Apricot branches in vase The Prudent Homemaker

I pruned fruit trees and cut budded apricot branches for a vase for my entry table.

I purchased fruit this week: oranges for $0.39 a pound, Gala apples for $0.99 a pound, and bananas for $0.59 a pound. I also bought pasta for $0.49 a pound. After we had eaten the bananas, I put the peels in the garden in the holes I dug for the new roses bushes.

I transplanted beet, parsley, and carrot seedlings that had self-seeded.

I planted lettuce seeds that I had collected from my garden last year.

I planted nasturium seeds that I collected from my garden last year in the pots with my fruit trees.

I planted green onion seeds that I collected last year from my garden.

I planted seeds for lettuce, turnips, beets, leeks, spinach, radishes, larkspur, poppies, and delphiniums in the garden.

I took a Pinecone research survey. I cashed in my points from Pinecone for Paypal credit (for several surveys), and used the money to order violet plants.

I called to find out when my bareroot roses would ship, as bareroots are supposed to be planted before our last frost date (February 15th) or they often won’t make it. I was able to move the shipping up, and the customer service person asked if I would like to combine the two orders I made. I said yes. He called me back later to tell me that I would save $9.95 in shipping.

Paperwhite Blooms in February The Prudent Homemaker

I made arrangements to borrow some lollipop molds. Elsa wants lollipops for her birthday, and rather than just making them round, I am going to make them flower-shaped. I know someone who makes lots of different lollipops and asked if she had some flower-shaped ones that I could borrow (rather than buying molds I would only use once). 

I took advantage of the time the boys were gone on a Scout campout to use our carpet cleaner to clean the carpet in their room. Since they were gone, I didn’t have to worry about them walking on the carpet, and the weather was nice enough for me to open their window and have the fan on to dry the carpet.

My husband and I have been discussing replacing our kitchen rug that is in front of the sink. It is the rug that gets the most wear, and it is almost 10 years old. I had started pricing new rugs, only to find that they were all a lot more than I wanted to spend. After I cleaned the boys carpet, I considered using the carpet cleaner on the rug (something I have done before, but on such a low pile rug it doesn’t seem to make much difference). I was just about ready to try cleaning it that way when I remembered reading that some of the rugs I looked at for sale said they were machine washable. Comsidering how dirty this rug had become, I figured I didn’t have much to lose. I sprayed the rug with stain remover and ran it through the wash. After the cycle was done. I took it out. No damage had been done, and it was cleaner, but still pretty dirty. I sprayed it again and washed it again, and then ran it through and extra spin cycle and hung it outside to dry. While it doesn’t look as pretty as it would new, it is much better, and certainly in good enough shape to keep using. I now plan on washing it in the washing machine on a regular basis.

Flowering Kale The Prudent Homemaker 

What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. I especially love the picture with the pansies. Is that red cabbage with them? It’s a lovely pot. I really admire your ability to garden so productively in your harsh climate and small yard and the way you photograph your flowers and veggies.

    I wash my kitchen rugs all the time, but they do wear out more quickly, I think. The backing comes off in the dryer over time. Then they won’t stick down and I trip, so then I replace them. I think I get about 5 years or more out of them on my hardwood floors. So, you’ve done great to keep yours so long.

    I was able to save money in many ways, including cooking from scratch, having Lovana make some pizza crust mixes for our camper, continuing to feed the family from my stockpile, and not shopping for groceries at all, except for some matches.

    One of the girls was able to go to a Super Bowl party with a friend, so that was fun for her, as we do not have any t.v. stations at our house so we don’t get the game. (We don’t have cable and can’t pick up any stations where we live.) Not having cable saves us a bundle, but sometimes there is something someone wants to watch other then library movies or Prime.

    We sold a few items on e-bay! Yea, more things cleaned out and money to show for it!

  2. Shoveled the driveway twice, putting another 10-11” of heavy, wet snow around the berry bushes & the fruit trees in the front yard.

    Finished the set of maroon mittens with grey cuffs. Began a set of dark grey mittens. Watched “Downton Abbey”, “America’s Test Kitchen” & “This Old House” on PBS while I knitted, sitting in a chair with the heating pad on my back to keep from being sore after all the shoveling.

    The car needed repairs & the service person I always go thru asked the shop manager if he could give me a 15% discount instead of 10%. The manager said yes, proof that it never hurts to ask.

    Dehydrated lemons bought for 4/$1 & also dried the lemon zest.

    Simmered the bone from a ham to make broth, then strained the broth & reduced it. Chilled in the fridge to remove the fat cake, & make sure the broth was sufficiently reduced to gel.
    *Took 2 pine cone surveys.

    Bought a dinner plate in the pattern one of my daughters uses & another empty popcorn tin to hold yarn from the thrift store. Filled the car with gas at the Chevron station for the discount & free car wash coupon, then stopped at Home Depot on the way home & bought 16 more Lodgestones for the garden wall with a gift card.

    Received the beet seeds that I ordered.

    Took down the snowflake décor I put up in January & replaced it with the Valentine’s decorations.

  3. * the hatch handle broke on my husbands truck… he was able to repair it himself and we just had to buy the new part
    * my 16 year old works at a sandwich shop and has been bringing home items that they are going to throw away (bread and veggies) after asking permission of course!
    * packing school/work lunches
    * stocking up on items using rite aid’s plenti program…. it’s not unusual for me to walk out with no cash OOP
    * got 3 peppers off the reduced rack for $1 total (peppers are running over $2 per piece here)
    * I finally figured out how to check out ebooks from my library! This is so awesome!!

  4. What excellent prices you found for fruit, that’s awesome! I have seen similar prices here in New England, but oranges aren’t quite that low this winter.

    To save money, I continue to shop the deals and use coupons/rebates. This week I found cheap candy, free Hallmark cards and toothpaste at CVS, free medicine and soap at Rite Aid, and an unexpected sale at Pet Smart. They had a huge clearance bin full of discounted pet food. After sale price and coupons, I got 4 bags for only $3.37 each, including expensive grain-free food! All of my transactions with pics can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-2616/

  5. I wash throw rugs on a regular basis. My one biggest bit of advice is to watch the backing as the rubber tends to start to disintegrate after a while of regular washing. Jo-Ann fabrics sells the non-slip backing material if you need to replace it.

    We are continuing our frugal ways around here, trying our hardest to save every penny to make bills that are coming up. So, I’m continuing to live on a super reduced grocery budget and using up what we have around here. And I’m working on my daughter’s birthday gifts and things this month.

    My list for the week can be found here…


  6. Hello Brandy & all from Australia :).

    In the garden –
    – So much rain here that we were unable to do much in the garden at all.
    – Weeded 1/4 of a 9 x 2 meter garden patch.
    – Weeded & mulched a 9 x 2 meter corn patch.
    – Harvested turnips, snow & greenfeast peas, spinach and strawberries for all teas & snacks.

    Gardening earnings –
    – My husband made $75 from doing odd gardening jobs.
    – I made $10.30 from the sale of vegetables from the garden.

    Water preservation –
    – Missed 2 scheduled garden watering’s due to rain & saved 1080 lts of town water usage.

    Craft hobby sewing business accomplishments –
    – Made 3 x 5 layer eye masks to replace items sold on Etsy & Ebay & listed them in my shop.
    – Made a set of 4 curtain tiebacks to replace items sold on Etsy & listed them in my shop.

    Craft hobby business earnings –
    – Made $50.76 profit from the sale of a cushioned floor mat & eye mask on Ebay, and sale of 2 eye masks on Etsy.

    Preparation items purchased from craft money earned –
    – 400 windproof weatherproof matches & 2 chiffon scarves for myself @ $1.89 ea.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made all meals from scratch.
    – Made all bread from scratch using our bread maker.
    – Inventoried all of our pantries & fridges & made out a list of what to purchase in groceries for the month tomorrow.

    Grocery & medical vitamins shop today for top ups whilst posting –
    – Combined shopping top-up with posting sales from Ebay & Etsy.
    – Topped pantries back up with 12 tins of mangoes, 6 boxes of cocoa powder.
    – Topped meat supplies in freezer up with 2 kg of mince, 1.8 kg sausages which separated made us enough for 14 meals for $29.
    – Topped up on 4 months supply of iron tablets, 2 pkts of 100 paracetamol, calcium & magnesium tablets & used our chemist reward card and saved $5.70 on usual prices.

  7. I visited a new thrift store and found a black skirt for 2.00 that I desperately needed. All of mine are at least five years old and falling apart. I also got two new jackets and another skirt. My son got three suits for 10.00 each. All three were name brand suits.
    I shopped the one day sale and got Boston butt for .98 a pound and had it sliced into four roasts.
    I found a marble topped stand for my bathroom for five dollars. My husband has recently repainted and laid new flooring in our main bathroom but I have not decorated yet because I didn’t really know how I wanted to do it but after finding this stand, I have a sense of direction now.
    That’s about it. Have a great week!

  8. I’ve washed many of throw rugs before with great success. Ones with rubber backs can break down and flake off as they get older, so be careful with them. It will make a mess of your machine. I once stuck the mats from my car into my washing machine, but I learned the hard way that’s not a good idea. The carpets were amazingly clean, but the filth in my washing machine was horrible and took hours to clean out!

    I’ve had a pretty quiet week in some ways and busy in other ways. My frugal accomplishments for this week are:
    *My MIL took our whole family out for my husband’s birthday on Monday. We went to a Chinese buffet (my husband’s choice). Only disappointment about going there is that we don’t have leftovers to bring home for another meal.:p

    *Meals made at home this week included sausages with cheese topped baked potatoes and salad, homemade pizza (dough made it bread maker), breaded chicken wraps with baked herbed potato chunks, pasta with red or white sauce mixed with sliced sausage pieces, meat balls with mashed potatoes and corn, and ham steaks with scalloped potatoes, homemade macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and peas.

    *We finished off my husbands birthday cake for dessert a couple nights this week. I also made one of the apple crisps one night that we pre-assembled and froze last fall when we bought the bushel of orchard fresh apples.

    *Made 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies on Sunday, at my husband’s request. I put some into containers for the freezer to use in my daughter’s lunches later in the month, pre-packaged 5 baggies for her school lunches this week and put the rest on a plate for everyone to enjoy.

    *My daughter did actually receive an invite to a classmate’s birthday party on Friday! 😀 She was very excited to be included yet again. Of course I didn’t anticipate a birthday invite (the last one she received was a few years ago), so unfortunately I didn’t have anything in my gift stash to pull from for this. I also didn’t have enough time to plan out and make a gift, so I had to buy one. Oh well, the cost was worth it to see my daughter have fun and be included by her peers.

    *My daughter had a weird “snow day” this week on Wednesday. School buses were cancelled due to freezing rain overnight that made the roads slick in the morning. However, by lunch time the temperatures rose to record highs…Toronto had warmer temps than Las Vegas according to the news. That’s rare! She also had a PA day on Friday, so only 3 days of school this week. My daughter was happy, though.

    *I found tortillas on sale at Costco for $1.99/15 wraps (1/2 price!), so I bought 2 packages. The package said the best before date is March which gives us plenty of time to use them up. The wraps definitely give us more meal options to change things up a bit. I also noticed that butter was on sale for $2.80 (normally it costs close to $4.00), so I bought 2 for the freezer. I use butter only when baking and for special holiday meals. Otherwise we use margarine for everyday use, as it is much cheaper. In fact I also bought 4 containers of margarine on sale at Wal-Mart for $1 each, so that it now stocked up too. Noticed a small local grocery store had a particular French onion dip, which my husband and mother love, on sale for $0.99/container (normally close to $4.00/container at regular price). I pointed it out to my husband and he stopped in while out and bought 4 containers.

    Well, that’s it for this week. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  9. I’ve washed many of throw rugs before with great success. Ones with rubber backs can break down and flake off as they get older, so be careful with them. It will make a mess of your machine. I once stuck the mats from my car into my washing machine, but I learned the hard way that’s not a good idea. The carpets were amazingly clean, but the filth in my washing machine was horrible and took hours to clean out!

    I’ve had a pretty quiet week in some ways and busy in other ways. My frugal accomplishments for this week are:
    *My MIL took our whole family out for my husband’s birthday on Monday. We went to a Chinese buffet (my husband’s choice). Only disappointment about going there is that we don’t have leftovers to bring home for another meal.:p

    *Meals made at home this week included sausages with cheese topped baked potatoes and salad, homemade pizza (dough made it bread maker), breaded chicken wraps with baked herbed potato chunks, pasta with red or white sauce mixed with sliced sausage pieces, meat balls with mashed potatoes and corn, and ham steaks with scalloped potatoes, homemade macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and peas.

    *We finished off my husbands birthday cake for dessert a couple nights this week. I also made one of the apple crisps one night that we pre-assembled and froze last fall when we bought the bushel of orchard fresh apples.

    *Made 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies on Sunday, at my husband’s request. I put some into containers for the freezer to use in my daughter’s lunches later in the month, pre-packaged 5 baggies for her school lunches this week and put the rest on a plate for everyone to enjoy.

    *My daughter did actually receive an invite to a classmate’s birthday party on Friday! 😀 She was very excited to be included yet again. Of course I didn’t anticipate a birthday invite (the last one she received was a few years ago), so unfortunately I didn’t have anything in my gift stash to pull from for this. I also didn’t have enough time to plan out and make a gift, so I had to buy one. Oh well, the cost was worth it to see my daughter have fun and be included by her peers.

    *My daughter had a weird “snow day” this week on Wednesday. School buses were cancelled due to freezing rain overnight that made the roads slick in the morning. However, by lunch time the temperatures rose to record highs…Toronto had warmer temps than Las Vegas according to the news. That’s rare! She also had a PA day on Friday, so only 3 days of school this week. My daughter was happy, though.

    *I found tortillas on sale at Costco for $1.99/15 wraps (1/2 price!), so I bought 2 packages. The package said the best before date is March which gives us plenty of time to use them up. The wraps definitely give us more meal options to change things up a bit. I also noticed that butter was on sale for $2.80 (normally it costs close to $4.00), so I bought 2 for the freezer. I use butter only when baking and for special holiday meals. Otherwise we use margarine for everyday use, as it is much cheaper. In fact I also bought 4 containers of margarine on sale at Wal-Mart for $1 each, so that it now stocked up too. Noticed a small local grocery store had a particular French onion dip, which my husband and mother love, on sale for $0.99/container (normally close to $4.00/container at regular price). I pointed it out to my husband and he stopped in while out and bought 4 containers.

    Well, that’s it for this week. Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  10. I thought, initially, that I hadn’t done many frugal things this past week, but then I looked at the little notebook I started Jan. 1st to keep track of those ways I save money through big AND little ways!
    This week, I made 8 ham/cheese and egg breakfast croissants using marked down cocktail croissants. These will make fast grab and go breakfasts.
    Found green beans in mark down area of grocery store- 24 pounds for less than $10! Turned than into 18 quarts of canned green beans for our shelves, just as I had noticed that we had been using more of them than I had projected!
    Got almost $20 from ebates from Christmas shopping- put it immediately into our savings account! Got 2 free large pizzas from Papa Johns using points and promos.
    Made another baby quilt for a baby shower hubby and I are invited to for his co-worker using flannel scraps! The batting and backing also came from my stash and I machine quilted it myself! Present- finished without having to leave the house or extra money on their present! Plus, past experiences tell me that they will love it and that they won’t get a “duplicate” among their other presents!
    Made 6 more freezer meals using sale chicken ($1.49/lb)! Hemmed hubby’s pants. Gathered free scrap wood to make planter boxes for a container gardening class I’m teaching mid-March. I will make 30 of them.
    Were given $100 credit on our cell phone bill which will pay for 1-1/2 of our monthly bill for the 3 of us!! Loaded 6 free books on to my Kindle. I paid bills online, made 8 dozen cookies, was able to put an extra $225 into our savings account! We were able to use over $500 in our HSA to pay down our last medical bill from hubby’s replacement pacemaker surgery! I know it is taken out of our paycheck but I’m so accustomed to budgeting with our “net” pay, that it seems like “free” money to use for medical bills!
    Only bought groceries that we would use or needed that were also on sale! Looked at Super Bowl grocery sales this past week and didn’t buy much since most of the sale items were soda, junk foods that hubby and I need to avoid.
    Decluttered and reorganized my basement pantry and rotated more things in the freezers to make space for the 17 freezer meals I’ve added in the last 10 days! With that in mind, I was able to download (for free) 6 weekly healthy dinner plans that came with grocery lists! This will help me have more of my meals ready to go that will save us a bunch on those hectic days!

  11. I have a large rug in my day care room. It is 12′ X 10′. I need to wash it too sometimes because no matter how careful we are sometimes toddlers spill. Everything from milk to juice to bubble soap is on that rug. The kids play on it too. It is almost 7 years old. It is the only soft flooring in this room. It covers a hard wood floor. About 2 times I year I take that rug to the local laundry mat to wash in one of their big machines. I costs me $4.00 to wash it. (I do not dry it, I hang it on our fence to dry) Using Tide laundry soap and some vinegar in the rinse it comes out soft and clean. My rug is yellow with ABC’s and numbers in blue. It really makes a difference and so far backing on the rug is good.

    Did my normal frugal things. Cooked at home, read books from library, and free Amazon Kindle books. Hung laundry to dry. Got a hair cut for half price (twice a year Cost Cutters does hair cuts for $7.95) Got Valentine cards and treats from Dollar Tree for grandchildren. Used a coupon at Joann’s for 60% off 1 cut of full price fabric. I am going to make some special Spring pillow cases for our bed. Cost after coupon just $6.00 (that includes matching thread) Used a Hobby Lobby coupon to save 50% on an embroidery book.

    We cut back our Wisteria plant. It is very large and grows on our patio cover. We had to cut it back because it was growing into the electric wires that come to our house. While we were out doing that we took the time to pick up the yard. It was a pretty afternoon, in the high 50’s so we made headway in getting weeds out of the garden and getting our barrel container ready to plant. I like to keep lavender growing in my barrels on the back patio. It always smells good. Planted some Morning Glory seeds in the 2 planters on either side of our back yard garden shed. We plan to get bark mulch from the city later this month. It is free, you just have to load your own truck. We take 4 big trash cans to get it. We can go every week.

    Did not buy much at the grocery store. Had plenty of meat. Got some milk, some bananas, half and half, potatoes, and carrots. Total this week just $31.00….Used points to save 10 cents a gallon on gas. Total cost $1.33 a gallon. Filled my car and husband’s truck for under $40.00. (that is so good compared to this time last year)

    Hope everyone has a blessed week.

  12. This rug does not have rubber on the back. It is an olefin rug and is a miniature of our living room rug. It’s a small version of a formal rug, so I really didn’t know if it could be washed in that way. I avoid rubber backed rugs, since I had one at our last house stain the tile floor.

  13. Hello Everyone!
    We cooked a ham, made ham and bean soup, tacos, various casseroles from leftovers, dehydrated some bananas, a new cornbread recipe that was delicious, made soup for our dog (read about this in Making It, a book on DIY, homesteading, natural living. I highly recommend it, it’s an excellent read) using ham trimmings, various veggie scraps and leftover rice. This will be put on her food at night to add the nutrients she doesn’t get from dry food.

    I found Ghirardelli ( I know it’s spelled wrong lol) chocolate bars on clearance for $1 each!! I bought several to use in place of chocolate chips in several recipes. Aldi had eggs on sale for .99 per dozen, I bought 4 dozen. I also found our dog’s food on sale so I purchased 2 smaller, sale priced, bags rather than the big one.

    Utilized the library a couple times this week.

    My printer won’t work for some reason so I emailed something for my mom to print for me. I can’t figure it out, our laptops are not recognizing the printer. I reinstalled the hardware from the original CD, I reentered our wifi info and triple checked everything is on the same connections. I have looked online for possible solutions to no avail. I will have to call customer service now.

    I found a box of Valentine cards my hubby had bought for our daughter several years ago that I had saved. She will use these for her class party. We had two extra so I mailed one to both grandma’s. Next year if she isn’t home schooled we will make valentine cards ourselves.

    I paid off a debt! Woohoo!

    We had the windshield on our Prius replaced. It had developed a crack all the way across the glass. It is illegal to drive with cracks in your windshield here. My father in law new a mechanic that could do it and he came to our house. This saved us hundreds of dollars! Original quote with a different company was $600, we paid $224. What started as a small chip turned into a huge crack. Our insurance company sent out Safelite Auto, which did more damage then wanted $600 to replace the windshield. After two hours of arguing I gave up with them and our now former insurance company. We also purchased the parts we need to have our second car fixed and that will be done in two weeks by my father in law. We need that car working when I start working this month.

    Have a great week everyone!

    My husband and I saved some money out of our tax money after everything was taken care of and are taking a short vacation 😀 This will be a valentine’s present/anniversary present wrapped in one. We are going to Denver. This was decided before we knew they were in the super bowl (neither one of us watches sports LOL) Hopefully their win won’t give us any motel room issues. My mom is staying at our house to child and dog/cat/fish/plant sit. We are driving our Prius and will be bringing a cooler for food and drinks for travels and snacking. We are super excited!

  14. Dear All,

    Brandy, as always, your list of accomplishments is impressive but yet simple ways to be frugal as well. I am so glad that you are able to function despite your injury to your back. I hope it is continuing to heal. Those kinds of injuries can be difficult to recover from.

    My biggest hurdle from the last month has been a detached retina. I thought I was too young for vision problems and hardly knew what the problem was when it happened. I am in the recovery phase but learning to function with vision loss is difficult at times. I am getting back into the groove.

    My frugal accomplishments:
    Eating mainly from the pantry so almost no grocery shopping
    Did purchase a 9 pound ham for 50 cent/pound-put it in the freezer for Easter
    Finished some old projects I had started–Xmas afghan project from fall
    Electric bill was only $50 for January-never had a bill so low for winter month usage
    Gasoline is extremely low here–$1.29/gallon at one point–so am still using that tank of gas when I filled up

    Family and I are getting along well until I can get back on my feet totally.

    Blessings to all as the Lent Season approaches,


  15. I did the same thing with out bathroom rug. It is about 7 years old and it was pretty sad looking. So I threw it in the wash! It looks great now!

    This week I also was able to make a freeze some meals for those nights when I am just too tired to cook.

    I also was able to save $50 on my regular shopping trip. I’m not sure how it happened but that extra $50 is already in my savings accounts so I can’t spend it!

  16. I pruned many of our fruit trees over the weekend, and stuck the prunings of elderberries and fig into the ground in other spots. I’ve had some luck propagating them this way, so we’ll see how it goes this year. There was a fig branch that had bent down and rooted in the ground, so I transplanted it near another fig at the pond. Daffodils are blooming here, and I cut a few to enjoy indoors. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2016/02/mid-winter-frugal-accomplishments.html

  17. The photo of your pansies is so pretty. Such a lovely combination of colors and plants.
    Here in NC our pansies have been hanging in there through the winter. Now, however, is when we begin to feed them with a watered down liquid fertilizer and as the weather warms we will be rewarded with beautiful and abundant blooms. I have been regularly deadheading them to keep them looking their best too.
    Your story about your kitchen rug brought to mind an experience I had with a sofa pillow. Our dog had an accident on the pillow which was rather new at the time. I had no idea whether it could be washed, but also knew that quick action was in order if the spot was to be removed. I sprayed it with a pre-treatment product and then put it in the washing machine on the gentle cycle/cold water. Once it was done I air dried it and was pleasantly surprised that every last trace of the stain was gone and the pillow kept it’s shape.
    I have a question for you or any of the others who do PineCone surveys. When you are paid through PayPal does PayPal keep a portion of the amount?

  18. Anna,
    I am sorry you are having eye problems, and hope you recover quickly.

    That is such an amazing deal on gas!!!! Here in Oregon, at least in our area, it has only dipped to $1.69 anywhere we have found so far. It makes a person want to drive around in circles so that they can fill up with such a good price–ha, ha!

  19. We completed our taxes online. We will be paying off 2 things fully and about 70% of another!! then that leaves 1 cc, student loans, van, and house left. .. But will free up a good size budget chunk to start snowballing!!

    Going to get creative with meals the next two weeks with $50 to spend on groceries so I have enough $$ to get a 1/4 beef from my uncle.

    Heating and water bill were both up this month, so I will be writing out some ideas .

    Opened my etsy shop and Im nervous and excited!! My goal is to pay down debt and sock away some money for a vacation.

    Hubby staked out my garden!!! eek., so excited. This will officially be my first garden!!! I have approx. 100 sq feet to work with (this year although we have the space to make it bigger is we want in future years), besides some edible front landscape I hope to get done this year too (lavender, and herbs) ..

  20. We take our large area rugs to the car wash after pre treating them with stain remover. The hooks on the side of car wash that are for holding your car mats we just clamp the rugs to that and go for it. After a good wash and rinse, we load them up in plastic bin for drive home, then hang them over patio furniture to dry.

  21. Brandy,

    I use Resolve Stain Stick on everything. Thrift store-bought items come clean with it. Cloth napkins, you name it. Old stains, even trailer hitch grease (we tow a 24-foot), everything except maybe rust comes out with it. It’s like deodorant stick, and we keep one in our suitcases, too. Swipe it on both sides of the garment stain, put it in the hamper or let it set for an hour or so, then launder. I have used it on rugs, too! Really fun it in well, it works!

    Resolve used to be called Spray ‘n Wash Stain Stick, then Resolve in a green container. Now I noticed Resolve Gold is on the shelves in a red container. At WalMart it’s about $2.50 each. I keep one under the kitchen sink, at the washing machine, in my husband’s cabinet so he can apply it to his dress shirts, Docker’s, etc. The company should pay me for all the people I’ve bragged to about this product!

    Glad the rug is machine washable!


  22. Rhonda, what is a PA day? My only known meaning for that is physician assistant.

    I am very happy your daughter’s birthday invitation/party turned out so well for her.

  23. We own a carpet cleaner, which has paid for itself over and over. For the large area rugs, instead of getting the hardwood floors soaking wet from the carpet cleaner, we haul them out onto our back deck (when it is nice weather) and clean them there. We then leave them out in the warm sun to dry. If the weather is nice enough, the carpets are clean and dry within a few hours!

  24. They have really big washers at the laundry mat. These machines hold at least 5 times what I large capacity washer will hold. Really, this rug only fills about half the washer. I am amazed that it holds as much as it does. While there I saw a woman come in with 2 large trash cans, stuffed to the limit. She put both of those into a washer like mine. It took it and washed the whole load.

  25. Actually, you spelled Ghirardelli correctly…not sure why the computer says it’s wrong…mine is telling me that also.

  26. Faith, best wishes on your Etsy shop! I felt that way too when I opened mine. I don’t even know you, but got giddy when you wrote about your garden plot. Mine started that way and now has grown to wherever I can grow food (our property has a lot of shade) – there is a food plant!

  27. Made a trip to Daily Deals – a discound grocers and found:
    -Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage patties ( 2 pkgs of the chicken Delites ones too) .99 each yeah, I know they aren’t good
    for you but it gets my kids to eat breakfast before they head out the door.
    -Uncured/nitrate & nitrite free bacon 12 oz. .99!!!!! (My hubby says did you grab them ALL? No….I feel guilty if I do
    that) This stuff can be upwards of $6 a pkg so I was thrilled to find it!
    -3/$1 8 oz cartons of heavy cream
    -.99 cent boxes of gluten free crackers and cookies
    3/$1 juicy juice bottles (something different than water to put in lunches)
    -$1.19 a box cereals (Family size boxes!!!) They’re “off brands” of honey bunches of oats and golden grahams. Our 18 yrold daughter seems to think cereal is a separate food group!
    -3/$1 instant oatmeal cups (berry medley) (they were 2.59 for a 2 pk at the regular grocers!). Since i don’t have a good supply of
    dehydrated fruit yet, these were cheaper to buy than make and I can take them to work and leave them there for the days I need breakfast.

    Splurged on a single layer Super Bowl cake to eat during the game – and it has a plastic thingy on it hubby can put on
    his desk – Broncos fans here – and he has been a fan of them since he was in elementary school!)

    Made: Asian honey chicken, crockpot goulash (which won’t be repeated), Amish chicken casserole, Cuban pork and rice (there was more but they weren’t anything new)

    Free donut from Krispy Creme

    I am on the email list for Penzies Spices and so while we were out we picked up the jars that were free with their coupons – Shallots, Mural of flavor and Pie Spice

    I found a tomato slicer for 50 cents at the thrift store to cut uniform slices for drying. Could also be used for bananas or other soft fruits too.

    Since we brought all 3 boy kittens in to be neutered at once, they knocked $20 off each surgery so I saved $60 (which promptly
    went into the emergency vet bill savings fund)

    Used a $5 coupon at the pet store to purchase the ear cleaner and some treats for the pups.

    We will be setting up our old fish tank and I found that ALL of our supplies are still in good working order so when the time comes, all we’ll need to buy is a few fish and I’ll see if I can find those thru Craigslist.

    Purchased the seeds I needed from Pine Tree seeds with their 10% off code (only good thru tomorrow and only if you order $50 worth of stuff)

  28. After buying a beautiful but soiled belgian wool hall carpet 8′ at a garage sale, I first took it to the laundromat and washed in in the “soiled” tub (for heavy soiled items) on cold with Zero soap ….better, but not done, took it home and rewashed it twice in my machine with cold water on gentle with Zero soap …. dried it outside flat on the patio. It was soft, clean, gorgeous, like a newly washed sweater. Ann Lee

  29. My frugal accomplishments for last week:

    – project use it up: finished a Red Envelope Chocolate Body Butter that I got for my birthday years ago. I’ve been using it as a hand cream at night and I finally finished it!
    – My son needed antibiotics. Since the amount of liquid needed to be in three bottles if I took two one day and came back for the third the next day it was free. If I took all three at once there was a $12 co-pay. Weird. Needless to say, I took two and then went back for the third.
    – Mailed a package I sold on eBay.
    – Took my daughter to a sushi restaurant when they had a half off sushi special. Brought the leftovers home and had them for lunch
    – Husband was able to bring home two sandwiches for free from Panera after a work event
    – I had one slice of chocolate cheesecake in the freezer from my daughter’s birthday in the fall. Just thawed that and had it because I was really craving something sweet.
    – Had some leftover soup someone gave me in the fall in the freezer and forgot about it. Just found it today and had it for lunch.
    – Received a free shutterfly photo book offer in my kohls bill and I will use it to create a book of memories from the Florida trip that we are taking next week
    – Dropped off some donations to goodwill where they were having a 50% off sale on sweaters and jackets. Found three 100% wool jackets from j crew and gap for $3.50. Two for me and one for my sister. And I got some banana republic 100% wool sweaters for $2 and $3.
    – my hairdresser offered me 50% off a keratin treatment which I’ve been wanting to try but haven’t because it costs too much. For 50% off I’m going to try it!
    – I’ve been trying to pay attention to shopping for Christmas and birthdays all year long, whenever I see a good price on something. I got a bunch of stuff on clearance at target today and have started a list of who I’ve already bought things for, what the gift is and how much it costs. I already have a few people done!
    – My husband had a work event at Ruth’s Chris and was able to bring home half his steak and potatoes and all of his cheesecake so the rest of us could have some too!
    – Was asked to go to lunch with a friend on the way to pick up our sons but I ended up eating leftovers at home instead

  30. Good tip about the fabric potato bag. I think that will go on to my “To Do” list for this week.
    This past week, Lady Luck helped me out with our grocery bill. I won a free jar of mayonnaise in a contest at a local grocery store and I went to the meat draw and the Legion with some girlfriends and won 2 pounds of hamburger for my $0.50 ticket.

    We continue to eat from our freezer. I made zucchini fritters, pumpkin gingerbread, and several smoothies from food harvested in the summer or fall and frozen.

    I’m hoping that I will remain in Lady Luck’s favour as I wrote one exam this week for a temporary government position. I have also sent out a couple more resumes. There is not much available in my small, economically depressed, small town but I try to jump on any opportunity that comes along.

    That’s it for me. Have a great week everyone!


  31. Beautiful cabbage and pansies. I adore the color combo.
    This past week i was able to recover an office “waiting room” chair (padded seat and back with thick wooden open sides) that I found free last year. I used a painters drop cloth and painted black plus signs all over. Sewed the pieces together by tracing pattern pieces from the previous fabric on the chair. I found a citron green textured wool cropped coat for $1.00 at Goodwill – this will be turned into an accent pillow for the chair. I love the way it looks – and other than the coat for the pillow an my time the cost was free! (Painters drop cloth was a gift).
    My nephews are getting older – so for me they are a little harder to make a gift for. I try to get them books, but they are reading everything in their age group they can get their hands on, so hunting for used will be harder too. Anyway – I found a free Dr Who scarf pattern (they love that show) – it is a basic crochet pattern. The yarn needed will easily make 2 scarves. I am excited this will be a frugal Christmas gift.
    I had a thought this past weekend to start a few extra seedlings of vegetables to use for bartering with my friends this spring. I can’t ever get mint to grow – which is weird since it is treated like an evasive weed here – it would be wonderful to trade to get some mint from friends who grow shrubs of it to dry for tea.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  32. I was asked to make two pieces of art to sell at an upcoming fundraiser (I get 70% of the commission). Bought a tub of joint compound to use on the project, but when I pulled the strip to loosen the lid, the strip broke (I’m planning on taking it back even–$5.98). Went to a neighbor who is doing a home renovation project and “borrowed” a cup of joint compound, with was more than enough for the project.

    What we do weekly:
    Each Tuesday, my husband has arranged with a local bagel store to pick up the excess at closing time. He brings them home, we repackage them into 4-6 per bag, then we take them a a neighbor’s house who has freezer space. Each Sunday we pick up the bagels and distribute them at church. My husband pulls a few of his bagels from the stash so he always has a quick breakfast option.

    Each week we also cook at home, brown bag, look through the pantry before grocery shopping, use the library, and reuse ziplock bags.

  33. Good morning everyone! Frugal accomplishments last week-used the rebate from Fred Meyer towards groceries-I spent quite a bit this weekend at Fred Meyer/Winco/Costco but other than milk I should be done grocery shopping for February. I found 2 nice steaks in our freezer yesterday when putting away items-those will be our Valentine dinner next weekend. We made homemade pizza Saturday night even though my teenager really wanted to get take out. I used the rest of the dough to make garlic knots yesterday-she and I had them with the leftover pulled pork. I got brats out of the freezer and my husband had brats and sauerkraut while he watched the game- that is one of his favorite dinners so he was thrilled.
    I cooked pulled pork, chicken and quinoa, pork chop casserole, and homemade pizza this week- we weren’t even tempted to eat out this week which I consider to be a victory. Tonight I will write a meal plan for the rest of the month based on the items I purchased during my large grocery shopping trip this weekend.
    I turned in swagbucks for a $25 Amazon card and so far this month I have made each daily goal- I do it while we watch tv at night. We rented movies at Hastings this weekend and we returned them in time to get the early return credit so we will get a couple of free or nearly free movies next weekend-Hastings is just a mile from our house which is really convenient for us. Friday night my husband and I enjoyed watching “A Walk in the Woods” and I made pork chop casserole- it was a nice stay at home date for us while our daughter was at the basketball game.
    I got a code for a free Redbox today only- the code is CHAMPION in case anyone wants to take advantage of it.
    Our weather forecast is warmer this week so I expect that we won’t need our heat as much-yay! I hope everyone has a great week!

  34. I had a set of wook rugs in my booth that someone walked on and got pretty grungy. I brought them home and vacuumed deeply then used Resolve dry powder on them and then used the Resolve spray and let it dry to help prevent any further damage. It looked almost new once more.

  35. thank you ! 🙂

    our backyard has lots of shade too, we plan to take a couple trees out in the future, as they are close to the house and could cause damage if they fall!

  36. We had the same problem with our wireless printer this past year. An update was needed on the printer driver which we downloaded free from the printer website. It works just fine now.

  37. They are Professional Activity days for the school. Basically the kids don’t go to school so the teachers do educational classes, seminars etc. supposedly for the betterment of our children’s education. It’s part of their teacher’s union contracts. Do they have these in the U.S.?

  38. I had to laugh about your “Lady Luck” comments. Last summer my daughter kept finding 4 leaf clovers in our back yard. I remember as a kid looking for hours in the grass and never finding one, but she found several. I finally asked her where she was finding all of these 4 leaf clovers and she showed me the area they were growing in. We picked a whole bunch together, then I pressed them flat in a phone book (yes they still make those), and ironed them between waxed paper to preserve them.

    For Christmas presents, I placed the 4 leafed clovers inside paper coin holders with a clear round window and sealed it up. My mother-in-law, who really loves Bingo and gambling type activities, began carrying her 4 leaf clover in her pocket and suddenly hit a winning streak…until the clover completely disintegrated! Of course the luck then stopped. Apparently she used up all the luck! Anyways, in a panic she asked if she could have another one, to which I told her she will have to wait until spring when the clover starts growing again. At least I know what I will give her for mother’s day now.;)

  39. We have had to cancel a trip to visit family due to my husband being ill. Luckily we only lost the money for a one night prepaid hotel room and now have a credit with Southwest Airlines who doesn’t charge change fees and can use it for when we can reschedule. Our dog sitter was very gracious about he cancellation and didn’t ask for any payment (she is the dog’s former foster parent). Since my husband is needing a variety of medical tests to figure out what is wrong we are being diligent with making sure all providers are in our network so we can minimize the costs. I packed a snack when I worked the Friends of the Library book sale and didn’t buy any books so no cost there. I had managed to empty the refrigerator of all perishables in anticipation of leaving on our trip so am carefully stocking back up. Other than that, the usual things of doing our own chores, minimizing/avoiding food waste, planning to do our own tax returns, delaying the dog grooming as long as possible, etc.

  40. Last week, I was able to get 2 bottles of free laundry detergent at the grocery store by stacking a store coupon and a printable. I also started comparison shopping Aldi to my regular grocery store and found several items significantly cheaper – bananas for 29c/lb, cream cheese for 89c, and the pecans I wanted were 22 cents cheaper per ounce than the least expensive variety at the other market, and I could buy a smaller volume, which saves even more.

  41. Hi Rhonda and so glad the invite for your daughter came through. It appears the mother is trying to bridge the gap which is a good start. Hopefully this will lead to closer relationships between the girls and some lovely social interactions for your daughter in the future with girls of her own age.

  42. About 10 years ago I had a bathroom rug on which the rubber backing wore away. Joann’s sold a product that I painted onto the back of the rug. After it dried, the rug was like new. The painted-on backing lasted a long time. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the product.

  43. This was one of those busy family weeks. One son graduated from boot camp and we went with his wife and baby to the cremony. Another son in the Army came with his wife also. I am thrilled that we could share the occasion together. The next night we had a birthday celebration for 4 family members and I cooked a large pot of chili.made the cakes and our daughters brought the rest. I had hit the Kohl’s clearances and found really great deals for gifts and even for Christmas. Things like a dollar for brand new shorts, cheaper than Goodwill here.

    One thing I am working on is fermented foods, to add to the DIY category. I have been making kefir for several years as well as yogurt. This fall I started with sauerkraut and this week it was kombucha. I love the thrill of adding new things like this, there is always something new to learn, and healthy food preparation saves a ton of money.

    Have a blessed week.

  44. I am another person who seems unable to raise mint from seed or cuttings! And I am a pretty good gardener otherwise. It drives me crazy, especially because I like chocolate mint and it is hard to find that variety. However, when I can find it, I buy all the plants I will need because otherwise I will not have a harvest at all. Every morning in the summer, before I go to work, I slice off a good amount and put it in my pocket. It sounds nutty, but if I am having a stressful day, it helps to stop for a minute and sniff the leaves. I can feel myself getting calmer…I tell myself the chocolate mint serves a medicinal purpose, so I feel less guilty spending $4 plus for each tiny container.

  45. I still have our carpet cleaner too. I guess I should put it on Freecycle because we no longer have carpet. We had wood floors put in a few years ago. My husband and I do not give birthday or Christmas gifts to each other. We always save the money for a year or so and do something for our home. Example, one year we had new energy efficient windows put in. The next year we had new siding put on the house so it no longer requires painting. (our home is brick but the eves etc. were wood.) We had wood floors put in. We both like to feel like we are adding value to our home.

  46. My frugal accomplishments for last week:

    I filed my taxes online and will put 2/3 of the refund towards my emergency fund and 1/3 to my son to put towards his college expenses.

    I harvested another pineapple from the garden and have 3 more flowering.

    Sold the tools in my father’s garage and put that towards the mortgage payment.

    I ordered a bottle of vegetarian omega-3 and a brain games puzzle book from Amazon and used a credit I have, so no out of pocket.

    SO used his money to get us pizza and snacks from Aldi for the Superbowl. He spent $20 and got enough for the Superbowl plus leftovers for 2 more meals. That was the only money we spent for the week.

    Not frugal for me but a blessing for others – I decluttered my own house and brought some dish sets in for 2 co-workers and took 2 loads in to the Salvation Army of my father’s things.

    I started more Ebay auctions.

    Have a great week everyone.

  47. Your blue vase is beautiful, Brandy.

    Last week’s frugal efforts:

    Harvested lettuce, kale, and spinach from the garden (made a couple of salads)

    Paid bills online (no stamps)

    Made 3 loaves of bread

    Used cards from my “stash” for the February birthdays, etc. (Frugal fail: bought Valentine’s cards)

    Made homemade refried beans

    Collected eggs from our hens (Yay! They’re producing again after their winter molt/rest period.)

    Opened windows and doors on warm days.

    Colored my own hair.

  48. Marivine,

    What do you do with dehydrated lemons? Our tree always produces abundantly, and we can never use all of the lemons.

  49. We started a “Low Spend Challenge” for February. We spent $50 at the grocery store and that shoukd be enough food to take us to the middle of the month. I set a goal of $35/week for groceries so that should work out.

    I bought 8 dozen eggs at $0.99/dozen. I got avacados for $0.49 each, 5 lbs of potatoes for $1.19 and red grapes for $0.99 lb at Aldi’s.

    We cooked all meals at home. We are coordinators of Financial Peach University at church. The close starts one hour after Sunday worship ends. We have been bringing our lunch to church to eat before the class so we don’t have to go out to eat.

    We cancelled our cable for a savings of $80/ month or $960/yr. We purchases an Amazon Fire Stick and were able to watch the Super Bowl.

    We changed our home phone to Vonage for $9.99/month for a $10/month ($120/yr) savings.

  50. I can certainly understand the avoidance, for sure. I’ve had the rubber backing stain the floor before, too, so I can totally understand where you are coming from there. Luckily in my new house we have a water softener and that seems to take care of staining problems, which is nice.

    Glad that washed well. I would have been terrified to wash it too, once you described what it was. I wonder if it would be safe to soak it in some Woolite? That stuff takes out stains amazingly well in some pretty delicate items, including a lot of vintage quilts, handkerchiefs and the like. It might be worth a shot at taking out the remaining ground in dirt stains.

    Good luck :).

  51. Hi Jean from Australia :), and like yourself we love to try out new & recipes when creating healthy food too and you are right it does save a ton of money over the long term. Pre packaged foods cost an absolute fortune now.

    We have recently started harvesting and traditionally drying all of the herbs & seeds from our gardens which is saving us a ton of money on seeds and buying herbs too. We also sell our excess seeds & dried herbs on Ebay and are making some extra income that way as well. Also we have started and recently learned how to blanch and freeze all of our vegetables we have excess of in the garden to prepare us for the winter months here. Our temperatures here get to 0 oC to around on a cold winter -7 oC. So it can get rather chilly and we do get the occasional frosts which tend to play havoc with our vegetable gardens too.

    It keeps the brain active to always be doing new things, and keeps our adventurous spirit alive as well.

  52. Brandy – if you do need to replace your rug have you thought of making one? I have seen t-shirt rugs that are really cute and with your artistic and sewing ability I am sure you could make one. You cut scrap material or t-shirts into strips and then braid. Then you wind the braids and sew them into a rug. I have seen lots of tutorials on pinterest and people selling them on etsy. The big perk I think is that you know they will wash well!

  53. I’ve been making kombucha for almost 3 years and love it. I got my sister started on it now. I can’t claim this is what did it, but I have Crohn’s and haven’t had a real flare up since I started kombucha.

  54. I have a Persian wool 3 x 5 rug in my hall that I carry outside to our yard on dry, sunny days (which aren’t that common here in Florida, where it is usually humid) and wash it with cold water from the garden hose and white Zote soap or Fels Naptha, which I rub over the rug, suds up with my hands, then rinse. I drape it over our porch chair seats or whatever I can use to spread it flat while keeping it off the ground. I rinse it well and let it dry in the sun. It’s so soft and pretty when its dry again. I took it to a cleaner, once, and was not impressed, so now I always wash it myself.
    I never think of this, because it’s not recent, but one frugal thing we did that involved both good fortune and hard work, but saved us a ton of money, was my husband took seconds from a cement paving stone company next door to his place of employment (with their permission and for free), loaded them on his little trailer and brought them home. We unloaded and stacked load after load of the brick-sized pavers over several weeks, and got enough to pave our long, wrap-around cement porch floor ourselves. It meant a lot of work on our knees, and it’s one of a kind because the paver colors don’t match — they are brick red, brown, tan and gray, but we’ve had a lot of complements on the scattered color pattern and a brick-layer complemented us on our work. Always ask for what’s available, and don’t forget to consider businesses who have things to throw out. My late mother-in-law asked anyone and everyone for a cutting from plants she liked, and she was never refused.
    My main frugality practices are cooking at home, using up leftovers, making my own cleaners and laundry soap, batching errands, staying out of stores, hanging my laundry, and repairing instead of replacing as much as I can.

  55. I share with my daughters, & we use them in an herbal lemon tea , which is like a hot lemonade, without nearly as much sugar. I use the dried zest in cupcakes & quick breads, & have been known to add some dehydrated lemon to those as well. There are several recipes available online that use the entire orange, or the entire lemon, spun down in a blender, in cupcake & muffin recipes. The dehydrated fruit can be put thru the blender also, & added to a dry gluten free cake mix, or added to GF muffins. The reason I dehydrate rather than freeze is to reduce dependence on electricity. Even if the power goes out, I can use my fondue pot to heat some boiling water, & have a variety of herbal tea ingredients on hand to blend as we choose.

  56. Marivene, thanks for the explanation (last week) about the stone retaining wall. I can now picture what it looks like.

  57. Last week our dishwasher finally went to appliance heaven…last month the water heater went there as well. From discussions with repair people and reading consumer reports, apparently they really don’t make things like they used to….we got 13 years out of our water heater, but it was leaking at every seam. And my husband finally declared there was nothing more he could do.

    Other usual frugal items were eating at home, baking bread, limiting grocery shopping. Made our own bean dip for the Super Bowl (versus frito lays which we have always bought) and it turned out great. Who knew it was possible?
    Also used a Frys coupon combined with a sale on pork ribs and got the price down to $0.34 per pound! I felt like I won the lottery. ;). Now that we are almost retired, we have devoted ourselves to living on less. So cooking healthy meals and learning about pantries and sensible shopping has really made a difference. We did a lot of the items on Brandy’s list like cutting cable. For anyone looking towards retirement, the key is to reduce monthly living expense…it gives you the flexibility to retire earlier. Then again, many of the people here already have made living on less an art form ;). Thank you all for what you have taught me by sharing your knowledge.

  58. This is so good to know. I always hate to have so much waste, but there’s only so much three people can consume–even if one of those three is an 11-year-old boy. 🙂

    I’ll have to search the internet for the recipes.

    Thanks for sharing!

  59. I found a grey skirt with lovely black ‘trim’ along the hem for $2.00! I’m trying to refurbish my professoinal wardrobe as it now looks like I will move to a regular postioin (not PRN/as needed) for 32 hours a week. That means I will have benefits including much less costly health insurance.

    Found half hams at King Soopers for .69 a pound. Bought two to put in freezer. We’ll have ham for Easter and the other two will last us until the end of the year. SO isn’t a big fan of ham so we only have it about every two weeks – once it is cooked I freezer most to bring out for adding to potato dishes, quiche, etc. Cooked most meals from home – including all our Super Bowl snacks. I love my work cafeteria’s tortellini soup. I found a small bag of dried tortolenni at the Dollar Tree and put together a batch using everything else I had on hand. It turned out great! I can make it and freezer it. Whlie the cafeteria is subsidized so soup is only around $1.20 for a small bowl it still adds up. My one major food failure is that I made a quiche for me and a coupld of breakfast sandwiches with Southwestern Egg Beaters that I found 1/2 off. Yuck – really inedible. I was trying to be frugal given the prices of eggs but now remember why I stopped buying Egg Beaters.

    Made several batches of citrus cleaner (orange, lime and lemon) with citrus that was starting to get soft. Juiced several and used others in cooking. I had found lemons at a good price (3 pounds for $2.00) and bought too much. I am going to try the dehydration method next. A friend gifted us her dehydrator when she moved and I am anxious to see how much it can do. It isn’t a big professoinal one but will work for us to start.

    My department at work is moving to new offices and I really want to make mine nice. I got all excited about buying curtains for the two lovely windows and searching for things that would work and then decided to ‘shop at home’. We could elect one color for an ‘accent wall’ so I chose a warm golden color (the others are pretty strark white) and I know I have fabric that will work for at least some sort of valance (there are mini blinds on the windws). I also have a lot of things that I can take in to decorate. I work in a hospital and in our area we try to have a warmer inviting atmosphere (we aren’t in the clinical treatment areas). While thrifting I had found a wall hanging that is a scroll in Japanese of the 23rd Psalm it was $3.00 and I had it in my office/library. I am going to bring that in to hang along with a few pictures. We’ll even have a nice break area that will help me avoid the cafeteria and impulse buying. It is too easy to just flash my badge and not payout money – but then I see how much I spend in my pay stub and I am reminded to curb my spending!

    We’ve been talking a lot about gardening. With my new schedule and limitations on the amount of help we could get (our little tractor needs a major overhaul and we didn’t want to use it for the garden when we need it for the farm) we’d pretty much decided to not do a garden. Then I started reading about straw bale gardening. Since both of us have knee/hip issues we were pleased with the idea of limited weeding, kneeling and bending. There is the perfect place near our house – we can use well water and we have access to straw bales from a neighbor who has offerred to basically give them to us if we pick them up. So now we are planning a garden for us that is bigger (yeah – tomatoes) and even planting enough to sell at the local farmer’s markets in the summer. We are planning on herbs and ususal varieties of veggies (Armenian cucumbers!) and we’ll be able to grow them with limited to no chemicals. Another revenue stream!

    Major issue was that we had a big problem with our septic system. We have a neighbor who does septic system clean out and he came over the snowy weekend that we had and got us to the point we could at least continue to use it. He didn’t charge us the usual price and since he is close we didn’t have to pay the premium for someone to come from town (14 miles away but everyone acts like it is in another continent…). That caused a discussion on not wasting water (our water is cheap so we don’t think about the usage much), not using so much bleach in laundry (SO LOVES bleach for laundry given our dogs and cats beds and blankets we wash often).

    That is about it. We are in the time of year where we will have 50 degrees for several days and then a major snowstorm. I get spring fever and then am back in the bleak of winter.

  60. Ooops – meant unusual varities of vegetables. Our local farm stands have all the ‘traditonal’ produce as they ship to stores as well as have stands. I think unusual varieties might be good sellers for those folks who like to experiement with food and don’t have gardens and/or cant’/don’t buy at Whole Foods.

  61. Mariana, one must need to be very frugal to live in New York City ( I thought that is where you said you are) . I agree with the cooking as being a big cost savings.

  62. We make a lot of mint iced tea, or meadow tea as it is called. You can make the concentrate and freeze it, then dilute as needed. I like it half and half with lemonade. Mint grows aggressively though so plant it where you don’t care about the spread.

  63. please let us know if you find it – I have 2 rugs that the backing is coming off and I’d hate to throw them out if there is an inexpensive fix!

  64. Congratulations on getting a regular position instead of PRN. It sounds lovely the plans you have for your office!

  65. You may know this, but mint needs a lot of water. My mom grew it in a pot that was placed under the hose bib. It was the only place in her garden where it grew.

  66. Getting back to normal here after a two week vacation in Florida. We kept that quite frugal—gas was certanly cheap ($1.49 was the cheapest we paid but saw $1.45/gal when we didn’t need any.) We stay at 3-star hotels which discount prices with their company card or AARP or AAA–we have all the cards! Breakfast was included everywhere we stayed. Lunch was out and at least half the time we only had lunch and then snacks in the room later. Our total “shopping” was $40 for Christmas next year (handmade in W. Va.store) and $27 for items we wanted for ourselves. We didn’t do any fancy restaurants at all (because parking is such a problem where we were) but did eat at a couple “voted best by consumers” places for lunch. Our in-room snacks included whole wheat crackers, peach fruit cups, chocolates gifted to us, and bought at the Farmer’s Market fresh strawberries, and fudge bought with coupons off at the chocolate factory we toured. Husband bought three single beers in the supermarket to try local craft beers in the room. Eating out is part of the vacation experience for me, so we did not bring any MEALS from home, just snacks.

    Since coming home I have caught up on laundry, washed two of my travel tote bags (one decades old from LLBean) and one about the same age from Sears which I got for $6 because it was bright orange and reduced at the end of the season! The orange one always holds magazines, water bottles, and things we might need in the car along with maps. The LLBean one contains our snack foods and prescription meds so we can find things when we need them. I also made a loaf of bread in the ABM today and also made a Vanilla/Almond “pound” cake from The Cake Mix Doctor Cookbook in case DD and DGD drop in today. DGD is visiting and leaving tonight so she better show up! Haven’t seen her since Christmas. Most of the stuff we took with us is put away—a few things need returning to the “out of season” closet when I put them back on hangers. I shopped for produce but the list is growing of other things needed from the supermarket, so my plan of waiting about 9 days to go is probably not going to work–that would be my next “regular” shopping day. Getting back to normal means not spending as much, and I hope to see that work out for this month also. Expecting more snow so I don’t expect to leave the house today at all–that’s a start.

  67. Interesting.

    We are a LOT hotter than Pasadena, where they are. They have beautiful weather there 🙂 I have drip irrigation for my garden, and it works really well. My current front yard garden grows so much more than before when I just had one tree, some bushes, and a patch of grass (what the builder put in) and I use a LOT less water that I did with what we there before, so I’m pretty happy with drip. All of my garden areas are watered with drip irrigation, and I water early in the mornings to keep evaporation to a minimum.

  68. Here it is the end of the week again. We are in the deep freeze for the week so it is nice to hear and see others signs of spring.

    We did all the usual. Washed and reused ziplocs, cooked from scratch, hung laundry on hangers in the laundry room and i the sunroom on drying racks. Checked on our new renters progress…they finished the floors and painting and moved all the furniture in. They are local town people so they had family to help…we have met both sets of parents and they are very pleasant. The wedding is tomorrow and they move in Monday night. It will be nice to have it rented steadily. Used up all leftovers, packed lunches.

    Placed an order for fruit trees with my Aunt Margarete through her county extension…25 strawberry roots, a Macintosh, a Honey Crisp and a Spy…these 3 apples we have never grown before but good for our area. We also will get an improved Red Jonathan to replace our oldest tree…it’s still producing but it was planted in 1945, according to records. The trees are all bare root. That is extent of my gardening so far.

    Ate mostly at home, except this last Sunday night we all met at my son’s house for dinner and a party. I’ve mentioned my daughter in law is Hawaiian born of Chinese parents, so they had a Chinese New Year Eve dinner. It is important for family to be together at that time and though we are all Christian, cultural traditions are important too. It was a potluck, I brought taco dip for pre-dinner snack time. We were told to wear some red. They had delicious food, and I am glad they had the spam musubi, I always like that. Only way I will eat spam.

    Made rye bread, 2 loaves white bread, blueberry muffins, banana cake for the 2nd time in 2 weeks, kale soup, cole slaw, baked sweet potato chips, baked and pan-fried fish, rice krispy treats, spaghetti sauce, took out previously made meatballs from freezer, cooked garbanzo beans and made hummus, applesauce struesel coffee cake, the taco dip, rouladen, red cabbage and apples.

    Pork shoulder were on sale here 99 cents/lb, bone in, 7-8 lb average. We bought 14 of them for Susie’s wedding and that is just the tip of the meat needed. They just happened to go on sale so the other 2 sisters said buy as many as you can. Bernie had a pretty big chest freezer as he hunts, so we have been piling them in there and Carrie and Emmie have been buying them also. It is a limit of one per visit, so we had to keep stopping in. Normal price was 2.79 / lb. There were a lot…they just kept restocking. But they are making pulled pork buns, not BBQ, but just in seasoned broth. They are good. I have had them at other of husband’s family get-togethers.

    I found this on another blog, Just Plain Marie, from Canada. She gave many ideas of why the Plain People are so good at being frugal and I hope I can share some of it, that I know applies to myself and my own family. 1, eats at home 2. sews
    3. buy local 4. barter and borrow 5. make side jobs of your hobbies 6. simplicity in clothing, no jewelry makeup etc….just to list some of them.

    Started a new book from the public library called Lights Out by Ted Koppel. Read an old Nancy Drew and an Agatha Christie from my bookshelf. Made up and mailed out 26 valentine cards/letters and another bunch that I just need to put in church mailboxes. Found some nice heart decorated mugs at the $$ store and bought one for each of my library volunteers and put a baggie in each of homemade hot cocoa mix and another of chowmein cookies with red and pink MMs added.

  69. JD, I have a DIL with Crohn’s and I wonder if it would help her as well? It is full of probiotics and B vitamens so that could help her low energy levels as well. Thanks for the tip.

    Lorna, do you do any juice kombuchas or just the tea version. It is delicious, and I want to try other fermented drinks like shrubs too.


  70. Just read the Lights Out book by Ted Koppel. Really enjoyed it (if that is the right word for it) the book, it opened my eyes. I especially liked that he analyzed the risk of the electric grid going down by interviewing experts (It is a non-fiction book based on expert opinion whose sources were shown). I then read One Second After (a fiction book about a similar topic) that was also worth reading, although much more depressing…

    On a frugal note, I read both of those books from our local library as a downloadable kindle book. What a wonderful thing it is to be able to read books on Kindle for free from our library! It took me 10 minutes to get all sorted out at the library, very easy.

  71. Gardenpat, can you share the website that you were able to download the dinner plans with grocery lists? thanks!

  72. When I washed the bathroom rug in hot water (to sanitize) the backing melted. Ha. If you do wash it just make sure to wash in warm water (instead of hot). I had to throw the rug away :/

  73. I have seen on this blog how some of you use swagbucks to buy things. I just signed up, can anyone tell me how I can get rewards to do that? It looks like it takes a long time to built up bucks.

  74. I read some tutorials on making rugs on Pinterest, but they were all painted ones and weren’t quite what I was looking for. None were braided rugs, though I do know how to make those. However, since my rug washed well (I washed in on cold, just in case) I will just be keeping it and washing it.

  75. Terri,

    I’ve never had a problem with potted pansies before unless for some reason they weren’t getting watered by the drip. Did yours dry out? Or did it get too hot? Pansies are a cool season flower here, lasting from October through April/May. In cooler climates they can go spring through fall.

  76. What a bummer!

    Because of my previous experience with a bathroom rug with backing permanently staining our bathroom tile at our former house, I don’t have bathroom rugs with backing. Mine look the same on both sides, and then I can wash those on hot without a problem.

    My kitchen rug is very different; it is a smaller version of our formal living room rug, and very stiff. I washed it on cold both times.

  77. Cool! I just saw it and thought “hrmmm…. that sounds particularly frugal once you get past the initial cost”.. We go in waves of flooding or droughts here in Georgia, and I am finally setting up a back yard garden (you’ve been a HUGE inspiration to me! in so many ways) and saw those. I’m not sure they’d work for me, for the pure reason that they’re not recommended to use with woody plants… and we’ve got a ton of trees. So much so that my backyard garden is to be a shade garden. I figure some herbs and lettuces is still better than nothing 🙂
    Happy gardening!

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