Yellow Roses The Prudent Homemaker

It cooled down this week to 85°F/30°C. I gladly turned off the air conditioner and opened up the house for as many hours as I could each day, only running it for a few hours each afternoon. By Saturday, it was 77°F and cool enough to turn off the air conditioner for the entire day. We will still need it a few afternoons next week, but we’re now coming to the time when the weather becomes nice enough to have the windows open all day.

I harvested rosemary, garlic chives, Armenian cucumbers, New Zealand spinach, Swiss chard, a large zucchini (my first of the year) and red noodle beans from the garden.

My husband and I cut my husband’s hair.

I signed up for a free account for two of my children to practice math skills at Doing math on the computer seems to be more fun for them than flashcards, so I am hoping this will help them want to give even more time on mastering multiplication tables. 

My eldest boys had some free fencing fun at a church activity.

Octavius had some fun with his grandparents watching the airplanes take off at the airport.

I purchased Target’s store-brand diapers when they had a spend $100 get a $20 gift card deal. While there, I checked out the clearance and was able to get several uniform polo shirts for two of my girls for $2.10 each! I like that they have some solid-colored shirts without sayings that are a bit more dressy than a t-shirt. 

With all the busyness in my life right now, I have been reevaluating how I use every minute of my time so that I am better able to accomplish what needs to be done. One thing that I am doing is working to become better organized. Drawers and other things become unorganized after a couple of months and then it takes longer to find things in those spaces, wasting precious time and causing frustration. To that end, I reorganized three drawers in the kitchen this week. I needed a new silverware organizer, as the one that we got when we were married 18 years ago is wearing out and doesn’t properly fit the large forks that I purchased a few years ago when we needed more silverware (which were getting jammed and bent in the drawer because of not fitting). I purchased a few new organizers at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, using a bunch of 20% off coupons. As they take expired coupons, I took several with me. The drawer functions so much better now. Since I was reorganizing that drawer, I decided to do two others as well, just moving things around that I already had.

I had a couple of children help me reorganize the bottom shelf and below the bottom shelf in a kitchen closet for another time saver and frustration eliminator.

I had been thinking of replacing my diaper bag with a small tote bag. A close-by reader offered me some spray starch, to which I said yes. She then offered me a leather tote bag, to which I also said yes. When I looked at it, it turned out to be the perfect thing that I was wanting to replace a bag of mine that is 23 years old.

I canned 20 quarts of giardiniera.

Now that temperatures have dropped, I can start planting cool-season seeds in the garden. I planted seeds for parsley, lettuce, and beets.


What did you do to save money last week?




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  1. I really need to re-organize some things, too. We have lived here for 2 years now, and I’m noticing that a bunch of areas are not really as I want them, or have become very full or cluttered. There are also areas that are exactly right, and I expect to get the rest organized in time.

    Congratulations on the zucchini! Triumph at last:)

    This past week would have made a good comedy movie around here. The first part of the week was filled with the usual work and life, as normal. Then, our youngest daughter brought home one of those babies from school for one of her classes. It is computerized, and kind of creepy, and cries, and wails at all hours of the day or night, and she has had to care for it whenever it does that. Thank goodness, it will go back in the morning, and she will have fulfilled what she needs to do for that part of her class.

    My sister had asked me at the beginning of the week to watch my autistic niece on Friday night, so she and her husband could accompany their other daughter to an event she was participating in, so I said yes. Then, it turned out that my nephew wanted to stay home, too, so I said yes to both Friday and Saturday nights for him. My niece went with her older sister on Saturday.

    So, then, I had a niece, a nephew, and a screaming, squawking, creepy baby. Then, my husband and I caught very bad colds. I couldn’t settle my nephew until almost 11 one night, as he kept jumping at every squawk the “baby” made, and wondered if it needed something. I didn’t feel well at all, so I just sat on the couch in-between it all:) My daughter decided she wanted to can apples in the midst of it all. There’s no way I’m going to discourage her interest in any life skill if I have breath in my body:) Sometimes, you just have to laugh. Somehow, we made it through, and managed to save some money in the midst of it all.

    1. I picked a few tomatoes 3 times, saved them up, and managed to get 7 quarts canned. I feel like I finally have enough for the year. Any more will be a bonus.
    2. My daughter, with some help, canned 6 quarts and 1 pint of apples.
    3. I cooked many meals at home, as did my husband.
    4. Saturday morning, I took my nephew to the library and let him load up on books and movies. Then, I let him watch movies, play electronics, and read out loud as long as I could with a cold–his dream weekend. He was safe, happy, and didn’t have to take a 5-hour car ride to his sister’s event. For him: Best. Weekend. Ever. Now, I’m going to have to convince him that this is not the new normal:)
    5. I sewed for several hours on a dress I am making for my daughter’s homecoming dance. I am having to re-make a pattern I had already, that wasn’t the right size, so it’s been a bit of a headache and required many fittings. It doesn’t look like I did much, but the fitting of the bodice is finally accomplished. I didn’t even try to work on it this crazy weekend, but it is still dominating the table, as I have no where else to sew. We worked around it, and I will be tackling it this week with a vengeance. I’m actually quite encouraged with my progress.
    6. I got sugar for $1.25/4lb bag. I got 20 lbs. I got brown sugar for 50c/lb. I got 20 lbs of that, too. I really did not need much, and was planning to skip shopping this week, until those deals came up. So, I cashed out some Bottle Drop money I’ve been saving up for this purpose, and went ahead and stocked up on those things and got a few other things. I’ve been waiting for sugar to come on sale for several weeks now. I am having to buy whatever veggies we need, as my husband is still really watching what he is eating, and I do not want to be the cause of his wonderful weight loss progress coming to an end. I can’t wait for him to get weighed again, so we can see how much more he’s lost. So, there will be as many veggies as he wants on hand, both fresh and canned/frozen in the weeks and months to come. I got bagels for the boy, and my niece drank most of a gallon of milk and ate peanut butter sandwiches. They are really quite easy to feed as long as you have their preferred foods. We also got peanuts for 99c/can. We got the 5 allowed. I also got a flash sale from Bath and Body Works for hand soap, so we ordered the soaps on-line, using a 20% coupon, which covered the shipping. They ended up to be $2.40/soap and I like having them to add to Christmas baskets for the relatives, such as Rob’s sisters. One leaked in the shipping box, but Rob called them right up, and they are sending another one. They said we could keep the leaking one, so I put it right out and started using it. The top is a bit damaged somehow, but it still works, and if it breaks all the way and stops working, I will pour it into another hand soap bottle. If I had driven to the mall, I would have received a free gift with a coupon I had, but there was absolutely no time for that this week, so I let it go. There will be another coupon.
    7. I was happy to get a few more veggies from the garden.

    Pictures of the week and garden pictures (as ugly as it is this time of year) are on my blog:

  2. I admire how much you are able to accomplish each week Brandy. I’m sure your girls love their new polo shirts. And I’m smiling thinking of Octavius excitedly pointing to the planes.

    Have shut off central air for the season as it’s now in the 70s during the day and enjoying keeping the windows open. If it gets too warm, we have ceiling fans in most rooms.

    Frugal fail/win – In one of our bathrooms the vanity sink and tub drains were draining too slowly, after several applications of vinegar over a week’s time didn’t work, called a semi-retired plumber who snaked them. Also had him replace the vanity faucet ( I purchased the faucet at Lowe’s with a gift card). Also had him do the kitchen sink drain while he was here. The plumber’s fee was $130.00. In the past DH could have done this work, but his back has been bothering him so we opted to use a plumber. We have hard water here and soap scum buildup is a problem.

    We have had so much rain this summer and now also into the fall so much so that I have moss growing in nearly all my garden beds and in some parts of the lawn both on the shady and sunny sides of the house & yard. Do you or any of your readers know of an organic method to get rid /stop the spread of this moss. I’ve removed some by hand but there is just so much of it and it also keeps on growing back.

  3. I absolutely love that we’ve finally started to cool off! Vegas sure does like to take its time changing over to autumn. I’ve had our house opened up and the a/c turned off for four days…. heaven for me.

    My zucchini plant has come back from the dead and is flowering. This will be the first time I’ve had anything from it! I’m hoping to get lettuce seeds in the ground by the end of the week.

    I’ve been trying to get our home more organized too. The girls have to go through their fall and winter clothes to see what still fits and what needs to be replaced.

    It’s been a very emotional week for our family, as my uncle is in his final days after a long battle with cancer. Yesterday my grandfather broke his foot, and won’t be able to drive for several weeks – that are full of doctor appointments. My gas budget will be blown to pieces with all of the driving back and forth across town. With all of the stress, we ate out quite a bit this past week. To help keep costs under control, I’m meal planning and sticking to a “no eating out” rule for the next two weeks. We’re stocked up on everything we’ll need. Hopefully no last minute shopping will come up.

    My girls and I have started making lists of Christmas gifts we want to make for family and friends.

  4. Beautiful rose picture! Is it blooming in your garden now with the lower temperatures? You must be so happy to have the windows open most of the time, not only for the fresh air, but also for the electricity savings. And, I wanted to say, I thought it was very nice that you wrote a post for Marivene. A lovely tribute to a member of the community that you created.

    My week was pretty quiet, as my body is letting me know I need to slow down as I reach the end of my pregnancy (still a few weeks to go, but I suspect baby will arrive sooner), but I still managed to get a few things done:
    – Potatoes and other root veggies have been quite cheap lately, here in Southern Ontario, so I made a batch of my Greek-Style Lemony Potatoes ( If I can find some green beans on sale, I plan to make my Lemony Pan-Fried Green Beans (
    – I haven’t been using my local trading app (BUNZ) lately, as I just don’t have the energy to meet up to do trades but this week I updated the app, and I’ve been answering questions each day to earn BTZ, which is the digital currency that the app uses. It adds up pretty quickly, and more and more stores in Toronto are accepting it as a form of currency, so I’m saving it to use for groceries or coffees to get myself out of the house when I’m on mat leave.
    – I saved the bags and ribbons from gifts given to me.
    – For inexpensive nursery decorations, I hung some of the cards given to us at my baby shower, on one of the walls. It’s nice to be reminded of the community of family and friends who wish us well and will surround our baby with love.
    – I purchased a baby hat, three sleepers, a layette set, and a pair of fleece pants for baby for less than $10 OOP by combining a sale, a gift card, and a coupon emailed to me.
    – I bought my closest friend a birthday gift of a set of books from Indigo, using a $10 gift card from Swagbucks (I had been saving it for Christmas, but I forgot my friend’s birthday was prior to that) along with $5 worth of loyalty points. I pulled a birthday card from my stash of birthday cards that I buy when on sale (whether from the dollar store, or when Indigo offers a free $5 credit every now and then – I usually buy a card as that’s one of the cheapest things, and end up only paying pennies).
    – My mum gave me a bag of bread crusts, which I stuck in the freezer and will turn into fresh bread crumbs as needed. She also gave me two fancy soaps that she couldn’t use. I’ll either use them myself or give them as gifts. I gave her a book that I didn’t want, and borrowed a book from her. We also borrowed a stud-finder from my parents so my husband could hang some shelves in the nursery. So handy having family around!
    – My parents sent us home from Thanksgiving dinner with enough for another meal for the two (and half!) of us, so that will save me some energy, and is much appreciated, not to mention delicious.

    All in all, I feel I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am very grateful. Looking forward to learning from this community, as always!

  5. Hi everyone, can I request that people put their approximate location eg city or state, as I’ve never been to the USA and I would love to find out more about different places in the USA.

    The weather is warming here and the clocks have gone forward.
    Washing is hung out on the line and aired in front of the heater which is on low in the still cool evenings.

    I’m using up what I have in the freezer and cupboard.
    I vacuumed the car with the home vacuum rather than taking to the car wash in the next town and using the vacuum there.
    I’ve limited my car use as petrol is currently very expensive here.
    I’m using up cleaning supplies I have.
    I’ve redeemed some shopper reward points and gifted them to a struggling friend so she could buy some groceries.

  6. I am glad for you and your family that the temperatures are getting little more pleasant. Our temperatures are high for the time of year, 20/22 celcius next week. But in the evenings it’s getting cooler, so we do use the woodburner in the evenings. We just reorganized our living space. We bought a corner sofa at the thriftstore last summer and just put it in the house without thinking, that in the wintertime it was blocking the central heating. Although we do use the woodburner a lot, sometimes we also use the CH (if I don’t have enough time in the morning, and if my husband and I are not at home. We do not want the childeren to use the woodburner).
    * I finished a quilt last week. My mother in law started this quilt, but could not finish it because she got ill and passed away 2 1/2 years ago. I got all of her quilting stuff and thought maybe I can finish it one day and give it to charity. It is the story of Goldilocks and the 3 bears (don’t know if you heart from this childerenstory). It is hanging on our landing for now. I already spoke with someone, who knows someone that is doing a lot for a childerens home in Romenie. I think I donate it to that home after some time, and buy a book with the story to go with it. (if possible in Romenian language). My mother in law would have liked it that way.
    *I made an applepie from apples that I picked and the piemix was a freebee through an app.
    *I got a bouquet of flowers and a gift card for my volunteerwork in the sports canteen.
    * I started a course swedish language this week. Not frugal….but just for my general development. My childeren do not need me that much anymore so it’s time to do something for myself now. And I like to meet new people.
    Al going well here in the Netherlands, wish the same to you all.
    Greetings Tanja

  7. *I called and asked when short by one cent the amount needed for free shipping, and th company gave me free shipping anyway. This saved me $11.99!

    *I made home made granola bars. The recipe was not less expensive to make—because of all the nuts and seeds in it—but it contains no oil and no refined sugar—two ingredients that I cannot eat, so I was happy to find it! Most other similar recipes I have tried do not hold together very well, but this recipe did.

    *I packed lunches from home to attend a free health talk at my husbands work, instead of purchasing lunch there on the college campus. I was happy to have the home made granola bars all made up and in my freezer so I could add those to our lunches.

    *I attended a Bible lands movie at our church. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of what these parts of the world really looks like, and how the people live on a day by day basis.

    More details on my blog at I enjoy reading everyone’s comments from their weeks!

  8. Hi Brandy,
    I simply love to read your frugal achievements for the past week, it always makes me smile. We all do similar things to stretch our dollars and it heartens me to think that no matter where we are in in this world there are similar people living similar lives to us. This week to save money we-
    Planted out seeds for our new raised gardens, most of these seeds I have saved from letting plants go to seed
    Feed the compost bin and worm farm our fruit and veggie scraps
    Packed my morning tea and lunch each day to take to work
    Made sure any the left overs were used up in a timely manner
    Hung all the washing on the line to dry
    Claimed our utility bills through my salary sacrifice scheme
    Paid off the credit card on time, we use it for small purchases through the month and always pay it off in full every month
    Menu planned and shopped only to the list
    I always take tea leaves and a plunger to work to make tea, there is no way I will pay $4 for a cup of herbal tea (I have 2 a day) just doing this alone saves me $1920.00 a year.
    Asked for a discount when our cat needed some dental surgery, it never hurts to ask, we ended up with a $50 discount

  9. Frugal Accomplishments at our house:

    I, too, did some reorganizing. For some time I have been wanting to declutter my cupboard in the kitchen where I keep some of my dishes. There was just too much stuff in there and I wasn’t using it all of it which made it harder to get to the things that I needed. I removed the things that I rarely used and put them either in the give-away/sell box or in another place in the house. It has been so much easier to get the dishes I need.

    I had a half-day off work on Wednesday so I used that time to go to the thrift store. I found a couple pairs of pants for work, a long-sleeved shirt, and two sweaters. One pair of pants still had the tags on them and the rest were better quality items than I would ever buy brand new. I also found some cloth napkins that we needed and some books for the grandchildren.

    We ate all our meals at home except for one. We had a buy one get one at Culver’s. I made muffins and lentil spinach soup for our lunches. For our dinner one night I made meatloaf, baked potatoes, and baked beans, a one-hour dinner all in the oven. I also made lasagna, half of which is in the freezer for a future meal. Since it is only the two of us I am really watching that we don’t waste any food. I am learning either not to make so much, be creative with leftovers, or freeze what is left.

    I took advantage of Joann’s sale on blizzard fleece for a blanket I am making for my grandson for his birthday. The last one I made was when he was 3 years old and is a little babyish for him now that he will be 8 years old. The new one will be bigger and more “big boy.”

    I had some of my dental work done. The dentist gave me a 15% discount because I asked for it and I am paying with cash. The best part is that the total for the work being done is less than what they quoted so I have some money left that I can put towards some dental work that my husband needs. Frugal win!

    I drank some mint tea that I grew and dried myself. It was more satisfying than if I had bought it at the store 🙂

  10. I have quite a collection of forks, which occasionally get jammed and bent here too. Also, a bathroom closet that could really use some organization. It’s an odd little closet, with this being a handmade house, and I’ve not quite figured out how best to corral things in there, but you may have inspired me to work on it this week. Cabbage and lettuce seedlings were planted, as well as a goji berry I started from a a cutting. Some okra, a couple of cucumbers and a tromboncino squash were harvested, along with herbs. How nice to be gifted some things that you needed. I look forward to reading what everyone has been up to.

  11. I heard about a 3 day airline sale this week and since this airline had just added direct flights to Houston where our daughter and family live, I thought I would check. Typically it’s about $350 each round trip if I get a good price. We haven’t gone down there in about 3 years. So, I was thrilled to see that I could book a round trip flight for the 2 of us for a total of $330! But as I went to pay for the flight online, they asked if I wanted to get a Rapid rewards Visa card from the airline and use that to pay for my flight. If I did, they would credit $250 to my first bill which would make my flight cost only $80 round-trip for the two of us- $40 a piece!!! I did and so that was my best frugal happening for the week!

    Last Sunday some friends we made when we bought koi from them on Craigslist during the summer invited us back to their home so they could give us 113 free koi since they are getting older and wanted to drain one of their ponds! We were happy to take them – Dave had just found his favorite fish food in large bags on clearance at Lowe’s the week before and bought way more than our 20 fish would have gone through in several months, so we had enough food ready! We gave 3 to a friend with a pond at her new house and she gave us 2 extra blueberry bushes she bought on sale as well as 3 new grapevines! Our friends with the fish told us to sell whichever fish we didn’t want to keep so we will overwinter them and sell off many in the Spring! In our city, there is only 1 fish store and at their prices, the fish we came home with would represent well over $2500!! The only other places to buy koi are 2 hours away so I think we won’t have trouble marketing them in the Spring!

    We sold 3 dozen eggs to one of Dave’s co-workers.

    My little Scrappy Bag business which was just a way to declutter and pare down my enormous fabric scrap collection has now had 40 bags made from it, 32 sold and 4 more orders that I’ve got going ! Every time we think, “We’ll, that was nice to get a little $$ as we clear and organize the sewing room and now we are caught up in orders and it’s probably over”, new orders come in and we are humbled and grateful for this blessing! A friend suggested it was time to re-market our “Softies”- a flannel alternative to Kleenex that are reusable and within a couple of hours of posting, we had sold 6 bundles!

    I found already chopped bags of onions- 5 pounds for $1 and bought the four bags they had. I spread them out in batches on my dehydrator trays and will add to our stock of dried chopped onions that I use constantly in cooking! All with very little effort!

    It’s been a pretty terrific week here! I hope everyone else is having a great week as well! It’s surprising how little things can really add up to major savings!

  12. It is supposed to rain most of the week. We have enjoyed turning off the air conditioner and opening windows sometimes. I expect a reduction in electricity usage Yeah! Lower bills make me happy! Being careful to turn off lights and have full loads of laundry and dishes. Utilized the library for movies, books and faxing info to possible job prospects.
    Made pickles and cucumber kimchi. Made all meals at home but one when we celebrated my husband’s passing his CDL. Eating out was a treat that we haven’t been doing in a long time. Husband should get full time hours this week. I’ve been getting hours in too. Together we should make it.

  13. I completely hear you on the drawer organization. I kind of did that to the whole house this summer, tearing everything apart and reorganizing it all in order to make things run more smoothly and make it all easier to take care of (including the silverware drawer!). It’s something that needs to be redone every so often, but it’s so worth it in the time that it saves in the long run.

    This week, I added a large bag of baking cocoa to my pantry, along with a fantastically priced 5 lb bag of frozen green beans from Costco, and five boxes of the good kind of macaroni and cheese from the grocery store clearance aisle for 99 cents each. I did buy a premade pizza from Aldi (I was in a decent amount of pain that day and didn’t want to cook a full dinner), but that saved us from spending more money at a restaurant or sending my husband out to find something, so I was okay with that. I cooked quite a bit out of my pantry this week.

    My spine doctor recommended yoga, so I did some yoga videos from Youtube. I read a bunch of books from my Kindle and some library books as well, and my daughter read her first book, which also came from the library. I did knit a little bit of her Christmas present, but not as much as I would’ve liked, since I’ve been so tired (and the only time I can work on her present is at night after she goes to bed!). We’ve managed to keep the heat off so far, although it’s been quite cool in the house some mornings. We’ll see how long that holds out, as we’re supposed to have some very cool temps later on this week.

    Have a great week, everyone! 🙂

  14. I live in the south east corner of Queensland, Australia. Our weather is warming up and storms are rumbling around some afternoons. Like you I celebrate not needing air-conditioning. We have been able to make do with fans so far. I would love this weather to continue rather than face our brutal, humid summers. To. save money I have stuck to a meal plan. My washing is generally line dried. The drier is used rarely. I am encouraging meals at home. I am working on Christmas plans. I am trying to do a little spring cleaning. There is an amazing amount of stuff in the house.

  15. Brandy, you are like the Energizer Bunny! Last week was not very frugal. I have many doctors appointments which are not frugal. Also my kids had a fall break. Which I was able to take them to movie and Jumpstreet on gift cards. My mini van is 12 years old and needing to be replaced…everyday I get to use it is a blessing. My husband got a 2nd job. My husband went back to school and became a nurse last December… however he did not work for 2 years while in nursing school…so as you can imagine we have debt. The 2nd job will help get out of debt faster. Thank God for cooler days! Good luck this week frugal friends.

  16. Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    You did so well with the small prices you paid for the girl’s uniform tops 🙂 . I am glad you were able to turn off your air conditioner and get some diapers so cheaply. Another congratulations on succeeding on growing your zucchini too.

    Our savings added up to $152 last week.

    – Listed 32 items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $99.50 on usual listing fees.
    – Saved more money into our home deposit savings account bringing us to 28.99% of the way there for a new build or 42.17 % of the way there for an established home.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked 1 kg of broad beans, 500 g of snow peas and 23 bunches of silver beet from the gardens saving $99.50 over purchasing them in the shops.
    – Planted 75 heirloom sweet corn seeds in the gardens and then it rained to water them in :).

    Other frugal things –
    – Replaced 2 old falling apart wardrobes in the garage with 2 x 4 shelf stainless steel ones we purchased. I also saved the vintage handles off the wardrobes to sell.
    – Saved dish rinsing & blanching & cooling water to water fruit tree pot plants and newly planted vegetable seeds in the gardens.
    – Used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water the house paddock lawns with.
    – Washed out and dried plastic zip lock freezer bags to reuse for other items.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).


  17. Mom is now strong enough to visit the doctor using just her walker. We were able to leave her transport chair in the back of the car.

    Since I know she can get out of her chair and out the front door without help from me, I was able to leave and do extensive grocery shopping. But my brain is still scattered. I had a 40% off coupon and $10 in award dollars from CVS that I used to purchase a pulse oximeter, for which I received a coupon for another $10 in award dollars. But I effectively threw out $2.50 of that coupon by not noticing that my second order (buy 1, get 1 half off) of some adult rehydration totalled way short of $10. As a minimum, I should have added some candy to that order. At my next stop, I selected frozen groceries that would have satisfied the requirements of the $3 off coupon in the week’s circular. I had the circular in my hand when I checked out. But did I tear out the coupon and hand it to the cashier? Nope.

    The local, been in business since around the time of the civil war (and recently passed down to the next generation in the same family), furniture store is advertising lift chairs in their window starting at $699. That’s a good price, but I am not feeling too guilty while waiting for mom’s petite-sized traditional-styled lift chair to be delivered this week which we are getting for just over $300 from

    Brandy, I hope your head is healing up nicely.

  18. Hi to all! I love the picture of the yellow roses! We are finally getting cooler weather here in Southern AZ. Last week was not a frugal week with buying expensive new towels but we did use 2 coupons and love these towels! Our extra refrigerator died that is less than 2 years old, repair will be on Wed. Also our drinking water system is not working so we are drinking bottled water for now. College daughter’s rent went up!! So we will do some refiguring money wise….

    My frugal ways for last week –
    – buying from Gardenpat – her ‘softies’ to repack buying tissues! I was able to get to get free shipping buying 2 sets
    – our grocery bills are less as I repeatedly stress to all eat what we have!
    – reading library books
    – I earned several gift cards and requested Amazon cards that I will add to my account.
    – my husband added more plants to our garden and also got 2 Gardenias and a rose plants
    – using cloth napkins
    – ate homemade meals/leftovers all week
    – husband took lunch everyday

    That’s is all I can think of for now.

  19. It took visits to four grocery stores to start stocking up my pantry and freezer again. My main shop included 10% off on everything, but also great sales for the week before Canadian Thanksgiving. The best deals were on a ham, eggs, frozen Green Giant vegetables. I found a cauliflower and a broccoflower for $1 each on the ready to turn shelf at one store. I bought coffee and sugar in larger than usual packages to last several months. I received a package of chicken paprika pyrogies free. I have my staples now, and a good supply of meat. I’ll add a little more depth in next month’s shop.

    I was able to buy the food to make a donation to the college students’ food bank at 10% off as well, which I took to a community supper the college held as a fundraiser for the food bank. I got my meal as take-out, since people are friendly if we are at meetings together, but stick with their friends and families at social events like this. This way, I got to exchange greetings with everyone, and show my support.

    I was able to join with some others to help a coworker who was a little short of funds for part of his house payment because his wife had suddenly not been able to work. They were both so moved that people would help, but it was not so much for any one of us, for those of us who could contribute.

    I made a turkey dinner for Canadian Thanksgiving. (Technically today, but I made it yesterday. We used to always have it Sunday, because people had to travel home on Monday.) The meal came almost entirely from the pantry and freezer. I bought the turkey on sale at Easter, and found a winter squash for free at the library’s extra produce table. The turkey will provide cubed turkey for many lunch salads and some turkey chunks for turkey divan and some other rice and pasta dishes. The carcass will be used to make broth. I’ll cut up and package the turkey today. I’ll also have leftover upside down peach cake, made with peach slices frozen when peaches were in season.

    Finished paying off an income tax payment arrangement a few months early, so the budget will not be so very tight for a while.

    Took the car in to find out what the noise is that it is making. Although I spent several hours with them, we couldn’t get the car to make the noise in front of a mechanic. Of course, it made the noise on the way to the mechanic, but not there or on the way home. I’m going to change brands of gas and see if that makes a difference. It hasn’t made the noise since I’ve done that, though it is early days yet.

    I had an appointment at the next town over at 11 am and then a book club meeting there at 7 pm. It was a lovely sunny day, so I parked the car at a pretty spot on the riverfront in between, and calculated my income for the year and any taxes owing. I also figured out my income for next year, when I turn 65, to help me decide whether to continue with my part-time work. Then I went to the library, and used a computer there to double-check my income figures and the tax rates. A very productive afternoon, and I saved $15 worth of gas and wear and tear on the car.

  20. For Margaret near Sydney, I live on the western side of Colorado, in the mountains in the Southwest corner of the state, about 45 minutes from Telluride.

    This week I accepted a bag of apples from a woman at church and made a pie. I set the peels to ferment for apple cider vinegar.
    I finished knitting an infinity scarf from yarn I already owned.
    I harvested tomatoes, raspberries, onions, mint, and chard from the garden.
    We received some much-needed rain, so I was able to turn off the water to the garden for a few days.
    My husband and I got free flu shots.
    I washed all the cushion covers from our RV. They are made of upholstery fabric and vinyl and don’t look washable, but I wash them in cold water on the delicate cycle and dry on low heat in the dryer and they come out looking brand new. I’m sharing this in case anyone else wants to try this.
    It has been cold enough to have a fire in the woodstove most mornings. My husband cut four cords of firewood this summer, but so far we haven’t burned any of it. Instead, my husband cleaned up around the woodpile and his shop and collected half a dozen large boxes full of scrap wood (non-treated) and we have been burning that. Our place looks much neater and this is truly free heat.
    My husband changed the oil and filters in both our vehicles, using materials he purchased on sale.

  21. Hi Margaret,
    I live in the U.S.A. in the Delta part of Arkansas. We are 10 miles over the Mississippi River bridge from Memphis, Tenessee. Elvis Presley drive truck for the ice manufacturing company that is the town next to mine. In fact, when we have company stay in our home, they want to visit Graceland,which is about 30 miles away I have been 2 times 5 years. Now I drive them and read a book in the parking lot while they take the 3 hour tour.
    We are heading into Fall and my garden is done. It is still 90 degrees in the afternoons! I can hardly wait for some real Fall temps.
    I enjoy reading posts from around the world too.

  22. It is a wonderful idea to give the quilt to the children’s home. Consider taking a photo of it before you give it away, so you have a memory of the last handiwork your mother in law did.

  23. Brandy, it sounds like things are returning to normal (or a new normal) at your house, and I’m glad for you. It was a hard week for us, and it looks like this one will be, too. My 42 y-o DD is developmentally disabled and has had major depression for about 25 years. She has been going downhill for a couple of months and we have been trying new meds…which haven’t kicked in yet. Last week she refused to go to work at the DD center or to stay with the other family where she lives for half the week. All she has wanted to do is sleep or be entertained by me. This is actually an improvement over past episodes, when all she wanted to do was sleep. We ate out twice last week, partially to entertain her and partially due to my DH having surgery and not being home at mealtime. Not a frugal week, for sure.

    As a result of DD’s illness, we canceled our trip to the Oregon coast next week with DH’s cousins. It will save us about $1,000…but we can afford it, and I’d really rather go to the beach! (I need a break).

    I went into the Rx “donut hole” and had to pay $475 for the hiatal hernia/GERD drug that I have to take. (DH has been in the donut hole since June and has to pay full price for his insulin). He had a medical procedure called an ablation to relieve back pain. It seems to be working. He had two tests before the procedure, and has two procedures left to go. Our co-pays total $200 each time, so it will cost $1,000 OOP. his is when I’m really glad that we have mostly lived below our means and been able to $ave. Getting old is definitely not for sissies!

    I completely winged it for dinners last week. They weren’t necessarily the greatest combinations, but we didn’t go out those days and ate food that was already in the house. We were out of bread and milk Saturday and I made blueberry pancakes, scrambled eggs and grape juice for breakfast. (Not all of my meals were anywhere near that good!).

    As I write this, I realize it was the first week in a very long time when I did not have any frugal accomplishments to report. Arrrrrgh! Here’s hoping for a better and less expensive week!

  24. Good move on reorganizing the drawers. That’s a small thing that really pays off. And glad to hear it’s cooling down there. I always like to have a window open, even just a little.

    Frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I replanted my planters that the deer had nibbled on. So far they haven’t been back. I love seeing the planters outside my windows, and they make me so happy during the many gray days here.
    – I needed to mail a package, so I rescued a box from the communal recycle bin.
    – I bought tiny pumpkins (6 for $2 at the farmer’s market) for fall decorations. I made a Halloween display using two of the pumpkins and items I already had. Even my husband thought it looked nice (he’s not really into holiday decorations).
    – I made chocolate pudding, and the recipe called for 2 egg yolks. I used a whole egg instead, which worked fine. Rarely do I make a recipe like this, as I am the only one who will eat it (the pudding was delicious).
    – I used a Land’s End coupon to buy several new t-shirts. Due to a moisture problem in our bedroom (that has mostly been resolved), the old ones had become mildewy.
    – I prepped dinner and several lunches in advance to save time.
    – One day, I had a sore throat. I diffused thyme oil in my essential oil diffuser while I slept. My sore throat was gone in the morning.
    – I bought new short walking boots to replace a pair that had worn out, and used a coupon from the store. It was expired, but the cashier let me use it anyway.
    – I read ebooks from the library. A big thanks to whoever recommended the free Kindle book “Girl of the Limberlost” – I downloaded this from Amazon and am really enjoying it.
    – I was able to dispose of some old fluorescent lights at our city’s hazardous waste collection event.
    – My sister invited me over to her house for a “crafting afternoon”. I brought my sewing machine and worked on a project. We had a lot of fun.
    – I have several pairs of arch support insoles (Superfeet) that I use in my shoes. And I never wear socks (yes, I know that’s weird), so the insoles get dirty and smell bad. So I hand washed the insoles in warm water and let them air dry. Works great!

    Have a great week, everyone. Looking forward to all the comments.

  25. Hello Brandy and all,
    This week I have continued to use up pantry items as much as possible. My grocery purchases in September were $37 (for one person) and consisted of milk, eggs, and fresh produce. I am hoping to continue using things up this month but am also making select purchases for the large Thanksgiving dinner I host.
    I have been doing a lot of gift sewing for Christmas….finally making a tiny dent in the fabric stash. My sister and I have had an ongoing joke that “the one who dies with the most fabric wins!” but there is really no need to have so much and I love to sew so this year is the hand made year. I have made 8 lovely fully lined washable grocery bags, two vintage style aprons, 6 pairs of pj’s, and a pretty dress for my granddaughter so far.
    I will be leaving for Australia (my daughter married an Australian and is a permanent resident) on December 6 because I found a wonderful sale on airline tickets for that time period and I will be gone for 4 1/2 months this year. Although the tickets are still expensive, I will save on household expenses by suspending my internet and phone service, garaging my car and changing the insurance to comprehensive only during my absence, and turning the furnace to 60F and turning off the hot water heater. I also will not do any restocking until I return home in April. I have also made arrangements for my oldest grandson (turning 14 soon) to mow my lawn. I have been paying a yard man for several years but he charges quite a bit and it will be less than half of that amount for my grandson to do it. He lives half an hour away and I will pay him $20 each time (he said $10 but I told him he would need to give his dad some gas money for transportation) and I will need to buy a used lawnmower but it will still save me quite a bit.
    I had my son and his family (DIL and 4 grandchildren) for Sunday dinner. We do this every other weekend after all of us are done with church. Since I am cleaning out the pantry and freezer there are some interesting combinations. This week we had bbq chicken drumsticks and buttered rice with canned green beans, home made cornbread (I must have found a really good sale on cornmeal!) and pumpkin pie (only one more container of frozen pumpkin puree from last year is left).
    I am still using the AC most days…it has been in the mid 80’s-low 90’s but is very humid (South Central Texas) It is starting to cool off a bit and I can have the windows open at the back of the house at night. I hope everyone has a great week.

  26. My location is north Florida, very near the Gulf Coast, where Hurricane Michael is taking dead aim as I type!
    I love the roses, Brandy. Our roses here have so much trouble with black spot! And how on earth did you manage to can all that giardiniera?
    We are still reaching 90 and above for temperatures during the day. This hurricane may bring some different weather behind it, but we’ll see.
    I’m doing the usual — washing in homemade laundry detergent, hanging out laundry, trying to reduce my grocery bill, staying out of stores, and cutting down or trips for errands. My focus now is to prepare for the storm.

  27. That’s a great idea – just think what a blessing it will be to some child who may have little else. It is a lovely way to honour your MIL.

  28. I live in Idaho, which is the big L shaped state in the Northwest. I live in the Panhandle in the northern part of the state…about 100 miles south of Canada.

  29. Maintaining your house is never a frugal fail. Great you called the plumber and he was able to change your faucets too as well as clean out your drains. My husband has a bad back also so we are having to call others now to do repairs around the house. So worth it to save his back.

  30. For Margaret Near Sydney – I live in Toronto, a city of about 3 million, smack in the middle of Canada on the shores of Lake Ontario. I love hearing from so many women in so many different parts of the world – just shows how alike people really are.

    Brandy – I though that you’d have an easy week while recovering from your surgery but you are as busy as ever! I hope that you are feeling well and not in too much discomfort.

    Monday I headed downtown to do some banking and pay all the bills for the month. Then it was around the corner to my doctor’s office to pick up some paperwork for lab work (they suspect that I have some thyroid issues so tests are needed) – the lab is right across the street at the Women’s College Hospital (a wonderful place) and I was in and out in less than 15 minutes with no cost as it is all covered by our Govt. Health plan. I then hit the dollar store, loaded up my transit card for the next few weeks and picked up a few items at a grocery store I don’t often get to and still managed to get back on the subway home within my 2 hour window so only used one transit fare!

    Tuesday a friend treated me to a belated birthday lunch at a local restaurant – cauliflower soup & a huge cabbage roll and since it was a cool & wet day this was a very welcome meal. Had a free coffee and some treats at church on Tuesday night before the English class that I teach.

    Wednesday took a free computer course at the library – an excellent teacher so I have signed up for some more.

    Thursday I did the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving and used a gift card someone had given me to pay.

    Friday stayed home and did laundry and cleaning. There must have been something in the air last week as I was also doing a lot of clearing out and reorganizing! I finished switching over locker rooms down in the basement of my apt. building – the new one is much easier to access but it is smaller. I threw out and recycled and then donated a number of things and I am very pleased with the results. I took some things downstairs from my bedroom store closet and brought up a few things that I need to access much more often. The bedroom closet is used for these items plus my luggage and coats & boots. I keep my clothing in two free standing wardrobes. My Summer and Winter switchover of clothing was also finished and again, I am very pleased with the results.

    Saturday a friend had 7 of us over for an early Thanksgiving dinner which meant that I didn’t have to do it this year (I am the friend who does most of the entertaining so it was a nice break). It was delicious and we all came home with turkey leftovers. A number of my friends love scarves so I took over a few that I had decided to give up and they shared them out amongst themselves.

    My freezer above my fridge is jam packed so wouldn’t this be the week that I found lots of meat on sale or even on 50% off! I hadn’t intended buying anymore meat this month but couldn’t pass up the bargains – somehow I managed to make it fit! But I seriously don’t need anything except dairy and fruit & veg for the next couple of months! I even picked up my favourite teabags at a good price (plus earned a stack of loyalty points) and I estimate that I now have over 400 on hand so it is time to start using things up!

    I hope everyone has a good week.

  31. Margaret near Sydney…I am in Hardin County near Kenton OH. We are surrounded by Amish that use no electric, or indoor plumping.

    Brandy, I really have to thank you for listing your menu and recipes. Hubby grew up on a cattle farm so steaks were always in the freezer…he has struggle to adjust to vegetarian meals. He LOVES the pasta e fagioli and the swiss chard soups.

    I spent this morning washing down vinyl siding on the front porch with the window squeegee as we don’t have a power washer (yet).
    I am processing the 110 lbs of tomatoes the Amish gentleman that use to own this house offered for free as they were “seconds” and he doesn’t sell them at the produce auction.

    I have been organizing (HA HA unpacking from the move) for things I now use regularly. Making bread has started on a regular bases so those items are now in my Hoosier hutch. I did pull out the large rubber spatulas from one kitchen drawer and took them to the basement as I won’t use them for just us. I left the drawer empty until I find what is best to go there. I moved my vacuum sealer and meat slicer to the kitchen appliance cabinet. I am still trying to empty and put away 3 boxes a day.

    We keep the heat and AC depending on the time of day, as much as possible.Welcome to Oct. in Ohio.

    Hubby was finally able to put the clothes line in out in the yard (47 ft long 4 lines) I still use the kitchen porch lines when it’s raining.

    I am adjusting to getting the store ads on Saturday instead of Tuesday but I found it let’s me “think” about what I really need of the sales.

    I finally was able to get a library card at the library in town. It’s on the small side and doesn’t have much selection but better than what we had at the last house.

  32. I’ve been organizing too Brandy -my closet and dresser drawers were jammed packed with clothes I no longer wear. It feels good to open a drawer easily now. Now just to get to my husband’s side!

    I’ve been getting ready for the colder weather has well. The mustard greens came in great and we’ve picked two bushel so far. I’ve canned 14 quarts. We love this in the winter time. Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments:

  33. I confess I love it when the moss overtakes the grass as one doesn’t have to mow moss! As long as one has a non-slippery walkway I’m all for leaving the moss. I also have a tufa rock garden. It is almost a sin for some people to let moss grow on the tufa rocks but I love it as mine then looks like an old English country wall. Well, the baking soda and water solution sounds promising but I think vinegar might work too so might growing to love it!

  34. I had to laugh when I read your parents took Octavius to watch the planes. When I was a child, my mother, who was a nurse, had to work every other weekend. The weekends she worked, it was my dads turn to watch my brother and I. Sometimes he would take us to the small airport near where we live to watch the little, 2 seater planes taking off and landing. As adults, we laughed about it, because neither of us were that interested in watching the planes (if we could have had a ride in one, that would have been awesome…but it never happened). Our dad really thought he it was doing something special with us, though. Well, at least he tried and it definitely made memories!;)

    As usual, a busy week at our house. Our frugal accomplishments for this week included:
    *Meals made at home included grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles and coleslaw, cheesy ham and broccoli rice skillet (always amazed at how quick and easy this recipe is…here’s the link:, hamburger helper with corn, tater tot breakfast casserole (new recipe, see below), and Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimming.
    *Went shopping on Monday at Costco. I was thrilled that some of the items on my list that I needed were actually on sale, especially the food saver bags. I was almost out and thought I would have to buy them at full price ($39.99/box), but was pleasantly surprised to find them on sale for $30.99. I bought 2. This is about a year supply for us. There were a few items on sale (due to our upcoming Thanksgiving) that we use all the time, so I grabbed them to stock up. Other items we needed were not on sale, but I bought them anyways, because we needed them and I was just too tired from working the day before to think through an alternative plan. It was an expensive trip…it happens sometimes.
    *On Friday I did a short run to the grocery store to pick up a few things before the long weekend. While at the store, I was shocked to find boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1/lb! Picked up 2 packages (9 breasts total between the 2) for around $5. That restocked my chicken supply for now.
    *I started using meal planning again for the month of October. My meal planning is a bit different. Using a paperless word document on my computer, I make a list of meals I can make with my existing pantry and freezer stock. I know I need a minimum of 31 meals, but I like to have lots of flexibility built in. My current list has 55 different meal options, some very simple and easy, some more elaborate. I make notations on freezer meals, multiple meat options for dishes or if it is a new recipe I want to try. As I make a meal, I cross it off the list, using the “highlighter” function. If I find new recipes to try during the month or a great deal on something we normally don’t have, I can easily add it to the list. Since my family revolts if a meal is eaten too often, this flexible meal plan works very well for us. Each month, I copy and paste the list into a new document, reset the crossed off meals , add or remove meals as needed for the month, then start the process all over again. If you’d like to do this type of meal plan, but can’t do an entire month, you could easily start with a meal list for 1 or 2 weeks.
    *Family is currently tired of the same old meals, and are revolting (aka refusing to eat many meals they used to like). Tried a new recipe, Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole (recipe link:, in an attempt to broaden our meal choices. I halved the recipe and made it in a 8 x 8 pan, as I didn’t want leftovers, which family don’t like eating, plus I had no way of knowing if they would like it. To the egg/milk mixture I added 2 types of cheese, a generous handful of spinach, 4 chopped up breakfast sausages, a small amount of garlic (in place of onion which I don’t like), salt, pepper and a bit of seasoning salt (for a bit more flavour). It may have been too much added stuff, but I was winging it a bit, with no real measuring other than the 6 eggs and 1/4 cup of milk. It turned out OK, but not a rave review from the family. I will leave it off the Family Favourites list for now, and will continue my search for new meal ideas.
    *Made banana blueberry muffins ( on the weekend for snacking on while my brother was visiting. I kept 4 for DDs lunches this week and sent the leftovers home with my brother. We also stocked him up on lots of meat, frozen foods and pantry items, as he lost food when his power was out due to the tornadoes hitting Ottawa. His limited budget was strained due to eating out during the outage, making it hard to replace what was lost. The food we provided will help him get back on track.
    *We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. Two additional people were invited, but were not able to come. So it was just my brother, my mom and our family. Dinner was delicious with a very relaxed atmosphere this year.
    *Attended an all day presentation at my work through the Jacquard loom team (therefore as a volunteer). We were asked to bring a potluck dish for lunch. I took BBQ chickpea ranch wraps, which are cheap, delicious, filling and vegetarian friendly finger type food. The talk was very interesting. I’m glad I was able to attend.
    *DD had some health issues this week. She was experiencing sudden onset of severe pain in her tummy, then would make herself vomit to get rid of the pain. Blood was starting to appear in the vomit. The school was concerned and sent her home early. We took her to the after hours walk-in clinic (just happened to be our regular Dr working that night) and he thinks it might be an inflammation of the stomach lining, not an ulcer. He prescribed 2 weeks of a strong antacid type medication to help her stomach lining heal. If this doesn’t work, we are to make a follow up appointment. Due to our health care, the after hours visit and the drugs were both free. After reading all the costs associated with medical bills in the U.S., I truly appreciate having the health care we have here in Canada. I just wish all countries had a similar system in place.
    Frugal fail: Because we had to take DD to the walk in clinic around dinner time, we ended up buying a rotisserie chicken dinner from the grocery store that night. DDs stomach issues have not disturbed her appetite.
    *With her friend no longer at the school, DD has been eating lunch with a boy in her LLS class. The LLS kids have various levels of disabilities. This boy is definitely lower functioning than her. He’s blind in 1 eye, has some paralysis on 1 side, says the most random things and makes random noises, but DD finds him funny and enjoys being a bit of a mentor to him. We’re starting to wonder if maybe she should look into working with the disabled. This week, DD took some of her puzzles to school (100 piece size), to share with him. He apparently likes doing puzzles and they can do them together at lunch. DD is so much happier at this school!
    *DD attended her first Year Book meeting this week, with her new respite worker (we have funding that will cover the respite costs). Her respite worker is 1 of the EAs in her LLS class, whom DD just adores (she works with the boy DD eats lunch with). We are thrilled DD is getting involved with an extra-curricular activity. She will be helping design some of the yearbook pages, via computer. DD already loves to draw on her computer, so its a perfect fit!

    Thank you to those who post all your frugal accomplishments here. Reading them is one of the most enjoyable frugal things I get to do each and every week. Have a lovely week everyone!

  35. Hi Brandy and fellow readers! I haven’t commented in a few weeks – been a bit under the weather.

    Our weather finally cooled off this past week and I am so happy to be in the 50s & 60s. I turn the heat on in the morning for kids before they leave for school but then turn it off. I run hot and don’t need it. I even open the windows a few inches to let the wonderful breeze blow in. The way our house sits it warms up quite easily to 73 on our top floor. I like to sit on our back deck and see which leaves have changed colors on my trees and enjoy the slight breeze. We have also been so blessed with rain! It is wonderful because it has been a hot, dry, smoky summer.

    I made almost all meals at home except for date night. I stay home quite a bit and just enjoy puttering around getting my list of jobs done for the day. I made a new wreath for the door using flowers I found on sale or already had around the house, worked on my cross-stitch, read books, canned 10 quarts of tomatoes and went for bike rides.

    The personal finance class I’ve been taking has really affected my purchasing even more than I thought possible. I rarely order anything anymore unless desperately needed. I’ve been trying to make do with what I have and it works pretty well.
    I’m considering doing a 2 week menu plan because I really have so much food that I can use. I might pop over to the store for perishables, but I’ve discovered that almost all my meals are made with what I have in storage and supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies.

    I noticed that another one of our stores was having a case lot sale but I didn’t need anything so I didn’t attend.

    My daughters needed notebooks for notes and I had extras that we already had on hand.

    I cleaned out our flower beds and weeded the beds. I went to the library to check out books and movies. Our library is closed for a year for renovations. We went to another branch which is farther away but noticed that the turn light was very long to wait at because we are turning onto a very non-busy street. I found another easier route to get to the library so I am not wasting my gas idling while waiting for the light to change. It was a five minute wait at the light. It’s the little things.

    I wish you all a truly wonderful and happy week. Thanks for all the inspiring comments and perspectives.

  36. Brandy,

    I hear you on the organization part. I am asking God to help me be more organized.

    Here is what we did last week:

    * We drove our car with excellent gas mileage to church.
    * I packed my husband’s lunches every day so that he would not need to eat out. He likes my cooking better anyway!
    * I purchased a pack of 60 greeting cards at Michael’s for 70% off.
    * A life coach and I made plans to collaborate on an event.
    * We took walks for exercise and fresh air.
    * A few nights I went to bed exceptionally early and saved money on electricity. 🙂
    * To increase productivity and focus, I worked at the library one day; in addition, I dropped off mail there instead of driving an extra mile or so to the post office.
    * I used what I had on hand to make soup for a potluck. We also brought a loaf of homemade bread (from the bread machine).
    * I read an excellent book that was gifted to my husband and me.

  37. It is snowing yet again! I do not even have the rose cones on the roses. – they still have green leaves on them. I watched a couple of films on my free public library screening site (Kanopy), and am starting re-organizing kitchen drawers since I cannot find anything that others “organized” in my absence. This way I will ultimately not feel so dislocated. I am greatly enjoying the 5 pounds of russet potatoes I bought for $1.98. They make great baked potatoes at about 0.15 cents each. I am celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving one weekend late (next weekend) by taking a maple favoured, birch smoked ham (not a money saver but a rare treat) I bought to a friend’s house along with a church-made apple pie I bought. She will do the veggies. This is my friend approaching ninety and it should be nice to have a meal together. Then I hope to have quite a bit of ham leftover for upcoming meals. We interviewed a young woman for a scholarship. I took the handibus to my second cousin’s house (she’s almost ninety, too) so we could identify some photos and visit. She gave me lunch. My gardener delivered over some sunflower seeds for the birds so that saved me a trip by cab. Really I’m now staying home mostly and that does save money. I’d like to take advantage of some sales that happen in October to buy some Christmas gifts and finish shopping so I can stay home later. I paid off a credit charge for servicing my furnace so had no interest to pay.

  38. Hello everyone! I haven’t posted in quite awhile but have been faithfully reading every week 🙂
    My husband lost his job 3 weeks ago through no fault of his own. He filed for unemployment but this will be a process because he worked in a different state that where we live. It happened at the worst possible time but isn’t that the way things usually go? lol I have been re-reading this blog and the Tightwad Gazette books to “freshen up” my frugal arsenal.

    I made white bread, banana bread, jello, power balls (also called protein balls), chocolate chip muffins, beans and rice, taco/pasta bake, chicken in the crockpot now that will also give us several meals this week, chili using ingredients I had to use up or already had prepared and frozen. I made the sauce using whole frozen tomatoes from my garden and made the spice mix from ingredients in my spice cupboard. My birthday was two weeks ago and my husband made a cake using a box of mix and frosting we’ve had for months in the pantry.

    I’ve made sure to wash full loads of laundry in cold water. When my husband “helps’ he uses the dryer 🙂 but I have started hanging laundry up on my racks again. It’s almost always raining on my days off so I can’t my lines.

    I picked some flowers that (finally)grew to enjoy on my kitchen table.

    I have been borrowing books and movies for my daughter from the library.

    I make coffee at home in the morning and drink water all day.

    Have a great week everyone!

  39. Thank you for choosing Southwest. My husband is one of their Captains. ☺ I hope you have a wonderful experience flying them!

  40. I also do free yoga videos off YouTube. One of my favorite channels is “Yoga with Adrienne.” She’s got a fun delivery, offers modifications, and has a lot of good beginner options. I also like “Five Parks Yoga.”

  41. Would you be willing to post a link to the recipe for the granola bars? 🙂 I have had the same problem with them falling apart.

  42. Darcy I LOVE Culver’s! I also grow Echinacea flowers and dry the leaves for herbal tea. I agree, it’s much more satisfying than buying tea from the store.

  43. Beautiful flowers, Brandy!

    I didn’t post last week, so this is 2 weeks worth.

    • 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.
    • Ate dinner in most of the evenings. Continued to eat from the freezer and pantry.
    • Worked 19.5 contract hours. Worked all my hours at home, so saved on gas.
    • My birthday as last week, but Hubby won’t be here for it, so he took me wine tasting as my gift. I was able to purchase a groupon for 2 of the stops.
    • Got 2 new shirts on sale for 2.99 each. Badly needed as I have been losing weight and my summer shirts and capris are getting too big for me. Weather has finally cooled off to under 90 degrees here, so have been able to wear some jeans that I had in the closet. And the AC can work less!
    • Got a great deal on sirloin steaks last week. $2.97/lb. We eat steak once a week, so this was great for us.
    • Cut the bottom off the toothpaste tube to get the last bit.
    • Got a free yogurt and a package of tuna for the Friday Freebies. Also got 5 cans of peanuts for 99c each. I’m saving a couple of the cans for the holidays when I make Chex Mix.
    • Got a truck for my grandson at Goodwill for 69c. Also got some nice décor for my walls at reasonable prices.
    • Used a gift certificate for dinner on our trivia night.
    • Got a few Ibotta rebates.
    • Used a coupon for BOGO entrée when I took my Dad out for our weekly lunch.
    • Bought fruit off the reduced bin. Mostly apples but it ends up being about 50c / lb. and the fruit is still good, just not pretty.

    Have a great week everyone!

  44. I also live in Illinois , but probably 3 hours south of Mandy. I live out amongst the corn and soybean fields.

  45. Oh, I forgot about the incredible bargain I got at the grocery store-a bag of three pounds of Granny Smith apples for 99 cents total. It was such a good price that I feared they were very old or brown at the core and only bought one of the several bags for sale at that price. I ate one last night. Yum.
    I am from Michigan, the state whose lower penninsula looks like a mitten on the globe. I grew up close enough to Canada to watch a TV station broadcast from Windsor, Ontario. Look closely at the map and you’ll see you have to head south from Detroit to get to Windsor.

  46. Isn’t it funny how something as simple as a reorganized drawer can make you feel so much better??

    A few weeks ago I started a “Get Off Your Butt” Challenge with my husband. Instead of spending our workday evenings lounging around, we took care of one nagging task. We got so much done! Plus, our home was a little nicer and it meant one less thing we had to do during the weekend.

    This week:

    1. I started a batch of homemade peach wine. It’s made with peaches I bought when they were .68/pound–the lowest they go in our area. It takes about two months to make the wine, but it’s well worth the wait. I haven’t had to buy wine in ages.

    2. I made more homemade laundry soap this weekend. I used Castile soap that my sister made, so my only cost was for the washing soda and Borax.

    3. I reorganized my office. I’ve been wanting a change but didn’t want to spend a huge gob of money on new furniture. Sometimes all you need is to rearrange a space to make it feel new again.

    4. I ate my homemade yogurt for breakfast today, topped with my homemade granola. Yum!

    5. Hubs has a coupon for a free treat at McDonald’s. I might persuade him to go tonight for a fun, free date. 🙂

  47. Wow. Your surgery certainly didn’t slow you down any. 😉 Hope you’re healing well.

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate out only one time. Home-prepped meals included quesadillas, Quinoa Black Bean Tacos, tortellini vegetable soup, Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry, and lots of leftovers. I also made a chocolate zucchini cake. I’m so glad the weather has cooled down again. Soups and baked goods are once again on the menu.

    * Crocheted some more dish cloths.

    * Harvested cucumbers, three pumpkins, some Indian popcorn, butternut squash, and cabbage. We’re using the popcorn to decorate for now; later we’ll scrape the kernels from the cobs for popping/snacking. The pumpkins are also being used as decor at the moment, but we’ll cook them up later.

    * Made two loaves of bread.

    * Roasted and sliced a turkey roast (from the freezer) for sandwiches.

    * Made more peanut butter.

    * Saved yellow honeydew seeds. This year’s melons were from seeds that were saved from a purchased melon.

    * We actually had a little bit of rain (woo-hoo!), so we were able to turn off the sprinklers one day.

    * Continued to save rinse and warm-up water.

    * I had canned some grape jelly that failed to jell, so we’ve been using it instead of maple syrup on pancakes and waffles.

    * We had to get new tires for my car (not inexpensive, but necessary). We used a cash-back credit card for the initial purchase, and I will use money from our “future car expenses” line item in our savings account to pay off the purchase in full when the card bill arrives.

    * We made our yearly trek to Oak Glen to buy apples from our friends (two bushels of seconds, plus a few other things from their store/gift shop). I’m not sure this is especially frugal, especially once the fuel costs are factored in, but it’s a fun outing each fall and we like to support our friends. Plus, we can get apple varieties that are not available in stores. Yum!

    That’s all I wrote down this time.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  48. Please tell you husband for me how much I love Southwest. I am disabled and need wheelchair help when boarding. I have had several Captains push my chair down the ramp and they have always been cheerful, friendly and professional. It’s not their job but they just pitch in and help. What a great working environment and what a pleasure for their passengers to know they are valued!

  49. I am finally well again. My garden is coming to an end. I made chili with some of my tomatoes and peppers. I froze 3 containers for future meals. I made more hot sauce with hot peppers from the garden. I went to a bridal shower. The gift was $49.99. I used a $10 off $30 purchase. I used a $25 gc I got from Swagbucks which brought my OOP to $18. The store had a wrapping station so I wrapped the gift there. I used a card from a box of cards I got last year at a garage sale for $1. Brought my leftovers home from the shower too. I only saw 2 other people ask to take home their leftovers. I ate mine today for lunch. The rest of my week is here:

  50. I thought September was the awful month for vehicle issues but October isn’t off to a very good start. Hubby replaced his clutch, only have his back brakes go out. Another $600 gone.

    I’m currently trying to declutter and organize the entire house before the holidays and before I have to find a job with more hours. An organized drawer makes the world of difference!

    16 free toothbrushes from my mom

    free hair mask sample in the mail

    free k cup sample in the mail

    free nut butter sample in the mail

    A friend sent over a bag of jeans for my 11yo, 4 pair fit, 2 didn’t . I passed the pairs that didn’t fit onto someone with a daughter smaller than mine

    A couple weeks ago, I got a sandwich from Mcalister’s deli. It was awful(awful in the fact the bread wasn’t toasted so it was soggy by the time I got home and falling apart because it wasn’t put together very carefully). And I didn’t get the pickle. I usually don’t complain, but when you pay $8 for a sandwich, you expect it to be a little better than what your 11yo can throw together, lol. So the manager sent me coupons for 2 free lunches(sandwich, drink, and cookie included). I used one coupon, then picked up the other for my teen who had a 12 hour shift one day.

  51. Happy to! I will try and get it posted in the next week! If that doesn’t happen, I will put it in next weeks Frugal Friday for sure!

  52. It was a good week to save money here! I have been contemplating new furniture for quite some time – years in fact. The sofa in our tv room was a craigslist find 9 years ago, and it is completely worn out now, which is okay as we have boys and pets. But it’s beyond bad now and needs to be replaced. I’ve been eyeballing some furniture at Ikea, but then I found a sale at World Market saved 30% and cut shipping fees. So while we are spending money, we’re also saving a lot on our furniture purchase, and we sure got a lot of use out of a $75 used couch purchased 9 years ago! We are also blessing a young couple with the old coffee tables, which still have a lot of life left in them.

    Our church is beginning its annual Operation Christmas Child drive this week, and I was able to ‘shop’ the box in the basement where I’ve been stashing clearance items all year to fill our four boxes without having to make a trip to the store.

    My son was able to find everything he needed for a science experiment in our house without having to go to the store.

    I scheduled a surgery for December to take advantage of the fact that we have met our deductible for the year. This will save us $2500.

  53. Hi Margaret! That is the name of two of my great-grandmothers and my middle sister. I love that name. I live in Southern Colorado – about 2 hours drive south of Denver. Our home is on a small farm holding. I can see Pikes Peak from my backyard – it is the mountain that was written about as “Purple mountains majesty above the fruited plain”. So I guess you could say I live on the fruited plain – although not much fruit grown out here – mainly corn and hay for cattle and market vegetables. The nearest true town/city is 15 miles away but we do have places to buy milk, bread and gas and of course – every soft drink known in the US.

  54. Fiona – wow that is a significant saving on your tea! I have one cup of coffee in the a.m. and when I worked (retired now) I’d take it with me for the drive – hot in winter, iced in warmer months. I do like vanilla creamer in it so it feels like a nice treat. I still have the one cup. I then switch to water or tea. It just galls me to see coffee or tea being sold for $3-4 US. Both are really cheap drinks to make. I love almost all kinds of tea and prefer to go to decaf, green or herb in the afternoon. I can buy really gourmet teas for $3-4.00 US for a box and there are usually at least 24 bags per box. I’ve also found that when I order tea out somewhere it is usually Lipton black tea or if they have herbal it is only chamomile or peppermint – I’m not a fan of either unless I am sick.

  55. Granny Smiths are the best! (An Australian import).
    I have a Granny Smith tree I bought at WalMart for 9.95 a few years ago, the spring I saw organic Granny Smith apples for sale at the grocery store for $5 each. If I ever get two from it, I will have made my money back. So far, it is just growing taller, though it had a few blossoms this year.

  56. Hi everyone and Margaret in Sydney, I live in southwest Virginia! I also enjoy reading posts from different parts of the world! Thanks, Brandy for your repeated posts about lowering your electric bill. It finally prompted me to contact our electric company to figure out how we are charged for our usage. I found out that during peak hours we are charged triple the normal rate! My husband also found a way online to track our usage. We now time things like laundry, cooking, and (as much as possible) air conditioning for off-peak times. In winter we supplement our heat with a wood stove in our basement and we have access to free wood. In other efforts to spend wisely, I restocked our freezer with marked-down beef and chicken, and stacked digital coupons with paper ones on other grocery items. Since retiring, I’m finding that the once-a-month paycheck is taking me some time to get used to. I already have some bills automatically deducted from my checking and will eventually have most of our expenses paid that way. No complaints – we are blessed to have a good income but it is definitely different than a weekly paycheck! And I (finally) have time to declutter and organize our home – something that is badly needed! But like Marivene’s one-bucket-of-weeds-at-a-time method, I’m trying to tackle a little every day! Thanks to everyone for your great ideas and support of each other!

  57. Cindy, thank you for this suggestion. Will try it on a sunny day if we ever get one again. Has been raining all day today, Columbus Day & expecting thunderstorms on Thursday. I feel like I’m living in the pacific northwest instead of the sunny Jersey Shore.

  58. Ellie’s Friend, unfortunately not an option for us. We must maintain a front lawn per our HOA. Our HOA fees pay for a lawn mowing service. Vinegar will kill the grass and my plants in the flower/garden beds . Your tufa rock garden sounds lovely.

  59. Susan I agree with you – keeping DH’s back from further pain is a must. He did want to try to do the work but I was able to talk him out of it. We used a local semi-retired plumber who lives in our development who only does small jobs now. His fee was actually a bargain – another plumber would have charged over $200 for the same work.

  60. Mandy- even though he worked in a different state ( which may delay the unemployment benefits) you can look into applying for SNAP ( “food stamps”) in the state you live in, along with heating assistance. Those programs are county based, and the gap between getting wages and getting unemployment may be enough to make you eligible. You can also look into free/reduced school lunches for your daughter, or WIC benefits, depending on her age.

  61. I mended 2 Halloween costumes for the grandsons to wear. One just had a couple of places on the seams that had come undone, and one needed a tail sewn back on. They were both purchased either on clearance or from a thrift store to star, and this is the 3rd chuild they’ve been through now, so we certainly got good use out of them! I stacked coupons with a 5 of 25 store coupon to purchase candy for an annual Halloween party we attend; and made a black bean and corn salad for the carry in from things I had on hand. My husband brought home a LARGE bag of apples from one his Lodge brothers trees. My goal this week is to turn them into applesauce, and use the peelings and cores to make “fruit scrap juice” and then compost them. (Fruit scrap juice is simply covering cores, peels, etc that would otherwise be unused with water, and simmering. It turns into a weak juice, a nice change from plain water.)

  62. I live in Lexington, Kentucky. We are in the central part of the state known as the bluegrass. A certain type of grass that grows here has a hint of blue tint in the early morning dew. We are famous for our race horses and bourbon whiskey. It is still very warm right now but expected to get more fall temps later this week. I can’t wait. The humidity has still been very bad even though it is the middle of October. Australia is one place I would love to visit. I can’t stand to fly so it would be difficult to get there however. I can dream about it.

  63. Hi Cindi! I live on the plains just east of the Wet Mountains in S. Colorado – 15 miles east of Pueblo. People are regulatory surprised at how different the weather can be in Colorado – east or west of the Mountains and north or south of Denver. We have a micro climate here along the Arkansas River – we will be warmer and not get a drop of moisture while just 15-20 miles around us is colder and getting moisture.

  64. 1. Accepted a bottle of seasoning from my boss. It’s a brand I have used before but am excited to try on fried potatoes!
    2. Agreed to work an extra 8 hour shift this week which will put me at a few hours over time on my next paycheck.
    3. Got my flu shot last week for free since it was covered by my insurance.
    4. After a phone call to my insurance company and our old chiropractor (we moved) a bill was decreased by $30. We still owed a portion for deductible, but it was still worth a 10 minute phone call.
    5. Making the pioneer woman’s rustic apple pie using a leftover pie crust and two bruised apples. It a not enough for an entire pie. But I am the only one who eats pie, so it’s just enough for me to have a few slices.
    6. Will be babysitting this Friday for a family which will provide some extra cash towards my jeep loan.
    7. Picked up some jeans for my husband at Kohls. Regular price 45 a piece. Walked out paying just $40 for 2 pair. They were on Sale for 24 each and if you used your Kohls card to pay, you saved an extra $10. He was down to just 1 pair of jeans so this was very helpful. I needed some new jeans but didn’t find any good deals.

  65. Southwest has always been our airline of choice! Free check in bags, friendly staff and employees! We have never been disappointed when we fly with them! Tell your husband thanks from this family of 13 (now 53 counting spouses and grandkids!)

  66. Brandy, I thought I misread when you wrote that you are trying to figure out how to make better use of your time. I already think of you are super-organized!

    I wrote once about my sister, who is much better off financially due to her husband’s occupation, and how I try not to tell her I want or need anything because she will buy it and more for me. Never in a superior way, always almost humbly, saying she is blessed and wants to share it with me. Well, she flew in for a visit and while she was here our furnace decided to die. We have used the same furnace place for over 20 years (they deliver our oil, too, for heating) and they agreed to let me pay $1000 down and $500 every month until it was paid off (the total price was slightly under $6,000). New furnace installed, sister goes home, three weeks late I send in the next installment for the furnace and they call and tell me that the bill has already been paid in full. By my sister. Of course it is a relief but I am left with no way to repay her. She already has pretty much the best of everything. I also worry that my husband thinks this means she believes he is not successful or can’t afford to take care of his family. He is in a profession that pays much less than being a surgeon does and he loves his work but when we visit them he says he feels like we are the Beverly Hillbillies stopping by (I am younger than he is and also did not grow up with a television, so I actually had to look up this reference!) Amazing how generosity can lead to problems! I did at least get her to agree that this was this year’s birthday and Christmas gift.

    Meanwhile, we had a very thrifty month, as I was looking at every penny to make sure we had to spend it rather than being able to put it toward the $500 that was coming due. Bought only milk and some flour so I could make bread. Otherwise we ate from the freezer and cupboard, which were stocked full from this summer’s garden harvest. We drove only when we absolutely had to, cut each other’s hair, put the lights on only when we had to (here in Northern Alaska, we are losing seven minutes of daylight every day, so it is getting dark early and the sun is rising later and later), evaluated whether the outer clothes we were wearing that day could be re-worn without washing so that we had less laundry and so a smaller water bill. We are pretty thrifty anyway, but this month we approached Brandy’s year of no money in terms of spending!

  67. I just did the numbers for 75% through the year and I averaged$186.31/month. There are only two of us, so it could have been better, but I am working on that. My freezer and refrigerator/ freezer, as well as my cupboards are full. I intend to live off them for the next couple of months.

  68. Mary- so glad you like your “Softies”! I started making them last Fall when I had a lingering cold and regular Kleenex just felt like sandpaper on my sore nose! I kept using them and increasing my supply when I realized that by using them, I could stop buying all those boxes of tissues at the store! Frugal win, happier nose!!!
    Thanks for supporting our
    Funny that your weather is getting cooler out in AZ because we just turned a/c on yesterday since our central Ohio temps went up to 86 degrees yesterday! On Thursday, it will get cooler but I think we may end up going from Summer straight into Winter!! We did have 1 day a couple weeks ago that was a typical Autumn day so that may be it! Only in Ohio!!!

  69. Jo, I pray you make it safely thru Hurricane Michael. We’re expecting heavy rain/thunderstorm on Thursday from it. One of our friends has a winter home in Sarasota and drove down from NJ last week to escape the constant rain here to find themselves preparing for this storm!

  70. I haven’t posted my frugal-ness lately. So here goes for the last few weeks:

    My SOs cousin’s husband (got that?) raises a large garden every year. We all barter/trade equipment, garden produce and general stuff. He does all organic and uses some seeds that came from Italy (he still has family and land there). Like many gardeners this year has had its ups and downs. Little zucchini, eggplant or tomatoes. LOTS of various kinds of peppers and chili peppers. He raised Shishisto peppers fro me – similar to the Spanish Padron pepper. Its a small pepper that is pan roasted with a little olive oil and flaked salt. They are delicious as an appetizer. I can’t seem to seem to get my pan hot enough – in tapas pars they roast them on the super hot grill so they are blistered but not over cooked. I have some left that I am going to make a ristra from – a string of pepper that can dried and be used all season. These are mild. So we’ve had some veggies from him and some from local farmer’s markets.

    We had an invasion of mice earlier this year. I thought I had cleaned everything but when I was going to put up some tomato sauce that I bought on case lot sale for 25c per can I found I’d forgotten the ‘tomato’ corner. Oh boy. It really needed cleaned as the mice had chewed labels. While I was washing and cleaning I started looking at the use by dates – well over a year ago! There were 8 or so cans of diced tomatoes with sweet onions – we really didn’t like them so maybe that is why I forgot them. There were about 7 cans with basil/oregano/garlic, 2 plain diced and 2 whole tomatoes. I decided to make two big batches of sauce – one for pizza (thicker with sliced olives and canned mushrooms that needed to be used) and one for pasta – thinner with nothing added. As I was doing these big batches I got down my big canister of basil that I bought from Sam’s. Frugal fail – it had lost its color and flavor but guess to be expected as it was over two years past its last best date. Lesson learned – I don’t use enough basil to warrant that big a size. I have 8 2C servings of pizza sauce and 7 2C servings of pasta sauce frozen. Have more freezer space than shelf space right now.

    Went to Walmart to return some stuff and as I wandered through the clothing aisle found some great deals. Almost all of my casual pants, leggings and yoga pants that I wear during the cooler months were ruined doing projects – paint, rips, stains, etc. I found some great comfy leggings that can be for home or even as pj bottoms for $3.00, a long sweater to wear in the house (that is fully washable – I have lovely sweaters but most are wool and need more TLC than I want to give my house wear clothes) and undies – 12 pair for $12.00!

    We are going through all of our inventory to see what we need and don’t. We plan on being on the road with our 5th wheel for several months and I don’t want to stock anything unless it is good for long term storage at home. Found a lot of stuff that we can just take with us, stuff to donate and we have a much better understanding of where we are.

    One amusing note. I don’t really bake. I am not a sweets person and it isn’t a skill that I learned growing up. So one concession is that I normally buy cookies, muffins or a cake for SO. I haven’t been doing this as I’ve been doing a lot of long dental appointments. I came home from the last one to find a humongous bag of candy bars and cookies bought at Family Dollar. SO had stopped for something and well… So today as it is cooler I found a box of lemon cake mix (99c), a can of lemon icing (89c on deep discount) and a box of orange supreme cookie mix (90c) – all bought at some point, put into storage and promptly forgotten about. The two mixes were outdated. I decided to just go for it – made 2 dozen cupcakes and 2 dozen cookies – all turned out fine. Used the big container of icing to frost the cupcakes and (thank you Margaret!) made sandwich cookies with the rest. So, SOs set for awhile. The cousin in law brought some apples that are more for cooking so I am going to make my mom’s apple cake, which freezes beautifully. I read this blog while I was waiting for things to bake! Thanks to everyone for ideas and inspiration.

  71. Hi Brandy,
    For Margaret in Sydney, we live in Phoenix, Arizona, which is Arizona’s biggest city, in the middle of the state, climate is desert! Quite similar to where Brandy lives, climate wise. Las Vegas and Phoenix are about 300 miles apart.

    Brandy, congratulations on the food from the garden last week, that was quite a bit more harvested than I expected…it still is so hot (well except this past week).

    Last week I did get one of the new Apple Watches. My first one. Over the last few years, I have sold clothes and jewelry through a consignment store here in Arizona, and last week I cashed out the credit. That cash, plus $4, got me the Apple Watch! Who knew old clothes could turn into something new :). When I retired, I took all my work clothes, as well as other items cleaned out in the closets…but once retired, I don’t need clothes as much. So the watch will be more useful. Today I went to the local Apple store and went to a free class on how to use it.

    Otherwise, I have been slowly working down the freezer, and will make batches of three different soups this week for portions into the freezer. My usual batch of soup makes four meals for the two of us. I still have one turkey…so that is next on the to do list!

    Happy beginning of fall everyone.

  72. It’s funny how we react to money isn’t it – even an act of generosity such as this can cause issues – even though I’m sure your sister meant no offence.
    What about sending a lovely bouquet of flowers now and again as your little gift to her. Even if you put a wee bit of the money you would have spent on the furnace aside and send the flowers every now and again I’m sure they would be greatly appreciated – who doesn’t like to receive flowers – especially when it’s not for any particular occasion but just to say “thank you” or “we are thinking of you”.

  73. I live in the center of California, but am a transplant from Europe.
    I rode my bike to do errands.
    I worked at a temp job 7 days, my first work outside of the home since I’ve had significant health issues. It felt good.
    I joined to narrow curtain panels (passed down from my mother) to make one panel big enough to cover sliding door. I used the old curtain (made from a painters drop cloth) to make curtains for my daughter’s dorm room.
    I have been diligent about no food waste.
    I have been painting a stool, and repairing and painting baseboards. It’s not fun at all, but it looks so good.
    Biggest triumph-we are downsizing and we sold our piano! I had heard pianos were notoriously hard to sell and some people ended up giving theirs away. But we sold it for the exact same price we paid for it over 10 years ago. It was a blessing to us, and the man buying it for his wife was so glad to get it.

  74. I forgot to add that I used the World Market sale to also buy several Christmas gifts that were on clearance and had the additional savings on top of that. I now have more than half of my Christmas shopping done! My goal is to always have it done by Thanksgiving so we can focus on the stuff that truly matters.

  75. Hello,

    I too have been trying to organize all of our spaces and get rid of clutter. It is a continual battle!
    Here are the ways we saved this week:
    – I picked up our limit of free items from the on base pharmacy. They allow 4 free over the counter items, per person, per month. This helps us save on cold medicines, vaseline, tylenol, chapstick and much more. It also prevents late night runs to the store when someone is sick.
    – I spent a lot of time last week reorganizing and going through items and areas. It is much nicer to know where items are and it saves money in the long run.
    – We hosted my inlaws for dinner. I hadn’t went to the store for our major shop yet. I used items from the freezer and got a couple of things to go with from the Dollar Tree.
    – Speaking of Dollar Tree, I used coupons to get some free frozen pretzels, bandaids and regular pretzels. I like using coupons at the Dollar Tree!
    – I loaded my Freebie Friday for Kroger to my account to redeem when I am over that way.
    – I used a free Ibotta Shutterfly code… well I saved it to my profile so I can use it. It does not expire until the end of the month.
    – I cooked meals at home including: meatballs, beans and rice, homemade chicken nuggets (with sauce saved from Chick Fil A!) and more.
    – We got our free tree from our utilities company and the Arbor Day Foundation. We got it planted in the yard!
    – I scored some freebies which I listed on my blog at:
    – I also cashed out from Earning Station, Swagbucks, and a few other sites, which I also have listed on my blog.
    That’s about it!

  76. Around here, you either laugh or cry, and I prefer laughing!

    Everyone will be happy to know that the baby went back to the school today. My daughter got a score of 90 for her efforts, and I’m so glad. One of the first things my nephew asked when I got him off the bus today was, “is IT gone?” Then, he pumped his fists in the air and gave a cheer when he found out it was. My niece was equally glad. Things like that are very disturbing to these autistic and special needs kids, due to the sudden loud noises, constant crying, etc. So, I didn’t mention that my daughter spent the first night in the garage in a make-shift bed she concocted from 2 huge easy chairs and some blankets, keeping out of my niece’s way, who has decided her favorite place to sleep is on my daughter’s floor (hardwood–go figure) in a nest of blankets. So no one slept in the bed that night:)

    This evening, I got back to work on the dress……I feel like I got somewhere tonight, hopefully it will fit as it should tomorrow morning when I do another try-on with the hopefully well-rested girl:). Then, the skirt, and zipper….the end is in sight.

  77. I live in Oregon. It is a state that borders the Pacific Ocean. There are 2 parts–the western half is the mild part that is affected by the maritime climate, and a drier, hotter interior and eastern side. I live about an hour and a half from the beach, so it’s easy for us to go over there frequently. We camp, hike, walk on the beach, fish, crab, and clam over there. The water is very cold so we don’t swim in the ocean here, but may dip our toes in during the hot summer. We see surfers in their wet suits, though, at times. We have a camper, which you may refer to as a caravan, and pull it with our van. The weather is quite mild, so we can even go camping in the winter at times, but it will likely rain, so we are glad for a roof over our heads.

    Our state is very beautiful, with many evergreen trees, some mountains, many rivers, lakes and streams, and it rains a lot on the western side of the Cascade Mountain Range, so it is very green much of the year. We also live close enough to the eastern side that we venture over there at times. That part is drier, and we have camped, fished, hiked, and hunted for rocks such as obsidian and thunder eggs over there, as the mountains there were formed from volcanoes, which also left volcanic rocks.

    The timber industry is important to Oregon, as is tourism, and agriculture of many kinds. During the history of the United States, a large migration took place from the eastern side of the United States to the west, and the pioneers travelled in covered wagons over 2,000 miles. One of the main destinations was Oregon country, so it was know as the Oregon Trail. There are a lot of historical museums and sights I have visited over the years, including some areas where the ruts from the trail are still cut into the earth, all these years later. I love history, so am fascinated by such things!

  78. I love that idea! I may borrow it for myself, though I may have to grow and pick flowers this year, as we are on a pretty low budget until my husband gets through his health issues and is able to work more hours again. He’s making progress, but is not there, yet.

    I have 2 very generous sisters, who are both financially better off than I am. They are always giving me gifts, even today, one gave me a bag of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour worth at least $10, plus sent dinner home for us. She says she ordered too many bags. She is being gracious. She clearly ordered one for me, too. I’m not that silly as to think that she did not know what she was ordering:) Not long ago, the other one sent over lots of apples. Those are just the 2 latest gifts, in a constant stream, from those two. They have certainly shared money with us, too, if they think we need it. We have never, ever asked either of them for money, but there have been occasions that they simply gave us some and called it a birthday present, or whatever. For whatever reason, it’s harder for us to accept money graciously than is it to accept things that cost money. Like Margie said, it’s funny how we react to money. I’m getting better at thinking of it as God’s provision–we need something, He lays it on someone’s heart to provide it to us–and, there it is!

    Over the years, I have learned that it gives them pleasure to be able to give, just as it does me. I’ve also learned that sometimes God uses them, or others, to meet a need we have by prompting them to give us some money when we have not even asked any for money, in any way. I have learned that I give them many, many things that mean a great deal to them, but they are not expensive in terms of money. I may give them some time working together on a project with them, a listening ear, a hand-made gift, hours of my time to their various children over the years, meals when needed, etc.

    If you can bring yourself to do it, don’t rob your sister of her joy in giving or her sense that she is helping you out. I’m sure it would trouble her greatly to think that you were cold this winter, or had to go without basic needs to pay for the furnace. Thank her (which I’m sure you do) and then let her know how much the gift meant to you, how helpful it was, how it met a specific need, how much you appreciate her generous spirit, and so on. Then, if you can, enjoy the peace and comfort that knowing you don’t have that big bill looming over you brings. But, I’ve got to repeat–I love that flower idea!

  79. I suspect Fiona’s utility bill’s can be paid using pretax dollars, thus reducing her reportable income for tax purposes.

    It’s something that is available in Australia for certain professions.

  80. Hope we put some good weather on for you in December. What part of Australia does your daughter and her family live in?

  81. On the growing side I am growing mushrooms in a box in my front room (the room faces south, so is cooler and darker). And the kale continues to grow in the garden. I don’t think that plant ever stops. Because we are approaching summer I am looking at purchasing tomato and squash plants to grow.
    I received a heap of free green beans that I blanched and froze in the freezer. And on Saturday I will be getting free ground cardamom, free peppermint essence, and free gelatine leaves. I think I will make choc peppermint cupcakes for work lunches, and a spice cake for church.
    The free items come from a freegan Facebook group that is anti-waste.
    And I live in Melbourne, Australia, the bottom part of mainland Australia.

  82. I hope that you are recovering well from your surgery, Brandy. We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and now have lots of turkey leftovers for various meals this week. In addition to the turkey leftovers I brought home from Mom’s she also gave us a brick of cheese and some turkey burgers. My husband is off work this week, with only a few hours of pay so we will be keeping it quiet and spending little. Last week we ate all meals at home and my husband took his lunch to work every day. I am hoping in the next week or two that there is a good deal on apples and pears as I would like to make a large batch of applesauce and some pear sauce this month. I’m also hoping to get bedspreads and blankets washed and hung outside to dry this month before the weather turns nasty here in Canada.

  83. Oh sorry it’s not possible! My tufa garden is on a small natural hill. Half of the slope is tufa but the other half is dolomite slabs. The slabs were from an old rock garden that my neighbour took out (it was buried under the soil). I saw them piled in the alley and phoned my neighbour and she was delighted to give them to me. FREE! It turned out that it was impossible to get more dolomite slabs (unless we drove about 2,000 miles) so there is a little gap between parts (the gap is becoming a drystream bed but is delayed till next year due to early snowfall). There is a patio on top so it is a reverse rock garden. Rather than looking at it from below as one does usually, one looks down from it as if on the top of a mountain and the layers are staggered. It is quite small. Almost no maintenance at all and it received no work from me this spring due to my broken arm. It is on a north facing slope so things grow very slowly. Best of all no lawn mowing on a small but dangerous slope for mowing
    9which inspired the idea of a rock garden). Good luck with the moss. I’ll try to ask around for ways to kill it when I’m at the rock garden club in a couple of days. Thanks for comment. Ann

  84. Hi Tammy,

    Congratulations for the CDL for your husband! Driving a city bus is a great job and hopefully the city has a good pension plan and benefits! I see you made cucumber kimchi. Have you tried growing the Armenian cucumbers that Brandy grows? I’m going to try it next year. Ann

  85. Elizabeth M.

    Happy belated Thanksgiving (Canadian). Your bargains sound great! If I might, I suggest you keep your part-time job because inflation about to hit the States will affect us too. Everything is becoming rapidly more expensive. Are you in Ontario? I can’t remember. What stores had such great bargains? Gas and oil will be going up, in the short run because of the explosion at the Irving Oil refinery in the Maritimes. But the world wide price of crude is going up drastically. All of this will affect us. West Texas Crude is verging on $80.00 per barrel. Our crude only gets about $35 as it is heavy crude. Anyway, so much for my unsolicited advice (but it’s free!).

  86. I’m one of those people who would tell my kid to take that creepy baby right back to the teacher–it ain’t staying in my house! If the teacher said it was required I would reply, well, we have several children we care for regularly, so she already knows how to care for a baby, so we don’t need this one–TAKE IT BACK! Yes, it’s the creepy factor that I can’t handle–I’m not afraid of dolls, but I have watched too many scary movies with evil dolls–I’m not bringing one in the house! I did laugh about the nephew wanting to know if the baby needed anything!

  87. Tanja,
    Have you tried duo lingo? It is free and Swedish is one of the languages available. I first learned of it through Brandy. You may find it a great tool just for practice in conjunction with your course. I decided not to take Italian again as getting to and from the course at night is just difficult and expensive for me.

  88. Hi Pat –

    Yes, I do like the softies – no more tissues found stuck to clothes or ripped by our dogs! I have allergies so these are great to keep in my purse or pocket.
    My FIL did say yesterday about Ohio weather being warmer than here – he moved here from there. I hope since it is so cooler earlier here that we do not have a very cold winter.

  89. I love Granny Smith Apples! I buy them whenever they are .99 lb I love them in pie or just to eat as a snack.

  90. Hi Mable,

    Did you buy a ten year parts and labour warranty from the manufacturer on the furnace? No matter which reputable company makes the furnace, modern furnaces just don’t last the same as the really old ones. Since I got my two new furnaces (a year apart from each other which was a brutal financial blow at the time), I have had to have a new motor on one, (an $800 expense without the warranty which I fortunately had), and a defective part replaced on the other (another $500 without the warranty). You will also need to have the furnace inspected and serviced annually so that the warranty remains valid (keep the receipts as proof). If you don’t have such a warranty, I suggest you phone the furnace installers and ask them. From some of the money saved because of your sister, you can buy the warranty if you don’t already have it. Modern furnaces seem to last only about ten years not 20 or 30 years like the old ones so if you have extra you could save for a furnace fund. I think your husband should realize that some people just get paid more than others, some win the lottery, etc. It is not a reflection on his abilities. It is okay to take pleasure in the bounties other people have without feeling it’s a reflection on you yourself. Just bless your sister that she realizes how lucky she is to have extra and that she shares. The cost of a gift is not important –– it is truly the kindness behind it. You could see someone in need, who just needs some food or some clothing or is ill and needs a chore done, and you could pass your sister’s generosity forward at no or little cost to someone who would greatly appreciate it. Perhaps if you mention that paying your sister’s kindness forward with what you can afford to someone else would make your husband feel better. We all share the same destiny in the end and the day may come when you can repay your sister in non-monetary ways you cannot now imagine. Ann

    P.S. Without generalizing, I know several doctors’ wives who would never think of helping the way your sister gives to you. Rejoice that she has kept her kind heart! I have a friend who is married to a doctor and every once in awhile she sees a certain stressed look on my face and comes to my aid. She has a certain ultimately fatal illness and before she was so stricken she was a bit oblivious to others. I never ask I always pay her back and once that’s done I always pay her kindness forward, for example by interviewing deserving and needy women for scholarships. I like Margie from Toronto’s suggestion. You might think of making her something –– a box of homemade candy at Christmas, etc. etc., something that she could use.

  91. I also live in Illinois in Bloomington, about 2 1/2 hours south of Chicago. We also have lots of corn and soybeans. It’s fall here and the temperatures go from the high 80s to the 40s (coming up this week)

  92. Greetings from Central Kentucky. The weather here is beautiful. We have four seasons and the landscape here looks like rural England. I wish we have the same architecture as them but we don’t. ( I’m in love with the Cotwolds)
    [*] I don’t feel like I’ve had a frugal week or two. I helped to host a baby shower, The church had two funerals and I did more running than what I wanted. Some of it was just completely unavoidable.
    [*] Baby shower frugals are: Used as much as possible from my own stash to make banners, table decor,goody bags and food. I had ribbons, paper, glue, and my handy dandy ancient cricut cutter. Any scrap paper was stored away for another project. I still had to buy quite a bit but we also saved as much a possible afterwards for another baby shower. Food leftovers were brought home. I had cookies leftover and I shared them with my girls class.
    [*] For the funeral meals I made broccoli casserole and a Peach clafoutis. It was delicious. I help to serve at the first funeral, and they insisted that I take some leftovers for dinner that night. I was extremely thankful for the gesture as the baby shower was the next day. The rest of the leftovers were sent to the second family that had a death. The young man was 19 years old. It was so heartbreaking. The meal after the funeral was a week later so I sent broccoli casserole and brownies for that one. I had made both casseroles at the same time knowing that I would need another one soon.
    [*] I had stopped bringing snacks for my girls on Wed. nights. They haven’t seems to miss them at all. So I shall continue not bringing anything unless it’s leftover like the baby shower cookies.
    [*] Project Linus is a group that I have become involved in. For two weeks I had my girls rework some blankets for the group for craft time instead of a craft project. No cost to me and they loved it. I also made a quilt for the group from my own scraps of fabric.
    I too have been cleaning.
    [*] The basement is being decluttered a little at a time. I can’t wait til it’s completely finished. My kids are wanting the treadmill down there to use, my dh wants an office area and I’m over here saying forget y’all! I need more crafting space. LOL. We’ll see what actually happens.
    [*] My dh is seriously thinking of retiring. In preparations for that, I have started keeping a record of expenses. I should have done that from the beginning of time.:( Although we consider ourselves to be frugal, it has been eye-opening:o for me to see it on record. I think that I will be doing this for a long time.

  93. People are always surprised when I tell them I live much closer to Utah than to Denver, and as you point out, the weather can be very different! We are at 8000 ft, so we tend to get cold and snow, but also lots of sunshine and less moisture than Denver.

  94. I live in Georgia (US) on the coast.

    I always keep a bag of Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons in my car. I have been able to bless others from the abundance in my bag.

    Busy week here.

    Left work early Monday, I just didn’t feel well. Went home and took a 4 hour nap! Then I went back to bed at bedtime and slept through. Felt better in the morning. 3 other colleagues did the same thing this week – we think it’s a virus.

    Treated myself to a badly needed massage and facial at the school. After 10 services you get a free service. So even with the seriously discounted services, I’m still building to a free service. Picked up a sub for dinner and am building points toward free dinner there too.

    I attended a wine tasting Event and dinner Wednesday with friends and my wine club met Thursday night. Bought the cutest Mexican ceramic pumpkin from a fundraiser for a Mexican orphanage/ mission. My husband took me to afternoon tea at the Jekyll Club on Jekyll Island and then we walked on the beach and had happy hour drinks overlooking the ocean. Attended the Cherokee Pow Wow (we are not Cherokee – we saw it advertised on Facebook).

    Husband had a colonoscopy. Looked ok, but will have to wait until Thursday for the official results.

    Started picking up small Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers as I see them. This year I got smart and bought a big Rubbermaid tote to put the stocking and accumulating items in, this way I can fill stockings as I go and know WHEN TO STOP! I usually end up with a stocking and a “stocking box” for everyone.

  95. It reminded me of the Mrs. Brown’s Boys episode when her son & pregnant DIL bring home the “creapy baby” to practise for being new parents. Such a funny show and priceless what happens to the doll.

  96. Deb & Gardenpat,

    Thank you for the kind words. I just read them to him and he smiled and said to tell you he’s humbled by your kind words. Whenever we’re traveling nonrev (standby “nonrevenue” – we get to fly for free but it’s standby), he always offers to help the gate agent with wheelchairs, and I know he does the same thing when he’s working. Oh, and GardenPat, he said you made a good decision to go with a Rapid Rewards card because it is rated one of the best travel cards and you’re able to earn free flights fairly quickly. So here’s hoping you can see your wonderfully large family even more often!

  97. Brandy,
    I too have to stay organized to save time. It also helps my mind to stay clear when my home is clear. I also love getting rid of things because it makes me feel lighter.

    We had two terrible events this week, my grandmother passed away and another family tradegy. Through the chaos we have come together as a family and I feel stronger and more loved now than we have in years. We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this week and I’m counting my blessings. Most of all I’m grateful for the health of my children and husband because without them I couldn’t survive.

    My accomplishments;
    Fixed my shower handle myself costing me $36 instead of $216 that the plumber wanted to charge
    Fixed my garage fridge and managed to save and cook all the defrosted food before it went bad except 2 gallons of milk that I didn’t want to take a chance on, not worth it! This also saved me the cost of buying a new fridge.
    I accepted two large bags of children’s clothes from a neighbor saving me from buying clothes to get us through winter. I took the time to put away things that didn’t fit or were not in good condition.
    I found a great sale on ground turkey and bought 22lbs. It was $2 a pound which is rare for this area.
    I cooked up butternut squash from my garden for a side
    I accepted food from my father and other grandma when they went to travel and the food would have gone bad.
    I cleaned out the garage with my husband so we can find things easier and I found lots of treasures I forgot about

    I hope things are calming down in your house and you can find peace and happiness among the chaos. After this week I know that you don’t know what you really have until you face losing it so I am counting every blessing I have.

    One more thing I lost 20lbs! After fasting for one of our recent holidays I realized that for me not eating until the afternoon helps me have more energy and I lose weight quickly. That combined with cutting most carbs and sugar has helped me to drop a lot of weight very quickly which I am grateful for since I have gained 40 lbs since my wedding 10 years ago. Yay!

  98. Gardenpat, I just checked out your website. Very cute! I love the idea of “Softies.” I saw a pattern my daughter would like. But, if you ever find any fabric in either space/planet or Transformers motif, my son would go gaga. That way, they could each have their own design and there is no risk of using someone else’s.

  99. Hi Lorna, fellow reader from Oz here. I grow rainbow chard, a bit similar in use to silver beet. Please tell me what you did with 23 bunches!!!!!!

  100. Hello from Fort Worth, Texas. We are known as “Cowtown” and also “Panther City.” Even though we are only ~35 miles west of Dallas, we have our own personality.

    I rarely post, but since I’m actually reading today on my laptop, rather than my tablet, it makes it easier to comment. So, here are some of my frugal happenings from this past week:

    1) Switched from Verizon to Tmobile last week to take advantage of their awesome military plan that we’d spent a lot of time researching (my husband is retired military). Even with the add-ons my husband added (he’s an airline pilot so wanted the extra hotspot, inflight wifi perks, to use when traveling etc), we’re still saving AT LEAST $25 a month over Verizon’s base cost, but really more like $50 a month because TMobile is unlimited everything and we almost always went over our data limit with Verizon (a lot of hotels my husband stays in have spotty wifi which means he ends up using data). Also, we’ll be able to help his Dad and his Dad’s girlfriend. We can add both of them to our plan for $20 more a month so we plan to absorb that cost as a gift to them and it’ll save his Dad almost $300/month! (Don’t ask me why he’s been willingly spending that much when he can’t afford it – ugh). Also, this military plan provides free Netflix (2-screen option). We already had Netflix so now we’re saving on that monthly cost as well!

    2) Thanks to my amazing local discount grocery store, will only spend just over $200 this month for groceries for our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids). I only do a “big shop” once a month – I hit the discount grocery for produce and whatever dairy/other items they. Then the bakery outlet for bread and other related items. Finally, the military commissary to fill in the gaps and get our usual staples. This, combined with Ibotta and using coupons when possible, has really whittled our bill. We’re lucky that we only live about 15 minutes from a base. I then hit Albertsons and Kroger throughout the month as needed to take advantage of freebies and clearance dairy (I pretty much only buy marked down milk from Albertsons). Also, sometimes they have awesome cereal deals.

    3) October is my birthday month and some of my freebies became available as of Oct 1 (the others typically are only good the week of or day of my birthday). I used my AMC birthday freebie of a free large popcorn and drink to treat my family to the movies this weekend. We ordered a 2nd large drink but they chose not to charge us (I asked). Plus, we get unlimited free refills and since my husband and kids can put away some popcorn, this came in handy. I paid for the tickets ($5 each anytime because we’re military) online using my AMC gift card I earned redeeming points, so the entire outing was free (I save up all my points from all outlets all year and then redeem them at the end of the year for gift cards for fun things like AMC, Dominoes, etc, so we can enjoy some free splurges throughout the year0. We don’t go to the theater very often, so it’s a treat. I also redeemed my CVS bday freebie for a free bottle of nail polish, and my Dairy Queen BOGO Blizzard bday coupon. I ordered 2 mini sizes (1 for each kid), so it was under $3 out of pocket and the perfect amount, so none was wasted.

    4) I follow our base MWR on Facebook so I learn about fun, free family events and take advantage when possible. This past weekend, I signed both kids up for a free basketball clinic given by a nearby university’s basketball team. They had over an hour of basketball and received free t-shirts, autographs, and tickets to the university’s military appreciation game in January. This upcoming weekend I’m taking them to a free “Alice in Wonderland” tea party on base.

    5) My husband volunteered with the Knights of Columbus at church this past Sunday and they invited the kids and I to join them for a free fajitas lunch they had for the volunteers after Mass. We were hungry and the food was delicious!

    6) My son got invited to a last minute birthday party. I keep a large stash of age-appropriate gifts purchased at major clearance on hand, so I grabbed a gift from the stash and wrapped it using items from my gift bag/tissue paper stash.

    7) I continue to read books from the library and listen to free podcasts.

    8) This post is getting long…sorry! Last one….my husband and I are going overseas next week for an amazing trip to celebrate our 10 yr wedding anniversary. While this trip is decidedly NOT frugal, it has already been paid in cash and is totally worth it. My Mom is coming from out of state to watch the kids for us for 10 days. Obviously way cheaper than a sitter! Also, saw a notice from USAA that their credit cards do not charge a foreign transaction fee, so we’ll be sure to use that card rather than the one we usually use to save in that area.

    Thanks for your patience in reading my novel! 🙂

  101. We actually had to sign a form stating that we would pay for damages if they occurred. I guess kids have actually gotten so frustrated that they have thrown the dolls or otherwise damaged them, and they are very expensive. It was also explained that we could decline this offer, but then there were dire warnings of how this would negatively affect the student’s grade, and so on. I wasn’t planning on having it the same weekend as the cousins or the cold/flu. It was realistic enough to make you think it was alive for a split second, but you quickly could tell it wasn’t. It made cooing noises, burning noises, occasionally it would “breathe,” it would cry softly and then louder if not attended to, and it kept track of every time it was “fed” and otherwise taken care of, including how long it was held and if it was too hot or cold. I guess daughter was marked down a little because she had it wrapped up in blankets near my roaring, “I’m sick” fire–guess it got too hot that day:). Cause, I’ll tell you, that fire was blazing–it felt good to me:)

  102. Mandy, I have wondered where you have been!!! I have always enjoyed reading your money saving things you do. Could you tell me how you cook the chicken in the crock pot? Do you also cook it again to make broth or does it sort of do it all at once? I am sort of late to the whole cooking a whole chicken game and need some ideas.

  103. She lives in Victoria….South Gippsland. It’s beautiful there, lots of green rolling hills and about 1 1/2 hours from the Mornington Peninsula. We’ll camp on the foreshore there for two weeks in January….I love it. (Most especially I love a 5 year old Aussie-American boy!) This year I will stay through the Easter school holidays so I get to spend a good long time with him.

  104. Hi signerjack and we blanch and freeze our silver beet leaves and put them in meal sized portions in the freezer that way we can just pull out meal sized portions each time we cook. Our weather can get really hot here in summer and our silver beet bolts so we tend to put a supply away so we have some silver beet all year round.

    Here is a link to how to blanch and freeze silver beet or Swiss chard and a lot of other vegetables too, just scroll down 3/4’s of the way down the page for freezing instructions and click on the vegetable you want to blanch or freeze –

    This is a good way also if you find cheap vegetables in the shops on sale you can freeze them to last all year round.

    Hope this helps.

  105. From equinox to equinox, I heat up a cup of water for free every night. I use a small stainless steel pot on stovetop. When hubby’s cup is heated, I turn off stove, pour into mug, add another cup of water into pot and use residual heat of pot and electrical coils. In three minutes, I get to enjoy my cup. I don’t microwave my water anymore after seeing pictures of sickly looking molecules of water after nuking.

    I made Christmas cards using last year’s received cards. I made a list of each card, describing each so I don’t return cards to original owner. I saved large pieces of paper to make customized envelopes for each card As a bonus, I also cut out pretty border patterns to make some recipe cards. With the money saved each year, I buy a bag of groceries for hungry folks to enjoy a holiday meal.

    I used muted,floral- printed scrapbook paper to make memorial contributuin envelopes. I write condolence messages on the envelopes, and seal the back with a “thinking of you” sticker, and also an address label in case they feel the need to acknowledge.

    My neighbor one street away gave me a brand new pack of queen sized flannel sheets because she was moving and was decluttering. I will think of her as I keep warm in them this winter!

    Safety and good health to everyone here!

  106. Brandy thankyou for your inspiring ideas & insight & compassion. Wishing your recovery from skin cancer is speedy. Rhonda from Down to Earth blog introduced me to your wonderful blog. I’m from the Sunshine Coast Qeensland Australia & love hearing comnents from your global community. We’ve had crazy storms here & more to come. However my thoughts & prayers are with people in the areas about to be impacted by Hurricanes in US.
    My family have just left Orlando after a wonderful. Holiday & are in Nevado now I believe. Look forward to catching up when they return to Brisbane ( Australia ).
    Thankyou for a wobderful blog community.

  107. I also live in Illinois, north central, in Sycamore…where life offers more as the slogan says. I was busy harvesting bell peppers, chopping and freezing them today. I also cut m y parsley and filled a HIGE bag with it, which I will clean, chop and freeze tomorrow. Pulled the last of the tomatoes toss y as well. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, but on Thursday I will be harvesting all the hot peppers for canning, and clip all the herbs. It is going to be 29 degrees F Thursday night, so all will freeze. That is the last of the garden. I am putting extras up for my newlywed daughter who lives in Kelowna, Canada, and now has four children to feed on a very tight budget.

  108. Hi, Ann,

    I am north of Edmonton, somewhere between Athabasca and Lac La Biche. Two stores I went to were Buy-Low, a Jimmy Pattison chain, but my main shop was at the local Co-op and the ham and eggs were on sale at an Independent. I just watch the flyers each week, and buy what I can of things that I have the money for. I recently started to buy a monthly shop at the Coop which has at least 10% off on the first Tuesday of the month, as well as their sales.

    I don’t mind the advice at all. It is very nice to hear from someone who is giving these things some thought.

  109. I’m not Mandy- but here’s my method. I skin the chicken, and trim off any large pieces of visible fat. Then put it in an 8 quart crock pot, cover with water, and add some chopped onion, salt, pepper, and a couple of bay leaves. Then cook on low. I often do this at night, it cooks overnight and leaves my crock pot free during the day for dinner. I dump the entire pot into a strainer with a large pot under it, and pick out the bones, tendons, bits of fat, and the bay leaves from the meat. I let the pot of broth cool, and skim any remaining fat off the top. You can either refrigerate both the meat and the stock, and use them in your favorite recipes, can them together, or can them separately. If I plan on canning, I pull out a separate crock pot and do 2 large chickens. The cooked chicken makes easy work of casseroles, enchiladas, chicken salad. The broth can be used to cook rice or noodles in, as a base for gravy, or stock for soups- using chicken broth along with tomato juice in minestrone gives it a nice “meaty” flavor with no meat.

  110. Margaret, I’m in SW Ohio. We are bordered by Indiana to the west, and Kentucky to the south. The area is often called the “greater tri cities”, a large triangle formed by Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus ( all of which are between 60-90 miles apart). There is a mixture of the cities, medium and small towns, suburbs, and rural areas. One of our biggest “claims to fame” is that Dayton is home to the National Air Force Museum, which has replicas of the Spirit of St. Louis, the restored original “Memphis Belle” from WWII, and a discontinued Air Force 1. The home towns of both Neil Armstrong and John Glenn, 2 of the astronauts from the first moon landing, are in the area.

  111. Happy Anniversary, Libby! Thank you for sharing your blessings wisdom with us.
    Wishing you many more, (both blessings and anniversaries!).

  112. Mable, read Becky’s last paragraph again and commit it to memory! Gifts, freely given, are not meant to be reciprocated. Don’t worry that you have no way to repay her. Don’t you see she is trying to repay you for saving her as a child?

  113. Hi,
    I live in San Jose, California on the west coast of the USA. Our area is often called Silicon Valley, which is a good thing because my husband is an engineer in the Biotech Industry. Living in the here means we are less than an hour from the beach, an hour from the beautiful redwoods, an hour from the mountains, and an hour from San Francisco. The downside is the most expensive cost of living in the US, hence the need for extreme frugality when living on one income. I am a California Girl for generations and love it here, but sometimes the cost & the politics are a little nutty. :p

  114. I have thought for a few days now that I would leave a post and just cannot find the words. The season is heavy in my life right now and the losses are many. My emotional burden is extreme and honestly it feels like more than I can carry. The many posts that share encouragement amongst yourself touches my heart so deeply. Marivene always had kind words. 4 losses in one week is just too much. The hurricane rains beat down on me but in a few days the sun will shine. Meanwhile, I will snuggle with Kitty, puppy and maybe college girl. Have a good week dear friends. My only frugalness is saving my sanity this week.

  115. Maxine, best wishes to your DD and DH during their recovery to good health. Regarding the RXes in the “donut hole” have you tried contacting the manufacturers of those medications? Perhaps they may be able to assist you with their costs.

  116. Sounds fantastic!! I live in Melbourne, not to far from there and it is very green and beautiful, and produces great cheese. 🙂

  117. Hi Margaret. I’ve decided to chime in on this question, as I’ve quite enjoyed reading everybody’s comments so far. I live in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, which is about 2 hours North East of Toronto and about 4 hours West of Ottawa. Our area is the Kawartha region, also refered to as “Cottage Country”. There are numerous lakes and rivers in this area…we even have a lake in the middle of our downtown city core! Our biggest claim to fame? Peterborough boasts the largest liftlock in the world, which is part of the Trent Severn Waterway ( Here is a video link for you to watch it in action: Hope you enjoy the armchair tour. Would you be willing to post some info about where you live? I’m sure everyone would enjoy an armchair visit to Australia too!

  118. How do you sign up for/ get the free OTC items at the base? Is there a program name I need to know or sign up for?

  119. Hi, Margaret
    I live in rural northeast Ohio. Our home is in the midst of a large Amish community, for which I’m thankful. There are many children running around the neighborhood, and all of the folks near us are hard-working, productive, and industrious – many with an entrepreneurial spirit, which is inspiring to me. One other characteristic of our area is lake effect snow (Lake Erie). We average 100 inches of snow annually, so we keep our 4-wheeler with plow in good shape.

  120. Lillianna my heart goes out to you. Your trials seem so overwhelming at times. Do the best that you can to take care of yourself and then “let go and let God”.

  121. You really and truly don’t need to re-pay your sister with anything other than a simple and genuine thank you. She just wants to make sure that you have what you need without any unnecessary pain. I am sure that your husband just needs to hear that you believe it is important that he is doing work that he loves, and that you know the two of you will have what you need. Maybe you and your husband can set some money aside that would have going to the furnace for future expenses.

    A friend of mine always felt badly that her brother would take her someplace expensive at Christmas using airline points he earned through his work, but I know that he loved going someplace that was a real treat for her. He also genuinely loved the homemade presents she sewed for him. It made him know someone important to him cared about him.

  122. I just placed an order for several packs of softies 🙂 I want to put them in everyone’s stocking for Christmas. I have adult kids and teens and it is so difficult to figure out what to give them, but my husband always has a handkerchief in his suit pocket at church and I always have one in my bag, and these look even better because they are soft. Thank you.

  123. Mrs. Brown’s Boys is a British show – the main character is the “mom” but she is played by a male comedian who is the creator of the show. It is actually very funny – it is filmed in front of a live audience and you often see them crack each other up and have to redo lines. It might be on Youtube if you want to check.

  124. A big part of organizing is doing things the way that work for you personally. I grew up in a house where the forks, knives, and big spoons were in the long spaces on the silverware divider, and the teaspoons were in the short horizontal space. (I am guessing this is standard silverware-organizer-style). However, I am least likely to use the big spoons, so I put the little teaspoons in the long slot next to the forks and knives, and store the bigger serving/soup spoons in the short space, which I put toward the back of the drawer, not the front. If the drawer isn’t pulled open as far to reach what is needed, fewer crumbs fall into it.
    If you follow. The point is to do things as work best for you!
    My favorite bargain this week was grapefruit in the store’s clearance produce section, three for a dollar.

  125. Greetings, Margaret!
    I live in a small town in the upper peninsula of Michigan. (Munising) We have about 2200 full time residents which expands with tourist season. We’re home to the Pictured Rocks, cliffs along Lake Superior. It’s very beautiful here! We average about 200 inches of snow. We had our first snowfall of the season last week. Lake Superior is about three blocks from my home.
    I’m not a fan of flying either. Although, if money were no object, I would gladly hop on a plane and travel the world!

  126. Haven’t commented in a while because nothing about September felt frugal! October is off to a better start!
    – ordered carnation instant breakfast to beef up our kids breakfast drinks and smoothies. They’re both so skinny! And when it arrived with one of the 3 packages exploded, I called to return it. I got a full refund and they said to destroy or use what was left!
    – used an Amazon GC to buy some nursing tanks. 3 weeks til baby and I’m trying to mentally get ready for the newborn period again. I don’t do well with it! I like my sleep 🙂
    – made meals at home
    – continued to use cloth diapers
    – continued to exercise. Trying to stay strong until delivery!
    – took out books from the library and renewed books online
    – my little brother got engaged! I bought them a little engagement collection (frames, nail polish for her to show off the ring, a to do list pad) to say congrats. Not super frugal but fun to do for them!
    – trying really hard to be organized and tidy. I’ve been watching some home improvement shows while I exercise and I swear half the people who move to bigger houses just need to be more organized!
    – drank lots of water instead of other drinks
    – did our monthly budget!

  127. I will certainly post it. I’m hoping to get a good picture of her wearing it on the day of the dance she is going to on the 20th.

    I finished last night at around midnight. I had to stay up for the last 2 nights to get it done, but it’s done, fits, the seams match where the zipper connects the bodice and skirt (had to rip out 3 times), and I’ve done my first invisible zipper! I certainly don’t have the zipper foot that was shown on the package or in the instructions and I wonder if I did it correctly. I still do not fully understand what was supposed to happen on the bottom, but I hand-sewed the tiny little bit shut, tacked it well so it would not go down any farther and it looks fine, and works, so I’m relieved. I told myself if I could just get the dress and some end-of-the season canning done, I could say “yes” to my sweet nephew who really, really wants to go camping and has been asking and asking. He has no school Friday, and Patsy has none either Thursday or Friday, so now’s the time. Plus, it’s sunny! So, we are off tomorrow even though we can’t leave until late in the day.

  128. The show is like a cross between “Mrs Doubtfire” and “Mr Bean”…”British” humour at it’s best! I believe it is an Irish product, but not positive. I will warn there is language that may be offensive to some and most topics are usually adult in nature. Somehow the accent seems to lessen the blow of the offensive language (almost makes it cute sounding), sometimes it is bleeped, but none-the-less it’s there.

    One of the funniest things about the show is that they don’t take out the bloopers. The main character takes pride in throwing everyone off by randomly going off script, which makes for some interesting reactions (very Robin Williams type comedy). Sometimes the actors mess up, which results in a lot of humour. Sometimes the camera men make a blunder which warrants a hysterical reaction from the comedian. But they leave it all in the show!

    An interesting note, the “mom” and the adult daughter in the show are actually husband and wife in real life. The show is no longer in production, but you may be able to find some of the episodes on-line, Netflix or other streaming sites. There is also a spinoff called “All around to Mrs Brown’s” if you enjoy the comedy of the original show.

  129. I know that expenses are tight for you, but I have a suggestion of how to thank your sister for her kind gesture. If you put aside some money, perhaps you could plan a special “sister weekend” somewhere (maybe as a Christmas or birthday gift). You could rent an inexpensive cottage with a kitchen for a weekend. This way, you could bring food with you, which is not only cheaper, but making the meals together can be part of the experience. She may have lots of money and everything she may ever need. However, I think spending some special one on one time with her sister is someting money just can’t buy. If a weekend is just too much, perhaps buying inexpensive tickets to see a show and spent an evening together would be a great alternative. Either way, the point is to carve out special time for just the two of you as a way of saying thank you.

  130. I’m so sorry that life is getting a little too overwhelming at the moment, Lillianna. You’ve gone through a lot. It’s OK to take a moment and allow yourself to breath. You are a very strong, resilient woman. I have no doubt you will work through these trials in time. Please know that we are here for you if there is any way we can help support you. Sending hugs from a Canada in the intrim.

  131. Hi Margaret in Sydney, I live in very rural South Central Alabama, about thirty miles from Selma, Alabama. The cost of living is very low here, but the wages are very low as well. Folks in other parts of the world are shocked I could buy a 1950, 912 sq ft well built house for $25,000 USD. It needed a new (metal) roof, which I paid $2,000 USD to have installed. I can get, quite often, chicken (dark meat) for between 39 and 59 cents a lb. However, we have a rather high sales tax on food. There is good and bad wherever you live. As Brandy says, bloom where you are planted…at the moment, I am tired of the “blooming” fleas and insects….lol. As far as what I did this week that was frugal, it was keeping off the air conditioner because it only hit 90 a couple of days. It is supposed to turn cooler…yay! Otherwise, I have been running the roads, dealing with sick kids, so my car gas bill has been high. Gas is about $2.59 a gallon here, at the moment, but it seems to vary a lot.

  132. It is wonderful that you help your sister with her daughter that has autism. I have 3 kids and my oldest son has autism. I know how difficult it can be and finding childcare is challenging. Bravo to you for being a good support system for them and helping them have some time away with their other daughter.

  133. Cindy, are you having any difficulty in your area due to the hurricane? I was curious and looked Selma, Alabama up on a map. It looks like you may have been in direct line for it, but perhaps it curved and missed your area.

  134. Sounds wonderful, Deb! Depending on the layout of your home and how well it is insulated, you might be able to turn the heat down considerably lower than that, especially if your son can check in on things for you while your grandson mows the lawn. We turn our heat down to 50 F when we’re gone in the winter.

  135. If your car makes the noise again, you could try to record it with your phone (if you have one). It would be better than trying to explain a sound to the mechanic!

  136. I went to the rock garden society where I paid $1 for a raffle ticket and won a box of several big home-grown heritage tomatoes. I am going to save the seeds to plant next year. For a quarter, I bought a packet of penstemon seeds and a friend gave me some allium seeds. The snow has melted in one spot in the scree garden so I am going to sow the seed there tomorrow. A friend stopped by and gave me some lovely homemade turkey soup and also some tomato sauce made from a tomato plant I gave her. Both are delicious. We are going to celebrate Thanksgiving with a dinner this weekend. I’m contributing the ham and an apple pie made by church ladies and my friend is making scalloped potatoes and veggies.
    I hope to have lots of leftovers.

  137. Lillianna –

    I am so sorry to hear all that you are going thru. I pray things will be better for you soon.


  138. Sounds like a lovely dinner to look forward to this weekend. All you gardeners amaze me – I’m such a city girl – my poor dad (who was a terrific gardener) despaired of me not knowing a weed from a wanted plant! My friends go to a seed exchange at High Park every Spring – it’s a great way for people to keep certain varieties going. Good luck with it all.

  139. I live in Indiana about 20 miles south of Chicago at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. We are officially experiencing fall temperatures. Today it is in the 40’s Fahrenheit.

  140. My frugal accomplishment this week is researching and making a list off of stores, restaurants, optical shops etc. that offer a senior discount. I am going to get very serious about try to make purchases only at stores that give senior discounts. I am also retired military, so I also try to do business with retailers and restaurants who offer the military discounts. The savings are anywhere from 5% – 20%, and they really do add up over the year. We are frugal as is, but armed with this list, we can stretch our discretionary income even further when shopping for birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, or when we want to eat out for a special reason. In pulling this information together, I learned alot! I had no idea that Papa Johns offered a 25% discount for online orders for seniors, or that
    1-800 FLOWERS gives a 20% senior discount just by entering a code. The hard part is keeping up with which store has discounts on which days, but I am delighted to be over 55 and have an additional way to find extra savings. Don’t expect the clerk to ask if you have a senior discount, one must be pro-active and request it.

  141. Brandy I hope you continue to mend from having the skin cancer removed. Your blog has been a constant encouragement in my life. I hope you continue to share your ways and methods even while recovering from your procedure and raising your busy family.

    We have focused our frugal ways on maximizing some of the things we already pay for, like Amazon Prime. Our oldest son is away at college and uses our Amazon Prime login/password so he can stream the NFL Thursday night football games for free. It’s only the Thursday night NFL games on Amazon Prime for free, but it’s a nice treat for our son. I accepted a “trial” on Prime of their audiobooks (Audible) for thirty days and received a free book to listen to. At the end of the thirty days I went to cancel the membership because it would have been $14.95/mo. They offered a “don’t leave us” for $7.50/mo for a three month period and I accepted that (and marked my calendar to cancel the extended trial). My husband use Prime often for date night at home. We find many shows to watch.

    My husband made our laundry soap. We have used your recipe for probably ten years now and never had a problem with our septic system and saved hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in laundry soap costs for our family of 6.

    We cut our youngest boy’s hair at home. He has Down syndrome and is 11 years old now and really doesn’t like getting his haircut at a Great Clips or otherwise, so we cut his hair at home and he is much more comfortable. The investment cost in our home haircutting set paid for itself in two haircuts.

    We continue to pack lunches from home and all snacks. My husband and I both work outside of the home and we pack our own lunches plus we pack our kids school lunches (hot lunches at school here are $3.75). Our oldest daughter graduated from college recently and is heading out of town to a conference and she texted me that she packed all of her meals in a little cooler so she wouldn’t need to spend a lot of money while on the road. Nice to know our frugal ways are instilled in the next generation!

    Used Overdrive to listen to books while on walks and at work. I often find books readily available on Overdrive. I really enjoyed your recommendation of the Dahlia books! I mended a number of our smaller kids clothes and our daughter had brought home items for me to mend also.

  142. Hello! I live in western Wyoming but I spend the school year in upstate (central) NY teaching (three more school years) while my son goes to college. I’ve put a small cabin on some land I grew up on that my parents have given me. We do what we must. I spend summers and winter break back in Wyoming where my husband is.

  143. Hello! I live in western Wyoming but I spend the school year in upstate (central) NY teaching (three more school years) while my son goes to college. I’ve put a small cabin on some land I grew up on that my parents have given me. We do what we must. I spend summers and winter break back in Wyoming where my husband is.

  144. Hi Margaret- I live in Delaware. We are about 30 miles from Philadelphia and 60 miles from Baltimore. New York City is about 90 minutes north and Washington D.C. is about 2 hours south. Delaware is a small state but there are many places to go in many different directions. It’s nice to have a short drive to so many places but the traffic can be quite congested in this region with people commuting in every direction.

  145. Tiffany, I am sorry to hear about your uncle and grandfather. What a blessing you are able to be there for them.

  146. Margaret, have you ever read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? We live straight east of where LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS took place. We’re lots of farms, forests, small towns, hills, lakes and rivers. There are many Amish communities so horses and buggies are common. We get a lot of snow. We live on my family farm and it’s now 151 years old. I have sooo many relatives all in the area.

  147. Hi Margie,

    I stayed overnight at my friend’s so we could work on a scholarship application online this morning. While we worked “dinner” was in the oven. The ham which I contributed was wonderful –– maple flavoured birch smoked ham which is available only at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving so it is a rare treat. I will have at least twenty meals out of it. And I left several slices for my friend as leftovers. My friend contributed Brussels sprouts, microwave scalloped potatoes which are great, and yams in an orange sauce. My friend who was supposed to bring the pies I bought forgot to bring them so we didn’t have pie for dessert but we’ll have tea and pie one day soon. I picked up some green split peas so I can make soup from the ham bone. I didn’t eat much at dinner as I don’t feel well. We are hoping all the snow melts as the temperature is warming. My friend gave me three loaves of peanut-free bread which I put in the freezer and I picked up 5 pounds of apples at 99 cents per pound.

  148. Culver’s restaurant helps raise money for FFA groups (Future Farmers of America). Signing up for emails gets you coupons and free birthday ice cream. I always think of it as local and forget it’s all over the country now.

  149. I live in Minnesota. It is in the Midwest and borders Canada to the north. I live just outside Minneapolis. We are the land of 10,000 lakes and what many call “God’s country” because of the beautiful scenery. My son is dating a girl he met at summer camp in California who is from Austrailia! They were both camp counselors out there.

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