Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I enjoyed lemons from the garden.

I cut Swiss chard, beet greens, two kinds of chives and thyme from the garden.

I collected water from the shower while waiting for it to warm up and used it to water potted plants. 

washed windows for next to nothing.

I made Christmas gifts with materials I had on hand.

I listened to music for free on Pandora, including Christmas music.

Red Toile Pillows The Prudent Homemaker

I sewed three new pillows and covers for the living room, stuffing them with old bed pillows that I washed, dried, and then cut to size. The fabric for the covers and the the pillows was purchased for 50% off. 

Kitchen Stove The Prudent Homemaker

I sewed and embroidered a hand towel for the kitchen. The fabric (kitchen toweling from Joann’s) was purchased at 50% off.

I printed free Christmas sheet music for the piano from here and here.

I downloaded free worksheets from Education.com (you can download ten a month for free).

I used a 40% off coupon to purchase a Christmas gift for a child.

I redeemed Swagbucks for two gift cards. 

I made some new Christmas decorations using cardstock, a star punch, and the sewing machine.

I made yogurt and banana bread.

What did you do to save money last week?

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57 Comments

  1. You have such a gorgeous house! It all looks so elegant and you are a great photographer! Always enjoy to read your posts.

  2. Beautiful home. Frugal accomplishments have not been many this week. Had to pay almost 400.00 for a truck repair but because I have been stocking up in food and tolietries, I was able to buy the minimum and we will be fine for the next couple of weeks. My husband switched jobs a couple of months ago and no longer needed the cell phone that he had so switched to a different phone and got 2 GB of data for free for as long as we keep the plan we have. I bought ground beef on sale for 1.98 a pound again this week and chicken legs and thighs were .68 a pound so bought about ten pounds of chicken for the freezer. So a few accomplishments. Have a blessed week.

  3. Do you use Bing rewards for gift cards? It is so easy! You can’t score lots of points like Swagbucks, but its still my favorite for how quickly you can get your daily points.

  4. Bottled turkey broth. Made tomato soup from the ripe tomatoes in the ripening bowls.

    Dehydrated more of the box of “seconds” of Jonathan apples. I have filled 2 half gallon jars, plus a little, thus far & still have more apples to go.

    Took down the Thanksgiving decorations on the 30th of November & put up the Christmas wreaths & candle rings. Put up the skinny tree downstairs. The light strings for that tree, as well as those for the tree that usually goes in the library, refused to light. I had an extra set of 100 lights, bought several years ago on clearance, so I used that strand for the family room tree. Unless I find another set of lights in storage, I will skip putting up the library tree this year.

    Set out the yard display on Wednesday. My yard becomes “the same country” – as in “And there were in the same country, shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night”, until the angels appear. We have 2 shepherd, 10 sheep & 5 angels, but the front yard is small, so the display looks larger. Since only the sheep & the angels light up, using 4 watt light bulbs, the entire display costs less than a 75 watt bulb to run.

    Bought a set of mini-blinds for our master bedroom window. This is the only window that has not been changed over to the aluminum from the faded & warped vinyl. My husband asked for new blinds for this window for a Christmas present, so I ordered them on Cyber Monday, & got 40% off plus free shipping. I also ordered another present for him, a wool blend throw, for 30% off. My Christmas shopping is now completed. I am late this year – I prefer to be done by the end of October. Over the years, I have found that the prices are just as low from Sept-Nov, the stock in the stores is better quality and there is more of it, & there are not nearly as many people in the stores. The throw I ordered for my husband is now out of stock.

    Went to Deseret Industries to check for a Snow College t-shirt or sweatshirt for my oldest DGD, who thinks that is where she wants to go to school. I found a size XXL sweatshirt (she wears a size M), but it will work anyway, because I am going to make a slipcover for a Christmas pillow for her birthday from it. I also found some BYU & USU t-shirts in perfect shape for $2 each, that will be extra presents for my grandchildren. For $1, I also brought home a Florence Hansen classic statue – the one of the mother, seated with a book in her lap & her left arm around her daughter, who has a violin under her arm. I have wanted that statue for years, back when they were popular, but never had the insane amount of money that they cost to spend on it. For a dollar, I decided I still wanted it, as it reminds me of our daughter who plays the violin. I also brought home 2 mugs in the Christmas Charm pattern that matches my Christmas dishes, for 50 cents each. It was a good trip in all.

  5. Love the print you used for the pillows. It makes quite a nice contrast and just pops against the couch cover. Your choice of fabrics is really wonderful. Like your decorating–I don’t quite have the knack that you do, however, I have filled our house with souvenirs of various trips we’ve taken, so it’s full of memories. We have enjoyed traveling during our whole marriage, and started vacationing with children when they were about 4 and 5, and also took our granddaughter on a few trips when she was old enough. My daughter and grand-daughter both have the knack for interior decorating–and for photography–which I also seem to lack!! Luckily I have enlarged a few of their photos for my own house!! We are all different, after all. I have other talents.

  6. What a great idea, to cut down bed pillows to the size needed! I’d like to remember that tip. I love Pandora, and have a few different stations, depending on my mood. I expect I’ll soon begin listening to my holiday stations too, which I typically do when I write cards and wrap presents. You reminded me I also cashed in swagbucks for a gift card last week. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/12/late-fall-color-frugal-accomplishments.html

  7. My frugal accomplishments have not been as many as I would have liked. I did stick to my no spend week except for the co-pay to the doctor for day surgery on my foot. I got some sewing done, made our dinners from things in my freezer and pantry. I cut a coupon for Joann’s that I plan to use to buy some fabric for my grand daughter. She is sewing now, and loves flowers. I found some beautiful fabric for her. I used my coupon and a gift card I had to ‘buy’ it in my no spend week.
    Made appointments for eye exams, physicals, and dentist for last week of Dec. We (husband and I) are both not working the last week of this month. So we are getting all our doctor appointments done in the week.
    Washed dog blankets, dog bed covers, hung to dry outside as our weather has been beautiful. High in the 50’s or low 60’s….I am going to wash the bed blankets this week. (we have not used them yet, but we will need them soon) I will hang them outside to dry.

  8. Hello Brandy and all from Australia :). Brandy and love the new pillow covers you have sewn, the fabrics and colours are so rich. Not to mention the clever use of the used bed pillows to stuff them with.

    Not so many frugals this week as we have mainly been concentrating on cleaning up the mess in the vegetable garden that the hail storm damaged. Have been assessing plants to see what does need to be replanted so will head out this afternoon and plant some more corn, beans, stake some tomatoes and things.

    Here are our frugals for the week –
    Gardening –
    Earnings from selling vegetables in the garden $10.10

    Craft online sewing business –
    – Sold 1 eye mask and made $10.80 profit.

    Water preservation –
    – Used water from washing machine & showers to water in new grass seed planted in back yard all week saving on the use of town water.

    Financials –
    – Banked more money towards our farm we are going to purchase with cash, we are currently saving 40% of our total income.
    – Discussed with husband and we decided to change our bank accounts and open another so we could put the larger amount of savings in a higher interest savings account and leave a smaller amount for emergencies in the other. We will earn .55% more interest in the one we opened and on current interest rates (rather pathetic at the moment), we worked out we would earn an extra $120 in interest per year on what money we have currently got in the bank account.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week everyone :).

  9. Ahhh..is that a kitchen aid stove plus fan I see in your gorgeous kitchen…. Wow Brandy you really spent wisely…
    Not very frugal at all here at the close of the year…my husband went by himself on a week long vacation to india to visit his widow mom n his brother….while he was away my children fell sick Thanksgiving night and all week long they were recuperating but its tough..the day before my hubby comes back home our fridge died in the middle of the night…I had to loose $150 worth of food to garbage…not much I could do by myself with a 7 y.o n a toddler… We bought a new fridge from Best buy which really offers best price thus season as they price match n borrowed coolers from friends for some necessities like milk,etc.
    First night with coolers one of them leaked all over our wood floors and spoilt it…we will have to replace next year as funds are low.I was real upset as our kitchen was recently revamped from scratch this past July.Brand new floors. Huge chunk of savings put into the house which we lacked a choice in not doing.Before all this happens i make an investment in the kitchenaid artisan mixer from kohls since i also want to earn their rewards cash as well. I willbe cancelling that now n postponing the purchase. it’s just been a bad run of misfortunes one after another…forcing myself to choose to be joyful about the things that we do have and trying to be joyful about any service that we give to our community but its super hard… Be joyful anyway….

  10. I agree with the above statement, your home is so elegant and beautiful! Those new pillows are so pretty.
    Last week:
    I made more liquid soap nuts to clean with and more powdered laundry soap. I ran out of soap slivers to make the laundry soap with so will use soap nuts when this batch is gone until I have enough saved to make more. I continue to save citrus peels in the freezer and will make another batch of citrus vinegar when I have enough. I continue to do my daily cleaning ritual (1950’s-esque 🙂 ) and complete one big deep cleaning chore 5 days per week as well. The house is so clean now and really looking nice. I love it. We also continue to wait to hear if my husband is going to get this job. They contacted him again so at least we know he is still in the running.

    I was able to spend $40 on some really great sales prices and purchased milk for .98 (limit 1) and 1.98 (limit 1), flour and sugar for less than 1.50 for 5 pounds, butter for 1.99 a pound, ground pork and ground chicken, my husbands beloved mountain dew for 5.00 for the 20 pk cans, and other food stuffs.

    Gas was 1.79 a gallon so I filled up the car. Other than taking and picking up our daughter from school (it’s too cold to walk) and the one grocery store outing I have stayed home. My husband took our daughter to a park yesterday ( it was nice out) to spend time with her and give mommy a break.

    We cooked all meals from scratch and ate at home. My husband made some pink lemonade cookies from a mix that someone gave us awhile ago that was in our pantry. I have made a cheesy chicken and rice casserole, ground chicken burgers with homemade French fries, a pork loin roast with potatoes and carrots. We typically have leftovers for lunch and oatmeal, toast, or homemade yogurt with homemade granola for breakfast.

    I froze the leftover turkey so it wouldn’t go bad before we could eat it all. I did the same thing with some other leftovers.

    My stainless steel safety razor fell off the shower ledge and broke. It is not repairable 🙁 I had some crappy disposables in my stockpile that I am using instead until I can afford to purchase another safety razor. I had it for three years. The manufacturer has no type of guarantee, I looked.

    I will start making the Christmas presents this week. I will have to purchase a few items but these will be inexpensive.

    My husband found the tub of boots we saved for our daughter someone gave us. We found 3 pairs that fit her so we didn’t have to buy any!

    Have a great week everyone!

  11. I love the first photo Brandy. My mom used to sew our own throws and pillows (and everything for that matter) as well (She was a seamstress).
    Now that I returned from my trip to Poland and since it is just 2 weeks before my another Holiday trip, I am staying as frugal as I literally can. I know that we will spend quite a bit when we travel later this month so every penny counts.
    My weekly update is here:
    http://www.brooklynbasedgirlfriend.com/last-weeks-frugal-accomplishments-22/

    Stay frugal, Ladies. And Happy Holidays!

  12. This is for two weeks. I went to the Joann black Friday sale and bought flannel to make infinity scarfs for Christmas presents. I also bought fleece to make a blanket and poncho. Saved a lot of money.

    On Saturday we drove 3 hours to Mississippi to visit my sister, my mother (she was visiting also), my niece and her family. We were able to get .10 off gas and did not use a full tank. My mother gave me some grapefruit from my aunt’s tree, some oranges from a friend’s tree and some tangerines from a neighbor’s tree. We are trying to eat them up before they go bad. I was able to deliver presents to them. And, I was also able to have my mother take presents back with her for my other sister who will be visiting my mother for Christmas and for my best friend and her family who lives near my mother. This has saved me a ton of money off shipping. My family and friends are scattered.

    I have been stocking up on presents for years. About 3 years ago I caught a sale at Family Christian store for 90% off and I stocked up! So this year when I have needed a present for tutors or friends I have gone to my present box first to pick out presents. I have finally given away all the items I bought 3 years ago.

    My son who is 17 sustained a concussion on 26 June. After 6 weeks of going back and forth to the Dr. we thought he was well. We found out when we started school that he was not over his concussion. He is having difficulties with math and chemistry when before it came easy to him. After a trip to the concussion neurologist in another city 100 miles away we now have OT and vision therapy each week. Thank the Lord we can do both therapies in town. He also suffers from anxiety attacks which we go to a counselor. This leads to 4 hours of therapy a week. Vision therapy is not covered by insurance and counseling is partly covered plus all the driving miles leads to a lot of money spent. I have been diligent on bring school work (we home school) and snacks with us. Now our dog has torn her ACL and she needs therapy. So we have a lot of money going out.

    My husband has a very good job. He is a military defense contractor. Well, we went to his company’s Christmas party this past Friday night. It was a dinner and a casino night. This is the 4th year they have had this type of party. We are given 20,000 dollars of gambling chips. We gamble for a few hours. Then at the end of the evening for every 10,000 dollars chips we get a ticket which we put into buckets for prizes. The company buys great prizes. This year some of the prizes were an I robot, 2 weekend getaways, 2 sets of airline tickets, a Fitbit, a 55″ TV and a Star Wars Limited Edition Playstation 4 with a limited Edition Game. We won the Playstation 4. My son was thrilled. He wanted one but did not want to ask for one because he knows how much money we are spending on his medical bills. I was happy to give it to him. In the past years we have won a 37″ tv and a Kitchenaid. Plus, the same year we won the tv the company gave everyone an iPad 2 (that was the only way we could afford one).

    This pay period we have more money going out than coming in. I am thankful that I have a stocked pantry that has enabled me to put more money in our savings/emergency fund.

    Brandy, thank you for all you do. I get so many frugal ideas from your site.

  13. I was able to buy (3) 4-1/2 quart crockpots online from Kohl’s and after sale price, rebates on each one, Kohl’s cash and yes2rewards, I made about $3 per crockpot!!! I am using these to give with a meal inside to 3 different families in our congregation (2 single adults & 1 couple) who have been overwhelmed with health challenges! Our Relief Society (ladies group at church) are making ahead several freezer crockpot meals tomorrow night that we will make and take to them that should easily last the month!

    I just bought my youngest son a $200 winter jacket that he desperately needs for our cold Ohio winter and a pair of polar fleece pj pants(normally $24!) and after my Kohl’s cash, 25% off, yestoyourewards and ebates and Kohl’s cash back, I spent $51! This was a very good jacket that can be used 3 ways and will last him for several years!

    I found fresh green beans marked down to 49 cents/lb and so I bought them and for the just under $4 got 11 quarts pressure canned! That would be like 20 cents/can of commercially canned beans in store plus I pack my quart jars really full!!! The day that I found them at the store, I was shopping for funeral luncheon food and a church Christmas dinner that I was in charge of both happening the very next day! But, there were the beans!!! It meant organizing my time a little differently to make it all happen, but isn’t that the way essings come sometimes- as opportunities that take some extra effort on our part at sometimes incoveninient times?!!

    I just completed a Christmas quilt table over for one of my daughters-in-law who loves to decorate for the holidays and I am thrilled with how it came out!! Totally used my stash of Christmas fabrics without having to buy anything! I’m down to the last 9 people for Christmas gifts (our children,their spouses and our grandchildren total 51 people!) Ideas are coming fast and furious now for the remaining ones so I anticipate that by next Monday, I will be finished!!

    We replaced 2 of our 3 furnaces a month ago (we live in a really large 3 story 125+ year old Victorian house ) with 95% efficiency ones. Nine days after the first one was installed, our electric bill for that wing of the house (we have 3 separate meters) was down by $18, with no other changes in electric useage or weather! Plus, I did a lot of pressure canning on my stovetop during that time!! The fan motor had been running continuously and our electric bill had almost tripled until we turned the furnace off completely which is how we knew it was time to replace it! We just got our gas bill for the full month with the 2 new furnaces and it is down almost 50% over last year at this time, while the outside temps were within 2 degrees of each other! The furnaces are running less but with much warmer air heating the house and keeping it warmer than I’ve allowed us to have for several years! Hubby is quite pleased!!! Best $3000 we ever spent!!
    Found out that I can order boneless pork tenderloins by the case (around 40 lbs) from SAMs Club for $1.15/b which is well under my price point which has been $1.50/lb! Our local adult kids and I will buy several cases for their families and our, use my electronic slicer to cut some into roasts and chops and cut the rest into chunks and pressure can it into pint jars for easy to make dinner ingredients that are shelf stable! I keep it right next to my home canned Sweet and Sour Sauce for an “instant” dinner! What a blessing!!! With that in mind, I just bought a 2nd rack for my pressure canner so I will be able to can 14 pints in one batch, cutting my canning time in half!!!! It cost me about $7.50 on Amazon for the rack!! Definitely worth it!!

    Was able to share some of my fabric stash with family and friends so they could save some money. Always grateful to see my stash being rotated out as finished items or gifts of fabric to others who can use it! The interesting thing is that the more I rotate out this way, the more my stash increase without my buying any more! 2 friends at separate times and places from each other told me that they were going to be sending more fabric my way because they weren’t using it and thought I would “put it to good use”! That’s how I’ve been able to donate over 60 quilts every year to various people and organizations without a budget outlay!!

    We are refinancing our last 4 debts through a very small mortgage on our home and with the 3.78% APR for a 15 year fixed rate, we will cut over $350 a month from what we are currently paying to pay off our last debts and will be able to have this mortgage paid in full in less than 5 years! We feel like this will be a real blessing to us! We will have a $300/month mortgage payment but will add the additional $350/month savings as extra principal payments each month! This will also give us a lump some chunk to put immediately into our savings.

    Life has been so good to us! So much to be grateful for every day! Hope all of you are receiving blessings of peace and comfort especially during this time of the year!

  14. Beautiful living room and tree! So simple and elegant!

    This week, we got shocked at Target (a Super Target) and fully stocked up. We went in because we were out of toothpaste. On the way out, I asked my husband to stop by the meat and produce just to see if there were any good sales. There never is any but I thought what the hay. Butterball and Market Pantry turkeys (smoked and regular) were $.30 a pound. I bought one smoked and one regular. That was all I could fit in my freezer or I would have gotten more. Then we went to the produce. Fancy grape 3 pound bags with two types of grapes were $1.50 a bag. Halo clementines were $2 for a 5 pound box (got 2). Lastly, apples (almost every variety) were $.37 – $.42 a pound! I usually don’t buy as much as you because we have a family of 3 but my fridge is officially full. I plan to make applesauce and a pie with the apples (although there were some interesting varieties we never get so we are enjoying some first). The oranges and grapes we will eat. All of these were marked “clearance” so it’s not their weekly prices.

    I downloaded and printed several Christmas piano pieces off the site you gave me and have been practicing them. I just saw that the other site you listed above has oboe music so I will check that out too! (I have a degree in oboe). Thanks!

    Cleaned out my nightstand and found a word search book, easy crossword book, and sudoku book from ions ago. My knee is broken so I can’t walk too much and have to find things to do. Speaking of, I mended my leg brace. It was unraveling and workers comp won’t buy me a new one. I have 2-3 weeks left so I got some heavy duty thread and went to work.

    Watched a few movies on Amazon Prime (Prime was gifted to us) and pulled out some old Dvd’s to watch this week.

    That’s about it. Have a great week!

  15. I wanted some large square Eurosham pillows and found that if I put two bed pillows together I would have just about the right shape. I made an envelope cushion cover for them, and if we have guests I can just pop them out of the cushion cover and put pillow cases on them.

  16. I’m amazed that you are able to keep your home so neat with a lot of young children running around. Just beautiful.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the deals and using coupons/rebates whenever I can. This week I found cereal for $0.25 a box, free tic tacs, free nivea lip balm, free advil, and $0.50 pasta. My favorite deal was getting a coffee from Panera for only $0.09! I had a $2.00 mobile coupon good for any order so I only had to pay the tax. All of my transactions with pics can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-120515/

  17. I’ve always loved the french toile pattern as well, Brandy. Love those throw pillows! By the way, I also loved the paper star decoration you made. Very pretty!

    This week my husband came home from work with some startling news. He was informed that he will be laid off for 3 months this winter, starting right before Christmas. This is the first time ever since he started working there 14-15 years ago. In a way this is may be good news. He currently travels 3 hours total each day he works, which costs over $300 each month in gas, so we won’t have to pay that while he is off. Because it is a lay off, he can receive employment insurance, so he still will have an income. Also, the time off will allow him to look for a job closer to home, and possibly do some training. If he can’t find what he is looking for, there is still a job for him in 3 months. Although it is most likely a good thing, I am still apprehensive. After having gone through serious money issues in the past, the thought of both of us not working makes me feel panicky! I’m crossing my fingers that this really does turn out to be a good thing for us. Anyways, here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:

    *I trimmed my own hair bangs, so now I can see again with no cost OOP!

    *Meals at home this week included a leftover’s night (there was lots of whining about this, but I made them do it), homemade chicken souvlaki with rice and Greek salad, tacos, perogies, chicken strips with baked potato and corn, and tried a new recipe I found on pinterest, chicken bacon ranch pasta, which was very good (my daughter asked for seconds, which is rare these days). I took a bagged lunch with me when I worked during the day, and I made a chicken strip wrap to take with me on Saturday night for my dinner as I had to work that evening.

    *Continued to work on homemade Christmas gifts.
    -I printed off a pretty pattern (http://www.atopserenityhill.com/2014/02/28/free-watercolor-doodle-printable/) onto the blank back of a black poke-a-dot patterned card stock paper (bought a few years ago at Michaels), cut them into strips, punched a hole in the top and attached a tassel (bought at Dollarama, $1.25/ pack of 12 tassels) to make beautiful double sided bookmarks.
    -I embroidered a tea towel to pair up with a jar of homemade cinnamon rhubarb jam for my daughter’s school principal (she has been quite active with setting up supports for my daughter this year).
    -I finally found the cardboard coin holders I knew I had and used them to seal up the four leaf clovers that my daughter and I picked last summer from our yard (I ironed them between wax paper to preserve them). I was able to make 10 in total. I plan on including these in some of the Christmas gifts thereby giving the gift of “Good Luck”!
    -I finished sewing the embroidered throw pillow for my daughter.
    -I sewed 2 more infinity scarves out of fabric I bought on clearance a while ago, one for my daughter and one for my aunt.

    *I received a $20 grocery store gift card from my work as their employee Christmas gift. They give these out in lieu of a turkey. I was so thrilled to receive it as I had forgotten they did this. I will use the gift card to stock up my pantry with sale items!

    *For the past couple weeks, Sirius radio was offering access to their satellite radio service for free. We took advantage of listen to music with no advertisements whenever we were traveling in our vehicles that have Sirius radio option while we could (including our long drive to my recheck appointment in Toronto last week).

    *Worked three days this week (2 with school Christmas program and 1 at special event), plus some extra time to help the staff get ready for the Christmas by Candlelight event this past weekend.

    *My husband thought his car’s wheel bearings needed to be replaced. When he took it in, the mechanic said it was his tires cupping (whatever that is). The tires were under a year old, so he took the car back to where he bought them and they replaced them under the warranty. He only paid $200 instead of much more expensive fix…yay!!!

    That’s about it for this week. Looking forward to reading everyones frugal accomplishments, as always!! Have a wonderful week everyone!:D

  18. Found 5 lb of sugar for 99 cents
    have 39 package of vension (Hubby got a deer and he cut it up and I package and grind the meat)

  19. It was a weird week. We were ecstatic to recieve our lowest electricity bill to date. Over ten dollars less than last month. We found some good sales on amazon for Christmas. The older children helped ( hindered? ) me to make their aunt’s birthday cake. She was delighted and it cost us very little, I had the dye and the fancy pink sugar already, I only needed to get confectioners sugar and cake flour. I am STILL cleaning sugar out of the dining room haaa. We found her birthday gift on sale. I baked a ham I bought on sale before Thanksgiving. It pales next to totaling our car last night. We are all fine, but the car is probably ruined and we are going to make the best of it. We’re not going to buy a second car right away, though it will be miserable and mean all of us being in the car for maybe three hours a day. Still cheaper than buying another car before we are ready though it is a shame for the children. We told them it will be a fun way to spend more time with Daddy. Hopefully we will be able to move within six months and then we won’t need a second car.

  20. Found Surejel boxes for $1.29 instead of $5.99. Am gifting them to a friend who makes jellies and jams to see to augment her stay at home mom of five income – making jams/jellies and preserves to sell during the farmer’s market season.
    Had found a Hanukah snow globe last year for $5.99 (marked $29.99) for a friend’s 4 year old son’s Hanukah gift. Bought ½ off Hanukah cookie cutters at Hobby Lobby for a family gift – to be put with sugar cookie dough.
    Except for picking up Chinese/Vietnamese food one night cooked all meals at home. What I bought ended up being four meals for us – I just finished the last of the Pho soup today for lunch. I stopped to pick it up when I spent what seemed like hours on Friday afternoon doing errands and shopping and knew that I hadn’t prepared anything for dinner and knew it was going to end up being pizza takeout. Yesterday I had forgotten to get anything out for dinner so defrosted a roast and cooked it in the oven. Cooked the last of the butternut squash as well as braised Brussel sprouts while the oven was on. It will be leftovers for several meals.
    I came down with the head cold that is going around. I was so happy that my stockpile of OTC meds served me well. Now my SO has the same crud (as does what seems like half the people we know) and we still have stuff. I’ve found that when I stop at the pharmacy we use (Kaiser) they have OTC meds for a very reasonable cost. Also had the chicken soup in the freezer and deeply discounted ginger ale in the small fridge in the garage. When I am sick I really don’t want to cook. I can usually talk myself into taking care of other household chores but cooking is last on my list. If left to my SO it would be spaghetti and meatballs every time and that is not my idea of ‘sick’ food :>).
    I am a member of our local library’s ‘friend of the library’ group. They had a one day early for members sale on Thursday (big sale is on Friday and Saturday and you literally can’t get in the door) and I was able to run over there on lunch break. I am gifting everyone I know with books – from my own collection that I am winnowing down, from books bought this year on deep discount and this sale. Brandy has inspired me to think creatively about wrapping so I am using brown craft paper. For the ‘decoration’ I am using the old style black photo corners to hold postcards I’ve gathered over the years from my travels. The person will have the post-card and I can write a note on the back.
    King Soopers (a Kroger) had sugar for 99 cents for four pound bags so I stocked up on a few of those. We don’t use much sugar and I already had 25 pounds left. I’m waiting for butter to go on sale again. I’ve decided that as little butter that we use for bread, etc. I’d prefer to use real butter versus margarine. Found hams for 99 cents a pound which is going to be as low as they go. Bought one for the freezer and will get another now that I know I have room. Am wondering if turkey prices are ever going to go lower. As others have stated they haven’t had the sales as in past years.
    BIG frugal fail. A friend had posted a recipe on FB for a burrito casserole. I had all the ingredients on hand and despite my better judgement about the amount of sour cream called for (only 4 oz.) I made it. Yuck – dry and tasteless. Couldn’t even figure out a way to doctor it enough to make it palatable. I really hate throwing food out.
    The department I work in coordinates new hire training and they always have big bowls of fruit for the attendees. What isn’t eaten is brought back to the fridge we share with another department. No one eats it! So (with permission of course) I have been taking it home about every six weeks. This time I brought home a dozen apples and a half dozen oranges. The apples I usually cook as they are delicious (that aren’t) and granny smith. The oranges are lovely – I bring those for lunch. I was told that the fridge will need to be cleaned out before the Christmas holiday week and to take home all that I want. I think I will be making fruit salad for the holidays. I would anticipate that there will be a couple dozen apples and at least a dozen oranges by the end of the month. And it would all be tossed out!

  21. We only purchased milk and paper towels last week (with a puppy, paper towels are a necessity – I can’t wait for the potty training stage to be done!) at the grocery store and the flour and sugar from the restaurant supply store which had better prices even over the sale prices at Meijers.
    Hubby used his speedy rewards points for drinks while we were out and about.
    I purchased one more Christmas book on Amazon and waiting saved me an extra 10 dollars! Shipping was free.
    My husband found our daughter a new phone (refurbished) that worked with her current plan – her’s was no longer keeping a charge and she uses it for work and school. It is a text only plan which she pays for herself. She can call if it’s an emergency but it is much cheaper to keep it as a text only plan.
    Started apple “cider” vinegar from apple peels and cores I had left from making applesauce.
    Bathed the puppy at work.
    Not much else – I am really battling the depression portion of my illness right now so just getting out of bed and getting dressed is an accomplishment some days.

  22. I will echo others’ comments- your home is beautiful! Our biggest frugal news is that after much discussion for over 2 years my husband finally got rid of our cable tv! He purchased an antennae and installed it himself- it gets 50 channels or so and we added Slingtv which costs $20 per month (but he gets ESPN, ESPN2, History Channel, CNN, and FoodNetwork as well as several other channels. We got 3 Rokus and installed them so we can easily access Amazon Prime, Hulu, Slingtv, and Netflix as well as several free apps. We are saving over $100 per month- this is a major change for us- I have been trying to get my husband to agree for at least 2 years. I know we still have a lot more tv than we need but this is a big improvement for us and I am pleased he finally agreed.
    I am working on a knit Christmas present and hopefully I will complete it and make a couple of more. I have a few other things I plan to do and will mostly be using things I have on hand. I attended a craft fair with my Mother this past weekend and purchased $5 in raffle tickets and yesterday I received a call that I had won the raffle! There were many items on the table-everything is included in the raffle so tomorrow when I pick up the items, I can decide what items to keep and what items are Christmas presents. My parents and MIL’s big present will be senior pictures of my daughter- I was fortunate to have my best friend’s daughter take them for a very reasonable price-she is just starting her photography business.
    We are continuing to work on eating items from our food storage and freezer so I don’t expect to spend much on groceries for the rest of the month. Christmas dinner will come out of our freezer- we have a large pork tenderloin and a spiral ham and I will decide which to use for Christmas dinner.
    My husband saved my mother quite a bit of money on a new furnace and water heater through the company he works for (Lowes)- this isn’t our frugal savings necessarily but it is still awesome. She had gotten a bid from a local HVAC company and my husband did a competitive quote which saved her $3000 plus he installed the water heater himself which saved her even more. She is happy to have a new efficient furnace that she can rely on because our weather in Boise has been very cold of late.

  23. For the past several weeks have been thinking that our electric hot water heater is dying. All of a sudden we only had hot water for about 5 minutes at a time and sulfur smelling water. We have an 80 gallon tank so a replacement would be $600-$800.

    After watching lots and lots of you tube videos we decided to descale the water heater and check to see if the parts were in working order. (Did you know you are supposed to descale every year to extend the life of your hot water heater?). We have been in our house 2 years and never descaled so we figured it needed a good cleaning.

    After draining out all the water, we determined that one of the heating element was broken and the other had so much scale on it could not have been effective. We also determined that we needed a new anode rod. This rod is made of a softer metal so that it breaks down before your take. In well water the rod can attach bacteria (unharmful) that produce sulfur as a by produce. If you have an aluminum or magnesium rod then you just need to replace it with zinc. I then vacuumed out all of the scale in the bottom of the tank so that it could run more efficiently.

    To make all of these fixes it was only $80! I cannot imagine how many people go out an buy a whole new tank when it is just the heating elements and anode rod that need to be fixed! I hope this information helps someone save some money one day.

  24. Hi Holly and yes totally agree on descaling the hot water system and putting in a new anode rod too, saves you a heap of money.

    We live in a rental property and were outside gardening ( I was weeding under the house at the time) and heard a hissing sound that sounded very much like a snake to me, so I gently and quietly backed out from under the house. We live in Australia so hearing a snake sound can usually mean at this time of year a poisonous brown snake, red bellied black snake or in general not a nice friendly snake experience, the brown snakes during mating season when they attack can jump knee height to attack you by the way. All the more reason to wear leg chaps that go to your thighs in height made of Kevlar or a good pair of long gum boots to stop them actually getting to your legs. The electricity line workers are supplied these under work place health and safety standard work equipment.

    Fortunately it was the hot water system spurting everywhere as it had blown. The electrician who came out to replace the hot water system said to us that if you get an electrician to check the anode rod every 3 years and replace it when necessary it saves you most times ever buying a new hot water system. So he emphasised regular maintenance too.

    I hope this helps and saves a lot of you money as well.

  25. Lovely home! I do hope you get to sit and enjoy looking out that window!

    A friend of mine gave me a her old rain coat in my (favorite color), which was awesome timing since mine got an ugly black stain on it that wouldn’t budge. I took my old coat and turned it into a tote/grocery bag, using the belt for the straps. The way the pattern was cut, the stain is not visible.

    I embroidered a snowflake ornament in memory of my family member who passed. She was one of a kind. I used one strand of regular dmc floss and one strand in metallic matching thread, so it has a sparkle. All from my stash.

    Collected a large bag of lettuce greens, beets and radishes fro my garden. There is still plenty of lettuce growing, I am hoping with the “milder” late fall temps we keep having, this will continue.

    I baked a vegan chocolate cake for a vegan friends bday, using what was on hand. Happy it was very rich and delicious, and used less ingredients.

    Found a full Leslie Sansone workout on YouTube (usually they are not the full workout) this was a great change in my routine.

    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  26. 1. Enjoyed free breakfast and lunch provided by my employer. We had an event on Friday and I worked it so meals were on them.
    2. Turned in a game piece at McDonald’s for a free small coffee. They gave me a large by mistake. When I told them this they let me keep it because they would have to throw away the large cup and waste the leftover coffee anyways. Double score for me.
    3. With my credit card each quarter you get 5%cash back at certain places. Restaurants, movie theaters, kohls etc. This quarter it is amazon.com. I wanted to order some gifts for Christmas and New floor mats for my vehicle. Turns out amazon raised it to 10% for the rest of the year! Not only were my floor mats cheaper on amazon than anywhere else. I get double cash back and free shipping!
    4. Used supplies and ingredients to make jam and Apple butter for my co-workers. This year has been challenging to say the least and I wanted to show my appreciation for their great teamwork. Paired the spreads with a homemade card and the ladies loved them. I love giving handmade gifts. Makes me feel so happy to put work into something that others end up enjoying.
    5. Decorated the house with some things I had already. Made a Christmas banner with scrapbooking supplies, used mason jars with fake snow and candles wrapped in festive ribbon. Nothing too extravagant. We will be driving to michigan two days before Christmas and will not return until 1-3 so lots of decorations are not necessary.

  27. Rhonda,
    It is a scary feeling when you are faced with a forced lay-off. It sounds like you will be in great condition, although I know Unemployment Insurance here in the USA doesn’t pay as much as working does. I’m not sure about rules in Canada, where I think you live. We are not on it, by choice, for several reasons. It sounds like it would work well for your situation, where it doesn’t for ours, here at least. Can you get food stamps? That might help, too, if you thought they worked for your situation and you wanted to.

    Especially, for the holidays, it will be great to have him home! Maybe he can get a lot of projects done around the house after Christmas? Even thinking of all that, it’s still scary. So, hang in there, and just breathe! After the shock wears off, you might actually enjoy the extra time as a family, and maybe he WILL get a better job in the end. You can always hope.

  28. Some of our money-saving efforts last week included:

    Husband had a mechanic friend do a minor car repair for us. He only charged us for the part ($30), and Husband brought our friend a six-pack of his favorite craft beer ($10) as a thank-you. So we spent $40 to fix something the dealership would cost $150.

    After getting quotes for $1200 and $950 to install rain gutters, Husband looked up how to do it himself and ordered all the materials for about $500.

    We spent an afternoon batch-cooking burritos (breakfast burritos, bean & cheese for me, steak & bean for husband), and froze them for busy moments. I made my own refried beans from dried.

    Saturday was my birthday, and the local movie theater gives you a free ticket for your birthday. We went to a matinee, so Husband’s ticket was less expensive than an evening show.

    We used a Redbox coupon code to watch Inside Out for 60 cents. Cute movie!

  29. In Canada, they calculate your EI payment by taking the highest pay you received in the last 52 weeks (before deductions) and you get 55% of that to a max of $524/week. My husband received a raise in the spring/summer so we figure he will receive close to what he was paid prior to the raise. They do not take tax deductions out of what you receive, so when you do your taxes later for that year, they will take the taxes then according to how much you made that year.

    Canada doesn’t have food stamps. I think we get better EI payments than the U.S., so most people don’t need it. But for those who are struggling to feed their families, there are food banks. I highly doubt we will need that. Between the amount he will be receiving in EI, the well stocked pantry we have already and not having too many bills to start with (we live with my mother, so no mortgage, etc.), and not having to paying over $300 for gas each week, we should be fine for money.

  30. Rhonda,
    Isn’t it great to be so stocked up that you don’t need food stamps? We are in that place, too. Even though my husband is unemployed right now, we feel it would be kind of silly to do food stamps since we have so much food. We joke around that there wouldn’t be anywhere to put the food right now. The things they wouldn’t pay for, like paper products, laundry soap, etc. are the kind of things I buy right now, along with some staples and some produce. It’s been amazing to see how God’s been providing for us. We haven’t suffered at all, to this point, other than the emotional losses that came along with his job loss. On the other hand, I’ve counseled people in the past to go ahead and get them, if they need them–that’s what they are for. We will see where we are at in a year. Hopefully, looking back and saying, “that was really hard, but we made it through fine” or something along those lines. That’s the plan anyway. Sounds like you have a similar one!

  31. I really, really like your living room. Some people have a knack for making things look pulled together. You are one of them.

    I did as many things as I could this week, while having that awful cold that is going around at the beginning of the week. We processed our turkeys, and turned 5 of them into turkey burger. I got 32 pounds, plus Rob made 2 turkey meatloaves. We finished the last one tonight for dinner.

    I sewed quite a few gifts for Christmas, including a doll dress and a doll sleeping bag.

    I soaked too many white beans on Monday, so made ham and beans, and white chicken chili, and ate and froze some.

    We had several other great meals.

    I worked on sorting and cleaning my fabric scraps. I am not done yet, but used some up on the doll items, a pillowcase I made for a service project we were working on, threw some away, and let Patsy have some to play with. I need to pare down, as we may be moving in the spring. We are keeping an open mind on relocation, as my husband may need to move where a job is. We are not sure yet, but it’s a definite possibility. If we do, the house will be a lot smaller. I’d rather sort some things at leisure, than have to hurry later, and things being clean and organized is always good.

    I’m trying to get the 2 fridges much emptier. I am trying to use up little bits of things, things that are getting older, etc. When I do, I will clean both of them. Because several of my kids have been food-deprived in their early childhoods (one in particular that still lives here now–some are grown and gone), I have to phrase it in the correct way, or they will freak out when they see the fridge getting empty. However, a super crammed fridge is causing things to get lost, and wasted, so it’s time.

    I had some ricotta that was way, way over a month old. It was bought in a large container at Cash and Carry. I have been very careful to not contaminate it, and finished it out making lasagna. I took that to my sister’s for our family dinner Sunday. It is much, much cheaper to buy it that way, but you do have to be careful to keep it pristine once you open it, or it molds.

    We are pulling most of our meals from the freezers, cupboards, home-canned, etc. Tonight, we had the rest of the meatloaf, pineapple I got for 99c, and cauliflower I froze from some a friend gave me for free a while back. The food is there for the using, and it really helps my budget. I cook very simply for the most part, especially on days I work, like today. I bought milk, oj, laundry soap, mini chocolate chips, apple juice for, and a few other things. The pineapple is the lowest price I ever see around here. I bought 4. I went to 2 different stores, got the sales, and used 1 $10/off $50 coupon I got in the mail. I also used my Fred Meyers rewards points to take $ off my final total.

  32. Hi Elizabeth and great to hear that you are trying to save money by installing your own gutters and that you saved so much money by having a friend repair your car instead of taking it to the workshop too.

    I used to work in building hardware and can tell you that rain gutters can be a bit tricky to install yourself although it can be done. Your husband will have to pay particular attention as to what degree angle the gutters are installed on the house currently, they are all installed on a certain slope to ensure proper drainage. If you don’t install them on the correct angle for the water to flow away you will get rainwater backing up and flowing straight over the sides and flowing down the side of the house instead of draining. So the purchase of a protractor would be a helpful tool for him to have if you don’t have one. Also just check after he has installed it by running the hose with water down it to make sure it is draining properly and if not a few adjustments will have to be made.

    I hope these hints help and make the job easier.

  33. Ops, should be $300 each month for gas, not weekly. Also, I should note that Canadians pay into EI with regular deductions from our paychecks. My husband has been paying into this for at least 14 years (I don’t think he’s needed EI for over 20 years to be honest), so there is no “shame” about having to use such a system here in Canada. That’s what it is there for and we paid for it!

  34. I love that you re-purposed your old raincoat into a tote! I also love your idea of honouring a loved one who passed away by making a unique snowflake for the tree. So sweet!

  35. Hello from the Deep South. My frugals are a compilation from the last couple months. I started heavily in October shopping for Christmas because I have less stress in December when I do this. I have used several retail coupons to buy some Christmas gifts. I am also making some homemade edible treats for gifts this year for teachers, etc. Costco had a great deal on Nestle chocolate chips a while back. I’ll be using these for treats. American Girl had a generic coupon for 20 off any regular priced purchase..this sale continues through the 12th. Also. they have a daily deal too. I bought some turkeys for .69 a pound at my Publix. We will fry them sometime next year. I continue to look for pantry deals and have no food waste. Have a wonderful week!

  36. Yes, when you work here, you are paying into the unemployment insurance as well. There are just quite a few strings attached, (if I am understanding what I read correctly), like you have to take the first job that comes your way that’s in your field, even if it is part time, you have to do so many “actions” each week, like fill out job resumes, etc., if you go anywhere, you are not going to get paid that week since you’re not available to work that week, etc. None of that seems unreasonable. The real problem for us is that my husband has some medical issues that he needs to address with his back. He has been going to all of the appointments that he needs to do and then, hopefully, he will be fixed up. We are taking this time to get him healed up. He is also considering some further education, and they will not pay while he does that–just the rules they explained to him when he called. So, lots to learn on our end. Practically speaking, it just doesn’t work for us until he gets some of these medical issues addressed and decides for sure what he wants to do in regards to education. If he even thinks he wants to do a complete career change, I want badly for him to have the time to think deeply about it and not be rushed into anything hasty. Something that big requires time. So, we are fine for a while–I want to pinch pennies and give him the gift of time to think without feeling like he has to take the first thing that comes along. So, I’m very thankful that that is an option for a while.

  37. I did the Kroger sale on sugar and flour (regular and bread flour) since I was passing it to take a friend to see his mother (its over an hour and a half away so odd for us to go at all, but we always check the flyer when we drive past). I bought 8 of each and was super pleased!
    Then my husband had to go past the store (for work) too! He saw the sugars and flours on sale too and bought 12 of each!
    Since we’re only a household of 2, I guess I will be doing a lot of baking over the next year!

  38. We have been too busy of late – there are many changes here, and while they are mostly positive, I don’t do well with change. I’m blogging less (I am busier), but I managed to put together a frugal accomplishments posting:

    http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/12/this-weeks-frugal-accomplishments.html

    I love your kitchen wreath. I had hoped to make one of rosemary this year, but I do not have enough, so I will probably tie some sprigs with red ribbon and call it festive! 🙂

  39. Frugal things: Last week my husband and I were given free hockey tickets. We found out at 5 on Tuesday night. I cooked dinner before we went so we only had to pay for parking. We also went to my husband’s work Chrismas party this weekend. We had a lovely dinner and won an indoor/outdoor heater. I get paid once a month and last month really used up our stock of meat. I have spent this week stocking up. I bought pork roast, chicken breasts and hamburger and repackaged everything for the freezer. Last night I found chicken legs for .49 a lb. I feel better now that the freezer has more in it.

    I cooked most meals at home and took all my lunches. I used up all the leftovers.

    Not so frugal: my daughter broke her glasses and I had to buy new ones. I went to a place where it seemed like it would be a good price but in the end was higher than I expected.
    My husband decided we needed to replace the kitchen floor. More tiles were cracked than were whole. We saved by doing the work ourselves and buying less expensive laminate but it still worries me before Christmas.

  40. I have never heard of Slingtv. I am going to check into it. We have not had cable for a couple of years, but there are times we really miss ESPN!

  41. Marivene, as usual I googled the statue and it it beautiful…I am glad you were finally able to have one
    for yourself. I noticed a blog for the Hansen Classic Statues and it looks like they closed for now, though
    they said that Florence, 90, is still sculpting. I forgot to check the date, so not sure of the current-ness
    of the info.

  42. Athanasia, the son closed down Hansen Classics when his wife died of pancreatic cancer. Florence sculpted until she was 91, I think, but I believe she has passed away as well. I own the two statues by Florence Hansen that are displayed in bronze in the womanhood garden in Nauvoo, Illinois. One is “Woman” & the other is “Teaching with Love”, which is the one with the violin under the daughter’s arm. Deseret Book still sells some of the smaller statues that were molded in one piece, but the others are only available second hand now.

  43. Frugal cooking continues, we have eaten out only once in the past three weeks. Truly an amazing change, many thanks to this blog and readers comments. I have finally rounded out the pantry so should be good for quite a while as I deplete what we have stored. Now that we are pretty well stocked, I am amazed at what a good feeling it is 🙂 It is also nice to not have to agonize over the weekly sales, hoping something is on sale that we need. I am also amazed that 95% of the items in the grocery store sales flyers are items I don’t buy any more because I am making things from scratch-that is also an eye opener. Much cheaper and healthier.

    Brandy-I also wanted to thank you for the various topics you have posted on the website, I find myself re-reading various areas for ideas about how to save more and how to figure out new ways to have a nice life. I am not sure if you can see how often people are reading your topics, but I think a lot of us enjoy them a lot more than once 🙂

  44. Hi Hilogene and I agree that it is such a good feeling to open up your pantry and know you are well stocked and even better that you can make pretty much what you want from scratch when you have a good supply.

    I too find Brandy’s post invaluable and reread a lot of them to get more money saving tips that I may have missed previously.

    My husband & I are now like you and don’t have to agonise over upcoming specials either, we do relaxingly just browse the brochures to top up on things that we have used. We keep a list where we write down everything we use in the house on the side of the refrigerator. It is however a constant state of topping up items we have used, as we use our food storage every day in our home for everyday meals.

    One thing I have found in Australia is that the specials don’t come around as often as they used to, so when I see something on super sale I usually buy around 10 – 12 to last around 6 – 12 months, so I can relaxingly wait for them to come on special again.

    Agree that a lot of the sales brochures only have about 5% of what I use too and the other 95% is specials on highly processed packaged foods. I notice here that they do not tend to advertise the basics in their catalogues, so I check online each week to see what else they have on special that I can use at the beginning of each weeks sale cycles.

  45. Awesome about the oboe degree! I always regretted giving it up when I went to college. My daughter did get a degree in Saxophone performance. May I ask where you received your degree? I think that is fabulous!!!

  46. We have SlingTV too.. we don’t use it much now that football season is almost over and will be getting rid of it soon til next season. We usually only watch the news and a religious station most of the time which is free. It’s Central Ohio Christian Broadcasting Association Channel 39 in our area (Ohio). We really like SlingTV though and my sister was also able to use ours through her cell phone (android) she just plugged in our password and was able to watch some shows she couldn’t get since she doesn’t have cable either.

  47. Brandy.. I to enjoy all your sections and wanted to mention how beautiful your home is, it inspires me to get mine more in order. Having dogs in the house it is never going to be pristine but I can try harder when I’m motivated. Thanks to all the readers here who take the time to post their frugal ups and downs it helps me in that area too to stay more focused on where I need to be.

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