I planted lettuce seeds in the garden. Some were seeds I had purchased last year and some were seeds that I collected from my garden last last year.

I dug some tiny lettuce seedlings that had self-seeded in the rocked section next to my driveway and transplanted them into the garden.

I pulled the fir branches from my pots outside, and used them to mulch a section in the garden.

I transplanted nasturiums that had self-seeded in the wall into pots in the garden.

I cut beet greens from the garden to include in a potato soup. I cut more beet greens and Swiss chard to saute with some chicken.

Blackberry Vines in Jug The Prudent Homemaker

I pruned the blackberry bushes, and brought a few vines with leaves inside. I stuck some in a large bottle that we were given in December (it had apple juice in it) for my entry table display.

White Roses on Counter The Prudent Homemaker

I cut roses from the white garden while pruning back the roses, and put them in a bottle on my bathroom counter to enjoy.

My husband and I watched Downton Abbey on Pbs.org.

I printed a free calendar for my girls. If this one isn’t what you need, do a search on Pinterest for free printable 2016 calendars–I found quite a few options there, including monthly and weekly choices.

It was overcast all week (and we had rain and wind) so I cooked a pot of beans in the crockpot instead of in the solar oven.

My children decided they wanted to use their Christmas money (that they received from grandpa) to go to the movies. Completely by accident, we found out online ahead of time that they day we were planning to take them is discount day at out local theater. We didn’t know they had a discount day! (It’s Tuesday–perhaps their slowest day?) The price is lower than it is for matinees, and it is that price all day long.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card. I’ll use this to purchase a birthday gift for one of my children.

I ordered seeds for both edibles and flowers for my garden. The seeds will save me a lot of money over buying flowers to plant and cut flowers for the house, as well as over buying produce at the store. 

My husband and I had a date out, using a gift card that we received for Christmas. There was a long wait time at the restaurant, so we were able to walk to some nearby stores, including a photography gallery, before we had dinner.

My husband took me to the nursery to look for some primroses. They only had a few, and most hadn’t bloomed yet, so I wasn’t able to purchase any for my white garden (those that had opened were pink). While I was there, I picked up 2 six-packs of white violas. One had only 4 plants in it (one of which was rather sad looking). I asked if they would discount it to half price because of the missing plants. Instead, the manager gave it to me for free! 

What did you do last week to save money?



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  1. Those white roses are just gorgeous! I love seeing all everything from your garden.

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales, using coupons, and using rebates. This week, I stocked up on $0.67 cereal, $1.24 pack of toilet paper, and got an incredible deal on two packages of chicken for only $0.69 total! (They were on sales bogo with markdown coupons, making it super cheap!) The only thing I couldn’t get was free Nexxus shampoo at Rite Aid. If I don’t shop first thing Sunday morning, the shelves are cleared out. All of my deals with pics can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-1916/

  2. We were given 40 pounds of bananas. They need to be used. So far, I’ve dried, frozen and served some of them fresh. I gave some away. The rest will need to be dealt with soon.

    We cooked from scratch, other than a couple of items my husband and I bought at McD’s while we were having our “date” while the girls did their dance class.

    I used up quite a few items for my January Use-It-Up project, where I’m trying to use as many food items that I can that have been lurking around for too long. I don’t want them to go to waste, but find that when I maintain a huge food storage, things sometimes get overlooked.

    We are still using the food Rob shopped for over a week ago, and still don’t need to go to the store for us personally, except for a very few items, like a few bulk spices. We bought the food needed for the 4H cooking club, though, and ended up with quite a few leftovers after club this week.

    We took our Toyota Rav4 in for a recall test. They sealed the motor and we had to drive it an exact number of miles. If it burned too much oil, they would re-build the motor. It did fail the test (Rob knew it would since he has to constantly pour oil into it). So, when the parts come in, we will be getting a rebuilt motor. This car has over 100,000 miles on it and still has a lot of life left in it, so the re-build should make it last even longer. We recently had all the warranty/recall work done on it as well–lots of little things, but nice to get them fixed.

  3. Oh wow! Nice find on the discount down for the movies! Going to the movies cheaper is always a nice feeling!

    I had a pretty good week on the frugal front I’d say. I even managed to find a few shriveled looking, but still good veggies buried deep in the depths of my fridge and used them to make vegetable stock yesterday. It’s always a good feeling to not waste food!

    My list for the week can be found here…


  4. This week hasn’t been anything special as I’m on vacation. I’ve stayed home and tried to clean out cabinets and closets to pass the time.

    I’m keeping a friend’s dog while he’s on vacation and he gave me $100 in gift certificates to the supermarket and department store.

    I’ve baked bread and used up what’s in the pantry. We got lucky on some sales at the supermarket. We were able to pick up yogurt and sausages at a steep discount. I found acorn squash, my 4 year old’s favorite, 50% off. I also found some greens for the guinea pigs in the discount bin. They don’t really care if they are wilty around the edges for not so pretty.

    I went to a local Swap. I picked up a pair of pants for myself and a shirt for my husband, my son found lots of small toys, a bottle of hot sauce, a ceramic bowl, a new tube of my favorite handcreame, dishsoap, an organizer for shopping bags, 5 bars of soap, 3 tubes of toothpaste, and 2 bottles of hair conditioner for free!

  5. Hello Brandy and all from Australia :). Yet another blessing for the children and yourselves choosing to go to the movie theatre on a discount day as well, it is amazing how things just fall into place when you least expect them to.

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week are –

    – Service (and the blessing of being able to afford to be able to do it)
    – Helping a sister clean her home while her husband was away as she has an everyday functioning disorder that makes it hard for her to put her thoughts into an organised manner to get tasks done. With the help of the 5 children aged from 5 – 15 we were able to clean & wash all dishes in the kitchen, put a load of laundry on, clean & mop the bathroom & toilet, clean the laundry & re-organise the lounge room & vacuum.
    – Help a brother who is ill to mow and whipper snip his country house block. I was also able to take along a fresh loaf of bread that was baked at home, some spinach, sweet corn, spring onions and beetroot from the garden. It turns out my feeling was right that they were unable to shop due to illness.

    Garden Earnings-
    – My husband earned $175 from doing odd garden work for others. With this money it will pay for our monthly grocery bill and also top up any fuel we have used for the car and gardening equipment. We may even have enough left to purchase & top up on manures for the garden.

    Possible garden Earnings –
    -I decided to diversify our income and text a green grocer in town to see if they purchase produce from local farmers. He supplies all of the small shops in the area as well as restaurants with vegetables so has a large market to supply. Turns out we are having a meeting at his business tomorrow to sort out the finer details of us selling all of our excess produce to him as a way of earning extra income.
    – We are looking to save this money & use the extra as a stepping stone to buying a gazebo for ourselves so we can sell our produce at the local markets to the public, obviously for a higher price than selling wholesale eventually.

    Gardening –
    – Finished separating spearmint, Thai & sweet basil, parsley & sage drying on the veranda & crumbled put into bags. Any excess to our needs I listed on ebay for sale.
    – Harvested some more parsley, sweet & Thai basil & sage and washed & hung in bags to traditionally dry on the veranda.
    – Fertilised all vegetable gardens for another month.
    – Tied up some more tomato plants to stakes as they had grown huge and needed some more support.
    – Harvested sweet corn, turnips, spinach & beans for teas for all nights last week.

    Craft Earnings –
    – Earned $41.65 profit from the sale of curtain tiebacks, a set of 6 reclaimed wood coasters that my husband & varnished out of timber we collected for our next winter’s supplies ahead, & an eye mask sold on Etsy & Ebay.
    – Downloaded $48 from previous sales to finish paying for 2 sets of sheets we needed to replace and put that money back into our house savings account.
    – Used a little over $18 of the profits earned to purchase 14 items for fire starting & emergency preparedness and some measuring spoons much needed for the kitchen.

    Sewing –
    – Sewed an a4 journal cover, a set of 4 curtain tiebacks & 2 eye masks to replace stock sold in the last few weeks.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week one and all :).

  6. Great deal on the movies! I hope they enjoyed it 🙂
    Last week:
    I made more whipped lotion, a new mouthwash recipe that I love, whole wheat zucchini muffins and added dried almond pulp leftover from making almond milk, milk from powder, coconut milk, dried the coconut pulp to use in granola or baked goods, hair conditioner (I had purchased a concentrated bottle of Dr. Bronner’s hair rinse and followed the directions – less plastic used), ham/bean/rice concoction using up leftovers, a whole chicken in the crockpot, chicken and dumplings using leftover chicken, just to name some of the things we ate. All meals were cooked from scratch and eaten at home.

    I purchased some cumin from the bulk bins at the health food store ($1.47 to refill the spice jar!). I also purchased some pork chops, on sale frozen juice ($1), my hubby’s favorite dip for .99 (a request since it was on sale). That is all the food I purchased last week.

    I dried all but one load on the racks.

    I started another gallon of apple cider vinegar using peels and cores I had saved in my freezer.

    My husband found a pair of roller skates for our daughter at Goodwill, the kind that fit over her shoes. She wears them around the house “skating” (just shuffling her feet really, so cute). Best $2 he ever spent!

    I purchased more spearmint essential oil from Amazon (less than $10). I use this to make my toothpaste and some other stuff. I thought about purchasing thieves oil also but when I noticed the word “blend” on some of the offerings I looked up a recipe and found one. I already had all the ingredients I needed. So I made it rather than spend money on it. 🙂 My mom gave me her big box of essential oils as part of my Christmas present because they made her cough.

    My daughter and I went to lunch with my family and some long time family friends that I have not seen in several years. The expense was worth it but I only spent $10 on lunch for my daughter and I at a local restaurant. We drank water and shared a small pizza. This restaurant is locally famous for it’s pizza, it has a super thin crust and excellent sauce.

    I continue to save change in a ziptop baggie in my dresser.

    I did all the usual things: water saving measures, turning off and unplugging stuff. My husband ripped a huge hole in two of his socks. I turned them into rags.
    Have a great week everyone!

  7. I love the branches in the jug, they are so pretty.

    This week I scored some deeply discounted apples and whipped up 8 jars of applesauce and canned them to use this winter.
    My husband and I have also been enjoying rewatching the old Star Wars after the kids go down. Free date night!
    I have limited my driving this week so that I won’t have to fill up until Friday (payday!)
    I did 2 online reviews this week for $100 each.

    Overall its been a pretty good week! And I hope it just gets better and better

  8. Frugal accomplishments:
    1. NO EATING OUT!!! I know that I include this one a lot but this is a major, major, major accomplishment for my family as we are so busy and it is just so much easier to run through the drive thru. We are making strides in making sure busy days are covered with crock pot meals or leftovers.
    2. NO money for grocery shopping because hubby didn’t get many hours during the week of Christmas so we will be eating from our pantry, but it is well stocked so I am not concerned at all.
    3. Stayed home other than one necessary trip, but I took my car instead of my husband’s truck so that saved us about 20.00 in gas.
    4. Son’s 17th birthday was Friday. Took a page straight from your book and had a simple birthday supper with a few friends that consisted of BBQ pork sandwiches, chips, pickles, and cheesecake. Had all ingredients but buns and BBQ sauce. It was a very nice change from previous birthdays.
    Nothing else, really, but compared to what I normally spend during a week and what I spent last week, there were some huge savings and showed us that we can live a little more frugally than what we have been so we can tighten the belt some more.

  9. Going to the movies must be a really big treat for your children, Brandy! What movie did they see and did they enjoy it? We have “cheap night” at the movies on Tuesday’s as well. The down side is that it is very popular, so the theater is usually packed! By the way, I love the glass jug you used for your berry branches.

    Well, today is our first snow day of this winter season. My daughter is having a “long weekend” because of it. All day yesterday it rained, then the temperature dropped and a snow store blew in (strong winds too). I haven’t been out, but I’d hazard to guess that there is a nice layer of ice buried under all that snow. I’m perfectly happy to stay home today. Anyways, my frugals accomplishments this week are:
    *Meals made at home this week included chicken burgers/strips with rice and veggies, lasagna (from the freezer), baked chicken smothered in ceddar cheese soup with veggies and mashed potatoes, chicken quesadillas, and beef based vegetable soup (made my husband) with garlic cheddar biscuits. We had one “make you own meal” night which used up some leftovers in the fridge.

    *Started saving the bread end crusts again. I put them in a bag in the freezer and use them to make bread pudding, stuffing, bread crumbs etc. (we used up the excess stash in the freezer between our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals). I also have been washing out the bread bags and saving them for when I make homemade bread loaves.

    *Made my first batch of fruit leather, using some homemade canned applesauce from 2014 and my new food dehydrator I received for Christmas (thanks Mom!). My daughter refused to eat the applesauce, but LOVED the fruit leather. So, I made more fruit leather using different fuit mixes to keep her interested, strawberry/applesauce and clementine/applesauce. At least it’s healthy! I also made banana chips for her to try, but not sure how well they were received, and dehydrated watermelon which is almost ready for her to try.

    *Made a batch of homemade bisquick using basic pantry ingredients already on hand.

    *I helped my mom change the satelite package we receive, saving amost $40 each month. Still loving the android box. We’ve watched so many movies and TV shows since receiving it that we barely watch regualar TV anymore (just news), but it’s still new and a novelty right now. We will re-evaluate how much we use the satelite in a few months and decide if we can go down even more channels later. Netflix will definitely be canceled before next month.

    *Stocked up on more peanut butter as it was on sale again. I bought four 2Kg sized jars for $4.89 each. We still have a bunch of 1kg jars from the last sale, so this was just a top up. If we ran out of peanut butter in our house there would be utter anarchy!

    *Found some nice soap/makeup bag gift sets on clearance for $3.97 (reg. price $14.97). Bought 2 for my gift stash.

    I was asked if I would share my thought on the book “Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Sreathnach. So far the book is about self discovery. I feel like I’ve already went through this when my life met an impass a few years ago, but I can see how this book would be useful for those currently going through a rough patch in life. I thought I would share a couple quotes that have impacted me the most so far, so here they are:

    “Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first BE who you really are, then, DO what you need to do, in order to HAVE what you want.”
    Margaret Young

    “If we are to live happy, creative, and fulfilled lives, it is crucial to distinguish between our wants and our needs. Unfortunately, many women blur the distinction and then wonder why they feel so diminished.”
    Sarah Ban Breathnach

    I hope others might find these tidbits of wisdom useful. Have a wonderful week everyone!:D

  10. Did the normal things. I did go to the Randall’s sale last Friday night and got a few of their specials. These were sale items at the stock up price. Did a thrift store shop for a “new” purse. Did not find a purse but did find a new shirt and jeans for oldest grandson. It was cold and windy this weekend, made roast beef dinner and will use left over beef and gravy for dinner tonight. (will make beef tips and rice) We got new tires for my husband’s truck. Found a good sale and will get an $80.00 rebate.

  11. Just make sure they aren’t the ones you’re counting on for fruit! I had to top the bushes at 4 feet, so these are the branches that were higher. Anything above 4 feet burns in the sun and is unedible–plus cutting them at that height forces them to branch out.

  12. Seed ordering time for us, too!

    Some of our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    Husband took a thorough inventory of our little chest freezer, and we wrote everything we have on the fridge with dry-erase marker. Now we won’t forget what we have when meal-planning!

    We cleaned out the fridge and made all the just-in-time vegetables and fruits into a delicious green juice.

    We planned the first-ever spring garden in our Little Hippie House. We’re choosing to grow the veggies and herbs we like that are the most expensive to buy in the store (I’m looking at you, bell peppers!) and starting small while we learn the challenges and advantages of gardening in our new home climate.

    Husband replaced our ugly old bathroom sink with a new-to-us one made from a giveaway sink, a basin bought at Habitat Re-Store, and parts of the old one. It’s so much nicer than the old one!

    I made a batch of individual sized tortillas de patata (fried potato and egg cakes) to grab-and-eat on busy work days.

  13. It would be wonderful to have fresh flowers and plants this time of year! Of course, I can’t complain too much. We just got our first snowfall, and even a couple of days ago we still had nice green grass. Very unusual for Ohio this time of year!

    I generally get to late January and start purchasing the cheaper or clearanced flowers at my grocery store just so I can see something beautifully living when it’s so dreary outside!

    Here’s my list of ways we saved last week: http://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/5-ways-weve-saved-money-this-week-17/

  14. Watched “Downton Abbey” on PBS.

    Saved the eggshells from cooking & put them on the garden. Our youngest daughter who rents a community garden is also saving her eggshells, then pulverizing them when dry, & storing them in a jar to add to her garden plot next spring. We continued to eat meals based on the leftover Christmas ham, including several “breakfast” dinners, with eggs.

    Bought 2 pans of 4 cinnamon rolls on deep discount, from the bread mark-down bin, & one of the pans even had cream cheese frosting! I ate one roll & the other seven went into the freezer, to be zapped just before eating for breakfast. Saved the aluminum pans to use for freezer meals for two. Put up one such freezer meal of sliced ham & leftover baked root vegetables.

    Put more water into storage; can never have too much of that. Washed out & refilled the plastic half gallon jugs & 3 liter jugs in which we bought juice.

    Reclaimed the neighbor’s Christmas tree, with their permission, & set it on the north side barked beds to drop needles there, for acidification. When the needles have dropped, the trunk will lean against the woodpile for a year to dry out, then be cut to add to the woodpile.

    Dehydrated the celery that came in a bag of veggies I bought for dips. No one at our house likes to eat raw celery, but it is consumed without complaint in chicken soups & stews, where it adds flavor & texture. Waste not, want not.

    Bottled carrots, since we were out.

    Bought 12 red taper candles on clearance for 24 cents each.

    Mended my grey wool house socks that wore thru the heels last year, by overstitching the knitting at the part needing mended. It worked well for both the areas that had developed a hole & those that were just worn very thin.

    Wore the fingerless mittens for a few hours one evening to experiment & see what I could do while wearing them. I can type, fold clothes, write & change channels on the television remote with them on my hands.

    Bought new tires. Not inexpensive, for sure, but they cost a lot less than an accident.

  15. I would love to be working out in the garden like you are – unfortunately with the wind chill it was hovering around zero this weekend :(. Oh well, that’s what seed starting is for!

    I learned how to install a zipper by making some zipper pouches (thanks to your inspiration and links to tutorials – they were so much fun and practical!) and learned how to use my new serger (a gift from my mom for Christmas). I also listened to two podcasts on working at home in a creative business while I sewed, which is something I would eventually like to do to help generate some additional income.

    After hearing from a friend that she had gotten her rate lowered and getting a letter a few days later informing us that our rates would be going up, I called our security system provider and asked for a reduction in our rate, saving us about $15 a month for a year – this will save us $180 in a year.

    I made homemade pizza dough.

    I painted an accent wall in our kitchen with paint we already had on hand (the paint cost about $10 awhile ago).

    I mostly did cloth diapers with our youngest (many of us, including myself, were struggling with a bad cold this week and I just couldn’t do it every day).

    I cut out 200 squares of cloth from fabric I already had on hand to make a quilt.

    I made gluten-free bread for our oldest son.

    I organized our laundry room. I have a long way to go on the rest of the house, but I am trying to take 30 minutes each day to declutter/organize in one zone per week. I find that when my home is cleaner or better organized, then I am more content and less likely to spend more money. This did not actually happen every day, though – this is an ongoing struggle to match up my real life with what theoretically I think I can do.

    I downloaded the latest issues of my favorite magazines from our library, who offers over 200 titles of many popular magazines for free through Zinio. I also placed a hold in advance for The Martian (DVD) which has yet to be released but is on order at our library. I loved reading the book last year, and watch movies like this with my husband for date nights. Usually the library’s wait list is extremely long, but I am realizing now that if there are movies that have yet to come out, I can search for their release date and try to get on the list before they are released.

  16. This week has been a really busy one! Our oldest granddaughter got married on Sat and so we helped with DIY reception things!
    I also had time to make and freeze 42 sausage breakfast burritos!
    I cooked up some beef in the crockpot and then tossed it into my Kitchenaid mixer to shred it. Packaged 6 ziplock bags of shredded beef and put into freezer for chimichangas, bbq beef sandwiches, hot beef on potatoes, and etc. This certainly makes dinner prep a lot faster and easier for me!

    I hemmed suit pants and suit jacket sleeves for 2 grandsons and altered my dress for the wedding and was grateful that I have my sewing machine/supplies right at my fingertips to make it so easy to DIY instead of taking them out to a shop!

    Watched a movie on Amazon with hubby and used promo credits I had to pay for it! Found a couple movies that were free and saw those too!

    Continued in the second week of the “Vicky Challenge” of keeping a daily diary of money saved by frugality! So far, I have saved over $1000 just by small things over the cost of buying or paying for a service! It will be fun to see my total at the end of the year!

    All our meals have been from our pantries, entertainment has been free, work has been good for us!

    We feel blessed!

  17. I so wish we could grow flowers here year round! I buy them occasionally from the grocery store to brighten up our rooms- always checking the markdown buckets first. They are a little bit of a luxury but we love having them in the winter. I really would like to add some houseplants and perhaps some windowsill herb pots this year. We get great light in our kitchen and it would be nice to have them there. I just saw seeds at a local store for the first time this year. I was in a rush and did not get to check them out, but hope to go back this week as they were on sale. Here are my frugal accomplishments from last week https://morebymelissa.wordpress.com/2016/01/08/week-in-review-week-1/

  18. Lorna – that is pretty awesome that you will hopefully be able to sell your produce to the grocery (and then on your own). I do most of my vegetable shopping (of items I can’t get to grow in my yard) at the road side stands.

  19. Beautiful photos! I recently saw Forsythia branches in a cider jug which I plan on doing once our shrub flowers for the season. It amuses me how things so simple are just so beautiful, I wouldn’t want to trade it for anything.
    I continue to do the usual frugal things as they are now second nature. I started portioning out snacks to make them last longer. I will pop a large batch of popcorn and portion in quart containers for my daily snack as opposed to dumping the pot into a large container – which would last a day or 2 at most.
    Saved fabric ribbons from gifts and re purposed used Christmas wrap by decoupaging it on a thrifted gift box to use for next years gift giving. The box was pretty hideous 80s themed colored but has really good bones to toss.
    I took advantage of Ebays free listing days and listed as many items as I could – usually it is 30 cents to list an item.
    I used some of my Amazon saved gift cards earned through BING to purchase a birthday gift.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  20. Brandy, a question. When is a good time to cut bushes back? I have raspberry bushes that are all over the place in my yard and have just suffered from the weather the last two years or so. I’d like to cut them back this year so they can replenish and hopefully grow better, but I’m terrified of doing it at the wrong time and killing them. I’m in the middle of winter right now, but should I wait for Spring, a mild winter day? I’m out of my depth when it comes to trees and shrub maintenance.

  21. We watch a lot of movies at home as well. Star Wars was definitely worth seeing on the big screen though. We really enjoyed it!

  22. We watched The Martian for free through our new android box for our TV. It’s a really good movie with lots of humour. I’m sure you and your husband will love it!

  23. I’m not Brandy, but I’ve found it REALLY hard to kill raspberries! That being said, early spring is a great time to prune them all the way down to the ground. You might not get a crop of berries until next year though.

    Hope that’s helpful,
    Lea 😀

  24. We used gift cards to go out to dinner, my sister gave me her stepson’s old snow pants, and I did some weight routines through free YouTube videos. I also got my husband to pack lunch one day.

  25. Greetings from snowy, freezing Ohio! Brandy, your bottled jug is beautiful. I am going to keep my eye out for one when garage sale season begins here. I haven’t posted in a really long time, but have faithfully read every week and continue to be encouraged!
    This past week:
    *traveled to PA for a cousin’s baby shower. Stayed with family -avoiding cost of hotel. Brought most of our own food and shared meals with family. Only ate out once on our 4 day trip!
    *my parents invited us to dinner at their house and sent us home with leftovers
    *my oldest daughter is outgrowing most of her clothes ( I had hoped to make it through the winter not needing to buy anymore winter items) shopped at Sears in the Lands End section-they are having an additional 40% off all sale items. I used my sears rewards and a gift card I had and paid nothing out of pocket
    *refilled our bottle of multi-purpose Lens Cleaner for free at Costco
    *sold some items on a FB garage site
    *used extra blankets and put on sweaters instead of turning up heat
    *borrowed DVD and books from library
    *hand washed items instead of dry-cleaning
    *continued to do all my regular-frugal things: wash out baggies, turn off lights, keep heat at 65 (despite wind chills at -8), etc.
    Have a great week everyone!

  26. I saved 30 cents off a gallon of gas today with my Kroger fuel points. Dh saved 90 cents off a gallon last week with the old batch of fuel points. He filled his CRV for $8. Love their fuel points system, Giant Eagle used to be competitive but not anymore. I also took a 5 gallon gas container today to maximize my gas savings. This will either be used when we need gas again or if we have a snow emergency and have to use our generator. Not frugal but necessary was having to buy fuel stabilizer to put in the gas.. Ugh! but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Last week Aldi’s had hams super cheap.. $3 and $4 each for the butt ends. I bought 2. I have one now all chopped up and in the roaster oven with 6 lbs. of beans for a big batch of ham and bean soup. The other ham I need to cut up and freeze for use later. I bought a clearance ornament for our tree the 3 wise men Origially $7.98 at Lowes marked down to $1.19. It is Made In The USA by a women’s organization in Rhode Island so not only was it a good bargain but it supports American Workers too. I’d have paid full price if I’d seen it sooner but didn’t make it to Lowes to browse like I usually do, due to my hectic work schedule. That’s about all I can think of at the moment. Thanks everyone for sharing your ideas, it helps.

  27. My husband baked a cake for my birthday. He said he took one look at the prices of a store bought cake and decided to buy a cake mix and try to make one himself! It turned out great.

    While I was doing some organizing this week, I found some information about a savings account my husband and I had opened many years ago. At the time, the account offered a high interest rate and we opened the account for our son’s college education. Since then, interest rates have plummeted and we are going to move the money to his NextGen account. We opened 529 investing plans for both of the boys a couple of years ago with the hope that it will help defray some of the cost of their college education.

    We discovered this week that we could save $50 a year by increasing our auto insurance deductible to $1,000. In the end we decided not to increase the deductible. We didn’t feel that the extra we would have to pay if we had an accident was worth the savings.

    Our older son is working on a project at school and needed props for a presentation next week. I printed a free printable from papertoys.com onto cardstock and we made a 3D paper model together. The site has several amazing 3D paper models and it is worth visiting if you haven’t heard of the site before.

    Our younger son has been wearing the jeans that his older brother grew out of, but several pairs have holes in the knees. I bought him a new pair of jeans with a gift card that we were given at Christmas.

    I started crocheting Valentine’s gift bags for the boys’ teachers. I used a free pattern and yarn that I had on hand.

    I cut the boys’ hair.


  28. Becky,
    We purchased dried, flattened bananas once from an etsy shop in Hawaii because I wanted to duplicate them. I mixed brown sugar with cinnamon and ground ginger, set aside. Peel banana, cut in half and again lengthwise. Smoosh (:)) with a spatula and sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture. Place in dehydrator until done. These came out really good and make great gifts too 🙂

  29. I walked my small dog on two long walks everyday. He was wears a dog jacket my mom got for free and often a baby shirts (also free to her) that she has redesigned and cut for him so he stays warm.

    I used the library for books, one book on tape and a video.

    I got some new socks for Christmas – smart wool!

    I bought some of my parent’s favorite food that is local to where I live and I will take it with me when I go stay with them for a week.

    I used a store discount, store coupon and a $10 off coupon to buy needed curtains for an extra bedroom at great price. They are light darkening and thermal curtains so that was an extra I didn’t think I could afford but at this price I could.

    I figured out how to get the same brand of dog food at a reduce price. It turns out the small breed dog food sold in small expensive bags is the same as the mini chunks dog food sold in larger bags that give me more of a bang for my buck.

    I’ve been eating out of my pantry, freezer and cupboards, making me practice my culinary skills.

    I revisited two books on my shelf “The Tightwad Gazette” and “More with Less” and got re-inspired to keep’on keepin’ on with my frugal ways.

    I’ve been struggling with coming to grips with is probably the second half of my life. I found two quotes that are encouraging me, I printed the out and framed them and hung them were I will see them every day.

    I also found out I must reduce my salt intake. One of the books I borrowed from the library is the “Dash Diet Cookbook.” If anyone in similar circumstances as websites, recipes or other frugal resources please share, I’m finding out there are more folks like me than I ever imagined.

    Happy frugal and healthy week everyone!

  30. The blackberry vines are beautiful!
    This week my toddler son needed a haircut. It’s the first “real” haircut he’s needed, as he’s coming out of the baby wispy hair. I found a tutorial online and cut it, my first try. It came out really nice, I sold a tv stand we no longer needed on Craigslist and made 40$. I filled my minivan’s gas tank at the Kroger and saved 30 cents a gallon with the points is accumulated on my Kroger card. I picked up a few pork loins in the meat markdown bin.

  31. Thanks Jenifer for your kind words encouragement.

    I am so excited about this and will be going to the meeting in just over an hour from now & shall post if I have success when I get home.

    It is amazing how many people purchase their produce from roadside stalls and here in Australia in the country area we live in have large markets every Wednesday & Saturday. The one on Saturday only costs $10 per stall per day and that would be the one we are looking at. It is called the cow and calf market and they have farmers selling live cows, chickens, sheep & more there via auction in one section and in the other section people sell their vegetables, honey, bric a brac, old farm machinery etc.

    So all we need really is to buy a gazebo to put up and a couple more plastic tables and we will be able to sell our excess produce ourselves to the public at a higher price, which we are looking forward to.

  32. I had about 35 raspberry plants and all but 6 or 7 survived. I’m in the U.P. of Mich. zone 4b. I transplanted the ones that made it into pots and got a few berries this Summer. I think pots are the answer for me.

  33. Greetings!
    I’ll add my name to the list of people who love your arrangement!
    My week included;
    *Making bread crumbs and brown sugar; both were made with things on hand
    *I listed several items to sell on ebay.
    *I cancelled swagbucks and several web sites. Too much time being wasted for little gain.
    *I joined an on-line walking club to get to 1000 miles before the next New Year. I’m behind every day, but i’m out every day.
    *I’m still on budget after the first week; i’ll take it! And, the water bill went down! I think it’s the first time ever!
    *I’ve been taking vitamin B12 which seems to help my energy levels. My husband asked for them and never took any!
    *I talked to all of my children this week. My three year old grandson called us on the iPhone all by himself. There’s nothing in the world that compares to having a conversation with a three year old!
    *Plus, all the usual; washing baggies, saving water, washing laundry in cold….
    I wish everyone a peaceful week ahead!

  34. I had no almost zero food waste last week. We had all meals at home. I’ve really buckled down on having the kids pack their school lunches. Last year we qualified for the reduced lunch program and it was a huge blessing. This year we’ve been blessed with additional income but the full lunch cost for three kids is pretty high and my budget was suffering. I’ve used it as a lesson on self sufficiency for the kids and have taught them how to pack their own lunch bags with just a little supervision. A win all around in my book 😉 I planned several crock pot meals for this week to keep me on track for at home meals while at the same time cutting my time spent in the kitchen after work. My crock-pot usage seems to come in waves and when I get back into the groove of using it I always feel so excited by the extra time I seem to have getting home from work that isn’t spent starting a meal from scratch.

    Our bottle of swiffer cleaner ran out and when I went to refill it the lid cracked. Instead of putting it on the list to buy a new one at the store I filled a spray bottle with my regular cleaning solution and let my son spray the floors as I mopped. He loved getting tasked with the chore he and his brothers all considered “fun”.

  35. I am hoping to get some guidance/inspiration from all of you lovely readers. I have followed you Brandy and several other frugal bloggers for a couple of years now. I always get great ideas from each and everyone of you but feel I have hit a road block. While I try to incorporate thrifty habits in my daily life and have typically always been better at saving than spending, my hubby and I are not quite on the same page. His spending is much more impulsive and carefree to me. He often times spends more on food and other things than I am comfortable with. We agree on our financial goals but I strongly believe thAt we can get there much sooner if we cut back more thAn we already have.

    Do any of you have advice on how to approach this? He jokes with me that I am just cheap and don’t want to spend any money. It is a difficult subject to discuss with him because he does make far more than I do. I am not trying to stop all spending, I just wish to be more mindful after our choices when spending. Looking for a better deal, choosing.g need over want etc.

    Any and all advice would be much appreciated.

  36. I agree SO much that sewing is a real time and money saver. For any of the younger people, who might not know much about sewing, I can just say that a used machine can be had quite inexpensively, and I’m sure there are tons of u-tube demonstrations that would help a new learner. I learned by doing–my mother did quilting but never sewed beyond that—I had been doing her mending for decades before she passed. It’s easy to learn a little at a time, and patterns have lots of directions, as do LIBRARY books!

    My first machine wasn’t even electric–it had a hand crank on the side of the wheel and that’s how it was powered! Even if you just do mending, you will still save time and money. I learned enough to reach a moderate level of skill with just reading, experimenting, and asking questions of other sewers. A smart move, especially if you have a couple kids wearing out clothes!

  37. You would probably laugh hysterically at how little snow and ice it takes to shut down our schools, but it was nice to have 2 snow/ice days last week anyway.

  38. I’ve been low salt for 45 years. After you get used to the difference in taste, which does take a while, you get to a point where salt does not taste good any more. When we eat out, such as when traveling, I notice that I have to drink about three times as much water as normal to wash the extra salt away. There are still not nearly enough really low salt items of food available, but if you learn to make a fast white sauce you can save a fortune on buying canned soups and sauces. While I melt my butter and stir in the flour to cook it, I pre-heat the measured milk in the microwave until it’s almost to the boiling point. Then pour it into the roux, and it thickens almost instantly. I add onions, Old Bay Seasoning, and paprika a lot of the time to use as a casserole sauce instead of soup. It may only save two minutes time, but it sure is a tedious two minutes when you stand and stir and stir and stir. Cooking from scratch is quite necessary and I have not yet learned to make my own bread without salt!

  39. Roxie, never thought of using our leftover roast for beef tips and rice. I usually make beef fried rice. I cooked a roast this Sunday and will try the beef tips. Thanks for the great idea.

  40. Hi Tabbie and I shall dare go there on the subject on our experience as a married couple of 10 yrs this year :).

    By the way the issue of your husband earning more money than you & perhaps you thinking you have less say because of this is untrue. When you are married you are equal partners in all things and as such in any household, finance and in all ways works best on the common consensus of both parties reaching an amicable agreement to make the household run smoothly.

    We as a married couple we were like yourselves for the first few years of our marriage and it took a while for us to get on the same page financially together.

    Problem or challenge number 1 for us was that my husband had been single all his life up to the age of 36 so was very set in his ways and used to spending money on whatever he pleased so it was hard for us to come to a happy medium on finances once we were married.

    Problem or Challenge number 2. I do have to say that my husband works out finances in a complicated way that would make a chemistry professor proud of his thought processes, however it first appeared he was on Pluto and I was still on earth and the keep it simple principle went out the window. He totally confused me and I couldn’t understand his thought processes at all. I have even done book keeping and accounting and before we met ran multiple large turnover businesses so you understand the level of confusion I was having :). We had many spirited debates during these times until we finally worked out how each other thinks and understands things.

    Here is what we started to do, we decided after much to and fro conversations to an hour of so family meeting once a week together to work through our finances.

    – We after many meetings agreed to consult each other on any purchases to be made for the home at all before anything was purchased, our great step 1.
    – We then set about doing a written budget together, got out all of our yearly bills and worked out a fortnightly, monthly and yearly amount that went on those and wrote it down. Then we went through our grocery, fuel, clothing receipts we kept and did the same thing until we had everything listed on a budget sheet, our great step 2.
    – The next step was then to agree on the goals we wished to accomplish step 3. In our case as we are saving for a home and that goal was to bank a certain amount each fortnight and as time has progressed we update those goals to see if we can increase our savings.
    – The final step 4 is once a week to update each other on our progress to see how we are going, reassessing our spending habits and seeing if we can do better, and comparing any ideas we have on how we can do things better or cheaper.

    Tabbie, I will have to say that with patience and persistence you will both get on the same page financially wise. It is not always easy and most importantly you both have to openly and honestly give your opinions and ideas to one another and then come to a happy medium that suits both of your ideas.

    Finances in anyone’s home is one of the hardest things to come to agreement over. You will have spirited debates on the subject but never be afraid to put forward your opinions, ideas & goals. In the long run it will make the household run smoother and you will both be happier for the experience and work together better in all things.

    I hope this helps :).

    Initially we started setting time aside for a finance meeting in our home

  41. I am new to this I do read your blog weekly and decided to finally post…..I try to be frugal, budget our money as we are on a one income household….I do crafts and sell in a primitive shop but that isn’t a guaranteed income….i stay true to eating at home, it is hubby and I now so it does make it easier to make meals and have leftovers for lunches and another dinner….I save all containers from fruit etc to package cookies, slices of cake, cupcakes etc to share with family and friends….I save all styrofoam containers from veggies etc to use as a paint pallet for my crafts, we reuse baggies, I save bread bags for storing other goods in or use to throw grand babies dirty diapers in for trash….I save cardboard from cereal , pop corn boxes etc to use for templates for when I am crafting a appliqué or needing a stencil in my craft work…I recycle all inside envelopes from junk mail to use for list, notes, etc….I recycle all and any boxes from shipped items, the packaging that comes inside as well, I recycle gift wrap if it can be, just use a dry iron to smooth out wrinkles….I buy items on deep discount for my gift stash, a friends bday or family thinking of you gift…a simple candle, a pot holder with a brownie mix and wooden spoon…we burn wood for heat so that allows us to turn gas furnace off and saves tremdenous amount on our gas bill…I only use clothes dryer when weather is too nasty to hang clothes on line, but I do hang as much as I can in basement and that saves a lot on expense….now that I have joined in it will be fun to see what I have saved each week as well……..

    Love your blog and all the creative ideas you have as well….

    Blessings Rhonda in a snowy Ohio

  42. I have to admit, we Canadians do laugh when we hear a Southern state had a small amount of snow and they panic and shut down the interstate. Sorry Southerner’s, but it’s true.

  43. Welcome Rhonda from snowy Ohio and glad that you posted and joined our happy frugal living community.

    I love your idea of using cereal boxes for templates for crafting, they would be very sturdy that way. I also sew, design and sell my handcrafted items on the internet. I use cooking baking paper for templates for a lot of things and find that works well too, but shall try the cereal box idea too.

    We use most of our newspapers, advertising and cereal boxes etc to make paper fire bricks out of, which saves us on the use of as much timber for heating in the winter months. They are also easy fire starters to get our fires started in our slow combustion stove / heater. We also use our plastic milk bottles that we wash out for seed raising trays, and recently worked out by cutting certain sized holes in the bottom of them are a great way to spread lawn seed to reseed any bare patches in the lawn.

    We are from really hot country summer Australia here. It is around 34 oC or around 93 degrees Fahrenheit here during the day here at the moment.

  44. Hi, Tabbie! I didn’t see anywhere written that your husband has his own spending money. That alone was huge for us. His money can be spent any way he sees fit. When it’s gone, it’s gone til the next pay. Maybe that would help. That way, he has some feeling of control, and you do, too.

  45. Thanks everyone! My raspberry plants have not been doing great the last few years due to extreme heat (by Alaska terms) in the summer and then a moose got to them a few years ago right before the really hot summer. It was not pretty and not many survived. Those that did aren’t producing much fruit at all, so I’m contemplating just cutting them all back completely this Spring and just reclaiming the yard as much as I can (we bought a house on 2+ acres and a lot of that is overgrown). I really want to start slowly doing edible landscaping as much as I can and I kind of need yard to do it, so the raspberries might or might not survive (if they don’t I’ll plant new ones).

  46. Terri, I just wanted to mention how much I enjoy your blog. You have a great narrative style and I find a lot of great money saving tips reading through your journal every week. Thanks for sharing all of it on the blog :).

  47. I went into our local Dollar Tree. They have a refrigerated section of food. I purchased eggs for 1.00 a dozen!!! They expire the end of Feb. but I will use them by then and I know they are good for longer than that. I purchased 3 dozen. I got a 4 pack of furnace filters at Sam’s club for 30.00 making them 7.50 a piece. We recently paid $9.99 for one filter. My husband has allergies so we have to buy the allergen ones. The weather here can be cold and rainy in the spring. I needed a rain jacket that was light weight. I purchased a $90.00 Columbia wind and rain resistant jacket at Field and Stream for around $21.00 using my $20.00 points certificate and it was 25 % off clearance. I was a happy camper! I continue to wash ziplock bags and save small leftovers of meat, vegatables, and broth in a gallon ziplock bag for soups. Happy a blessed week.

  48. Okay, I totally relate to what you are going through. My husband was always like how you describe your husband. Man would he get cranky with me for being overly cheap at times in our marriage (mind you I have made mistakes myself in the past, so I’m far from a saint). He got a point where I couldn’t take the stress over finances anymore and I took control of them.

    That, to me, would be step number one. Sit down with your husband and make sure that you are on the same page about where finances are going and put someone in charge of day to day operations. I pay the bills and figure out where all the pennies go. Now mind you, my husband knows EXACTLY where we stand as I share constantly with him on where the finances are.

    Next, tell your husband your concerns and what your final financial “destination” is and if you save this much money you can get there that much quicker. Explain it and tell him that yes you are being cheap, but not for the sake of being cheap, that you are working toward financial independence. Figure out what a decent allowance would be for him and tell him that you are going to start giving him that in cash every week for his expenses (I do that for my husband and I both, except mine I keep track of in the checking account). My husband, if he doesn’t get cash and is left to the mercy of the check card spends so much money because he just sees “Oh it’s only ten dollars” and next thing you know it adds up to 100.00. So, I make a point to give him 40.00 at least a week (preferably 60.00 if we have it) for his expenses (eating out, fun money, etc). It comes out to be much cheaper and my husband tracks the cash a lot more carefully and will actually save any that is left over in his own personal “savings account” in a drawer so he’s got extra cash for a dump run or something if we are that low on funds. It seems to work out pretty well.

    The biggest thing, though, is being open without hurt feelings. For instance, my husband wanted to take the kids swimming at the pool this last weekend and I told him we couldn’t afford it. He told me it was only 20.00 and why was I being so cheap. I then explained to him that I was being cheap, but 20.00 right now should be sunk onto dental bills or used for milk or other groceries as we had no extra money to spend on fun stuff. And he agreed after I explained it to him.

    I hope everything goes well for you guys and you can work all of this out. Being on the same page financially takes so much stress out of marriage and gives you the support a marriage needs to work well as a financial partnership.

  49. Getting back to writing down my frugal accomplishements after the holidays!

    – joined ebates. Got $10 gift card with my first purchase. Then referred my husband because he needed to make a purchase and I got a $25 referral fee.
    – Son needed gloves, found a pair on clearance for $5
    – Did a free blogilates workout and downloaded her January workout calendar for when I can’t make it to the gym, like today…got a good workout in at home
    – Received two free samples of Starbucks hot cocoa K cups
    – Finished a bath and body works candle and cleaned it out and am using it in my bathroom to hold small bottles of perfume
    – Got spreadsheets set up for each month for next year and put averages from the past nine months in each category. Hoping to be able to come in below average in each category most months (except obviously the fixed bills). Still continuing to write down everything my Husband and I spend.
    – After Christmas clearance: an ornament and candle wreath for hostess gifts for next year (.49 and .79). Also in the Christmas clearance I found a set of makeup brushes with a bag to hold them for .49. It included an eyebrow brush which I’ve been needing. And some pretty hair ties for my daughter’s stocking for next year for .49. Plus an extension cord for .29.
    – Sold my daughter’s old snow pants on eBay
    – Had my second of five free personal training sessions at the gym and had a really good workout. I wrote down what he had me do so I can repeat it myself.
    – Needed to get a housewarming gift for a good friend who just moved into a new home. I found a cute bamboo cheese cutting board in the shape of a wine bottle on clearance for $2 and two Mercury glass votive holders for $6. I have some votives that I can include with the candles. So a nice little gift for $8.

  50. Thank you momsavv for the suggestion. We don’t have set spending money per say but all of our accounts are joint. He spends very willy nilly…$5 here $30 there and sees no concern with this because his view is that it will continue to come in. My perspective is far more pessimistic. I am always looking ahead and planning for the worse. Not one of my better qualities but it is who I am. The problem that I am having is that we have such different views on how to spend/save money that it doesn’t matter how much I scrimp or save, he has access to the saved money etc and will spend as he sees fit. He is not an extreme spender by an any means, but I am such a saver that it seems like it is spending too much to me. We are in no way struggling financially right now in fact we are better off than we have ever been in the 7 years we have been together. I just want to save to be prepared for an emergency as well as our ultimate goal of buying our house.

  51. Thank you Miss Lorna, we are newly married for 3 years now have been living together for 7. So while we are still in the newlywed phase, we are not new to sharing finances etc. At one time we were meeting biweekly to discuss money, bills, income goals etc and I was thrilled with how much we were accomplishing. I think I will again suggest that to him and see if he would be willing to do that. Currently we are discussing finances in passing and it is not really accomplishing anything.

    Thanks again for your words of encouragement and advice.

  52. When you live in Canada you have special tires and sometimes even chains on your tires for driving on snow and ice. In the south we don’t. So if we close the interstate it is because of safety reasons. Remember lots of school busses etc. go on our high ways etc. everyday. Would want to be safe than sorry. Also, almost always if there is snow on our highways you can bet your last dollar that there is a layer of ice under that snow. We get so little cold weather that when we do, the stuff melts at first because the highway is too warm then the layers come down and build up. We also do not have salt trucks to go out and melt said snow. I understand your humor, I do, but here it can be a very serious thing to have snow on the roads.

  53. Very welcome. The beef tips and rice is a favorite here. My grandson love it. I have made it and put it over noodles too. My husband likes the rice but my grandsons love the noodles. Often I make both. I can always use the rice in a fried rice recipe the next day.

  54. I live in Auburn, Indiana. Our Home Depot was clearancing out tons of orchids for $5.00. They looked perfectly fine. They had several shades to choose from. I thought that was a great price so I bought one to put in my bathroom because we have 2 windows in there and thought they would do good in there with the added humidity.

  55. I would love 40 pounds of bananas. Your are lucky! We use at least 3 lbs a week between bread, pie, ice sundaes, banana nut ice cream (made in the summer), oatmeal and other hot cereal and just eating as is. Our gas station is still running them 20 to 50 cents cheaper per pound than the grocery stores, so we continue to get them there. About 3 weeks ago they were out though as they put them down from .35 to .25 so I had to pick some up at the grocer, where they were .58 a pound.

  56. Erika, I just read that the average family wastes from $640 up to $1000 and higher. You have such high prices it sounds like that it is even more cost worthy for your family.

  57. Myra, unless you are partial to a particular BBQ sauce it is easy enough to throw together an acceptable substitute in an emergency. We use catsup, mustard, maple syrup or brown sugar, some soy sauce, some worchestershire sauce, some tobasco. All to taste. We have even used tomato sauce and some cider vinegar in place of catsup.

  58. I don’t like ice! I would rather take more snow than even a smidgen of ice. We have amazingly few snow days here and if more than 1 or 2 they need to be made up at the end of the year. No one likes that. We’re a very rural school district so they will be out all night getting the roads ready. Late starts help. Right now we have been below 0 deg F which is not that cold, but a few years when we have gone -15F to -25F they have had to cancel school because the diesel buses don’t work right and it is considered too cold then for the children that walk to be out.

  59. Do you ever go to the drive in with the family?
    It’s pretty affordable considering it’s typically a double feature and you can easily bring snacks and drinks in a cooler in your car! We love it in early spring when the temps are nice and the sun still sets early enough that the movies don’t start at 9pm!

  60. Hello from the Deep South. My frugals are from the last few weeks. W had a record rainfall amount the two weeks of Christmas. We had a wonderful Christmas and school break. I stayed within my Dcember grocery budget even with steaks for Christmas Eve dinner. W had a pretty frugal break due to not going out much due to the constant rain and severe weather. I was thankful the tornadoes didn’t come this way. We stayed home and played some new games that Santa brought. Our one pricey excursion was the new Star Wars movie. My children were ecstatic because it was the first pg 13 movie they’ve ever seen. Our power bill decreased by $23. We have a budget bill option so we won’t get an astronomical amount in the Summer.. I’ve made Brandy’s granola and we love it. I’ve done some Pinecone surveys. I also discovered Dirt Cheap, and am slightly addicted now. It has Target, etc leftovers.. Damaged boxes, but it totally won’t checking out for new merchandise with thrift like prices. Have a wonderful week!

  61. Hi Tabbie and you are most welcome.

    We too are fortunate enough not to be struggling either and compared to a lot friends would be considered lucky, but that is only through careful budgeting and spending only after we have found the best and cheapest price on things. To save for a home to purchase with cash takes a huge amount of self discipline.

    This might also help you and is a little something we do. We have what is known as an unaccounted section in our budget. That is a small amount of money that we have agreed that when we reach a certain savings goal, in our case it is each $5000 we save we have a small treat each, that is chocolate or an ice cream sundae or something. Each $10000 saved we buy ourselves a larger but not expensive treat. We believe in treating ourselves when we reach certain goals. Funny enough it works and now we look at our finances and say oh we are only $200 away from that block of chocolate and strangely that keeps us motivated and gives us something to look forward to. It also stops us willy nilly spending money that the other half doesn’t know about till they read the bank statements.

    We too have a joint bank account, and strangely we both keep the budget in our own ways, my husband on a spreadsheet and myself in an accounting book as we have agreed that we both think differently on understanding finances. I also keep a separate book as I have an online craft hobby business and garden seed saving hobby business, so I keep a track of where that money is going too. But we do have the same printed budget sheet for each one of us that we both follow so we are on the same page and consult on all spending before it happens.

    Apart from 2 containers of mints my husband purchased from the post office recently we discuss most things. He said smiling I thought we could have a little treat :), got to love him.

    Great to hear that you are not new to finances and it sounds like with a few tweeks and ideas you will both have it.

  62. Roxie, not everyone in Canada had special tires. It’s law in Quebec, but not in Ontario that everyone has to have snow tires. Chains on tires are illegal here, so we don’t use them either. We have lots of ice build up on our roads, everything from freezing rain to white out conditions from blowing snow. This is what we deal with for months at a time (way too long in my opinion).

    For years my husband drove 1 1/2 hours to work in the early morning (left at around 4:30 – 5 am), often before the roads were properly plowed and sanded (he’s laid off right now, so at least he doesn’t have to risk his life to get to work this winter). Trust me, we know how treacherous the roads can be, so you know it’s bad when the children have a snow day. But that being said, it doesn’t stop commuters from driving to work! Life still has to goes on in spite the ice and snow up here in the North. Sometimes you have to drive slower and maybe get to work late…but if you want to pay your bills and put food on the table, you find a way to get there.

  63. I recommend checking their website. We have AMC and Harkins here in Phoenix and AMC has very low prices for showings before noon. In addition, both offer $1 movie events which are usually older classic family movies that typically play during the weeknight. It still allows you to get out of the house and enjoy an evening out!

  64. Having been married nearly 54 years, I must put in a word for husbands. Your ideas of saving more quickly for a house may NOT be in line with his. He may feel he should have the chance to spend before being a homeowner, and, probably shortly after, a father! Don’t push your ideas on him as the one true answer–remember to compromise.

    My husband is a car restore-er. It’s an expensive hobby. I used to be frustrated by what he spent, but then I started giving it out as a certain amount per week, and he put it in his checking account. Then when he bought an expensive part, it came from his “hobby money” not the household budget. He still spent it, but it bothered me a lot less if it was separated out before hand and earmarked for car parts.

    We also had a “rule” to ask each other before spending over a certain sum. It used to be $50 but now we’ve been doing it so long it’s not a specific amount, but we do touch base and say “Is it ok if I put this on the charge?” because I watch account closing dates and might already have some hefty charges this month. Occasionally if he waits two days, I get an extra month to pay it off. So we just let each other know what we’re doing and why.

    It’s worked for us. Aside from that, he hardly cares where the money goes, as long as we have some!

  65. Mitzie – I, too, reread my Tightwad Gazette book over the Christmas holiday. Although some of the articles are now very dated, I find that I still learn a lot. I made her hot chocolate mix and really love it.

  66. My local 99 cents store had 5lb bags of potatoes for $1 each! I never saw that price before at my local grocery stores, even during the holidays, so now I have a new source for my potato purchases.

  67. After 13 years, our water heater finally went to water heater heaven yesterday…we have very hard water so it is close to a miracle it lasted this long. I priced new ones on line and found they were all within $1 of each other, which is quite interesting. I also got estimated installation prices on line since my husband’s back problems prevent him from doing the installation anymore. We found the best price on the water heater at home depot but when they quoted installation it was 10 times the price from Sears!!! So we called a friend to install it for the good price and also talked to the store manager about their crazy installation pricing. I am so glad I did all the on line research. Otherwise, cooked all but 2 meals at home and only spent $22 grocery shopping (working on what we have in the pantry). Overall a good start to the year. I am also in a group to walk 1000 miles this year and so far, so good 🙂

  68. I house sit and my homeowners always leave me gift cards to local restaurants. One of my 2016 resolutions was to use all of the ones that have minor balances on them and get them out of my wallet. By just adding a little bit of my own money plus coupons I have had several great meals out for not too much out-of-pocket. I do not, nor will I ever cook regularly so I eat out a lot so anything to spend less but have good meals out is a win.
    I have friends that have a condo in the town where we went to college. They use it mainly during football season and are very generous to share when it is empty so I am leaving on Friday to go to Oxford MS for a week’s getaway. I will get to see the new basketball Pavilion at Ole Miss and also use up some more of my restaurant gift cards while I am there. Have some gift cards to local movie theater chain so I’m gonna catch up on movies while I am there also.
    Got lucky and happened to go into Target on the day they marked Christmas cleearance to 90% off. I love sending Christmas cards and go several boxes of Papyrus ones for less than $1.50 each box. Also got some individual $8-$9 cards for 90% off just by asking why they scanned at full price.

  69. You can freeze ripe bananas & then puree them in a food processor or the like whilst frozen to make a healthy icecream. No need to add anything else but it is also nice with frozen berries.
    Amie F, Australia

  70. Have you tried using cash only? Give yourself and your husband an “allowance” and leave the debit and credit cards in a drawer. That $5 or $10 is much more noticeable when it isn’t in you pocket. This will limit him to a set amount of money each week/month. Also, download a home budget program on your smart phone or computer. Most are free or very cheap. You’ll see where your money goes and then be able to adjust your budget accordingly. For us it was eating out. We worked long hours and it was easier to eat out than to worry about shopping and cooking. Then we saw the dollar amount in our budgeting software and nearly had a heart attack. It was HUGE!!!!

  71. Western Oregon is where I live. We are at a little higher elevation than many in our area, so our schools here close a little more often. I agree with Roxie about the ice. My husband will drive on snow, and I have even done it a few times in a pinch (like I’m not home and have to choose to creep home or stay there in the middle of the road forever because it’s snowing-ha, ha), but that freezing rain is so treacherous. He was driving in it anyway, one day, but it’s not worth it to risk our children’s lives since so many just don’t know how to drive in it around here. Still, people I know from other places laugh, since they DO know how to drive in it, and do it all winter long!

  72. Marcia, why do you need salt to make bread? I never add salt when I make bread. Never have. I’ve read here and there it controls the yeast but I skip it with no problem.

  73. Hi and Happy New Year. Just a quick bit for your readers. Target had Whole turkeys on sale for 79 cents pound. I walked past one of the freezers and there they were!
    Enjoy your blog and readers comments.
    Take care.
    Barb in PA

  74. What a deal, Amy! The discount price here is $5.25. They are going to do an old movie playing series of 5 or 6 movies and it is more than that for them. Weekday movies are $11; weekends $11.50, and matinee is $8.50. Children’s matinee is the same price as a regular child’s ticket, so the discount was a huge deal, as it was even less. How nice that you have $1 showings! I remember having that in other cities where I have lived, but I have not seen that here.

  75. Heather,

    This is the second time we have ever gone to the movies as a whole family. The last time was years ago to see Charlotte’s Web. We usually wait until movies are out on dvd before we see them.

    There is a drive-in here, but we would all need to get out to see the movie, since the children cannot see from the back rows.

    I just looked up prices for the one here: $7.50 for ages 12 and up, $1 for children 5-11, and $5 on Tuesdays.

    Usually my husband and I don’t go out to the movies, either, unless we have been given a gift card. We have gone once every three or four years when we received a gift to go.

    We don’t budget regularly for entertainment or eating out. For the two of us to go to the movies ($22 for regular movies at the theater for 2 people) we could do a lot of other things, so we generally stick to free Redbox coupons 😀 We still manage to see the movies we want to see, just a few months later.

  76. Found ground turkey 1.29 a lb I got 8
    boycotting grocery stores. I used my budget. Either do without or make it.
    I have plenty just need to get creative. this the the 3rd in a row that I didn’t spent money.
    I got kiwi 6 for 89 cents
    went out to eat once last week. which is huge for us.
    need to inventory my freezer and cupboards and make a menu.
    made double choc.coconut muffin.
    homemade chicken tenders and fries
    veggie rice stir fry
    and we are getting leftovers or freezing it for another day

  77. I never thought about growing them in pots. I tried planting a blackberry bush years ago, my german shepherd politely came along and pulled it up out of the ground and went running with her, she thought it was a great stick.

  78. If you are into canning or want to learn, you can control your salt in your vegetables too. Or buy frozen, there is a huge difference in the amount of salt in canned versus frozen vegetables.

    We also when making soups, do not add salt to the pot.. if we do feel it needs a little salt, we add it at the table instead of in the pot.

  79. We put actual snow tires on our cars mid-November and many people have all wheel drive and drive vehicles with a higher clearance when they know that everyday travel in snow is necessary. Back when I was a teenager there was such a huge snowfall that no one could get out and the hospital was sending out snowmobiles to bring in the hospital staff and get some of the stranded staff home.

  80. Hi Marcia and we have the same rule to ask before either of us spend a certain sum too and that works for us as well.

    We too have extra income that both of us earn, in my case it is a seed saving business & a home wares design business where I make & sew curtain tiebacks, placemats, wallets, eye masks etc, in my husbands case he picks up regular gardening work mowing and whipper snippering people’s lawns and does some racing bike velodromes and things.

    So this month as my husband had earned extra money from his gardening he choose after consulting with me to buy the month’s groceries & stock up on gardening gloves & seeds, 2 stroke oil & whipper cord for his machinery, I with my extra money put mine towards paying for a couple of bed sheet sets we needed and purchased some preparation fire starters & a set of measuring spoons for the kitchen.

    We are like yourselves and these things are under separate budgets from the normal household budget. They have their own tins in the house and come under gardening & craft earnings. These are funds that we consult on and we choose which way is best to spend those funds. My husband often uses his extra money on machinery & car fuel or other equipment he has used, work boots for both of us & sometimes to purchase playstation games he has his eye on. My extra earned funds usually go to paying the phone & internet, stocking up sewing fabrics or notions that I need or put towards small appliances that have broken down, computer ink cartridges needed or just small household items we need. I occasionally purchase small treats for myself too. We find this works well too and doesn’t take money out of much needed grocery money and is a blessing to purchase other things we would usually not be able to afford to buy if it was just using the grocery money.

  81. Hi Piggykr and yes got to agree that a cash allowance sounds a good idea and keeps you accountable without using cards.

    Funny how when you use accounting budgeting software and actually honestly put what you spend in there, how much of a shock it can be to see how much you have spent in certain categories. It too is a good way to keep everyone accountable for the expenditure :), and sometimes a huge wake up call unfortunately.

  82. Last week, I used a free car wash coupon received with an earlier oil change to get the gravel road grime from our holiday family travels off my car (before the below-zero weather!). Thawed some turkey/cabbage soup my husband had made last summer to pack for my lunch for a couple of days.

    Went to my church book group, where we discussed a book that I, personally, checked out from the library (some members buy the books). It was The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, an interesting young adult historical fiction book about Operation Pedro Pan — the emigration of children from Cuba during the timeframe when Fidel Castro first took over. It was “the largest recorded exodus of unaccompanied minors in the Western Hemisphere” (http://www.pedropan.org/category/history) — and almost none of us had ever heard of it. I saw “almost” none, because one woman had a friend who was part of this experience, and she brought her along to tell her personal story, which was particularly fascinating in light of the book’s topic.

  83. Here in Phoenix we also have one theatre that shows movies that have been out for awhile, but have not yet gone to DVD. $1 on Tuesdays and $2 for the rest of the week.

  84. Hi there folks. Before I get to my accomplishments, Brandy, I wanted to share an idea for some Hungarian peasant good (my ancestral favorite kind of food) that uses leftover ham. I don’t have a written recipe. Here’s what you do – either chop fine or grind leftover ham. If possible, use some of the gelled drippings in the mix. Cook the pasta of your choice. Heat the ham, with oil if needed, and some sour cream. Put the ham mixture on the pasta, and top with a little parmesan. Yummy and filling! Nice with a little salad or pickles!

    Here’s my week:
    [list=][list][*] Ate all meals at home, with ingredients I had on hand
    [*] Made several meatless meals, such as a mung bean stew over rice, black beans, veggies and avocado with tortilla chips, cauliflower gratin
    [*] Baked biscuits and cookies
    [*] Ordered gluten free ingredients online at a good price so I can make my own GF flour mixes (that actually taste good)
    [*] Went to my favorite resale shop and found a large basket I wanted for $2
    [*] Turned the heat down two more degrees – Chicago is cold…….
    [*] Learned how to refurbish an old sewing machine and started work on it
    [*] Sold a piece of old furniture via a FB garage sale (my first try at doing this)
    [*] Sold two books on Amazon

    Have a great week!

  85. We found out last week that my husband’s pay will be cut by 10% this year. This was a bit of a shock, but we are thankful he has a job. I know many people have had much bigger cuts. I am thankful that we already had a budget so we know what we have been spending and what areas can be cut. I am also very thankful that our only debt is our mortgage. There is nothing like less income to make you tighten up on areas of the budget that had gotten lax.

    I started a gratitude journal for this year so that I can write down the ways that God provides for our family. I want to have eyes that look for His blessings instead of focusing on the things we are cutting back on.

    Frugal accomplishments–
    –I made homemade yogurt, bread and energy balls.
    –I cooked meals in which meat was not “the star”– chili, soup, bean bowls, etc.
    –I used homemade laundry detergent (I cheated and added some Gain detergent to my bucket to add some scent. I had been missing it!)
    –I bought four hams for 79 cents a pound and apples for 33 cents a pound. I also found toothpaste for 40 cents a tube. I bought several for us and a couple for our Operation Christmas Child box stock pile.
    –One of my daughters and I went on a shopping outing and found a like-new shirt she loved at Goodwill for $3.50. We also found a skirt for summer on a clearance rack for $4. We had lots of fun hunting for bargains. That is my kind of hunting!
    — I was able to order some spring/summer clothes for my son on clearance at Old Navy. I am so thankful that Old Navy carries tall shirts online.
    –I started making a spreadsheet for our homeschool curriculum for next year. I am starting early so that I can find the best deals.
    –We heated our house with our hardy wood stove using mostly wood my husband got for free (except for the time and energy spent cutting it down and chopping it up).
    –I ordered three book-it pizzas (personal pans) that my children earned from Pizza Hut. They messed up my order and we received three free mediums! That is more of a blessing than an accomplishment!

    Thank you for hosting Brandy. I always enjoy reading all of the comments, and I decided it was time to begin contributing!

  86. Hi Becky and another idea is to make banana cream dessert.

    Mash bananas, put slodge of lemon juice on, mix in whipped cream stir, refrigerate, serve and yum. So easy and quick to prepare.

  87. We had a great week last week in terms of limiting our spending. I did spend a little more at the grocery store than planned, but it will keep us well stocked on yogurt (yes, we normally make our own, but with being pregnant, sometimes you just need the easy road) and tortillas for a while (and I did buy a few things that were super cheap that we don’t normally, like orange juice). Probably our biggest accomplishment was getting the Ecobee thermostats installed, which should save us significantly on our electric bills this winter.

    Check out my blog for further savings!

  88. My husband was out of town for a staff retreat, and took a cooler to bring home leftovers. The rest of his team do not want to mess with them. He knows we will use them and bags things up to bring home, he brought 2 chicken breast, a piece of steak, some lettuce and 2 bananas! I shared the meat with my daughter and her family. I had made a pot of soup last week and ate that everyday while he was gone, and shared half my pot with my daughter again. Shopped markèd down at the grocery to restock some produce, trying to eat down the rest of food from the freezer. I have been turning the thermostat down 2/ degrees at nighttime and during the day as well, it is helping with our bill. Wearing lots of layers!

    of steak and

  89. Hi Kim and what a wonderfully positive attitude you have, and yes at challenging times it does help to look for the blessings that come our way and be grateful for them. I am sorry to hear that your husband has had a pay cut, but on the positive side it sounds like you are well prepared by being frugal and keeping your debts down.

    We too have had a huge financial setback recently. The blessings that came from that are –
    – We are more grateful for what we have, and enjoy the challenge of saving for what we need.
    – My husband has been blessed to be able to pick up paying garden work & my craft sales on the internet have increased.
    – We both think far more before we spend our money, even on groceries and look for the best deals to stretch our income.
    – We have a wonderful vegetable garden that more than feeds us, and we are able to help others who are struggling.
    – Whilst cutting fallen trees on a road verge with my husband, a farmer with a farm behind said we could have all the wood from the dead trees on his property. Firewood here in Australia is $100 – $140 a 6′ x 4′ trailer to buy, so this saves us a huge amount.
    – I have noticed we have been blessed as most things we need for groceries have been on super special of late.
    – We have been blessed to have the money for fuel to do service projects to help others.

    These are just some of the wonderful things we are grateful for and yes I too keep a journal and once a week I write in there what I am grateful for too. It keeps us looking forward to continuing to save for our home together we plan to purchase mostly with cash savings.

  90. The kids have already been scarfing down the dried bananas with the ginger, cinnamon and brown sugar! I have about 5 gallons of frozen bananas. Ja’Ana made chocolate-covered bananas. Banana pudding was great. Tonight, Lovana made gluten-free chocolate-banana cake. AND, we are all turning yellow from eating so many:) I’m loving all the suggestions. Thanks! We have a couple of bunches left on the counter, and then we will be done for now.

  91. Lorna,
    Thanks so much for your encouragement! It sounds like you and your husband are doing a great job of flourishing in less than ideal circumstances. After the initial shock, I have been a little excited about the challenge of stretching our money further and seeing how the Lord provides for us. That sounds strange, and I am sure I will get discouraged, but for now I am at peace.

  92. Joanna, I want to thank you for mentioning that book. I do believe my daughter in law’s father was part of Operation Pedro Pan. I’m going to email her and tell her to buy the book so our grandchildren will know more about family history. Thanks again.

  93. Greetings all… Have been reading for a few months and love this blog. My husband lost his job on the 30th, but thank God he will start a new one next week. In the meanwhile, we’ve gotten time together walking during my lunch hour (I work from home) and just talking and planning. We hosted a potluck last week and were left w salad, a whole chicken and numerous desserts, which we shared w our neighbors. We are working on our health together and a good friend gave me a free 6 week membership to a local gym.. I found some cleats for my daughter at a sending hand store and only paid $7 after a trade on allowance for some ballet shoes/tap shoes. We have been eating out of our pantry and fridge. That’s about all!

  94. Hi Kim and you are most welcome. I have found that if you put all your challenges whether they be financial or personal “in the hands of the Lord”, he will provide what we need, not necessarily what we want when we want it :).

    We love to walk out to our vegetable patch which incidentally is growing snow peas ( a winter crop) in the middle of summer under a large Australian Eucalyptus tree, and pick a large handful each to have with our lunches along with our tomatoes that are ripe too. A blessing in itself really considering our temperatures here are 34oC or 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Our 180 sq metre vegetable & herb patch we set up and planted was yet another blessing that all the drip irrigation system, rotary tiller, whipper snipper, blower vac purchased since the start of our setback ( around 2yrs), has been paid for by gardening work my husband and I have picked up and a majority of all manures used given to us by friends with horses and animals along with recently some hay for mulching them with. We just had to shovel it into our trailer and bring it home. Even with a recent mini tornado and hail storm that went through our rented property, with trimming I still have crops I am harvesting and pumpkins now about 3/4 the size of a soccer ball.

    So far we have been able to along with ourselves in that period been able to feed we have worked out about 70 people on the odd occasion, but not constantly. We have so far been able to provide service & fresh produce to our church members –
    – 4 boxes of double stacked lettuces.
    – tomorrow we will take in to church probably another box of fresh green beans that we will pick tonight. Unbelievable how many beans are growing. We have eaten them for a month fresh, for tea each night, blanched and frozen and filled the freezer to capacity and there are still more than the two of us could possibly eat.
    – Provided around 10 struggling financial families in financial or health challenges, with huge mixed bags of vegetables.
    – Provided our neighbour and his mum with strawberries, beans, spinach, parsley, & spring onions on numerous occasions. He has also, as his sister works in a supermarket, been able to give us numerous packets of vegetable seeds free that they were going to throw out that were still within date.
    – Provided our church missionaries with numerous bags of vegetables.
    – And also sold numerous amounts to other church members.

    The lord has provided amply for us and at the completion of our trial in December helped us increase our house saving in November from 36% of our gross income to 46% in December last year. We hope to increase that further.

    It doesn’t mean to say that we won’t have challenging times it just means by being faithful we are more at peace with the circumstances that surround us. By keeping our journal we are able to see things we probably would not have noticed that are true blessings.

  95. Through the years, my husband and I have had lots of extra people live with us. Sometimes family and sometimes friends, but all have been in need. We have watched God multiply “loaves-and-fishes” over and over and OVER again. Thankful for the opportunity to watch Him provide for us/our household; He has made a way where there didn’t seem to be a way.

  96. And for people that live in the rural areas and rely on school buses, the buses just can’t get to some areas when the roads are bad. Just another southern perspective 😉

  97. Becky, I’m glad you tried the dried bananas with the brown sugar and spices, they really are good! 🙂 I have saved the peels and dried them to crush for the garden.

  98. Hi Laura and sorry to hear that your husband lost his job after Christmas, but it is fabulous that he is starting a new job !.

    That is lovely that you have been able to catch up quality time for walks, talks and planning with your husband.

    Great price on the cleats as well any ballet related equipment is usually very expensive to buy new.

  99. Athanasia- it is SO simple to shred meat in Kitchenaid! I learned about it about 2 years ago somewhere on a food blog.

    You cook chicken breast, pork roast or beef roast in crockpot and when it’s cooked through, toss it into your mixer bowl (remove any obvious fat) and use your paddle (not the whisk or the dough hook). Turn mixer on a low speed at first and watch the magic! As it starts to shred, you can turn the speed up a little. Because it is already cooked tender, it shreds up in a matter of a couple minutes with the mixer.

    The beauty of this is that it is evenly shredded with getting your hands tired or dirty!

    I then package it in 2 cup portions into ziplock bags. Have even done it with some different cuts of beef that had a little freezer burn and they turned out delicious! Add BBQ sauce or salsa verde or gravy to the meat when you take the baggies out of freezer for quick and convenient meals!!

  100. I have a dear friend who lives in Maryland. She has used a snow mobile to go to work. I guess if you are used to the conditions you learn to cope. Around here it is really funny sometimes to watch. (not really, sometimes people get hurt, but if no one is hurt it can be funny if you understand) It has been a few years now, but once it was snowing here, the wind blowing was just awful, and there was ice on the road. My husband got a call out and had to respond. I went with him as I was afraid he might get stuck in town and I wanted to be there if he did. On the way into Austin cars were passing us right and left. Like we were standing still. When these cars came to a small hill it was like “bumper cars” crashing into the walls of the divided highway and into each other. Going down that small hill they had NO traction, at the speed they were going there was no control. We did stop, no one was hurt, but it was very strange to watch.

  101. Hi Paula and I couldn’t agree more.

    Our vegetable garden as most people who have seen it have commented, produce far more than they have ever seen. That comment is from fellow gardeners.

    We also know that it is God who has his hand in it, and we are just the blessed recipients along with others we can help.

  102. This site is my favorite, the beautiful pictures with the inspiring posts are wonderful to enjoy. Our recent frugal accomplishments here in the midwest were:
    -Warmer than normal temperatures until our recent -30 wind chill of today, mean I am thankful that we saved on energy in the past few months and haven’t had these temperatures until now.
    -Baked ham stretched for 3 weeks, from dinner, to left-overs, to ham/bean soup, to ham salad, to ham bone for the dog to enjoy.
    -Researched how zippers work so I could fix one in a dress. Ordered new pull/stop and fixed it in 5 minutes, no kidding. Returning the new zipper I thought I would have to install rather than fixing the pull and stop. WIll do this again.
    -Upcycled white shirt to create the base and back of a wall hanging quilt. Using old cuffs to make little cloth pouch for purse-sew up raw sides, use button/button hole to open and close.
    -Found unused liquid body soups etc. that my got daughter got as gifts years ago that have now found been put to use in my liquid soap dispensers.
    -Deep cleaning rooms, washing walls-great exercise and saves on a gym membership.
    -Recyling and saving milk jugs to create mini-terrariums for future seed starting out doors. (spring will arrive!!)
    -Gave unused newspapers to family members to use as fire starters in their wood burner as they don’t get a newspaper.

  103. Amie, I have seen that with cocoa powder added for a vegan/dairy free chocolate ice cream. I can’t remember whether sugar needed to be added, but with ripe bananas I would think they are sweet enough.

  104. In the optical department at my local Costco, I bought a Kirkland package of lens cleaner. It came with 2 small bottles and lens wipes. I think it cost something like $5.00….a few years ago. At the optical counter, there is a large dispenser of lens cleaning fluid which you can use refill those small bottles for free! My guess would be every Costco offers this?!?!

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