Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

 

Thanksgiving flowers The Prudent Homemaker

Now that it’s getting dark earlier, we are needing to turn on lights in the evenings. I am being diligent about making sure lights get turned off when they are not needed. The electric company gives me an update every week on my usage and total cost, including an estimated cost for the month. I’ve been able to consistently use less each week, so that the estimated total for the month has continued to decrease each week.

We got a free turkey at Winco. If you spend $100 they are giving away free turkeys (they are all around 13.4 pounds). Your $100 can include the cost of the turkey, and then they just deduct the cost of the turkey from your total.

I purchased 3 small acorn squash at $0.88 a pound to use as part of my decor for my Thanksgiving table. We’ll eat them after the holiday.

My husband is required to take several hours of classes to renew his real estate license. There are always some free classes available, and he tries to get in as many hours as possible in the required subjects as free classes. This week he took a free class which included lunch.

Winter downloaded some Christmas music for free from Freegal, the library’s program for free downloads.

I paid bills online to save the cost of stamps.

I sewed Christmas gifts.

I made gifts for our Operation Christmas Child boxes using materials I had on hand that had been given to me.

Meyer Lemon Tree The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut green onions, beet greens, and grape leaves from the garden. I picked meyer lemons from the garden.

I rolled up two towels and had the children place them in front of the front doors to block the draft that comes in during cold, windy days.

I saved water from the shower while it warmed up to water our potted fruit trees.

We returned an item to the store that I had bought before I fell at the end of October. 

I cut apple branches from the garden to put in a vase on our entry table.

I cut branches and a few roses from the garden to make two arrangements for our table.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

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52 Comments

  1. Good grief! That is a loaded lemon tree!!! Lemons don’t grow on trees here in Oregon, so that’s a novel sight for me. (Yes, we have many other wonderful fruits, just not lemons.) That is amazing.

    I hope you are feeling somewhat better. You’ve been down for quite a while, now, and it must be hard to stay patient and keep cheerful. I know you are a very upbeat person–I just mean we all have a down day, or a sad moment once in a while, and it would be hard to be in your circumstances. So, hang in there. I have been praying for your recovery.

    This past week has truly passed in a blur. We had many, many appointments that had to be done. We tried to get some consolidated, but had limited success. They were long, ie one daughter’s braces came off, taking a whole morning. One nice thing is, they had time to do the retainer work the same day, so my husband did not have to use another entire morning to take her back the next day for that as originally planned, saving gas and time. We live 1 hour away, so saved 2 hours of driving and gas.

    We have been trying to cut back, due to my husband’s job loss. One thing I am realizing is that we had slipped into habits that are proving to be harder to break than I though they would be! One of those habits is eating out, if only for a snack, while we are doing appointments. So, this was the week where we cracked down on that. Thursday, I took some food for lunch, and we just waited for a late dinner. Usually, I would put a crock pot on, but there was literally no time that day. Another day, I ended up with a pouty child, and a late lunch, but everyone survived. The younger children have become accustomed to things we never did with the older ones and it is becoming apparent they are going to have to learn new habits, too. We have been much better off financially with these younger ones than we ever were with the big kids. As tradition dictates (and our kids don’t lose tradition or make changes easily) the one who got the shots at the doctor still got ice cream. (There were 2 long separate doctors appointments in there as well for medicine management, plus a MRI for my husband’s back–each one taking an entire morning–we had to divide and conquer quite a bit)

    My husband and I enjoyed a night away at the Oregon Gardens Resort in Silverton, Oregon. We were given a 1-night stay last Christmas from one of my sisters, with the bonus of babysitting included. We had to have her approved by DHS to keep our youngest overnight, as she is still a foster child, so I’m grateful for my sister to be willing to do that. He and I ate out at dinner, ate the free breakfast provided, and then extended our “date” until evening, using foster parents’ night out to keep her Saturday night from 5-8. Of the 3 still at home, the oldest was working a lot, and stayed with Grandma and friends for a couple of nights, and the 2nd one had an overnight event at the church we have been attending and stayed with her cousin for the weekend so they could both attend. We had not been away alone for over 2-1/2 years, since the youngest came to live with us. It was nice. We were able to look at finances and talk things over and make nitty-gritty plans about what we were going to do with no little listeners (or big ones either), and it was so good to be able to do that. Because the youngest came to us with a background in living in severe poverty, she has had great anxiety about Rob’s job loss and we try to keep discussion of it pretty minimal around her. We have had great discussions about our huge food stockpile, etc. and she has calmed down quite a bit as she is realizing that even with no job,we do not seem “poor” to her as she defines and remembers “poor.”

    I got library books and movies twice. I turned all due items in. One daughter had horrendous fines from last summer when she just didn’t turn her stuff in. She has not been allowed (by me)to check out more books until she paid the fines. She did chores for me to earn grocery items, which the library accepted this week only, at a rate of $5 worth of fines for each food item to benefit the food bank.

    People still are being extremely supportive of us. Our dentist greatly reduced our payments for our check-ups (3 dental appointments this week-no cavities-yea), without us asking–he said he just wanted to help us out during this hard time. He’s been my dentist for around 30 years and knows us. A friend came and worked on our computer for hours, for free. We were given a $100 Fred Meyer gift card. We got some cards and nice notes in the mail.

    A few weeks ago, my niece helped me start a blog. I’m so new at it that there are a lot of things I cannot figure out, but I keep trying. (like how to load photos from my phone without turning the computer completely off in-between entries–I think brother-in-law showed Rob my problem today:)) We chose a free one, and the one she uses, since she knows how to do it. I have had to ask her for “technical assistance” several times, but am feeling a great sense of accomplishment with each new thing I am learning to do. She is feeling pretty proud of her success in bringing Aunt Becky further into the computer age:) I think this is it– https://wordpress.com/posts/beckyathome.wordpress.com (If this is truly, indeed, my blog address– that will be another big thing to feel triumphant over! I have had a tremendously difficult time figuring out things that probably seem very simple to many of you) I know most of you who are younger grew up with a computer or cell phone attached to the ends of your fingers, so you probably have no idea of how much of a stretch all of this is for someone who did not grow up that way. So, why am I doing it? 1) It is good practice. I want to do some computer work for my husband’s small business and I need knowledge. He hopes to expand that small business and technology is a big part of how the world works now. He started it to pay for our daughter’s braces, and he did pay for them, but they were taken off this week. Now that he’s out of work, he’s decided to give it some attention, and see what happens–see if he could earn some $ that way to help out. 2) I want to live my life fully now and not be defined by my circumstances. I don’t want to wait until things are better, or things change, or life is perfect, or my children are grown to try new things. I don’t want my mind to get stuck in a rut just because I am getting a little older. I like the idea of being able to look back in a year or two and see what I was doing, and how the kids are growing, etc. 3) I’ve wanted to start one for quite a while, but simply had no idea of how to even find out how to do it–funny how much easier it was than I thought in many ways, and harder in others. Anyway, it’s my new adventure to keep my mind occupied and I’m looking forward to it!

  2. Your meyer lemon tree looks lovely, esp. with all that fruit on it! My frugal accomplishments are:

    Continued to dig out grass & roots from the middle garden tier. I am racing the freezing weather on this task. Buried some of the leaves in a trench in the middle of the tiers to compost in place over the winter. Two of my grandchildren were here to visit for 6 hours, & my granddaughter helped me rake leaves & bury them in the bottom garden tier. Both of them helped me use some of the stored water that needed rotated to water the fruit trees ( 5 gallons on each tree) before the ground freezes. I rinsed out the bottles & refilled them. My granddaughter dried them off & changed the dates & my grandson carried them back downstairs to the area where I store them.

    Thinned one of the beds with yellow iris in it & gave 10 of the corms to a neighbor who wanted them. Shelled out the rest of the heirloom dried pole bean pods for seed. Dehydrated more cabbage. Cooked down more tomatoes from the ripening bowls into sauce to make enchilada sauce, & put some up as tomato soup. Tomato soup with goldfish crackers has always been one of my “comfort foods”.

    Cooked several squash from the garden & pureed the leftovers to use as “pumpkin”. So far we have had “pumpkin” muffins & “pumpkin”pancakes, & I used 1/2 cup in some crock pot chili as a thickener as well.

    Bought gas at the Chevron station on Wednesday for the discount & the free car wash. Used the last dregs of a shampoo bottle to clean the toilet.

    Picked up the gate handles to make my functional “lock” for the back yard. Found 10 half pint jars, 5 tall jelly jars, 3 pints & a quart jar at DI & bought them all. I also found the “Joseph” figure in the right size & scale for a nativity set that my granddaughter bought at their Deseret Industries, which is unfired ceramic, & which she is painting. She asked me to look for the May, Joseph & baby Jesus. The figure I bought was glazed white, but since she is taking art classes, she will know how to refinish it to coordinate with the others.

  3. Hello Brandy and all from Australia :D.

    In the garden –
    – weeded front garden lawn & vegetable patches.
    – Planted 2 rows of butter beans.
    – Picked, blanched and froze 9 bags of turnips from the garden before they went to seed from the heat.
    – Spade edged and removed all grass from rock edging around all front yard herb & garden beds.
    – Top dressed & reseeded all bare patches in 1/3 of the back house lawn.
    – Picked Thai basil, sweet basil and parsley from the garden & put them in brown paper bags to dry traditionally to stock up food storage here and to sell additional to needs supplies.
    – Planted beetroot, lettuce, broccoli & rosemary in seed raising trays.

    Earnings from craft & garden.
    – Made $10.80 profit from a sale of an eye mask on ebay.
    – Made $3 profit from the sale of dried parsley, picked and traditionally dried from the garden.

    Water preservation –
    – Skipped 1.5 gardening waterings due to rain saving 405 lts of town water.
    – Used all grey water from washing machine and showers to water in new grass seed planted.
    – Used all vegetable washing & steaming water to water in vegetable seeds planted in seed raising trays.

    I hope everyone has had a fabulously frugal week.

  4. it sounds like you are getting around more? That would be great, I hope you are feeling a bit better.
    I use draft blockers too and my children are forver dragging them off to play with them. Towels in the bathroom=boring, towels in front of the door=exciting? Anyhow after years of scolding and fetching and replacing I realized I could put them between the screen door and the front door, locking the front door and then you can’t see them and they do an even better job blocking the wind. This has worked very well for us and no more Towel Avengers.
    We were both delighted for my husband to get approved to work overtime on Black Friday.
    We have made almost 800 dollars on ebay this month.
    We had our lowest elecricity bill ever. I am working on water usage now. We got a fantastic deal on a puppet theater and puppets, we paid 50 dollars for it, and it is $160 new, not including the puppets. The children are having an amazing time with it.
    I got a great deal at the outlets, filling in the holes in our winter clothes for the children.
    My husband won a contest at his bowling league and the prize was over a hundred dollars.

  5. Sold 6 items on Ebay. Put towards debt. .. yay for decluttering things around the house!
    Reused/cut down boxes that we had.

    Added sweet potatoes to spaghetti sauce to stretch it .(pureed after cooked)

    Baked blueberry muffins swapping coconut oil for butter and chia seed for eggs.

    Switched out a purse for a new look. ( that I already had)

    Put change into change jar.

    Did a few pinecone surveys.

    requested free jamberry samples from an online party I was invited to. (I received 10).

    Electrical bill has consistently been $35-45 the last 3 months (we’ve lived in our new house 5 months). If it keeps up I will lower my monthly budget.

    I stocked up on sales using my regular food budget. ..

    Took my receipt back to bed bath & beyond with a 20% and a $5 off .. received $13 back. (These really add up over time!!)

    Made a return at lowes from extras that we didn’t need, instead of keeping like we have been, thinking we will use it. $8.04.

    Washed face with coconut oil.

    We decided on a traditional thanksgiving dinner! all homemade down to the gravy 🙂

    Hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving!

    Hope everyone has a wonderful thanksgiving!!

  6. I am glad you are feeling better Brandy! Those lemons look delicious! Last week to save money:
    -my mother in law gave us a free turkey she had gotten. She already has two full freezers and will be purchasing a cow and a pig in a few months.
    -all meals were prepared from scratch and eaten at home. I have reconstituted powdered milk to mix with the purchased milk in the fridge several times over the last month, I have made all of our snacks including “forever”cookies (these did not live up to the reported deliciousness lol but were edible), power balls, pumpkin quinoa porridge, granola, yogurt. Since becoming unemployed I have taken on most of the cooking so that I can reduce the cost of our meals (hubs cooks meat as the main dish with every meal which we can’t afford now). I cooked a turkey Saturday, made broth with the bones and skin, and made turkey and dumplings for dinner last night. I have done the same thing to some whole chickens.
    -It is officially winter and we had 2 feet of snow dumped on us over the weekend. No more garden lol. I planted two lemon seeds three weeks ago in pots but they still haven’t sprouted.
    -I had to buy a pack n play for grandson to sleep in when he comes over. My mother went in half with me to save us both money.
    -Line dried most loads of laundry on my racks.
    -We have three doors at our house that lead outside. One leads to a breezeway then into the garage. there was a huge gap in the bottom corner. I took some plastic bags, and rolled then up and tucked it into the gap. Now the gap is closed and no air comes rushing in. This door is hard to see so even if people come over, which no one ever does, nobody will see it.
    -my husband put plastic over three of our windows that need replacing. I can tell a huge difference now.
    – My husband had his final interview and took the drug test. We are now waiting to hear if/when he starts. I pray we hear this week!
    -I reported to the social services department that my unemployment was approved. We had received food stamps for October, but now we will most likely not be eligible. I have $200 budgeted out of my unemployment for groceries per month. There is also a mobile food pantry not far from here that people can go to twice per month. I am so grateful I paid off our house early so I don’t have to worry about rent or a mortgage payment. So far I have only had to purchase some fresh items (like milk and cheese, a few fresh veggies) and items to replenish my pantry. I only purchase items on sale and have started printing coupons again. This enabled me to get 4 free cans of veggies 🙂 I found marked down boxes of a pasta/herb set at Aldi that I will use for a couple Christmas gifts. The meat I purchased was 1.09 and 1.19 a pound on sale.
    -I used my Staples rewards to purchase my daughter a free Christmas gift and redeemed my Walgreens rewards to get her another free Christmas gift, I only paid .56 cents for tax at Walgreens. I got her 3D glitter glue (she loooves that stuff) and a bowling pin/ball set.
    -My daughter and I have played several games of Candyland. Our library now rents movies for free, they used to be .50 cents a piece. I rented two last Friday for my daughter and I to watch.
    -There is a program I am signing up for today that will provide some Christmas gifts for our daughter.
    -We have kept the heat on 67 degrees. Any lower and we can see our breath LOL We also have been diligent about keeping lights off and unplugging things.
    – I have saved and washed/reused several bags and jars.
    -I made more liquid soap nuts to clean with. I will also be making powdered laundry soap using my saved soap slivers.
    -I made more lotion and deodorant (orange creamcicle this time, yummy), and started more citrus vinegar.
    -husband picked up several boxes of free stuff from an estate sale that didn’t sell. We kept several things, donated the items we didn’t want, and there are several things I would like to sell but not sure how.I kept several coffee mugs to make candles in for Christmas presents. We also kept a Stein with my son’s favorite football team for a present. There were several stuffed animals in brand new condition. I kept one as a present for my grandson.
    -I continue to save blank sided papers my daughter brings home from school and the backs of envelopes for scratch paper.
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  7. I’m so glad you are sharing your frugal accomplishments again. I so look forward to reading them and all the comments. They have given me so much inspiration!

    Of course I haven’t been keeping track of my frugal accomplishments lately, but I do have some things I remember. Here’s my list:
    *There was a great sale on at the grocery store this week. They had items like 2kg bags of sugar for $1, margarine for $1, aluminum foil and plastic wrap for $1, english muffins for $1/6 pack, jarred Alfredo sauce for $2, and pears for $1/lb. We were low and needing restock on these items, but I didn’t have very much of my grocery budget left. However, I did have a credit through their points rewards program. I was able to get $60 in grocery stock up items for $30 out of pocket!

    *I have been working diligently on making Christmas gifts this year. Almost everyone will be receiving at least one hand-made gift this year, which is a huge accomplishment for me. They’re not all complete yet, as I’m doing a lot of embroidery items. But they should be done by Christmas if I keep working at them. Some of my handmade gifts will include polar fleece scarves, infinity scarves, embroidered throw pillows (I bought a regular pillow for $3, cut it in have to make 2 throw pillow forms, and now I’m making custom covers to fit), embroidered handkerchiefs, embroidered pillow cases and printed bookmarks with tassels (I bought the tassels at the dollar store, $1.25/12 pack).

    *I received a 50% off coupon code via email for Old Navy. My husband and I decided to take a look. We found a beautiful polar fleece zippered jacket that was a perfect Christmas gift for his mother and the discount made it the perfect price. One more person checked off the list!

    *I received one day of training at work and today I start working the school Christmas program at the museum I work at. It won’t be many hours each week, but I’m happy for the paycheck.

    Well, that’s about all I can remember for now. I’m really looking forward to reading everyone’s accomplishments. Have a great week everyone!

  8. Brandy, your lemon tree is amazing, I never knew they could bear so much fruit and this is the first time I have seen one growing outside of a pot!

  9. I made all but one of our dinners this week and the one night we ended up going out was because everyone was “starving” and the new “dinner in the crockpot” recipe I tried just was not going to be done until 10 at night. We ate it the next evening. At least next time I’ll know the correct time to cook it!
    Hubby and I had a movie date night to see the last Hunger Games movie. We went up to the small movie theater and to an early show so instead of it costing us $40 for the movie and popcorn, it cost us $20!
    I made all of the “crusty bread” for our dinners to keep hubby from purchasing it.
    I picked up 30 pounds of potatoes for $6 and I plan to go back for more this week.
    I bought a case each of green beans and peas at .39 cents a can (this is the best price I have found this year)
    I purchased the interfacing I needed for my daughter’s t-shirt quilt with a 50% off coupon.
    I found a flat mattress pad for free that I will use for the “batting” in the quilt and I have a sheet I will be using for the backing.
    Made up another dog toy – our “older” Dane (he’s only 1 1/2) LOVES squeakies and long floppy legs on his toys but the ones you buy in the store #1 have stuffing and #2 can’t be played tug with cause the legs are only attached in one spot on the body. I have started making him stuffless toys from layers of fleece remnents with legs that go completely thru the entire body + each leg has a rope in it so the fleece can’t stretch and pull the stiches out – so far, so good. Once I get the pattern set, I plan to make them to sell in my Etsy store.
    We got the frig working – again. The back wall ices up which interferes with the fan – defect in the model – so I have to empty the entire frig/freezer into coolers and the big freezer and then we run a heater on it overnight. Worked like a charm and once again is running perfectly. I am going to put in some pantry wire shelves my sister gave me against the back wall to keep things from being pushed up against it and see if that helps keep it ice free longer.
    Praying for you to continue healing well Brandy!

  10. I, too, hope you are feeling better. And that lemon tree looks amazing!

    Last week, I finally turned the heat on. I also spent money to save money. I invested in another set of insulated drapes from a big box store. Last year I bought a set for my bedroom. I put this set in my TV room/living room. When I draw the drapes in the early evening, I can really feel them working to reduce the draft from my patio door. I have set the thermostat two degrees lower then last year. Hopefully that change will help with the electric bill.
    I also have worked hard at turning lights out. I now turn the light over the stove on instead of the full overhead light. Every little bit helps, right?
    My biggest accomplishment last week was finding a local grocery store that has a 10% off day for senior’s every Tuesday. Some of the stores here do a 10% off either the first Monday or first Tuesday of the month. To find that this store has the 10% off each week is great news. It is also the store that offers the best and easiest price match. I know WalMart will do it, but I have not had very warm receptions from cashiers there. I prefer this local grocer.
    And, speaking of price matching, I asked a cashier at a different grocery store if they price matched. She said they did but they didn’t advertise it. Woot-woot. So glad I finally asked.
    Cooked up some of the squash I had grown. Some I put in the freezer. Some of it will be made into soup today.
    Made all my meals at home except for my $10 Seniors dinner (entree, beverage, desert, tax and tip included). I just love that program and really enjoy getting out. There were 22 people there this week. It’s a little easier on my budget now that we are only doing the dinners twice a month instead of weekly.
    Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.

  11. I sure miss this post.
    I got a 22 lbs turkey for 77 cents
    potatoes were 1.29 for 10 lbs I bought 6. Gave one to a friend whose stuck at home. her daughter just had surgery. Took a bag-baked them and then made them into hashbrowns and cut some up for easy fried potatoes.
    butter 2.39
    recycle yes recycle because we have to pay for special trash bags 1.20 for a bag
    laundry soap (75oz) 3 for 5

  12. Yay! I’m so happy to see this post. I’ve actually taken to reading the old Frugal Accomplishments posts just to get my weekly uplift in frugal spirits from everyone, so it’s wonderful to be reading you all again :).

    It’s been a trial when it comes to things breaking and having to acquire new skills around here. My husband is getting better versed in plumbing and I’m getting better versed in things like zippers. I have sewed my first two zippers in the last week. One was a replacement zipper for my daughter’s jacket and one was a zippered pouch I made. Both are up on my blog for the curious, but I have to say I feel proud that the zippers work and don’t look awful. I’ve been terrified of zippers for years, so it was a real leap for me to jump off that precipice into the unknown. But, I didn’t have the money to do otherwise, so necessity being the the mother of invention and all of that.

    The rest of my accomplishments for the week can be found here…

    http://makedohomemaker.blogspot.com/2015/11/frugal-friday-money-saving-weekly-recap_20.html

  13. Hi Brandy all those little things add up. Our electricity bill runs around $30 a month, just by being diligent. Wish we could grow lemons here. Our gardening season is done here until next May.

    Thrifty things we did this week:

    Bought two pounds of Swiss cheese at $2.50/lb. Shredded and froze it.
    Made turkey broth from the Thanksgiving turkey. We had Thanksgiving early this year.
    Ate lots of leftovers.
    Attended an estate sale where I purchased some graniteware for $1 and several beautifully bound books for $1 each.
    Made soup from 88 cents/pound pork neck bones, potatoes carrots and onions from the root cellar, herbs from the herb garden and a jar of tomatoes from the pantry.
    Made 16 hefty English muffins for about 1/4 the cost of a eight store bought ones.
    Found a wonderful movie on YouTube called The Good Fairy with Margaret Sullavan, very Ernst Lubitsch-esque. I love old movies and there’s a treasure trove on YouTube for free!
    Finished sewing my husband’s vest from thrifted fabric.
    Skyped with the North Carolina grandchildren.
    Filled up the cars with $1.87/gallon gasoline. Can you believe how cheap gas has gotten?

  14. Our house is set to 64 degrees for the day and it drops to 60-62 at night (sometimes the furnace won’t kick on and it’ll be 58 in here in the morning) – yes, it feels cold to me but my kids and husband are usually comfortable. I wear long johns from the middle of November until about April so that I am comfortable and have quite a few heavy wool sweaters. We also have extra comforters on all of the couches. The ones who seem cold sometimes are our Great Dane dogs?! By keeping it this low it has reduced our gas bills by half of what they were when we were keeping the house at 68 degrees day and night.
    And no – we don’t have a newer house. It is older, is missing some storm windows and others

  15. Your prices are certainly lower there! I’ve never seen a $30 electric bill here, even 15 years ago when I lived in an apartment. I’m super happy that our bill will be just under $100. We don’t use the lights much; just 2 1/2 hours at night and only in the rooms we’re in; then they go off. We’re no longer running ceiling fans, so that expense is gone. Our stove/oven is gas, as is our hot water heater and our central heat (which we don’t need to run yet). Even with all of that, this month (being the lowest of the year) is estimated to be $87. My goal is to make it lower.

    The three lowet prices for gas here are $2.41, $2.45, and $2.49 here. It’s lower than it has been, but not so low as it is for you.

    I’m glad the cost of living is lower in your area–that’s a great blessing for you!

  16. OOps – had problems with the computer so had to reboot.
    The house has some storm windows missing and other windows don’t seal well anymore but we use plastic on those, heavy blinds and I am making a couple window quilts to see what effect those have. We also close off rooms that are not used much, only opening them when we need to use them. We have problems with the overhangs (it’s a multi level) and the pipes freezing under our shower when it get bitterly cold as well. My hope is this next spring we can take the tax return and foam those overhangs to stop the airflow and heat loss.

  17. So happy that you are feeling better!

    Our frugal accomplishments for last week include:

    Using credit card points (we pay it off each week to avoid charges) to pay for my husband to travel to another state and attend the funeral of a close friend’s mother. We paid cash for a one-way plane ticket home, but his flight there, two nights in a motel, and a rental car for his stay were all paid with points.

    Planted a mini herb garden in a strawberry planter. It’s just the two of us, so we don’t need much, but each plant cost the same as it would have to buy one bunch of cut herbs at the store or farmers market!

    Enjoyed Happy Hour with friends, and then a walk through a free public art exhibit. Great fun!

    Tried making my own cold-brew coffee in the fridge, and loved it!

    Used a bit of leftover pork roast to make delicious breakfast hash on two different days.

    Renewed my library books instead of returning them on their original due date, so that I can drop them off on the day I work near the library rather than make a separate trip.

    Called the trash pickup to get a smaller bin. We never fill ours up, and the smaller one will save us $8/month.

    Purchased health insurance through our state’s marketplace, saving us about $150/month over my husband’s COBRA plan, for the two months until my new job’s benefits begin.

  18. My accomplishments were few this week, as I was still recovering from an illness, but I am proud to say I managed to stay awake all day yesterday without needing a nap. First time in 2.5 weeks—I was taking 2-3 naps a day at the beginning of that time. I also made dinner every night but 1 each week, and have kept the laundry up to date, as well as cleaned up the stack of newspapers which normally surrounds my spot on the sofa! I did a full grocery shopping this week, and have everything on hand for the Thanksgiving meal as well. I also made bread a couple times, and made dessert one night as well. I do feel better now but it has been slow arriving at this point. Two strong anti-biotics knocked the stuffing right out of me!! Today I drove myself for the first time too, for a follow up appointment with my primary. He is pleased with my progress, and I am happy to be back to “myself” once more.
    Hope you get there soon, as well, Brandy. I also wanted to say thank you for the “sewing kit” directions I found on your blog archives—I am planning on making one for my DGD for a stocking stuffer, and have everything I need, just need to put it together!! I appreciate the tutorial on that!! I might make her a small button jar as well–I certainly have the resources to do so!!

  19. I recently discovered your blog and was also missing your posts. I hope you continue to mend!

    I feel like I have been spending so much money! 🙂 But, this is the time of year to stock up. We had a major shopping trip to WinCo this past weekend and bought so much- three turkeys at $.55 a pound, potatoes, cranberries, veggies, butter, all sorts of canned goods, olive oil (less than half the cost!), and baking items. Our pantry is overflowing!

    Our neighbor has pecan trees and sells them for $3.00 a pound. I usually buy a lot, shell them, and freeze them. This will last me all year.

    I finished the last of my Christmas shopping with coupons and a sale. Now I just have to finish my handmade items.

    I discovered Amazon has much cheaper diaper prices than Sam’s club. I was overjoyed!

  20. Hi Jane & Brandy and yes your prices Jane for electricity are far lower than ours here in Australia too.

    We were so excited on our last bill, we get our electric bill quarterly that it had gone down to $235 from $298. So that is running at $78.33 a month which here is Australia is equivalent to what most people are using for a 1 person household and we have 2 people in our home. We used 3.4 KW less in power by diligently turning off our computer wireless modem router, television and laptop chargers when we are not using them, as well as cooking and washing mostly during the day rather than the evening.

    We have peak times for electricity here where the cost per KW runs at around 25% more than usual times and they are usually between 4 – 8 p.m at night. The electricity company when quizzed about when peak times are obviously wouldn’t tell us and just specified they turn to peak whenever a lot of electricity is being used at any time of the day. So to that we did our own experiments and worked out it is cheaper to cook before 4 p.m in the evenings. So if we are cooking a roast we get it started early and most of it is cooked during the off peak times. It makes it hard, but through experiment we have worked out the cheapest times ourselves !.

    Going on the average usage we see on our bills per amount of people in households we must have a lot of people with absolutely huge electricity bills here in Australia. It is one of the things that in the financial surveys here that most people are under stress in paying is their electricity bills, with no 1 being mortgage payments, which shocked me at the latest survey being that people are paying on average 39% of their monthly incomes on mortgages here.

  21. Erika, one way I save money on holiday tablecloths, table runners, and other holiday-themed items is by choosing my colors carefully and making sure each can be used interchangeably for different holidays. So I have a couple of different shades of red, yellows, and greens – kind of an overall “Mediterranean theme”. Since these are my favorite colors, separately and mixed, it is not boring for me.

    The reds can be used at Christmas time and n the 4th of July, Flag Day, etc., and even for the kids in the family who like the color red for their birthdays. The yellows that tend toward the golden side can also be used at Christmas time or at Easter. So can the greens. Winter, autumn, spring, and summer holidays are all covered by my three main choices of color, and all I have to do is change out items like candles or Christmas decorations, or pretty vases, teapots, etc. that I already have. I also keep pretty much to the same color schemes whenever I buy kitchen or dining set items, so everything can be switched around for whichever holiday is at hand. Since family knows I prefer these colors, they purchase gift items in these colors.

    I am able to forego purchases of items I might use on only one holiday (I don’t buy items with printed themes on them like poinsettias, snowflakes, etc. -just red, yellow, or green fabrics) and dress them up for the season. It saves so much money and I never run out of ways to change the displays from year to year.

  22. As others have said, I am very happy to be reading Frugal Accomplishments again 🙂

    Was happy to find turkey at $0.79/lb so bought four for the freezer. Also found ham at $1.19/lb but only bought one figuring Christmas might bring lower prices. Made most meals at home, as well as homemade bread. I have been aiming for 2 new recipes a week and so far almost all have been very good. Found a gas station that is selling gas at $1.87/gal so have filled up there when needed. What a wonderful thing to fill the tank for so little. I hope that it stays for a while, I am using the extra money to continue stocking the pantry. I am continuing to have difficulty not overspending my monthly budget for food, that is my area of focus next month. It seems like dieting, I have the best intentions and then a chocolate cookie jumps into my hand (or a cheap turkey crosses my path). 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  23. oh ug! yeah that has alot to do with it – the best thing to do is foam the entire inside walls to keep the cold from moving thru the bricks. NOT cheap at all but would save money over the long haul in heating bills and how comfortable you are in it. (my husband is an energy auditor so he routinely shares all the info on how to save energy with me since I find it so interesting)

  24. H Melissa,
    Good job on keeping the temp down. Our Great Dane used to get cold. We started putting mens T shirts and sweat shirts on him, The first time he was not sure and then he knew it was gong to help him be warm :). I cut the sleeves shorter on the sweat shirt and cut it up the middle to make t easier to get on. Have a happy Thanksgiving
    Patti

  25. * Bought a truckload of ugly leftover unwanted pumpkins for $.10 each. Ended up being 40 total and I almost did not get them all in my car. I have decorated every inch of my house with them. My plan is to can a few at a time since there is too many for us to use before they go bad in the spring. It is hard to walk through the house without kicking one and sending it rolling across the floor. There are 5 that are jack-o-lanterns and won’t taste good so Thanksgiving day we will either have a “punkin’ chunkin’ ” contest or use them for target practice.
    * Made pumpkin pies, muffins, cookies and a smoothies.
    * Trimmed my dog’s fur around his face and paws so as to delay taking him to the groomers. I want to learn how to cut him myself but that has been a disaster so far.
    * Went to a thrift store and bought clothes for my visiting sons so they can try them on over the weekend. If they don’t fit, I will be able to return everything before the return-by date.
    *Most of my Thanksgiving food will be from my summer’s garden: green beans, lima beans, black field peas, sweet potatoes, corn, salsa, blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe. From my fall garden I am harvesting: turnip greens, turnips, cabbage, kale, snow peas, and carrots. I will make a salad from: lettuce, onion greens, celery, Chinese radishes, peppers (saved in refrigerator) and whatever else I find out there. Tea will be from harvested lemon grass.
    * Got the turkey on sale for $.57 a pound when you spend $25.
    * Went to the grocery store and only bought what was on my list. That was VERY hard to do.
    * Kroger’s sale paper arrived today and they will have hamburger meat on sale black Friday weekend for $1.99 a pound. I have been frying up the hamburger meat in my freezer and dehydrating it to make way for the newer meat.
    * Got an email today that my Thanksgiving company will be coming into town tomorrow night (early) so I fixed spaghetti to be ready in the refrigerator when they get here. I may not be home from work and this keeps them from having to eat on the road. I made spaghetti from my canned tomato sauce, used herbs dried from the summer garden to season and fried older hamburger meat from the freezer.
    * Brewed a cup of coffee tonight and put in refrigerator to be ready before work in the morning. That way I won’t be tempted to stop by McDonalds if there is a traffic jam.
    * Fixed my lunch tonight for work tomorrow so I won’t be tempted to eat lunch out while I am running errands. I am so tempted by everything.
    * Followed Brandy’s advice and joined Recycle bank. I earned enough points to get 3 magazine subscriptions! Woo hoo!
    * Took a Kroger survey and earned 50 points toward a gas discount.
    * Cleaned out my clothes closet and gave some things away.
    I do all these things to save money and then forget I have done them. Next week I am going to try and keep a running list and focus more on what I am doing.
    I am new to this website but have already learned quite a bit from everyone’s posts.

  26. Instead of price matching at Walmart, I go to their Savings Catcher website. If you enter your receipt within 7 days, they will check local prices and if anyone is cheaper they will give you the difference. Much easier! In the summer I had over $40 that I used to buy my son’s school uniforms and I already have almost another $12.00.

  27. Did you have problems with him peeing on the shirts? Mine still doesn’t lift his leg at a year and a half (he has bee nuetered) So I am not sure if he ever will.
    Thanks

  28. Wow at the lemons! That is a beautiful sight.
    Depends on how you look at it, but we went camping last weekend. Because I’m disabled and have a special card for some campgrounds, we camped for $18 each night. We took food, but did eat lunch at a local place everyone said we needed to try. And we purchased a peck of apples since we were in apple country for $10. The family time was much needed.
    This weekend my daughter went hiking with her boyfriend before he is deployed (the day before thanksgiving) and checked out a state park pass from our local library so they did not have to pay entrance fees. Again, I packed food for them to save them money.

  29. One of our younger ones did not get the lift your leg thing, so we just made the shirt shorter. Like you see some of the teens wearing. If that makes sense.

  30. Hi Lauren and totally relate to feeling like you are spending so much money at the moment too, it is much the same here.

    Most things I have been waiting to come on special, for example tinned fruits, legs of lamb, whole chickens, and baking items have all been on super special here at the moment too. Our pantry too is overflowing, so much so that I have had to buy some more storage containers (also on super special), to re-organise the pantry and put some more items on top stacked in containers. Just to clarify we are living in a 10 sq m little workers cottage where space is a premium and the only way to store things is to go up and stack.

    I have been so good though and resisted the temptation to go over my usual grocery spend and have been under budget the last 2 fortnights. That is probably because the specials I have picked up are so cheap that I have been able to get multiples of 10 or more of one item at around 35% t0 50% off usual supermarket prices.

  31. Hi Hilogene and so relate to chocolate chip cookies jumping into your hand.

    Here in our home I am well lets just say my grown children call me a reject from a split pin factory, and then there is my husband who as the saying goes smells chocolate and puts on 1kg and battles to keep his weight in check due to injuries. By the way the only reason the children get away with it with me is, that they are now 29 & 28 now and over 6ft tall each, so I will let them get away with a little teasing & fun.

    I do have to say though that the chocolate goodie treat boxes just jump out of the pantry and say cook me every now and again though :).

  32. Dear Miss Brandy and Readers,

    I have not written in a while. Work has been busy and taking care of kids. My daughter faces a new surgery in December. We hope that she will be home by Christmas. The surgery is not as complicated as the last one. Despite the situation, we are trying to continue with the holidays seasons. Money is tight as usual so much not to say on that subject. Personally, I have avoided and not followed a budget as much as I normally have so I am afraid of the damage done. Sigh!

    My frugal accomplishments are:

    One of my favorite frugal finds–free pumpkins
    http://marilynswordsofwisdom.blogspot.com/2015/11/november-2-i-am-thankful.html
    Took a free cooking class
    Made several Christmas decorations–door bell ringers, Christmas activity pocket holder
    Found 4 Christmas scarves at Dollar Tree for a dollar/item (cute)
    Got November bills paid
    Bought many items for pantry on sale
    Have 2 gifts already made from last summer-afghans
    Lowered electric bill
    Attended a Lateran glow Christmas lighting ceremony at a local museum
    I have being say “Happy Thanksgiving to everyone” to feel joy and bring joy
    Served a Thanksgiving Dinner at the local shelter

    I just wanted to say thank you to Miss Brandy for her encouragement and thoughtful posting.

    Bless wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving Season.

    Anna

  33. Painted the laundry room, it hasn’t been repainted in 20+ years and the walls needed a pick me up. Was tempted to toss the roller after using, since it was the 7th time I used the roller painting various rooms through the years, until I remembered I haven’t had to buy a paint roller in 15 years – so I kicked my laziness aside and washed it.
    Went to a church sale and found 2 small shelves I have been wanting for $1. Target had them the cheapest at $40/pair. So glad I held out. I also found a well made cashmere sweater for 50¢. I haven’t felt cashmere this soft.
    Picked salad greens
    I dug/repotted my parsley plant to over winter. Gave it a good trim and have them drying in a sunny room with a recycled paper bag around them (prevents discoloring – going brown or fading as they dry)
    I dug up my dahlia bulbs for the winter and will try over wintering a geranium plant by storing it in the garage. I was curious how yours did.
    Someone was sharing their red Canna bulbs, so I took a few for spring planting.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  34. Sorry for all the errors. I was in a hurry when I wrote the posting.

    Brandy, I am so glad you appear to be feeling better with the flurry of postings. Thank you! 🙂

  35. I have geraniums that are 5+ years old – they always seem to revert to white after several years though. I trim them back and keep them in the coldest area of the house since they’d freeze in my garage. I water them sparingly and they often bloom off and on all winter. Come Spring, I repot them with fresh potting soil and bunny manure and they’re good for another season. I see the same size ones at the greenhouses for $50-$70!!!!

  36. Happy Thanksgiving, to ALL:
    I haven’t added my two cents for awhile so here goes.
    1. Bought ground beef for $1.49 lb! Added 5 pounds to my already full freezer.
    2. I have a new neighbor and brought them homemade salsa & chips as a welcome gift. A few days later he showed up with 5 lbs of cheddar/Colby cheese from his work. They get the overages!! I grated it and froze 2 cup packages.
    3. My much loved sis-in-heart went to LA with friends and went to a few TV tapings. She got an Amazon gift card of $150., a queen air mattress and a Hot Pot electric pressure cooker. She gave ME the Hot Pot!! So excited as I had been pricing the same thing on line not 5 days earlier. LOVE IT!
    4. My same new neighbor brought over a pan of BBQ pulled pork. 5 lbs worth! I defrosted it, cooked it up and we ate it for two meals and then I made pulled pork sandwiches for the freezer.
    5. My garden was very accommodating this year! I processed string beans, chard, peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, plums, chili peppers, cukes, parsley, basil, chives, sage, oregano and strawberries. My new neighbors were thrilled with all the fresh goodies I passed over the fence.
    6. I bought a new car a few months ago. I work for the newspaper and drive all morning. I also sit in my car from 3am until 5am with the motor running to keep from freezing! I get paid mileage and that amount pays my car payment, insurance and gas. I get almost 10 miles a gallon more than my old car, 13 years old, 193,000 miles. It is so nice to not worry about breaking down.
    7. My new car payment is through a credit union here in town. I paid off a Visa bill at my old credit union in CA and had those automatic deposits sent to the new cu. I also had my approx. mileage amount deposited to the new account. When the car payment, insurance comes due the money is sitting there and I don’t have to worry about it. The funny thing is, I STILL figure those payments in my budget, as if they are coming out of my pay.
    So much more but it’s time to get busy.
    Brandy, glad to know you are healing, even if it is slowly.

  37. Good for you! I, too, am trying new things. (Closer to 60 than i care to admit.) It’s important to stretch the brain. Knowledge is power!

  38. Hello Marvienne!
    I always enjoy reading your frugal accomplishments. My mother is the only other person I have ever heard use the term “dregs”! It made me smile.
    Heather

  39. Foam and caulk the rim joist (where the house sits on the foundation)
    insulation levels in the attic and NOT fiberglass – cellulose or better yet – foam
    Cellulose or foam the walls
    and the biggest thing?
    AIR SEALING. Insulation levels will do NOTHING to stop the air flowing and air always wants to move from hot to cold or cold to hot (which means your money is flowing out the gaps). Most older homes do NOT need new windows unless the windows no longer seal. The plastic works great on the leaky windows but where he has found most windows leak is around the trim and where the window meets the house – even new windows are often not caulked in these areas. If you have wood floors – the area between the trim and the floor and wall allows air to flow up from underneath. Also, many older homes will leak where the upper trim on a wall meets the ceiling since the drywall would not necessarily have been sealed there if the trim would cover it. Door “snakes” help with gaps at the bottom but storm doors can do wonders to stop air flow as well. Walk around with a smokey candle – it will give you a rough idea of where the air leaks are.
    And check for “chase ways” – areas where there is an opening from say the basement to the attic (that’s where ours is) and do something to seal them. Some homeowners strapped for cash have stuffed holes with towels and duct taped it (yep – it’s a little red-neck but it works)
    And if you have fuel oil or propane for heat – he recommends a wood stove or pellet stove because it will come out cheaper than what the fuel costs (at least in our area that is how it works out)
    In Michigan, there are rebates for getting some of the work done – the problem with it is you often are required to have an energy audit to get an initial reading and then another test out to prove that there is improvement. And most now require a contractor to do the big stuff (insulation) but the homeowner can do the air sealing. He has had homeowners routinely get a 30% reduction in air flow in older homes and most have said the difference in their bills was good but the difference in how comfortable they were in the home was incredible.
    Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll ask him for more clarification.

  40. That lemon tree looks amazing! Our garden is covered in snow- so sad. I don’t know if it gets cold enough to be worth it where you are but here we use Duck plastic window film in the winter time. It really helps keep drafts out and lowers our heating cost.

  41. Becky, I need to check your blog…I saw it once but I should subscribe ( if possible?) so that I get a notice of a post.

    I don’t know if you remember but I mentioned a family at church that had become guardians of her 5 young nephews? (Grand-nephews?) That was about a year ago now and what a change. The boys no longer seem fearful and wary…the older two have stopped sleeping in the room with the younger ones. They are in our school and catching up educationally. The father will hopefully never be out of prison, or at least never should be for the things he did. There was hope for the mother, the niece of the mother in the family, but apparently there have been setbacks in her rehabilitation. The twin daughters of the family who had been in college in Minnesota transferred back to the local U because they did not want to miss out on all the happenings with their “new family”.

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