fig tree this year. 🙂

    This week:

    1. I went on a work trip and they paid me mileage as well as meals. Yay for free food!

    2. I bought peaches from a roadside stand and turned them into peach puree and a peach upside down cake. The rest were put in the fridge for convenient snacking.

    3. This weekend I’m cooking several freezer meals using odds and ends from our pantry and fridge.

    4. I’m basing next week’s dinners off of cheap staples like rice, beans, and pasta. We were over budget on food last month and I’m determined to come in under this month!

    5. I used a hotel’s free gym and free breakfast. I also took a few extra mini shampoos home with me. 🙂

  51. So enjoyed your family picture and frugal ideas.
    Happy Mother’s Day ❤
    A few frugal accomplishments
    . My husband spray painted our old wicker chairs in black bean. Added pretty red cushions my daughter covered
    . Was gifted a pretty bird house chime to place with chairs on front porch
    Planted a few tomato plants n beans in garden.
    .Continued weeding..clearing out areas in the yard to make things neat and tidy
    .Purchased,spiral cut ham .59 lb to make several meals
    3 large chicken breast cut thin and marinated and grilled fed 8.
    .was gifted some needed vitamins.

  52. Cindy, good luck with the envelope system, I am 74 and used it all my married life, it works great but you need a little determination not to steal from other envelopes!! ha ha. I finally tried using little jars and like that so much better than the paper envelopes. in addition I always used a teapot to drop in odd bits of small change, at New Years I took it out and spent it on dinner out. try the jars!! keep track of ALL spending in a little notebook to allow you to make a true working budget. ann lee s

  53. Hi Jennifer, its hardly fair to compare between countries, but for fun here are my prices for a few of your items here on Vancouver Island, BC Canada: (remember our dollar is way down at 70 cents to your dollar)
    dozen eggs, regular lg. size: cheapest price is just under $3. per dozen at lg. box store.
    carrots are 99 cents per lb. this week.
    Kraft cheese slices, 24 thin slices, on sale price lowest is $2.98 per pkg.
    Philadelphia cream cheese on this week for $2.98 round 8 oz tub.
    Simply Orange juice is just under $6. for the largest container.
    I did buy 3 strip loin beef steaks at $7.77 per lb. last week. 3 were just over $20.
    I have a daughter in North Dallas, so hear Aldi prices from her, I get so frustrated!! however I love my home and country, so it all works out.
    My budget for a senior lady is $320. per month and I do manage to eat healthy food on that. with planning.
    ann lee s

  54. I have never understood why I can buy chicken for between .39 ,.69 or .89 cents a lb. and eggs cost me a $1.00 to a $1.25 for a dozen…sigh. Yes, those are good stock up prices for my neck of the woods also.

  55. Brandy your trip sounds great. I love day trips. We always bring food with us.
    It has been a very busy week. I worked an extra 11 hours this week. Brought all of my lunches and snacks with me. Got 2 free donuts at work from a coworker. Cooked all our meals at home except my husband bought an eggroll($1.50) when he was on the road because he was still hungry. Next time I will throw in more snacks.
    My sister took my youngest to Florida for a long weekend. They had a wonderful time. We watched her dog for her while they were away. They only brought a carry on so that they didn’t have to pay for luggage. They gave me soap, shampoo and conditioner from the hotel when they returned.
    My husband, son and I did a ton of yard clean up this weekend. We picked up 3 truck loads of free compost from the town. I’m sore but very happy about the price.
    I picked up free items from the grocery store and nothing else. I then did my regular grocery shopping at Aldi. Trying to stay under budget this month on groceries because next month my son graduates and we will be having a party for him at the house. If things are on sale this month I will get them now and hide them from everyone. I don’t want to kill my budget next month.
    Did my normal stuff, hung laundry, cut open toothpaste, made bread, made a carrot cake.
    I think we save so much from what we don’t have. We don’t have a landscaper, cleaning lady, dog groomer, personal shopper, plumber, dry cleaner. We try to do everything ourselves first. With the internet it makes it so easy. We just look it up and my husband can usually figure it out.
    Have a Happy Mother’s Day everyone.

  56. Aldi now takes credit cards which I did not know until today!
    That makes it easier than having to stop and get the cash first before you go to Aldi.

  57. Congratulations Laurie! Wishing you much happiness.
    Noticed that you are in Seagrove. Distantly related to some of the old-time potters there (the Coles). Father’s family grew up in Star:) with lots of family still in Asheboro.

  58. Jennifer, I agree that it seems that some of the prices seem to have declined a bit, especially with eggs. Many of the prices you have quoted from Aldi in TX are the same as Aldi in parts of NC, (carrots, thighs) though strawberries this week are 1.49 instead of .99 for you and eggs .69 here-.59 in TX. If you live near an Aldi, I think they have great prices. Unfortunately for me, there are no Aldis nearby. The closest one is 2.5 hours away. However, I’ve been known to pack a cooler during out of town trips to areas that have Aldi so I could stock up on the trip home!

  59. Like Jennifer, I’m always intrigued with prices both in and outside our country. I’m also interested in the actual stores. When we travelled in Europe, I made my way to various grocery stores so I could look at the different products and check out the prices. Thank you for posting your prices in Canada!

  60. I am horrified to be over budget this month. I stepped in and helped my college daughter but this is her last bail out. She can move home if she cannot get her act together. Walking the floor all night with a screaming infant was easier than this nonsense. Now on to my real life.
    1) stocked up on 20 bottles of All laundry detergent. 42 load bottles for one dollar a piece. About a 3 yr supply and the best deal I have gotten in a while.
    2) redeemed swagbucks for a gift card that I used for 3 dozen Ball canning jars. Marked down at Amazon. 25.00. I will start canning later in the year.
    3) I did a deal at Swagbucks for a 30 day free trial to a clothing rental co. We received 3 dresses my daughter picked out and she will wear one to my son’s graduation this week. The clothes are massed produced, cheap, poorly made etc… Quality is horrible. I will return them and cancel the trial. I thought that for a special occasion it might work, but definitely disappointed. I will get another 25.00 gift card so it was worth trying.
    4) I used my .edu email from college to get a free one year subscription to hooked on phonics. I have an older special needs adult child who never could learn. Perhaps now that she is older, she will learn with the desire and maturity she now has.
    5) I am in the middle of an E Bates deal with my account and the two daughters accounts. I will buy 75.00 worth of ink, pet food and some planned groceries. I will get 80.00 credit and bonuses. This will eventually compensate my budget for what I spent on baby girl.
    I continue to cook at home, hang laundry out and be frugal. I am utilizing a free 30 day Great Courses on our Roku to gain valuable info on composting, mulching and preparing a garden. Canning free kindle books are helping. I hope to utilize Swagbucks to purchase my canning supplies. All of your posts are scrutinized for each and every detail to maximize my savings. Thank you.

  61. Little Stuff is a very special young lady to have clothing for her baby. Your posts give me the happiest memories from my own childhood. I can’t wait to have a grandchild. My daughter recently explained to me she was fully aware that I was going to take her babies and never give them back. She’s right. I imagine they will be my babies. Children are the greatest gift in life. I have images of a deer child with curly locks sitting and playing with her baby doll. She will treasure theses memories she is making.

  62. Hi, Cindi!
    We went before the city to argue our taxes. They had us at over 700 ft. for our home when it’s actually just over 600 ft. (Not to mention, we’re surrounded by renters and one house has been abandoned for six years!) Now, we’re trying to get some of our money back. We’ve had this house for twelve years. We were going by the realtors figures. I would urge everyone to do their own homework. Our tax base was lowered after it was re measured. One of the people who work for the city said, “Well, it’s only five dollars.” I said, “Yes, but, it’s MY five dollars.”

  63. Brandy, you are looking so good! Wow!

    Thanks again for these weekly posts. Ongoing inspiration to encourage us on the frugal journey is so important!

    If possible, please share more about how you incorporate your produce in your meals and more about what/how you cook each week. I may not be the only one who is really struggling to keep on getting frugal meals into the table each day. I have a garden and it is slowly producing more and more, but sometimes I wonder what to do with the dozen green beans and three carrots I harvest, if you know what I mean.

  64. Yay for a trip to the Grand Canyon. It’s spectacular, indeed. I’m so glad you all were able to go.

    Spring is an extra busy time for our household, so I’ve not been good at writing things down. However, here are a few things that I remember from the last time I posted. Ha!

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Accepted a number of food items that were leftover from son’s Troop-O-Ree (about 3 gals. of OJ, some breakfast sausage, apples, 3 or 4 bunches of bananas, butter, and ???). The boys always overbuy. 😀

    * We hosted the students in my husband’s Senior Seminar college class (he’s a prof.) for their final (their actual final is a paper they have to write, so this is just a time to celebrate with them). We fed them make-your-own boil-in-a-bag omelets using our own eggs, blueberry muffins, sunrise cake, toast w/ homemade bread, bananas and clementines, OJ, and coffee.

    * I made our son’s “history day” costume. As it turns out, he didn’t have a choice of character. His team was assigned the Iroquois League, so I had to make a Native American costume. Fortunately, I was able to find tan flannel on sale (50% off). I was able to use elastic, thread, and interfacing that I already had on hand, but I had to buy ribbon, the pattern, and the fabric. I’m hoping he’ll choose to wear it for Halloween as well.

    * We attended a Jazz Under the Stars concert put on by the local high school. For $45 we enjoyed a two-hour concert, dessert, and lovely company with friends. The jazz band was quite good as well.

    Have a great rest of the week!

  65. Little Stuff lives 12 hours away from us, but Skype is my good friend, as is Priority Mail. I have yet to meet the child that does not love to open a box, especially one sent to “them”. Because we visit with her frequently, she knows who we are, & when I go to visit, she will run to me, which is precious. Her little brother will be born this fall, so Grandma is trying to kick the nurturing behavior into high gear.

  66. JCPenney in our area is closing. I wonder if all these great deals are leading up to further closings. I should plan to stop in at our store to see what kind of clearing out they have going on. Thanks for the reminder!

  67. Just curious does anyone know how much it cost to be an additional phone line to a cell phone plan these days. My son has verizon and he offered for us to have a phone off of his plan he can have up to five and he currently has three on the plan . I wish to pay any additional cost including the taxes but he won’t tell me how much that is. I have zero idea because I have not had anything but a pay per minutes for years and years.

  68. I agree. Those are great prices. An Aldi is scheduled to open in our area next month. I can’t wait.

  69. Marybeth,
    I wish i had the time (and energy) to give up some of those services. We’re trying, but with my husband away, all of i,t plus my full time job, is on my head. One “curse” of having a little bit of extra money is that it is too easy to “just hire someone” and “just grab takeout”. One reason I follow this page is to be convicted of little things that I can and should be doing for myself! Each month I try to take on one more thing. This weekend I’m fixing the dripping faucet rather than calling the plumber and next weekend, I’m painting a room rather than hire a painter!

  70. Janet. We have Vorizon as well. We have cell phones but the old flip phone kind where we share minutes. Its just 10$ a month to add another line which also shares the minutes. I believe they also have a program where you get unlimited data and minutes with the smart phone. It is 40.00 a month for additional line.

  71. Janet, when you find out let me know! Our daughter added both my husband and me to her Verizon plan and won’t tell us what it is costing her. We had pay as you go phones before that. That’s sweet of her, but I don’t feel she should pay for our lines.

  72. May I suggest using it in a stir fry with rice? I have also used odds and ends in a free for all vegetable soup.

  73. My sister is a single mom with 2 teenagers, one is special needs. She lives in another state then me. She works full time and uses most of these services. She has to. She has no help from her ex. I already think she is a super women with all she does. I work part time. I have the ability to be able to do these chores my self. Some of them I love like gardening and taking care of the kids and dog. If I was rich I would never clean my house again. We are all in different places in our lives. I hope my above comment didn’t come off like I was judging others. I wasn’t.

  74. I added my sister to my plan 3 years ago. She has a smartphone and uses a lot of Data. We upped our data plan so that we don’t go over. She pays me $55 a month. Her old bill was $120 by herself. My other sister has my parents on her plan. They are $10 each plus fees so about $30 a month. They have very basic phones and use no Data. They don’t even know how to text and we have showed them many times. I think it is very nice of your son to do that for you.

  75. Hi Ann Lee,

    So is that $320 per month only for food or are there a few other things included?
    Just wondering what a fellow Canadian senior gets by on?

  76. Enjoyed reading about your trip to the Grand Canyon.

    I don’t think I saved much money this week. I splurged on the first crop of asparagus, locally grown and sweet because of our cool nights. The season for it is not very long. $7 per bunch (ouch but worth every penny). Soon when there is more, I’ll buy a big bag of the ends to make soup with. I’m not really going shopping much this week, just stocked up on potatoes, spinach ($3.50 for a big bag), and asparagus. I bought a small basil plant that I hope to keep going in the winter, too. I’m not going shopping because of lack of money and I try to only go grocery shopping once a month. It doesn’t always work. I stopped at the tile place to return the samples of hexagonal porcelain marble-looking tile ($2.70 per square foot) as it was too thick and would have trapped the dishwasher. Picked up a sample of rectangular porcelain ($1 per square foot). It is sort of an odd tile as the colour seems beige in the house during the daytime, grey in the house at night, and slightly green in the daylight. I don’t usually buy Chinese tile (I just prefer Italian or Spanish) but it is nice and is reduced and is thin enough. It goes well with the wall colours and would go well with any carpet colour. I’m thinking of buying them now as they are on clearance and then using them later. Picked up a pack of 12 spring waters for $0.99 total. This is for a drive in the summer. I bought an extra pack as a small emergency water supply.

    A friend took me both to the market and to the tile store which saved me $100 roundtrip by cab, my only other way of doing this. I usually don’t like to go with a friend as I feel it is imposing but this time it was necessary. I did some light chores outside as physically I cannot do heavy things. I sat outside at a planter box and looked at the plum trees which are just out in bloom. I worried that they would not be pollinated as it was cool and thought the insects wouldn’t be out but there were bumblebees going from blossom to blossom. Yay! I just praised the Lord for the bees and beautiful blossoms. This year I will try to make lots of jam. I envy Brandy all of your produce. We cannot grow apricots or peaches. I’ll go to the farmers’ market and buy a caseload of peaches, apricots, Italian prune plums and blueberries (all pesticide free and delicious) and freeze them in mason jars as treats for the winter. I am stocking up on flour, too. Although I don’t usually bake (as I’m allergic to eggs), I will try making my own bread and I hope to make my own yogourt. I planted spinach and chard. I saw that chard can be harvested by just picking the outer leaves and then the inner leaves become the outer leaves and so on. I’m planting carrots and peas as well. I’m planting the sprouted potatoes as I know they were pesticide free. And a friend gave me her old rhubarb plant. On digging it up, it became about 7 smaller plants. It is a very beautiful rhubarb with reddish leaves and dark red stalks. So I now have 8 rhubarb patches including my original patch. Rhubarb freezes really well and one could have pies in the winter! Or muffins!

    I emailed to our provincial mushroom society to see if anyone here could volunteer to get me started growing mushrooms as I have a very shady yard with lots of dead logs. I hired my window washer to clean out the eavestroughs, get the outside water on, set up the fountain, clean the gravel out of the lawn (from his snow shovelling). He looked at the roof to make sure that it’s in good shape. That is good to do, so if we get damaging hail an insurance company cannot claim it’s last year’s damage and out of time to claim. The fellow who rerouted the downspout is a roofer and he also inspected it and found it to be good.

    Since almost all of the flowerbeds are planted in perennials, I don’t have to buy many annuals. I have been buying plants on the last day of the season (the day before our greenhouse closes) when it is 8 perennials for about $16 (as opposed to $160 on average for 8 at $20). It is fun then to see what survives the winter. Two years ago, I got 28 Itoh peonies that sell for $70-$100 each for $2.50 each on the flat sale. Bonanza! I hope they bloom this year. This should be the last year for quite awhile that I have to do that as most of the perennial gardens will have been upgraded. It is hit or miss as to what survives.

    So perhaps after all I did save some money, without shopping very much.

  77. Brandy, I am curious about how you travel with your large family. We would love to take the grandchildren on a trip, but even with our van we don’t have enough room to travel in one vehicle. Do you have a 15 passenger van, or do you take more than one vehicle? This may seem like a silly question, but our family has grown extensively with the grandchildren.

  78. Hi ann lee s and we are in Australia and similar exchange rate our dollar also being 70c of States dollar. For those on imperial measurements 2.2 lbs is equal to a kg.

    Our eggs not free range are $2.59 Doz and free range $4.79 doz .
    Cheese matured $6 kg.
    Instant powdered milk 1kg $5.69.
    Milk $2.99 for 3 lts.
    Whole chickens $3kg on special , $4 kg if not on special.
    Beef we buy in bulk for a hindquarter for $9.99kg , and if you are looking for rump to buy by the kg it is $20 – $25kg, T-bone around $30kg, eye fillet $45.99 – $54.99, beef sausages $4.38kg, mince $9.99 – 14.95kg.
    Quality freshly squeezed orange juice around $4+ per litre.
    Carrots not organic $1.70kg , organic $7.33kg.

    It is interesting to see the prices around the world indeed.

  79. Ann Lee, I’m in Ontario and some of our prices are a bit better. A dozen regular lg, size eggs are typically $1.97, but go on sale at Shopper’s Drug Mart for $1.77/dozen most weekends and I can buy a 5lb bag of “imperfect” carrots at No Frills for around $1.80/bag (sometimes less if on sale). Processed cheese slices often go on sale for $2/24 slices, which can be frozen to use when not on sale. Sorry, I don’t know the price comparisons on the other items you listed. Steaks are typically pretty expensive, so we don’t buy them very often. A 3 litre bag of milk (1 gallon) is $4.27 and a brick of butter can be sometimes bought for just under $3 on sale but is typically $4/brick (which is why I use margarine bought a $1/container for our daily use). A loaf of bread has come down from $2/loaf to $1.50/loaf (that’s the cheap stuff), but I can sometimes get various loaves cheaper (including more expensive/higher quality brands) if it is short dated and marked 50% off. We love homemade bread, but I just don’t have time to make enough to supply our weekly needs.

    My budget for a family of 4 (3 adults and 1 teen that eats like an adult) is around $600/month, which includes food and household items. I love to stock up when I find excellent prices, so most of our meals are from pantry and freezer items. Could I get away with less? Yes, but it would definitely restrict our variety of foods and make it difficult to keep our pantry stocked. So for now, I’m OK with this amount, but feel comfort knowing I could cut the budget if absolutely necessary.

  80. Tracy, I struggle with this as well. I want my garden to produce enough that I can process them to use during winter, but it doesn’t always co-operate. The only thing I have come up with is to gather the small quantities for a few days, then do a small batch of blanching and freezing what I have. Just keep adding to the bag of frozen produce until it’s full. To be honest, I often end up going to the farmer’s market and buy more to add with what I have, then process it all for the freezer. I’m interested in hearing other ideas as well, though!

  81. Pamela’s has an awesome bread machine mix – i have had it come out beautifully every time I make it. It’s still not cheap but the loaf you get is bigger and has a texture and flavor closer to wheat bread. I don’t use oil – I melt butter instead and always use whole eggs which might be why it tastes so much better than the store bought loaves.

  82. Brandy~ I have enjoyed Call the Midwife for years. It’s one of my most favorite shows (I don’t watch too much TV so this one is special). A friend from my church mentioned that the books (written by Jennifer Worth) were so much better than the show. I just couldn’t believe it since the show is so good. So I checked them out of the library (there are 3 in the series) and my friend was right! The books were WONDERFUL! I still love the show but if you have the time, check out the books. They are under the same title: Call the Midwife. I think you would love them, too.
    PS I bumped into your comment/ question to Erin Benzakein on her blog, Floret Flowers. Isn’t she an inspiration!

  83. Not at all MaryBeth. I feel a little guilty contributing and commenting because I don’t [i]have[/i] to do these things myself and I get to do things and often eat out or hire services I know others cannot afford.

  84. I honestly can’t be bothered to hit the mall anymore. SO many stores moving out and none coming in to replace them. I use mail order a lot. Today I needed a gift and the toy department was interesting–tons more boy’s toys than girl’s, and I only had girls. I finally chose a “safe” Lego set (I hope) and then found it was marked $19.99 but only was charged $13.39. No signs anywhere to tell me that! Sunscreen, which I NEED, since they tell me it should be replaced every year, was on sale if you bought TWO. I have my ten year old one that’s only half empty but I thought I should probably replace it! One is enough–there are no “small” bottles. Thought I would pick up a box of crackers for our car ride—didn’t see any I liked. Guess we’ll be taking the half bag of Tostidos we already have open. Not very impressed with Target today. Use to like shopping there.

  85. I was just in the verizon store the other day. They were advertising a plan for $45 a line for 4 lines with unlimited everything.

  86. I agree with you Cindy and would have done the same exact thing as your husband did Brandy. Have a great week!

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