I found some vegetable plants marked down to .48 each at the nursery (2/3 off!) and purchased a few for my garden.

Christmas Urn The Prudent Homemaker

The nursery sells Christmas trees, and they had some cuttings left out front. I asked about them and was told that I could have them, so I brought them home to use in my urns. You can see more details in my Winter White Garden post.

I trimmed the hedges in the white garden and used the trimmings, plus some lavender branches and roses from the garden to make an arrangement on my entry table.

I planted lettuce, radish, and green onion seeds in my garden. The lettuce and green onion seeds were ones I collected earlier this year from my garden.

I cut Swiss chard and beet greens from the garden and made Swiss chard soup.

Meyer Lemons in Basket The Prudent Homemaker

I picked Meyer lemons from the garden (and yes, they are that deep yellow-orange color!)

I made lemon parmesan penne. I made biscuits and gravy twice from scratch. I also made chcoolate chip cookies. All meals were made from scratch and eaten at home (as usual) except for a Christmas dinner that we attended.

I paid bills online to save the costs of stamps.

I printed free Highlights Hidden Pictures from their site.

We hung our new curtain rod in the library, made from electrical conduit (and painted with Rustoleum), which was a huge savings over buying a curtain rod that length.  We bought 1-inch conduit and one can of oil-rubbed bronze spray paint for this, plus finials, curtain rings, and supports to hold up the rod, which we would have needed to buy anyway. I then ironed and hung some hand-me-down curtains on the rod.

What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. I wish we could grow lemons here, those are beautiful.
    Last week:
    -I went to an Orientation for a job only to find out that it is NOT what I was told it was supposed to be. The job is working with violent children ( I was told they were kids waiting to be placed in foster care). Because I get unemployment I have to take this job. I have a bad back and knee and have to take a physical. I also had an interview for another job with a good company that I hope and pray I hear from soon! I took a beverage with me in the car both times because both of these locations were a 40 minute drive away. I made sure to eat before I left the house.
    -My husband made chocolate chip cookies, I made banana bread and homemade vapo rub. We cooked all meals at home from scratch as usual. I purchased milk on sale for 1.58 per gallon and some butter. I also purchased a few things to complete some presents. I did no other grocery shopping.
    -I made more soap nut liquid soap for cleaning. I also made homemade furniture polish that works very well. Olive oil, vinegar, and lemon essential oil.
    -I continue to save water in the bucket in my shower from warming up water and the bit left in glasses at the end of the day. I use it to water plants or flush the toilet. Our bathtub stopper, which is inside the drain, stopped working. My husband took it apart but it all appears normal. Our daughter now takes showers which saves a lot of water. Except last night I let her play in the steam and water for a few minutes because she has yet another cold. I also continue to save water in the kitchen by not filling the sink up as much, etc.
    -We had no food waste last week!! YAY! We made an extra effort to eat up leftovers or freeze what would not be used right away. I composted the scraps that I could not use for other things.
    -My daughter’s preschool had a “make a gingerbread house” event last week. The parents had to purchase frosting, graham crackers, and decorations(candy). I found graham crackers marked down to $1 per box so I purchased 3 for home and 1 for school. I purchased the cheapest white frosting they had and a bag of M and M’s. We did have a great time, however every week the school has something else they need the parents to buy, which is taxing to my budget.
    -I was able to turn the heat off yesterday and today because of unseasonably warm temps. I live in Northern Illinois and I have never seen it this warm at this time of year. I also opened up the doors to air out the house yesterday for awhile. It is supposed to be 21 degrees on Friday lol.
    -We stayed home if at all possible, saving gas in the car.
    Nothing spectacular this week. Have a great week!

  2. I would love to see a photo of your finished curtain rod. Thank you Brandy for your posts, I look forward to them each week.

  3. We attended a holiday party and when I was deciding what to bring, I decided to bring what I could make 100% out of my pantry! What a change in thinking! The chili and then peach cobbler for dessert turned out very well.

    I am almost finished doing our 2016 budget, with healthcare premiums rising again, I made adjustments in other areas to cover. We should be okay but as everyone has noted, healthcare costs are really significant and seemingly uncontrollable. I am 59 and have picked the cheapest plan available to me (husband is on medicare), but it will still cost 30% of our entire budget. Wow.

  4. Sounds like you had a very productive week. I love how you make your home more beautiful by making arrangements out of materials you already have in the garden.

    Question–when do you start your tomato plants indoors? We started them last January and planted them 3/15, our last freeze date here in Tucson, but it got too warm after that for the tomatoes to finish growing and produce more than a few tomatoes. We really would like tomatoes this year, so we’re thinking we need an earlier start. Thanks!

  5. Dehydrated more of the Jonathan apple “seconds”, & bought another box for $9 at the same orchard stand. The first box filled 4 half gallon jars with dehydrated apple slices, as well as fresh eating apples. We like them better than crackers with cheese slices for a snack, & they are healthier for us, too. At our house, dried fruit is our favorite “disaster food” for a power outage, since it makes a great snack while reading a book or playing a board game.

    Washed the car this week with the free coupon from a gas fill-up last month, since they have started salting the roads again. The coupons are good for one month, & I used this coupon on the 9th; it would have expired on the 10th.

    Bought a t-shirt in perfect shape for $2 & two older, heavier quart jars for 50 cents each at Deseret Industries. Both of the jars had a white ring in good shape as well. They went into my boxes of “empty jars” on the garage shelves. The t-shirt will be one of my granddaughter’s upcoming birthday presents.

    Worked on a pair of wool mittens & a pillow cover for my oldest granddaughter’s upcoming birthday. Cut out & began to sew the pillow cover together. I also bought two 2-packs of 11×14” canvas for painting at Joanns, for 50% off, also for her birthday.

    Finally had time to “crunch” the leaves in the Rubbermaid can, then raked more leaves to fill it up again, & used the mini tiller to crunch those down, too. These will be put on the garden come spring as the first layer of mulch, under the grass clippings.

    Put a Christmas Charm mug & saucer beside the computer. I try to keep it filled with water during the day, & even tho it is only water, it “feels” more festive out of a Christmas mug.

    Pruned one of the forsythia bushes & used the prunings to fill the empty space in the garbage can before the pickup. I also pruned the red currant bushes, & used those pruning to top off the can.

    I ordered a penannular shawl pin online. I have a shawl that my oldest daughter made for me (& everyone else – they were Christmas presents a few years back). I wear it so we can keep the temps down during the day, but a penannular pin keeps it closed nicely, so both my hands are free for whatever I am actually doing. I purchased one last year & it has proven very useful, so I ordered one for a birthday present for the daughter the made the shawls. The etsy shop I ordered from the first time no longer carries them, but I found another shop that had them in stock.

  6. Melissa,

    Our last frost date is February 15th. I would need to start tomatoes in October or November to have decent sized plants. I just don’t have a good place to put them that gets decent light that is safe from being knocked over. I have tried before and they never get more than an inch tall before they die. I purchase plants at the nursery on Valentine’s Day. Once it hits 90º at night in May they stop flowering, so if I am to get any, I need to have bigger plants that have flowers in March and April, or I won’t get any tomatoes.

  7. My son made one of those industrial style bookcases that are so trendy right now using pipe and Rustoleum spray paint too. Amazing things you can do, if you put your mind to it.

    Frugal accomplishments:

    Just the usual, heating with wood, using our wringer washer machine to conserve on water, reusing the water, hanging the laundry in the woodstove room to humidify the air, eating from the pantry, watching free movies on YouTube and Hulu. We also did a lot of research and figured out what was the matter with our car and how to fix it, saving a lot of money. The mechanic had thought it was a problem that would cost $1000 to fix! Because of the car problems, we stayed home a lot, not only saving on gas, but all the impulse buys that tempt us when we are out!

  8. –We bought several pounds of ground beef plus a few grocery items, and restocked our freezer-to-Crockpot meals.
    — I bought a plaid throw at a rummage sale in the fall, and it is serving as a Christmas tree skirt (under our several-years old-bought-on-clerance tree covered with well-used ornaments and a thrifted star).
    –I sold a basketful of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books to another family (whose daughter asked for some for Christmas), and the proceeds will cover a t-shirt that my own daughter needs for a school activity.

  9. I attended a gingerbread party, and took all the sprinkles and decorations I already have on hand, instead of buying an expensive bag of candy to take along.
    I have been re-using tea bags this week. Two used tea bags, is equal to one fresh one. and then they go in the compost. We have a green tea blend that neither I nor my husband care for, and I also use one of the green tea bags with another flavor to mask the green tea taste.
    I took apart a Halloween lamp, and used the blub inside it to repair my candle sticks that are in the front windows of my house, instead of purchasing a new one.
    The neighbor trimmed her red dogwood bush and I borrowed some of the branches to add to my urns in front of the house with some greenery I had on hand.

    I took my sewing machine in for a free estimate. I recently overcame my intimidation of my Grandmothers machine, that she bought in 1972 from a dressmaker. This machine is from the 1940’s and is HEAVY. I could tell when I was sewing that it wasn’t as fast as it should be, and the motor seemed to be laboring too hard for my liking.
    $170 was the quote and the final bill was four cents shy of the quote. That was a hard pill to swallow, but the repair man made a special point of coming out to speak to me to tell me how much he likes this machine, and how impressed I will be with it now that all the gummed up oil and lint is cleaned out of it.
    They just don’t make things like this anymore, so a bit of money makes it worth it to keep it working properly, and I am using my other newer machine (aka easier to learn on) to teach my 6 year old daughter to sew, so someday I can pass this machine on to her.
    She will be sewing some scarves for Christmas presents with some fleece that I bought at 75% off on Black Friday.

    I have decided to try one new recipe per week, from my Pinterest boards… this week was mashed horseradish sweet potatoes. We don’t care for sweet potatoes, but the sauce changed our minds, and the hubby declared i can add them to our dinner rotations. hooray for cheap vegetables!!
    I bought a case of green beans. I don’t normally buy them in a can because I can my own, but they were deeply discounted because the labels were coming off (smh)

    I have been working on stocking our pantry (thanks for your blog posts on the subject Brandy) and it makes me smile to know that I have lots of options when choosing what to make for dinner.. even the hubby commented on how nice it is to go “shopping” in the pantry for lunch instead of always choosing a drive thru (him.. not me lol) It has also helped, because I now have more wiggle room in my grocery budget, and can stock up easier when I find something for a good price.

  10. My no spend week did not work this past week. Did fine till Friday evening. After supper my husband told me his foot hurt so much he could hardly stand it. (when David complains about pain, you better believe he is in pain) Took him to the after hours clinic, the doctor there sent him to the hospital to be admitted. His foot has an infection. David is diabetic. His foot has had a sore on it that has not healed since his hip transplant more than 2 years ago. It gets a little better, but never goes away 100%. This time the MRI showed the infection was to the bone. That is very serious. He could lose his foot. He is in the hospital getting antibiotics by IV. He will be released tomorrow if all goes well and there will be surgery to remove a bone in his foot before Christmas. He will have to wear special shoes the rest of his life. I spent money eating there at the hospital. I could not/would not leave him. He told the nurse his pain level is a 10 on their 1-10 scale. He is doing better. The doctor cleaned the sore, put a “pack” of some kind in the hole of his foot. He is sleeping with the Morphine they give him for pain. So I am praying for a good outcome.
    I am almost done with my Christmas sewing. I hope to finish this week after he is home tomorrow. We are just not going to have a normal Christmas this year if he has surgery before Christmas.
    I had done well with my now spend week till then. I did not expect to be eating out of the hospital café or a vending machine for 4 days. Oh well. Such is life sometimes. I will just keep doing my best.;)

  11. I need to replace a rod and have considered doing something similar but my window is a bay window. I have thought about using 1 inch rubber tubing and painting it black. Using finials and supports to mount it on the wall. I have priced out a curved rod for our large window and it is over $200. Does anyone else have any other ideas that might work?

  12. Our washing machine started leaking last week and we’ve had to take some laundry to the laundromat. Let me tell you, taking laundry for a family of four to the laundromat isn’t cheap! Instead of paying to dry our laundry, we brought the wet laundry home to dry.

    I bought a package of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $3.03. The package had three pieces of chicken in it. I butterflied two of the pieces of chicken to make four portions for one meal and saved the other piece to make chicken corn chowder.

    I found 5 lb. bags of white whole wheat flour for $.99 this week! It was a little past the expiration, but still fine, and I was somehow able to find a little bit of space in the freezer to squeeze some in. I am now more convinced than ever that we need to invest in a chest freezer!

    Our younger son turned 7 last week. He asked for a lego cake like his brother had for his birthday, which worked out great since I had the candy melts and the molds that I used to make the lego pieces for his brother’s cake.

    Every year I seem to be late preparing for Christmas and this year is no different! This week I used old cards, card stock and scrapbook paper and supplies that I had on hand to make Christmas cards. I am saving egg cartons that I am going to use as Christmas candy holders. I also made wooden snowflake ornaments using clothespins. I’m hoping to share this fun project on the blog this week.


  13. I love to read your blog posts I’m from south Africa and learned quite a lot adapting a lot of info right now we have summer so founded quite a few deals on milk we where planning on buying our kids a swimming pool and we got blessed with one just needed a clean ate all our meals at home looking forward to reading everyone s comments

  14. If you know an electrician they can bend the electrical conduit into an arch for you. My husband (an electrician) has taught me to appreciate all the bends and arches in electrical conduit on the side of buildings *laugh*. It really is an art form unto itself. I’d say get a conduit bender and do it yourself, but a conduit bender is not cheap, so I don’t know if you’d be any ahead by the time it was all said and done.

    I’m curious to see how the conduit looks painted as I’ve only ever seen it as bare metal before :).

  15. The urn is so beautiful! There are no free cuttings around here – they gladly sell them! I cut a few off the back of our tree (faces the corner) but nothing that could be used so beautifully like that!
    I continued to pick salad greens from my garden.
    Wrapped Christmas gifts with the free wrapping paper that I dug out of someone’s garbage pile earlier this year. Used leftover bows – reclaimed from last year.
    Mailed the Christmas cards I got for free (from a charity I donate to).
    I made a pair of baby fabric shoes for my soon to be one year old niece for Christmas. That family lives overseas. We have local family going to visit for Christmas and they agreed to pack them along in their luggage which will save me the cost of shipping.
    I painted our half baths sink cabinet to modernize the bathroom using paint we had on hand.
    My frugal purchase of the week was at Goodwill where for a dollar, I found a gallon sized Ziploc bag stuffed full of rick rack, new zippers, binding and in the middle of all that, a new pack of machine needles. Perfect timing since I had just placed my last sewing machine needle on the machine a week before. I am excited about the zippers as there are a few clutches, dop bags and such that I was looking forward to sewing this coming year.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  16. I love the Christmas tree cuttings idea, and they look so beautiful in your arrangements!

    Some of our frugal accomplishments for the week include:
    I left a half-dozen homemade breakfast and lunch burritos in the freezer at work, which really came in handy on the days I felt too rushed to bring anything!

    Husband priced out and ordered all the supplies to screen in our back porch himself, rather than have someone else do it.

    I canceled a subscription to a monthly menu-planning service I just wasn’t using.

    We grabbed our photographer friend at a Christmas party, and she snapped some beautiful photos of us in front of the fancy lobby Christmas tree (we don’t put up a tree of our own) to use for this year’s Christmas cards (photo cards from Costco, ordered just-in-time!)

    We attended a local Treefolks event and adopted two free trees for our property, a pecan tree and an Anacacho orchid tree, for shade and to attract pollinators.

  17. Every time I see a picture of your fresh, homegrown lemons, I wonder what they would be like to eat fresh like that. Yeah, I know that sound weird, but I actually do like eating lemons (or at least the lemon wedge they give you on drinks at restaurants).

    These are my frugal accomplishments this week:
    *My husband has been working later this week, which means he has not been home for supper. Instead, he has eaten his supper at work (he works in a restaurant) for free, saving us the cost of feeding him.

    *Worked 2 days this week. I took a bagged lunch each day from home.

    *Since my husband will not be working at the restaurant for a few months, I had him order another 44lb bag of bread flour (we were getting low), as well as an 11lb box of bacon through their supplier for me to repackage in meal portions and freeze. Both were much cheaper bought through the restaurant (about $60 total for both) than at the grocery store, saving us money. We typically don’t eat large quantities of bacon, but we do like it to add variety to our meals. I’m hoping this box will be close to a year supply for us.

    *Bought 20lbs of carrots (on sale $2.49/ 10lb bag), despite still having 6lbs still in our fridge. Blanched and froze 21 lbs of carrots to ensure they didn’t go bad and left 5lbs of fresh carrots in the fridge.

    *Bought 12 hams on sale for $7/ 800g. Not a great price, but I haven’t seen any better deals yet despite being so close to Christmas (rather disappointing). I had my husband help cut them into ham steaks and shaved slices with the meat slicer, and then I cut up cubed bits with the leftover end pieces. In total I was able to make up about 15 packs of 4 ham steaks, 10 packs of shaved ham plus one for the fridge and 2 packs of cubed ham bits perfect for casseroles/soup.

    *Bought a 20lb bag of potatoes on sale for $2.97. This one bag should last us a while.

    *We were paid $180 in advance for the goody trays my MIL requested for some of the bowling banquets at her work. We will be delivering them this week and next. I gave some of the money to my mother, as she helped make a bunch of treats. However, I kept the majority of the payment, as I was the one who bought the supplies, as well as made some of the treats. I used a portion of this money to buy the hams.

    That’s about it for this week. Looking forward to reading everyone’s frugal accomplishments. Have a wonderful week everyone!

    1. When I have leftover ham bits or chunks from deboning, I put them in my food processor with mayo, pickles, hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper to make a copycat Underwood deviled ham spread. Delicious! You can google “copycat Underwood deviled ham” for an exact recipe.

  18. That is a great idea to use conduit for your rod – were the finials expensive?

    This week we got our utility bills and I was excited to see that they had dropped again, even though our electric company just instituted a rate increase (and we had Christmas lights up for part of the past month).

    An enameled cast iron dutch oven that I purchased less than 2 years ago suddenly had a weird scratch on it that looked like the enamel was coming off. I emailed the company about it (Lodge) and after a few back and forth emails and photos, they said they would send me a replacement free of charge. They aren’t as expensive as Le Creuset, but they are also not cheap enough to replace easily, so I was really grateful for that.

    Finally, I placed my first order with Wawak after reading about it on your website. I was able to buy a serger with a gift card this year and bought serger thread as well as Gutermann thread and zippers. I was so excited to finally be able to stock up!

  19. My husband & I frugal accomplishments starting with our blessings for last week are –

    Blessings –
    – Our lovely neighbour gave us a packet of sweet corn seed & climbing bean seeds, his sister works in a supermarket and they were going to throw them out (hugely wasteful), she wisely asked to keep them and gave them to her brother, he kept some and gave his Mum some, kept some for himself and gave us the ones he couldn’t use. Absolutely chuffed as we had gone to our local hardware store and everywhere in town to buy them, and the corn seeds were out of stock due to the recent violent hail storms here.
    – Our neighbour also gave us a punnet of lettuce, beetroot, and tomato seedlings. Again so thankful as the lettuce I was propagating on the back stairs has failed, I think due to the heat.
    – Our neighbour knew of a nursery around 30 mins drive from us that sells punnets of vegetable and herb seedlings with 10 plants of either vegetables or herbs in them for $3 a punnet. I was amazed and he asked us since he was going there if we would like some, so we gave him the money to pick them up for us. So we ordered 2 trays herb seedlings which usually cost $4.95 ea in nurseries locally, saving us a whopping $93.00 on usual prices.
    – Also blessed that our neighbour who sells honey dropped into a farmer friend who packs onions for the local farmers, who gave him a huge box of both red salad and brown onions. He gave us a huge bag of freshly picked onions that he and his family could not use. There was probably 3 kg in the bag, so that if we had purchased them it saved us $10.45.

    Hair cutting frugals –
    I cut my husbands hair with our home hair clipper set, I then cut the front of my hair and my husband cut the back saving us $85.00 in what we used to spend at the hair dressers if we went there.

    Water preservation –
    – Used water from our showers and all water from the washing machine to water in new grass seed planted in back yard.
    – Saved on using 1 water cycling in the garden due to spring rains saving 270 lts of town water being used.

    In the garden –
    – transplanted 11 spinach beet plants growing too close together into the back garden where they were wiped out with hail.
    – Planted 2 rows of wax butter beans, 3 rows of turnips, 2 rows of propagated broccoli seedlings, replanted a huge crop of corn seeds, half of a 10 mt x 1.5 mt row destroyed in the hail storm, Planted oregano & thyme seedlings in front herb garden, replanted half a 10 mt row of watermelons with seed to replace hail damaged ones, 2 rows of propagated capsicum seedlings, replanted 1 row of carrot seeds where plants were destroyed in the hail storm.
    – Weeded all front herb gardens.
    – Weeded 1/3 of back damaged 10 mt x 5 mt vegetable patch in back paddock.

    – Filled up 3 jerry cans of fuel at around 10c per litre on usual prices saving us $6.
    – Went and cut half a trailer load of free timber with our chainsaw from a friends farm saving us $65 if we had to purchase it in to stock us for the next winter. We now have enough small kindling for the whole of next winter.

    Grocery shopping will be later today for the month as we have moved to only shopping once a month to save money and fuel costs.

  20. Hi Hilogene and yes I agree that healthcare costs & medicine costs are going through the roof, even in Australia. I am shocked at it costing you 30% of your total income, the cost is just huge and almost like having a mortgage 🙁 , sorry to hear that they keep rising too.

    We are fortunate that my husband’s health care in regard to his back are covered under his military compensation from his accident. I receive discount health care & medicine costs due to me being his carer. But just the pain medications that my husband are on and my iron tablets, vitamin c tablets, for anaemia cost us around $50 every 8 weeks. As we don’t use many medications I hate to think what others with more serious health conditions have to spend !.

  21. The window in my living room covers one whole wall from floor to ceiling. I insulated drapes which were too heavy for regular rods so I purchased galvanized pipe, ran in through 3 O-rings (1 at each end; one in the middle) and added finials at each end. Looks great and supports the heavy drapes.

    For summer I made short curtains for the lower half of the window and used dropcloths for the closeable drapes. I made tabs for the drapes from the same fabric and put the pipe through them. I can’t tell you how many people have asked how I could afford linen drapes for a window that size. They laugh when I tell them it’s a dropcloth and not linen!

  22. I lost my health insurance the end of October. I looked into the Marketplace “Obamacare” insurance, I can’t even afford the cheapest plan. Luckily I had insurance 10 months out of 12 so I won’t be penalized this year. As long as I get a job and insurance before April 1 2016 I won’t be penalized next year. Health care costs are absurd!

  23. I hope for healing for your husband’s foot as well. My Dad had the beginnings of gangrene in his foot–he was diabetic too. I was SURE all was lost, but they did a surgery that restored circulation in his foot, and those purple/grey toes turned pink again. I was amazed!! I hope your husband speaks up a little sooner if there is a next time–some things DON’T get better and go away by themselves!!

  24. Don’t beat yourself up over not being frugal while your husband is in the hospital. That is part of the reason for being frugal, so that in times of illness or emergency we can dedicate ourselves to the situation and let money worries be on the back burner. Take care of yourself and him and that will be more than enough to expect of yourself.

  25. Or PVC pipe works as well. It usually won’t bend, although it might work better for shorter window widths. It can be painted as well. Think the galvanized pipe is better, but it is good to have inexpensive options.

  26. My beautiful oven Has been making an awful and loud vibrating sound every time we have it turned on! It has still been baking perfectly, but the sound has been horrible! Hubby pulled it out and wrote down the part number for the fan motor and checked online to order it. Ordered the part for about $40 and he installed it in less than 30 minutes! The shaft on the old motor which was suppose to be stable was completely wobbley!!! Sure enough, it works fine and doesn’t have the loud sound any more! I figure that a service call would have been $120 to just walk in the door plus the part which they may have charged us closer to $100 for! Saving us $180 or more! Really pays to have a handy hubby!!

    Leftovers from our dinners this week were quickly repackaged into lunch containers for us, saving us on the cost of buying other lunch components or just buying lunch out! Hubby wanted to learn how to make cookies on his own with me supervising and I was so proud that after they cooled from the oven, he packaged 2 cookies each into snack size ziplock baggies that I recycle and put the packages into our “snack” basket for easy grab and go additions to brown bag lunches! He’s definitely a keeper!!

    We are preparing to buy out our phone contract by paying the remaining amounts for the purchase of the phones. Pricey? Oh, yes! But there are 5 phones and 2 of them (daughter and granddaughter) have not paid their portion in about 2 years and we can’t afford to keep this pricey plan and pay for theirs. We told them that paying for their phones outright (1 is a purchase, 1 was on a lease that we will do the purchase option with) will be their birthday and Christmas presents for the next few years! We found that we can bring our current phones to CricketWireless and with autopay and doing the remaining 3 lines, it will cost us $75/ month total rather than the $264.60/ month which has been insane!!! That’s close to a $200/month savings!!!
    My full pantry- canned, frozen, dried goods has made it possible for me to make meals for ourselves as well as taking meals to others in need, snacks and gifts without ever having to buy anything from the store!! That’s such a good feeling!
    Life has been so good to us!!!

  27. Thank you. I just saw him a while ago. He is still getting the IV antibiotics, but has not had pain medication all day. That is wonderful. Thanks for your kind thoughts and prayers. I appreciate it.

  28. They are going to remove a bone in his foot. The bone at the ball of his left foot. He will have to wear special shoes the rest of his life. But praise the Lord he will have his foot.. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

  29. It is just my nature to ‘beat myself up’ when I have a plan and it goes SOUTH. Yes, we are blessed. I had money in my wallet and did not even have to go to an ATM machine. I will be happy when he is home. I am just so tired. I spent all night Saturday and most of Sunday there with him. I was there for several hours tonight. I am just feeling like I am whipped out. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

  30. It sounds like you got a great deal on carrots. I’m not up on prices in Canada, but $7 for a ham seems like a great deal to me.

    It’s nice that you can make goody trays to earn a little money.

  31. Laurika

    Welcome.. it will be interesting hearing how life is in Africa compared to the USA and Australia (we have several members from there) and of course Canada.

  32. This week, I was able to save money in several ways.

    I made several meals, including soup (we had 3 times), black bean enchiladas with leftover chicken from the 10 lbs I got for $5 last Friday, chicken sandwiches, meatballs and rotini (served at 4H potluck, 2x as leftovers.) Tonight, we had leftovers again. At this time of year, we tend to eat the same foods over and over–I just make a lot and it saves times when we are so busy. Tomorrow, I’ll plan and start making a new batch of meals for the next few days.

    One thing I did not remember to put on my blog was the van load of old bread that Rob was able to get for $25. There is a place near Portland where he can buy it for that. It is for the pigs. Ja’Ana spent some time emptying the bread out of bags into barrels for easy feeding. This supplements the pig food Rob gets in bags. They love it. We also got a pickup truck of melons (1/2 spoiled) for free for the pigs and are feeding them some each day.

    I did a lot of sewing for Christmas and a birthday. The main things I finished up were doll clothes and potholders. I have lots of other projects to work on. I usually don’t get anything done on projects on Mondays and Wednesdays, because I work a lot on those days. Today, I did have a cancellation and was able to get a little embroidery done, but not much. I’ve got a few more dish towels I’d like to finish up.

  33. I bought a ham butt today for $6 something, will try to buy a few more this Friday to put in the freezer. We don’t eat a lot of ham but over a years time a nice addition to our meat supply for variety.

    I have not been overly frugal here lately am working a lot of hours at work and odd hours where I have time to chill in the morning before going in but getting off work and home at 9:30pm so definitely not up for cooking much. I am trying but after Thursday I am just too tired to put a meal together so Fri, Sat and Sunday (I work Fri and Sat) and church services we have been eating out a lot (take out). This will continue till after Valentines Day sigh!

    I did have some free time today with a day off and picked up some groceries. I went to Volunteers of America thrift store and bought 2 new to me tops for church $10 for the two. A pair of comfortable flats (shoes) to wear to church once it starts snowing, won’t be able to wear heels in the snow. Unfrugal but necassary.. dh ordered me a new pair of tennis shoes (Nike) for work $60 with fast shipping. I stand on my feet for 6 to 8 hours on cement floors and my feet were killing me, hips and my back due to wearing a pair of shoes that were too old and the support was gone. So hopefully the news shoes should alleviate the pain in my feet. Being in retail, good support shoes are essential and I usually buy new every 6 months, the old pair I had 10 months.

    I am making mini santa stockings for Christmas gifts. I bought a frame ornaments at Michaels for $3.33 each 1 will go to my dd’s family with a family photo in it, another will go to my sister’s family with a family photo. Christmas gifts that I hope will someday be passed down to their kids. I also made my sister’s family a Christmas garland (white) from Boa yarn.. I was surprised to see Michaels no longer carries it and I will have to order it from them directly.. GRR!! I want to make one for my dd’s family next year. That’s about it for this week so far.

  34. I am sorry to hear about your husband’s foot. It sounds like they have a plan to get it taken care of, and hopefully it will heal quickly. I will pray for him and you tonight.

  35. Oh one thing I forgot to mention: While at the thrift store today.. I found a very heavy and big dutch oven. I don’t know what the material is I have a smaller one that I bought in a yard sale 20 years ago. It’s really heavy like cast iron but it isn’t colored, it’s a plain dull silver color. It has a metal hanging handle. In any case they are pretty much indestructible it was only $8.98.

  36. Love reading here. I pick up such good ideas. This week, I learn of some options I can use for curtain rods.
    Roxie, I hope your husband is doing better.

    This week, I finished my winter quilt. Finally. We have slept under it for a couple of nights now and it is very warm. I

    Spent a day making chocolates with my mom. We had a fun afternoon talking (and snacking). We made up a few boxes to pass out to friends and neighbours for Christmas.

    Combined trips so only one trip into town was needed. This mean I took the garbage and recycling with me, and stopped to pick up a package and some groceries.

    Worked on more Christmas gifts including more pumpkin fudge because there is a large red-headed mouse in my house who found the bit I stashed away in the back of the fridge and it disappeared – bit by bit.

    Downloaded free magazines. I haven’t had a chance to look through them yet. I am hoping they will be okay.

    I hope you all have a great week.

  37. Thank you for prayer. Yes, I do believe the doctor’s plan is a good one. If David will listen and take care of his self he should heal fine and it will be okay. He has come so close to the loss of that foot; I know he is worried. Prayer means a lot to both of us.

  38. I did a conversion and 800g equals 1.8lbs. Is that still considered a good price in the US? In previous years the sale price has gone down to $5-$6 for an 800g smoked ham, but so far $7 has been the lowest this year. It is still under $1/100g which is a huge savings over deli meat prices and ham steak prices, so I’m still ahead.

  39. Anna in Ohio, we are not huge ham eaters either. However, my Asperger’s daughter has pretty much decided that she will no longer eat ground beef and she doesn’t like beans, so chicken and cheese have become the staple proteins. Ham and bacon give us a few more options for meals, which is really welcome right now!

    I know how tired you must be when you come home from work. I hate cooking when I get home too. However, to help offset the cost of going out so much, could you take some time in the morning to throw a meal in the crock pot or make up some freezer meals on your days off? It may not stop you from going out completely, but it will cut down on eating out if you can do this some of the days. Just a suggestion!

  40. chicken legs or thighs .78 lb
    download books on my kindle
    had two free meals friday had date night with hubby he had christmas party for work had prime rib and chicken and the fixing, on Saturday had family christmas party for his work and it was free bowling and pizza buffet, pizza salad and soup
    crochet a dish cloth for the kitchen (like these better then the ones you buy at the store

  41. Thank you so much for the web link to the Highlights Hidden Picture. We are going out of town for Christmas with a 10 hour drive in front of us. I have printed out several pictures for my daughter and even some of the harder ones for my 17 year old son. Keeps his mind sharp. He is suffering from a concussion and he is not a detail person.

  42. I am quite envious of your find! I have been searching for one for years at various thrift stores. It has become my white whale 🙂

  43. I am also sorry to hear the news about your husband. I will keep you all in my prayers. Don’t feel guilty about spending lunch money. This is one reason we are frugal, so that we will have money when needed.

  44. Made caramel sauce with the expired in May sweetened condensed milk. I was planning on making caramel for my Christmas baskets but this was so much easier and used stuff up before it went bad. It tastes just like the Marzetti caramel dip we buy for apples – guess I won’t be buying that again!
    Made ALL of my Christmas cookie dough with pantry items I already had on hand. I make ALL of the dough’s on one day and then do ALL of the baking on another day. I only have a limited amount of flat surface area to place cooling cookies on where the dogs can’t help themselves so this way gets all of the ingredients back out of the kitchen and put away.
    Made the sleep pants for my daughter’s present from fleece I picked up on Black Friday and used elastic I had in my stash from a garage sale.
    Made the backing for my daughter’s t-shirt quilt and another pair of sleep pants from the flannel I pick up on Black Friday. I just need the finishing edging now and need to bind it. I think I will actually make it by Christmas too!
    Made all meals at home! We didn’t even go out for lunch 🙂 Total win for us! I even managed to redesign some leftovers to get a second meal from them – with no complaints from the hubby.
    Only bought the “loss leaders” at the grocery store for pantry stocking + milk and OJ which my hubby insists is a necessity.
    Used a $10 rewards coupon at the pet food store to pick up treats for the pups – I think I may start making my own to control ingredients and save alot of money!
    Put the Christmas collars on 2 of the pups – I picked them up last year for .75 cents a piece (originally $15!!) We weren’t planning on a 3rd dog at the time so I only bought the 2 – I’ll look for another one after the holidays again this year. I make bows for their collars as well from fabric scraps.
    Made my own popcorn “tins” from oatmeal containers and cardstock paper I picked up on clearance last year. These will be included in my Christmas goodie baskets.
    Instead of using our “big” tree this year, I remembered I had saved the old ceramic tree I had been given by my MIL years ago. It is supposed to sit on a stand with a light bulb so that all the little plastic “lights” glow but the base makes it unstable and the kittens seem to think cords are a new food group so……I am using it w/o the base, on a silver platter I had put away (99 cents at Sal. Army) with candles that also were saved from years past and that is our Christmas display this year! Oh I traded one of my hours at work for one of the high end candles (odor destroying) they sell in the lobby – it smells just like a real tree.

  45. Last week I started doing a lot of baking and candy making with supplies on hand. Much was for gifts.
    I got 10 red grapefruits and 15 navel oranges for 5/$1 – so $5 for all that is real cheap here. I crave citrus this time of the year.
    I trimmed and colored my hair and home.
    Bought a gift at Kohl’s – reg. $30, 50% off and I had a 20% coupon and a $10 coupon, so the gift cost me $4 and some change!
    No heat several days, as we had really warm weather. Got to air out house as well.
    I found 4 – 1 lb. boxes of linguine on clearance for .49 ea.

    Have a great one all.
    Love reading what everyone does.


  46. Last week I started doing a lot of baking and candy making with supplies on hand. Much was for gifts.
    I got 10 red grapefruits and 15 navel oranges for 5/$1 – so $5 for all that is real cheap here. I crave citrus this time of the year.
    I trimmed and colored my hair and home.
    Bought a gift at Kohl’s – reg. $30, 50% off and I had a 20% coupon and a $10 coupon, so the gift cost me $4 and some change!
    No heat several days, as we had really warm weather. Got to air out house as well.
    I found 4 – 1 lb. boxes of linguine on clearance for .49 ea.

    Have a great one all.
    Love reading what everyone does.


  47. Desperately needed a new pair of warm winter boots (or will if snow every comes to MN) and had ordered an on-line pair via Amazon. They were super cheap but awful quality – returned for free with no problem. Ordered a pair from Lands End – fit was not great – returned in store. Found a great pair at a thrift store today and I had a $10 discount card so paid $16 for a very warm/”fur” lined boot that are super comfortable.

    Went out with friends twice in the past week – eating out – a great reminder that I am a relatively good cook and can eat SO MUCH cheaper at home. On the other hand, I rarely go out with friends so I chalk it up to the experience.

    I volunteer regularly at my local library organizing books for a twice a year book sale – got some lovely hardback kid’s story books for $.50/each (they still had the store price inside the front cover) – sent my niece’s toddlers 10 books for Christmas – look like a good auntie without anyone knowing the true price. But they know me well enough to know that I would never pay full price!

    Bought my dog a set of dog boots to wear after last year’s snow and ice – bought them at a community sale for $1 though the $49(!!) tag was still attached to the packaging. We have tried repeatedly to get them on his feet and it’s a no go. Will sell them on a neighborhood FB page once the snow comes. The snow/ice doesn’t bother him – I just have to watch as we walk that there is nothing between his “toes” otherwise he walks on three paws.

  48. Hi Mariana and gardening is fantastic, the best pay off is the beautiful vegetables.

    I do have to say that it is a lot of work though to keep your garden beds in order. We have around 300 square metres of herb and vegetable patches here. Time spent on average is around 1 – 3 hrs a couple of times a week here, without storm damage.

    With recent hail damage we have been spending around 4 – 5 hours a day to trim the damaged vegetable plants and replant the ones that didn’t make it.

    The plants that survived have now re-sprouted and are looking wonderful now after some loving care trimming and fertilising and removing any hail damaged tomatoes & things. We had the first 2 cobs of corn off our hail damaged plants and they were sooo deliciously sweet, unlike the ones you get in the supermarkets with no taste. Apart from a few kernels missing where the hail hit them, it appears their outside leaf casings are sort of a shock absorber for hail :D.

    So excited that they have now bounced back that I will be picking some of my spinach beet, plucking a large turnip and picking some peas tonight for our chicken vegetable bake.

  49. I had the same problems with boots for my daughter. Bought them and they lasted 1 month with 2 holes in the bottom of them, returned them and had to invest in Timberlands. Just about hit the floor with the price of those, but having to realize with size 11-woman;s they should last a few years so it will be money well spent as long as her feet stop growing-LOL. Made a sweater for my daughter;s ugly Christmas sweater day at school. Cooked everything from scratch for 2 potlucks. Made some homemade ornaments with the kids. Found some snacks and bread for 50 percent off-so it goes in the freezer.

  50. He is better. Thank you. I got him home from the hospital last night about 9:00pm. He has an appointment on Thursday morning. We will learn then when he will have surgery to remove the bone in his foot. I sure hope he continues to improve. Getting him to stay off his feet and doing what the doctor says is not easy for him. It goes against his ‘grain’ if you understand. He is a go go go person. Not one to sit with his foot up at all. Short of knocking him in the head I am not sure how to keep him down. His doctor told him this was a matter not to fool around with. He can lose his whole foot if this infection comes back. I love this man, but he is a hard head. He thinks he can do anything and not pay the price. I am going to “sit” on him as best I can to keep him from pushing on and going to work etc. I know it is going to be a long difficult time.

  51. Surgery before Christmas means a Happy and HEALTHIER New Year! Why do men always (almost always) wait until it is serious? Blessings to you and David and continued prayers until he is up and “running”. Being prepared for emergencies is why we stock pantries, save money and think frugal. You have done great, being there and giving him the support he needs right now. Happy Holidays!!

  52. ~Went to Aldi’s on Tuesday night and they had bags of baby carrots for 25¢ so I bought 12 bags, I plan to can some of them and the rest will be served with meals. The packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts was $1.69/ lb and most had $2 off stickers on them. Picked out 3 of the smaller packs, that were around 4 lbs., so my cost per lb. was less than the bigger packs. Almost 12 lbs. total for about $13.
    ~A family owned small grocery store chain has a location 1/2 block from my office. On Wednesdays, from 10-5, they give 5% off purchases to shoppers 55 or older. They had milk on sale for $2.99/ gallon so on Wednesday I bought 2 gallons and could get milk cheaper than Aldi’s. My DS#2 was coming home from college and he’s the only one who drinks whole milk so I wanted to have it when he got home Friday night. I also got the exercise of carrying 2 gallons of milk from the store to my office!
    ~Last Tuesday I got an email from a friend his wife was ill and he was 3000 miles away in California for work. He said he knew it was short notice but could I please take a meal to her and their 2 boys. Fortunately, I had cooked a pork butt in the crock pot on Monday and before work on Tuesday I had pulled it but realized I had used the last of the BBQ sauce. I picked up the BBQ sauce and fresh cole slaw from the deli and came home and cooked bags of baby carrots. Dinner for my family and theirs. On my way to deliver I stopped at the $ store and picked up a box of lemon Italian ices for their dessert. I also included a pack of fall paper napkins that I had gotten on clearance at Aldi’s for 25¢. Less than $5 for a “blessing meal” pulled together after work with short notice.
    ~Found washi tape and fun duct tape at Staples on clearance for 50¢. Used my rewards and bought 24 rolls which I will use some for gifts for my crafty friend and my niece. I also turned in 4 ink cartridges which I will get $8 in Rewards on my account in January. I also received a $5 Rewards gift in the mail over the weekend, for being such a good customer, that expires on 12/24. Need to add that to my other Rewards that expire at the end of the month to get pens for my boys stockings. We get a lot of Rewards because my husband has a Staples company card for his job and his boss told I’m since the company doesn’t have a rewards account to link his card to our personal Rewards account. I use the Rewards for school supplies for our 2 son’s in college and to buy school supplies for my mission trips to Nicaragua. I also will use them to stock up on tp!

  53. Dog treats are easy to make and save you a ton! I have 4 100 lb plus dogs and make all my own treats. Hint – use a pasta roller to roll the dough out faster if you’re making some that get cut out.

  54. Does it get black as you cook with it? It might be unseasoned cast iron. Otherwise I’d guess aluminum. My grandma had an entire set of old aluminum pans she used for everything and those suckers were indestructible!

  55. Hi Roxie and so glad your husband is on the mend and yes I have a husband who is head strong as the day is long too. For the reason only of humour I tell you this story to cheer you up.

    We had a calling as myself nursery leader and my husband assistant to myself and looked after up to 10 toddlers ranging from 18 months to 3 years old. As a fun game my rather solidly built ex military husband would lie on the floor and all the toddlers would climb on top of him and he would tickle them and roll around, they all loved the game which we affectionately knick named toddler scrum. Until one day one of our littlest ran from the other side of the room and landed on his rib cage with his knee, breaking his rib. To say the least he was in pain and had trouble breathing. The doctor told him that it would take 2 – 3 months to heal properly and he would have to rest, not do any heavy lifting or work. To which I instantly thought well this isn’t going to work, and he won’t do it.

    We had a real estate inspection and needed to split timber to tidy up the front veranda and have the timber neatly stacked. He said that’s ok I will do it once I have a sleep, and I said oh no you won’t I will do it, being a 55kg tiny woman. He laughed and said no you won’t you will not be able to lift the wood splitter or even make a dent in the timber. Unbeknown to him I had had past experience cutting wood with an axe on a property I had prior to us being married.

    Whilst he was asleep I quietly slipped to the shed & got the wood splitter out and started splitting timber and had 90% of the timber split by the time he woke up, and on the veranda stacked. He insisted that he would finish the rest and well as you know that story doesn’t end well. He ended up it bed most of the week in excruciating pain, but thankful he knew that his little pretzel type wife is stronger and more stubborn than what she looks :).

    He learnt to rest after that, but only after learning the hard way !. I hope your husband learns the easy way on that note :).

  56. We are in the same boat . I am 55 my hubby is 69. We are now roommates with my son to make up the difference. However, the generation gap is too wide and it really is not working, so we are looking to become room mates with a couple more our ages.

  57. Hi Becky,
    Last week I clicked on your name to take a look at your blog. Just wanted you to know how very much I have enjoyed working my way through the past months of postings and seeing all the pictures of your beautiful children and homestead projects. Please keep writing — as with some other regular posters here, your productivity and positive can-do attitude are inspiring to me!

  58. I wrapped all the Christmas presents this week in gift wrap I purchased at 75% off last January. I went to three Christmas potluck parties and carried cakes made from ingredients that were already in my pantry and freezer.

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