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Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

We harvested red noodle beans, apricots, grapes, plums, green onions, tomatoes, apples and blackberries from the garden. I cut the last of the purple larkspur and brought it in to enjoy at the table.

Swiss Chard Seeds

I collected seeds from white and purple larkspur, Swiss chard, red leaf lettuce, and white and pink stock in our garden.

I thought I was almost out of paper for school, so I sent my husband to Sam’s Club to pick up some computer paper for our school needs, and he decided to pick up some food while he was there. He spent $65 on food and bought 3 gallons of milk, 12 pounds of brown sugar, 5 pounds of shredded mozzarella, 3 pounds of sliced pepperoni (an exception to me $2 a pound rule that he and I agreed to make; it will go a long ways on homemade pizza and sandwiches), 80 flour tortillas, and 100 corn tortillas.

When we got home, Ezrom pointed out 4 reams of paper that I still had, in a different place! So, we could have gone a few more weeks without going to the store, but I don’t mind having these additions. Since we bought tortillas, we had bean and rice burritos one day (and rice and beans two other days).

Red Zinnia

I cut up an old towel and made a couple of mop pads for our wood floor mop. The old ones had elastic on them. I needed new ones and made some without elastic. I will be making more of these with old towels.

I turned 1 pair of pants with holes in the knee into shorts. I also turned another pair of pants into a pair of shorts.

I mended a dress.

Most of the family (save Ivory and I) went on a family Cub Scout hike. They had lots of fun. While they were gone, Ivory and I walked down the street to a garage sale, where I purchased 6 books for the children at 50 cents each.

I continued to open the windows in the early mornings to let in the cool, fresh air, as it was 4-8º cooler outside than inside in the early morning. Letting in the fresh air is such a simple way to have the house smell better each morning after being closed up all night.

What did you do last week to save money and make the most of your means?

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25 Comments

  1. I agree with you about Aldi! Our Aldi’s here almost always is cheaper than other store’s sales prices and coupons. Even Publix BOGO sales with 2 coupons is usually more than Aldi. Aldi is also cheaper than Sams club for many items. I spent some time last week updating my price list to include Aldi.

  2. Thanks, Paula and Alissa, for your responses. Luckily, my husband and I are usually on the same page. We balance our accounts every other week together and discuss anything we buy (besides food) that is over $100. We do have a retirement plan, emergency savings, short-term savings, and no debt but our mortgage. I count my blessings for that every day. I guess we disagree on how to splurge. I’d rather be a little uncomfortable during the day and be able to spend it on going out more often. He’d rather be comfortable and stay home. 🙂 Right now, we’re compromising. I hang all the laundry but his outside. His I hang inside or use the dryer. During the day, I keep the thermostat turned up to 80, when he comes home, we turn the AC on 73 or 74.

  3. It’s winter here in Australia so we’ve been enjoying delicious soups made with little cost. I used sad vegetables just a few plus red lentils and added a tin of baked beans near the end…it was AWESOMEJust now cooked a few butterfly pasta to go with some leftover creamy white sauce and a few bits of leftover crumbled bacon. Added some bits of sliced mushrooms and some of the pasta water and some chilli flakes for a gourmet worthy lunch.Gave my Lavender hedge a prune and hope to grow some of the cuttings for more plants. That’s how I got my hedge going using cuttings from the mother shrub. I’ve got a few stages of them growing.Mended grandson’s tshirt and my black opaque tights…it’s winter here;)Stripped seeds off basil bush and sprinkled in gardenWorked out more frugal way to remove old cement drain channel in garden…smash it up, bury side edges in corner of garden and leave bottom base in then filling with soil and letting lawn grow. No different to container gardening…light bulb momentDiscovered accidentally when I was cold that wearing short sleeve black tshirt under my bright blue long sleeve top makes for a completely different outfitLearnt from a friend that by buying mushroom compost from a mushroom grower for their orange trees that they have an endless supply of mushrooms growing which they are sharing around. The first ones were huge but they now pick them smaller as they can’t keep up with the amount they are harvesting Alexa from Sydney, Australiahttp://www.Alexa-asimplelife.com

  4. This week I weeded in the garden. I also dug up a large flowerbed that had gotten away from me and the grass was at least 3-4 feet tall. I got a hydrangia out from under the grass as well as one light blue dephinium. It took hours because it was so bad, but it looks great now. The zinnias came up in a flowerbed. They were lovely. The slugs ate them all in one night. Thankfully they were from the dollar store so I didn’t lose much. I am disappointed that I still have so many ugly, bare places in my flowerbed. I may look for a good deal on flower plants this week:) I cleaned out the small amount left in one part of the compost bin (one section of 3–husband made it from pallets) and spread out the compost on the flowerbeds. Then, I started that section of the compost bin over with tons of weeks I dug up. I do not follow any rules–just dump buckets of pulled weeds, kitchen scraps, etc. in there and leave for a long time.I sent my husband and 2 daughters away to camp on Thursday. He is directing a camp this week and the girls are volunteering. After finishing up appointments here at home, I took my granddaughter to be a camper on Sunday. So, now I am home, working and catching up on many things that need to be done. I am also taking care of the animals–poultry, bunnies, and dog. Since I stayed home, we are not having to pay someone to come in and take care of them, so it saves a little.I harvested about 1/2 cup snow peas, boc choi, and a couple of very small tomatoes. I made myself a lunch today, a salad from garden lettuce as usual on Mondays, and then faced the challenge of cooking for 1 for dinner. I just stir-fried up the garden vegs plus some chicken and other vegs I bought. I jokingly told the kids I was eating at the local cafe 3 meals a day while they were gone because it wouldn’t be worth it to cook. One of them looked like they believed me:)

  5. I always look forward this weekly post! What amazing pictures! This last week was a bit different because we have some vacance days (national holiday+soccer world cup) and, as a result, my husband stayed at home 5 days. Two weeks ago I managed to do a cook for freeze day and we just went to eat out for one lunch those days. The good thing is that I had a gift card that I got out of some expiring points in my credit card and it was enough to pay 70% of the meal. Yesterday we had my brother in law to have lunch with us and watch the game and we managed to eat out of the freezer. We are doing some renovation at home and created a spreadsheet to plan and control the work and the expenses. It paid to know exactly what we should do and when we can afford to do it. I harvested some mint, parsley, cilantro (coriander), basil and green onions. My cherry tomatoes are ripe(ning) and the other tomatoes are begining to grow. Ah, I also harvested arugula and kale. I made rosemary olive oil bread (Brandy’s recipe) once and another not so good bread once. Today I am making banana bread and maybe another batch of rosemary bread. I am knitting a shawl to give to a charity and I managed to find some yarn in my stash, so not out of the pocket. My eletricity bill is about 20% less for 4 months now, so I think I am doing right on saving. Thank you so much, Brandy and commenters, for the nice ideas about saving.

  6. This past week we have been enjoying some fantastic weather. Lots of time spent in the backyard with the boys. It has also meant that I haven’t needed to turn on the air conditioning. I am so grateful for that savings. Not much rain has also meant that I have been able to hang out about 90% of my laundry to dry.I took my little guy to the library for a summer kickoff party. There were free snacks and activities. They also got to take a book home for free. The librarian also let him choose a board book for his brother. We ate all meals at home this week. I have spotted a few things in our pantry/freezer that need to be used so those things will be making an appearance on the next few meal plans. We were gifted some leftovers by my mom which fed my hubby lunch for a couple of days.I am looking forward to another week of beautiful weather here. Our schedules are really hectic this week so hopefully we can find a bit of time to enjoy it.

  7. Brandy, I love all the food you are able to pick from your garden! It is such an inspiration. – My sewing machine stopped working all of a sudden. My dad told me to bring it over to their house and he would take a look at it (he’s an electrical engineer). He figured out that the circuit board connections in the pedal were the problem, so he fixed them all and now it works wonderfully again! This saved us a lot of money. Just to buy a new pedal for my machine was $75-90- Our neighbor mows our lawn every week (he really enjoys mowing… we never asked him to!) To thank him, I have started baking treats for him and his wife. This week I made them a fresh fruit tart- For my dad for Father’s Day, I gave him a certificate for a LinkedIn makeover. He wants to start looking for a different job, and I know how much recruiters and headhunters look at LinkedIn. He was very grateful for this gift, and I have more time than money - We haven’t turned on the air conditioning yet… because we don’t have one! Ha! So I suppose that is frugal. I tend to always be cold, so I don’t mind the heat, but my husband does. He told me he would call and get estimates, but he hasn’t done it yet. I figure once he can’t stand it enough he will call, but until then…we can keep saving a bit of money! It hasn’t been too warm here, mid 70’s, but we have 65-85% humidity, which makes everything seem warmer (and stickier). Air conditioning for us would be more to lower the humidity than to cool the house down. We have a dehumidifier in the basement that runs constantly, but it just can’t seem to lower it enough- I meal planned around what we had in the house. We are on track for our food budget this month (I recently lowered our food budget from $400 to $300 a month, and even so last month we only spent $261). I love having a stocked pantry and freezer, I don’t think I could go back to buying just what I need for the week!- My mom cleaned out her pantry and brought over stuff she wasn’t going to eat, including 3 bags of powdered sugar, a jar of salsa, and a box of pasta- My sister in law is pregnant and due in October. I suggested to my mom that for a gift for when the baby is born that I could sew a quilt. She agreed it would make a very nice gift, and told me she would be willing to pay for the materials if I wanted to make it. Deal!- I sewed a slip to go under a dress that was a bit see-through- Went strawberry picking yesterday with my mom, MIL, two of my SIL and my niece. It is a family tradition, we go every year! We had a fun time and the strawberries were so good. Nothing tastes quite like a fresh picked sun-ripened berry! I plan on eating some of the ones I picked out of hand, freezing most of them for later in the year, and making one batch of strawberry jam. We have quite a few jam flavors leftover from last year, but strawberry is my husband’s favorite and we ran out of that one first.

  8. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,I took a break from some things the last two weeks. I wanted to relax and enjoy my family for a bit. The last few months have been so, so hectic. The weather has been very rainy here and my garden has been bountiful in providing produce. I have made mint tea every day for the last few weeks. Here are my frugal activities:Received a pink t-shirt for completing my mammogramMade strawberry preserves and pumpkin butter from ingredients from pantry (and strawberries on sale)Bought a large 4 lbs turnip for $1 and made turnip muffins, turnip coleslaw, turnip in salads, and turnips and dip for snacksAttended a free seminar at church including lunch Got a dozen free cobs of corn at the Farmer’s Market and made 6 cups of kernels for freezerWalked every day for 4 miles and stretched 20 minutes Harvested a plate full of red peppers and 1 green pepper from garden (plan to make salsa) Finished 21 blue and gold scarves Cross-stitched ornaments for July 4th themeHired for 2 part time jobs in JulyMade a gratitude journal out of materials on handTook lunch each day to workUsed coupons to save money on groceriesHarvested sage, mint, basil, lettuce, Swiss chardKept thermostat at 82 FMade salads from left over vegetables that lasted several daysDownloaded for free and listened to Anne Frank’s DiaryCompleted 2 online courses offered through the libraryI did my first posting on frugal accomplishments for the first time in a month!Best wishes and hope you are enjoying your summer season,Anna

  9. I had a few accomplishments last week:I picked up canned food from the student pantry on campus.I picked shiitake mushrooms from my backyard and had them for dinner one night.I saved the shiitake stems to make a broth.I composted.Bought seeds for planting a summer garden. I am way behind schedule because I traveled. But I did some research, and it is not too late to plant in my area. I have already prepared the ground and also got starter trays ready, so I can get right to it when they get here on Tuesday.It rained a few days so I did not have to water as much.I mowed the lawn and saved the clippings to use for mulch and composting for later.I made pasta salad for a picnic. I had the pasta on hand and the salad dressings, so only had to purchase the tomatoes and cucumbers, and Italian seasoning which I needed. It was a big hit.

  10. I trimmed both my son’s and my husband’s hair to keep things tidy between haircuts. I cut my husband’s hair, but my son (who is much pickier) goes to a local barber shop. I harvested some lettuce and strawberries. The strawberries haven’t been terribly abundant, but it’s been much better than last year so far. I washed foil and freezer bags that could be reused. On a day that I worked overtime, I used a freezer meal to get us through without resorting to takeout.My husband and I spent $5 on books at our town’s annual library book sale. One of the books I bought is on natural gardening. I purchased some organic boxed macaroni and cheese using coupons for a bit more than one dollar for eight boxes. I much prefer homemade macaroni and cheese, but these will be handy for my son to make himself an easy lunch during the summer. On a sad note, my three butterfly bushes seem to have died from the cold winter we had. I’m considering replacing at least one of them with a dwarf fruit tree. I trimmed my dogs nails and gave her a bath. Every time I give her a nail trim, I think about my conversation with a lady at my vet’s office, who was paying $35 to have her dog’s nails done.

  11. I never post on these blogs but love reading them. I got a 25lb bag of AP flour on Amazon for $3, I subscribe and save it at the actual price of $7.56+ tax and then used a $5 off gift card from Bing Searches to bring the total to $3. We use the flour to make all bread, rolls, brownies, cakes etc or we grind wheatberries from our long term storage with a hand crank grinder. You have to watch the subscribe and save price I’ve seen as low at $7.12 and as high as $34 for the same bag of flour. We are growing tomatoes, peppers and blackberries this year (first garden as an adult). The blackberries are almost ripe and the tomatoes have blooms, peppers look very small still. I’m planning to put lots of carrots in mid August for fall harvest.

  12. Hello! Hope your cat likes the natural cat litter. Mine protested repeatedly by throwing his feces out of the litter box. It took me about 2 weeks to connect the dots, but once I made the switch back, there has not been a repeated incident.

  13. I had a second interview at a job and I wore my one really good outfit to the first interview. The resale shop in town had ladies shirts for 25 cents. I was able to get two tops for this price. I have been slowly adjusting out thermostat up until my family starts complaining. We tend to keep it cooler here than we could do in other places due to very high humidity. I have been cooking out of the cabinets, only going to the store for milk, eggs, and a small amount of cheese, and combining that trip with other outings. Of those pantry meals I made a stir fry out of bits and pieces of extra vegetables that I toss in a bag in the freezer. I used a small portion of meat, lots of veggies, and rice to make a frugal, filling meal. I hope soon to turn a stack of my son’s “holey” jeans into shorts. This will stretch his wardrobe, which we pass down to another family member when outgrown.

  14. Hello ladies!Its been awhile since i last posted so here are the highlights. -ive been attending a womens class at church on “How to be Rich”. It has enabled me to meet ppl. -i have been listening to Dave Ramsey audio archives for free. Keeps me motivated. – i have earned $25 paypal thru swagbucks every 2 wks. -i finally called my power co to ask about off peak/ on peak program for residents. They do offer it and it sounds like it will save us money. Sounds like about $3 per mo. I feel like melissa… I want to constantly strive for savings where my hubby doesnt want to be “bothered” for $3. We will see. Thats $36 per yr!-i have strived to use my one heated stove burner while its already heated up. -we have recently found out that my hubby will be gettin disability thru veterans affairs. We finally heard that we should be gettin a yrs worth if back pay so we are thrilled!!- we fell off the frugal wagon once we heard this… Eating out 4 days in a row!! We r back on and jus try to keep moving fwd. -my daughter accepted some free clothes her friend was gettin rid of! Hooray for my baby-16!-i got a free undies offer from VS and i redeemed $25 gc for old navy/banana republic/ gap thru coke rewards. Free clothes!-my hubby installed 2 of our 3 new windows. So thankful for his abilities in almost all home repair or home improvement. -adriana

  15. Melissa. I feel the same way. I feel its my “job” to find the savings where we can. I wanna go gungho when we dont necessarily have to. It is such a balance to find what works seeing that we are all in diff places financially. But it sounds like u guys are constantly working at it together which is the most important part. -Adriana

  16. Hello all, and thank you for all your comments. I haven’t posted in a while, but have been trying to keep up with the reading and finding new inspiration and information through everyone’s posts.We found out this month that my husband’s department at work is being sold to another company. His last day is the 30th of June. I am going to try to do a better job of posting my frugal accomplishments, partly as a source of encouragement to myself. (There are some things about this situation that are a blessing in disguise.)Anyway, last week:- My mother treated me, my 8-year-old daughter and my sister’s family to a two-day excursion to an amusement park/waterpark and hotel stay. Meals and a couple treats were included. This had been planned for a while; she wanted to celebrate her 70th birthday this summer with some fun family time (her favorite ride is the bumper cars). 🙂 We brought breakfast food to eat at the hotel; we had leftovers that I ate for breakfasts later in the week.I found 26 cents on the amusement park grounds.- I received a $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks.- 8-year-old received a pass for a free swim at one of the city-owned pools at her swim lesson.- Used sunscreen purchased last year (according to the information I’ve found, it’s good for at least 18 months).- Brought home toiletry samples from hotel before they could be thrown out; am still using free samples of shampoo to wash my hair (I have a lot of free samples, and I don’t wash it every day)- Upon returning home, prepared meals with items on hand (spaghetti, shrimp-rice salad, tuna salad sandwiches); did not go grocery shopping last week- Treated bug bites with aloe from plant grown from a cutting from a friend- Mowed lawn with push mower (no gas required)- Daughter and I spent Saturday with free activities (husband was at work, as has been the case for most summer Saturdays for the past few years):- Took 2 bags of yard waste to city cleanup day for free disposal (a yard waste contract with our garbage hauler is $90/year, and we only have a couple of bags a couple of times a year)- Also took old, nonworking shop vacuum to city cleanup day- Had free lunch of hot dogs, chips and beverage at event- Daughter took in completed reading log to Barnes & Noble and got her free book from their summer reading program (She chose “The World According to Humphrey”)- Since it was close enough in time to her birthday, we were also able to use the B&N Kid’s Club birthday coupon for her to get a free cupcake from the cafe- Went to “the beach”: county park with a lake with boating and swimming options. Swam and played in the sand. Park and parking are free.- Attended evening performance of “Dr. Doolittle” musical in a city park (free). Brought a picnic so did not need to buy concessions. Most of the singers were very good. Eight-year-old thought the animals (child actors in costume) were funny, but found the love story part boring.

  17. This week was pretty good in terms of not buying much at the store. I’ve been trying to cut way back but its hard when you live in an apartment and can’t have your own garden. I looked into produce co-ops and the closest one was 16 miles away and if you add the price per pound of the produce to the fuel cost of getting there it makes the produce almost $1.75 per pound. I did find some good bargains at the store this week. I found mangos for $0.49 each and they are really large mangos, they weigh almost 2lbs each. I found raspberries for $1.50 per pound which I know isn’t the best price but raspberry jam is my husband’s favorite so I bought enough to make 4 cups worth of jam and froze it as a surprise for my husband. He discovered it when he opened the freezer the next time. I found frozen broccoli for $0.89 per pound. Probably the biggest frugal savings of the week was when we logged in to pay our powerbill for the first time in our new apartment and Duke Energy asked us if we wanted free light bulbs and of course we said yes. Fifteen energy efficient light bulbs arrived today!

  18. I didn’t know Dusty Miller flowered, either. Here it grows to about 8″ and is popular to put in pots and is an annual. Those red beans almost look like rhubarb. We have had goodly amounts of rain, over 4″ so far for June and about that same for May. Everything seems to be on schedule in the gardens and fields. Our pond and creeks are to the brim, but no flooding. My strawberry patch is coming along…there are actually 3 different kinds she said, and one is everbearing. We’ve harvested radishes, peas, lettuces, smallish kohlrabi. The girls went to the self serve strawberry farm and picked about 15 pounds at 1.45/lb. The fields were wet so picking was limited. They will go back for more. Everything else we grow is planted (oldest daughter has taken over) except the spinach did not come up. She’s going to start that over. She also started all our annual flowers from seed in the renovated greenhouse and my pots are lovely with Dusty Miller, white alyssum, yellow snap dragons and magenta, pink and purple petunias. Also picked cilantro, basil, and picked and dried more chives. Pulled rhubarb for a custard pie.Cooked from scratch except for going to a 90th birthday party for an uncle and using a gift certificate to local restaurant. Husband was clearing out his work desk and came across a $20 gift certificate that he received from a customer back in 1997. The restaurant said they would still accept it (handwritten…possibly before days of those plastic cards with exp. dates on them) so wehad a nice Mexican dinner. Made 2 loaves of white bread, a dozen hamburger buns, 10 pie crusts (put 9 in the freezer), an apple-peach crisp with last years fruit, a box angel food cake for strawberry shortcake, chickpea burgers, tuna filling to put on the buns for tuna melts, hummus. Canned 14 half pints of strawberry jam. Mended a bra with a broken “eye” on the back with an eye from a pack of hooks and eyes bought who knows when, but the whole set of 30 hooks and eyes was .28 (28 cents) list price on the card.The 60’s maybe? Daughter took one of my fabric scrap boxes and is braiding a rug for her room. It’s about 11″ across so far and looks nice and colorful. Have not had to use A/C much. Keep it set to 74F so comes on if gets to that temp. Humidity is always with us here in the summer and can even worse during canning season. We have only been over 80F twice so far. Yesterday was 83F, today we are back to 69F. This little house is pretty energy efficient…we have wide eave overhangs, ceiling fans, an attic fan that sucks out hot air and pulls in cool through the windows, and large shade trees. We also catch very nice breezes. Electricity went out during a storm Sunday night about 10p. We have a generator but didn’t see a reason to use it…we used flashlight headlamps (handy for camping etc). Youngest stayed up and said electricity came back on at 1:34 a. She played solitaire on the kindle and read a book while waiting.At grocer bought 2 boxes of bandaids with a .75 coupon doubled. Bought 2 cantaloupe for 4.00, 2 gallons of milk for 5.00, tortilla chips .79 after doubled coupon, 2 family size bags of regular potato chips for 3.00 after a doubled 1.00 coupon and sales on all. We eat potato chips in the summer rather than making homemade FF and heating up house.

  19. Guess I will start out with our garden. I picked a few tomatoes and some thyme. I planted a few sweet potato slips that I have been growing on the windowsill. Transplanted vinca seedlings. Started a garlic and two green onions we received with roots attached. Planted a pomegranate plant and ground cover rose that were deeply discounted at the nursery. Continuing to arrange shade and water attempting to keep plants going through the summer in the hope they will bloom and produce again. Bought a few different color vincas to plant. Repurposed mesh produce bags to protect hanging tomato plants from birds.Printed, clipped and loaded coupons to save at the grocery store. Completed surveys to increase the discount off the price of gasoline. Played a game and won a free can of cat food and one of dog food from the Kroger site. I think it is going for a while if anyone else is interested. Got a free 8×10 collage and two huge rolls of TP for $.07 at CVS.One daughter gave us 4 lovely crookneck squash and the other some celery, varied greens, a small melon and onion. She also gave us several packages of cream cheese and a few bagels left from an event. Sear points have enabled me to get a few more hand towels and washclothes for free.I so enjoy the encouragement and helpful ideas shared here!

  20. I love reading all these posts every week. They help keep me on track! We are having a busy but future-frugal month. This year we decided to move onto our lake- front land, that we hope to build on someday. So for the meantime we found a great deal on a mobile home that we could buy outright, and live humbly in until we can build. There are major expenses right now (well, electricity, driveway, etc) but we’ve situated them to be usable for the spot we will build on. The mobile home is offset so we can live in that while we build. We were gifted most of the blocks we needed for under the home. We repaired both doors, rather than replace. We got free steps/landing for the back door. We put in the boat lift we received free from a friend, needed only minor repairs. We installed the new dock using poles and hardware that we spent a grueling day last fall taking apart. We had visited a friend at a campground and saw the owners had removed the deteriorated docks and tosses them in the weeds. The metal poles and hardware were fine and are the most expensive thing. We asked if they wanted them cleared out of there and they said yes! We think for what we got, we saved about $1,000. On a metal recycling pile we found a perfectly good mailbox that just needed cleaning, a barrel for burning, and 3 nice metal decorations. There are some very affluent homeowners in our area and it’s amazing to me what they consider junk! More regular frugal things, but that’s it for big things.

  21. We made the switch to Aldi as our main grocery source about a year ago. I’ve found it consistently easier to meet our targetted grocery amount each month since then. Here of late we’re making even deeper switches and shopping at other stores about 1 time a pay period (2x a month). I don’t buy meat there only because their chicken has carageenan in it. I am allergic to carageenan (had to give up all but whole milk because it’s very prevalent in milk products such as cream, half and half, yogurt). We buy our beef from a butcher that is about 50 miles away. It’s good premium grass fed beef for a decent price which we buy quarterly. We’ve cut back on groceries about as far as my husband is willing to go but it’s still about half what we’d been paying, so I’ve no complaints whatsoever.

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