Paperwhites in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

It was a simple week that we spent at home. I did some organizing and cleaning last week.

I went through some clothes, and several pairs of children’s pants (trousers) need to have the elastic replaced in the waistband. I ordered bulk elastic on sale for 25% off from Wawak to fix these pairs of pants.

I gave five of my children a haircut.

I collected shower water while it warmed to water the potted plants in the garden. Since it is winter time, I always collect more, as it takes a bit longer for the water to get warm. 

I watched the “Call the Midwife” Christmas special on

I made lemonade from our lemons.

What did you do to save money last week?



Note: I have several blog posts planned for this week, including a new grocery price list, my shopping plans for the month, my goals for this week, and a new recipe (or two!) Be sure to check back often!




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  1. Quiet simple weeks are the best sometimes. As my husband likes to say it’s good to be bored. Although really I know you never feel that way!
    I fixed our blinds again after the grandbaby knocked them down. We decided to start No spend January again. Our bedroom needs a makeover in the worst way and this will help us get it started. You can find the ways I saved last week here:

  2. Stayed away from all of the sales. Stayed on budget for groceries. Repaired a bedspread. Pre prepped food for the week using food storage beans and rice, and using up items from freezer. Made almond milk from almonds stored in freezer. I love being frugal!

  3. Happy 2016 every one!

    We have had a couple of quiet weeks here ourselves. After Christmas dinner with my mom and brother, we brought the turkey carcass home along with a huge box of homemade chocolates. We ate leftover turkey for dinner for 5 days after Christmas and I still had enough leftover to make a few meals for the freezer. We have been treating ourselves to a homemade chocolate (or 2) after dinner. I did put a few in the freezer for Valentine’s Day.

    I combined bits and pieces of fruit with a can of pineapple to make a fruit salad that served for breakfast for several days.

    We went into town for a day to run a few errands. We returned a Christmas gift for the correct size and I asked about a short term position they had open. We went to the grocery store and only bought what was on our list. We traded in points and got a 10 pound bag of potatoes for free.

    Dried clothes by the fire cutting down on the electric bill and adding a little humidity to our home.

    I finished another table runner using scrap fabric, batting leftover from my winter quilt, and part of an old sheet for the backing. I followed a quilt-as-you-go tutorial found online. I am very happy with the way this one turned out and I might have enough leftover to make a small mat to put under my printer.

    Believe it or not, but I actually started planning for next Christmas. Right after Christmas, my head is full or all kinds of christmas ideas so I write them down and organize any materials I have on hand. I really dislike the panic and time squeeze that can come with last minute Christmas preparations and I find that a little work in January can make the following Christmas less stressful.

  4. Let’s see….
    1. I have to be frugal by default for the next two weeks as hubby didn’t work two days the week of Christmas and three days the week of New Years so I bought bare minimum supplies, although I did get another gallon of oil that I didn’t really have to have but it was only 3.99 for the gallon. I also accepted a dozen and a half eggs from my sister. Planned my menus with what I had in the house- thank goodness for a stocked pantry and freezer! I will be using a gift card I recieved before Christmas for lunch tomorrow. Accepted left over smoked chicken from the church banquet and used some to make chicken salad, will send some for lunches tomorrow, and will shred and freeze the rest for future use. Gathered change to put gas in my car for the next week- I already had some gas so I used 8.00 in change to finish off what I would need for the week. I think that’s all. Have a great week!

  5. I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve enjoyed reading Brandy’s posts and everyone’s comments. So my list is for the past few weeks.

    I have been walking to work, even in the cold and the rain. Once it got cold here, I soon realized I didn’t have a warm enough coat for my daily commute on foot. My attempts at finding a suitable coat at the thrift store were not successful. So, I watched sales, and found a down raincoat at the Eddie Bauer outlet. The catalog price for the coat was $349, but with a sale, additional discounts, and rewards credit (including $10 each from my mom and sister), I ended up paying $125 before tax. I’ve been very happy with this purchase, and it should last me many years. So nice to not be cold!

    Our Christmas was pretty low key, with a Christmas eve brunch at my mom’s and Christmas dinner at my husband’s parents. We don’t exchange presents, although we did bring a basket of various edibles for my husband’s family to share.

    We went to a friend’s Christmas party, and I brought a jar of jam wrapped in a new dish towel that I had on hand as a gift.

    My mom gave me the ham bone from our Christmas brunch, and I made broth and then a big batch of yellow split pea soup (at my husband’s request). We ate some and I froze two quarts. I also made broth from a bag of bones and veggie trimmings that I keep in my freezer.

    I have been saving eggshells for several months, enough to fill a quart Ziploc bag. I sprinkled the crushed shells on my garden plot to add minerals to the soil. I can’t wait for spring to arrive!

    Wishing everyone Happy New Year, and all the best in 2016!

  6. Quiet week here too. Not much to report.

    Baked beans on top of the woodstove.
    Bought three 1 pound bags of kidney beans on sale for 89 cents/lb at Aldis.
    Made a penny rug from some wool that was given to me.
    Started a sampler from supplies I had on hand.
    Bottled up some homemade vinegar.
    Got our December heating bill and it was only $25. Down 66% from last year. Heating with free firewood is really paying off!

  7. We did our usual frugal things: hanging laundry, eating at home, shopping the sales, etc…
    This week wasn’t anything special but we too had a simple week. I hosted a family from They had a baby that my son loved. We ate all our meals at home and visited with them.
    My son, age 4, is at the age when pets can enter the picture. Our living arrangements don’t allow for a dog and I’m allergic to cats and birds. This somewhat limited us on pets. We decided to get guinea pigs. We found a same sex pair for free through a rescue site. We were also able to buy the supplies on the internet saving money.

  8. I am glad you had a quiet week. Unfortunately, we did not. We had an historic flood here in our small town near St. Louis, but our home was high and dry. I got a few photos posted on my blog of the local devastation. But we were blessed here compared to my cousin whose home was destroyed in Garland, TX. I am always thankful for normal, “ordinary” life at home, aren’t you? It is such a wonderful blessing!

  9. I also watched the “Call the Midwife” Christmas special on our PBS station.

    Received & cashed my pine cone check. Bought a lid for one of my Christmas Charm sugar containers at the thrift store; I actually bought the entire sugar container, but the bottom had a chip out of the rim. I needed the lid, & they only wanted 99 cents for both the container & lid. When I got to the checkout, everything “Christmas” was half price, so I got the lid for 52 cents. I thought that was more than reasonable.

    Completed the finishing on the small wool mitten set I repaired. I did not have any more grey wool yarn in that shade, so since the only grandchildren that would currently fit in that size mitten are girls, I used a medium pink, which not only looked nice, but will be harder to lose in the snow! Made a set of medium pink fingerless mittens, using leftover yarn in pink, black & dark grey, with decorative stitches in medium light grey. They were an experiment, using the pattern I have for mittens & adapting it accordingly. On the first mitten, I knitted & finished the mitten, then used the light grey wool yarn to add decorative stitches. On the second mitten, I knitted in the decorative stitches as I went, carrying the yarn behind. I am not sure which I like best, but carrying the yarn behind &knitting the stitches in was easier by far. In my own grandmother’s day, ladies sometimes wore wristlets for warmth in the winter, & I suspect those were something like what we call fingerless mittens. In any case, they are wonderful for keeping one’s hand warm while still allowing one considerable freedom of movement, such as typing at the computer, or writing in a journal.

    Saved the two-handled burlap basket, lined with plastic, in which a gift (from Kneaders) from a neighbor was packed. I think it would work nicely again as a carrier, for homemade jellies or jams, or dehydrated herbs, etc from the garden. I also saved the raffia or wood shavings from the packing. They fit nicely in a cleaned hot chocolate can, now labeled “tinder – wood shavings”, to use for camping or emergencies, & sit on the shelf with the camping supplies in the garage.

    We ate Christmas leftovers for most of the week, since I had baked a ham. Most of the time it is just the 2 of us, so even a small ham goes a long ways.

    Over the holiday from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I picked up several packages of 4 cinnamon rolls from the bargain basket for bread. Some were regular iced cinnamon rolls & some had cream cheese frosting, but all were marked ‘way down. I put them in the freezer, & took out the rolls one or two at a time, zapped them in the microwave & they tasted fresh, which was nice. I saved the 7 ½” square foil pans in which they came, because they are the perfect size for us to make freezer meals for just the two of us. Being able to reuse the tins as freezer meal containers made them even more frugal.

  10. This really covers the past week or two. Over the past few months I have been working on trying my hand at couponing. I have never really bothered, we don’t eat many processed foods and I didn’t want to start just because I was able to buy them for cheap with coupons. Then I had the epiphany, we still use shampoo, conditioner, soap, laundry soap, toothpaste….. etc. I have worked diligently and may have gotten a tiny bit over excited and we have almost 2 years of most of our toiletries, and laundry soap. These were bought with my normal grocery/ household needs budget. My kids are on school break and my wife has been home for the past week and a half. I have been working on simple meals and making sure to have snacks available. We have for the most part stayed home or just visited at families homes. We have enjoyed some more involved games with our kids and other family members. (7 wonders) A Costco not far from just expanded and is crazy huge! We decided to take a drive (20 minutes ) with the kiddos to go check it out. We all needed a minute out of the house. We found boneless skinless chicken breast for 89 cents a pound!!! It came in 40 pound boxes. My sweet wife bought me a box of chicken and some costco muffins (a favorite of mine) and I didn’t even have to use my grocery money. Later that night we turned on a movie and separated, bagged, wrapped in freezer paper, and labeled all that chicken together. We put away our Christmas decorations. Watched movies and took pictures at home (my wife is a photographer) new year’s eve and enjoyed a normal dinner. But we did splurge and I made spinach artichoke dip, I had all the ingredients on hand. I was able to get my exercise in by shoveling the walk. I spent some time going through my rather large cross stitching stash and separated a large amount of patterns and a few other items that I will be listing on a message board to sell. Basically it was a small unglamorous holiday break, and it was absolutely perfect. I wish you all a simple pleasant week.

  11. – Trying to use up what is in my freezer, refrigerator and pantry.
    – Walk dog on longer walks, good for both of us.
    – I did my usual no spend week for the month and was successful.
    – I got several budgeted items for good prices around Christmas. I saved a great deal of money because I planned and prioritized for a long time and saved up for these purchases with small amounts of “found” money or unexpected extra income.
    -I went to see a doctor expecting an expensive treatment plan and instead was given something I could do at home that should be effective if I continue with his recommendation.
    -I put my heated mattress pad on my bed to warm it up before I go to bed. I keep the heat low and seem to be sleeping much better.
    -I availed myself of the local library for ebooks and a video.

  12. Here’s what we got up to last week –

    * Made a batch of vanilla yoghurt using a frozen starter.

    * Picked a handful of beans every few days. I started freezing them for future meals.

    * Made a big batch of pita chips.

    * Made chocolate truffles to go to a New Years Eve party. I used homemade sweetened condensed milk from the freezer.

    * Gratefully accepted a bag of shredded paper for my chickens.

    * My family ate leftovers for dinner two nights running after Christmas. By doing this, we didn’t waste any food.

    * Both the girls took advantage of the sales and bought some presents for next year. I was so proud of them for thinking ahead and saving some money.

    * I bought lots of hand towels from Spotlight for $4.19 a pack of four. I also bought some Christmas material at 60% off to sew on the towels.

    * Used scraps of material to make some other hand towels into presents too. I was on a roll and made 14 in one afternoon.

    * .Made two large dishes of zucchini slice with the last of the zucchinis from Cath. The slice was cut into single portions and frozen.

    * Picked a couple of handfuls of strawberries. Jessica enjoyed some with the homemade yoghurt.

    * Bought a Tupperware lidded container from the op shop for $4.50 It looks new so I’ll give it a wash and fill it up with homemade biscuits to give as a present. Tied with a matching bow, it will look beautiful.

    * Megan got her ears pierced ( seconds ) and handed over a coupon she found online for $5 off. So proud of her for researching this herself.

    * I used a Spotlight gift card ( Christmas present ) to buy a big pad of 120 Christmas papers for half price. This will be great for card making.. I also found some craft ribbon at 75% off.

    There are a few photos on my blog of some of these tasks

  13. Happy New Year, Brandy! Looking forward to all the new posts you’ve planned!

    I’ve been blessed with several meals provided by family and friends – since I was not able to attend their holiday gatherings due to health reasons, they delivered holiday meals to me! As a result, I’ve not needed any groceries other than fresh bananas!

    I continue to hang laundry up to air dry inside the house. They dry quickly because I keep the heater on at night and they also add some much needed humidity.

    I mended one of daughter’s sweaters, where the seams had started to rip.

    I am knitting a scarf using leftover yarn I had in the stash.

    Hope you have a lovely start to the New Year.

  14. I’m guessing you and I live fairly close. I’ve heard that that Costco is now so enormous it takes a lot longer to shop. I think Costco said it’s the largest one on the planet! I don’t like to shop much, so my husband has gone the past couple of times. We were going to brave it together the other day, but decided to wait until after New Year’s. Any suggestions for navigating the expanded store?

  15. We also had a fairly quiet week, for which I am grateful! Wishing you and your family all the best in the New Year!

    Some of our frugal accomplishments include:

    Taking my in-laws to free local attractions when they visited us for Christmas. We had a great time touring historical buildings and taking photos in front of quirky landmarks!

    We hosted a New Year’s Day “Vision Board Party,” and my husband got stacks and stacks of free magazines from a local hotel for us to cut up. They were happy to get rid of them!

    Using poster boards and glue sticks from last year’s party, so we didn’t have to buy new ones.

    Borrowing a dozen different scrapbooking scissors from a friend, instead of buying any for the party.

    Freezing or eating up lots and lots of holiday leftovers, and composting the little that we couldn’t get to. Nothing went to waste!

    Covering our raised-bed garden on freezing nights with freeze-cloth over the cage that husband built to protect it from squirrels and birds. By covering the cage instead of the plants on the ground, we will get many more seasons of use out of the cloth!

    Starting a new monthly BYO-Book Club with friends. We each get to read whatever we like and report on it at our meetings. Not reading the same book all at once means we can borrow from the library, or bring and trade the books we’ve read. The point is really just to get together with friends and read more anyway.

  16. Hello Brandy & all from Australia and happy New Year to all of you :).

    First I would like to start with my husband’s and my major financial savings for the year & month of December were –
    – Saving for our home increased from November from 36.77% in December 46.27% of gross combined income, yeah :D.
    – Looking at statistics, which by the way strangely keeps me on track and enthusiastic about being frugal is that the average Australian household saves 9% of their disposable net income and not gross income as in our case. So feeling pretty inspired now. We are working on

    Grocery & household goods savings –
    – Saved $13.20 on pyrex baking dishes & biscuit trays we needed to replace that we found on a 30% off New Year sale.
    – Saw our deodorant on special which is usually super expensive and purchased 14 bottles or a years supply & saved $43.12, a 50% off saving on usual prices.
    – Baked homemade bread all week and cooked all meals from ingredients from the pantry, garden or freezer.

    Gardening Savings –
    – A friend had a horse that didn’t like the hay it bought it and wouldn’t eat it, so rang us to pick it up for free along with the lovely horse manure he produces as well. Saving us $42.15 if we had to purchase it from local suppliers. We use the manure for the vegetable gardens and mulch up the larger hay with the ride on lawn mower to mulch the vegetable gardens with to keep the moisture in.

    Gardening –
    – Planted 2 rows of silverbeet seeds, lemongrass and borage in the herb gardens.
    – Separated existing strawberry plants and made 18 new plants by trimming runners to make another strawberry patch. Shall look to separate more runners later this month to make a third patch of new strawberry plants.
    – Weeded top side of house flower gardens and herb gardens and mulched with old composted grass clippings.
    – Picked,blanched and froze 2.3kg of spinach beet and 2.1kg of green beans from the garden.
    – Picked snow & greenfeast peas, turnips, spinach beet and ripe strawberries for teas & snacks all week.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week one and all :).

  17. Hi Jane and wonderful news about your electric bill being so low.

    We too heat our home which by the way is 100 year old wooden workers cottage using free timber we collect as well, well free apart from a little fuel for the chainsaw & a little bit of car fuel to get 5 minutes from home to collect it anyway. It saves so much money over running heaters to warm you.

    A friend of ours who has 2 young children got an electricity bill of $723 for a quarter bill over the winter period as she was keeping her and the children warm with heaters and using the clothes dryer to dry the children’s clothes. The poor lady had to make arrangements to pay the bill off.

    Our most recent electric bill was $62 less than our one corresponding to the one the same time last year, so we too are so happy.

  18. Hi Staci and relate totally with getting a tiny bit over excited about specials and stocking up. But in the long run it does save you a lot of money especially when you have children in the home.

    My husband & I have been stocking up on the same things as usually the personal care products are so expensive usually, and take up a big chunk of our grocery budget too. So yes we have been stocking up on shampoo, conditioner and deodorants as well as they have all been 50% off usual prices, which here in Australia is very much a rarity indeed.

  19. We had a busy week, with lots of visiting with family. We are delighted with the lower gas prices, and they are even lower where our relatives are so we topped our tank off there.
    Aside from visiting we did a lot of de-christmasing and I have been washing and sorting clothes the children recieved.
    We decided after discussion to purchase a fancy family pack to our state aquarium. We have a lot of savings goals this year, and this will more than pay for itself on long weekends or our staycation. We went yesterday and had a great though exhausting time. We got the two guest option which will also give me more hands in a public place with three small children, we know from past years that it is tempting to take them out and at least this way it will be cheaper.
    Somehow our house is worth even less, so we are setting the goal of saving/earning 40 grand this year to buy our way out of our home. I switched to Aldi, and we are accepting all overtime( I say we, 12/27 I was alone for eleven hours with children drunk on Christmas auuuugh) and selling everything not nailed down. I am hopeful we can at least get to 25 thousand, but I think forty is more realistic for what we need to get out. I’m feeling positive about it, I think if we are very very careful it can be done.

  20. For Christmas I received a $25 gas gift card from my supervisor. I used it for my weekly gas fill-up and my commute for work was paid for. The money I would have used for gas went to a bill.

    We ate from the pantry and freezer since we have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and ham from Christmas to use up. I made bread and yogurt. I bought potatoes for 10 cents per pound.

    I am planning on painting the bedroom in the next month or two and Menard’s had a sale on their paint with an 11% rebate available. I bought enough for the bedroom and the closet. I’m looking forward to how fresh it will look. We have an almost 100 year old house and we have been slowly updating it with out going into debt for it and doing most of the work ourselves.

  21. I considered what I have and if there were things I needed with the after-Christmas sales and decided to stay home and not buy things I really didn’t need for next year! That, for me, was an accomplishment because I love a bargain!

    On Monday I went with family up to some bulk foods stores in Amish country! Bought 10 pounds of brown rice, pearl barley and dried orange citrus peel granules. I also bought 10 pounds of marked down apples for $1.98 and another peck of Gala apples (hubby’s favorite) for $3! I bought bulk canning jar lids and separate jar lids in bulk because even though I haven’t run out of rings or lids yet, with the amount of canning I’m doing, I don’t want to be in the middle of canning and run out! I noticed that they also sell canning jars of all sizes, in boxes of a dozen, without lids or rings at a greatly reduced price and will keep this in mind for the future!

    I bought Apple sausage seasoning mix there too and using that with some of my marked down apples that I chopped up and 5 pounds of marked down ground pork from my freezer mixed it all up in my Kitchenaid and then put the mixture into a gallon ziplock in the fridge to let the seasonings marinade with the pork. This morning I will cook up the breakfast sausage that it has become and make it into breakfast burritos and breakfast muffins and package them into quick and easy “grab and go” breakfasts!

    I bought 40 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.47/pound at my local Fresh Thyme and cooked up 10 pounds as chunks, 10 pounds into crockpot and then shredded in my Kitchenaid and the other 20 pounds I weighed into 6 oz servings and portioned them in portion control baggies with 10 of them packaged into a gallon ziplock bag (again for easy “grab and cook” for diet ) . I also bought 5 dozen eggs for $1.50/dozen there too since I was almost out of eggs and the cheapest price for quite a while has been about $2.29/dozen!

    Made 5 pounds of brown sugar for about $1! Took me 3 minutes to do and now my canister is filled again! Bought 140 pounds of all purpose flour (5 pound bags were on clearance for 70 cents/bag!)! That, coupled with the 100 pounds of granulated sugar I bought a week ago on sale (5 pound bags for 99 cents/bag) mean that I won’t be buying those staples for months!!

    I made homemade taco seasoning to refill my quart jar of it that I keep in my pantry. I DO love the convenience of pre-made mixes, easy frozen and canned things to help speed up meal prep! It’s worth it to me to spend a couple hours on a Saturday morning prepping meats, mixes, meals and canning so that in the weeks following, I can “whip up a meal” in no time flat!

    Hubby built and installed doors on two of our lower kitchen cabinets using materials he already had in his workshop. With the warmer weather we have experienced this winter so far, I spent several hours outside cutting down all but the main trunks and thickest branches of our four apple trees that are no longer productive. Hubby will use the power saw to take down the remainder and then we’ll dig up the stump to ready the area for new gardens we have been planning. We are determined to use every possible space in our yard for fruit/veggie gardens and edible landscaping, while still having a play area and outside relaxing/entertaining area.

    I started Annabel’s challenge on her blog of keeping a daily savings diary for the year and in the first 3 days of January, we have already saved almost $200!! That’s not counting paying off 2 more doctor bills this past week, either!

    I know that 2016 will probably bring higher prices on so many necessities and increased stress levels because of world conditions, but I am feeling optimistic and at peace that we will be able to weather those things if we continue to find ways to be provident and prepare.

  22. Typical quiet week here as well. Stayed home for the most part. I went grocery shopping and spent $30 total. Did the usual: saved warm up water, took short showers, kept lights off, unplugged what can be unplugged, line dried clothing.
    I mended a pair of underwear and a sock.
    We cooked all meals from scratch and ate at home. I made banana bread.
    My husband took our daughter (5 yrs old) sledding down the hill on our property. I joined for a short time but it was to cold for me.
    My mom came to visit at my house.
    My favorite pajama pants finally went kaput. I had mended them several times but they were to old and worn. I saved them to cut the legs off and use as wrapping for presents. I saw the idea on Zero Waste Home’s blog.
    My husband repaired the pipes under the kitchen sink again but they will probably have to be replaced. They are PVC and should not cost to much.
    My husband was notified his hours are being cut at work. Not sure to what yet. I go to the orientation for my new job on the 21st. Can’t wait!
    Have a great week everyone!

  23. Well, it was a rough Christmas to get through financially but we made it. My parents came down and while I love them, they aren’t frugal and aren’t a fan of eating out of the pantry, etc. They won’t eat off real plates, they have to be paper (I didn’t make this up, honest!). Also, they won’t eat leftovers or repurposed leftovers so cooking large meats were out of the question. My biggest frugal accomplishment is that I saved for this happening. I used saved money from my part time fall job for this and Christmas presents. I also used Swagbucks for Christmas presents. We did make it and are getting back to normal this week. It will be a lot of eating out of the pantry though. 🙂

    Fixed my daughters piggy bank that cracked in two.

    Husband went to Target to get medicine for my daughter. I told him to check out the clearance to see if there was anything usable (I’ve purchased non-holiday things by doing this) They had big bags of “blanket snow” which is just glorified poly fill for $.75. He got me two bags. My daughter wants me to make her some pillows for her dolls and their doll beds (that she made out of shoe boxes). I can use it for other pillows as well. He also got a Revlon gift set. It has a bottle of nail polish and a heart mirror that says LOVE on it. It was $.50. That will be her valentines present.

    That’s really about it…not too excited but ready to tackle the new year with good financial goals!

    Take care!

  24. We also have a Guinea Pig, which we’ve had since about April last year. This is the first Guinea Pig I’ve ever owned, but I’m really impressed with the animal so far. She has her own little quirks and personality, as most animals do and it’s been enjoyable to get to know her. I love that she is awake during the day and sleeps at night (I had hamsters as a teen and they go all night long!). They are quite friendly and do like a good cuddled. But most of all, they make the cutest squealing noises ever! I think you’re really going to like your new family additions.

  25. So sorry to hear that your area was affected by those floods. Several years ago, the city I live in was devastated by flooding. I wasn’t living here at the time, but all my family and in-laws were. Luckily none of them had damage to their homes, but 80% of homeowners in the area were not so lucky. I remember the devastation with piles of destroyed personal items, furniture, drywall, carpeting, etc. lining the streets, all piled up outside on the curbs for pick up. It was very sad. I’m very sorry your cousin has lost their home.

  26. Well I tried to record that call the midwife, but it didn’t work. I’ll have to see if uI can figure out how to watch it straight up.

    We enjoyed the time at home. For fun, we took the kids to the park for a potluck before the rain hits.

    I went for many walks. I found some grapes, lettuce, celery, and banana on the discount rack at the produce store. I made soup and hummus.

    I find beans on sale at .39 a can again. This sale runs every few weeks. While I prefer to use dried, for hummus I use either garbanzo or white beans, and I can’t find those in large bags. So I keep the canned on hand.

    Husband is traveling all week so dinners are very simple. Pasta with butter and parmesan, carrots and hummus, or broccoli and hummus.

    I tallied up my grocery bills for last year and came in at $5700, give or take. That is >$4500 less than last year. Since that was very hard to hit, I am going to aim for about $6000 this year. I discovered the 99 can’t argue last year, which was a huge help. This year, I will check out the discount rack more, and also comb through other options.

    For example, there is a coupon in the entertainment book for a free basket of berries. There is a coupon for savings off a delivery service. I need to see what else is in there. I don’t even think I used the 30% off coupon at the one local farm. I usually get strawberries there, in season. I also should start going to the farmers market again. The price on local citrus really can’t be beat.

  27. Just go to; you can watch it directly there. That is what I do, since we don’t have an antenna on our tv to get PBS. I actually prefer watching it online, because I can watch whenever I want and I don’t have to worry about it not recording for some reason.

    I will watch Downton Abbey that way this week; it is online the day after air (so today).

  28. I enjoy Call The Midwife, and will have to look into the Christmas special you and Marivene mention. It sounds as though this may be a new special, so I’m not sure I can get it on Netflix yet. We can only watch movies on our television. Perhaps I might be able to view it online. I look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to. Joining in here:

  29. Did you do all 5 haircuts in one day? That’s a lot of work, especially if they were complaining.

    To stay frugal, I continue to shop the sales and use coupons/rebates whenever I can. Last week, I found an incredible deal on Gillette Venus razors that ended up being only $0.12 a pack (usually $13.39 each!) I also got free body wash, free Kraft salad dressing, $0.09 kids conditioner, and lots more. All of my transactions with pics can be found here:

  30. We went camping at the beach, using our park pass.
    We shopped at the outlet mall and got some incredible deals, including dresses for 37c and a pair of jeans for 67c.
    Once we got home, we stayed there due to a winter storm.
    My husband was willing to go on errands for hours to get the best prices on groceries needed from Costco, Cash and Carry and Fred Meyers.

  31. They weren’t complaining 🙂 After they took a bath or shower Saturday night, I brushed out their hair (for the 4 girls whose hair I cut) and then cut it quickly. It took less than 2 minutes to give each girl a trim, straight across the bottom of their hair. They want it long enough to still put in braids and ponytails, and just needed to have a few inches cut off to get rid of split ends.

    For my son, it takes less time to cut his hair than it does to drive to the nearest place and get it cut (which is only 5 minutes away).

    It saves me both time and money to cut it at home!

  32. “Call the Midwife” is on my list of shows I’d like to watch. Some day I’ll get a chance to sit down and catch up on all the seasons. I am also looking forward to all your posts this week.

    Well, winter has finally arrived in our area. We had a warm, green Christmas, but it started snowing a day or two afterwards. Now the temperatures have dropped significantly, so I’m officially wearing a winter jacket and gloves whenever I go out now…darn.:( I was really hoping for a warm winter this year. Anyways, here are my frugal accomplishments after Christmas and over New Year:

    *We had our IT friend over to set up our new computer for us. The store offered a “special deal” on boxing day to set up the computer for a mere $100. Our friend charged us $30 and he took off all the pre-loaded trial stuff that we didn’t need which slows down the computer. That’s a savings of $70 for a better job than what the store would do!

    *While our IT friend was here, we asked him to give us a quick tutorial on the new Android box my mom bought my husband for Christmas on his recommendation. He showed us the Kodi Genesis app and we were blown away!!! For just the one time cost of buying the Android box (which was less than $90 Canadian with next day shipping through we now have access to thoudands of movies, including ones that are CURRENTLY STILL IN THE CINEMAS (to give you an idea, the new Star Wars movie is already available on there), not to mention the past and CURRENT SEASONS of our favourite TV shows as well. You can even choose the quality of the steaming (HD, HQ, MQ and LQ), but the higher the quality the longer it takes to download (MQ or medium quality has been quite acceptable for us). Needless to say, we will be canceling Netflix immediately, and most likely a bunch of our satelite channels, as we now have access to it without monthly fees! Best device EVER!!!! (Oh, and I did ask, it is not considered illegal to watch or listen to anything that has been downloaded onto the internet in Canada…only if you are redistributing it. So these boxes are completely legal)

    *Meals cooked at home this week included chicken souvlaki with Greek salad and left over corn, turkey shepherds pie (using Christmas leftovers, veggies from the freezer, and other pantry staples), roast beef dinner (New Years Day) with mashed potatoes, veggies and coleslaw, fettucine alfredo with home-made garlic bread and cream of potato soup topped with extra old cheddar cheese and bacon bits (made by my wonderful husband…yum!).

    *For New Years eve, we made “finger foods” for our dinner, including breaded cheese sticks, ham and cheese crescent rolls, pizza bread, a cheese and cracker tray, and chips and dip. We were originally going to go to the movies as a family for New Years eve. Once we realized what we had access to through the Android box, we decided to stay home and watch two movies…for free… in our PJ while curled up on the comfy couch.

    *I made extra turkey shepherds pie filling when I was preparing it for dinner and froze half of it in a ziplock bag, to use as a quick meal option later. We will just need to thaw it, top with mashed potatoes and a bit of grated cheese, then bake. I also made up 2 pans of uncooked lasagna for the freezer as another quick meal option. Sometimes these come in handy when we can’t decide what to make or are restricted on prep time due to other obligations.

    *We went to an auction on New Years day and ended up buying a brand new, high end, queen sized mattress and box spring set for a grand total of $500. We have needed a new mattress for a while, but kept holding off. The mattresses were wrapped in heavy plastic, which we cut flat then folded up to keep as a plastic drop cloth for painting or whenever a project requires a piece of plastic sheeting.

    Well, that’s about it for me. As always, looking forward to reading everyone’s accomplishments. Have a great week everyone!

  33. Lorna, your friend’s situation sounds terrible! Was there no energy assistance program that would help her?

  34. I am a bit envious of everyone who had a quiet holiday week; we traveled 5 hours to my husband’s family gathering. I have mixed feelings; it was good to see everyone, but I would also like to stay home! Not all of my goals are frugal this year, but I do want to keep track of my accomplishments in this area, to keep me mindful.

    Last week, I ground the leftover ham from Christmas in the food processor and froze it. Should be able to make at least two meals (soups, pot pies, etc.) from each container. I also froze the leftover ham and wild rice soup my husband had made before traveling — he made a vat, and I didn’t want it to go to waste.

    Received a $3.00 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks. Reviewed my gift box and updated my inventory list; removed some things to donate or sell. Ordered two pairs of shorts and a shirt for 9-year-old DD from Schoola with a $15 credit that expired Dec. 31; order was free. Also combined store clearance and a $15 off coupon (from being on the mailing list) to purchase myself a purple lace-covered blouse for $7.74. I may be able to wear it with a skirt I own for an April family wedding –depends on weather.

    At the family gathering, I received two pairs of socks. Also brought home some of the leftover food: banana bread, taco salad, pumpkin bars (a favorite of the nine-year-old) and some kind of dessert bar with chocolate. I don’t know what they’re called, but I like them.

  35. Gardenpat, are you in Ohio? If so, wondering where in Amish country you are able to buy the bulk foods and apples? I often go to Holmes County but haven’t stopped at any bulk stores. Would appreciate store names and cities!

  36. Wendy, the pictures of your food are delicious. I especially like the look and sound of the zucchini slices. Is there a recipe??

  37. Bless, I pray all is going well and on schedule with your treatments. I am glad you were able to enjoy stress free, work free holiday meals. 🙂

  38. I hope you are using all your lemon peels:D I ordered a box of lemons last year, and canned my own lemon juice, made dried lemon peel, and lemon rind candy, My kids loved it! I still have lemon juice I use from that one box. While it is not really frugal to this I wanted to the experience, now I want to grow a lemon tree!

  39. We are repainting the bedrooms to prep for moving the kids into their own spaces. Used a lot of paint and supplies we already had on hand, and bought the rest with a very generous gift card given us for the holidays, using a 10% off total order coupon for the home supply shop! We’ll be refinishing and re-using furniture for now, and were gifted a desk that a friend’s son outgrew. Will probably make curtains with fabric on hand. Total out of pocket cost will be less than $50 to redecorate three rooms enough to move everyone in; additional furniture, artwork, rugs and so forth can be picked up as we need them.

    Came in under the grocery budget for the month, hooray!

  40. Marcia, did you check the Hispanic food section for garbanzos? That is where they are in our store. dried, in bags of 1 and 2 pounds. Also, “white beans” are usually navy or great northern, both very common dried bean. If you mean cannellini beans, the Italian section at our store has those dried.

  41. Rhonda, you mention the souvlaki every so often. I have never made that…I have a Greek church cookbook that I bought while visiting friends. I’ve tried a number of recipes from it…I should look for one for that.

  42. We had a week off from school, so I enjoyed a slower pace. I did some reading and hobbies that I enjoy and I also started going through the house and getting rid of clutter. I have a box of toys and some DVDs that my children have outgrown and a few other things ready for Goodwill.

    I downloaded a free wallpaper for my computer from that I really love! It has a winter scene and says “choose joy” with a January calendar in the right hand corner.

    I signed up to use the free version of EveryDollar and I am very excited about using this program this year! It is a budgeting program that allows users to set up a budget by categories and input transactions into each category. I love the user-friendly design, and I think the program will be a huge time saver.

    I scheduled bills to be paid through online bill pay.

    I ran out of envelopes this week, so I used the envelopes that are sent with the bills that I received in the mail (since I use online bill pay, we don’t use them). I wrote the address on a small scrap piece of paper and put it inside the envelope to cover the open “window” part of the envelope.

    I found a couple of books on photography at the library that I’m hoping will help me improve my photography skills.

    I made blueberry pancakes with blueberries that we picked in August for $1.25/lb. and froze. I also cooked a whole chicken (that was on sale for $.99/lb.) in the crockpot and made chicken stock with the scraps. We ate turkey and other leftovers from last week and I made Alphabet Soup.

    My favorite find this week was wrapping paper for $.38 a roll!

    I bought bread at the bread store for $1.03 per loaf and put bread ends in the freezer.

    Last Saturday was free Saturday at the Fitness Center. The boys and I enjoyed getting out and getting some exercise for free.

  43. I forgot the Call The Midwife special happened! I need to check out tonight. We brought leftover food from my in-laws and used a Fandango gift card to take our son to see Star Wars.

  44. Athanasia, my husband and I fell in love with souvlaki after we living near Greek town in Toronto in our 20’s. In fact the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was filmed very close to where we were living! Souvlaki is basically a marinated meat that’s really easy to make from common pantry ingredients. There are lots of versions to be found through Pinterest, but here is a link to a very basic recipe:

    We like to make up a huge batch at once, with maybe a dozen or so fresh boneless chicken breasts (you can use dark meat or even debone your own meat if you prefer), then freeze it. Traditionally the cubed meat is threaded onto a wooden skewer. Originally I made it that way, but found the skewers pierced the plastic bag when I put them in the freezer. So, now I just cut the chicken into chunks, mix it in the marinade, leave it in the fridge for about 12-24 hours, so it soaks up the flavouring, then divide up the meat, with marinade, into family sized meal portions before freezing. When we are having it for dinner, we just thaw the bag, dump meat and marinade mix into a baking dish and cook in the oven until the chicken is cooked through. Pair it with rice, potatoes (look up Greek potato recipes for a more authentic but amazing side dish…so good!) and/or a Greek salad to complete the meal.

    Traditional Greek Souvlaki is made with pork, so you can use that instead of chicken. We’re just not pork fans, so chicken is our preference. I do highly recommend the tzatziki sauce though. It’s just not souvlaki without dipping the meat in a really good tzatziki sauce! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!!

  45. I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

    We had company from New Year’s Eve until after church yesterday. My mother had gone down to southern part of the state to spend Christmas with one of my brothers and his family. So she was brought back up by two of my nieces and they stayed up here and spent time with my girls. They actually all stayed next door at my daughter’s (my other two girls too) but since I was home all week everyone hung out here for food, games etc during most of the waking hours and when not visiting other cousins. New Year’s Eve we were here for our usual cookout (no matter how cold or how snowy) with a bonfire in the back yard. Normally there would be skating on the pond but with the mild weather up until the 28th it was not solid enough. The senior high youth group was over too (my daughter and her husband are leaders since they moved back to the area). But there was snow for games and cross country skiing and snowshoeing and sledding…whatever equipment was available or brought. At 11:30 after every one has warmed up we go back out as my cousins down the road always do a firework show.

    I made a large kettle of potato soup and chex mix for NYE. The people cooked out hot dogs and smores and pudgy pies…everyone brought something and the youth group supplied foodstuff too. New Year’s Day we baked a breakfast casserole that I had put in the refrigerator overnight and ate 2 kringles brought to my husband by a client, plus fruit from several Christmas fruit baskets. Later we just ate up whatever left overs we had.

    Was off all week so did no driving back and forth to work. Ate up the Christmas leftovers, made pea and ham soup x 2 (13 quarts with meat/meat broth and 4 qts with no meat for 2 vegetarian daughters) and scalloped potatoes and ham from the Christmas leftovers. Used rutabaga, potatoes, onions and carrots from the root cellar for the soup. Used some of the ham diced in the breakfast casserole. Sliced the rest of it up and put in the freezer. Divided up soup and ham and sent some back with my mother and some with RN daughter when she went back, along with other food. She was not home Christmas but was home New Years.

  46. Hi Athanasia and here in Australia we have no energy assistance program. My friend does get an allowance as a single parent for electricity in her pension, and fortunately she contacted the electricity company and organised a payment schedule and has paid it off.

    She now has adopted a no clothes dryer policy and has installed ropes to hang her & her children’s clothing on an outside veranda to dry. She is really careful on using heaters as well and has purchased more warm clothes for both her and her children and more blankets as well. So she is organised now and will not get any more bill shocks this coming winter this year. She is also lucky she has family support of both her mother who lives nearby and a large family of brothers and sisters to help.

    Being young it has been a hard learning curve for her, but she is so grown up for her age. She also did a self reliance course with myself and my husband and learnt some valuable skills from there as well. All the class participants very much supported her and guided her all the way, which is lovely too.

  47. We battled illness over Christmas break, again, but rebounded. Ended up getting a stomach bug in the house over the weekend, which took down my son first. Luckily, I got sick but was still functional, so I didn’t have to send my husband out to get dinner for him and the kids constantly.

    I’ve managed to stay away from the after Christmas sales and am staying home as much as I can to save gas.

    My list for the week can be found here…

  48. – I received a Starbucks gift card from the gym for participating in a challenge in the fall (which I won and earned a $200 visa gift card and $200 in training!).
    – bought cookies and chocolates for between .25 and .99 for snacks for New Year’s Eve from Aldi. Then, other than buying a sparkling grape juice for my daugher and a French onion dip for chips, I used what we had for snacks. We stayed in with the kids, played games, had some snacks and watched the ball drop together.
    – sold about $100 of stuff on eBay. Currently have 23 more things listed on eBay. Organized an area in the basement and found a garment bag to list as well. Have someone coming to pick up my daughters old comforter set and curtains that I put on craiglist and someone else who is interested in another set.
    – purchased a pair of snowpants for my son and realized that the pair he had from last year had a hem that could be let down and add two extra inches. I was able to return the snowpants even though I’d lost the receipt.
    – purchased rolls of Christmas wrapping paper at 80% off after Christmas and a few ornaments for my kids and a few things that can be used as hostess gifts for parties or dinners next holiday season. All at 80% off.
    – set up the second (of 5) personal training session that I won from a drawing at the gym
    – planned and cooked dinners at home. One time I took my daughter to dinner after her dance class and it only cost $10. I had a coupon for a $5 meal and she had a $5 kids meal.
    – have been decluttering the house, getting things packaged to take to a goodwill store or to list on eBay.
    – have been paying attention to wearing more of my clothes and jewelry instead of automatically reaching for the same old things. Have been paying attention to “using up what I have” in regards to lotions, candles, perfumes, etc.

  49. please be careful when reusing business reply envelopes as some are encoded with the address of the intended destination. I work for a company that has this encoding and i process the incoming mail. No matter what address you write on the envelope, the envelope will go to the destination that is encoded on it. There are 3 areas on the envelope with the encoding: at the bottom of the front where there is bar encoding, at the top of the front near where you put your postage and on the bottom of the back of the envelope where there is a pink encoding line. I often see people sending their bills for other addresses and it comes back to us. We cross it out, bring it to the post office where they need to hand sort it and it can come back again. If it leads to a late fee it is not much of a savings.L

  50. I hate to say this but I am slightly glad that the holidays are over. Traveling 1600 miles across the country to celebrate with family was really rough on our budget. Now it is time to get back on track. Not much on the frugal front but every little bit helps and posting keeps me accountable.

    1. Mended 2 bras. The underwrite always seems to manage to poke out the sides no matter how good quality the bra is. A simple few stitches usually does the trick.
    2. Resisted after Christmas sales. We really need absolutely nothing so it was easy to pass up a good deal.
    3. Decided between my family that next Christmas we will only be exchanging one gift each and it must be handmade. We all have more than we need and I love making my gifts. It will be difficult to only be allowed to gift one item to each person. It will require more thought into that gift but really looking forward to it.
    4. Have been treating an ear issue for our dog with over the counter cleaner and some leftover ear drops from a previous infection. With his breed, he gets them often and there is no need for an expensive vet bill when we have the items on hand to clear things up. If it is not better by the end of the week, I will look at making him an appointment.

  51. Thanks Rhonda! I think I will plan this for my mother’s upcoming birthday dinner. She likes Greek food, she visited Greece with a church group about 20 years ago. (She gave me a Greek name!:)) I will make spanokopita too, plus that gives me a vegetarian dish. I will look for other side dishes to coordinate so my brother’s and others can have ideas of what to bring. My sister Petronia is doing the cake. Something lemony would be good. The only ingredients I don’t have on hand is the phyllo dough. I have 5 blocks of feta in the freezer from a sale last year.

  52. Becky, that sounds sooo cold to be camping in January and with stormy weather too! I am glad you enjoyed your family time, and such a beautiful view to look out upon.

  53. Lorna, I am glad you were able to help and encourage her. I cannot imagine being in her situation, but I know there are many, many who suffer and we need to be mindful always of where we can assist.

  54. Electric blankets draw less than one tenth of the energy of even a small, efficient heater. We host many guests and I noticed how much heaters got used to heat entire rooms for one or two people, and set about buying electric blankets instead! Sometimes heaters must be used before bed or during very cold days, but through the night we rely on the electric blankets.

  55. Hi Tabbie and your dog wouldn’t be a poodle would it. Just curious as I have mostly owned poodles and they have the same problem and you always have to clean, pluck the hairs from their ears to stop them getting infected.

    Poor little thing it is so uncomfortable for them, they shake their ears and scratch at them. I hope the infection is better by the end of the week.

  56. Lorna, I was a veterinary technician, with over 10 years in the business before I changed careers. Any dog with floppy ears are highly prone to ear infections. I think the worst bread though, in my experience, is the spaniel breeds, such as cocker spaniels. Poor things always seem to have that yeasty odour wafting from their ears.

  57. Awesome, and I am glad to find your beautiful blog! How did you learn to cut your kids hair, trial and error? Or do you know of some resource for learning how to do this? I have three boys and learning to do this is at the top of my frugal to-do list. I have tried and made a funky mess in the past, and so now my frugal strategy is having long haired boys! My DH has been telling me he wants their hair cut so they look like little boys, but having long hair himself, he has no idea of the expense involved in taking them regularly to a barber.

  58. You Tube has videos if you need them.

    For the girls, we just part it in the middle and cut it evenly across the bottom. For mine, I again part it in the middle, and my husband cuts it for me in an angled bob (again, straight cut, so not too hard–just a bit angled).

    For my husband and the boys, we use trimmers. The cost of the trimmers will be made back with one haircut, even at the cheapest place, for a couple of boys. You cut the sides and back (I go up from the bottom) with the length attachment that you want (I use 1/2″ or 3/4″), and for the top, I cut using the 1 inch attachment. It is quick–around 10 minutes once you get use to it–and easy. The trimmers come with hair cutting scissors, but I would buy a different, better pair (and you can get both things at Walmart or Target). You can take off the attachment to cut the back bottom part along the neck and for the sideburns. I use scissors around the ears, but they have ear attachments for cutting in the kit.

    I didn’t think I could do it at first, but my husband asked me to try, and it was very easy! It took me a few cuts to be more comfortable doing it, but as my husband said, it’s only hair–in 2 weeks, you can’t tell the difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut 🙂 (on a guy) so not to worry about it! It saves us a LOT of money, and we can do it very quickly whenever it needs to be done.

  59. Hi Cathy, I’m in West Jordan. So kinda right in the middle of the Salt Lake Valley. I would not be surprised to find it to be the largest one. They had entire lambs hanging in one of the freezers. Out of all shopping I like grocery shopping the very most, so I might not be any help at all. Lol we used it actually as an excuse to get out of the house. So we really took our time and walked around to see it all. My advice is still know what you are going for. But take the time to check out the large walk-in meet cooler. Chicken and beef for decent prices, but in huge quantities. We liked it. And we will go back again. Maybe just my wife and I and leave the kids home. Cost and the food court pizza add term totally counts as a date night, right?

  60. Carried away is definitely a kind way to put it. But we are more than set be between the next year and a half to two years. So that actually is a really nice feeling. And it was kinda fun to find the deals and see how much I was saving. I don’t know that I will keep couponing as much but I definitely love the knowledge I picked up! And hello Australia!

  61. Athanasia, Your family/youth group gathering reminds me of family parties I attended as a youngster. I used to love bonfires and time spent running around with my cousins! Blessings, Leigh

  62. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your Christmas celebrations were joyful and filled with family & fun. We traveled to visit both sides of our family during the holiday season, so there were times I struggled to keep up with our schedule of comings and goings. Thankfully the pantry was stocked and good habits kept us all sane in the midst of the frenzy of worship services and family fun. Here’s my list for the transition to the new year.

    I used coupons to get a free flashlight and free batteries at a local store.

    I used rewards cash to purchase Christmas ornaments on clearance for my children with no out-of-pocket expense. We purchase a new ornament for each child each year so they’ll have their own collection to take with them when they are grown and ready to establish their own homes.

    Some friends had a mobile phone they were no longer using, so we bartered with them to get the phone for our daughter to use in place of her old one.

    I was gifted a bottle of sparkling peach juice.

    I used homemade vanilla sugar to flavor some clearance rack coffee. The vanilla sugar made the inexpensive coffee much tastier.

    I used a turkey carcass that I froze after Christmas to make a batch of junk stock. I used the stock to make a double batch of creamy turkey noodle soup and had enough stock left over to freeze for a future pot of soup. I put the vegetable ends and trimmings from making the soup with another frozen turkey carcass to make more stock.

    I sorted through the Christmas cards we received and saved the ones with pictures that I might upcycle into homemade cards.

    My husband and I went out on New Year’s Eve to shop for paint and flooring for our living room and kitchen. When we found what we wanted I used my phone to go through a cash back rewards site to order our supplies. We got a small percentage of our purchase price as cash back and we were able to go do something else while the store staff collected our order onto a pallet. I received an email when the order was ready to be picked up and the store staff helped us load it into our vehicles. I wrote about it at AChatOverCoffee dot com.

    Blessings, Leigh

  63. Thankfully, we have a good heater in the camper! We did a lot of inside stuff, vs. outside stuff like we do in the summer. I got a LOT of sleep, too. Your bonfire sounds really fun, but cold as well!

  64. Years ago, when we adopted 2 boys, a hair-cutting kit was one of the first purchases my husband made. He saved us a lot of money over the years they were at home, and we never took them to the barber, that I can remember.

    However, Brandy, you do have a talent I do not when it comes to hair cutting. When I tried to cut their hair, I second-guessed it way too much, and cut first one side a little, then another, then the other side, etc., trying to get it perfectly even! I remember this well–I was on an outside porch trimming away. When they finally were “trimmed” after about an hour, they had crew cuts, and I happily gave the job back to my husband, who had a knack for it. He just trimmed away and about 10 minutes later, he could be done! The older girls, to this day, would say that they would rather have him cut it then me:)

    On the younger girls, though, I learned how to do it out of necessity. It costs around $100 to get our African-American girls’ hair done at a salon. (braids, cornrows, etc. or straightening) So, I learned how to braid, fix, etc. their hair, and after much practice, figured it out. I’ve also trimmed it occasionally. If they want it done in a salon, they need to earn the $. I’m sure I have much to learn, but there will be grandkids for that! Ja’Ana has learned to do simple styles with her own hair–no easy task.

  65. Did the usual things of composting, recycling. Used dryer for some clothes, hung others on the inside lines and drying racks. The furnace comes on more now that we finally have our delayed winter, but we still use the wood stove in the house and in the workshop. Husband saved all the shells and husks from our nut harvest and burns those too, plus peels off the oranges and clementines. He and Eliana (oldest girl) also made firestarters using sawdust from the shop, dryer lint and wax from used birthday candles, candle stubs etc. We found a box of old old paraffin blocks in the basement at the old house from past canning …I can’t remember using paraffin on jelly or jam and stuff since I was maybe 10 or less. They had stickers on them for 19 cents! They used the firestarters for Christmas gifts for anyone that has a fireplace or wood stove or fire pit…just about everybody we know:D. It is also nice to have misc gifts for drop ins or extras or visiting and they cost us $0 to make.

    I see several times where people make beans and rice, black eye peas, collards…this is a New Years tradition of Southern states? They sound good. I also googled the King cake…it does not look like anything we make for Jan 6th. We make more like sweetrolls bun baked in round not square pan. We fill them with whatever we feel like, nutella or almond paste or plum jam. But my paternal Grandma Trudi always piped a 6 pt star on them and sprinkle with crushed sugar cubes so they sparkled.

    We had lots of leftovers to use after the NYE gathering. Everything was left here, not because people are wasteful but it is kind of tradition to leave the leftovers with host family when there is a big party. People will stop and gather their dish later on or use foil pans. Some foil pans go round and round. There were leftover hot dogs, buns, potato salad, baked beans, ramen noodle cabbage salad, vegetable pasta salad, some butter and white bread from making pudgie pies, a smattering of bars and cookies, bits of chips and pretzels and popcorn that I just all dumped together with some trail mix and it wasn’t too bad. Salty and sweet. Anything unopened we sent back to the youth groups like 2 litre soda bottles and snacks and chocolate bars and catsup and mustard etc go back to church fridge that they’ll use next gathering.

    Read several books. Read the DIVERGENT series, leant to me me by a friend. Different, not what I am used to reading, but very fast reads. Read some issues of National Geographic that I missed. Daughter and I finished watching the Great Christmas baking contest that was on TV, came in on our antenna so must be regular channel. We had watched Great British bake off on PBS earlier and really enjoyed both series. Read IT HAPPENED IN THE KITCHEN, a memoir cookbook by Rose Nader, mother of Ralph Nader. Lots of Lebanese recipes. Received it as Christmas present.

  66. Staci at the end of the savings there is a strange satisfaction that when you look in the fully well stocked cupboards & pantries, that you know that you will okay if something happens, good on you for being prepared.

    I know the checkout lady gave us a really strange look and asked us if we had a problem, being body odour wise as a joke, when we purchased 14 bottles of deodorant and nothing else. We simply replied that we didn’t live close by and were travelling & visiting friends and the price was half what we could get where we lived so we were stocking up. We also explained that my husband due to back injuries from a military accident often had down times where he wasn’t mobile for periods of 2 weeks to a month where we were unable to shop, so we just keep a backup so we know if that happens there is no emergency to shop.

    She then replied well in your situation that is a great idea.

    Here in Australia the consensus of the general public is that if you stock up you are one of “those” strange preppers ( as the series doomsday preppers is airing here currently), it culturally is not the norm to do so :-). We tend to keep things on the quiet here on stocking unless we are with like minded close friends.

    And hello United States !.

  67. Ooooo! That recipe for the chicken looks awesome! I might have to mess with that one (cucumbers up here are just awful quality this time of year and are terribly expensive). Since pork has about tripled in price over the last month, I think my family is going to officially sprout feathers at any moment, so changing up the menu is good!

  68. I have a few frugal saves from the past week. I helped clean out some storage areas and work and took a carload of items to a thrift store and was able to get a receipt for the donated items that I can claim on my taxes. In our work storage we also had two 1.75 liter bottles of rum that had been opened and slightly used at an event during the summer. My colleagues didn’t want them, so I brought them home and will get some vanilla beans and make vanilla for gifts next year.

    I found wrapping paper on sale for 70% off and bought six rolls-two of which can be used for any season. I also bought two boxes of Christmas cards at the same discount (it may not be frugal to send Christmas cards, but I love to do it).

    I’m started a dance class in a couple of days and found a pair of dance shoes in my size on a local classified ad. They were much less than if I were to purchase them new.

    My resolution this year is to waste less, so I didn’t do any grocery shopping this past week. Meals are being made from what we have on hand–which really is plenty right now.

  69. You can buy containers of Tzatziki sauce in the grocery store (or at least in Canada you can). It might be cheaper and easier if cucumbers are too expensive. Also you can try it first and make sure you like it before committing to making a big batch. Try looking in the section that has veggie dips (our stores often have a couple sections with dips, near the deli/fresh produce area and near the cottage cheese/sour cream section).

  70. Love the idea of a new vision board each year…..I do have a vision board that I add to occasionally and it amazes me to this day how many of “my visions” have come to me!

  71. It can be cold, but the firepit is in a pretty sheltered area, what with house, outbuildings and tree stands blocking the wind. These are the “young folk”
    anyway, they’re pretty hardy. I stay inside.

  72. Happy 2016!

    Looking forward to a fantastic frugal year in 2016. I have a few goals set for this year and I am determined to stay focused and see them through.

    Hoping to slow down this year, focus on the simple pleasures in life and not get caught up in everyone else’s drama. I want to spend more time reading and relaxing and spending time with friends. I love the simple things in life. I saw something on the internet which asked if you could live in a cabin for a month with no tv, internet or phone for $10,000. My response was “in a minute”.

    I had a very nice holiday season with a lot less stress due to cutting back on what I spend and getting rid of the “guilt” I usually get because I always want to do “more” for everyone! I set a limit for each person and stuck to it. I also did most of my shopping “online” which was a first for me and plan on doing this in the years to come. No crowds, trying to find a parking space, carting bags etc. It was a pleasure coming home to my delivered packages (free shipping) and all I had to do was wrap the gift!

    I decorated the house with everything that I already had and was happy to receive a decorated yule log and votive candle holders made out of birch logs from a friend that I displayed and will have for years to come. I will think of them every year when I take them out for the holiday.

    After Christmas I hit our local Dollar Store for 50% off savings on wrapping paper, I am now set for a least next year and possibly the year after. I also went to CVS and picked up holiday wrapped candy for 75% off savings, each bag was only $1.09 for Hershey’s so I bought several….I don’t mind that they have a holiday wrapper on them!

    I spent New Year’s Eve at home watching the Hunger Games free on demand on TNT. I read the books but never saw the movie. I popped some popcorn and spent the night on my couch. It was the perfect way for me to ring in the new year.

    I have also made some very frugal meals and have scaled back on my food shopping. I am trying to eat healthier and thought for sure that it would be more expensive and I am finding just the opposite to be true.

    Gave myself a haircut and pedicure. My one indulgence from time to time is going for a pedicure. With the “savings” from sticking to my Christmas gift budget I figured I would treat myself to one but decided since it is winter and nobody is really going to see my feet I will wait till the spring and save a bit more and get a deluxe pedicure that I had always wanted but could not afford. It will be my “reward” to myself.

    Looking forward to reading about everyone else’s frugal accomplishments.

  73. When we lived down state, close to all the drugstores, i was that woman who used a fistful of coupons for free stuff. We don’t eat much from a box either, but like you it’s great to have a large supply of toiletries. I always told me husband, “I can tick this off the list for a year.” How cool is that? Almost five years ago we moved 8 hours north, no major drugstore within sight, and we still have several packages of expensive razors; I’m still happy! So, good for you!

  74. Greetings!
    -We’re saving almost 300.00 a month by switching our health ins. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me!
    -I went to Target for after holiday sales. This is the first time i’ve done this in many years. I bought one of their 10% off gift cards and used that. I got turkey for 49cents a pound; I don’t eat it, but it’s nice for my husband. Our toaster died, so i also got a toaster oven. Of course, i also bought two rolls of wrapping paper and assorted other goodies, too numerous to mention. I see why people get a little ‘shoppers high’. I’m usually not a big shopper, but this was kind of fun! I don’t expect to do this next year. (Remind me that i wrote that!)
    -Hours have been cut at work. I’ve only been working one day a week. These past few weeks i’ve only gone in twice in a month. This helps tremendously on the no spending front!
    -I bought two organic lemons and oranges. I saved the skins for making candied rinds for next years holidays. (Like someone else mentioned.) These are a personal favorite of mine. Since my husband really only likes chocolate, i make this just for me. (And, to share with friends)
    -I went through our file folders and shredded everything that’s two years old. This will make way for the new year. A necessary evil; i hate paperwork!
    -I finally made up our budget. We’ve never really had a physical budget. (I know; what??) We’ve always done okay. I want to do better! We have two freezers, mostly full, a small garden when Summer comes. (A small garden IF Summer comes…) I don’t eat meat. Since i do most of the cooking, my husband doesn’t eat meat as much as he used to, so that helps. I’m using the envelope system. I’ve already funded the whole month for groceries, gas and misc; I’m excited about the challenge!
    -We skyped with our son and his family; still love Skype! We ‘celebrated’ new years with the three year old. He thought it was sooo late. (There’s some program you can use so the littles think it’s time to count down.) We all counted down, even him!!, then they went to bed! So fun!
    -I asked for, and received, a journal to record the day-to-day. This includes keeping better track of money going out. So, far, i’m on top of it.
    -I’ve set a goal of walking more this year. I’ve always ‘moved’, but i’ve been slowing down. I need to up my game. The journal will come in handy for that, too.
    -Then, there’s the usual; saving water from showers for laundry, cooking most meals at home (i’m better at this than my husband..), washing baggies, using cold water for laundry etc..
    Wishing everyone a peaceful new year!

  75. Hi Juls and thank you for your recipe on how to make dehydrated eggs, they are so expensive in the stores here in Australia and almost double the price of fresh eggs here per dozen unless on special, which is a rarity indeed !.

    Now I just have to earn the extra money from odd jobs and sales of craft items to buy a food dehydrator and also work out just how I can fit it in a tiny 10 sqm workers cottage kitchen.

  76. Some of the clipper sets come with an instructional cd, as well. This has helped me, too. I have also taken my boys to a barber and watched how he does it to get tips. Also, usually, barber shops are cheaper than beauty salons. I have all boys so I do home hair cuts too. As they get older, I tend to go every other with the barber. I still think his cuts look better. I just give it a little trim around the edges between barber visits.

  77. I had a guinea pig several years ago. Yes they are funny with quirks. These two already have shown their true personalities. The only thing I regret is living in an apartment and not a house. The shavings, bedding, hay, etc make great compost. With my previous guinea pig Id toss it on my flower beds. The soil was wonderful and attracted lots of worms. Now it sadly gets tossed into the trash daily. 🙁

  78. Hi momsav and thanks for your kind words of encouragement.

    Yes like you I can cross the deodorant off the list for a year too, yeah. As we are getting older we are working out far easier ways of doing things and as such shopping far less because of shopping the sales for bulk loss leaders is a good way to do it.

    We have a lot of friends with young children & older couples too, who when sick tend to turn up on our doorstep most of the time. The reason being is I have a large stock of medications, vitamins and natural remedies here too, so I can usually provide something to cure all, at all hours of the day or night. Again all of these were purchased on sale or grown here in our own garden.

    I love that being prepared so that even when we are on a low income, that we can help ourselves but also help others in times of need too.

  79. Yes, collards, mustard greens, or turnip greens, black eyed peas, ham bone, rice or cornbread, depending on which part of the South, is a New Year’s tradition.

  80. Ooh boy, sorry about the autocorrect typos. Stupid phone. I discovered the 99 cent only store last year, which was a huge help.

    Generally even at the hispanic stores, the price on dried Navy beans or garbanzo beans is more than $1 a pound. Overhead is really high here.

    However, the 99 cent store (which I started going to this year), has them for $1 a pound. I try to buy bigger bags of dried beans (5 to 10 pounds) because I can get them for less than that. I can routinely get pintos for 0.60/ lb. Black beans are $1 a pound in the 10 lb bag, but go on sale at one store for 0.80 a pound sometimes. So I wait…

    In general though, canned beans are a help. This week, husband is traveling, there was no way I could muster the energy to cook dried beans before making hummus.

  81. We spent nye at the state museum, our library offers passes for checking out. They just added state park passes too, but I’ll wait until it’s above freezing! 🙂
    Lots of leftovers this week.
    Had a lunch date with hubby that was supposed to use a gift card we’d gown for xmas. Oops. I may be formally in charge of the gift cards from now on. …
    Had work meeting at starbucks. You know, it’s ok not to order a drink! !:D
    Hit the library early for science project books, and talked daughter into using a robot kit her brother didn’t want for her robot for her project. Used a 50% coupon at Joanns for the second robot, which she is testing a coin made battery on. Hopefully can keep costs under $10 for this project!
    Scout cookie season starts Sat. My daughter wants to earn enough for camp, but that means selling 5x the boxes she has ever done and she had volleyball and other activities, plus harder load at school. I told her she could supplement her cookie sales by “earning” every dollar she can save us couponing into a camp fund. That will help mom get back on track with coupons, since we found out my husband’s hours are getting cut today. Guess retail couldn’t last. 🙁

  82. Hi Robbie and sorry to hear that your husband’s hours have been cut, it makes it hard on the family budget.

    Retail at the moment is very up and down everywhere. Most people are spooked by the recent downturn in Chinese manufacturing and service figures, commodity prices bottoming out, and the stock market freefall of around 7% in China on two days this week causing them to shut trade on their stock exchange, sending most currencies, especially the Aussie dollar into a huge downward spiral. Stock markets are in freefall everywhere, everyone is getting hit hugely, those with money in the bank are now getting less interest, those unlucky enough to be in the stock market have seen their investments worth a lot less. Most people from what I read are cashing up their assets and getting out of the stock market in a big hurry.

    Hold on to your hats everyone, I have seen around 3 recessions in my short life time and have not forgotten the effects or the signs that we are seeing. I feel strongly that we are about to get there again, but worse. Do not believe when governments tell you that everything is okay, because I have heard that right before the last 3 recessions here in Australia. When governments emphasize how wonderful everything is, you can truly worry !.

  83. Hi momsav and good on you for switching insurance companies and saving that much money, so much better in your pocket to use for other things than giving too much to huge companies.

    Sorry to hear that hours at work have been cut for you and hope the situation improves shortly for you.

  84. Lorna,

    I was reading about the Chinese economy and how it is going to affect Australia this week.

    It’s always good to be prepared to weather the storms–savings, a full pantry, a garden, clothing in reserve–things that can be done by even those with lower incomes to prepare to get through periods of unemployment and underemployment.

  85. Hi Brandy and couldn’t agree more that you can do so much on a limited income and still weather the worst of times. We all can do so many things to be prepared with little income.

    I was going through old footage of interviews on the internet with families who went through the great depression starting in around 1929. A common theme was that the families who survived the best were well prepared and had a garden and those who could sew and lived frugally. They summarising said that they remembered their childhood as not being rich, but always being well fed and clothed compared to more less fortunate families that were not well fed in their communities. One family who had a lot of children supported their churches pastor family and some other families by sewing dresses and clothing from flour sacks, they remember collecting them and waiting for the new designs to come out with excitement, as some had flowers etc on them.

    We too do not have a large income yet this week from craft earnings from my sewing were able to purchase 15 items for us to be better prepared for our 72 hr kits for a little over $18.

    Looking through the history of Australia of late a major adjustment in the economy happens mostly everywhere around once every 10 years, and things are rather wobbly everywhere economy wise at the moment.

  86. Cindy, I don’t think I’ve seen those greens you mentioned at the grocer. I’ll have to check my cookbooks before next year. Could one substitute kale for the green?

  87. Hi Robbie and I know what you mean about trying to recover after the last recession. We too were hit hard, I was manager of a furniture company at the time and fairly much lost my job overnight when unfortunately we had just got a loan for a new car and had it delivered around 2 days before. The plus of this situation is that had I have not been working at the time, I probably would not have got the loan for the car due to a low income. My husband & I through being frugal pay that off in 3 yrs 6 months instead of the 5 years we took the loan over.

    Funny how things work out the car loan at the perfect time, my husbands military compensation pension being increased dramatically due to his deterioration in his condition, and looking at him then, the need for me to stay home to care for him rather than work took top priority. Strangely we were better off then by me staying at home financially taking into consideration travel & fuel, work clothing etc, than when I was working full time.

    We also through my family”s let’s just say “the love money above all else” attitude were locked into legal battles with my family too, which was costing a huge amount in solicitors bills. Gladly though that is over and I am now estranged from my entire family through choice & necessity, which now makes life so much cheaper and less stressful.

    Fortunately now we are on the right track and things are looking up financially and we are looking forward to continued saving to purchase our first home together.

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