White Garden in October The Prudent Homemaker

The temperature dropped ten degrees, making for perfect planting weather.

I sowed seeds for lettuce (from ones collected from my garden), white alpine strawberries and pansies.

I harvested Swiss chard, Armenian cucumbers, pomegranates, pears, oregano, rosemary, thyme and chives from the garden.

We had a rain storm pass through. I turned off all of the sprinklers and drip lines to save water. I love the rare rains we get, and it’s even nicer when they come on my assigned watering days!

The temperature dropped below 90º, so I turned off our air conditioners for the year.

I spent more time cleaning and organizing the pantry. I planned meals using what we had on hand.

We put money in savings. 

I rounded up our mortgage payment and paid a little extra towards our principal. 


What did you do to save money last week?


My Gift a Day series starts tomorrow! Be sure to visit again this week to see what I’m making for Christmas! To see past years’ projects, click here,

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  1. I was able to stock up on some items at Costco with the rest of October’s grocery money, including butter for a little over $2 per pound. I’ve been looking for a good price on butter for a while now, as I was getting low, and was delighted to find it there for a great price.

    I took my daughter and niece on an “international” field trip close to home.
    I wrote about it and my savings on my blog https://beckyathome.wordpress.com

    I am looking forward to seeing some of the gifts you make, especially if you come up with some good ones for men. I always love that series. I also love seeing what you do for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. We do that most years, and plan to do it this year as well, but are not as far along with the project as you are. I hope to make some progress on that this week.

  2. My husband and I don’t usually exchange gifts. We both have rather specific wants and find it easier to just order what each of us wants on our own.

    I am giving my parents a pot filled with succulents as a gift for both of them.

    We did talk about some gifts for men in the comments section of last week’s Frugal Accomplishments post; there were quite a few suggestions there that might help you with some ideas.

  3. Brandy I am THRILLED for you that you were able to put some $ into savings and also put some extra towards the principal payment! What a good feeling 🙂

  4. Lovely yard Brandy! I saved money by doing the usual, taking my lunch to work, not eating out, etc. I did spend much more than I usually do at the grocery store, $30, to stock up on fresh vegetables such as russet potatoes, cabbage, sweet potatoes, a lot of tomatoes on sale, spaghetti squash, acorn squash,a bag of sweet onions on sale, bread that was on sale for a $1, turnip greens, turnips, sour cream. I fix the turnip greens kind of in an untraditional way for the deep South. Instead of using cornbread, I put the turnip greens over rice and let the “pot likker”, as we call the soupy water we cook the greens in, seep over the rice. I flavor the rice and the greens with cayenne pepper, garlic, black pepper sea salt. I top the dish with hot pepper sauce (which is traditional) and with chopped onions and sour cream. I hope I do not have to spend any more on groceries this month (I have a pantry of dry and canned goods) except for Thanksgiving. I think all I will have to buy for Thanksgiving is sour cream, some more potatoes, and the turkey. I feed five family members for Thanksgiving, all of them grown men except me…lol. I did more cleaning and sorting in my house and have enjoyed using my mother’s crystal and china, after getting it out of storage. We are having a record heat and drought in the deep South and I have enjoyed not having my air conditioner on at all. My electric bill was $43 this past month! I, too, keep my air off, once the temp drops below 90 degrees. I think I saved more every month by what I do not do. I do not go on unnecessary trips, I only go to visit relatives, work, and church, and go grocery shopping along the way, so as to save on gas. So, I feel like I am not doing anything special, since this is a way of life for me but I guess it does help with saving money. Since all my extra cash goes to help relatives who are unemployed, have health issues, and are having a hard time, I am grateful I am able to bless them.

  5. Not a very frugal week as I had surgery so husband ordered food to eat in my hospital room instead of cooking at home. We also had to board our dogs because they are a giant breed and most homes are not set up to maintain a 165 and a 145 pound dogs. I did see a huge sale on butter–$1.75 a pound! Husband agreed to shop for butter at least. While in the hospital I read an absolutely terrific young adult book that was on the book cart. It is called The War That Saved My Life and is geared for girls about 10 to 14. Set in England at the time of WW II, it is the story of a young teen who has been kept locked in a room by a mother ashamed of the child’s club foot. For the first time the girl sees the world outside her room when she is evacuated to rural England to escape the bombings and not only discovers life but also the love of a benign caretaker (her mother was not benign I n an sense of the word). The book is a great vehicle for teaching not only history but about moving beyond trauma. I have been recommending this book to all my friends with children because it really is terrific. It won the Newberry Award for children’s literature and I can see why. Sorry, I know the topic is not on frugality (although I did read it for free!) but I know these days it is hard to find a good story for a teen; so many books for kids are too graphic for my tastes.

  6. I also love the gift a day series!

    Because this week was so busy, I didn’t grocery shop, so we ate from our freezer and pantry.
    I did buy half off candy (good quality chocolates) for my sons’ cub scout pack to throw during the Halloween parade. We had a busy weekend. School party Friday for my sons, Trick or treat (here it is always the last Friday in October), a homecoming game and tailgate and an adult costume party. Whew! Today my girls have a trick or treat party at school. It is on the grounds of a convent so they trick or treat the nuns!

    Thanks to your suggestion, Brandy. I bought 300 bulbs to plant from Van Engelen. Now to plant them. My rooting roses are doing fairly well.

    We’ve had crazy hot and cool weather. Today is in the low 40s and yesterday it was 79! Allergies are rampant here. I’ve turned over all my garden plots before our first hard freeze Weds. I made green tomato salsa with all of our harvested green tomatoes and extra from my neighbor’s garden. I was able to gift salsa to our friend at the farm stand and my neighbor as a thank you.

    Here is the recipe: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2016/10/end-harvest-green-tomato-salsa/
    There is a question about canning on the blog and I would love comments about your favorite thing to can.

    Have a great week everyone!

  7. Bravo! Sounds like winter is slowly coming in. 
    This week:

    1. I made a few meals with ingredients we had on hand. Granted, some of them didn’t turn out very well, but it was worth trying!
    2. I cut up leeks for stew and put the roots in water to see if they’ll grow back. I successfully regenerated a bunch of green onions, which I potted and placed on our patio. We won’t be running out of green onions any time soon!
    3. Mr. Picky Pincher is fixing our A/C unit himself instead of calling a repairman. Hopefully the issue isn’t too complex, because if that’s the case, we’ll need to call a repairman. Boo!
    4. We’ve been so busy that we forgot to plan our Halloween costumes. Mr. Picky Pincher bought a cheap tweed jacket and tie at the thrift store and will be the “ALIENS” guy from Ancient Aliens. I whipped out an old Renaissance Fair headdress that I paired with tons of glitter for my wood nymph outfit. Hey, it was cheap, so it works. We also used a lot of coupons for Halloween candy, so we saved about $5 on stuff we were going to buy anyway.
    5. Speaking of coupons, I saved $25 at the grocery store thanks to coupons. It was awesome!
    6. We’re putting a pumpkin (that we got for free!) out on our porch for Halloween. Tomorrow, however, we’ll peel and roast the pumpkin for eating. Yum!
    7. I picked chile piquins from our back yard and am drying them in a cloth bag in our guest closet. In a few weeks we’ll have dried chiles for tacos and salsa!

  8. I stocked up on canola oil at a great price and black peppercorns on sale. (I try to use pepper instead of salt wherever I can to help keep my blood pressure down.)

    I also found fish sticks at the grocery store I went to for these sale prices. My regular store doesn’t stock them. I like the taste and that they are low calorie and very inexpensive compared to meat. They are great when I want something easy to prepare, too.

    A coworker at one of my part-time jobs gave me 20 lb of potatoes and five small spaghetti squash from her garden. I gave her some honey crisp apples that I got when I was in the city last week. We can’t get them in my village.

  9. I always look forward to your gift posts — so inspiring.
    This week I did some mending and sewing — made some pot holders, a notebook cover and a zip bag.
    We ate lettuce, chard, bok choy, peas and the last of the carrots from the garden.
    Had enough iBotta points for a $25 Target GC.
    My husband made me a cold frame from scrap wood and some plexi-glass a neighbor gave us.
    We’re working on eating more vegetables and less meat. I had a package with 3 chicken thighs and made 3 meals from it — chicken fried rice, chicken nachos and chicken pad Thai. The nachos and pad thai had enough leftovers for lunch the next day. Every Tuesday night is now soup night at our house, so that’s another opportunity for a satisfying meatless or less-meat meal.
    I hope everyone has a good week!

  10. Those greens sound so good. I planted collards this fall and the voles got them, and then I was unable to find more seeds. Guess I will have to buy some. Nothing like a mess of greens — and serving them over rice sounds good — I love them with sour cream.

  11. I love the garden picture.
    This week might prove to be expensive — it depends on what my husband discovers when he pulls the well pump apart. It quit running last night and it’s definitely the motor, impeller, or whole pump, not just stuck points or anything simple like that. We’re hoping he just has to put in a new impeller or motor, but if it’s the whole pump, we’re looking at over $400. Hiring someone to do it would cost even more, so he’s going to replace it himself, even though his health isn’t good. In the old days, he did this kind of thing easily.
    Bless him, though, for climbing in and out of the pump house with his bad leg and breathing problems, and tackling this big task.
    What did we do to save money, other than that:
    I printed out coupons from Swagbucks and have used $4.50 of them already on stuff I was going to have to buy anyway — coffee and razors.
    I’m drying herbs I cut from the garden.
    I’m making herbal culinary oil for a gift.
    We didn’t eat lunch out while shopping for groceries in a town an hour from home — we bought food that can be used as a snack as well as for later and nibbled on that while shopping.
    I’m using free samples of all-natural laundry detergent.
    It took four tries, but I finally conquered a mystery grease stain on a good shirt. It’s wearable again.
    We’ve been without rain for a month, but it means I can hang out all of my laundry except bedspreads. They are too heavy for me to hang.

  12. Oooh, your white garden looks amazing!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – received $5 from Pine Cone research into my paypal account
    – used my Starbucks card from Swagbucks to buy myself a caffeinated drink one morning before work, when I had to get up way too early for my liking. A little treat goes a long way!
    – made buttermilk biscuits using my homemade yoghurt
    – made Greek-style yoghurt, and posted the recipe on my blog (sooo much cheaper than buying Greek yoghurt. Plus, I get to use the (protein-rich) whey in baking and smoothies! 
    – served cream of vegetable/celery soup for dinner several nights in a row, switching things up slightly: one night I served it with homemade buttermilk biscuits (leftovers used for lunch the next day), and the next night I served it with grilled cheese croutons. Both times it was delicious!
    – bought turnips for 1.97 for 5 lbs.
    – redeemed a coupon for a free cookie
    – made potato au gratin using potatoes that I bought super-cheaply a while ago
    – had a “lunch and learn” at work, so…free pizza lunch! And there were leftovers, so I had a free pizza dinner too. 
    – I had a gift certificate from a local beauty salon, with just under $13 dollars on it (which I had bought online for 20 percent off), so I went for my once-a-year salon manicure, but only purchased a polish change, as opposed to a full manicure. Because the beauty salon was celebrating their 10 year anniversary, I also got a paraffin wax hand treatment included, and a gift certificate for a free eyebrow threading at a future date. Plus several servings of dessert! I had to turn down the wine offered as I was on my lunch hour. So, for $13 (although I had actually paid 20 % less), I got a paraffin hand treatment, a polish change, an eyebrow threading, and dessert, and that includes the tip. A salon manicure is a bit of an extravagance, but for my once-a-year treat to myself, I think I got the best value that I could!
    – took a friend out for coffee using my Starbucks card from Swagbucks. The barista gave us her employee discount, so it was 50% off! Neither my friend or I would go to Starbucks if we had to pay for it ourselves, so it was a nice treat and gave us a chance to catch up (plus, it the discount stretched my gift card that much further – whoohoo!)
    – a colleague brought in some food to work that she couldn’t finish up – very handy, as it became my lunch!
    – redeemed Swagbucks for 2 x $5 Starbucks gift cards. I plan to use them to buy a $10 gift card from Starbucks to give to my sister as a thank you for a favour that she is doing me.
    – took another friend out for coffee using my Starbucks card from Swagbucks. These rewards cards are totally subsidizing my social life!
    – my mom gave me a hand cream that she was gifted but didn’t want. Perfect timing as I had just used up my hand cream at work, to the point of cutting open the container to get the last bit out. (Did that with a face cream container at home too.) I saved the gauzy wrapping and ribbon to use another time.
    – wrapped a gift for a friend using ribbons saved from gifts given to me
    – got a ride from my mom to a grocery store, so I was able to stock up on milk for the next few weeks, to turn into yoghurt. I think I should be good for a month now!

    Can’t wait to read about everyone else’s achievements!

  13. Hello Brandy and everyone 🙂 .

    We too have been blessed to have rain on a number of our scheduled garden watering days and not turned ours on twice this week. So great to hear that you are paying a little extra on your mortgage and are increasing your savings as well.

    Here is our frugal accomplishments –

    Major financial accomplishments –

    – Saved 60.56% of our combined after tax income in the month of October to add to our saving for our home with cash fund.
    – Earned $30.50 from the sale of saved seeds from our gardens.
    – Earned $50 profit from my internet sewing shops and purchased a few types of solar lanterns and two glass chopping boards for our kitchen.

    Kitchen –
    – Cut and froze excess strawberries from the gardens.
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Used freshly picked vegetables and berries from the gardens for all meals.

    In the garden –

    – Picked strawberries, turnips, peas and silver beet from the gardens.
    – Separated strawberry runners and made another new large patch in the gardens.

    Power usage –

    – Working on doing most tasks during the day to save turning on excess lights in the evenings.
    – Using hand cranked torches at night rather than turning on lights. We are only putting on one light in the house at night now.
    – Doing all our washing at night in cheaper electricity times.

    Water usage –

    – Saved 939.8lts of town water by not watering the vegetable gardens due to rain.
    – Used saved grey water from showers and washing machines to water all the house lawns and new grass seed sprouting in the lawns.

  14. I have to confess that my husband and I just get each other what we want (or he gets it himself–he’s the better shopper of the two of us). I have a couple of brother-in-laws and a nephew that I get a little something for.

    One thing I do make for men and women alike is caramel corn. It is so delicious and frugal, but takes some time to make, so is a nice, appreciated gift. It’s also a nice addition to a family basket gift, or a gift for those at my husband’s work. (I know things have changed for us, so I don’t know if he even wants to take a little gift for his co-workers or not this year, but I know him, and he usually does.)

    Succulents are a great idea for anyone!

  15. I have been very lucky lately that my mom is in cleaning and decluttering mode as she is passing things on to me that I can use for hosting Christmas dinner. She gave me some silverware, an ice bucket, serving spoons and two canisters that match my kitchen. Anything I don’t want or need I will pass on or put in a yard sale box. Other things we’ve done over the last two weeks:

    -I picked up free bread and salad dressing at the grocery store
    -my husband was gifted a free ticket to a pro football game. Tickets for this game were being sold for hundreds of dollars. A big treat indeed!
    -I used a gift card to treat my 2 boys and I to lunch at McDonalds.
    -my husband and I enjoyed two movie nights at home. We spent less than I had planned for dates this month so we rolled the money into our “family fun” category.
    -I got Halloween candy at Toys R Us for 50% off while I was doing some early Christmas shopping.
    -We will finish the month of October within budget!

    Have a wonderful week.

  16. Our landlord stopped over as we had a overhead light not working right and he told us he changed our electric provider to lower our rates by 1/4th. While here I mentioned we were going to town to get LED bulbs and he said for me to grab whatever light I wanted for the one that wasn’t working and he would take it off the rent (which is due this week) and to grab paint if it wasn’t going to cover the same area. THEN he suggested I grab a second overhead to replace the light in the butler’s pantry because it doesn’t work right in the winter due to it being cool in that area.Plus it would help lower our electric. THEN he decided we should get a couple cans of Great Stuff while at it and take the molding off the front door and put it in there because he was going to do that this summer and didn’t get to it. :D. We don’t mind doing the work, he works with us when times are hard and doesn’t charge anything extra if the rent is a few days late, half the time we have to hunt him down to even pay it, he says he knows where we live. 😉
    I found a recipe to make apple cider syrup and can it that I am trying to make today. I usually spend $50 plus this time of year stocking up on it. I use it in place of pancake syrup a lot.Figure it is healthier.?

    I started working on Christmas to go right along with working on Tday dinner.

    The rest can be found here http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2016/10/last-week-of-october.html

  17. I did all of the normal things I do to save money. It has been a ‘spending’ week here as David has to have cataract surgery. The copay is not cheap.
    I keep looking for a sale on butter. So far have not found one. I need to stock up.
    I too look forward to the ‘gift a day’ series. I have been working on making felt food for gifts for the little girls in our family and the daycare girls. All have little kitchens but no play food. I have got some patterns free off the internet and some things I just figured out on my own. I have made several sets of breakfast foods, (pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast, and orange slices) lunch foods, (bread, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, bologna, chips, cookies, banana) supper, (chicken legs or steak, mashed potatoes , baked potatoes, or fries, broccoli, green beans, carrots, rolls, and pie) I also made animal crackers and an assortment of other cookies. It is a fun thing to do while I watch TV at night.
    Found a pattern to turn a man’s shirt into a woman’s peasant blouse. I made one from one of David’s old shirts. Looks great with jeans. I have 2 more shirts that I am going to remake. (he cleaned his closet out and did not want these shirts any more as he thought they were too bright)
    I wish it would cool down here. It is going to be in the 90’s today. No rain in several weeks now. I want to plant a few things but so far I have not done it. Lazy I guess. I need to get it done.

  18. Brandy: Your white garden looks beautiful! Your gardening success makes me brave enough to try new plants/seeds every year. Thank you! I’m VERY excited about your gift-a-day series. Thank you for all you do.

    How we stayed frugal this week:
    * We decorated the house for Halloween using the decor I’ve had since before we had kids. And many of them came from the $1 store or yard sales.
    * I made all the kids costumes or had them choose ones we’d bought in previous years. My daughter is Wonder Woman (using scraps of material from previous projects), my son is a knight (using items from the kids’ dress-up-clothes basket) and my youngest was Superman (using a costume I’d bought at a yard sale for $5 several years ago. Her brother used it one year, my husband used it another and even I had a turn using it. But I called myself “super Mom” not Superman.)
    * My 4th child is due in less than 6 weeks, and we’ve managed to saved up more than enough $ to cover expenses for the 6 weeks my husband will be off to help with the baby. (I’m a SAHM and so don’t have an income).
    * It was my birthday! We celebrated at home with family. My husband made a ham dinner. It was lovely! For dessert we had ice cream (so I didn’t need to bake) and strawberries (which were on sale $1.88/lb! I don’t remember them being on sale in October before).
    * My Mom wanted to take me maternity shopping for my birthday. We tried a few stores in the mall and were sorely disappointed. I said, “They have better selection at the second hand store.” Off we went! My Mom bought me 3 items that cost less than 1 at a retail store. I also got new long-sleeve shirts for my youngest and my Mom got new winter boots. She’d been looking everywhere for this exact kind! They cost her only $5.

    How we “messed up” frugality:
    * Every year I like to purchase the 50% candy and save it for the next Halloween or Christmas. Last year I must have forgotten! I had no candy in the entire house! So we ran out to the store and paid full price for what was available – and it wasn’t that great. It felt like spending a fortune! That will NOT happen again. (Side note: Never store candy in your attic. It gets very hot up there and will melt all your candy – even the hard stuff – over the summer months. Store candy in a dark dry place in sealed plastic tubs/containers. I like to store ours in our cold storage. It keeps very well. Even chocolate.)


  19. Happy Halloween everyone.

    I had a good frugal week. I puttered around my sewing room and my kitchen and crossed several items off my To Do list.

    I obtained food for free including eggs from my mom’s chickens, carrots from my garden, more apples, and ugly limes from work. I will put these all to good use.

    I turned in enough recyclable cans to buy a bag of potatoes.

    I also gave away a lot of food. I need to make space in my freezer so I made some soup for my mom and found some other items to pass on to her and another friend who recently lost her job.

    Have a great week every one.

  20. How amazing that you were able to put money in saving and pay a little extra on the mortgage this month, Brandy! I’m sure that felt really good, too. Can’t wait to see what you are making this year for Christmas. I don’t have as many gifts to make this year, as I was able to buy several cheaply during boxing day sales last year. However, I need motivation to get started on making the ones I do want to make for. What a beautiful picture of the white garden all in bloom, too!

    As I mentioned in the comments, my husband booked our family trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco this week. It’s not a frugal accomplishment but is a definite check off my travel bucket list. We did save money by choosing to travel during off peak season. Also, we had discussed flying into L.A. and flying out of San Francisco, but ended up changing our minds when we realized it would cost $800 more to do that. So we will drive the long, scenic route up the California coast over 2-3 days, then drive 5 hours back on the highway (I think you call it the Freeway or Turnpike, not sure which). We will be taking collapsible coolers with us and will buy groceries for making breakfast/lunches to save money as well.

    This week, my frugal acccomplishments include:
    *My daughter planted some basil seed during one of the summer camps she attended. To our surprise, the plant actually thrived, though not a big plant. I harvested leaves and made it into a small amount of pesto to see if my family actually likes it.
    *Our entire family participated in a survey this week and received a total of $8 compensation for our efforts!
    *I walked 4 times around our neighbourhood this week for some free exercise. We had some gross kind of snow/ice pellets with high winds and below freezing temps this week…yuck… not walking in that!:(
    *Meals made at home this week included ham steaks with noodles & sauce sidekicks and broccoli, cream of chicken and vegetable soup with homemade bread, and homemade macaroni & cheese casserole with green beans and salad. Three nights this week I had to eat early before attending something at my work, so the family was on their own for dinner those nights. I am happy to report they did not starve!:o
    *I’ve learned a new trick this year to convince my daughter to take soup in her school lunch. In order to take soup, I have to heat up a kettle of water and pour it into the insulated soup thermos to heat it up. With the remaining hot water, I make up an insulated travel mug of hot chocolate for her to take as well (she drinks it in the AM on the way to school). She says the hot chocolate is what makes taking soup in her lunch the best!;)
    *Awesome grocery deals this week included a cantalope on clearance for $1, a bag of clearance bananas for $0.30/lb (normally $o.59/lb), 4kg of white sugar for $3, 12 tins of corn @ 3/$1, a 6lb bag of apples for $3.99 (loose apples on sale was $0.97/lb), 4 large cheddar sausages @ $1 each, and 4 packs of breakfast sausages @ $2/pack. I used my PC points for $20 worth of free groceries.
    *I canned 2 pints and 5 half pints of apple syrup this week from the boiled and strained apple peeling/core liquids I made on Sunday. I was again trying for apple jelly, but it just wouldn’t set, no matter how long I boiled it. My conclusion is that either the type of apples I used (MacIntosh) didn’t have as much pectin or the amount of sugar I was using wasn’t enough to get it to set (1 1/2 cups sugar to 4 cups apple liquid). Oh well, it still tastes amazing as apple syrup and I’m learning by experience!;)
    *Made a batch of chocolate chip banana bran muffins to snack on and to take in lunches.
    *Roasted the pumpkin seeds from our jack-o-lantern for a yummy free treat!
    *Worked 2 days this week, which means a small paycheck…yay!
    *Frugal Fail: I managed to leave my car interior lights on and drained it completely. That’s the second time recently I did it, so now I need a new battery. Hope that stupidity is done now.:p

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your frugal ideas. I am so inspired and learn so much every week here. Hope you all have a great week!:D

  21. Hi Brandy!!

    Last week I:
    – planned meals based around what we hand in the pantry and freezers.
    – I saved all of my errands for one specific day. I saved a lot on has doing that, at least half a tank. We live 40 miles from the city.
    – I quit running the air conditioner. Our days don’t get above 85, and our night’s have been around 55. Once it get a too cold we’ll start using the fireplace to avoid using central heat. It cost more to run the heat than the A.C.
    – I hung our blankets outside on the clothesline to dry, saving us at least $4 on the electric bill by avoiding the dryer.
    – I made sure to file Homestead Exemption, Agriculture Property Use, and Owner Occupied Residence in order to save some money on next year’s property taxes. This has to be done by December 1 every year, otherwise we face a huge spike in our taxes. No thanks, we pay enough taxes! Lol
    – I started saving water run-off from the dishes I handwash. We dont have a water bill, but we do have a well that pumps water to our house from the bottom of the hill. So even though we dont pay for water, we do pay for the electricity to run the well.
    – We’re only running the pool pump at night vs the day because the pump doesn’t get hot running during the night due to the cooler weather. We noticed a drop in electricity usage by doing that. Quite a bit of savings, actually.

  22. Excited for your Gift a Day series, I love looking at your lovely handiwork even if I can’t sew myself.

    I found that my local thrift store has an amazing collection of pre-owned halloween costumes but sadly, this year my little brother wanted a homemade costume, which ended up costing more. But next year! Additionally…I got my car washed only to have it rain two days later! So overall, not a very frugal week haha.

  23. So excited for your gift a day series as well! We’ve been sick here at my house, but I didn’t have to buy anything because I had everything in my pantry :).
    We ate at home all week and I took my meals to work from home. I drank water and made my coffee at home.
    I did not shop this week.
    Otherwise just the usual frugal stuff, mainly staying home and not spending money.
    Have a great week everyone!

  24. It sounds like so much fun just making all the felt food. I’m sure the little girls will enjoy your gifts.

  25. I love that garden! So pretty. This week we moved in our brand new king size bedroom set hand-me-down! It was an expensive week because in addition to having to buy a mattress and boxspring, we bought a treadmill. I’ve been running through my last pregnancy and this one and our treadmill finally broke- I had been trying to run outside, but that’s tough to do since I often run before my son wakes up. We did manage to make it as cheap as we could, though- the mattress and boxspring came from the Sears Outlet store when they had an extra 13% off sale, and then I also paid for it using Sears giftcards purchased through raise.com for an extra 7% off. For the treadmill, we went to a local shop and asked if he could do any better than the list price if we paid cash, and we got 6% off! The shop owner was amazed we paid cash- he told us it was such a smart idea to ask and that usually people financed them.

    Beyond the spendy-ness above, we sold the old treadmill (someone still wanted it!) and some baby items we didn’t need on Craigslist. I stopped at the neighboring town’s community kids yard sale and bought two bags of baby girl clothes, a pair of the size up Stride Rites for my son, and a pair of snowboots for him as well. We ate meals at home including lots of left overs, washed cloth diapers and dried them on a drying rack, and I made sure to run Swagbucks videos while I worked on the computer. I’m starting to come up with Christmas gift ideas and can’t wait for the Gift a day series!

  26. Put up applesauce for the youngest granddaughter in half pint jars

    Cut & stewed more tomatoes, then put them up as sauce for the pantry.

    Moved more of the Lodgestones from a raised bed to the back perimeter, before we received the estimate from the fencing company to move the side fences forward. They want over $900 to move less than 40 feet of fence, less than 10 feet forward, reusing the panels & a gate. I don’t think so! The fence will not be moving, if it moves at all, before spring. At that price, I could buy all new fencing & install it myself, & come out ahead. The Lodgestones can stay where they are for now, since that “priority” just dropped to the bottom of the list of things to do.

    Raked up the leaves that had fallen before the storm train hit us & crammed them into a bag, which I tied shut & placed on the garden, in front of the grape arbor, where it won’t be likely to blow away. When all the root vegetables are dug, I can dig in those leaves to break down over the winter for fertilizer next year.

    On garbage day, there was about a foot of space in the top of the can that was not filled, so I pulled the frosted rhubarb leaves & stalks from one of my crowns, & used those to fill the space before the pickup. As long as I plan, I can avoid having to pay for a 2nd garbage can.

    Completed knitting the Christmas mittens. I need to add the overstitched snowflakes to the front of 2 of the pairs, but then they are all ready to wrap.

    Bought the cream colored lace curtains for the dining room window. They are only sold in 84” & 63”, so I bought one extra 84” panel & cut it to size to make 4 valances for the window to go in front of the curtains. Completed 3 of the 4 valances so far, & have hung up 2 of them.

    Cashed another pine cone check. Bought 2 of the “old” blue Ball quart jars at the thrift store (for 50 cents each!), 8 half pint jars for 25 cents each & one tall jelly jar for 25 cents. I also bought 12 Duplo blocks that were loose on the toy aisle for 75 cents. On another day, picked up 14 half pint jars & a quarter pint jar, for 25 cents each, along with a small metal tin to hold the cocoa packets for my granddaughters “tea party” birthday present below.

    Finished “cute-ifying” the box containing a little strawberry tea set that is the birthday present for one of our younger granddaughters with a birthday in November. Since they live clear across the country, I will be mailing the Christmas & birthday presents, all in one apple box, each wrapped in appropriate paper. I “prefit” everything to be sure they will all fit, & intend to mail that box no later than Nov 1st. The tea set is breakable, but came in a box with appropriate Styrofoam holes shaped for each part of the set. I used school glue to bond the piece of Styrofoam that went on top, between the little dishes & the lid of the cardboard box, to the underside of the cardboard lid. I cut & sewed a fabric cover for the rest of the box & used hot glue to bind it to the outside of the box. It looks like a little fabric covered suitcase now, & she will be getting a few packets of Koolaid lemonade & hot cocoa along with the tea set. I found a little metal “gift card” presentation box at Kmart for $2, & bought it to hold the Koolaid packets. It holds 8 of them: 4 pink lemonade & 4 strawberry lemonade.

    We had a good rain shower this week that lasted over half an hour, for which I was grateful. The trees & bushes all needed it.

    Early voting started Tuesday. I voted about an hour after the polls opened, saving time by not having to stand in line for hours.

    Paid our property taxes that were due the end of November.

  27. Roxie, another idea for play food is the plastic fruit at Dollar Tree. Each piece is a dollar and they usually have several types. You can also save them certain empty containers like that from oatmeal or jello etc, just seal them up again. Hope this helps.

  28. Brandy, how fantastic that you are able to add money to savings and add to the mortgage! Definitely good news and I am very happy for you to have abundance right now.

    We received an insurance check for vehicle damage, my husband is very good at repairs and can do them himself and we will bank the extra portion. We also had a friend call us last week, he is interested in our travel trailer (which we bought used but never find time or energy to use) so this week maybe that sale will go through. Ended October spending $125 on groceries, and am making great progress on emptying the freezer. After a two week vacation, it was wonderful to eat at home all last week, the food was better and already paid for! Made bread twice, freezing two slices per freezer bag, so that we can use it as needed. Made pumpkin pie (for the first time ever) and it was fantastic! Although I bought store bought pastry and canned pumpkin, it was still cheaper than pie on sale and tasted twice as good. Next skill will be finding a good crust recipe.

    On the costly side, our air conditioner stopped working, and after paying $300, it is working again but we have a leak…which will cost another $500-700 to fix. So we are looking around for other estimates and hope the leak is slow enough we will not run out of refrigerant/freon before we find someone. The AC unit was new three years ago…turns out warranty only covers parts, which, of course, are almost zero percent of the final cost of repairs. Grrr.

    Second costly item is healthcare! Oh my, I checked on my 2017 monthly health care costs for next year, the premium, just for me, is $1,008 per month, and in Phoenix, there is only one insurance company offering a plan! My costs this year were $550 and I thought that was criminal. Rates aren’t official until tomorrow, so this might just be a website error but somehow I don’t think so. Sigh. Not sure if others have had sticker shock too.

  29. I was very excited to see new pictures of your front yard, the ‘white garden’. I am just so thrilled to see how the garden has filled out and looks so beautiful.
    I went to the garden for some pac choi. I still have more pac choi growing as well as kale, beets and turnip. Otherwise, the garden is put to bed for the winter. I don’t know if the community garden space is frugal or not, really. But I love it and I eat better when I grow my own produce.
    I stayed home a few days last week. I continue to not go out to eat but have been making all my meals at home. I did have to turn the heat on a few weeks ago. However, I also rehung my ‘winter’ thermal drapes to help keep the draft out. I do lower the heat in most of my apartment during the evening. I only heat my tv room and keep the rest of the apartment cooler.
    Looking forward to your gift making ideas. Cheers,

  30. So, today I did a focus group interview for 90 minutes (less than 10 minutes from my home) and was paid $100 in cash! Immediately deposited it into our bank account to pay down medical bills!
    As I was cleaning the garden for fall/winter, I took a closer look at the green beans that I planted 5 weeks ago with my 2 cent seed packets from Dollar General. To my surprise and delight, there was almost a gallon bucket full of green beans which we loved with our dinner that night! There were enough leftover beans for another night!!
    For our church chili cook off, i used canned pumpkin that I needed to rotate out of my storage, home canned black beans and reduced round steak from my freezer. I made chocolate peanut butter cookies with broken up pretzel pieces to take as a dessert. The pretzels were leftovers in a bag and weren’t as crispy as we like, but they were great in the cookies!!
    I finished the twin size quilt for Christmas for 1 granddaughter and have another one ready to wilt for another teenage granddaughter. No OOP cost for either!
    Made more freezer meals- they always come in handy!
    All the usual frugal tasks here this week!

  31. Hi Rhonda – great “marketing” to get your daughter to eat soup in her school lunch. I also used to boil water to heat up my son’s thermos. Two other ideas to put in the thermos are mac & cheese and cut up hot dogs. Both stayed hot until my son’s lunch period.

  32. Too funny! I had a good chuckle. we just bought a new IPad for me and a new computer for my husband: ours are old and we can’t get upgrades anymore. (What a monopoly!) Today, my husband’s car started acting up and it sounds like it may be the transmission. So, not frugal here, either!

  33. I got some of the plastic fruit at Dollar Tree. I put that away too. I am making some Christmas gifts for my cousin Jerry’s grand daughter. Jerry just learned he has cancer for the 2nd time. He is very depressed. I try hard to talk to him and lift his spirits etc. Jerry is a good man, I think of him as the older brother I never had. He lost his wife last year to cancer. Money is very tight for him right now as he is still paying for his wife’s medical bills and now he has HIS medical bills…His grand daughter (his only grand child) is 4 and loves to play tea party with her grandpa. When Jerry learned I am making felt food for my daycare kids he asked me to make a set for his grand daughter.
    I save all the containers I get from the daycare children’s food. I cover them with scrap fabric or felt and make cookie jars etc. Some hold other things like felt chips. I love making this stuff. I got several patterns FREE off the internet and it is just the cost of the felt. It is 23 cents a sheet at Walmart. I used a coupon at Joanne’s to get a yard of felt to make several bags for ‘grocery store’ play. I have a step 2 grocery cart in the play room so grocery store is a favorite game the kids play too. I used a gift card today to buy a pattern for felt ‘paper dolls’ today. It was $5.00 and came with boy and girl patterns. I will make this for the kids too. Two of the girls have birthdays in Nov. and Dec.

  34. Hilogene, making your own pumpkin puree is extremely easy to do. Pie or sugar pumpkins (the small ones) in our area cost around $1-2 each, but sometimes cheaper or even free after Halloween. There are recipes and tutorials on the web with several methods to try. I like to cut up the pumpkin like you would a melon, scrape the seeds out, peel the outside skin off and cook the flesh in a pot on the stove with a tiny bit of water, much like you would for making applesauce. Once it’s cooked, you can mash it or use a hand blender to puree it. Packaged in pre-measured amounts (1 or 2 cups works well for most recipes) for the freezer makes it very easy to pull for any recipe. I have to say, homemade pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin pure is a whole other level of awesomeness! I often get the same amount as 2 or more cans of pumpkin from just one pie pumpkin, making it a much cheaper option too.

  35. I can’t wait for your gift a day posts!

    I had enough Kelloggs reward points to get a $5 Lowe’s gift card. I will put this towards more plants. I got the points by entering free codes.

    Free in the mail – a survival kind of tool from Marlboro. We don’t smoke but I do sign up for the freebies they offer. So far in the last few months, I’ve gotten 2 different survival tools and a deck of cards which I put away for stocking stuffers.

    I picked a small bowl of everglades tomatoes. I replanted squash seeds since the others weren’t doing well, I had pulled them. I fertilized the blueberry bushes (late doing this) and the bananas. I placed an order for a low chill miniature apple tree and a dwarf mulberry bush. I planted 25 strawberry plants.

    I got a coke cap with rewards points out of the garbage can at work.

    We finished our fence project – adding a picket fence to divide our yard and the neighbor on one side. I stained the privacy fence and half the picket fence. I will try to do a bit each night after work to finish staining.

    Have a great week everyone!

  36. Roxie, I made fancy felt desserts to go inside my crystal cake dome. It’s on top of the fridge and looks so pretty. It was FUN to make.

  37. We have had our first snow, which melted the morning after it fell, and tomorrow it’s going to be 70 again. I have been doing some Christmas shopping, but very little “buying.” I have a list of things to make instead, and I may spend the time in trying to get some of them done. I don’t like what I see in stores if I can find what I want at all. I’m supposed to be off my right foot, which is practically impossible for me, as I’m running all around most of the time. I do have an ankle brace that I’m wearing daily—I have tendonitis near my ankle, where three tendons come together, and it’s going to take a while to get better. I’ve had it before in different places.
    Today I went to the Christmas tree shops to look for some misc. stuff–I spent $10 so you know I didn’t find much, although I did get us a vinyl tablecloth with Christmas patterns on it. We needed a new one anyhow, so we’ll have Christmas for a while on the table at least. (I use vinyl for everyday–have lots of good cloth tablecloths which I save for holidays and company mostly. Especially since the husband has been allowing the cat to sit on the table when I’m not around—a practice I do NOT agree with. )
    This past week I finally made an apple pie, for which my husband was grateful, and so was a friend to whom I took a slice when I visited briefly. It was especially good. I packaged up the rest of the ham I baked, for the freezer, which will keep us in ham for a while; kept up with the laundry despite having to spend half a day driving to granddaughter’s house and back. She had her Mastercard used fraudulently and also had her cell phone stolen in a two week period. She was beside herself, with limited cash and no phone!! A real hardship for a 24 year old. She did well at stretching the cash, however, so I was quite proud of that. She is a spendthrift and we are at our wit’s end with her budgeting abilities. She now says we are “harassing” her with constant advice, which she tries very hard to ignore. I cooked every meal at home except for takeout subs one evening when I just had NO energy left. A new medication has me falling asleep once or twice a day–will report it to the doctor next week at my appointment. Hard to keep going when you’re falling over, literally! I like to get my gifts for the holidays taken care of before the stores get too crowded because my walking is limited and I am slow and likely to get in other people’s way. I keep saying NEXT year I’ll just write a check, but so far, I have not. I do think there will be restaurant gift cards under the tree this year, however.

  38. *We ate at home all week. I roasted a chicken (2 meals for our family) that I got on sale for 79 cents/lb, made ham, beans and homemade cornbread with a leftover ham bone I froze from a previous meal and canned navy beans that were given to us, breakfast for dinner, chili (with tomatoes I canned from the garden), and leftovers.
    *Filled our van and a 5 gallon gas can with gas using 20 cents off we earned from a grocery store loyalty card. My brother-in-law uses our card number to help us get points since he doesn’t care to do anything with them.
    *My husband and his friend changed two broken spark plugs and the oil in one vehicle instead of going somewhere to get it done.
    *I used 2 free coupons to buy a fountain drink and 20 oz. bottle of Pepsi for a treat for my husband and I
    *I used a $25 gift card at a local store to buy fall decor that was marked down 50%. I was so excited to find placemats that match my Fall tablecloth! I found many little items to add to the decor I have been collecting over the years. Some only cost me $1.50 each.
    *We baked some goodies this week 🙂 I baked zucchini bread using shredded zucchini I froze from the garden this year. I had so much zucchini I couldn’t keep up with it this year and decided to freeze it to enjoy through the winter. I also made Muddy Buddies and brownies.
    *My husband and I enjoyed an in-home date night. We rented a movie and had milkshakes from McDonald’s. Total cost was less than $10. We normally get a redbox and try to find a code but could not find anything we liked from there and settled for a $3 rental at a store. Still an inexpensive date 🙂
    *We checked out books from the library. I also borrowed an audiobook from our library online.
    *My son enjoyed listening to music from Amazon Prime Music
    *I accepted clothes from a friend.
    *I cleaned out all of our closets, switched out summer clothes for fall clothes, and inventoried all that we have and all I need to buy for winter. I was pleased to discover that both of my sons still fit into their winter coats from last year!
    *I canned 30 jars (8oz.) of grape jelly from the concord grapes that grow in our backyard. I do have a question for anyone that may be able to help…we inherited this concord grapevine when we moved in to our home. It is VERY overgrown. Is there a way to get it back under control or no? And if it is still possible what do I do? Thanks 🙂
    *We had a family fun night where we baked brownies for a family that we wanted to encourage and then played a board game.
    *A woman in our church offered us free Fall family pictures because she is trying to practice and improve her photography. They came our beautiful! The best pictures we have ever had taken. The only cost to us will be buying the prints we would like (she is giving us a cd of the pictures). I plan on looking for free coupon codes for prints or sales on ordering.
    *Received $30 of Kohl’s gift cards from an older woman at church who said she was never going to use them but thought we might be able to use them for our family. I have been praying for the money to be able to buy some more pants for my boys for winter so I will be doing this this week. It seems as though they get holes in their pants SO fast- active boys!

  39. I also use Dawn on grease stains, sometimes mixed with hydrogen peroxide. I have saved a lot of shirts with Dawn!

  40. Just in case this frugal gift idea was not mentioned before…how about making a Jacob’s ladder! I cut old baseboard molding strips into little rectangles, and I used Elmer’s glue and old ribbons from my stash. There are many You Tube how-to sites for this project. Just make sure the ribbons are not intertwined too tightly, or the clacking won’t happen unless you shake the top of the ladder. This toy is fascinating for all age groups, and it cost me zero cents to make. Thought that this idea might be helpful to someone.

  41. Sandra,
    When the grape vine goes dormant, it can (and should) be pruned. I’ll try to post a link to a good grape pruning tutorial when I do mine in December. They have to be pruned every year and getting them pruned back is very easy. They will grow large each year and need to be pruned every year so that you will get grapes the next year.

  42. It was from the Current catalog, & was on sale for under $15. I bought it last summer. In fact, I bought 2 , since the first one had a defective creamer. The company replaced the creamer, but in the meantime, I had the use of a perfect set. While our granddaughter visited this summer we had a tea party every day. She has no idea she is getting an identical tea set for her fifth birthday.

  43. We use our left over greens( turnips, mustards, chard).. and add white beans, a little ham or bacon, rice, sautéd carrot and onion with chicken broth and it makes pot licker soup.. It is so stinking good, add cornbread on the side…just typing this inspires me for dinner tomorrow night. And yeah we are setting record high temps here in Louisiana

  44. I gifted my one of our little nieces a ceramic tea set last year and had her grandmother embroidery a few napkins with her initials.. She and her momma loved it. She kept saying “I have a real tea set now”. I know your granddaughter is just going to love hers!!

  45. That is such a great idea for a gift, Florrie! We sell Jacob’s ladders at the museum I work at. I can attest to how fascinated all age groups are by this toy! Button spinners are another easy “old-fashioned” toy to make that children enjoy. They make a great stocking stuffer as they are small and don’t require batteries as a bonus! I’m positive there are tutorials on-line on how to make those as well.

  46. A good food thermos is worth it’s weight in gold, isn’t it!?! They’re a bit of an expense up front, but last forever and saves you a fortune when you want to take a hot lunch where there’s no microwave. I have used it for other food items as well, but my daughter tends to like most leftovers cold (she’s odd that way). For those looking for other ideas, you can use it for leftover casseroles, chili, sloppy Joe’s (put a bun in a separate container), warmed up taco/burrito fillings, or any pasta dishes. I have an extra large one that I used when my daughter was a baby to take hot water with me for warming up her baby bottle. The bottle fit right in!

  47. I love how you have put flowers in with the edibles – I did that this year in my raised beds and it made me smile every-time I went out there 🙂
    * I sold a dog bed I made with left over material for $40 (inner pillow is removable to wash, is covered with a velcro close vinyl pillowcase and then covered in a zip close fleece pillowcase) I made these for our dogs for camping and on the boat – the inner pillow doesn’t get wet and the outer fleece dries very quickly. Fleece can also be safely bleached to get rid of the doggie odor. I have another one started as well and will list it as soon as I get it finished.
    * Dehydrated a container of spinach and floppy celery so I didn’t waste them – our frig is still shut off – they say they will be here tomorrow. The gas company that the appliance warranty program is done thru is crediting our account for 2 months worth of payments due to the hassles we have had getting the frig taken care of.
    * Our inlaws took hubby and I to see the movie “Inferno” at the expensive theater with recliner seating (FIL just had spinal fusion done in September so this seating actually allowed him to see the whole movie). Cheap date – glad they paid as it really wasn’t that great compared to the original D’Vinci Code.
    * Got a free can of cat food when we picked up the dry food.
    * Checked out our Kmart for deals since they are one of the stores closing – found a winter coat for hubby for only $23 (originally $79?!). He has lost so much weight that his other ones just engulfed him and hung halfway to his knees. I have kept his old one since it was new last year and he will gain weight again once the chemo is done. We also found a replacement shelf for behind our toilet. The old one was completely rusted and caught every bit of dust and I just couldn’t keep it clean anymore. I think I am going to spray it with leftover rustoleum spray paint to slow the rusting and hang it in my little barn/shed for gardening supplies.
    * From the garden I froze the last of the raspberries and dehydrated the last of the summer squash. I saved the seeds from the summer squash as well as cucumber seeds from the only plant that sprouted from seeds I received from Greenfield Village YEARS ago.
    * I found some of the high heat spray paint hiding in my stash so I sanded down and re-painted the cast iron teapot that sits on the wood-stove (to boil water to add moisture to the dry air in the winter). It had rusted pretty bad over the last year but I think we can get several more years of use out of it now.
    * Used a coupon to get 2 free spices (Bavarian and BereBere) at Penzy’s with a $5 purchase and at Bath and Body works to get a free mini shower gel, $4 off a lotion and 20% off the total purchase – I out these away for my daughter’s stocking.
    And that is all I can think of 🙂 Have a good week everyone!

  48. Hello! I have been reading these posts forever and finally have decided to take the plunge and list the frugal things accomplished for accountability as things are getting tighter here. I just had a baby and still have a 2.5 in diapers (and a 4yr in pullups at night), despite exhaustion I have been keeping up with the cloth diapers and cloth wipes with the toddler though throwing him in a disposable sounds great sometimes. Friends have been bringing us meals as I am three weeks postpartum so I have been writing thank you notes with Target Dollar Spot cards and saving the postage by delivering them with their dishes when I see them. With the extra food I have been trying to be diligent in making sure we eat it all up and none goes to waste! My mom gave me some 5/10$ Target coupons she got in the mail, I am saving them for some wipes and new bras I need and hate to pay full price for. My husband’s insurance will be going up now that we added a third kid so this week I am planning an at home date with him where we can go over the budget together and then enjoy baking cookies together afterwards (he loves cooking with me). A friend gifted me a bunch of deer meat that needs to be cooked up so I am adding some beef and lentils to stretch it and making sloppy joes, tacos, taco salad, and chili with it. One thing I have always been impressed with reading all of your posts is how y’all share with others what you have. I am blessed to have friends near me who share and look out for one another so as I have been home bound with the baby I have been going through things and texting friends asking what they could use. It helps simplify our household and blesses them. Hope y’all have a great week!

  49. Found 99 cents for two and half dozen eggs again.
    was gifted 2 new york stripes
    made pickle soup and the nxt night into hamburger soup.
    a 25 dollar gift card from an ex-boss for my birthday
    Still trying to find a balance with a new job(20 hrs a week) and all the house stuff. hopefully when that balance out more saving and frugal activity

  50. My husband gets a framed family photo every year. He has them all up on the wall of his office…some are more posed, some are very casual, all are non-professional. Also we are careful to keep up photo albums, adding in extended family whenever possible. He has no photos of his family since before he was 16 and none at all of ancestors. Though they are, through the magic of the internet, finding random photos and when one family member finds one, sends it to everyone.

    He usually makes me something out of wood…over the years have received a carved oven rack puller/pusher, trivets, cookbook holder, shelves etc.

    We always do a family present. 3 years ago we added on our 4 season room, 2 years ago we got a TV, last year we bought some new drinking glasses…still thinking on this year.

  51. That would take a really huge vat of caramel corn, for sure:)

    The recipe I use over and over is the one from Taste of Home.com—Courtside Caramel Corn Recipe. It’s really good.

  52. I am working on planning meals around things we have for this month. Love that you were able to pay some extra on your mortgage. That is always a nice feeling.

    My frugal accomplishments were most of the usual, but I have shared them on my blog.

  53. Your front garden is so pretty. I’m hoping our front will eventually be filled with blooms as well.

    Frugal Efforts for the Past Week

    * Made homemade caramel corn using the recipe from [u]Make the Bread, Buy the Butter[/u]. It was surprisingly easy, and it could be made even more economically by omitting the peanuts.

    * Turned off the sprinklers when we had some rain. (It rained enough to fill our two rain barrels.)

    * Collected more items for the next yard sale/donation trip.

    * Harvested eggplant, peppers, purple basil, oregano, tomatoes, and Swiss chard.

    * Dried the oregano.

    * Changed our meal plan to take advantage of the garden produce.

    * Ate leftovers. (Since there are only three of us, this is a pretty regular occurrence.)

    * Made bread, blueberry compote (using frozen berries), and granola.

    * Hubs fixed our doorbell.

    * Hubs transplanted some roses that were not getting enough sun to the front yard where we ripped out the lawn. We plan to get more roses, but we’ll do that a little at a time.

    * Hubs also thinned and planted a bunch of bearded iris and other bulbs and transplanted them in the front as well. The front looks odd at the moment, but little by little it should improve. My hope is to have something blooming almost year-round.

    That’s about all for now. Looking forward to the Gift a Day and Thankful posts this month.

    Have a great week.

  54. I use Dawn as well. I even once saved shirts that I thought were ruined when a tube of lip balm went through the dryer. :p

  55. I remember learning that you have to use cane sugar. I don’t know where you are, but table sugar is usually beet sugar in the US. It doesn’t set for some reason. Also if you have access to some crab apples they will help for pectin. I’ve made quite a few apple syrups.

  56. Yay! Looking forward to the gift a day series as well as your thankful posts (just read the first one) as the thankful posts help to keep me grounded as the holiday gift making rush starts.

    It was a hectic week around here as I got strep and my son’s eczema got infected on him. Luckily, we’re both feeling better, but it was definitely a “find a silver lining” type of week.

    My list for the week can be found here…


  57. Also those little triangle wood games with the golf tees. The ones where you jump to eliminate one and try to leave just one. Even adults like those. I gave one to my uncle some years ago and my aunt said he wouldn’t put it down for days until he figured it out .Then he passed it off to his brother in law.

  58. I never listen it, but I think our biggest savings come from just staying out of the store. We ate all but one meal at home. Our meals included mini meatloaves and baked potato s, tuna melts, scrambled eggs and potatoes, chicken stuffing casserole, taco salad, beans and tortillas with a spinach salad, and the meal out. We had a couple of appointments and I thought we’d have time to go home and eat in between. Nope. Fortunately, I had a B1G1 for an Egg McMuffin at McDonald’s. We shared a big cup of ice water that I always lug around. Total damage was only $3.25, but I couldn’t believeit was that expensive.
    * Used our free Menard’s Gc to buy Halloween candy, dog food and treats, and a food grade bucket so we can buy larger bags.
    * I made 24 banana muffins from 3 over ripe bananas.
    * Dyed some free fabric I was given. I was hoping it would be the right color to cover my bar stools, but it wasn’t so it will end up as pillow covers in the guest room, where it does match.

    We’re still doing the regular stuff like catching water, hanging laundry, and aren’t using the heat or A/C. We did have the heater serviced for winter so it’s ready to go.

    I’m also experimenting with some new ways to save a nickel here and there.

    The white garden looks so beautiful, Brandy!

  59. Thank you for the encouragement, Amie! I made crabapple jelly for the first time this year and it set with no problem using normal sugar. I really think it had to do with the type of apples and/or the fact that they were good and ripe. I believe I read somewhere that green apples have more pectin. It hasn’t discouraged me, though. I will keep trying to make jelly until I get the technique perfected! I’ve already added experimenting with making current jelly and rose-hip jelly to my future canning wishlist.

  60. I have had no problems setting jam & jelly with either cane sugar or beet sugar, as long as the pectin, acid, & sugar are in the proper ratios. There are lists on the internet of high & low pectin fruits, but it is harder to find which fruits need lemon juice or another acid added. When we were raising our children & the budget was very tight, we had plenty of rhubarb, so I stewed the rhubarb, then strained it & froze the juice in 1 cup yogurt containers, back in the day when they came with lids. When I made jelly or jam, if the fruit was low in pectin I added 1 cup of frozen currant juice to count as part of the “prepared fruit”. If the fruit was low in acid, I added a cup of the rhubarb juice. As long as the pectin, sugar & acid are in balance, the jam or jelly will set.

  61. Rhonda, unripe apples do have more pectin, but all apples are high enough in pectin that there should have been plenty of pectin in your apple syrup. One and a half cups of sugar is not enough to set four cups of apple juice; that was the problem. The older cookbooks from before commercial, added pectin, like Meta Givens, have recipes that call for equal amounts of prepared fruit (or juice) to sugar, then cooking until the jelly “sheets” from the spoon. If you need to use less sugar, there are low sugar pectins that use calcium water to help with the set.

  62. 3 gal of apple cider brought to a boil and then turn down to medium, stir once in awhile. It should reduce (will take HOURS) down to less than 1 gal. I used a thermometer and cooked it until is was 230°. Strain (optional but Hubby prefers is and I grew up with it not strained). Put in clean jars. I used 12 oz but that’s actually on the big side. 8 oz is a nice size if you don’t use much syrup. Water bath canner,(if you don’t know how to water bath can please go to Ball canning and read up on it before trying) process 10 min and then turn off heat and let jars sit in water another 10 min. and then remove…actually I fell asleep and they sat in the canner overnight. I use this on pancakes, waffles, French toast, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, bread pudding, corn bread, mush, toast, oatmeal with diced apples in it, cream of wheat Etc.

  63. Thank you so much, Marivene. I was hoping someone would have enough experience with this that they could advise me. I prefer lower sugar, but I will experiment with sugar amounts on future batches to see just how little sugar will work. Your comment was very helpful!

  64. Congratulations on your new little one, and welcome to the conversation! This really is a positive, encouraging, and educational blog.

  65. -We got a bus pass for my oldest daughter for free(she is out of district for her school). This will save us $500/month.
    -Covered my greys hairs myself.
    -Cut hubs and the oldest boys hair.
    -Found a service the delivers free wood chips for our back to eden garden I am prepping for the spring
    -Shopped at Cash and Carry for 50 pds each of black beans and Red Mill’s brand instant oats.
    -Picked up used frosting containers from the local grocery store for free
    -Bought 2 flats of blackberries for $1.98 and make 15 cups of freezer jam
    -Made 7 loaves of bread

  66. The white garden is stunning!
    *My frugal list starts with receiving my last check from the Summer job. I’m down to one day a week at the hardware store. This should curb spending. Although, i will be traveling to see my sons and grand babies. I’m taking as much food as i can and staying with family while there.
    *I mended two items of clothing. I’m not a fan of mending but i love hand sewing; go figure!
    *We stopped at a garage sale in the middle of nowhere. I bought several mostly full bottles of conditioner and one shampoo. I used some of the conditioner to make fabric softener and added the shampoo to my bottle.
    *I watered down the hand lotion to make it last longer.
    *I gratefully received kale and squash from my neighbor and friend.
    *I spoke to my daughter, sons and grandsons this week.
    *I’ve been working (very slowly…) to clean, purge and re-arrange the whole house. I had my husband take the microwave out of the kitchen. After fussing with moving this here and that there, i had him bring it back up from the basement and put it back in the same spot. But, i removed several things from the counter and it looks much less cluttered.
    *I’m slowly emptying the water barrel one bucket at a time. The water goes into the washer or helps with flushing. The water from the dehumidifier is used the same way. I’m going to freeze some for soap making.
    *I picked up my co-op order for gamma lids and buckets. I’ve filled them with extra flours, grains and raisins.( I’m trying to figure out if it would be cheaper to get rid of the second freezer that houses flours, breads and baking supplies.)
    *I’ve kept up with coke rewards, exercising at home, walking the dog, using cold water to wash…I got to hang clothes on the line on Nov. 1st! They didn’t dry all the way but i’m still happy!
    That’s about it for me. Last week was fabulous and i look forward to many more! I hope everyone here does the same!

  67. I have started couponing a little bit again,and earned cash back from Ibotta and got some moneymaker razors at CVS. The last time I bought razors was in 2009, when I got a huge stockpile from couponing, spending only $9 out of pocket. My husband grew a beard since then, so we didn’t need to use as many as expected. I can’t believe that stash lasted 7 years!

  68. Roxie, I am sorry to hear about your cousin Jerry and his many problems. I pray for lifting of his spirits during these trials.

  69. Yes Jacob’s ladder toys are great and can be made with scrap lumber. Also abc blocks, perpetual calendars, Chinese checker boards. You can even make your own mancala board. We always used navy beans for the counters.

    A set of beanbags for kids to learn to juggle or just toss at stuff.

    A Chinese jump rope….that is what they were called when I was younger. My girls liked them too. We made them out of linked rubber bands and we always had one in.our pocket when we went out to recess.

  70. Chicken stuffing casserole is my husband’s favorite dish! We have it frequently after church for the noon meal.

  71. My goodness, so many great accomplishments! We are in the first stages of hubby’s serious health issues. (brain cancer), so I am trying to deal with that while still working. I did request a leave of absence if needed. This will put us into a financial crunch but frugal spending will make it manageable for a few months. We are thankful that he is a veteran and receiving care through the V.A. system. So frugal accomplishments this week include – visited Costco to see if we feel it is worth the membership, ate from the pantry most of the week, researched some frugal Christmas gift ideas for women.

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