Lettuce The Prudent Homemaker

I cut daffodils from the garden.

I made a new arrangement for my entry table,using branches from a flowering plum, apple branches, flowering broccoli, stock, and , and using a flower frog to hold everything in place. The apple branches were some from an esapaliered tree that I hadn’t finished pruning, and the plum branches were from the top of the tree; I topped it to force it to branch out and fil in more. I plan on topping the other flowering plum as well, so I’ll use those branches in an arrangement next week.

I froze lemon juice from our lemons. I made more lemonade as well.

I used our solar oven to cook chicken one day, and black beans another day.

I made a batch of laundry soap.

My husband ran to the store, and while he was there, he picked up two of my Friday Freebies. Our local Kroger affiliate, Smith’s, has a free item that you can download to your card each Friday, and then pick up within 2 weeks. One was for a Lindt chocolate egg (.99 ounce) and the other was for a free Marie Calendar’s 10 ounce pie (a pot pie or fruit pie). He found the pot pie, and had an employee help him lok for the egg. She couldn’t find the egg, and so offered to substitute a free 3.5 ounce Lindt chocolate rabbit! This is my favorite chocolate, and I was amazed and delighted!

I planted seeds in the garden for flowers and vegetables. My dahlia bulbs came, and I planted them too. I hope to have many more bouquets in the house this year from garden flowers.

I thinned my lettuce seedlings and transplanted the thinned seedlings to other spots in the garden.

I cut Swiss chard, lettuce, and beet greens from the garden.

Rather than hire a pest control company (which is pretty normal here; most people have someone spray every month or every other month for bugs), I sprayed a bit around the base of the house with spray that I had bought last year. I didn’t have to use much and I don’t have a monthly bill to worry about. The spray lasts for several months. 

I turned four pairs of the girls’ jeans with torn holes at the knees into shorts.

I mended 6 other items of clothing.

I cut the buttons off of two items of clothing not worth mending and added them to my button jar.

I wanted some new clocks for the childrens’ rooms, as their old ones were no longer working. I found some inexpensive deals at Target on clearance for 30% off. Two clocks were the same, at $6.28 each, and another was just over $13.

I spent a lot of time organizing. As I worked, I set aside items to donate/have a garage sale. I wasn’t sure I would have enough to justify a sale, but the larger my pile grew, the more motivated I became to make it a big enough pile to have a sale. I scrutinized items honestly: had I used it in the past couple of years? If not, then I needed to put it in the pile. The pile is now almost large enough to justify a sale, and this is garage sale season here. I will continue to organize during the coming week and make some decisions about getting rid of other items. I don’t want to have a big pile sitting around for a long time (our house has neither a basement nor an attic, so these items are in a pile right next to the front door), so my goal is to get through some more items over the next few days and put together enough to have a sale next week. I also want to photograph and list a few items ahead of time on a local Facebook garage sale page. If I sell enough on Facebook garage sale pages, however, I won’t bother with a regular garage sale.


What did you do to save money last week?



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  1. I wasn’t as frugal as I usually am but every few weeks I just get ‘more relaxed’ and spend more than I plan. Or make impulse purchases. I am always feeling a bit guilty afterwards but I justify it in the way that I am at least still using whatever I buy.
    My last week’s update is more about ‘frugal fails’ rather than ‘frugal accomplishments’ Ha


    Regardless, I still succeeded in cooking all meals at home which is great in my book.

  2. Re-set the 3-tier Lodgestone wall that forms the top tier of the garden. This wall was re-pitched to a different angle when the person who installed our new back fence chose to remove some of the top layer stones in the wall & used them to make a “ramp” so he could drive the machine he used to dig the holes onto the top tier of my garden. (without asking, of course. Grrr!) The weight of his machine angled the base stones from level to a forward pitch, sufficient to keep the stones from stacking on one another. Thankfully, none of the Lodgestones broke. I was not pleased, but it was already done when I saw it, so I have had to dig down to re-set the base layer (which is buried) back to level, then re-set the other two levels of the wall on top of the base level. Since I can no longer kneel to do things like this (since my knee replacements), I worked in a sort of half-squat position, leaning over. I could only work on this when there was enough time between storms for the soil to dry out a bit.

    Had a bit of an upset stomach early on in the week, & drank some rhubarb/elderberry tea, made from dehydrated rhubarb slices & dried elderberries, steeped in boiling water. Both dehydrated fruits were from our garden. It helped considerably.

    Bought another thermometer while it was on sale, since ours died a few weeks ago. I happened to buy it on the week when we could redeem our “points” at the store, so it was no cost out of pocket for us.

    Cut a few more daffodils for us to enjoy & sent enough to fill a bud vase or two home with our youngest daughter when she visited. The daffodils in the beds closest to the house are blooming now.

    Began to curve, then extend the top tier wall of the garden to become the new edge of the back perimeter beds, working as the weather allows. (The machine that dug the holes for the fence also destroyed most of the redwood timber edging that defined the back perimeter bed) For the time being, I am laying the base stones, then placing two rows on top, but since I do not have quite enough stones to extend the perimeter wall past the spot where I want to plant the new Crimson rocket peach tree, I will eventually drop down to a 2-tier wall, & add the 3rd tier stones as my pine cone checks come in, a few stones at a time. I will have to have a couple feet of 3-stone wall in front of the peach tree, so it ends up being planted at the proper depth, but the rest of the perimeter wall can function for a time at 2 stones deep. Having a shallower bed there also buys me more time to acquire good dirt to fill the extension of the bed.

    Cashed another pine cone check.

    Dug out weeds from a section of the back perimeter bed & moved 3 yellow iris corms to another spot. Planted chive seeds in a portion of the area I weeded. Set up the pea trellis & planted the peas, then transplanted 4 lettuce seedlings that were not where they belonged. Put them under glass cloches to help them grow faster.

    Planted an onion that had a 3-4” sprout of green growth, from the bowl on the counter, in part of the empty strawberry bed after I finished weeding a section. It will provide my onion seed for next year. Spent a few outdoor sessions weeding the strawberry bed this week; it is almost done.

    Used my bathwater on the flowering bulbs when the forecast rain did not make it this far south.

    Pruned the grapevine & used the cuttings to thicken a wreath I had started last year when I pruned. When I pruned the Red Reliance vine last year, I made 4 wreaths, but 2 of them were rather skinny. I see them as something I could use for gifts, or sell for a dollar or two at a yard sale, turning waste into something productive.

  3. The lettuce looks incredible, and so vibrantly healthy! I got the OK recently to pass on any items that didn’t sell on ebay, of some friends that bought an antiques shop filled with stuff. Today I took 2 full boxes to our local arts guild, for their rummage sale which happens next weekend. This was mostly old glassware, which will be perfect for that sale. That gives me more room to deal with their other boxes as there are still quite a few. I listed 4 of these items on ebay today. Both your husband and the store worker did good to nab you the Lindt chocolate rabbit. A lovely Easter treat for you! I need to get back to my seed starting, after 2 failed tries. The first lettuce seedlings got moldy, & an experiment to pre-sprout many different seeds dried out too quickly. Every gardening year is an adventure! Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-awakening-of-spring-and-frugal.html

  4. Wow, you got so much done! I really need to work on starting my seeds this week. Turning the shorts into jeans is also something I need to do w/3 boys who wear through their jeans like nobody’s business.

    This past week I did more of the usual, making homemade yogurt, and simply trying to stay under budget for our groceries. I made a sunsuit for my daughter last night out of some lavendar seersucker fabric my mom had given me. The pattern was free from Purl Soho, and it turned out really cute. Since I invested so much time in printing and cutting out the first pattern, I will probably try to make a few more with this pattern as well.

    I am also close to finishing up my first patchwork quilt. I purchased some blue ticking fabric for the backing at Joann’s with a 60% off coupon. Since most of the patchwork fabric was from my stash, the only thing I’ve paid for so far is for the batting and backing.

    I also took the kids to the zoo a lot since our membership is about to expire and the weather is just beautiful right now.

  5. We went camping, using our special access pass because we are foster/adoptive parents. I planned meals ahead of time, and pre-cooked or pre-marinated some food. We did a lot of fire cooking. We took hikes and walks, even when it turned rainy.

    We checked out a lot of library movies and watched a few. We got some free Kindle books downloaded before we went. I finished a knitted dishcloth and started a crocheted one from a large spool of cotton yarn I bought years ago.

    We finished cleaning the house one last time, it officially went on the market, and now I just need to keep it pristine until it sells. Being gone has helped with that, but now that we’re home, it’s quite a bit more challenging. Thankfully, I don’t work this week, due to spring break, Ja’Ana is gone on her mission trip, Lovana is working a lot, and that just leaves 3 of us to mess it up most days and I will have time to clean each morning just in case someone wants to go through. I guess they had 24 couples at the open house and at least 3 more have gone through since then, which is a good start, in my opinion. I have some gift cards I’ve been hoarding for those times when we have to leave so people can go through and we might need to eat out. I have also left some food in the camper. We can hide out in there if need be on occasion.

    I planned meals for the week ahead. I want to work hard on reducing my stockpile so it’s smaller when we move.

    Our pigs were butchered and the meat is ready. We will go get it tomorrow. A kind friend paid for our cut and wrap fee.

    Our Rav4 is fixed. The engine has been re-built. It was warranty work and they even provided us with a rental car. Also, we paid to have a couple of small things fixed, since the car had over 100,000 miles on it and it was much cheaper when they already had the car torn apart.

  6. It amazes me how much you get done in a week with everything you have going on. Good work!

    We continued to battle illness last week (a bug that wasn’t the flu but wished it was, unfortunately), so we just stayed home and recovered last week. I still managed to finish embroidering some napkins to match my Spring themed tablecloth I made (pics are on the blog post I’m linking to here in a second) and get a few other things done.

    My list for the week can be found here…


  7. Sounds like you’ve had a really busy week, Brandy!

    This week my daughter was off school for March break and I was tied up almost every day doing something. Despite my busy schedule, here is what I was able to accomplish on my frugal front:

    *Meals at home this week included ham and cheese crescent rolls with corn on the cob (frozen from last summer), homemade pizza (dough made in bread maker), homemade turkey pot pies (from the freezer), breaded stuffed chicken breast with mixed veggies, spaghetti with choice of sauce and scrambles eggs with toasted English muffin and home canned pears.

    *Found more amazing grocery stock up items this week. From the clearance section I bought a box of granola bars for $1/5 bars (corner of box was crushed but bars were fine) and a big bag of teddy gram cookies marked 50% off paying $1.10 for the bag, which I bought as “treats” for our zoo trip. They also had bagels with very short expiration date for $0.25/bag of 4 (bought 6 bags and put directly into freezer), vanilla ice cream cakes marked 50% off paying $2.50 each (bought 2 for freezer), a container of chocolate brownie ice cream marked 50% off paying $3 (bought one), 3 dozen eggs on sale for $1.98/dozen and 5 packages of chocolate crème filled chocolate eggs for $2/box of 4 (for my daughter’s Easter basket and tucked some away for later).

    *We took our daughter to the Toronto Zoo this week as they currently have a bunch of new additions born this year (a polar bear cub, twin panda cubs, a baby rhino and 5 white lion cubs) that just went on display to visitors this week. We went prepared by taking a lunch and all snacks with us (bought a few “special” treats from the clearance section at the grocery store that I don’t normally buy). I have a museum reciprocating card from working at a museum that allowed me to get in for free. My daughter, being on the Autism spectrum, has a card which allows one support person to get in for free as well. So in total, we only paid for one child admission, one senior admission (which my mother paid for) and parking (plus gas of course). It was overcast and we had some rain, but it helped keep the crowd level down. We still waited 2 hours to see the panda cubs for only 4 minutes (staff were timing it to make it fair for everyone). Regardless, I’m glad we went while they were still small (or as small as we will ever see them).

    *My daughter managed to download a really nasty virus on her new laptop, my mother-in-law somehow locked herself out of her laptop (password wouldn’t work), my mother had a problem with her mouse not working again and we need some help with our android box…so we called our wonderful IT friend who does house calls for friends as a side business. Our MIL’s laptop had to be completely rebooted like it was a factory new computer to get back into it and he ended up taking my daughter’s laptop with him. When he returned it he told us it was one of the worst viruses he had ever seen in his 2o+ years in the industry (it took hours to get rid of it). In total, all the fixes cost us $60! We ended up splitting the cost equally between my mother, MIL and us. It really pays to know an IT guy!!!

    *Finally went to the TSC store and bought more seeds. I now have a big package of carrot seeds, green pepper seeds (which I have just planted to start indoors), heirloom romaine lettuce seeds and heirloom oregano seeds. Hoping they all grow well!

    Looking forward to reading everyone comments! Have a wonderful week!:D

  8. Hello Brandy & all from Australia :).

    I was indeed thinking of doing the same as yourself Brandy and sorting through both my & my husband’s clothing to see what we want to keep and what we shall sell either on Ebay or in a garage sale here too. I recently went up a size in women’s clothing so had to purchase some new clothes, I have put on 3kg in weight and have bulked up muscle wise from working in the garden it appears. Being 5’7 3/4″ high and 127lb I am probably still on the light side for my height anyway so I am not panicking just yet :).

    Here is my husband & my frugal accomplishments for the week –

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked a large batch of magic mix chocolate pudding using ingredients from the pantry & fridge to last a week.
    – Cooked all meals from scratch using freezer meat & veges, & fresh vegetables from the garden.
    – Made all bread from scratch using our bread machine.

    Groceries, household & clothing needs –
    – Combined errands picking up purchased clothing & stocked up on Ibuprofen, peroxide & iron tablets from the chemist.
    – Stocked up all clothing for summer on clearance sales for the next couple of years for both of us saving $ 96.70. We hadn’t purchased any new summer clothing for mostly 5 years with very few things purchased 2 years ago, so all of our clothing was getting rather stretched, faded, thin & holey but not in a good way .
    – Managed to get new $5 cargo shorts with a webbed belt, new tshirts, $7 jeans & polo shirts for my husband, $4.90 new jeans for myself, new tshirts $2.10, $3, $3.50 & 1 for $5 with a lovely Paris print.
    – Being frugal prior to this I found another good will store in town, and went with my husband to see what we could find unfortunately even their t-shirts were $3 ea and were quite faded and worn, so in my view better to buy new on sale.
    – For household goods such as large stock pots and things we are looking for we thought we will keep an eye out for garage sales in the area and see what we can find cheaper that way.

    General household frugalness we have been doing for a while-
    – Using 50% watered down shower gel for showering, saving buying shower gel so often. It is so thick it still works just as well diluted.
    – Turning shampoo, conditioner & dishwashing liquid bottles upside down with lids on when they get low, to get all of the product out of them & save costs.
    – Turning off appliances when not in use.
    – Reusing bath water for 2 of us saving using around 50 lts of water a day, we just bathe in used water and rinse off with fresh water from the tap if we are the second bather.

    Autumn cleaning –
    – Restacked & organised into neater piles cut & split timber for our fire on front veranda, to make more room for timber we will cutting next week as it is now getting cooler to be able to cut more timber.
    – unscrewed, removed & washed front veranda fly screens & washed in saved bath water to remove dust & save water.
    – Cleaned front veranda windows inside & out with 50% water 50% methylated spirits mix using rags & put screwed flyscreens back in.
    – Swept & damp dusted all the front veranda belt veranda & window sills to remove dust & timber shards.

    In the garden –
    – Fertilised all garden vegetables for another fortnight using tank water.
    – Planted a row of turnips.
    – Replanted numerous sprouted tomato plants from previous tomato crop near basil & onion plants in the front yard.
    – Finished weeding all front vegetable & herb beds & cut back all sweet potato vines growing onto lawn front footpath & across the front gate area to tidy up.
    – Put previously picked pumpkins seasoning on the shed roof under the house to further season so we can use them over the winter months.
    – Picked strawberries, sweet corn, turnips, carrots, spinach, silverbeet, spring onions & beetroot for all teas and juices.
    – Missed 1 1/2 scheduled garden waterings due to rain saving 810 lts of town water use.

    Seed & craft sewing hobby businesses –
    – Sorted, counted the rest of the dried climbing & dwarf bean seeds saved from previous crops & placed into jars for seed for the garden here for next year and excess will be sold on Ebay.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week one and all :).

  9. I just wanted to thank everyone who has mentioned looking into the electronic resources that your local library offers. I found that as a resident of the state of Massachusetts, I qualify for the Boston Public Library e-card. I have never been impressed with my town library’s online catalogue of resources, but I through the Boston Public Library I have opened a treasure trove of about everything I could ever want. I have accessed Freegal (and can’t BELIEVE I get 5 free songs to download and keep every week!), plus Hoopla and Overdrive for ebooks, audiobooks, plus some movies and TV shows. Thank you Brandy for this forum to encourage others and share ideas. If others, like me, haven’t found your library’s online collection to meet your needs or interests, try accessing your state capital’s library!!

  10. Last week I did that old trick–spending to save! Grocery store had lots of BOGOs -12 oz Easter rabbits of chocolate (a regional good chocolate store) were BOGO @ 11.99 for 2 (although the prior week they were 9.99 for 1)–still a savings. I got 6 but probably only need 5. (Wasn’t sure about granddaughter’s boyfriend–still am not sure, but doesn’t look like he’ll be here for brunch on Easter. He works in NYC, 400 miles away. Granddaughter has been in NYC working for about 4 months but is now back home.) I like Ghirardelli chocolate and bought 2 bars, got a coupon for $1 off next 2 the last two weeks. I will buy as long as I get coupons and stash. Med, eggs, bratwurst pkg of 5, 3# bags of onions, turkey pepperoni were on my list of BOGOs–all needed. Then I went to Sam’s Club another day and got ground beef at $2.98 # for 90% lean. I realize these are not FABULOUS prices, but they are pretty good prices for this area, and I buy when they are pretty good. I buy more when they are fabulous–this week the store brand canned vegs and tomatoes are 50 cents a 15 oz can. I will buy tomatoes at that price because I froze only one package last year from the garden. Also, we have been eating salsa @ $3.19 a jar and I think I can add my own onion, bell pepper and jalapeno to 50 cent tomatoes and come out ahead. I have any spices I might want to add already. I also have a small salsa cookbook for recipes. Aldis has butter on sale this week—I think $2.49 a lb but I didn’t write it down. Had two meals from our corned beef and cabbage last week and there is one small serving left. Roasted a 99 cents/# chicken on yesterday and had chicken salad sandwiches today with enough meat left for another meal plus another sandwich worth of chicken salad. Has not been on our menu lately and tasted really good. I have also managed to stay out of the Goodwill store for about two or three whole months now. No point in looking when we don’t need ANYTHING. Husband has been helping with some household chores this week also. I’m sure he’s thinking “cleaning” before Easter, but I am still working on tax returns–having a problem getting some information I need. Made phone calls for a couple hours this afternoon in pursuit of the answers. No luck. E-mailed our financial advisor for ideas on where to go next in my search. I’m at the end of my own ideas. Worst case scenario: pay taxes on more money than I really need to. Don’t like the idea. Easter brunch will be at our house and I will make everything from scratch, unless daughter volunteers to bring something. It’s happened before. Menu is not set yet but usually includes eggs, bacon, sausage, a potato dish, a fruit salad and some kind of sweet bread or cake, juice and coffee. Thinking about cinnamon rolls from yeast dough but not sure yet. Crocuses are blooming here and daffodils were making flower heads but the last couple days have been in the 30’s so that has slowed them down. I haven’t walked out to the veg garden yet–too muddy and nothing to look at yet but chives, probably! Can plant lettuce, etc. in another 2-3 weeks but tender plants wait until the end of May here. No rush! Laundered pillows and thinking about curtains next. REALLY can’t keep up any more, but husband will not be giving up his garage and cars until neither of us can walk alone!! I have a big house but it’s paid for–a small one would be nice about now. We’re both 73 and reasonably healthy. Just not as fast as we used to be. Bothers me to leave things undone. Still working on year 2 of decluttering–but I’m SLOW.

  11. I also cut daffodils for an arragenement. They were composted today, and then I cut some more for a new arrangement.
    The local nursery was having its yearly open house, and I received a free Hyacinth plant. They are one of my favorite Spring bulbs.
    I read about Daylillies being edible and help fight Manacular degeneration. This diesease runs in my family, so I am looking forward to incorporating them into our diet. They grow like a weed and I have been trying to eradicate them in our back yard for years. Now the third left will be useful.
    We reclaimed water to use to water indoor plants and seedlings.
    My husband fixed my moms computer and she sent home chili and cookies as a thank you. In our opinion, she makes the best chili. He also fixed his aunts computer and she thanked him with a GC to a restaurant. We used it to take good friends out to celebrate a milestone birthday of the friend. Free food and great company!
    The people I house sit for, asked me to do a weekend visit and paid me extra for being last minute. I was tempted to to this one free of charge until I saw the litter box – then I was like, nope, I need paid for this. Lol.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  12. I was given a large bag of lemons. I zested some and dehydrated the zest to save for future use and juiced them all. I froze most of the juice. I also purchased a large clamshell of organic spinach with a half off sticker that wasn’t even wilting yet and a family pack of pork chops with a $1 off sticker. I also found a corned beef brisket that was a decent size for $6. They did not go on sale here this year.

    We cooked all meals from scratch and ate at home. I took all meals with me to work.

    I used my treadmill and free yoga videos on youtube to exercise. I love yoga and started a 5 week yoga for weight loss challenge where people use one video per week. So far week one has been fun! I prefer the Psychetruth channel on youtube. I also started parking farther away at work so I walk a little further. Trying to help combat being stuck at a computer all day lol.

    I completed several job applications online instead of wasting gas driving around. My current job should last at least a couple more weeks. I have had a few interviews and several thanks but no thanks letters. I also contacted my social worker with my updated information because I will now qualify for health insurance through the state. I have no insurance right now and cannot afford the $266 per month that “Obamacare Insurance” wants. My daughter and I visited my mother last Saturday and she showed me how to use Excel on her computer and gave me some pointers on some Microsoft programs. Hopefully this will help me find a decent job I can do.

    I made lemon/chia seed muffins, pumpkin bread, a gallon of liquid castile soap from 5 saved soap slivers using Bea Johnson’s recipe in her book. I made chicken and dumplings to use up the last bit of my homemade bisquick and leftover chicken. My husband used leftover pork roast to chop up and make tacos.

    My daughter and I went to the library and borrowed some books. I sat and read while she used their computer in the kids section. I sat next to her and watched while I read. This computer is highly filtered for the kids’ safety. I want this to become a weekly or bi weekly thing. I have to go to the library and remake my resume. My printer at home won’t connect to my laptop again to print it and I don’t have any programs on it that I can use to make a resume. I can’t figure it out, I downloaded everything again directly from the website. I’ll continue to work on it.

    Have a great week everyone!

  13. I’ve been collecting stuff all winter for our garage sale too in my daughter’s garage. I need to look at my pile and see how it’s grown. Garage sale season here though isn’t for a least another month. It’s still a little too cold.

    We took a trip to Kentucky and I talk about how we manage to save a little money on the trip here:

  14. I have cooked at home, cleaned in my sewing room, and line dried my clothes as is normal. We had some rain a week ago so our yard was needing to be cut. My husband got that done and I took the grass clippings to the compost for him. (it was too long to just leave on the yard this time) I am also going through things and giving them away. We are going to do a big garage sale/ fund raiser for the local Baptist children’s home. It is amazing to me how much stull I have got together to give to them. Just call me Miss Clutter Bug. I am almost ashamed of how much there is.
    Got lots of seeds planted. Have moved a few plants around. Got my Morning Glory plant moved out to where my clothes lines are. I want to get it to grow on the chain link fence.
    I have cut out enough doll clothes to keep me busy sewing for the next week. I enjoy the sewing part, but I do not enjoy the cutting part of sewing. The arthritis in my hands makes it difficult. I was told by my doctor this past Friday they really need to do replacement surgery on both knees. Not something I wanted to hear. I just can not do it right now. I would have to close my business. I am on a new medication and got joint injections in both knees. The right knee is much better, not the left. Where the injection was put in I now have a burning pain all the time. Just in the one place. Not sure what is going on with that. I contacted my doctor today via “my chart” email and have not heard back from him yet. I am just so darn tired of hurting all the time. I want to get up and ‘get it done’ as they say but my body is just not able to do it like it used to any more.

  15. * My husband insisted on buying a new garage door opener when the old one died – I told him that I had no problem lifting that door (it’s a double wide + 8 feet tall) but he said it was “too inconvenient” LOL I told him he was spoiled. He went with a Craftsman and I made him use my reward card so I got $10 in points to use at Kmart. I bought 2 Corelle deep soup bowls for our “bus” (RV).
    * I returned a harness that didn’t work for our beagle (she pulls just as bad as our Danes!) Often times in the past I’d forget about an item until it was too late to return it.
    * I cooked both of our turkeys from the freezer in order to free up some space so I can defrost our frig…..AGAIN…..will never buy an LG again……I used up the mashed potatoes from the meatloaf meal we had earlier in the week instead of cooking more and making more leftovers. I then made a huge batch of broth from the carcasses (which kinda defeated the “making space” reason for cooking them!)
    * I used the $10 reward coupon to purchase the dogs their treats for the month – got the smallest ones available since the beagle is getting a bit hefty with a year of training puppies – she figures if they get one, she needs one too!
    * Got one free bag of dog food (40 lbs) – if you buy 11 you get the 12th free(the store keeps track of it), picked up 5 bags of cat food since that type is being discontinued which brought us up to the 6 week mark of stored food for them! YES!!
    * I dehydrated the blueberries and strawberries from the frig before they went moldy.
    * I sold 2 totes on Etsy and a dozen hatching duck eggs on Craiglist. I used the money to purchase the first set of boards I need to make my raised raspberry bed. Hopefully 24 inches deep will prevent the runner issue I had with the first bed!
    * I started broccoli, cauliflower (2012 seed!), cabbage, some tomatoes and a few peppers – all have sprouted. All my herbs I have planted in milk jug “greenhouses” have sprouted as well.
    * Cleaned out the old eggs and produce – cooked it all up with some old yogurt and fed it to the poultry (dogs were disgusted with me when I “wasted” all that good stuff on the birds!)
    * started to make a kiddy pool I picked up for free into a raised bed – my back told me how out of shape I am in and I had to quit before I got it done – and now we have a winter storm headed our way :/
    * Came across some Dr. Schol inserts I had bought on sale with a coupon a while ago (I had put them in a “safe place”……) which was just in time for our busiest 2 weeks at the kennel – Easter weekend thru the local Spring Break holidays – [b]70 dogs[/b] UGGGGGG the noise is so bad your ears will be ringing like you’ve been in a rock concert all day!
    * Hubby did a 15 minute survey for the gas company and received a $50 Cabela’s gift card so we used it to buy a collapsible pot for the bus 🙂 That will cut down some on the amount of space the cooking pans take up – it’s only 2 inches thick when collapsed!
    * Picked up 2 free rain barrels with taps already on them – now my hubby wants to set up a mini computer (called an Ardwino? – probably spelled wrong), make it solar powered and have it “read” a moisture sensor in the garden and then turn on the water from the barrels and send it thru a drip system in the garden – that way I won’t have to worry about it getting done while we are out camping around the state this summer.
    I think that’s it. Hope everyone has a great week!

  16. This week has been a good one- made and quilted 2 more baby quilts and started a third one- all from scraps, of course! I found English muffins marked down so I used them and some homemade apple pork sausage and eggs to make a dozen sausage egg cheese breakfast muffins for quick grab and go! I had $50 of Kohl’s cash that I used to buy 8 new cereal bowls (normally $10/bowl- who would spend that much???), 3 ten packs of washable Crayola markers (for marking my quilt stencils), a jar scraper and a card game- with discounts and Kohl’s cash- ZERO out of pocket!!!
    Was given free worms for composting and free day lilies!!! We were also given some free bagels and made mini pizzas with leftovers.
    I cooked a beef roast in the crockpot and shredded it in my Kichenaid with salsa and cilantro. Turned them into 36 chimichangas for dinner and grab and go lunches/dinners! Filed 2 of our sons’ state tax returns online for free rather than letting H & R Block do it for $36 each (even though they free filed the federal returns!).
    All in all, a good week!!

  17. This week I saved 30 cents a gallon on gas at the Kroger with my Kroger points. I took my kids to the children’s museum on Saturday, we all got free admission because they had a special event going on. We packed lunches, so it was a free day of fun. It was awesome!
    My husband just got orders to deploy and I wanted to make something called a “flat daddy”. Flat daddies are life-size photos of deployed service members. They help children cope with the separation they experience when a parent is away from home. I didn’t want to pay fifty dollars for it through the flat daddies website, so i decided to make my own. I printed a poster on Shutterfly with a coupon. When it came on the mail, I used spray adhesive to tack it on poster board, cut it out, and got it laminated. It cost me twenty five dollars rather than fifty, and from what I see, the resolution is actually better than it would have been had I purchased the fifty dollar version.

  18. I didn’t do a lot towards not spending money last week – it was mostly to do with cooking rather than buying food

    Speaking of which – what kind of solar oven do you have? I’d really like to build one but I don’t really know a lot about them, but the chance to get the ridiculous Australian sun to do my cooking for me is irresistible!

  19. Brandi you have really been busy!
    My husband’s handkerchiefs were in terrible shape, so I bought 2 yards of muslin on sale at Jo-Ann’s and cut and hemmed it to get 8 new handkerchiefs. Spent $2.50 and maybe 45 minutes of my time.
    Made bread and granola and cooked all our meals at home. I also made a meal for a family at church — the woman had surgery this week — and a meatloaf and scalloped potatoes to take to my husband’s parents when we visit next week. His mom uses a walker and getting around the kitchen is difficult. His sister does most of the cooking for them so I wanted to pitch in while we are there. I patched our bed quilt and washed all our ski clothes and packed them away until next season. I discovered a squirrel has ripped holes in the cushions on my porch swing, but I think I can patch them or make a new cover. Meantime, I brought the cushions in until squirrel nesting season is over. After that, I don’t think they’ll be so attracted to the pillows. My husband and I cleaned the greenhouse and got it organized for planting in about a month.

  20. Roxie,
    If you end up getting your knees replaced, ask your doctor if he thinks you could handle having both done at the same time. I worked as a nurse in orthopedics for five years and if you are strong enough and the doctor is willing it can save you a lot of time and money. You pay about 1/3 less because you only pay for one episode of anesthesia, one OR session, one stay in the hospital, and as you recover you don’t have to pay for a separate rehab for each knee, since you can do both at once. Good luck!

  21. Hi Brandy,
    We are planning on visiting Vegas on 31 March and 1st April for spring break. Will be driving from Zion national park. How is the weather in Vegas ? Would we need warm clothes for night time or regular dresses and simple spring jacket is ok ?

  22. 1. Resisted buying a book and instead opted to get on the waiting list for it at the library—that is a huge sacrifice for me!
    2. I’ve been keeping track of “freebies.” That is what I save when I use a coupon or ask for a discount if I pay cash, or negotiate on getting our plumbing fixed, GC earned through things like MyPoints and Swagbucks, free food and oil changes and movie tickets through mystery shopping…so far, since Jan 1 we have saved $846 in freebies. And the coupons for food have not been for junk but for things like oranges and eggs. My goal was $100 a month, so I am really jazzed that it is so much more! A big score was some wood we needed for a house project…we went to Home Depot and found wood that we could use but that was in pretty poor shape for anyone doing fancy remodeling. We got the price dropped by 30% due to the marks on the wood and they held the wood for us until we drove to Safeway and bought the equivalent amount in Home Depot gift cards, which gave us points off our gas—and this week it was 4 times the points for every dollar, so we earned enough points to take a dollar a gallon off our next gas fill-up. Then we used the GC to pay for the wood at Home Depot. We do the same thing if we are gong to get something on Amazon—but a GC at Safeway and then deposit the GC amount in our Amazon account, thus earning gas discount points.
    3. Went to a nursery to check out raspberry bushes and entered my name in their drawing for that week. I ended up winning a gift card for $15 worth of seeds.
    4. We are having guests for Easter and this year, for the first time, I didn’t say no when people asked if they could bring something. I made it easy stuff they could just buy instead of make, like two kinds of juice and a loaf of garlic bread and a bunch of bananas for the fruit salad. We still spent money entertaining, but not as much as we would have so for me to swallow my pride and agree to have others bring things was worth it even if I was a bit uncomfortable. We are just not able to afford to entertain like we once did.
    5. Agreed to care for a neighbor’s dog for a week, in return for a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread and a half dozen eggs they were not going to use up before they left and were afraid would spoil. (I tried to explain that eggs have a long shelf life but the husband said he could taste an egg turning?!)
    6. Did the usual things of rinsing and reusing freezer bags, not using paper towels except for one that I put on top of old newspaper so that I could drain bacon on it without it touching the newspaper. Didn’t waste paper towels to soak up the grease since the newspaper did that. I know some folks won’t reuse freezer bags that have had meat or chicken in them, but I have bread bags that I put the meat into first, and only then do I put it in a freezer bag. When I need to thaw the meat, I take it out of the freezer bag and let it thaw in the bread bag in a bowl in the fridge. That insures that the freezer bag is not contaminated with meat or chicken juices.
    7. Cut into fourths some paper that was used on one side. Stapled the quarters into a pad and put it near the phone for notes.

    Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.

  23. Hi Mable and fantastic savings you have achieved just since the beginning of they year, I have been doing the same by documenting all savings in my journal to motivate myself and my husband to saving more for our new home. We find ourselves looking at clothing and things we like and say well that price is just too high, we shall wait until the end of season clearances or New Year end of financial year sales to purchase that.

    I think like yourself I will document the savings from general specials on things we are buying, buying fuel at low prices & reward card savings that we have achieved at the end of each month on here as well as our percentage of total income that we have saved each month as well for our home. Strangely seeing the savings dollar amount at the end of each week & month keeps us both on track with expenditure and far happier maintaining our frugal lifestyle.

    Great idea buying gift cards to get discount coupons on fuel as well & $1 per gallon saving is huge especially if you have large cars or just keep a stock of fuel in jerry cans in the garage as we do when the price is low.

    We also are not usually comfortable with others bringing food when they come over and like yourself used to usually pay for everything ourselves and usually did decline offers, but since we are now saving hard to buy our home with cash we now accept any offers that come our way thankfully and consider it a huge blessing. We did find that most of our friends all offer and will do that anyway and are happy to do that as well.

  24. Hi Erin from another aussie :).

    If you are looking for most ways to build anything energy efficient or off grid I always refer to Mother Earth News, you will usually find a design somewhere on there to make it with low cost usually. Consulting with husband who is an avid reader of the site, he said that they have plans to make one on their site. Just click on the link below –


    I hope this helps.

  25. My husband called my first quilt ‘the 600 dollar quilt’ since i only had the sewing machine. (A gift from my Mother-in-law) Quilts are so fun!

  26. Don’t you just love spring!

    Several things happened around here this week.

    I found out that we can now have patio fruit trees as long as they are potted. I live in a town home on an end unit and we aren’t allowed to plant trees because of spreading to the property lines. We can only garden if we have a 6 foot privacy fence which we did three years ago and it is just now coming to the point where we have made up our money with the amount of food we get. Anyway, I purchased using Swagbucks a Red Haven Dwarf Peach tree! Peaches are abundant here in South Carolina so i am hopeful. My next frugal adventure will see how to take care of the tree. 🙂 I also ordered a burlap table runner from Amazon using Swagbucks.

    Went to Walmart for a few things we needed and went to the clearance clothes. They had athletic shorts for girls for $2 (these can run $12 at Walmart alone, not to mention other places). My daughter is extremely athletic so these will come in handy. I also got her a nice tank top for $1. I also hit up the baby stuff as my brother and his wife are expecting in May. I bought two flannel onesies for $1 and a fun onesie for $2. All in different sizes.

    I got lucky at Publix (grocery store). I stopped in to get a wrist brace (we think I have carpel tunnel). They are the only place where they list what is FSA eligible. I had tried at other stores and the braces didn’t work using FSA money when I tried to check out. I picked a brace for $14.99 and it rang up for $19.99. I pointed it out and ended up getting it for free because they have a policy if it rings up wrong, you get it for free. Nice savings!

    Have a great week!

  27. When I get mold on my seedlings I spray them with a very dilute bleach solution. I haven’t killed any yet but it shuts the mold down!

  28. A good week all around. Spring is in the air, which means it’s time for yard work.

    But before the yard work could start, we had to fix some of our tools. The Man made a tool to fix our big weed wacker after watching a video on youtube instead of buying one for about $30.00. The cost to make one – about $0.05. We did spend a little more money in the “big city” on parts to repair our little weed wacker and small chain saw and spray to keep the ticks at bay. We used the remaining balance on the Prepaid VISA we used for our trip and we even had a little left over for lunch.

    We continued to focus on eating down the freezer and not wasting our left overs. The Man made himself a hash for his lunch out of leftover Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and a little bit of hash browns. He swore it was delicious.

    I made myself a new bag using fabric from the never ending stash and a bit of leather from a jacket from the thrift store. I’ve made a couple of bags using this pattern and I have always been pleased with the way they turn out. I also made a heavy, quilted drawstring bag for The Man so that he can safely take a piece of equipment with him when he goes out to the bush.

    I helped my mom clean out her chicken coop and took a crazy amount of duck eggs to a friend for her kids to decorate for Easter. My mom’s neighbor dug up her front garden and wanted new homes for some peonies and irises. Now I am motivated to get the yard cleaned up and new beds dug for my new flowers. I am especially fond of peonies and I am very happy with this score.

    I sent out more resumes and filled in more applications and finally, I landed a casual position at a local grocery store. It may not be many hours to start with, but it’s better than nothing and I’m grateful for the chance to earn even a little bit. We live in a resort town, so I am hoping that as the tourist season starts, my hours will increase.

    I hope you all have an amazing week!

  29. Marivene – I do that too with my Willow branches. I never thought to add to one though – Thank you!

  30. Made an imitation rotisserie chicken in the crockpot by holding it off the bottom using balled up aluminum foil. Worked great and made us three meals! Cooked corned beef for the first time (in the crock pot too) and it was excellent. I try for three new recipes a week but am happy if I can get to two new ones, this past week was 2 for 2! I am not keen on cooking and have found the only hope to keep doing it is to find new recipes, given a bit of light at the end of the tunnel 🙂

    Our social group has a long habit of always bringing food when we have lunch/dinner at someone’s house. We also help with cleaning up, with the women usually able to get all the dishes done and the kitchen spotless before we leave. Doesn’t always work out that well, but we try. I used to feel a bit odd saying yes when people offered to bring food, but now I am happy to have different flavors and ideas come to help round out my meals. And I feel much better when I go somewhere and can bring something to add.

    Finally gave up drinking diet soda in February, and that saved me $30 a month. I had switched to tonic water but read the ingredients, and found it was filled with sugar, so now am back to water.

    On the non-frugal side, we bought our first loaf of store made bread in a year, it cost $4.99!!!! Wow, to think that we used to think that was normal (special type of rye bread). While it was wonderful, we froze the rest of the loaf and went back to homemade wheat for everyday use 🙂

    Went to the discount food place in Phoenix (overstock/ scratch/dent/ expired) and found a few great deals. Going there is a bit of an easter egg hunt, 99.9% of the items are things I would never buy or at regular prices, but occasionally a great deal. I spent $9 which is a record high amount for me but found more deals than expected.

  31. Hi Roxie,
    I see that you worked for an orthopedic doc for several years. I have a question for you please… I had an LLIF ( lateral lumbar interbody fusion) done with only cadaver bone, 2 small screws and a spacer, i am 7 months post op and still hurting pretty bad, i am mostly very sore on both sides of my L4 and L5 vertebrae( where i had this done at) no other serious medical problems have been diagnosed… question is.. is it normal to have real sore muscles around these areas waking up? I’ve been told that it is because other areas of my back are trying to compensate for the area that is fusing thus causing extreme soreness. I know your not a doctor so im not asking for advise, i am just wanting to know if you have seen this before, i am sick of being in pain.. I go to PT and do exercises, swimming is the only thing that helps, night time is pure hell and i HATE going to sleep as i wake up in serious pain. Im thinking i need some type of firm support ( i have a semi firm new mattress, not helping) and i am desperate for some kind of relief, NSAIDS and pain pills are not an option. I just ordered a sacroiliac support belt hoping this helps… Sorry this is off the subject of Brandy’s post, i just thought id ask.. Thanks so much! Heather 🙂

  32. I hosted a work baby shower in my home this weekend. I contributed a 9 x 13 pan of macaroni and cheese, pink and white Rice Krispie Treats, and homemade cinnamon rolls. I spent less than $5 for the food. The cinnamon rolls cost $0.50 to make from scratch and were gone in an instant. I also bought the gift (diapers and a triple pack of wipes) using a sale plus coupon that kept our individual costs low and reused a gift bag I had stored away instead of buying a new one.

  33. We went to CVS and and got the free deodorant and toothpaste. I also spent 38cents on a Russell Stover candy bar and cookie dough egg for my sons Easter basket using a $2 Russell Stover coupon we got when we complained about one of their boxes of Valentine’s candy missing a piece of candy from the box.

    I got a free issue of Family Circle in the mail.

    I had a major flare of cervical problems from my psoriatic arthritis and was in bed for 10 days. On the bright side, I have insurance and prescription coverage and PTO time so I at least got paid. And SO was able to take a day off paid to be with me when I started the meds as the doctor didn’t want me home alone. I had to get 7 prescriptions filled, which earned me $5 in CVS bucks. And I was able to avoid an ER co-pay when the doctors I work for and my regular doctors accommodated me with urgent appointments and ordering stat testing. They also waived 2 co-pays.

    I am still trying to get my father’s house cleaned out and ready to list which came to a standstill while I was laid up..EXCEPT some wonderful co-workers went over on Saturday morning and boxed up all the kitchen stuff that was left in the house so I can donate it. Such a huge blessing they did that for me!!The house is empty now so I just have to finish cleaning (I had done a lot of cleaning before my flare).

    Have a great frugal week!

  34. I’ve been on a mission since January to get our yard in shape…..and on the cheap. My spring planting bulbs came in and I got the ones for the back yard planted over the weekend. I’m hoping I have great luck with them! We reseeded some patches in the back yard and brought in some top soil. This is such a challenge with two dogs that like to use the grass as a racing track. I’ve made great progress and I hope to take out a few shrubs on the North side of the yard and add a fruit tree. I hope I can get this done the first weekend in April….we’ll see about that.

    Our front porch bistro set was really out dated and let’s face it….ugly!! I tried to sell it on an online FB garage sale but apparently everyone else thought is was awful too. I didn’t want to spend $100 or 2 on a new one. I got creative and bought for $19.00 a new wood top, stained it a beautiful espresso and put 2 coats of Urethane on it. It’s beautiful!!!

    I’ve been in search of a glass beverage container for parties and other events on the online garage sale without any luck. Over the weekend I popped into TJ Maxx and found one on clearance for $12.00. SCORE!!! I also purchased a galvanized beverage container off the online garage sale for $15.00. I’ll use it for bottled and canned drinks when I entertain.

    We cooked all our meals at home, except our Friday night Costco pizza night. I also won a $25.00 instantly playing the monopoly from Von’s/Albertson’s. It was a good week.

  35. Next time try contacting the USO! We have had tremendous luck cold-calling them during deployments. If they cannot help you with discounted or free versions of what you are looking for, they can often point you in the right direction! Good luck

  36. Hi Heather and I am not a doctor but an ex nurse.

    My husband had a bilateral spinal fusion 23 years ago due to a military accident and upon asking him now he says it still hurts all day where the fusion is, and on either side, so sounds to me that that is normal.

    In relation to pain management you will have to do similar to my husband and do lots of stretching according to directions from your specialist, surgeon or physiotherapist. Rub Brauer’s muscle and arthritis cream or gel into the area that also helps an numbs the area somewhat. It is made from natural herbs and works wonders and reduces the pain considerably.

    My husband’s doctor has also put him on 1000 mg of magnesium tablets a day along with calcium tablets and that takes away most of my husbands nerve pain to a tolerably level where he can function adequately. Consult with your doctor on this and try it if recommended.

    Message from husband – you will never be without pain, and you will need to find a level of tolerable pain and build up your tolerance level for pain. My husband says hang in there, it took him 10 years to reach this level. We understand and feel for you and understand what you are going through, it is a long slow process.

    Advice from husband’s orthopaedic surgeon “if you can tack a dead toad to the end of your bed to get pain relief and it works, do it” :p.

  37. Roxie, I too have knee problems and have been told I will need knee replacement. It has been 2 years. Want to share with you what helps me. I take mobic and supplements. Every night I ride a stationary bicycle about 30 min. Also use topricin cream twice a day on my knees. I get it at a health food store but you can order online. I also put epsom salts in my bath water.

  38. Hi Susan and agree totally. The addition of the Epsom salts in the bath water is putting magnesium into your body thus reducing the muscle pain spasms you get from your injuries or condition. Also what works as well if you don’t feel like a bath and rather a shower, you can put Epsom salts in a bowl of warm water and pop your feet in it. Again your body will absorb the magnesium.

    My husband does this quite regularly after we are working in the yard gardening and also gives him wonderful relief from muscle spasms associated with pain.

    For most people here with injuries I do say this, where possible stay away from strong pain medications and use whatever natural means of pain relief you can find. My husband due to his substantial injuries after his military accident was given strong prescription pain medications for around 4 years on and off while they were literally rebuilding him. It builds up over time in your intestines & kidneys and you will simply not be able to take strong pain medications after a while. It has ruined my husband’s kidneys and any medications crystallise in his kidneys and effectively give him similar symptoms to a very bad bladder infection.

    Tad bit of important information from myself being an ex nurse, is the major hospitals do call in naturopaths to treat patients with serious conditions when all prescription medications fail :o.

  39. The cream I mentioned is homeopathic. It has no smell at all. I used to walk with a cane but don’t need it now. I now have very little pain, thankfully.

  40. Hi Meredith from Australia 🙂 , and well done on picking up such great savings on your clearance clothing. We have been having similar savings here in our stores on clothing, never before have I ever seen such low prices on clearance new clothing.

    Here too mostly all of the supermarkets have what is known as the electronic registers code of practice, might be called something different in the States though. So when you notice price discrepancies in most shops if you mention this policy or the name of the policy over there, they have to by law give you the first product for free and the rest of the product at the reduced price if applicable. We had a similar situation and purchased macadamia nuts and got a packet of them for free as well, got to embrace technological mistakes when we are placed in a situation where is blesses us with benefits for ourselves :).

  41. Hi Susan and what a blessing for you to not be in as much pain, we are so glad that your mobility has improved so much, as my husband’s has, through using natural methods, the best way to go :). We use herbal based remedies here as well predominantly.

  42. I walked more than usual this past week, I’m stressed so this helped and my dog was extra happy to go with me.

    I borrowed some digital books on from my library to read on my Kindle and also an audio book that I listen to as I clean the house and do some meal preparation.

    Now that it is warming up here my allergies will be bothering me so I am going to join the local hospital wellness center -$15 for a month is almost a steal. I can use their recumbent bikes.

    I went to an ecumenical Palm Sunday Concert hosted by my church. It was a wonderful, worshipful time of different choirs, groups and individuals doing music and small dramatic skits.

    I am still working on my low sodium meals. Breakfast is easy. I’m working on easy to pack lunches that are simple to prepare and tasty – I wonder if low sodium will ever be tasty to me… I try one new recipe for a hot supper a week, so far the “loser” recipes out number the “winner” recipes. Once I get a few good ones, I’ll start to do a freezer cooking and make extra so I can just pull out and heat and eat.

    I have been saving for a specific carpet cleaning machine and found it was half price on Amazon on St. Patrick’s day because it had the word “green” in the name of the product. Amazon’s full price was outrageous, Amazon’s half price was $100 dollars less then Wal Mart’s regular “sale” price. Since I have a Amazon Prime Membership it was delivered to my front door.

    One of my allergy medicines is now over the counter. I paired a coupon with a sale at a store here in town and saved $8 (about 35%) of the cost of medicine.

    I was in a town I go to once a month and I stopped at the local bread store and bought a new variety of bread to try. On impulse I grabbed a small package of snack graham crackers for a quarter. The bread was full price. There was a promotion that with any purchase you got a loaf of bread for free. So my quarter impulse purchase got me a free loaf of very good bread. This was a nice surprise.

    I see many people doing not spend months and other challenges. I try to one week a month where I don’t spend money on anything but bills. It allows me to keep my freezer and pantry inventory reasonably rotated. I also do a week where I try to get clear out 10 items a day for a week. I can handle challenges for one week at a time. I had to figure out what worked for me rather than compare myself to someone else.

    Blessed Easter to all this coming weekend.

  43. Marivene, I’m sure you could sell those vine wreaths at a garage sale. You could probably get more than a dollar too. My Uncle Bert, one of the two that run the farm stand, makes grapevine wreaths and has no problem selling all he makes every year. He even takes orders for them. They make a nice, natural base that one can customize however you want. Or leave plain.

  44. Lorna – That’s wonderful that Australian hospitals are willing to bring in naturopathic doctors when needed. I can’t imagine that many hospitals would do that in the USA.

  45. Hi Athanasia and a good question that is too :), it is a premix that we keep in the refrigerator for making chocolate pudding, white sauce, gravy, chocolate ice blocks and soups if you want to too. Great to have in the fridge to make a quick meal, we do a bulk mix of this as we use it so much.

    These recipes have been adapted for use in Australia for the use of instant powdered milk & recipes are from Crystal Godfrey’s I can’t believe it is food storage book. A MUST have book in the kitchen, it even tells you how to make your own condensed milk as well.

    Magic Mix lge batch –
    4 2/3 cup of dry powdered milk (we use instant powdered milk or 2 1/3 cup whole full cream powdered milk)
    1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour or 3/4 cup of cornstarch.
    1 cup of butter (or 2 sticks of butter) at room temperature.

    Combine dry milk, cornstarch & butter & mix with a hand mixer or large kitchen mixer till it looks like cornmeal. Keep in tightly covered container in refrigerator for up to 8 months.
    Makes approx. 10 cups. Use in any recipe calling for white sauce.

    Magic Mix White Sauce –
    2/3 cup magic mix
    1 cup of water

    In saucepan put in magic mix and water. Stir rapidly with a wire whisk until mixture starts to bubble and thicken.
    Yields one cup.

    Now the most yummy chocolate pudding that we just adore made from food storage :D.
    Magic Mix Pudding-
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup of magic mix
    2 – 3 tbsp. cocoa
    2 cups of water
    1 tbsp. of vanilla

    Combine magic mix, sugar, cocoa in a saucepan and mix well. We use a wire whisk.
    Add water & stir over medium heat until pudding bubbles.
    Beat in vanilla (we use vanilla extract) for a stronger yummier taste.

    Magic Mix ice blocks –
    1/2 c sugar
    1 cup of magic mix
    2 – 3 tbsp. cocoa
    2 cups of water
    1 Tbsp of vanilla
    1/2 cup of milk

    In a saucepan combine magic mix, sugar & cocoa & mix well.
    Add water then stir over a medium heat until pudding bubbles.
    Beat in vanilla.
    Add 1/2 cup of milk or (tbsp. of instant milk & 1/2 cup of water or alternatively 1/2 tbsp. of full cream milk powder + water).
    Pour into ice cube trays covered in aluminium foil & then insert toothpicks, or small paper cups with spoons or alternatively ice block moulds.

    Magic mix condensed cream of tomato soup
    1 cup of magic mix
    1 15oz can diced tomatoes
    1 tbsp. of dried parsley flakes optional)
    dash of salt & pepper.

    Combine magic mix & diced tomatoes.
    – Stir constantly over medium heat till mixture thickens.
    – Add parsley, salt & pepper.
    – Blend in blender until smooth.
    – Put back in saucepan and add water ( I add around 4 times the volume of water) to serve immediately as this is a concentrate.
    – Or use in any recipe calling for canned cream of tomato soup.

    The list goes on you can also use this for pasta alfredo sauce by adding parmesan cheese and pesto, condensed chicken soup by using 3/4 cup of chicken broth, dried parsley flakes to 1 cup of magic mix.

    I hope this helps, but if you do make it you will find that it does indeed save you lots of time in the kitchen and even better it lets you use pantry & fridge items and turn them over.

  46. Hi Mitzie from Australia :), and fabulous savings.

    We have been doing our own kind of pantry 30 day challenge, I will emphasise that it does have to suit your own families situation and spending habits though :). Now that we have built up most of our groceries & daily needs for the home to a 3 – 12 month storage level we have now started shopping once a month only. The only exception to that rule is when we see items on super special that we know that we need to stock up further. For instance over the Christmas New Year period the supermarkets had huge sales on personal care items, so we did indeed buy things like a 12 month supply of deodorants, toothbrushes, shampoos and conditioners. These prices were anywhere from 50 – 75 % off usual prices, so there were huge savings to be had in buying in bulk.

    My husband’s and my personal experience from doing this from January is that it does indeed save you money. The reason being for us when we went shopping fortnightly we found it all too tempting to put that block of chocolate in the trolley, or on our way past the shoe shop to buy that $5 pair of shoes on special (mind you I do not need any more pairs on shoes as I can hardly fit anymore in our small workers cottage as it is 🙂 ).

    We also eat from our pantry exclusively for one week a month to help us rotate through our food storage too.

    So if you add up all of those ohhh I will just have one of those in a month spending times, regardless of whether it is on your shopping list or not, it adds up to a substantial amount over a month. Not to mention when I had young children and THOSE 2 – 5 yr old moments where they throw themselves on the floor and do their best impression of being a blue Smurf over something they have seen and wanted, and you gave in for a bit of peace sake, as by that time the rest of the people in the shopping centre are giving you one of those looks. You never realise it until you actually shop less often and you see your savings mounting up substantially. Yeah for savings :D.

  47. – going to a luncheon on Thursday where we are supposed to make an Icelandic recipe. I’m making Icelandic pepper cookies and I have all the ingredients to make them so my out of pocket cost with be $0! (The cookies were SO good and they made a TON. After the lunch I had a bunch leftover. I gave some to my neighbors, some we’re eating and I put some in the freezer).
    – Used my free taco coupon at Qdoba today so a totally free lunch while I was in between appointments
    – Dropped off my daughter at dance and noticed the thrift store had all clothing for $1 today only. I got some 100% wool banana republic slacks, an evening gown from the limited, a blazer from Ann Taylor and some other things. All for $1 each!
    – Realized that usually at least one piece of my outfit is thrifted! Today I got compliments on both my thrifted Gap sweater dress ($4) and Gap wool toggle coat ($3.50)!
    – Took my girlfriend out to lunch with two other friends for her birthday and splitting it three ways and each of us only getting soup added up to a $10 lunch for each of us including tip and paying for our friend’s lunch. Also got her two little dip bowls I found at Target on clearance for $2 each.
    – The kids both have birthday parties to go to this weekend and I found nice presents for them to take that only cost $5 and $6 because they were on clearance. And they are things their friends will like!
    – Used the fifth of my six fitness classes I bought on groupon.
    – We’ve been eating our leftovers (corned beef and cabbage, pasta, chicken, mashed cauliflower, rice). I also got the last piece of carrot cake out of the freezer and ate it today. My friend made me a carrot cake for my birthday in October. My family doesn’t really like it so I ended up with about 5 slices left over which I froze individually and have been taking them out periodically for a treat.
    – Sold a lot of my daughter’s clothes on eBay for $41. Strangely I always have the shipping set so it calculates it automatically based on the buyers zip code and it only charged $4.54 even though I know it will be a lot more shipping from Michigan to Texas. So unfortunately I’ll lose money on shipping but at least the lot went for a nice amount. (Just got back from mailing it and it was $9 over. Ugh! Oh well…no sense getting too upset over it. eBay usually is pretty accurate with calculating the shipping.)
    – Finally found a new vanity both liked for the powder room. Was able to use a gift card my husband got from work to pay for all but $27 of it!

  48. YUM Carrot cake! That’s one of my favorites too.

    I sell a lot of things on Ebay. I noticed the the Fed Ex calculator is ALWAYS wrong and ALWAYS LOW. So I won’t be using Fed Ex anymore. Also, if you relist, I always check because sometimes it doesn’t carry the size of the box and weight forward correctly. Good luck with the rest of your sales!

  49. I have been reading this blog for over a year now and never commented I’m from South Africa and figured that if I started to list my accomplishments I would get back on the frugal wagon since I have fallen of doing a lot of impulse buys .cooked all meals at home line dried clothes is about it hopefully next week I can add to that hope everyone has a blessed week and thank you brandy for such a wonderful blog

  50. Hi Laurika from Australia 🙂 , and welcome to our frugal community.

    A fantastic start in cooking all meals at home and line drying all your clothing.

    My husband & I find that now we cook most of our own meals at home with fresh vegetables we grow here, that sadly the taste of both restaurant and take away food really doesn’t measure up to what we can make here most of the time. We do however once every 3 – 6 months buy a cooked chicken from the supermarket to give us a break from cooking which is nice.

  51. I have been reading for a while and all of you have encouraged our family to begin a food stockpile. That being said, how does everyone keep “company” quality meals on hand. In the past month, we have had list minute dinner company twice. I would like to serve nice meals for company rather than turkey sandwiches but am not sure how to store them ahead. Freezer meals, maybe? Any ideas?

    Here were our frugal accomplishments the past two weeks:

  52. HI Mandy,
    Can you share your recipe for the liquid Castile soap?
    Thank you,
    Susan from Dallas

  53. Hi Amy and indeed a hard thing to organise when you have last minute dinner company twice. I do have to say that we don’t have those problems here as most of our friends we pre organise to come over for tea on certain dates and times and usually don’t have drop ins.

    Great to hear that you are working to begin a food stockpile that will indeed help in situations like this and give you more ideas and menus to choose from.

    We are fortunate to have large vegetable and herb gardens here and we grow extra and blanch and freeze vegetables ahead of time, so we are covered for any drop ins should they happen and also for adverse weather conditions. We also roast chickens ahead of time and keep packets of shredded meat in the freezer as well.

    I am afraid that if we had drop ins it would be a quick stir fry with noodles, fresh or frozen veges and frozen shredded meat.

    I would also try and encourage said drop ins to organise coming over for tea in advance, but mind you I am rather forward, I shall give you a scenario on this to give you an idea.

    When I had teenage sons in the home I would quite often get up to 20 teen boys in my home all day as I was known for being a good cook and would regularly cook large batches of biscuits as snacks for drop ins. That did unfortunately progress to them thinking they could also stay for tea every night of the week without being invited. First time I did cook extra for them and said this was a one off and they would have to in future go home for their teas. Few days later the same thing happened, I had got tea ready and simply said to all the boys “I am sure you all have homes to go to, if you will excuse us we are having tea and we shall see you all tomorrow” and I did this also for lunches and breakfasts too from then on.

    Sometimes you do have to be kind but forward to get your message across. I at that time was a single mother, not by choice through a violent marriage, had one income and was simply not able to afford to feed half the neighbourhood’s teenage boys.

    The only exception to this rule was if I knew the parents and they were in financial hardship, then I would invite their child to tea with us to make sure they had something to eat.

  54. Amy,
    One thing I rely on for last minute company is tacos. I almost always have tortillas in the fridge. If not, a box of hard-shells is easy to keep on the shelf. The hamburger is frozen and takes only a few minutes to defrost in the microwave and fry in a pan. Home-made re-fried beans are always in the freezer or a can could be used. Cheese is always in my fridge, or frozen shredded cheese in the freezer. The rest can be used if I have it–lettuce, tomatoes, olives, green onions, diced green chilies, sour cream, etc. I always have home-canned salsa. If I don’t have some of the parts or pieces, it’s easy to just put out what I have. I arrange it in bowls, buffet-style and let the company put on the parts they want. That also takes care of allergies, as long as I use allergy-friendly seasonings in the taco meat. Another variation on this is to keep a bag of corn chips or Fritos on hand and make Nachos, or haystacks, using beans and meat on the chips and adding whatever else you have.

    Another easy meal is soup. I keep chili or soup frozen, then it just needs to be defrosted and warmed. Muffins can also be frozen to pull out quickly.

    If I have any advanced notice, like the morning they are coming for dinner, I often put a roast in the crock pot. It will usually cook, even if it is frozen, although I’m having some trouble getting this crock pot to do that–my old one would.

    Frozen boneless-skinless chicken breast is an easy thing to defrost and stir-fry with whatever vegetables you have on hand plus soy sauce and serve over white rice (20 minutes) or brown (45-an hour), depending on how much notice you have. I usually have carrots and celery on hand, and sometimes have other veggies. I usually have frozen broccoli I could throw in at the last second if I’m short on fresh ones.

    Turkey or chicken meat that was previously cooked and frozen could be turned into a quick noodle casserole or enchiladas. If you get a call that company is on their way, you could make one of these in 1/2 hour or so while they are driving over, and let it bake while you visit.

    It’s easy to keep cookies or another dessert frozen for these times. I home-can pie fillings and then it’s very quick to whip up a crisp (my go-to dessert since I can make it gluten-free and fast). Nothing fills the house with a welcoming smell like a dessert baking.

    I’ve noticed that most people are thrilled to lend a hand tossing a salad, cutting fruit, or what ever else you may need help with to prepare a quick meal, and I often get a good visit in with friends while we make lunch. On the other hand, I get as much of it done as I can if I have any time before they get here. My friends usually call first, but a few relatives don’t:) For people who give me notice that they are coming, I often put something in the crock pot so we can spend more of our time visiting.

  55. Thank you Lorna. I had not heard of this mix before. I do make up a biscuit type mix that I use for pancakes, waffles, biscuits, shortcake, etc. It I a flour-shortening-baking powder combo.

  56. You should check further into the daylilies, I believe. There’s a site eat the weeds or similar name and it helps with foraging. I had to look up tiger lilies once there.

  57. Hi Athanasia and most welcome. I purchased the book from Deseret Books when they were having a super sale on all of their books. Here in Australia there is not a lot of books published here in relation to using your food storage unfortunately, so I tend to buy a lot of books from the States when the sales are on and just adapt them where necessary to ingredients we simply can’t get here such as whole full cream milk powder due to import regulations.

    I too will be making the similar mix to Bisquick ( I think it is known as in the States) shortly as well, once I eat down our boxes of premix muffins and things we have purchased on special. They are a horrendous price to buy since they have gone up in price recently, and I have worked out that I can make biscuits, pancakes & muffins far cheaper this way by using the raw ingredients we buy in bulk.

  58. Thank you all for the good ideas!

    I have made a list and posted in the pantry.

    The idea of a stockpile is new to our family. We have always made a list for two weeks, breakfast/lunch/dinner, and bought only what we needed. Then when the pantry/fridge was empty we would repeat. This kept our costs very low but as we are a one-income home (I stay home and school the children) we want to be prepared in case our income changes or disappears for a time.

    Again, thank you all!

  59. Our unexpected guests are likely to get breakfast for dinner—no one complains over whatever meat we have in the freezer (like sausage, ham or bacon), scrambled eggs (if we don’t have meat around, I always have shredded cheese so we serve the eggs hot and fresh and have bowls of two different cheeses they can put on top of the eggs, and toast. At one point we were pretty poor so guests would get pancakes or waffles with jam that had a few tablespoons of water mixed in and was microwaved until it poured out like syrup. I had to laugh when a friend told me she missed waffles for dinner since she never had that at home!

    I can a lot of pickles and make a good pickle soup—cheap and sounds sort of awful, but it is really quite tasty and is fast to whip up. Potato soup can also be put together in half an hour and most people have onions or leeks and potatoes around…cheap, filling and tasty.

  60. I saw the cutest thing the other day. Someone took a LG glass cookie jar had it decorated with ‘camo’ paper. On the front was a label they made that said kisses from dad. Every night the kids got 1 kiss from dad before they said their prayers. I thought it was cute and a good idea.

  61. Hi Amy and most welcome and a great start with making a list for the pantry.

    We are the same as yourself with equivalent of a one income family between the two of us on pensions, so money is rather tight.

    We started a stockpile gradually and purchased 1 extra thing on special we needed in our groceries a fortnight. So for instance if we used 1 tin of chicken soup, then we would purchase 2 tins the following fortnight. Sometimes we had the money to buy just one additional item, other times it might be up to 5. From there we just kept going and each fortnight we could see that our stockpile was getting larger & larger. Last year we decided to put our tax returns into stocking more food as well which bought our stockpile up considerably.

    We are a little over two years since we started our stockpile and have reached the stage of having anywhere from 3 – 12 months storage on most of our groceries and everyday use things in the house and now have enough stocks to shop only once a month. Like yourself we keep a list on our fridge which includes what we have used as we use it each fortnight and that makes up the start of our grocery list for the next shopping trip. It makes life so much easier if you write down what you have used as you use it :). We are continuing to build our stockpile this year too till we reach a 12 month storage on everything.

    By shopping the specials each fortnight you will be amazed how much money you will save and in no time like us you will be opening the pantries and fridges up and saying oh wow look at what we have managed to accomplish. We wish you the best in building up your stocks in case of emergencies.

  62. Hi Mable and so wonderful that your friend told you she missed waffles for dinner :D, but I do have to say you can dress them up with all sorts of things, some tinned fruit from the pantry with even evaporated milk poured over if you don’t have fresh cream yum, or just some plain maple syrup tastes delicious too. Pancakes are our go to emergency as well along with eggs on toast too, or even a bowl of the lovely granola that we keep a stock of here from Brandy’s wonderful recipes is good too.

  63. Lorna, thanks so much for your kind, encouraging words! I love to hear of a nurse or ex-nurse, who practices alternative medicine!! I grow lots of herbs in my herb garden, and I love to study about how to use them for health. Recently I ordered some new books by Rachel Weaver…….Your Backyard Pharmacy, Be Your Own Doctor, and Be Your Child’s Pediatrician. They are awesome!! Ordered from Berlin Seeds, but Amazon has them too. I have studied for years about using herbs, but these books have so much info that I can use, but didn’t know about! My focus now is trying to lower my blood sugar, to keep off insulin.

  64. I have 5 kids and we have always been to go-to house where they gather. I rarely say someone cannot come, as I want them here rather than off at other people’s homes. We regularly have guests so I keep items on hand for quick meals and extras.

    Frozen soups.
    I grill chicken tenders and freeze. I use these in noodles with a white sauce, stir fries, chicken salad sandwiches, quesadillas, fajitas, chicken on lettuce salad, grilled chicken club type sandwich, enchiladas, chicken and rice meals,, pot pie. Chicken parmesean.

    I freeze cooked roast…use it to make carnitas, french dip sandwiches, stew, roast and diced potato hash,.

    I keep smoked sausage in the freezer. Grill with bbq sauce. Another meal is to dice it and broil it to cook through while you cook spaghetti noodles and steam broccoli. Then toss the sausage and broccoli in the noodles with italian dressing for a pasta salad.

    Shephard pie
    Tater to casserole- layer ground beef, frozen french green beans, tater tots and then mix 2 cans cream of mushroom or chicken soup with a can of milk and pour over casserole. Top with cheddar and bake.

    Grilled cheese and ramen soup. I add a slice of cheese to the chicken flavored ramen soup.

    Ziti- shaped noodles, pasta sauce. We like ground beef mixed in the sauce, but a lot of people eat it meatless, and cheese on top, baked to melt

    Nachos with taco meat

    I keep I cup.portions of diced ham frozen. Use in scalloped potatoes with ham. Noodles and white sauce with ham. Loaded baked potatoes with ham.

  65. I am packing to move and had 2 unopened bags of polyfil. Instead of packing it I stuffed a flat cushion. In my sons chair that is in his room.

    I have listed items on both the yardsale site and Craigslist. I’ve been clearing out since January. I have about four rubbermaid totes of stuff to get rid of and will have a yardsale next weekend. I went through my clothes and finally weeded out items I have kept thinking I’d wear them, but I always wear the same four or five tops. I’ll take them to a resell store this week and sell in the garage sale what they don’t take.

    Cut husbands hair. The Clippers have paid for themselves many times over.

    We are moving so I’ve been packing. I’ve been able to consolidate like items. Having things where you can find them saves so much because you don’t buy duplicates. I had about 1/3 left on the roll of packing tape and when I bought some boxes almost got a new roll of tape. I decided to wait to make sure I needed more than what I had. After that I found 3 more partially used rolls in different parts of the house and garage. I’ve used up two and one is very close to the end. It feels good to use up the ends of all these.

    I found an envelope with $569 with my leftover craft show items. I thought I had put it in the bank. I had a garage sale last fall and it has been sitting in my armoire since then.

    I’ve been eating from the pantry since January 2015. I finally had to buy meat last trip. I still have vegetables and rice and pasta, sugar, tea, coffee, and canned fruit. I still.had a pork loin roast, beef roast, pork chops, and chicken breasts. I was out of ground beef and put up 5 lbs. I am getting g an Easter ham, but don’t need any other meat this week.

    My chest freezer is now empty. My large upright is about half full. We are moving in June and I am trying to eat up as much as I can.

  66. Hi Susan and most welcome. We too grow lots of herbs in our garden as well and study up on their benefits on health as well. Thank you for the names of the books and where to get them I will definitely look into that further.

    The reason why I am into alternative medicine is I saw so many people with such devastating side effects from being on long term pain medications & things. Also when I met & married my husband after he had his military accident and could not take pain medications I started looking further into natural therapies. Also I was fascinated after seeing quite a few people being healed in the hospitals I worked at with natural therapies from naturopathic doctors that they had bought in.

    I keep a standard medical kit in my home but am also looking to build up an alternative medicine kit too in cases of emergency. This knowledge will also be handy if any of us are placed in a position where standard medicines are not available as well.

    I thought I might send you a link that I found interesting on growing a survival herb garden –


  67. The dial recipe was five slivers, or a cup of shavings, to one gallon of very hot water. Stir and let sit overnight. In the morning I whirled it up wit my immersion blender. Done and support easy.
    Google docs doesn’t allow me to upload my resume but I will look into open office, thank you everyone!

  68. I’m not sure of what the definition between company quality meal and family meal would be. Surely they would be the same, unless one was entertaining an employer one is trying to impress. We always have drop ins, not always planned days or weeks in advance, mostly probably with just an hour’s notice. A cousin and her family may be travelling by and call for a visit, a visitor to church is given an invitation to join for lunch, daughter brings a classmate home for dinner so they can work on a project in the evening. Many different scenarios. But we also have the freedom to do the same with other friends and relatives. If one is prepared hospitality should not be a problem.

    Since I always cook for leftovers adding a whole family to a meal is no problem. There are also quarts of homemade soup that can be added, if needed, loaves of fruit/nut bread in the freezer. I think turkey sandwiches would be a fine company dinner. It is the company of the people you are with that is the primary focus.

    When my oldest boy was one I met a woman with an also one year old boy at a Saturday ladies conference at another church in town. We exchanged names and talked about getting together in the future. About 2 weeks later the 3 of us ran into the 3 of them while wandering an art fair in the local park. On impulse we invited them home for lunch. We had grilled cheese sandwiches, we peeled up some fruit, put out mustard for the sandwiches (dipping) and a couple kinds pickles. They have been our best friends, outside of church and family, ever since. Their 3 children mirrored our first 3, B-G-B, each close in age by weeks, and the children have been life long friends.

    I know my comment is late, since everyone has probably moved on to next post, but last week was busy and we don’t use our interned on Sunday.

  69. Hi Athanasia and agree that if you have cooked meals ahead of time and have them in the freezer it saves a lot of grief.

    There is in my opinion no difference between a company meal or regular meal in our home, the reason is we serve nutritious meals all year round here with the freshest of ingredients from our gardens & herb gardens.

    I too have had similar experiences with people in general and church friends on various things we have taken either to their homes as a contribution to a meal or meals at our home. Could be surprise from church friends however as we bought over some homemade concentrated lemon cordial syrup to share & some vegetables from our garden. They looked at our saved jar with the lemonade syrup in it, and said ohh that is nice in a not so reassuring tone. Once I explained how it was made with fresh lemon juice and sugar they were amazed. Once they tried it they loved it !, and asked for the recipe. We like yourselves get on really well with this family and they have 6 young children, including twins aged around 2 years old.

    When we lead by example and show people that the simple things in life, like wonderful home cooking that taste so much better than store bought, we perhaps even influence one person to try something different and learn a new skill hopefully too.

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