Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Yellow Pansies The Prudent Homemaker

$0.56 worth of pansies cheer up this pot and I can see them from inside the house.

I began sewing a birthday gift for a daughter using fabric and a pattern I had on hand.

My dad had leftover scraps from his back patio/deck (which runs right into our matching stairs between our backyards) to redo our stairs. Last year, a leak developed in the water line underneath the stairs. The only way to get to it was to take the stairs apart (and redoing it would be difficult, as the screws strip the boards when being removed). My dad cut holes in the stairs and my husband repaired the leak. My dad will redo the stair treads using his scraps this week.

We celebrated a fun Valentine’s Day at home. I used some mini heart-shaped cake pans that I inherited from my grandmother to bake lemon poppyseed muffins for breakfast.

I used a small amount Rit Dye I had to dye a table runner pink. The table runner was ordered online years ago and was supposed to be a cream color, but was more orange, and I never really liked it. Dying it pink made it perfect for Valentine’s Day and upcoming daughters’ birthdays. You can see a photo over on my Instagram feed.

I spent some time organizing things indoors. While I organizing, I was able to find a place for some things I had been keeping in a basket. I didn’t want to buy another basket, but I also needed a place to put the items that were being stored in the basket. The basket will be repurposed to what I used to use it for (diapers for a newborn). 

I asked my 11-year-old to go through the baby girl socks that I have. I figured most of them (if not all) were too old and had the elastic shot, and that if I have a girl I would need new socks. She went through them all, threw out the ones that were no longer any good and any that didn’t have matches, and I still had socks that were good left, so if I have a girl, I’m set for socks (plus, I gained some space in the drawer where the other socks were being kept).

I got rid of some things I no longer needed, which made my existing storage space in my closet more effective.

I was wondering if I could get rid of enough items for a garage sale. I decided to clean out several closets (with family help) and we reorganized the linen closet and the games/dress up closet. I went through the girls’ clothing boxes from sizes 6 to 12, keeping only the nicest items that would fit in each box and that were liked by the girls (I had enough in some sizes for more than one box, so they needed to be narrowed down in order to fit in the storage space I have). We put several things aside for a garage sale in March.

I still don’t have enough of my own things to sell, but my mom was going through her closets this week as well, and she has a ton of stuff she no longer wants, so we piled her items on a table in my entry (with my stuff filling in under the table) to prepare for a sale. This next week, we both plan on going through more closets and cupboards and getting rid of things we are no longer using. I plan on using whatever money I make from the sale to go to the community garage sales in April to get things we need. I recently updated my garage sale list, so I am ready to go shopping with specific needs and wants in mind.

We cleaned the inside of the dishwasher and the vacuum cleaner so that both will run more efficiently.

 Pansies in White Garden The Prudent Homemaker

 

$1.13 worth of pansies to fil in my urn.

I went to the local nursery to purchase some more drip line for the garden. While there, I noticed they were clearing out their pansies for $0.25 each (regular prices is $0.98 each). Pansies grow here from October through April/May. The manager came over to talk with me, and he told me I could have a flat of pansies for $3 (saving an additional $1). I purchased 16 pansy and viola plants for $3 ($0.1875 each), which will fill in a couple of spaces in my garden until warmer weather will permit me to plant something else in their place. I had specifically been looking for annuals (as well as the drip line) to go in the center urn for my white garden, but most of what I wanted would not be available until mid to late April. This filled in the spot nicely and gave me flowers for a couple more spaces in the garden. This was the only money I spent all week.

I harvested garlic chives and green onions from the garden.

 

What did you do to save money last week?

 

 

 

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135 Comments

  1. Wow, what a great deal on the pansies! By the way, what sort of chocolates did you make for your kids for Valentine’s? Oh, and I love the pink table runner!

    My week was pretty good, I think:
    – I made Lemony Pan-Fried Green Beans (www.approachingfood.com/lemony-pan-fried-green-beans/), using some lemon zest from my freezer. A nice way to add some sunshiney flavour to a winter meal!
    – I purchased a picture frame for a piece of needlework that was given to my husband and I for our wedding. It had a frame, but it didn’t match our décor – this one is so much nicer! I paid for it using a credit on my Indigo account that was given to me for having a package arrive late at Christmas time.
    – I made sticky sesame cauliflower, and served it with (homemade, of course) sushi-style rice (I’m not a fan of regular rice). The DH loved it, and it was easy to prepare, so I’ll keep an eye out for cauliflower on sale from now on.
    – I used the leftover sushi rice to make a two servings of vegetable sushi, using some cucumber and a single sheet of nori (seaweed sheet) I had in my cupboards.
    – I took home a box from my workplace, which I re-used to wrap my Valentine’s Day gift for the DH in.
    – I figured out how to get my Christmas cactus to re-bloom; I keep the temperature in my condo a few degrees colder, and I keep the cactus closer to a cold window, and now the plant is full of buds. The DH is a little bit colder, but I just tell him to put on another layer. Tee hee!
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gift card to Amazon. And then I used that gift certificate to buy some Mrs. Meyer’s cleaner (I’ve been using the same cleaners that the DH and I had when he moved in, and they’re still not finished, but I find them harsh and wanted a more environmental and less chemical-scented cleanser) and a large pack of ginger ale cans on sale. The ginger ale I set aside and use to deal with nausea. As I am just finishing up a free trial of prime, I received free shipping, and only paid $1.10 OOP.
    – A client brought several boxes of heart-shaped cookies to my workplace. I took one home and wrapped it up in cellophane and recycled ribbon and gave it to my husband as a Valentine’s Day gift. He appreciated it!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a batch of vegan meringues for three large bags of specialty popcorn. I made the meringues using bean water (aka ‘aquafaba’) from a can of beans I used two weeks ago, plus a pinch of cream of tartar, some white sugar, and a splash of vanilla extract. I sprinkled the meringues with some candy sprinkles that were given to me, and wrapped it all up in a catering box previously traded for. I also gave a box of tea gifted to me, to the trader, and wrapped it all up in a clear bag I reused from my workplace. So, for about 25 cents (or less) worth of ingredients, I’m stocked on snacks for a while! I also gave some to my mum when I visited her.
    – I received a $5 credit to a bookstore chain as a promo, so I used it to buy a card for my husband’s birthday next month. We’ll be on vacation, but a fancy card is something that I can easily pack in a suitcase and makes a day a little more special.
    – I made a batch of crepes, using Brandy’s recipe as a jumping off point. I made some sage and pan-fried mushrooms crepes (the sage was from a trade many weeks ago), and sugared crepes for dessert. I also made some spinach and cheese crepes to use up some fresh spinach before it went bad (I drank the cooking water from the spinach, once it had cooled down, because it’s full of vitamins!). And, I made ham crepes for my husband, using some cooked ham from the freezer (the ham was from a trade a month or so ago). I still have a bunch of crepes left, and will use them throughout the coming week.
    – I spent some time working on an e-book I hope to publish at some point via my blog. Frugal in that it only costs me my time, and will earn me some income down the road.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  2. I am a long time reader, but hardly ever post. I’m challenging myself to join in this year! I visited my daughter out of town. Took all my own food on the plane. Was able to pay for her to fill up her gas tank, and then my dad filled up my gas tank when I got home! So lovely.
    Watching the Olympics on our TV with only a roof antenna. I have seen plenty.
    It has been warm enough to keep the heat off for all but the first hour of the day. Since it’s only 2 of us at home now, we won’t heat the whole house, but will use a space heater for the room we’re actually using.
    Used beans from the freezer that I had cooked from dry.
    Did a yard sale with a friend yesterday, I didn’t have enough to have one of my own. Some of the leftovers went to the thrift store and the rest I will list on eBay. So nice to have more space and a bit of cash. We can now park both cars in the garage!
    I flew Southwest for my visit to my daughter. She did not have space for a chair that she had moved with. I was able to pack the chair (it comes apart) and check it as my 2nd bag (2 bags for free) coming home, freeing up space for her.

  3. I love the pansies! I could plant them here in a few weeks if I wanted to do so but by then the crocuses will be out followed by the daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, violets, lilacs and irises, not necessarily in that order.

    Thanks to everyone for all the support and suggestions when I posted last week about possibly having my work hours reduced by 25%. Presuming it’s approved by the contracts department, that won’t happen until at least the end of May and possibly/probably until September. Having this lead time is very helpful and I’m using it to save more money. I’ve figured out what I think my net pay will be after losing the hours (if I lose them) and using the difference to bulk up my savings and take care of some plumbing projects that need to be handled. I’m also much less stressed than I was last week knowing that I can do this and remembering to be thankful for all I do have – health, a home, few bills, a child who is supporting herself now that she’s out of college, etc. Two years ago, tuition bills would have made this much more problematic.

    I FINALLY painted an unfinished pine nightstand that I bought about 18 months ago and put it in my bedroom. It has 3 drawers and a lot more storage room than my old nightstand. I’m now in the midst of cleaning my bedroom from top to bottom. So far I have washed every fabric item in my bedroom from bed linens to rug to the cushions my cats sleep on (which I made several months ago from a worn out comforter), dusted, swept, cleaned the fan blades and light fixtures, washed the baseboards, etc. Now I need to declutter the room by taking out anything that doesn’t belong there and putting it where it belongs, donating it, or recycling/trashing it. It will be so peaceful when it’s done; it already looks much nicer. This might not be strictly frugal except that being at peace makes me less likely to go out and waste money.

    I cooked most meals at home except for Chinese takeout for lunch and dinner one day and a half-price pizza that I bought on Friday when I could use a code because my hockey team won and scored at least 4 goals on Thursday night. I wanted it for something quick to heat and eat on Saturday when I painting the aforementioned nightstand. I didn’t need anything from the grocery store so I didn’t do any shopping this weekend and even with the $25 spent on take-out I am within my budget for the month.

    I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but my neighbor and I are sharing space in my upright freezer. I wanted to keep some items in there but don’t have nearly enough to keep it full. She has a lot to freeze since she cooks in advance for her family (herself and two teenagers) and freezes food. Several months ago, her refrigerator died and she moved the backup she had in her basement to her kitchen. It’s an old one and much smaller than her previous frig, so she really appreciates being able to use my freezer. We live in a duplex (two separate homes joined at one wall for those who might not be familiar with this) and are very good friends to the point that we do not have the railing that divides our shared porch so we can just go back and forth to each other’s kitchen doors. I am helping her and she is helping me because the freezer runs more efficiently when there’s not as much open space that needs to be cooled down.

    Everything else frugal is just what I do almost without thinking – washing out plastic baggies, hanging half-dry clothes in the laundry room and keeping the thermostat low to save on utilities, renewing library books online to avoid fines, reading books and magazines from the library rather than buying them, etc.

  4. Hi Brandy. It sounds like it was a super busy week for you – sorting, organizing, getting ready for a garage sale, gardening. The pansies are lovely; our nurseries will begin carrying them next month. You’re so fortunate to have your parents live close by, i’m sure they are a huge help and it’s so good for your kids to have grandparents nearby.

    I had a good week; I did no shopping whatsoever all week which is truly a first for me. Will of course make up for it this week as all out of fresh fruit & produce now. We had several days of heavy rain with temps in the high 50s. The rain washed away all the good soil from my asiatic lilies to the point that the bulbs were exposed; I replanted them 4″ deep and will buy more soil this week.

    Prepared several of your recipes including your lemon poppyseed muffins (in a regular muffin tin – not heartshaped like you did)! They were very good. We attended a concert by a local band on Saturday night to celebrate Valentines Day (purchased the tix last month).

    Wishing everyone a lovely week.

  5. The flowers and the runner are all so lovely, Brandy. I hope your yard sale next month is very profitable!

    Despite an emotionally exhausting week, I was able to stay pretty frugal. Frugal accomplishment for our family this week included:
    *Meals made at home this week included breaded fish with choice between french fries or sweet potato fries (used extra tartar sauce from the last time we bought take out) and corn, pancakes with sausage and fruit (for pancake Tuesday of course!), ham & cheese sliders (new recipe, see below) with raw veggies and dip, breaded stuffed chicken breasts with noodle side kicks and green/waxed beans, lasagna (freezer meal), ham steaks with mashed potatoes and cauliflower with homemade cheese sauce, and homemade beef stew with dumplings.
    *I had not been to my regular grocery store in about 3 weeks. So by the time I went on Monday, we were in serious need of replentishing. While at the store, I found some really good stock up deals on items we use regularly (e.g. I bought 6 bottles of DDs shampoo for $1.50/bottle, normally $2 or more/bottle). Total came to just under $160. Being the frugal shopper that I am, I cashed in my loyalty points, scoring $100 worth of free groceries… so only paid just under $60 to refill our fridge and cupboards again. Whoohoo!!!!
    *With groceries, I bought a box of frozen breaded fish, to add another meal option. The box, however, was $10, only had 8 pieces in it and the pieces weren’t very big! When did fish get so darned expensive? I made 4 of the pieces that night for dinner. DD (who absolutely loves fish) and husband, complained about the small serving. I explained why, and they grudgingly accepted their dinner. Unless I see a massive sale on fish, I think this will have to remain an occasional meal from now on.
    *I made my version of eggs florentine this week for breakfast. I cook scrambled eggs with spinach mixed in (sauteed onions could also be added), scoop them onto toasted English muffin halves topped with slices of swiss cheese (could use another type of cheese, grated or sliced), then hollandaise sauce over top (I keep powder mix packets in my pantry, but homemade is also fine). You can use fried or poached eggs instead, if you wish. This meal also makes an excellent meatless lunch or dinner meal.
    *For my lunches, I cooked up a can of chick peas in BBQ sauce and used it in a wrap with lettuce, grated cheese and a bit of ranch dressing. One can makes several wraps. Healthy, filling, very frugal and so yummy!
    *I tried making ham & cheese sliders this week for the 1st time (recipe link: https://www.gracefullittlehoneybee.com/ham-swiss-sliders/). I recalled someone commenting that Hawaiian sweet rolls are expensive. So I substituted a package of sausage/hot dog buns that I bought 50% off, used shaved ham from my freezer (cut from cooked hams bought on sale) and swiss cheese slices. It basically made a tasty hoagie type sandwich instead of tiny dinner roll sized sandwiches. I thought they tasted pretty good! Hubby & DD were less impressed. One stated it was just a sandwich and the other didn’t like the “soggie bread”. Sometimes I just can’t win.
    *My mom made a homemade lemon meringue pie for dessert on weekend. It stretched over 2 meals. Yum!!!
    *I cut up a large tray of fresh chicken breasts and had my hubby make homemade souvlaki marinade from pantry ingredients. Packaged it up (uncooked) into 4 family sized servings and froze for another easy meal option.
    *I was gifted 3 back issues of a magazine called “Piecework” from one of the weavers & spinners guild members. Brandy, I’m positive you and Winter would LOVE this magazine! The content focuses on historic textile crafts (weaving, knitting, crochet, needlework etc.) and includes modern patterns based off of historic designs. One of my issues features articles on historic ladies undergarments, which I’m really looking forward to reading when I get a chance. Another features articles on different types of historic lace and includes some beautiful knitted lace patterns that make me wish I was better at knitting! For those who do knit, I’d highly suggest searching for knitted lace patterns on the web. It would make an stunning gift for someone…if you could actually make yourself part with it. These magazines were gifted to her, so they are certainly doing their rounds in our guild. If you like classic style and/or historic crafts, I highly recommend looking for this magazine at your local library.
    *Spotted 2 foxes running through our backyard fenceline. Always a pleasure to see wildlife.
    *While at the pharmacy, I noticed an adorable kitten throw pillow DD would love. It was with the Valentines Day clearance stuff, marked down from $14.99 to $3! At that price, I absolutely grabbed it to add to my gift stash. Perfect for either her birthday in May or Christmas next year.
    An Update on my DD: I want to thank all those who left supportive comments last week. The situation was to upsetting and raw to comment back, but I do appreciate your kindness. DD had become so anxious (terrified actually) over school, when she slipped and fell on some ice, it triggered a fight or flight response (a basic and automatic defence system all of us have). Unfortunately, it was a fight response. She managed to punch 3 people, 2 innocent students and the VP she’s had problems with in the past, before they could get her into a safe place. Police were called for a 2nd time since starting high school. They were very understanding of her disability, but she was mandated to go to the John Howard Society or she would face assult charges. At our meeting at John Howard Society, I realized why the policeman sent us there. This was a way to help protect our daughter legally if she ever has to go to court over this or another future incident. We have also been refered to a Canadian Mental Health worker (still awaiting their call) through the John Howard Society, another legal protection. As for the school, they are finally changing their attitude towards DDs disability. The “big wigs” at our school board were called for advice. The school had a huge meeting with many of the school “specialists” who have been involved with DD over her school career asked to attend or to contribute their professional opinions on DD. We were then asked to attend a meeting, which included the head to Special Education for our school board. I think they are finally really listening to DDs cries for help and trying to better address her needs with proper support. She starts back 1/2 days on Tuesday. I’m feeling cautiously optomistic…I’ll wait to see what happens.

  6. I love your blog. There is such a simple elegance to the way you organize and run your household! How did you clean the inside of the dishwasher? Thank you.

  7. I love the pansies. Such a deal! I have spent more time sorting, washing, mending, and organizing. I stalled going out today until Goodwill was closed so mom and I wouldn’t be tempted by bargains. I don’t want us to buy anything Goodwill sells until all our drawers, shelves, and closets are tidied. I only exceeded our food budget for last week by $1. We splurged on dinner for two at KFC one evening which almost blew up the budget. We also splurged on bargain cherry ice cream, fresh strawberries, and bananas at our local grocery store. We enjoyed the fruit with the ice cream three times (Yum!) and still have lots of ice cream and two bananas left. I hope to make a mini loaf of banana bread tomorrow. I restocked the pantry with some eggs, canned soup, other canned entrees along with cleaning products and a couple of over-the-counter medications from Dollar Tree late this afternoon. I made aspirin in my one semester of college chemistry so I feel exceedingly comfortable buying it at a dollar store. The other medication came in a very small package, but the few pills will last until I next go shopping at Walmart using a gift certificate from Swagbucks.com. This evening, we ordered a carryout pizza that was about half its usual price. We ate dinner at a park by a lake, watching ice fishermen reluctantly coming ashore, likely for the season, given the forecast. One man had caught two big fish that will feed at least eight hungry people dinner. I am feeling tired and contented, and am hoping all of you are seeing progress toward your goals.

  8. My son watched movies on Hoopla this week for free. I borrowed a book I think it was called cheap and good eats. It was a good book. I have planned all of our meals using what we have on hand plus about a $10 shopping trip for the next two weeks. I will be using several of your recipes these next two weeks Brandy. My family loves your Rosemary White Bean soup. We had it this week too! I looked online to peruse the sales this week to see what the best deals were. I do most of my shopping at Aldi.
    This week I made a huge pot of Southwestern Pinto Bean soup. Then we had beans and cornbread Then I turned it into refried beans and we had bean burritos with a little bit of hamburger for flavoring. I froze what was left for my husband to take to work. One day we had pork chops and potatoes and corn. Then the day we had the burritos I threw the corn and potatoes in a skillet with green chilis and stewed tomatoes added Mexican oregano, salt and pepper. My husband loved it!
    My menu for the next two weeks include. Burritos, Mexican potatoes and fruit, Salad and fish, Cauliflower and Sausage cheddar cheese au gratin with cucumber salad. Gram flour pancakes, scallop chowder with a salad, tuna noodle casserole and peas. Bacon and eggs and half grapefruit, Barbecue chicken legs, tots salad, leftover chicken with quinoa and kale, Pigs in a blanket, hardboiled eggs hash browns, homemade apple fruit rollups or applesauce, Gram flour pancakes, Rosemary white bean soup, kidney bean burgers, vegetable quick or fritatta, leftovers, sausage cabbage potato soup, bacon and eggs and frozen fruit, carrot soup, skillet lasagna and veggies, probably canned, indian bean fritters, leftover skillet lasagna, chicken pot pie, oatmeal muffins or peanut butter and chocolate oatmeal with eggs, leftover chicken pot pie, Depression hamburger potatoes and pickled onions and veggies, canned, Quiche and frozen fruit, chicken vegetalble soup and rice, black bean burgers, leftover quite and fruit, leftover soup and black bean burgers. Then pay day and I can go shopping for groceries! Yeah! I am going to do another list so we can pay off bills too. Hopefully won’t be as tight next payday. But at least we are not starving! Yeah!
    We are still working on house. But we are getting there slowly.

  9. I hope this society can find your daughter just the right place to be, with the right help she needs. I know how it is when autistic kids get scared of something. My niece is terrified of snow of any kind. Ice would send her over the roof, too. She, however, melts down differently, which helps. She just cries and sobs loudly, which is heartbreaking, but easier to handle. Today, I got an inch of snow at my house, early this morning, the first of the year. She didn’t get any until they were on their way to church. They got a few blocks when it began to come down hard. My sister just gave up then and there, and turned around and took her home. Snow is one of her triggers. I’m sorry your daughter had a hard time. It’s hard to watch for a parent (or auntie). Thankfully, for us all, the snow is gone already, and there is no school tomorrow, so…..we dodged that bullet pretty easily.

  10. The first part of the week was about normal. I cooked several items, went to work, did homeschool, etc. as always. My niece and I had a good time throwing rocks in the river and counting the cars on a ferry–we had a sunny, but brisk day, and it fell good to get out. I put a picture of that on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/weekly-update-saving-money-february-17-2018/

    The second half of the week went a little wild.

    My nephew got sick, so he stayed at my house Wednesday morning and Thursday, while I did homeschool with the big girls. We also had a Valentine’s lunch for my Mom on Wednesday, and then she took him to his house and watched him for the afternoon. The chocolate was really flowing at my house and at my niece and nephew’s house this week. I finally put some of their chocolate away! It was too tempting for me with all those bowls of candy out to nibble on. They had a youth group meeting there Tuesday night, and I took some food to contribute to that, and that’s one reason there was a lot left–it was my own fault!!!

    Friday, I took a friend to the dentist, shopped the sales at one store on the way, and also did some errands while out and about. That evening, my husband took me on a date to JoAnn’s so I could spend the last gift card I had. What a guy!!! I got several patterns for 99c each, and some embroidery floss, plus some sale fabric. When I got home, and for hours and hours on Saturday, I corrected and graded. I have an upcoming meeting with the place where we are enrolled in a diploma program for the girls and I need to turn grades in. My husband brought home Chinese food as a treat because he knows how long it takes, and how much I don’t enjoy grading and scoring. I love the teaching part.

    Then, I hunted up fabric, pattern, notions, thread, etc. and started some sewing projects for the girls. It’s more challenging to find things since we moved, and hard to set up the machines, as there isn’t much room for me to do that. So, this long weekend is a perfect opportunity. They will just need to eat elsewhere for a couple of days. Then, I had a sick kid in the night, and another one who decided to work on her laundry at 12:22 (???), and so only got 4 hours of sleep, then woke up to an inch of snow (our first this winter). So, we stayed put today, and I got some sewing worked on, and lots and lots of rest, as I was not feeling super good (sadly, probably eating out is where my stomach ache came from–I’m pretty sensitive to food cooked elsewhere, which is my own fault, but annoying just the same). I was able to find some flannel for p.j. pants for one, and a nightie for another in my stash. I cut them both out, and started on the pants. I was also able to finish up a skirt I started a while back. I was so glad I found the buttons, made the buttonholes and got them sewed on. I have several more hours to devote to this tomorrow, and can’t wait to see what else I can get done!

    There are a couple of stores that are having a price war near my sister’s house. My aunt gave me the special Safeway coupons that are for that Safeway only, and told us what was on sale at the new Waremart (like Winco but with no bakery or deli). I got 10 lbs of potatoes/99c each (2), apple juice for 99c (2) and Ritz crackers for 99c (1). My husband got pork loin for 99c/lb.(2), tomatoes for 25c/can (2), o.j. for 99c/carton, cereal for 99c/box. He did it again today when he took Patsy to youth group. I shopped Fred Meyers (Kroger) using the app for coupons, and got peanut butter for 99c/small jar (5), apple juice for 99c (5), and 1-lb pkgs pasta for 50c (5). I also got some other items that we were out of, such as celery, milk, cottage cheese, etc. It is work to shop the sales, use the coupon apps, go to several stores, etc., but it is worth is to me to stock my pantry for much less than if I didn’t do it. We are also using a lot of our home-canned/frozen items, which makes me happy since that’s why I preserved them and it leaves me more money for these other items when I find them at a great price.

  11. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 and what a cheery display of lovely pansies for such a low cost.

    This is how we saved and what we got accomplished this week –

    Home organisation –
    – DH and I organised and vacuum sealed all unused things in the linen cupboard in the bathroom and managed to fit more blankets and sheets from our dressing room in there too. We also went through our dressing/medical/second pantry room and vacuum sealed all out of season clothing and also the remaining blankets on top of the medical bookshelf. Both the bathroom linen cupboard and dressing rooms look far more organised and clean now.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    In the garden –
    – Planted a 3.5mt row of turnip seeds in one of the vegetable gardens.

    Gifts –
    – Said yes to a close friend to the offer of 24 figs from her tree she couldn’t use saving $24 over purchasing them.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased a local supermarket $350 E-Voucher for $300 for groceries from eBay saving $50 or 16.66% off usual prices. With this we stocked up the items that never come on special here being our staples. We purchased 5mths worth of flour, 6mths worth of white sugar, 6mths worth of rolled oats, 3mths worth of tinned champignons and diced tomatoes, 4mths worth of tinned pears, 2mths of cocoa powder, 4mths worth of powdered milk and 6mths worth of freezer bags. This brings us now to 12mths worth of flour, raw sugar, and oats and we are working on more stocks of other items gradually as our budget permits.
    – We purchased a new mattress for our bed after ours collapsed which pretty much decimated this month to date’s house deposit savings but it was a needed item and we are both sleeping much better and DH is in far less pain with his back injuries too.
    – While picking up pain medications for DH I noticed that our local pharmacy had specials from 15 – 63% off multivitamins and needed ear drops. We purchased 3 x 100 tablet bottles of multivitamins and 1 container of ear drops saving $47.24 on usual prices.

    Fuel savings –
    – Whilst out of town at a church function we came across a service station that had fuel for 22c per litre less than our local town so we filled up our car fuel tank saving $6.69.

    Electricity savings –
    – Saved $7.50 by using our solar lanterns to light our home at night and only turning on our electric hot water system when needed.

    eBay Listings –
    – Listed 10 handmade items on eBay on a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone 🙂 .

  12. I love the white pansies in the white urn. So pretty.
    This week I cooked a bit from the garden. I made a kale and tomato fritatta. I had chopped onions gifted to me from a church fund raising event and so I used those as well as chives. Only the eggs and the oil were bought Very yummy.
    Also made another lemon slice from lemons in the garden. Gave my parents some items I got as part of work’s Christmas present to staff, a mobile phone battery charger and a garden moisture gadge.
    The roses are blooming and I have them in the house.
    Finally I picked up 5 packets of wraps (6 per pack) for $2.00 total. One wrap is enough for lunch, so I have the beginnings of 25 work lunches. I just need fillings for the wraps and I think the garden will supply.

  13. I can’t wait for our Midwest weather to turn to Spring once and for all so that we can enjoy flowers blooming outside!! But, for now, we are grateful that Saturday’s snow was light and that it has melted away already!
    To save money:
    This week a friend brought over two big bags of apple peelings that I have been tossing into my food processor with some leftover bread and spinach to make a tasty treat for my chickens! The 8 of them have still been giving us about 4 dozen eggs/week!!
    I made strawberry cheesecake Rice Krispie treats and oatmeal raisin cookies from ingredients I had on hand.
    I made a big batch of Heroburgers on free long baguettes which we will enjoy for a week!
    I hard boiled another dozen eggs from our chickens to go into the fridge for a healthy snack.

    I was able to get 5 jars of peanut butter and 5 bottles of 100% apple juice for 89 cents each!

    I picked up 4 more 100% cotton flat sheets to use for quilt backs at the thrift store for 98 cents each! Also 2 nice food storage containers for a total of 98 cents! I do love half price Wednesday’s at our local SA store!

    I was tempted to buy a DIY book of mixes and pantry items but I looked online at our public library and there it was! I reserved it and went over about an hour later since it was on my errand running route and there it was with my name on it so I could just run in and out and be on my way to other errands within less than 5 minutes! Saved me almost $30 over the price of buying the book!!!

    Extra income:
    We sold 3 dozen eggs .
    I sold a scrappy quilt for $150.
    We built and sold a soap cutter for $130.
    We built and sold 3 small soap display cases for $140
    We built and sold 2 simple tabletop open bookcases for $200.
    I am quilting another quilt that I made for a client which I will finish this week and be paid for with customer provided materials.
    I have another quilt to make in the queue to make for another client when I finish this one.
    I am part way through upholstering a chair for a client.
    So our little side gig business is doing quite well to supplement our income!!

    We are planning our outside projects- building and planting so that once Spring actually arrives, we will be ready!!
    All in all, a very good week!!

  14. I need to really limit my use of refined sugars due to previous high blood sugar problems, so for Valentine’s Day I made a sweet treat of “Chocolate Bites.” It only uses dates to sweeten, yet gives me that chocolate flavor that I do love! Best of all, I normally have all the ingredients in my kitchen, so no special trips to the store for unusual ingredients! The recipe is on my blog here: http://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2018/02/chocolate-bites.html

  15. We purchased a 1/4 beef (about 200 lbs hanging weight) at $3.45 a pound for all cuts of meat from filet mignon to 90 % lean ground beef–an awesome deal in our area. We filled the extra freezer with the meat, displacing a turkey that had been in there a while, so we cooked the turkey and I made 4-5 meals from it throughout the week.

  16. !I cannot wait for Spring here!
    We went out to dinner for Valentine’s Day. This was the first date night my husband and I have had in at least a year, probably longer.
    All other meals were eaten at home. I took breakfast (oatmeal) and lunches and a snack to work with me. I drank free ice water at work.
    I cleaned out and organized my chest freezer and the freezer on top of the refrigerator. I also made an inventory list of what we have and which freezer it is in. I also cleaned out our pantry shelves and reorganized them. I went through our filing cabinet and my little area I keep my checkbook and other papers. I have 3 bags of food to donate and a big pile for Goodwill.
    I have been using inbox dollars (it’s like Swagbucks) and I have much better earnings. I have over $9.00 in just a few days.
    I purchased a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt for $3.00 each. I also purchased a pair of jeans. I desperately need more clothing and my old jeans (my only pair) had the zipper teeth fall out.
    I earned a $5.00 credit for Amazon for choosing no rush shipping. I used the credit to purchase a cd of my favorite music (that does not play on the radio here) and only paid .49! I am going to put the music onto my (very old) ipod to listen to at work (data entry). This is my husband’s old ipod he’s had for years and does not use anymore. We cannot have any device that connects to the internet and we cannot have our phones in our work areas.
    I put some items I received for free into the present tub for Christmas.
    I changed our Netflix subscription (no cable or satellite) to one device, saving me $4 a month.
    We had a truck we bought used. 2 months after we bought it it needed a new engine. We had a rebuilt one put it. 9 months later that engine started going out. My husband arranged for a trade with someone for their car. All issues with the truck were disclosed but the man’s wife wanted a truck exactly like ours and “the wife gets what the wife wants ” lol. The new to us car is a Taurus and I love it. The insurance is cheaper, gas mileage is better. It needs a couple minor repairs that won’t cost much. Those will be done in spring.
    I have built up our emergency fund! I am loosely following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps. I say loosely because our situation doesn’t exactly fit into his “mold’, however i can still follow his plan. I have been paying extra on our other car to get it paid off as early as possible.
    I also follow two other blogs and used their tips and suggestions for grocery shopping. I saved close to 50% last Friday night on my bill! I also used cash. Except for 2 items I only purchased items that were on sale for very good prices. I also had a few coupons I printed making some items super cheap. I had 4 coupons for free larabars (our favorite snack) that i used. On the items I don’t purchase organic (which is mainly down to certain fruits and dairy and meat when it’s on sale or the Aldi brand) I paid close attention to price and purchased the best deals for my money. No processed foods.
    Have a fantastic week everyone!

  17. The table setting with your pink runner is lovely. I’ve got a few old linens soaking in a lichen bath right now, to see what shows up. It will be brown/tan tones, with the added benefit of an amazing scent from the lichens. I hope to do more experimenting with natural dyes this year. I finished sewing my scrub top, so I now have a new set of scrubs to wear for massage work. Hubby and I both have the flu. Eating very little and staying home is frugal, but I hope we’ll be healthy soon. Reading everyone’s comments brightens my day. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/02/a-bit-of-yellow-cheer-frugal.html

  18. I used a bottle of wine colored dye to freshen a wine colored silk Coldwater Creek twinset and to dye off white (with some staining) scoop neck tee shirt and corduroy jeans. I wore the cord pants and tee with a v neck cranberry cashmere sweater to church on a very cold day with lots of snow. I was inspired to crochet a wooly beret in cranberry yarn (leftover yarn) to match the muffler I crocheted a few month ago. I have five main winter coats – wool coats in gray, royal blue and black and ski parkas in purple and hot pink. So I have quite a few hats, gloves and mufflers in neutrals and colors for the different coats. The cranberry works with gray best and also with black.

    I cut down and hemmed an oblong tablecloth into a round one. We often have no leaves in our dining table so I wanted something that fit the round version of the table better.

    I did accept a seasonal job on the East coast at the same national park where my husband will be working. I am retiring from my year round career job in 6 weeks. After more than 30 years as a human resources manager – often with my “hair on fire”- it is time. I am looking forward to a summer of exploring new things. We found rental housing in our summer area. We will rent our house to the relative of a friend for much of the time we are gone. So we are cleaning, packing, planning and of course, trying to eat the food from the freezer and pantry.

    I home dry cleaned 14 garments – mostly pantsuits and blazers using the Dryel system. You spot clean the items then put them in a special purchased vinyl bag with a special damp Dryel cloth and dry in your dryer for 30 minutes. I had supplies for a number of loads that I purchased some years ago. I was satisfied with the results for most of the items.

    Does anyone have experience with the Woolite home dry cleaning system? With these materials you just put the cloth and your garments in the dryer – no vinyl bag needed. I am thinking of using this for my heavy wool coats in March or so.

  19. I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but I’m still trying to stay frugal! On Saturday, I finished what I hope will be the last of my grocery shopping. I’m still $66 under budget even with buying everything I needed for another batch of laundry detergent. My recipe makes enough for a year, so I shouldn’t have to worry about it again for awhile.

    My husband has been taking the car to work most days, which saves gas over his truck. I don’t have to work today, but I do have to take the dog to the vet. But it should still save some gas cost.

    We’ve been eating from the freezer and pantry a lot. I used some frozen bananas to make banana bread for breakfasts last week. Today I will make blackberry muffins for breakfasts this week.

    I’ll also make one of my free whole chickens for supper tonight. We’ll eat the leftovers tomorrow, too.

    I’ve been working hard on my online store. It made an extra $710 last month for our household. Unfortunately, our LP tank needed refilled. So that ate all that profit right up. But at least we didn’t have to touch our savings!

    My husband and I treated ourselves to a night out for Valentine’s Day instead of buying gifts for each other. We tried a new restaurant that was pretty affordable. The portions were very large and we each got three meals from them.

    The heater wasn’t working properly in the car and my husband was able to fix it himself. It just cost us $44 in parts. I’m lucky he’s so handy!

  20. I’m a long time reader, and really look forward to these posts. We celebrated Fat Tuesday last week, and with previous stock ups, we made Krispy Kreme knock off doughnuts with no extra cost. We then celebrated the Lunar New Year and only needed to buy some noodles and egg roll wrappers. We ended up making so much that we are having the leftovers today. We had a freezer cooking day a month or two ago and had extra lasagna filling and sauce that we froze immediately and used those to make stuffed shells for dinner yesterday. We also started our tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts seeds for our garden (all counted 98 seed starts). Our recently purchased Aerogarden in doing great, except for the dill and parsley seed pods, so I’ll be calling to get those replaced. We did splurge for Valentine’s day in getting flowers for everyone, but since my Mom, my Aunt and myself are all single and my grandparents are still doing very well at 80, everyone deserves a treat. (Everyone got a bouquet of roses, 2 of which came for Aldi’s and I bought myself an orchid plant for $9.99 – way cheaper than any other store here. And the Aldi’s bouquets look great for 3.99!) I did receive some socks for my sons from my Aunt also and her unwanted/unused grocery coupons. We stayed in at the house most of the last week due to weather. Thank you for all who post!

  21. My son became very ill again and had to drop out of college, with only two semesters to go. He has always made either President’s List or Dean’s List, no matter how long he is hospitalized. The good news is that he is on the mend, slowly, but surely, and he will go back, but probably only one course at a time until he is feeling better. Life is full of hills and valleys. This is simply a detour. Of course, whenever a child is ill, I help them out even if they are grown, and that makes for a tighter budget. I bought eggs and evaporated milk. The temps are in the 70’s during the day now, so I have turned off the heat. That will help as far as the power bill. I enjoyed walking at the river park, and the river is a little bit above flood stage, so it is nice to see all the water fowl enjoying the temps and the water. Our tulip trees, buttercups, and various wild grasses are in full bloom, signaling early spring. I am so glad because it has been such a cold winter for here. Other than having to buy my car tag this month, I have generally just had the usual things.

  22. For the sliders, maybe next time you can cut the hot dog buns in thirds. Then they would appear to be more like sliders? I have a bag of buns on my counter right now. I think we will have sloppy joe “sliders” this week!

  23. Had a craving for chocolate, so I made pan of brownies, remembering to undercook them a little so they were nice and chewy. It was a larger batch than I needed, so I cut the batch into four pieces and froze three for later.

    Made turkey divan from the last packet of Christmas turkey, mushroom soup bought on sale and cheddar cheese from the freezer. A little leftover turkey from the packet was added to a stir fry.

    Took baked squash, mashed with a little dried ginger, to a potluck dinner at the next town over. Used squash given to me by a friend and gas in the gas tank, so no out of pocket cost. There was no squash left over, so it was a popular choice. I thought of it because someone on this blog had mentioned bringing mashed potatoes to potlucks. Thanks for the idea! This potluck is a monthly Sunday supper for people who don’t have much family around for traditional Sunday suppers. We had a lot of fun and I got to meet a few new people and get to know some others better.

    I’ve left my job at the library. Also, my computer has been in for repair all week. Not an expensive repair, fortunately, but a couple of weeks of transcription income have been lost. The next few weeks will be tight as I adjust. Fortunately, I had a little money left from last month and have a good supply of food in the house to help keep me going while I make up for this lost income.

    The car wouldn’t start during a very cold spell a couple of weeks ago. I waited until thing seemed to be warming up, and just before my AAA membership expired to get the car boosted. It has been working really well since then. I’ll renew the AAA membership once cash flow improves, since it always seems to pay for itself with me being by myself and having an older car in a remote location.

    Found lean ground pork on sale in a manager’s special on large packs, so bought a 3 lb package, divided into 1 lb packs for the freezer.

  24. Hello everyone! Beautiful picture as always, Brandy!

    I had a pretty good week.

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocs and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times. Hubby was hunting this weekend so instead of making a whole pot of coffee, I just used some free instant coffee I had.
    • Got 1 jar of peanut butter, 1 box of cereal and 2 containers of yogurt for free. Also got a good deal on clearance dishwasher detergent and dish soap at 50% off. I stocked up.
    • Made homemade disinfecting wipes. Only had to buy the paper towels.
    • Ate dinner in most of the week. Ate out twice this week but had a gift card for the 2nd time. Brought home the leftovers and had them for dinner the next night. The other night was at our Trivia League night. We also won $30 gift card for that restaurant to use a different night and $7 on a final bet our team does.
    • I watch my grandson twice a week and he needed some new toys for my house. He is 2 now and most of my toys are for younger. He loves cars so I went to Goodwill and bought 6 toy trucks/cars and 1 toy airplane for under $12. I disinfected them when I got home. He loves them!
    • Sewed a button on a pajama top, repaired a sock and sewed a button on a shirt. I lost the button from the shirt and I didn’t have one to match so I cut the top button off and sewed it to the middle. I never button the top button anyway and I don’t think anyone will notice.
    • Sister-in-law gave me some Rose Congou loose tea. Delish!
    • Found a quarter.
    • Took my grandson to the library for a free Toddler Story Time. His first time and he loved it. It was my first time for something like this also. We will go again.
    • Grandson didn’t eat all his applesauce or apple one day, so I threw it in my smoothie.
    • Put some carrot peels and tops into my freezer stock bag.
    • Made a homemade Valentine’s card for the Hubby with materials I had already. For the inside sentiment I found a love poem online and used it. Gave him the packet of free Sweetarts I had received from the Friday Freebie last week.
    • Got 2 lemons free at work from someone with a tree. Sliced them and froze them on a tray. I will use these either in beverages or when cooking chicken, I’ll slip them under the skin for flavoring.
    • Got free pizza for lunch at work one day. Then the pizza place had provided parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes with the pizzas. I was able to take them home. It amounted to 3 c. of parmesan and 1 cup of red pepper flakes! Brought my lunch the other 2 days. Hubby brought his lunch 4 days also.
    • Worked 21 hours contract work.
    • My daughter came over and helped me hang up pictures and decorate. She helped me take things I had and think about them differently and use them in a different way. I still have a lot of walls that need décor, but I will take my time and purchase items at Goodwill, on clearance, at garage sales or create them.
    • Finished off a box of cereal. Saved the bag.
    • Hubby went hunting this weekend. Instead of picking up items to bring to eat, he “shopped” in our food storage. Some of the things weren’t his preference, but he brought them anyway.
    • Signed up for mail order pharmacy, so I will get 3 months of meds for the price of 2.
    • Sliced up the ham I got last week for under $7. Was able to freeze 2 ham steaks, 3 packages of minced ham for sandwiches (1 serving per package), 5 packages of sliced ham for sandwiches (2 servings per package), 1 ham bone and 2 packages of the outer portion to use for flavoring soup. The minced ham and sliced ham will be for taking our lunches to work. That’s a lot of servings for $7!

    I’m thankful for this blog, as it reaffirms the positivity of frugality for me. It reminds me that saving money is fun and not deprivation!

    Hope everyone has a wonderful, frugal and FUN week!

  25. I’ve been logging my frugal accomplishments every day at my blog, The Frugal List. Here are some of the highlights of my week:
    I reduced our monthly electric bill from $139 in January to $80 in February!!
    I’ve been working with my kids to teach them to turn off lights when they leave a room. This might not sound like much, but they are little and scared of the dark and turn on sooooo many lights and then leave them on when they leave the room.
    I went grocery shopping at The Grocery Outlet and stocked up on 20 boxes of breakfast cereal that were on sale for 99 cents a box.
    I started my seeds indoor on my window sills.
    I hung all our laundry up to air dry.
    I hand dried all of our dishes.
    You can check out the rest at: https://thefrugallist.wordpress.com/

  26. I planned a weekly meal plan, mostly using what was in the freezer and incorporating leftovers.
    I found a light jacket I needed at Goodwill. I can’t believe I live in Florida and somehow managed to end up without even one lightweight jacket.
    I am going through the house and cleaning out, too, planning for a yard sale with two other people. Every time I have one, I realize I should have put in this or that item but forgot. I’m trying to write down my ideas this time, and start pricing earlier, because pricing takes a longer time than one realizes.
    I pulled Valentine cards from my stored stash for my husband and grand-kids.
    I put my name in a drawing for a very nice backpack. I might not win, but one never knows!
    I made a quart of tasty, golden, collagen-rich broth from chicken bones and necks.
    We are starting seeds for a few veggies for spring and summer gardening. My husband will trade some of the plants for produce from a friend’s winter garden.

  27. I am so inspired by the silver linings you share here, how you are less stressed by keeping your eye on the good parts of planning just in case those hours are cut. A positive attitude makes such a difference! Kudos to you!

  28. Brandy, this blog is my absolute favorite. I’ve been reading it faithfully for many years and I feel like I should contribute. I’m a frugal person by nature and while I haven’t learned many new ideas here I have felt encouraged and supported in my chosen lifestyle of frugality.
    This week I have:
    [*] Exercised each morning using Jessica Smith TV. I’ve used her website and videos for years. It is free and there is a lot of variety of workouts and levels, plus I like her personality.
    [*] Finished repairing some large holes in the basement walls, due to a pipe bursting because of the cold weather. We have only lived in this house for 8 months and were un aware of this problem with that particular pipe. We had a plumber come in and reroute the pipe and put in a shut off valve so we could drain the entire length leaving no water to freeze in the pipe through the winter. This pipe only supplies water to the outside faucet.
    [*] After the the holes were all mudded and taped and sanded smooth I painted everything with leftover paint for the accent wall and mixing some differnt Oops or mistint paint that I had from other progects for the remaining walls. All the paint colors I use are so similiar that I was able to mix enough paint almost the exact color of the walls which allowed me only need to paint the wall with one coat. There was no out of pocket expense for this.
    [*] Also in the basement, I have a very long flat wall which needed some kind of decor on in it. I didn’t have anything. And being in our movie/playroom we wanted something fun like movie posters or similar, but those get really pricey quickly. I could also see any framed picture getting bumped while people were playing pool or when the grandkids run around down there. They use that area as a race track. So I decided to use some of my paint to make a crazy wall by painting it white then taping a random design and painting each shape a different shade of gray with a few random red shapes. This makes the wall the art and nothing needs to be on it. I’m about a third of the way done painting it and I think it is coming together. And if I don’t like it I can always repaint it. Lowe’s and Home Depot have grays and tans in there mistints all the time for $9 a gallon.
    [*] Got my car washed for free. It was really dirty from snow and the chemicals that are put on the roads during the winter.
    [*] Had my husband work shoe repaired. The leather was coming away from the sole. Cost $15. A good deal considering that new shoes for his work run about $130+.
    [*] All meals made at home.
    [*] Watched Wonder from Redbox for $ .27 with a code. We really enjoyed that.
    [*] Son (15) wants to watch all the Marvel movies in order by story, not by release date before the Avengers 3 comes out in May (we have free movie tickets we are saving to go see it). There are 15 movies and we own only 1 and we found three others between Amazon prime and Netflix. I then checked our new library and they have all of them in the system. I’m very excited about this. We have pizza (homemade) and movie almost every Friday, but lately we have not been able to find things that are interesting or appropriate. So this Marvel Marathon will be fun and free.
    [*] Read two books from the library.

    Enjoy your week!

  29. We used the Ibotta app for our first grocery shops and it went better than I expected. I combined it with store sales, coupons, and Cartwheel offers and am quite happy with how things turned out. I’m sure I confused a few employees as they were stocking in various aisles and I stood there figuring each deal – is 10% off this brand ACTUALLY better price than 5% off this brand? My 10yo son was fascinated though because often the 10% off was not the better deal, it just sounded like it. I was giddy the whole way home as I scanned our receipt right there in the parking lot and all told we saved over $40 and earned a rebate of almost $5.

    Other fun things this week included a car principal payment for Valentine’s Day. Trying to get things set up to bring in some income again – my submissions dried up for 2017 due to our move, so it’s time to get back to work!

    http://meloniek.com/2018/02/last-weeks-frugal-accomplishments-week-ending-18-feb-2018/

    Wishing you all a lovely week!

  30. I love the beautiful pansies. We have continued to have rain here for almost two weeks now. Everything just seems to be sticky and damp. My heat is completely off and the children seem to be better at keeping the lights off. I continue to unplug any electrical cords as soon as I am finished with any appliance. I hope to see a big change in this coming electric bill. I cleaned the refrigerator out last night and have realized we are throwing away food too often. From now own, I will reduce the size of the meals I prepare. College boy can eat at work for free and that seems to be what he is doing. Sugar cookie received a box of 6 Sherries berries last week. She didn’t care for them and I truly enjoyed them. Apparently they run about 30.00 a box. It was a generous gift but that price made me cringe. With no money to spend this month our trips out have been minimal. Sugar cookie had a visit to the doctor and those co payments have left me with pennies. I am so grateful for the stocked pantry. Having the discipline to be frugal at all times has made this current hardship so much easier. I have enjoyed finding new shows to watch on tv including two new cooking shows that are from two of my favorite cooking magazines. I saw the most spectacular sight when we went to the doctors office. As we drove down a dirt road, I came across a swarm of red birds. Maybe 30 of the brightest red ones I have ever seen. I have a pair at my house but have never seen that many at one time. All male? Cardinals? I don’t know much about these things. So uplifting.

  31. Loved reading your post Brandy! My husband and I have been sick most of January & February. We took this long Presidents Day weekend to get our house back in order. While, we didn’t necessarily save money, the money we did spend was for things in sale & will save us time, money & hassle over the coming year. We started a chore chart where we do one task each night after work, saving us a full day on weekends to enjoy instead of clean. I made a beach themed birthday basket for our friend’s son’s first birthday, of which all was purchased at 75% off sales. I started my Christmas list and purchased seven gifts at an 80% off sale as well as one birthday gift and two Mother’s Day presents. I also purchased my cousin’s shower & wedding presents

  32. Hi Marilyn,
    I have had friends that have had great luck with work from home jobs on temporary contracts or at part time hours. Some have used flexjobs, although I don’t know much about it. I have gone on Indeed.com and typed ‘work from home’ or ‘telecommute’, and I’ve had luck this way finding part time jobs this way as needed, from home. I also have neighbors who clean one or two houses, a neighbor who scoops yard pet waste, and another neighbor who does household errands for families. Just a few ideas in case they might be helpful. I like your idea of sharing freezer space! I am thinking about starting a neighborhood swap service this summer for skills, trade, and barter to see how it pans out, and freezer trades would be a great idea!

  33. My mom used to do the same thing with cooking water from veggies – I try to save it to use for future pots of soup, Good luck with the book!

  34. Brandy, it sounds like you had another productive and beautiful week!

    I wanted to share how much your site has meant to me over the years. I don’t always comment, but your writing and the community has genuinely improved my life. Thanks to your ideas here and leadership, I was able to leave a job that was making me very ill and forcing my home to be an after thought. I’ve been able to work from home now part time, and slowly start a small family business that we hope can one day be our main income source. In this time, our home lives have improved immensely and we feel more calm and peaceful. I attribute a very large part of this to you, your work, and the positive community you have fostered. Thank you.

    Our frugal wins this week included a nice, relaxing Valentine’s day celebration with a home cooked meal (and dessert); one warm day (50 degrees) in the garden for some prep work; preparing our taxes ourselves and for my parents; nearly finished our 72 hour kits; used trade-in credit at a game store to purchase two ‘new’ games; started organizing to also plan for our garage sale in May; started thinking about next year’s Christmas gift list (homemade and at the store)- never too early to budget!

    Thanks again for this great community, and all the sharing and openness that takes place here.

  35. Your niece should be glad she doesn’t live in Canada. Otherwise she would never leave the house for months! Though I personally prefer hibernation, too. Winter is not my favourite time of year.

    The John Howard Society helps people with anger management issues and other stuff like that, who have had proplems with the law. I think they are like social workers who work with people to help them deal with personal issues that are causing them to lash out. In our daughter’s situation, they don’t have much to offer (her lashing out is because of her autism), so have refered her to a Mental Health Worker. By doing all of these things, if DD had to go to court, it shows that we are seeking help to deal with her issues.

  36. Brandy, your pansies are beautiful! I am so looking forward to spring planting. It was 7F last night–supposed to be colder tonight–and we are struggling to keep warm with just a gas fireplace for heat. (Thank heavens for long johns, LOL).

    The biggest way I saved last week was by staying home. Thus, I had 4 no-spend, no-gas days.

    We cooked and ate all meals at home, except for going out to dinner in honor of my birthday.

    I only spent $33 on groceries last week. This didn’t include any meat unless you count two 12 ounce packages of bacon.

    I continue to finesse our TV streaming plan. Last week I dropped down from direcTV now’s $50 to $35 plan. The difference was mainly ESPN and other sports channels, which we don’t watch. DH hasn’t noticed that Science and Sundance are gone, too, but he didn’t watch them often and hasn’t noticed. At our old home, we were paying about $120 month for satellite TV–now we’re spending about $54 and have more channels available.

    I paid $4 for a like-new Black & Decker mini rice cooker for DS and DDIL.

    I bought several Kwik Sew books a couple of months ago and I have been working on a master pattern. I traced the blouse pattern over the weekend and intend to try it out on an old sheet. I’m going to start just by sewing the fronts and back together and checking for fit before I go any further.

  37. Not sure I will make them again, since hubby and DD were not overly excited about them. It doesn’t mean that other wouldn’t enjoy this recipe (I did and may just try again despite their objections). Since some people may not make the sliders due to the cost of the Hawaiian sweet rolls, I wanted to let others know they can be made using another type of bun, especially ones found on discount or clearance! Sloppy Joe sliders sound pretty good too!

  38. Beautiful Pansies! My mother always bought pansies every year and would tell me about how she never cared for them but it was something her mother always insisted on planting. She kept on doing it once an adult because it was tradition.

    Last week I tore into the budget, finding places to skim the fat and looking for the areas where we’ve grown lax. The weather has been variable this past week with some days freezing cold and others in the 60’s. I put the furnace down and we’ve been bundling up on the colder days instead of moving the setting up and down. I Picked up a few extra patients on Saturday at my second job. It only took me a couple hours to complete the work and will bring in almost $200 extra.

    I found a nice sweater for work on clearance and when I went to pay found it was an additional 40% off. Work clothes can be a challenge for me because business casual is not allowed for my position and it can be tough to be that formally dressed all the time- especially when dressing on a budget. SO and I went to Ikea to look for a new bookshelf for the living room. I didn’t find one I liked but did buy new toilet brushes for both bathrooms for .99.

  39. Everything is beautiful Brandy! I will be so glad when things start growing here!
    We had a pretty good week.
    Paid all bills online or thru the checking account.
    Ate all meals at home except for yesterday. We celebrated Valentines Day yesterday with our 18 year old son and 12 year old grandson. We had Krispy Creme donuts for breakfast and Mc Donald’s for dinner(their choices). We spent $30 total for the 4 of us.
    Did not have any errands to run till Saturday ,so only left the house to babysit my grandson once. Combined grocery shopping with my 12 year old grandson’s bowling league Saturday morning.
    Spent $50 on groceries and only bought fresh produce and stocked up on bagels for the next month or more, $1.46 a pack.
    Have a great week everyone!

  40. It sounds like a good idea—to protect her that way.

    Yes, Michaela would never leave the house. Last winter was hard on her because we had a lot of snow. This year has been easier, but if they even hint of snow on the news, or on a weather app, she has high anxiety for several days. Usually, thankfully, we rarely get any here. Whew!

  41. Decluttering is certainly in the air! Hope you make pots of money when you have a yard sale:D

    • One day the temp was 50 outside so I turned off the heat for the day
    • Sold five items on eBay and packed them using recycled packing materials. One item sold was a set of Harry Potter trading cards which I had bought at a yard sale for 50 cents about 12 years ago. The cards sold for $6.50 plus shipping!
    • Donated two large bags of books to the library and got a tax donation receipt. Not sure if I’ll be able to use in on my 2018 taxes but decided it was worth the effort to itemize and request the receipt.
    • Was sick for most of the week and ate a lot of previously cooked food from the freezer
    • Bought two pounds of asparagus on sale and returned old cans for a total weekly grocery spend of $4.26
    • Made apple crisp, stuffed shells, cauliflower au gratin, hollandaise sauce from scratch for the asparagus, and blueberry muffins
    • Paid a bill online.

    Thank you for the advice/comments last week regarding multiple steams of income.

  42. This is off topic, but does anyone have suggestions for beginning sewing for a mom and dughter to do together. I have no sewing experience, but i picked up an old singer machine from the 60,s from an estate sale.

  43. I so look forward to your post! You inspire me and challenge me. Love your table runner. I picked up some lemons on a great sale yesterday so will try your poppy seed recipe. Love your pansies and reorganizing.
    Here are a few frugal accomplishments for this week;
    . Made a sale roast go for our dinner. One to give away by making roast with pepperchini.
    . Took a gift card someone gave to me..bought another
    Small one with it to give as a gift.
    . Used a little olive oil to polish a few tables I have that get roughed up by my sweet grands.
    . Was able to make all meals using things from freezer.
    Bought a few produce items. Milk.
    . Used elbow grease on a corners of floor after I mopped
    Fresh n new looking for Spring.
    . Brought out a few items stored away for Spring around the house. Zero cost.
    . My daughter gifted me a small bouquet of tulips I put on the dining,room table during our snowy days.

  44. ANOTHER BABY?! Wow! How did I miss that news?! Best wishes for a healthy little one, Miss Brandy! Do you not let them tell you the sex of the baby when you have your ultrasounds? When I was pregnant with my boys (a hundred years ago) the ultrasound techs wouldn’t commit to whether they thought the babies were male or female. And I couldn’t make heads nor tails of the images so…surprises! Both. With my daughter, same deal but I had a feeling it was a girl because the tech told me what we were seeing was a bottom shot and I didn’t see anything that looked like it belonged to a boy. I think the element of surprise was fun though. Are you feeling well through it all? Have you shared your due date?!
    My Five Frugal Things are here: http://tjssweethome.blogspot.com/2018/02/five-frugal-things-february-16-2018.html
    Hold on all our cold weather friends~Spring is right around the corner!~TJ

  45. Tj, I announced my pregnancy on my first post of the year.

    My babies are born at home, and an ultrasound is not part of the package. I have only had an ultrasound twice before because we chose to go have one done. My insurance doesn’t cover home births, so we pay for the birth, lab work, and ultrasound out of pocket. At this point, I have not had an ultrasound, and we are still discussing it. We think it would be fun to do this time, but it’s still an outlay of funds, so we haven’t done one yet.

    All of my babies have been born between 42-44 weeks, so a 40 week due date is kind of pointless to me 🙂 The baby should be here sometime in April–or May!

  46. I love how you made that flat of flowers work.
    This past week I took a very small side job of helping a friend with some sewing for her job. Her employer is paying me for this help.
    The weather is flip flopping between the 40s and 3 inches of snow, on one of the good days a friend picked me up to go walk a trail. It was a great 5-mile walk.
    A few of my friends and myself are feeling the winter blahs. I took the quote that you posted Brandy, a few weeks back, and water colored the saying onto 3×5 pieces and mailed it to each of them as a pick me up. I used my cheap little 10-year-old water color kit, paper and mailed with old stamps (before forever stamps came out) that lot of stamps I purchased for a quarter. Kept myself entertained, brightened others mood. (Thank you for posting that quote!)
    With leftovers – concocted a “white chili rice bake” and it was so good.
    I took time to pin more easy vegetable recipes of the future vegetables I cannot wait to grow. Sometimes I end up with 7 zucchinis at one time and lose ways to keep it fresh. (I do can). I made sure the recipes used only pantry staples.
    Wishing everyone a content week!

  47. *Decluttered some of the decorations I have not used for over 10 years, as I took down the Valentines Day decorations & put up a mix of St. Patrick’s Day & Easter decorations. Our oldest daughter was visiting, so I let her have any she wanted, & the rest went back to Deseret Industries, which is where most of them were bought years ago.

    *Our oldest daughter was here to visit for a few days. We went shopping at Deseret Industries, among other things, & found 2 lovely dark green dresses and 1 red one for my granddaughters, in perfect shape, for a couple of dollars each. My daughter emailed me a photo of the girls in the dresses. She also took home the mats I brought from her younger sister, for her to use for camping & scouts, & she brought the 23 volume set of Value Tales that her children have outgrown, for me to take back to her younger sister on my next trip.

    *I worked on pruning more off the pear tree. For a while, I thought I would have to kill it & cut it down, and during that couple of years, it was not pruned as I should have done. Now it has to be done in stages.

    *Bought 3 hams that were originally priced $21 – $23 each, marked down to $5 each. The meat manager had received them as fresh hams, three days before their expiration date, so he marked them all down. There were six when I got there, & I bought 3: one for dinner that night, one for the freezer & one for our daughter (which also had to fit in the freezer for a few weeks). If I had more space in the freezer, I would have bought more of them at that price.

    *My husband & I both went thru the bookshelves & decluttered some of the things we no longer need or use, making space for the things we do use.

  48. To the person who just bought a sewing machine and wants to learn to sew with her daughter:

    I don’t have children but I bought these books anyway: http://www.bunkhousesewing.com/sewing-books

    Some of the projects are old-fashioned but a careful choice of fabric, color, and print can work wonders. They include multi-size patterns. There is a book directed towards boys. And matching patterns for 18-inch dolls are available.

    The Kwik-Sew books are also classics that make learning to sew simple.

    Burdastyle.com is an excellent resource too. Their magazine has dozens of multi-size patterns in each issue and tends to be leading fashion, not following it. But you will probably want to have a few simple projects under your belt to enjoy making the clothes in that magazine.

    If your sewing machine is missing its manual, you should be able to find a copy either free to download or very inexpensive to purchase.

    Sewing.about.com is another source of information and projects along with YouTube.com.

    Have fun! And be patient.

  49. When I took home ec (Eisenhower was President!), the first thing we learned to do was to sew straight seams/make hems. The first thing we made was a square tablecloth and matching napkins. The next thing was an apron that only required straight stitching and hems, but had us attach a pocket (sew a seam) the whole width of the apron as well as make a casing at the waist for the ties. Our next project was a gathered skirt with zipper and waistband.

    I think the anonymous person who wants to learn to sew along with her daughter would do well to start with cloth napkins. Use old sheets, tablecloths, etc., so there is no cost for fabric that you’re basically using for practice. Start with a 16″ to 18″ square piece of fabric. Go around all 4 edges (easiest if done one at a time) and turn under 1/2 inch. Pin in place and press. Then remove the pins, measure and press under 1/2 inch again, and pin. This is the basis for a finished hem–1/2 inch turned under, then the length of the hem itself. Now thread the machine and sew along the edge of the hem (eyeball the left side of the presser foot to sew straight). You can sew right over the pins. When you get to a corner, leave the needle in the fabric and pivot the fabric to continue sewing. When you get all the way around the square, sew backward a couple of stitches so the stitching doesn’t come out.

    After this, look for simple patterns and how-tos on the internet. Just the ability to sew a straight seam and hem will allow you to make potholders, curtains and tote bags. After you’ve made a few, look for patterns that only have a few pieces, and give ’em a go!

    Tip: A sewing machine made in the ’60s probably has guide lines on the right side of the metal plate to help you sew straight lines. Most seams are 5/8 inch, and that line will probably be the most prominent. When you are sewing seams, mark the line with a piece of masking tape so you can easily see it. Just line up the fabric edge with the tape! This is especially important when you are first learning to sew and if you are sewing a different amount than 5/8 inch. If I’m making a 1/2 inch hem, because I’m not used to it, I always put a piece of tape on the guide line.

    Look on the internet for learn to sew sites and read them before you start. If you had home ec in school, most of the basics of using the machine and sewing straight seams will come back to you. Good luck, and have fun!

  50. This week:

    Electricity
    Trying to turn off fans and lights when leaving a room. It’s getting hotter, so our fan use is going to go up.
    Water
    I’ve been reusing rinse water to water plants.
    Not frugal…we have an occasional leak.
    Food
    We have visitors and are feeding a lot of people. But I’m reminding myself of an article I read that talked about the difference between hosting and entertaining. It may not be the most luxurious meals, but there’s plenty and its a joy to have guests!
    We picked some mangoes today.
    Misc
    I got an email offer for 2 freebies from Shutterfly. I looked at it, but decided the $6 of shipping cost wasn’t worth something I really don’t need.

  51. I did see that Star nursery had their citrus tree’s on sale but I never came across the coupon. Did you receive it in your sale ad’s on Tuesday?

  52. I haven’t seen any coupons for them this year! I have been looking! I prefer to have coupons whenever I go in the spring. I couldn’t put off this purchase of drip line any longer, so I went.

    If you buy citrus (on sale through Wednesday) I would put them inside until Thursday to plant them because of the possibility of a late frost. It’s really unusual but this cold front is predicting a freeze, even though we’re past our last frost date.

  53. Received free candy at work for Valentine’s Day.

    My mom came to visit for the weekend. She repaired a cookbook of my daughter’s that had a plastic spiral notebook type binding that had come apart (tied through the holes with strong crochet thread). She also brought a fleece zip-front vest that had belonged to my grandmother and that my mom no longer wants. It fits me.

    Paid off summer camps for my daughter through a nice Grandma contribution plus the remaining “refund” from last year’s dependent care FSA (probably the last year we will use that service).

    Took a Pinecone Research survey and checked my balance. Signed up for getreferred.com based on Money Saving Mom’s post.

    Was notified that my Disney Movie Rewards points would expire if I didn’t do something with them; redeemed some for a $5 concession cash coupon that does not expire until end of this year.

    Finished three library books. (Ginny Moon is quite good.)

    Mardi Gras dinner was a modified shrimp pilau recipe from my dad using some shrimp and bacon that had been in the freezer. Another meal involved thawing some of the leftover pulled pork we took home from extended family Christmas dinner and using for sandwiches. Made rhubarb coffee cake using rhubarb from freezer. I also made a recipe I’ve had and wanted to try for a while, grapefruit pie. It’s a cold pie, using a strawberry jello base with grapefruit slices in it. It was all right, but I probably won’t make it again. Daughter made pumpkin bread earlier in the week (and ate most of it herself).

    I am in the midst of a trial run of a local yoga studio which offers a “$30 for 30 days” special for new students; you can take up to 2 classes a day during that timeframe. I tried one of the classes with a new-to-me instructor this weekend.

  54. Hi Brandy,
    I love the great price you got on the pansies- they sure provide some nice color to your wonderful garden.

    I was able to get some top quality garden seeds designed especially for our area for a buy two get one packet free. These are very expensive seeds and this is the first time ever that I have seen any kind of deal on them so I was happy about that.

    I also got a can of spray paint for $1.50 on sale so I can freshen up my patio chairs.

    We had 3 inches of snow yesterday so made a pot of home-made beef and barley soup which we had for dinner and will use for lunches this week.

    Other than that, just doing the usual stuff we all do every day. I will color my hair this week myself using hair dye bought with coupon so total cost of less than $5.

    Brandy-hope the garage sale goes well.

  55. I did a lot of cooking and a lot of staying at home this past week, and also the one before. I do my grocery shopping and other errands on Thursdays, after my yoga class. (Hope you enjoy and can manage yours–I’ve been going about 4 years and really like it. It keeps my arthritis from taking over my joints and keeps them lubricated.) So for the past two weeks I have been home by 2 PM on Thursday and not been out of the house until Tuesday morning. This allows me to get quite a lot done–although not compared to Brandy. I’m 75 and not as quick as I once was. I cooked a beef top round and managed to make three meals from it, and later in the week made spaghetti and meat balls, with enough meatballs and sauce left over to make broiled meatloaf sandwiches with sauce and melted mozzarella another night. That was served with broccoli salad, upon which I splurged to buy it ready made from the deli. I had purchased a panel for a Christmas wall hanging when we visited the Amish area in Ohio last summer. I managed to go to Joannne Fabrics with a coupon and bought the Christmas fabric with which to back it, as well as a crib sized batting on sale, which was more than enough, so I have some width left for potholders. I really need to replace my potholders soon. The wall hanging has now been sewn together and ironed and is ready to be quilted. I would like to finish it by Sunday to give it to my daughter for her birthday, but I’m not sure that will happen. She will get it eventually, just not sure it will be finished for her birthday. My food shopping budget has been kept to a minimum since the beginning of the year, but it is starting to creep upwards again. That means some of my stock is getting used up along with the surplus food left from the holiday entertaining. I do not see prices like others are getting. Most weeks I can find 16 oz of pasta for $1 a box but rarely less than that– 88 cents a box is the absolute lowest I have seen. I can’t wait until locally grown vegetables are available again–spent $3.99 last week for 3 beets which fed the two of us for two meals. At that price, Brandy would have to spend the week’s budget to feed her family! Broccoli was on sale for 99 cents a pound. I buy that almost every week but not at that price. Usually more like $1.50-1.70 a lb. Carrots and cabbage are featured frequently on my menus, as they are certainly more affordable, although I use carrots often enough to get tired of them, even though they are a favorite here. Meat can be purchased more cheaply than vegetables at times. I have been getting boneless pork loins on sale for $1.68 or $1.69 a pound for the last few months. Beef runs more like $3.69-3.99 on sale. Chicken (boneless breasts) for $1.89 a lb on sale. We eat meat most nights, but often have small portions or made in a casserole type dish, and most casseroles will feed us for two meals. I plan it that way to make cooking fast the second time! I do have Aldi’s, an Amish grocery, and a large produce market as well as the grocery store chain. Aldi’s produce is not the best in our local store unless you will use it in a day or two. We do have Walmart but I prefer not to go there unless I really desperately need something. Parking is always crowded there among other problems I have with them.
    Can’t wait to see fresh flowers here–but our nurseries don’t even open until mid-April. I’m glad you post pictures weekly so I know that spring really will come again!

  56. Cindy, I have read a lot of tutorials on cleaning the dishwasher, but they all focused on hard water issues. Though we have hard water here, the problem we run into (even though we pre-rinse, because despite reading that it’s not necessary and you can run your dishwasher every two days without doing it, we run our dishwasher twice a day and we still have issues with food being cooked on) is that grease builds up in our dishwasher. When it gets bad, it starts sticking to the dishes and leaving a layer of grease on them.

    We use dishsoap, an old toothbrush, and a blue ScotchBrite pad to scrub the inside areas of the dishwasher. We unscrew the grate at the bottom of the dishwasher and take it and the filter under it out. We wash those by hand in the sink in hot water with dishsoap and a toothbrush. We also take off the water sprayer and wash that as well with the toothbrush and soap. This time, I washed the silverware rack as well with hot water, bleach, and the toothbrush.

    Then I ran a clean sanitize cycle with no dishes inside and citric acid in the soap dispenser. The citric acid helps cut hard water.

    Because our large family can so easily fill the dishwasher (most dishwashers hold around 14 plates) we have been cleaning the dishwasher more often lately. This was a problem with our previous dishwasher, and though it was a top of the line model, it eventually ended up so bad that the dishes would not longer come clean and we couldn’t get the grease out of the dishwasher. Now that we know what the problem is, we are taking preventative measures to make sure our newer (and less expensive) dishwasher lasts a lot longer. We know we run it a lot more often than most people (three homemade meals a day plus snacks for 10 people makes for a lot of dishes) and we would like it to last a long time. At this point, we are trying to clean it once every three weeks and we may switch to twice a month or even once a week. If we let it go too long, there is a bad smell when we open it after it runs a cycle and the dishes are noticeably grimy (worse than when we put them in). I think for most families you can do this a lot less often. My mom takes out her filter and washes it once a month on her newer dishwasher (and there are just two people at her house) after she saw the trouble we had, and her dishwasher runs really well. Your dishwasher instructions should have info on how to remove the filter, but generally, it’s just unscrewing it from the bottom inside of the machine.

  57. I would like to second Holly’s suggestion to get one of the Kwik Sew books. You can find used copies on bookfinder dot com. Make sure you get books listed in very good or better condition, or if it says the master patterns are included. The most basic book is Easy Sewing the Kwik Sew Way. Besides the master patterns, which you can use over and over, the book contains very detailed instructions for the beginning sewer, every step of the way. Easy Sewing contains patterns for T-shirts, a basic shirt, and elastic-waist skirts and pants. Although the pictures may appear dated, these are classic styles that can be varied with different sleeves, collars, etc., and the patterns tend to have fewer pieces. I haven’t sewed much in the last 30 years–and I was always only average–so I am using the shirt pattern to try and get something that fits that I could easily sew. Kwik Sew seems to fill the bill. PS, others may disagree with me, but I find sewing with woven fabrics, particulary cotton, easier than T-shirt knits…at least in the beginning.

  58. Have you tried a different brand of dishwasher detergent? I can’t remember what brand I used when I lived in Las Vegas, but I remember having to try a few different ones before I found a good one. A plumber told us to turn the temperature up on the water heater, too. We were reluctant to do that because we didn’t want the kids getting burned, but it did seem to help.

  59. Andrea, your comment made me remember that we didn’t have this problem before the law changed on dishwasher detergent several years ago. It was when they made it illegal for detergents to have something in them that actually cleaned the dishes (I think they changed them to ALL be phosphate free or something like that). Since then, it’s been a problem.

    We have our hot water heater set fairly high (with a gas hot water heater, I’m not real worried about the cost, as gas is fairly inexpensive, but running the water waiting for it to get hot is not inexpensive).

    We tried several detergents before and had only found one that cut the grease well, years ago, but that was before the law changed. Since then, we have tried several different brands without any success. We still use vinegar in each load to cut hard water, but the grease remains an issue. Cleaning the dishwasher more often has been a big help. I would love to not have this problem anymore.

  60. Lorna, Don’t you love saving money when buying gift cards? That was a great savings you got! Too bad about the mattress but good about better sleep and pain management. It’s funny how things work out, sometimes. I love serendipity.

  61. Jen, Wow! That seems like an awesome price on beef! We paid just over 3.00 lb for half a pig. This same farmer also sold beef. With just one meat eater, pork seemed like the better option for us. I think our price was quoted higher, though. Two hundred pounds is a LOT of meat all at once!

  62. Laurie, Wishing you and your husband a speedy recovery! My walking buddy has had the flu this week. I’m walking upwind of her!

  63. Thank-you Elizabeth. I am happy that we have food on hand, as this has not always been the case. I realize that I am blessed to have food and fresh water. I’ve tried to keep a pantry because I don’t want my family or me to ever be hungry again. It was difficult when my kids were little for awhile. Things are much better now. I don’t have a huge pantry and my freezer is almost empty. But we are making it, and that is a blessing. As soon as I can I will stock the pantry and freezer again, watching for sales.

  64. Oh gosh, Rhonda, I missed last week’s community postings and so missed what happened with your daughter! I’m so sorry that happened to you guys. With all the strides your daughter has made making friends and everything, that must have been so upsetting :(. I hope everything works out well and your daughter finally, truly, gets the full support she needs. Fingers crossed for you!

  65. We realized our kitchen needed painting. From that we realized both the ceiling and cabinets also need painting.sowre we would never do this after the lat kitchen remodel 20 years ago in an old house. But, we are committed to accelerating payments on a new vehicle we recently had to purchase. So, we are doing the work ourselves which will be a savings of around $2600. Plus the paint was on sale for 30% off plus an additional $10 was taken off the price. Very glad for a well stocked pantry and freezer during this time, but have also realized the need to have more prepared meals in the freezer for quick meals. They would have come in real handy since the kitchen is presently totally out of commission for at least the next week. Still, so thankful to the Lord that we still have the health to do a major job like this even if it takes us much longer than when we were younger.

  66. This week was a trying one. However, it has deepened our relationships.

    To save money, we did the following:
    * Ran multiple errands at one time
    * Went with a family member who has a Costco card to purchase an item for church
    * Made our tax appointment over the phone to save time and money on gas
    * Combined appointments to have more than one at a location to save on travel time and on gas
    * Cooked a whole organic chicken and used it in several meals for three days
    * Ate home cooked meals instead of eating out
    * Cooked extra food to have leftovers (fast, easy meal)
    * Took our natural remedies faithfully to stay well

  67. Marcia, our produce prices in Canada goes way up in winter as well, because it has to be shipped in from warmer countries and that costs money. In the summer, I buy up produce when it is cheapest, then blanch and freeze it or can it up to use in winter. This can be very difficult and overwhelming at times, as I work a seasonal job, full time during the summer. So I’m often doing this on my days off when I’m tired I’d rather be resting. But, if I do it right, we have a nice variety of fruits and veggies and don’t need to purchase much fresh produce over the winter, saving us a ton of money. So I suck it up and do it anyways.

  68. Well I wouldn’t call it nesting! April is our big garage sale season (there are at least 5 community sales the second weekend in April, and a few the week before and a couple more the week after), and if I want to have money to go, I need to sell some things! I have done garage sales in the past in March in order to have money for needs this time of year, including going to the April sales, which is my primary motivating factor this time (I usually have a garage sale with a specific goal in mind). My mom is busy decluttering right now, and I knew if I didn’t speak up, she would have donated all of her things to the thrift store. When I called her the other day, she said she hadn’t donated anything yet, but I was afraid she might have already done so! She had mentioned wanting to have a sale to me. My dad told her he would pay her not to! So I figured I had better ask about her stuff right away! I don’t have anyplace to put it other than right in the entryway, and that is going to drive me nuts, so I am going to have to go through my house quickly to add to it, because I can’t stand the piles of stuff just cluttering up the house (nor can anyone else here). This means having the sale as soon as possible.

  69. Wyoming Gal! Congratulations on your retirement from a 30 HR career. I finally fully retired from many years as an HR manager and director last July. It is truly a ‘hair on fire’ job and it took me awhile to adjust. I had retired twice before – returning to HR twice. Love Monday mornings now!

    I’ll be interested in any responses to the question about the Woolite dry cleanign system. I like the Dryel system and was lukcy when my local King Soopers had packs of the Dryel system half off so I am set for awhile. However being confined to the bag does mean I can’t do my heavier coats – which can cost a lot to have dry clean.

  70. Hi Momsav and an E-Voucher is kind of buying your groceries ahead of time and they email you a code which you can use for online shopping here in the supermarkets. With buying the over $300 E-Voucher we also got free delivery (usually $11 here) to our door as well so it saved us even leaving the house.

    We also love serendipity too and the mattress cost is well worth a good night’s sleep and also to see my husband in not so much pain is a blessing too. The happy side effect of my husband sleeping well is he is much happier for me to be around too :p and not so grumpy 😀 , which is always a plus with anyone who suffers chronic constant pain.

  71. Hi Lorna, may I ask what solar lanterns you use? I’ve been tracking my electricity spending and realised that my biggest days are when I need to use the lights early in the morning. If I could use solar power then, I’d probably drop my bill.

  72. 1. Learned how to make sushi at home, which will save me a lot of money on date nights.
    2. Only bought groceries this past week
    3. We have been having really warm weather this past week, so we used no fire wood or electric heat
    4. Made party decorations for Chinese New Year from supplies I already had
    5. Bartered babysitting services for random groceries I needed to make it to my designated grocery store day (My 27 year old autistic sister is a handful for my mom to take into stores)**I do not charge my mom, she just gets a kick out of bartering with me for things she gets for cheap…she is a mega couponer:)

  73. Tammy, I am with you in always having food, even if it is not exactly what we want to eat. That’s when I started buying rice, beans and oatmeal by the 25-50 lb bags…one at a time of course since they take do much on a meager food budget. Eventually we had a supply to rotate and there are a ton of recipes for these three staples. Cooking with rice and beans was new to me as I grew up on a farm with plenty of meat, potatoes and vegetables. Very excited to hear that you are doing so well during tough times!

  74. Melonie, thank you so much for those kind words. There’s only so much I can do about this so I’m working on accepting the possibility. When I see the problems that others have (such as Gina and Ed on the Home Joys blog with the returning growth of his glioblastoma multiform tumor). My potential income cut is not minor to me, but I’ll be able to cover all the bills and still save some money, just not what I want or think I need. We shall see.

    Finally, I let go of the stress this morning by putting my specific concern (not saving enough money) in my “God Box” (actually a ceramic heart that I painted at a pottery store during an outing with my daughter a number of years ago). I saw the idea online and have placed several problems in there when they really bothered me and it gave me a lot of peace to do so. It doesn’t mean that I don’t need to plan for it or make sure I control my expenses, it just means that God will give me guidance and strength and take the stress from me IF I remember to let Him!

    For anyone who wants to make their own box/basket/bag, the saying that goes with it is:

    I am God.

    Today I will be handling all your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. It will be addressed in MY time, not yours. Once the matter is placed in the box, do not hold on to it.

  75. Samantha, thank you so much for the idea. I might try that this summer; right now, with my income, I would get killed on taxes. However, if my income is reduced… It won’t hurt to take on more. I’m going to suggest it to my daughter, too. She works between 25-30 hours a week at a lower wage job and is looking to take on a second one or get a full-time one.

    Good luck with the neighborhood swap! The freezer thing is really easy for us since we are side-by-side and we have keys to each other’s houses. I help with her autistic 13 year old son after school one day a week. Neighbors helping neighbors. I highly recommend it.

  76. Online order came in a box in a plastic bag…that I put in my emergency toilet bucket. I can order some foods online for less and not have to drive about an hour to shop.

    Turned down tons of cookies and cupcakes from school this past week…stuck to the diet. Usually I would have brought some home for my son; however, he is losing weight as well. He needs to be at a certain weight for the Air Force and is so muscular that it is going to be a struggle as he’s on the shorter side!

    Used up an (old, but not yet spoiled) extra hamburger to spice up the dogs’ food after an especially long day in their kennel.

    Didn’t have to do any laundry last week. Washed full loads this weekend. Next week we are going to my husband’s Great Aunt’s for lunch and she said to bring laundry. Not sure when we will have enough water pressure for the washer (even though it is a low water user) to be hooked up. Glad to have a dryer. It has been so very wet here that I would have had to use the dryer at the laundromat.

    Found a sale on a cooked whole tasty chicken for less than the chicken itself cost on sale!

    Have collected A fair number of boxes to use as fire starters. Am planning on really reducing the electric heat use this week when I’m home and using the woodstove.

    Found an in-network dentist and am making appointments for everyone. We are behind on our cleanings due to a lack of insurance and funds.

    My freezer is mostly full of grains to keep them out of reach of the mice. I took the final 2 frozen food items out, am dehydrating them (peas and hash brown potatoes), and have turned the freezer off. I try not to buy a lot of freezer foods. Early this winter we were gifted with a bit of food from my inlaws that needed freezing. Very blessed to have it!

    Not fully frugal but kind…a young friend has started a subscription tea company out of her house and I am not interested in a subscription, but would like to buy something to help get her started. I mentioned that I’m a coffee drinker but that my son loves berry teas and English Breakfast ones as well. She has put together a mix for him that should arrive around midterms as a great treat – and I am able to support her efforts. Win-win

    Found 2 pennies and gladly added them to the change container. Mended 2 items. I am on a mission to reduce my spending, so today I am off to a friend’s house to color my hair and have her daughter trim my hair. Last fall when I tried this myself it was a disaster. Praying it goes better with help

    Finally, we have had some bad news that I pray will turn into a blessing. Where we live in Wyoming is extremely expensive and our rental house that we share is coming to an end May 1st. I’ve just finished convincing my DD that it would be a great benefit for her to come back to Wyoming after she graduates and work for the summer to be better prepared financially to move out on her own. DS and I are heading back home for the summer where we have summer jobs or commitments as well. And my husband and I have a plan to start a part time business that is summer oriented. We need housing that is not so expensive that we cannot afford it. Trusting God!

    Happy frugal-ing!

  77. Cindy in the South,

    I understand how difficult this is. My Healthy son developed an illness that is all over now (he will have to maintain all his life, but the difficult part is done) he is just now back to college. It’s the reason I’m here with him. And, at the same time, our soccer playing daughter in college suffered 2 serious head injuries that have resulted in a lost semester three weeks before the end of the semester and a lot of medical bills. She graduates this spring!

    Praying for you!

  78. Jennifer what quote did you used. I went back over old posts but couldn’t find it. Love your idea. I am not artistic but am going to try to do this. Any advice?

  79. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing it, Marilyn. This sounds like just the ticket for when I get myself all worked up at night and can’t drift off. Sometimes you can’t turn off the brain due to all the worrying. Going to try this – I know just the container I have on hand too.:D

  80. It’s so hard for you and your DD to be dealing with this – but I’m so glad that the school is finally coming around and doing something. Hoping they continue to improve and can serve her well. It sounds like the police had the right idea in helping you establish a clear paper trail for her. Hopefully the day won’t come that she’ll see a court case; praying the referral the Society gave you gets just what you all need.

  81. To the mother-daughter sewing pair: how about matching (or complimenting) aprons? They are fairly straightforward and there are so many beginner patterns online. I have aprons in my closet that I’ve used for years that my mother made for me, and they’re very special. Depending on your daughter’s age you can make a child size apron, and later give her the adult apron you made for yourself- passing the tradition onto her children, should she have them! Another option would be a rice filled heating pad, or perhaps some ‘un paper towels’ (a google search will get you many patterns). I also recently discovered that Days for Girls, a nonprofit providing feminine hygiene products to girls worldwide, asks for sewing donations. Their site has more information if you’d prefer a service type project to do together. Happy sewing!

  82. I’d love to know what solar lanterns you use as well. We have a couple, including two of the little blow-up Luci lanterns, but I find they don’t shed much light for reading. I’d like to find something brighter. Do you use your lanterns for task lighting like that, or more for general light around the house for things like the bathroom or dining? I do try to read books on my phone at night, so we have just one lamp on, but sometimes I want to read a paper book, as I’m tired of electronics by then. I’ve read some folks use a headlamp for a reading light – has anyone here done that? I wonder how fast I’d kill the battery.

    Lorna, I’ve been meaning to ask – have you a blog? I so enjoy your comments and would love to see what things look like that you describe. I often wonder if the idea in my head is anywhere close to what things look like at others’ houses.

  83. My husband and I made a big trip to a farmer’s market. We tend to only go a few times a year and stock up on a lot of things. While initially it isn’t that cheap, we are able to get so much for our money including spices that are usually less than $1 (and last forever). As we had done little trips here and there to the grocery, we were definitely due.

    Our dogs have to take pills 2x/day. We buy the generic pill pockets from Costco and then cut them into thirds. This way they last a lot longer and save us money.

    Although our heat is still “on”, it has been so warm that it has not clicked on so we should have a much cheaper bill coming up. I’m hoping that March will be cooler than usual or at least normal as we typically don’t need the AC or heat on then.

    I planted daffodils and irises in the fall. The daffodils are budding- I hope to cut some to bring inside for a free floral arrangement. Although the irises are growing, they haven’t budded yet- I’m assuming that they have a later bloom (I’ve never paid attention in the past).

    I started seeds indoors and also planted some mesclun lettuce outside. I’ve never tried the lettuce before- it would be nice if we can forgo grocery store lettuce for awhile.

    My husband and I have been planning a trip for our 10 year anniversary. We were all set to go to London when an amazing deal opened up for Germany and Austria just before Christmas. We will get to go to the Christmas markets. I can’t wait as this has been a dream of mine for awhile.

    Have a great week!

  84. Actually I do the same but probably with fewer vegetables. I used to grow quite a nice garden and canned and froze as much as I could, but since I hit my 70’s the garden has been shrinking some. Last year it rained until about July and I couldn’t get much planted when I normally do (beginning of May.) But I do buy some produce at harvest time and preserve it for winter use–not as cheap as growing your own, but still a savings. I froze a few beets but didn’t have too many of them. I did buy some butternut squash but only a few—-most years I get a half bushel but I still had some left in the freezer so I just added some to it. Our nurseries for plants close in mid to late October and don’t open again until April–the sign says April 14th for this year.

  85. I have one more suggestion to anonymous who wants to start sewing with her daughter. Reader’s Digest puts out a basic handbook of sewing with great pictures that demonstrate how to do various tasks. It’s Called “The Complete Book of Sewing” or words to that effect. It is a hard back but not an expensive one and maybe your library carries it. I’ve been sewing a long time and I still use it as a reference book. It’s very helpful.

  86. For anonymous who wants to sew with her daughter. My first thought is to contact your local Extension Office. The often give sewing lessons for free or very inexpensively. I think we often overlook the Extension agents for information. I worked in the Montague County Extension Office almost 20 years ago. They have all kinds of information and lessons that you can use.

  87. I have frozen figs and mulberries from my trees (and my mother’s tree) that I use during the wintertime. I also use a lot of cheap canned vegetables like green beans, carrots, peas at 50 cents a can from Dollar General. I buy cabbage, potatoes, onions, carrots, collards, and turnip greens in the winter here, since those are the cheapest fresh vegetables here. I seldom buy broccoli because it is expensive here, although I really like it.

  88. We made meals using what was in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. I tried a vegan sweet potato/lentil soup recipe (because I had those items and they needed to be used). It turned out to be delicious. (We are not vegetarian ourselves but two of our children are vegan – I love the challenge of making vegan food options they can eat not because it’s the only option, but because it’s good. Or that those of us who aren’t vegan can eat and enjoy too.)

    Decades ago, my husband had a sports car, and he acquired a LOT of literature associated with it. The car is long gone but the magazines and ephemera were still in the garage, collecting dust. He decided to see if he could get anything for them on eBay. He not only cleared a huge amount of space, the items sold for a startling amount of money. (Apparently they have become very collectible.) He has set aside every penny, considering it a windfall.

    I took advantage of several “freebies” from Shutterfly, to create personalized gifts for future birthdays and Easter baskets. I put “freebies” in quotes because Shutterfly does charge tax and shipping, so while you’re technically getting the items at no cost, you’re still paying.

    Now that the Lenten season is upon us, I will start decorating the house for Easter and Spring. I have plenty of lovely things I can use without spending a dime, and am looking forward to opening my boxes and getting creative.

  89. Hi Jenny and Melonie :).

    These are similar to the ones we use that we buy on eBay –

    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Portable-Solar-Panel-Power-LED-Bulb-Lamp-Outdoor-Camping-Tent-Lantern-Light-7084/322444455566?epid=2222234496&hash=item4b132fee8e:g:M7wAAOSwTM5YuT7k

    They have little solar panels you mount outside the house in the sun and plug them into the solar lantern to charge, even in bright sun all day you would want to charge them on your laptop/computer/car through a phone charger via DC for another hour though to get a full charge using a USB charging cable, best to take in your lantern to a shop to get the USB charging cable they cost about $5 here (known as USB to mini USB). This is also good because if it is cloudy you have a way to charge them too.

    We like these ones as they have a hook on them and we can hook them on our neckline of our tops or hang them on hooks near where we are working to light an area. In the lounge room at night we hang them on our venetian blinds behind our lounge chairs to read and do computer work at night. We run with around 5 – 6 of these so we have some in use while the others charge.

    Any way we can reduce our electricity/power bills is good I think as utilities are getting so high in price everywhere 🙁 .

  90. Hi Melonie K and glad you enjoy my comments but unfortunately I don’t have a blog as I am usually so busy here in everyday things.

  91. Susan,
    The quote is “The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting the happiness from common things.” – Henry Ward Beecher
    Brandy had posted this on the prudent homemaker Facebook page.

  92. Yes, phosphate free is an issue for cleaning. It’s too bad phosphates are so bad for the environment. If I stumble upon any ideas, I’ll let you know. I can’t imagine cleaning the dishwasher as often as you do! I think I’d give up and wash by hand (but there are only six of us).

  93. We didn’t use to do it that often. I don’t want to have another dishwasher get ruined by it. I already wash about 20 pots and pans a day by hand; washing all of the dishes by hand and drying them would be a lot! So washing the dishwasher more often it is.

    Then again, with a large family and people home all day, there are a lot of things that need to be done more often. I read blog posts on cleaning schedules, and I bust up laughing. If we only vacuumed once a week and swept the floors once a day, our house would be disgusting! We have hardwood floors and rugs, and the living room rug MUST be vacuumed at least twice a day.

  94. Have you tried LED bulbs? You can buy 60-watt equivalents for $2 or $3 each. It costs around $1 per year to run an LED bulb for 2 hours a day (every day for a year) and the bulbs last for years (some say 30+ years). US states have Home Energy Savings Programs that provide rebates for energy efficient products or have special offers where you can buy lightbulbs directly from them. The programs are often the state abbreviation and the word save or saves (masssave.com, mosaves.com, michigansaves.org) Maybe your state has something like that?

  95. Lorna, Thanks for the link to the light. Once before you gave me information on solar lights but a picture is much nicer. I never did buy because I was unsure of which one. I can buy lights at our local hardware but they are small and cheap. And, I mean cheap as in poor construction which is not what I want. This is very helpful.

  96. Your flowers look lovely! We are still in the process of ripping up the mess the old owners called a “garden” but I’m looking forward to planting all the pretty things one day!

    [list]
    I made yoghurt in the slow cooker.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I walked somewhere I had to go instead of driving even though the weather was hot.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We picked up free fresh and dried parsley, cherry tomatoes, eggplants and plums from our local produce carts.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I splurged and bought two fast food lunches from my allowance this week. One was planned because I knew I would be in the area of my favourite Vietnamese Salad restaurant which doesn’t happen very often. Another day, I bought Subway in the spur of the moment to cheer my husband up who didn’t have a good day. At least I made sure the food was healthy. 😉
    [/list]

    [list]
    We were invited out for lunch and dinner once. I only had to contribute a bottle of wine to the lunch. All other meals were made at home, using up all leftovers, partially using free produce and items bought on special. I bulk-cooked rice and free vegetables for lunches. My husband took lunches to work all week except for one day when he bought something from his allowance.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I normally don’t buy a card for Valentine’s Day but did so this year as it was the first time as a married couple. I found a nice cheap one and re-used wrapping materials from our stash for the small present for my husband. Instead of going out for an overpriced dinner with a set menu, we ate at home and then went out for ice-cream for which we paid mostly with a leftover gift card.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I bought some needed clothes at the thrift store and didn’t pick up anything else!
    [/list]

    [list]
    I volunteered twice and did my first catalogue delivery round along with my husband. Both activities will be reimbursed. We also found two recycling bottles on our delivery walk and added them to our bag.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We combined errrands and appointments whenever possible and took our water bottles.
    [/list]

    [list]
    I got fuel and received a 4ct discount per litre thanks to my grocery store loyalty card.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We did not need to use the air-conditioner all week! *happydance*
    [/list]

    [list]
    I de-cluttered the house once more, donated items to friends or via a local FB page and repurposed others in our house.
    [/list]

    [list]
    My husband changed the brakes on our car which saved us a small fortune compared to what the mechanic quoted!
    [/list]

    [list]
    I received a brand-new handbag for free via a local FB page. It has a long strap and is just the right size to fit important things in for when we go on our holiday and will be walking around a lot. It will be much more practical than my current handbag which is huge and only has short handles.
    [/list]

    [list]
    As part of our holiday, we will be having a second wedding reception in my home country for everyone who couldn’t attend our wedding. I started making place cards using leftover cardboard from our actual wedding.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We watered from our rainwater tank and skipped watering once due to sufficient rain.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We only ran full loads of dishes and washing, mostly at the cheapest time of the day. All washing was air-dried and we’re making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of dishes and washing we produce.
    [/list]

    [list]
    We have to hand-wash our dishes very frequently at the moment as we’re battling with ants in the kitchen. We only half-fill the sink and save all warm-up water to soak pots and pans.
    [/list]

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  97. I love the sunny, bright pictures. We won’t see much sun for awhile, yet. Even pictures help moods.
    We got to FaceTime with our daughter and son-in-law. They surprised us by announcing they were expecting! My daughter has had health issues and didn’t know if she would ever have children. I am over the moon for them! This won’t be frugal for visits as they’re about 1,400 miles away. But, i’m won’t dwell on that!
    I took another little side job. I’ll be watching the same three children I nannyed a few years ago. This time, it’s just an hour or two after school, much more doable. The pay will help fund future Fl. trips. (Try saying that three times!)
    I’ve worked my way through two wool sweaters for making dryer balls. I need to wrap more of the yarn into balls. I’ll take the yarn to the laundromat to wash and dry. I may have enough for everyone, already. Two adult sweaters have quite a bit of yarn!
    I cut a toothpaste tube in half and got several more days from it.
    I added a cabbage core to the broth bag in the freezer.
    I finally washed my car this Winter. (Rinsed it, actually.) I found 51cents on the ground there. (Where is the cent sign on an iPad? Am I the only one who uses it?)
    I make my veggie tacos with a very spicy (to me) pre-made mix. I used cooked lentils to cut the heat and stretch the filling. Because I was out of lettuce, I used kale in it’s place.
    We had our credit limit lowered on one of our (two) credit cards. I don’t know that that was ‘frugal’ but it’s peace of mind. My husband wants to keep it where I want it to go. (We keep our cards paid off.) We use the other card because it offers double cash back where this one doesn’t. After having it reduced, they sent us a notice about raising it! Clearly, these banks don’t have a clue!
    I made wild blueberry pancakes and chocolate mousse for Valentines Day. The pancake mix was used up so I made another batch and put it in the freezer.
    Our taxes are done so I shredded the oldest ones in our files. (Ten years.)
    I paid a bill at the bank saving time and a stamp.
    I listed a few things on eBay and one item sold.
    We also FaceTimed with our son and his family. I love that we can see everyone in real time.
    That’s about it except for the baggies that were washed, water saved from the shower and waiting for hot at the sink and watching more documentaries on yooootuuube. It was a good week.
    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  98. Rhonda
    This may or may not be helpful information to you, I just wanted to share with you an intervention that was effective with many special needs students with whom I worked. For over twenty-five years I worked with adolescents with special needs. (I have a degree in Special Education and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker) I found through the years that it was critical for many of my students to have both a “safe” person and a “safe” place at school. Something that helped my students was to have a place to “retreat” to (often the office of the school nurse) and a consistent adult from whom to seek support. Another thing that I found was helpful was to give the student a “red card” (usually a 4X6 piece of red cardstock, preferably laminated) that they could hold up when they were unable to verbalize what was happening and just needed some space (aka not being expected to speak/explain the problem while they regroup) I also learned that most special needs students can, with practice and patience, learn to recognize some physical signs and symptoms that they often experience before a “full-blown meltdown” occurs. Recognizing these symptoms allowed the students to seek help BEFORE the crisis. They would simply “hold up” the red card and move as quickly as possible toward their safe person/place. Teachers were instructed to “respect” the red card, not try to engage the student in a verbal dialogue, and do what they could to assist the student in getting to their “safe” person/place. Perhaps a system like this might benefit your daughter. I hope that things calm down for both of you … she is blessed to have you for a mother.

  99. I watch for sales in the summer on fresh produce my family likes and buy a bunch when it’s cheap to blanch and freeze. For example, when broccoli and cauliflower are around $1/head or bunch, I buy several to process. I try to buy a dozen corn on the cob each week when it’s in season, cook all of it for a dinner once a week, knowing full well it is more than we can consume, then cut the corn off the remaining cobs for the freezer. At the farmer’s market, we asked about buying a 1/2 bushel of green and yellow/waxed beans and got a great deal for buying in bulk. I processed the full 1/2 bushel for the freezer. I also pick up a few squash at the farmer’s market when they were heavily in season and being sold per squash, instead of per pound. I picked out the biggest ones and saved big time! Every fall I see beets, carrots, onions and turnip go on sale for around $2/10lb bags. Way too much for most families to consume before it goes bad. But I will buy 20-30lbs of carrots, for instance, cut them up, then blanch and freeze them to use through the winter. We also have 1 grocery store in our city that advertises preorders for bushels of roma tomatoes and peppers or large boxes of peaches that are 2nds for really cheap prices. We buy a bushel of apple 2nd from a roadside farm stand to process into apple pies and apple crsip for the freezer and apple sauce that I home can.

    Even without a garden, it is still possible to home preserve cheap produce. Of course, every area has different produce available for different price points. You just have to watch for the sales and in-season offers for your area. Of course if you know someone else who gardens, you may be able to barter for their extra produce or score some free produce…like when they are overrun with zucchini and begging people to take it away. At 70 years young, I can understand and appreciate how tending a large garden would be getting more difficult. You may start to find it easier to do it this way. It’s just a different planning technique than what you have done in the past. I hope this is of help to you, Marcia. I’d have a hard time with eating limited variety because of budget too. I’m feeling your pain and frustration!

  100. I need to make a God box , I have said out loud many times when people ask me how I manage “God takes care of all of this” and it is soooooooooooooooooooo very true. I think sometimes I forget and hold on to some of it.

    I need the God box to help me remember that I do not need to attempt to solve it and that God will handle it in his own time, not mine and that I need not hold on to it.

    What a great idea!

  101. Stop buying the pre rinse stuff and switch to vinegar it will do the trick, both for the machine and the dishes only takes like three drops every cycle.

  102. I have two great coupons for Lowes but they didn’t have the citrus tree’s I wanted when we went Saturday. I know they are still stocking the garden center. I’m loving the cooler temps and I’ll remember this weather when it’s 115!!!

  103. The AC went out and getting the estimate cost $159. Then came the cost to fix – $2500 to make both units work again. Ugh. 2 new units are $4000 to $5000 EACH so we’re going to take a chance on repairing rather than replacing. Parts have to be ordered, so we are without AC until they arrive. Gives the house a good airing out. Thankfully, the temps are dropping a bit and it will only be in the 70’s – unlike the 85 it was this weekend. The refurbished units with new thermostats should lower my electricity bills too. So bonus!

    Yes, I’m trying really hard to convince myself that this is good.

    I was treated to a weekend away at Universal Studios by my mom and her companion. It cost me the gas to get there (1 tank total there and back), the dog sitter ($75) and a small treat or two. They refused to let me pay for meals and such or the tickets or the room. So an inexpensive (for me) weekend away.

    Beginning of Lent caught me by surprise (don’t know why), but I had some vegetarian options available in the pantry and freezers.

    As we were away or I was on my own for several meals, I didn’t grocery shop and probably won’t this week either.

    Due to working late, I had to skip my chiropractor appointment. As I am on a month plan, they just shifted me back a week.
    I went to the spa school for a deep tissue massage, which not only feels good, but will help with the chiropractor too. Because it is a school, a 1-hour massage was only $35 and you are not permitted to tip. Purchased a groupon for a manicure at the same school for only $8. Tonight I go for a 1-hour European facial, using a groupon that I bought before Christmas for only $11. At a regular spa, this would easily by $150 plus a tip.
    Made homemade beniegts for Mardi Gras.

  104. Your pansies are so cheery!

    Well, last week was not terribly frugal around here. Too many doctors appointments and prescription medications–plus Valentine’s Day and my birthday–for that. However, I’m very thankful for good medical insurance, good reports from my oncologists and other doctors, a loving husband and son, and another year! I’m also thankful that our frugal habits enable us to have weeks like this without throwing us into a crisis.

    And, even with our unusual expenses, we were able to do a few frugal things:

    * Made French bread, cooked up a turkey roast that Hubs then ran through the meat slicer for sandwiches, and made a loaf of breakfast bread.

    * Harvested lettuce, rosemary, and a lemon.

    * Had a Valentine’s lunch out with Hubs (rather than dinner).

    * Used a gift card to cover part of my birthday dinner.

    * Hubs found a place that sells compost in bulk. He was able to fill the bed of his F-150 for $18. Our garden should be more productive this year.

    Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

  105. Trying to remember everything.

    Hit reduced racks here again.

    Found ham ( the nice thick deli slices) and roast beef ( also from deli) reduced. I went to the bread section and found pitta bread reduced. This enabled me to make son his pitta bread breakfast sandwiches he insists on grabbing as he runs out the door at 7.00 am. He eats with friends on the bus.

    Found pastrami reduced. Ate that on wraps (delicious). Froze it when its use by date hit. Tasted great heated up.

    There was an Amex offer of £5 off £10 here at Aldi. There is no Aldi near us but it was near some freelance work ( paid mileage). I went there on way home and bought basics. Sorry to offend all Aldi fans but it struck me as very similar to Lidl.

    Used reduced shelf chicken ( to make freezer space). Cooked and shredded meat. Used bones for stock. Gave dog leftover flesh ( squished through fingers to check for bones). He loved it and I saved on his food. Used stock to cook up reduced shelf mince meatballs. Will make 5-6 meals at least for non-veggie children.

    May post again as I recall things.

    Happy frugality all.

  106. I agree with everything you said. My daughter has a room that is for her use only (we call it the studio). She has an EA that is with her all the time since the beginning of school, though I have been told twice since she started that she does not have one-to-one support and this is taking away from the needs of other students. With this last incident, the school is changing their tune and she now has a second support person. My daughter would be resistant to using a “red card” (it has been suggested many times, but she’s stubborn), but gives off plenty of signals when she is anxious, agitated or upset. Our problem is that the staff are not listening when my daughter is trying to tell them something is bothering her (too busy telling her that the way she communicated is inappropriate), then not reading or not understanding her signals and she can spin into in crisis mode very quickly sometimes. The special ed support staff and EAs are now working with someone trained in ABA (applied behavioural analysis) and has a lot of experience with children on the Autism spectrum. So basically, she is training the staff about DDs disability (Autistic children all present differently, but it all boils down to the same deficits), helping them understand her needs/deficits and putting a program in place to respond to her needs more appropriately so DD doesn’t reach crisis mode so easily and frequently. I find it quite shocking the special ed staff didn’t have better knowledge and skills training before this! After all, shouldn’t this knowledge a requirement to do their job? But, I’ve always said DD is like a cat…you don’t train my daughter, she trains you. Hoping they figure this out soon!

  107. Thank goodness these police officers were understanding about her disability and trying to safeguard our daughter in the court system. In fact, the one police officer told me he has a co-worker with a child on the autism spectrum, has learned quite a bit from this co-worker and was genuinely sympatetic to our situation.

  108. My suggestion for beginner projects is to pick something that only requires straight lines to start, so you can get used to the machine, how it works, and work on the developing the basics of getting the sewn line relatively straight. I would pick a very simple project, that is useful, but if it looks wonky it doesn’t have to be seen by other people (practice projects…we all have to start somewhere). Project suggestions I would look into are simple pot holders, pillow cases, simple throw pillow for a bedroom or a simple tote bag.

    Once you feel more comfortable with the machine and your sewing abilities, you could try tackling a slightly bigger project, like a very simple skirt with an elastic waist, an apron or a very simple nightgown. These are easy to make for a beginner, but you’ll feel more confident if you’ve practiced sewing first or you may be unhappy, disappointed and/or discouraged with your final project. If you look on Pinterest, you could probably start a board dedicated to simple sewing projects to try (many include step by step tutorials), that you could work on as your skill and confidence develops. Honestly the best and only way to learn to sew is to get over your fear of failure and actually start sewing. The more you do it, the more your skills and confidence will develop.

  109. I rented a booth in January and do embroidered items. Well, 2 weeks in and my machine died. My hisband has always been abke to fix it, but the sensor we ordered didn’t fix her. So, he talked me into a new embroidery machine. We had savings to buy it. So, I am trying to put the savings back.

    I cashed out Swagbucks for a $25 Walmart card. I used that to buy bunnies that I embroider names on the ear and sell.

    We put everything on a credit card that gives cash back and oh the balance off every month. We just cashed out $400 in Wal-Mart cards that we can also use at Sam’s and on gas. I like Aldi for vegetables, eggs, milk, and my gkuten free bread, so I will stretch this over a few months buying staples and gas.

    I have been going through and making a point to list a few items each day on the yardsale site and EBay. I’ve made $238 in the last few days. I used $80 of EBay money to buy ladies raglan shirts to embroider for my shop and online sale. Today I will buy some kids raglans. I had a lady pick up some items off the yardsale site and she ordered 2 shirts I didn’t have her daughter’s size so I am ordering the preteen size today and will put them online and in my booth to sell. I have bunnies with floral headbands, floral unicorns, and He is Risen, Blessed Y’all, and I am so loved with a cross to put on shirts.

    My husband is building me a 6 foot and 5 foot desk that makes an “L”. I have a couple of desks to sell once he is finihed that should pay for the lumber. I bought two bookcases off the yardsale site for $50 and comic book boards and have been wrapping fabric in the boards and organizing it on the shelves. I have a 3rd bookshelf I have organized blanks that I embroider like burp cloths, diaper covers, tea towels. My space is coming together. Oh, I used my PayPal credit to buy rolls of stabilizer off amazon, too.

    I have always had a full pantry, but am getting low on things. I have for the first time in iver 10 years run out if things lately. I have flour and beans and brown rice I need to eat through. They’ve been around awhile. So, I will cook up a couple if different beans and a bag of brown rice and put up in my freezer in 1 cup portions. I love to do this, ready to throw in a soup or meal.

    I’ve cooked from what I had so week. We had omelets one night when I didn’t feel like cooking.I made chicken in the oven and my husband wouldn’t eat it leftover saying it was too dry. It is fine, he just wants it grilled, so I have 4 tender strips I put in the freezer. I will chop them up and use the in a Mexican chicken soup later.

  110. Wow, loving the spring photos! Spring is arriving early for us, but I am worried that some of my flowers might be emerging too early. We often get snow and cold in March and even into April, so I’m hoping we won’t have trees begin to bud and crops not fruit.

    Last week was up and down for us, with a great date night at home and visits to the doctor’s office for two of us. We’re beginning to feel better, which is good, and are grateful for the support of family nearby to help with child care to provide us a date night for free.

    Here are the rest of our accomplishments for last week. I hope you’ll stop by and leave a comment! I love the comments here, and all the support!
    https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/?_sm_au_=isV48v87F7jqWPkQ

  111. My eyesight is failing and when I googled your site, I saw the first photo in this post with the caption and it looked to me like it said $56 worth of pansies! I was quite flummoxed that you would spend $56 on pansies until the page loaded and I could see that the caption read .056 cents!

    Thanks for the ongoing inspiration.

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