Thanksgiving Centerpiece The Prudent Homemaker

Now that the site is back up, I can rewrite this post.

Please note that the site will possibly be down again Thursday and Friday, and possibly a little longer. Alternately, it may be up, but as of Thursday, your comments will disappear into cyberspace. If you have a recipe to make this week, please print it today! Hopefully, all will be running smoothly by early next week. 

Thanksgiving Spread The Prudent Homemaker

We celebrated Thanksgiving at home, using squash and pumpkin from the garden and acorn squash and white pumpkins from the store on a homemade table runner. I cooked my free turkey and made the meal using items purchased on sale. We’re still eating turkey, enjoying it several different ways.

We saved several hundred dollars by shopping online Black Friday sales for some needed items. I went through Ebates for an additional 10% cash back at two sites, I purchased both Doorbusters (super-low-priced sales on items) and also used 50% off plus an additional 10% coupon codes at one site in addition to the 10% cash back.

At Sam’s Club, I purchased chocolate chips in the bulk 5-pound bags as they were on sale. I love stocking up when the lowest prices go even lower! The limit was 3, so I bought 3.

Pecan Pie The Prudent Homemaker

My husband and my youngest daughter have been wanting to take piano lessons. My eldest daughter has started teaching both of them.

In the garden, I planted seeds for snow peas.

Pomegranates on Tree The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested pomegranates, the first Meyer lemon of the season, Swiss chard, rosemary, and basil from the garden.

I have been wanting a security screen door for our side door to the garage. I don’t want it for security reasons–I just want to keep out the cats that wander around the neighborhood. I go out to the garage multiple times a day to the extra fridge, upright freezer, and my pantry out there, as well as to the trash cans and recycling bins just outside the garage door. I have to turn on the light for the pantry, but not for the fridge or going to the trash. Most of the year, the weather is nice enough to leave the side door open for light and some fresh air. The problem is, the neighbor’s cats have decided to hang out in our garage, and they’ve left presents. In addition, this past summer, wasps made nests in the garage three times. In past years, neither of these things have been a problem. Having a screen door will help, but they are around $179. Our neighbor was getting rid of one and put a free sign on his when he put it out for the trash. We brought it home and my husband will install it.

Pumpkin Pie The Prudent Homemaker


What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. Isn’t it something how things appear when we need them? How wonderful you were able to get the security screen door. I wouldn’t much care for cat presents either! I made a pumpkin pie with some of our cheese wheel squash. We love it for breakfast too! One of the seasonal pleasures, I think. I’m hoping to find chestnuts tomorrow. They may not be frugal, but another short-lived seasonal pleasure for me, and one that brings fond memories of my Mom. I hope your website challenges are fixed easily, quickly and smoothly.

  2. Your pies look delicious, and great news on the free door!

    I feel like my frugal accomplishments this week were a little spendy, but I tried to make them as frugal as possible:
    – Blackberries were on sale this week for just under a dollar for a clamshell (an unheard of price), so I had my DH pick up many, as his mother was told by her doctor to eat a lot of them. We have about 3 large freezer bags full now, enough for lots of healthy smoothies for his mum!
    – Beets were also on sale, so I’ll be making several batches of my Easy Mennonite Pickled Beets ( I have no room in my fridge, so I’ll have to can them. I’m hoping I can find the time to do that despite a fussy newborn.
    – I ordered laser-cut looking religious-themed bonbonniere boxes online, 50 (with ribbons) for only just over $10, incl. shipping. I plan to fill them with candy bought in bulk, for my daughter’s baptism in the new year. I will use labels previously given to me by my parents when they had a garage sale one year, to make nicely labelled tags. So the total OOP should be only about $25 or less, especially if I can buy the bulk candy on sale and with a coupon. I plan to use some to give out on the day of, and the rest will be sent back to South America with my MIL (she’s here for a visit), to be handed out to relatives there.
    – I redeemed Pinecone Research points for $15 to my Paypal account. I was able to make a small donation to a friend’s fundraiser using my paypal monies, which was nice to be able to do without being OOP.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread (made with eggs I got for free by trading in digital currency from the same app) for a coupon giving me $15 off $40 to a chain restaurant. I plan to take my MIL there for a nice meal at some point during her visit. I baked an extra loaf at the same time for my DH and I to eat, and froze most of it for future snacks. I also traded some tea that was gifted to me, for some paints. I plan to use these paints to add to an existing painting that I have that represents my husband and I, so that my new baby will be represented too. Using the app, I was able to connect with someone preparing for a 6-person refugee family to arrive, so I gave them the 4 kg jug of shampoo I had traded for previously. An easy way to donate and feel good without spending out of pocket!
    – My husband bought my MIL a phone and “magic jack” thingy to give to her for Christmas. This means she will be able to call us from South America and have it charged as a local call, and we can call her from Canada, and only pay for a local call (and we have unlimited local calls with our phone plans). In the long run this will save us money, as we won’t be using calling cards to call her (and my husband talks to her very often).
    – I ordered a custom ornament for my DH for Christmas, using a free code from Shutterfly. I did have to pay shipping, but for a custom ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ ornament, that has a picture of her on the front, and my husband’s favourite photo of him and her on the back, I think it was a good deal, especially as I won’t be spending too much more on his Christmas present (I hope to use Swagbucks to give him an Amazon gc as well). We’re having a more modest Christmas this year.
    – I was able to buy 6 high quality cookbooks (Canadian Living) from the Dollar Store for $3.50 each. I will be giving one to each of my friends in the Cookbook Supperclub that I run, and one to either my mom or my sister (haven’t decided which yet) for Christmas. It would normally retail for $26.95 each, so I got a very good deal
    – Using a promo code from StickerMule, I was able to get customized 10 die-cut stickers for $1 US, shipping included. I’m not sure if the promo is still in effect, but you can try it out here: I plan to use it to decorate packages, but I think it would be great for a customized stocking stuffer, especially for a kid. You could even make stickers of your kid’s artwork to decorate packages for their grandparents or so. Or just stickers of your kid’s face or your fave pet or so!
    – I finally used the boba wrap (actually a less expensive equivalent) that a friend of mine had sent me (and that a friend had sent her. I’m the third mom to use the baby-carrying wrap!). It’s saved me having to buy a hands-free baby-carrying device, as my wrists were getting sore from carrying my baby, but she needs to be carried a lot to help her with her sore/gassy stomach. It’s so helpful! Even if I only use it two hours a day, it means I can actually get something done during that time! I googled how to use the wrap and experimented with different wrap styles until I found one that worked for my baby and I.
    – I had purchased a groupon last Christmas to give to my husband, but the vendor wasn’t responsive. I finally contacted groupon and they gave me a refund. I applied the credit (plus $11) to purchase a studio photography session pkg for my newborn. We will be giving some of the photos to my family as gifts for Christmas.
    – I got 2 free 5×7 and an 8×10 enlargement for free using two promo codes for Walmart Photocentre. I’ll have my mother pick them up, as she passes the store on her way to work. We’ll be using some of these as gifts as well.
    – I contacted a food delivery company to address an issue, and they gave me 50% off my next order, plus a plate credit. So for $13.95, I was able to order enough food to cover two dinners for my husband, MIL, and I (I’ll stretch the two serving dinners into three servings). As a one-off, it’s an affordable treat, and saves me time, which is helpful with a new baby. I did have to follow up several times regarding the issue, but it was worth the time spent emailing.
    – My husband’s colleagues gave us several hampers of kids clothing, that had been passed from one colleague to another for their kid (and more added on). As a thank you, I baked chocolate chip cookies, and wrapped them up in leftover cellophane bags from my baby shower. I didn’t have any eggs, so I used an eggless recipe. The cookies were much appreciated! I haven’t had a chance to go through the clothing yet, but anything that I can’t use will be donated to charity.

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning from everyone as usual!

  3. I didn’t necessarily save any money this week and spent more than I usually do, but spent it wisely. Every year around the holidays I always
    want to pay it forward. This was the year to do it! I was able to
    Purchase toiletries on Amazon for rock bottom to make bags to drop off at a local women’s shelter. I was assemble 42 gallon zip loc bags to donate!

  4. – We were blessed to spend Thanksgiving at home, and I made stuffing for the first time, as well as gluten-free pumpkin pie. My husband loved both!
    – We gladly ate beef on Thanksgiving since we did not want to purchase a huge turkey.
    – We had family for lunch, and I used what I had to make burrito bowls.
    – I used Evite to send out invitations for an upcoming event and saved postage.
    – I was blessed with two sales so far this week.
    – We are opening blinds in the morning to help warm up the house. Apparently sunlight also helps to kill bacteria (makes sense since the sun bleaches clothes on the clothesline).
    – We are lowering our electric bill by being more conscious of how many lights we have on at once.
    – We were blessed to receive two gift cards from my husband’s employer.

  5. I hope everyone had a lovely Thansgiving. Sugar cookie attended dinner with friends. She contributed several packs of Chinet type plates with matching napkins. I purchased these earlier in the year for a dime a piece with this occasion in mind. Shopping for any specials was just not possible this year. I did manage to snag the Hulu special for 99 cents a month for a year. My bank balance is down to $1.87 now All bills and taxes are paid so I am grateful. I received a phone call from my soldier boy. He instantly repayed me the money I had used to purchase his holiday plane ticket. I am so impressed that a simple click of a button could instantly deliver the funds. I then used that money to pay a bill later than normal but before I incurred a late fee. I also received two letters and had seen him in a live feed from the mess hall on Thanksgiving day. Tonight is the first time we have had our heat on. We are spending quiet days at home and holding out for better times.

  6. Brandy what a beautiful table display and the autumn fall colours in the garden are divine 🙂 . I am glad you were able to take advantage of the Black Friday sales to get lots of needed items for your family at rock bottom prices. In regards to the screen door Heavenly Father does provide for us when we least expect it and often through others blessing us.

    Our savings added up to $175.29 last week :).

    Finances –
    – Listed 10 items on eBay saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases –
    – Purchased 6 months worth of prescription dental dry cat food saving $40.68 on buying it at the local veterinary clinic.
    – Using items already on special and coupling them with a $10 off voucher on eBay I purchased 2 x ankle, 2 wrist and 6 knee supports for $1.32 saving $10.
    – Purchased 2 x 3 x 3.6m heavy duty trailer tarps already on special and couple that with a 20% off voucher on Ebay saving another $71.60 over usual prices in the local hardware stores.

    House organisation –
    – Moved 2 loads of firewood to the farm.
    – Packed another kitchen pantry into labelled boxes.
    – Had a friend come over to load our manure into the trailer with his tractor free of charge saving us around $22.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked a double batch of coconut queen biscuits saving $14.51 over purchasing the equivalent quality in the supermarket.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).


  7. So happy to have my adult children (and one spouse) home. I gathered many ideas for Christmas presents-mainly things that they need.
    I taught my daughter-in-law how to sew pajama pants, I’m so happy she wants to learn! She has done some more sewing of gift items since they got home.
    Harvested pomegranates, kale, and Meyer lemons.
    My younger daughter picked up her birthday freebies at several stores. She was born 2 days before Thanksgiving, her 1st birthday and her 18th birthday both fell on Thanksgiving Day. That was very special.
    Attended several medical appointments, since I’ve met my out of pocket maximum for the year.
    We had rain, so we got to skip watering all the fruit trees.

  8. My major savings came from grocery deals this week. Suffice it to say that my pantry is filling up!

    The biggie is that I used every bit of the turkey. My free turkey from Winco weighed 23 lbs. and we had 3 guests for dinner, total of 6 people. I sent home leftovers. Then I deboned what was left of the turkey and froze 10 two-cup bags, also a pan of leftover stuffing with sliced turkey and a separate container of gravy. Then I made stock/bone broth and picked the bones. I froze three half-gallon milk cartons full of stock, plus a couple of smaller containers to use for extra gravy. We had pumpkin pie and deviled eggs for breakfast Friday, LOL. We ate the leftover mashed potatoes and yams Saturday night. We didn’t waste anything. If we didn’t eat it, I froze it. I have to admit this is not my favorite task, but it’s nice to see my new little freezer filling up.

    My freezer looks like a recycling bin inside. Although I used zip-locks for the turkey cubes, that’s the exception, not the rule. I mostly reuse produce and bread bags and I found a roll of freezer paper that is probably older than you are, Brandy! I quit using zip bags for freezing about two years ago. The leftover gravy is in a sour cream carton.

    I went thrifting the day before Thanksgiving and it was half-price day at St. Vinnie’s. I got a silk lampshade for $1.50 and a fabulous 32×50 art-deco mirror for $10 that would be worth hundred$…except for a small broken piece in one corner. I’m going to hang it with the broken piece into the corner of the wall and artfully drape garland over it….

    I also made several purchases from Amazon from this site. In case you missed it in one of the Thankful posts, I suggested that we all make our Amazon purchases through this site so that Brandy gets the commission. Our Christmas present to her! If you would like to do this, just click on any of the items in the right-hand column and it will take you right to Amazon. You can buy anything you want, not necessarily the item you clicked, and there is no additional charge. I’m sure most of us will place at least one Amazon order before the end of the year, so here’s hoping for an extra-big commission for Brandy for Christmas!

  9. I’m thankful for this community and even though I don’t post regularly, I read every comment. The day after Thanksgiving I found turkey breasts for less than three dollars each so I stocked up on four along with a large turkey for six dollars. I tried to shop as frugally as possible for Christmas gifts. I chose not to buy many things and I consider that a win! We updated our Go365 apps and added almost a thousand extra bonus points for activities. This is a program offered through our health insurance. The more active you are the more points you can redeem for gift cards. We just met our goal for the year and have earned $250.00! I added the Kroger 4x fuel points coupon to my card and will be buying the specific gift cards we still need this weekend.

  10. There were 16 of us for Thanksgiving this year which was the biggest blessing. We bought turkeys for 37 cents per pound for dinner and one in the freezer for later. My daughters and my son-in-law’s parents brought food to share for our dinner. Everyone took home leftovers. From the turkey bones I made broth and turkey noodle soup. I will also be making turkey pot pie.

    I finished my grandson’s blanket and will be giving it to him for his birthday in a couple of weeks.

    I used a coupon code on Shutterfly for the yearly calendar I make for my mom for Christmas.

    We ate all meals at home and took our lunches to work.

  11. That pie is lovely!

    Last week, I cooked a LOT, even on days I really didn’t feel like it, so that definitely counts as a win in my book. I did yoga videos for free on YouTube, made homemade Febreeze, and picked up the Free Friday Download from Mariano’s (I’ve been great at doing that lately, I’m so proud of myself!). I inherited $70 in Kohl’s cash from my family that they weren’t going to be able to use before it expired and was able to get myself some much-needed items. I knit a bunch of gifts for my daughter (still finishing one of them up), and found her an inexpensive gift that she’ll love. We had a quiet weekend, mostly staying in and watching movies that we already owned. 🙂

    Have a great week, everyone!

  12. What a busy week!
    Thanksgiving was hosted at daughter #7’s house. I gave her a 21 pound turkey from my freezer to bake and I bought and glazed a 10 pound boneless ham. I made our traditional cream cheese salad with pineapple using ingredients already in my pantry as well as deviled eggs ( courtesy of our chickens)! Our other daughters/daughters-in-law brought the other foods for the feast! Our 12 year old grandson even made 2 cheesecakes in their instant pot to supplement the pies and pumpkin bars! A delicious, abundant meal was enjoyed by the 35 of us (kids and grandkids)who were able to attend!

    Between Thanksgiving Thursday and Sunday, we hosted 2 of our out of town children and their families- 11 of them in all – 4 adults and 7 teenagers. So I was feeding 14 of us for those days! Fortunately, I had done some “investment” prepping and cooking ahead! I made instant oatmeal mix in bulk, had 19 ten inch homemade pizzas in freezer, made 6 dozen muffins, 1/2 gallon of yogurt in my instant pot, 3 large chicken pot pies, 8 dozen cookies, Texas style chili, breakfast burritos and was able to feed them all for just the cost ($12) of a 50 pack box of individual chips from Sam’s club! I considered that a success and they all seemed to enjoy the food selections !
    During this week, my business flourished as well. I thought that it would be quiet during the Thanksgiving time, but we sold 13 more bundles of flannel Softies-, 12 more Soup Cozies- and 1 more Scrappy Bag- All in all a very good week for our little business which adds to our savings and pays down our hospital bill!
    I took advantage of sales at the store on butter ($1.99/pound.
    All in all, a good week!

  13. We got the piano tuned for the first time in over a decade, to see if it will keep a tune long enough to make it worthwhile for my musician nephew to someday take his grandma’s piano to Nashville. But now that it is tuned, I am going to try learning how to play a little since I have plenty of time at home just hanging out with mom. I bought an adult teach-yourself course in a box and an old Reader’s Digest book entitled ” The Easy Way to Play 100 Unforgettable Hits.” My piano teacher sister has volunteered to give me long distance lessons via Messenger too.
    CVS had a 30% off deal on everything not otherwise on sale with free shipping. I stocked up on necessary disposables and felt very good about it–until they offered 40% off a few days later. Sigh. Maybe next year.
    I spend a lot of time in the living room keeping my mom company. I did not have a good storage table by my.recliner for my works in progress so my side of the room looked like a hoarder’s. And mom’s side was getting cluttered with medical gizmos and paperwork kept handy for nursing visits. I solved the problems by purchasing two inexpensive magazine rack end tables. I will be repurposing a hamper as my mending basket (It’ll even hold coats.) and one of my smaller wicker baskets to keep my sewing tools corralled neatly.
    We accidentally scored bigtime in the auntie and granny department. Mom had an unused Kohl’s gift card and a grandson who “needed” a present. I selected two Lego racig car sets with free shipping so mom’s present to the boy cost no more than what she would have paid to ship him a box herself. At another store, I found the third car in the series for less, also with free shipping. He got it yesterday and asked his mother, “How did they know I wanted Lego cars so I could make a racing movie?” He was thrilled. I knew nothing about the movie but went for reasonably priced kits that I assumed a boy who is not yet a teenager would like. My big brother had gone through a phase where he had fun building model cars.
    I also took advantage of the super sales to get some warm winter loungewear for mom and me. Optimistic about mom’s recovery, I also ordered two new sundresses for mom to wear in the spring. They were cheaper by about half than what the fabric would cost with a 50% off coupon at Joann’s.
    I also splurged by ordering a food tray from Figis via when it was half off with free shipping. To help brighten up winter days, I also ordered, for half price, three boxes of.Florida citrus from a farm to be delivered once per month. By the time we finish the last box, we should be seeing crocus.
    I intend to be better prepared to stock up on supplies the same time next year. Some of the sales were amazing.

  14. I am so glad you got your website back online and are able to warn us about the scheduled maintenance/upgrade at the end of this week.

  15. I cut my hair. I painted my fingernails. I cooked a huge pumpkin I got for a dollar after Halloween and made a pumpkin custard, and roasted the seeds. I also made pumpkin soup. I made a turkey leftover casserole using “interesting” ingredients and it actually tasted good (I added an avocado that needed to be used because I figured that folks put avocado on turkey sandwiches, it should work in a stir fry casserole and it did….lol). I left the cornbread dressing, as well as the other leftovers, with my sons and they are enjoying them. I made a strata with leftover bread, turkey, greens, etc and I am eating that for lunch today. I made tomato soup using a 50 cent package of dried Italian seasoning/dressing I had on hand, tomato paste, leftover canned milk, and noodles and used the water from the noodles in the milk. I am also eating leftover potatoes for breakfast along with eggs. I did no Friday shopping but I did use a $5 off $25 coupon for Dollar General on Saturday, and bought things I was running low on such as alum foil. I hope to stock up again this Saturday using another $5 off $25 Dollar General coupon. I need more tomato paste (it is 50 cents a can here and of course, less with the coupon), cat food (cats keep the mice at bay, which are a terrible problem in the swampy place where I live), dog food (he is my first response for protection and to warn me if someone is trying to break in while I am sleeping), and I need to stock up on more 50 cent cans of vegetables. I also need oil, eggs, and peanut butter. I usually hit up the thrift stores the week between Christmas and New Years, when folks are making their year end donations. We tend to have really good deals that week in the thrift stores. My son is very ill again, and I am just trying to make it through the holidays without any hospitalizations or major issues. Y’all have a blessed week!

  16. Oh, I am so glad to see your website back up and running right now! I was almost in a panic Monday when I wasn’t able to find it! Frugal accomplishments:
    1. Cooked the turkey that I got on sale for .68 a pound for Thanksgiving and froze the extra to use later. I did the same thing with the ham.
    2. I cut down the number of dishes I usually make. I also cut the portions. It was just my family and my mom this year, so there was no sense in cooking enormous amounts of food that would most likely be thrown out. I kept family favorites and let the rest go.
    3. I purchased a pyrex glass pie plate on sale this year and made my own pie crust for my pecan pie with ingredients I already had stocked up and my husband informed me it was the best pecan pie I had ever made.
    4. I did go Black Friday Shopping, but we saved about 200 dollars on purchases that were necessary. I got a pair of winter boots for less than ten dollars. My husband got a pair of church shoes for 20.00. (His dress shoes are 10 years old and were in desperate need of replacing, but we held out to get a good buy. He has wide feet and wears a size 13, so shoes for him are usually pretty expensive.) I went to JCPenny’s and bought a year’s supply of undergarments in the brand that I prefer for the price of one bra. I bought a new set of microfiber sheets for my bed for under ten dollars. (We only had one set and they are starting to wear out from five years of constant use. I wash them on Saturday and put them right back on the bed as we did not have any to rotate them with. Now we do, so I should still be able to get some more use out of them.) I also got two long sleeved undershirts that I use for layering pieces for 4.99 each at Kohl’s, regularly 32.00. I was pleased with my purchases and the money I saved!
    5. We ate leftovers from Thanksgiving until Sunday. That cut down on the number of meals I had to make and saved me money on last week’s grocery run.
    6. Used my husband’s bonus to replenish our emergency fund and pay off a bill. The extra money will go toward another bill so I can get it paid off within a year! Yay!
    7. Switched my house insurance. The one I have now is 30.00 more than the first one, BUT it is with the same company I have my car insurance with and so, by bundling, I was able to save almost 50.00 on my car insurance. I came out 20.00 ahead in the long run.
    8. Husband and I have had some long talks over the holidays about our budget. We are looking to cut spending even more in 2019 so that we can free up more money to pay off more debt. We are close to having everything paid off but our house (which we just purchased in August) and my student loans. Things are not uncomfortably tight, but we would like a little more breathing room to build our emergency fund up even more. That is our goal this year.

    I think that’s all. Have a blessed week!

  17. I can’t believe all the stuff you get done each week – especially with a newborn – just amazing! You make me feel so lazy – I am determined to get back into my proper frugal and organized mode for the New Year! Enjoy the visit with your MIL.

  18. Maxine, I do the same things with my bags. They are always cleaned thoroughly, and then reused for lunches and freezer purposes. I declared last year,the year of zero waste. I really want to help keep our environment free of excess waste and I am a penny pincher too!

  19. Gardenpat – I’ve been meaning to ask you this…..have you ever made men’s boxers? The industry has moved towards boxer briefs and it’s very hard to find good quality boxers anymore for a reasonable price. The cheap ones are VERY cheap and rip easily and the expensive ones aren’t much better. I *refuse* to pay $15++ a pair for something no one sees but he and I. It could be a good option for you. Just a thought.

  20. I did a bunch of my Christmas shopping on Cyber Monday and got some great deals on things I was going to buy anyway.
    Treated myself to a couple of dresses and mystery leggings over the weekend sales. 2 dresses plus leggings for the price of 1 dress! I will set them aside for my husband to “give” me for Christmas.
    Went away the weekend before Thanksgiving with my mother and her friend. Used a timeshare offer they had for free and leftover Universal tickets. Generally ate outside of the park to keep costs low. Used customer surveys on receipts to get free donuts for breakfast. Brought our own coffee and bottled water. Shared treats like Butterbeer, rather than us each getting our own.
    Rather than go away on vacation for Thanksgiving (as we usually do), we stayed home and had a quiet meal there. I think we enjoyed that more than our usual trips! Bought a 15 lb turkey at $.49 lb. as it was cheaper than just a breast. I stripped the carcass and put the meat in the freezer and then made 2 gallons of stock from the bones. I spent a few extra dollars at the store (restocked some items I may have skipped right then) since if I spent $30 I got a free ham – I spent $30.26!
    Husband requested two meals that I was able to make with items on hand.
    Neighbor came over to take down a tree for me – mainly so he could play with his new chain saw, but I was blessed nonetheless!
    Got a bargain on chicken feed as a bag was punctured by the new kid they had working. They gave it to me for 50% off, but I estimate 90% of the feed was there.
    Rather than install heat in the RV, my husband purchased a small space heater. He’s in Key Largo, so it doesn’t get too terribly cold, but 50 is too cold to go without heat of any kind.
    Attended the tree lighting in town. It was unseasonably cold here in south Georgia so I picked up Mc Donald’s latte’s on the way using a BOGO electronic coupon. Also got points toward a free coffee.

  21. The food spread looks beautiful! That’s pretty cool that your oldest is offering piano lessons to other family members.
    Our discount groceries (which is where I primarily shop) are picked pretty thin, thankful for the home pantry right now.

    I found a mens cashemere turtleneck sweater at my pay by the pound. It was ever so slightly shrunk, great quality. I cut it apart, hand sewed it back together as a boat neck, taking in the shoulders and sleeves too. So happy, as I love warm sweaters in the winter.

    I purchased some best sellers (books) for a quarter each for entertainment.

    We went to see a movie at the local theater, unfortunately the audio was buffering the last quarter of the movie. We let the manager know after and he gave us 2 free passes. We weren’t expecting that, but are very grateful.

  22. e drove to Texas for Thanksgiving with family – not at all frugal, but the right thing to do, as my husband’s father’s health is not good and we want to see him as much as possible. We spent one night on the road each way. I packed food for lunches and snacks and we ate cheaply for dinner. We stay at a hotel that doesn’t charge extra for our two dogs. I made sure to have all the Christmas gifts for his family wrapped and I took them with us, which will save a lot on shipping the gifts later. While we were away, we turned down the heat in the house and turned down the temperature on our hot tub, which saves some on electricity.
    A frugal fail is that I realized the day before we left that I was almost out of one of my prescriptions. I didn’t have enough left to get us through the trip, so my husband had to make a special trip into town (30 miles each way) to pick up the prescription. I was kicking myself for the waste of gas, but then, I’m human, and these things happen. He was kind enough to get the prescription for me while I finished up the cake and pie I was taking to the family celebration. At his parents, we spent quite a bit of money buying stuff needed to make some repairs. They are too proud to ask for help or say anything, so now when we visit and see something they need, we just buy it. Again, well worth it. The highlight of the trip was being with family on both sides – we had Thanksgiving with my husband’s sister, and another meal with my brother, his two daughters and their husbands, and my two baby great-nephews. (Each sister has a little boy, and they live within a mile of each other and spend a lot of time together.)

  23. I have a good friend who takes care of my cat when we travel. I insist on paying her, but it’s always a struggle. Finally, she said she would only care for him this time if I agreed to no pay.

    Yesterday I received a $15 certificate from Penney’s for my birthday. I don’t need a thing and hated to waste it. Then a light bulb went on. My friend is very active and a good quality t-shirt for exercise was on sale. I actually managed to get her three of them in different colors. The price was $0.

  24. So glad to see things back up and running – I really miss it when there is no post or comments to read – but saw it was an error message so figured you were having technical difficulties.

    .Visited an elderly aunt and uncle last week and they insisted upon treating me to lunch. I will visit again in January and this time I will bring lunch with me so we don’t have to worry about the weather.

    .Picked up a lot of baking items that were on sale/collected loyalty points on these items and then paid for them all with loyalty points already accumulated.

    .Did a lot of baking using up items in the pantry

    .Managed to combine a lot of errands within the 2hr travel limit on transit fares so only 1 fare used most days

    I have now decided to go to Kingston, ON for Christmas this year and will stay with family for a couple of days and then with my BFF for a couple – she will then travel back to Toronto with me and stay here for a couple of days as she has family things to attend after Christmas down this way. It will cost me for the train fare but will save me on groceries and entertaining. I will have friends over for a couple of lunches/coffee afternoons but save any larger scale entertaining for January so there won’t be quite the pressure on everyone. Just have to revise some plans and figure out the schedule!

    I continue to eat mostly from the pantry and use up all leftovers – grocery shopping is kept to a minimum at the moment. But I have already checked out the flyers online for this week (my new offers arrive on Thursday & that is when the new flyers go into effect) so I have noted down the items that I want to buy and will be at my local No Frills bright & early tomorrow morning. I’ll hit the Loblaws store after church on Sunday as they also have a few sale items that I’d like. This is all in preparation for a very low spend January & February!
    FYI for Cdn. readers – NO Frills will have Heinz beans for 50 cents and No Name apple Sauce & Dole Pineapple for $1 – all things that I need.

  25. If you are not already familiar with note reading there is a website called that has note reading games. Also a great app is Note trainer lite (free). What I did is tape an 11×17 copy of the Grandstaff on my wall above my keyboard, similar to typing class in high school, for a quick reference. Good luck with your lessons!

  26. It is something that my church’s Out of the Cold program often asks for as we make up kits. I often ask friends and former colleagues who travel a lot for business to donate all those little bottles and soaps that they often accumulate and then tend to forget about.

  27. Gardenpat I love those soup cozies! And the bags too! I’m so happy for you that you guys had some good sales.

  28. Although we have not met, I wanted to let you know that I was touched by your post and will be praying for you and your family. Thank you for your son and your family’s service. Holiday blessings.

  29. Jean, I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I don’t usually wash the bags. (I can be such a slob, LOL). If a bag was used to bring home clean produce, I see no reason to wash it. I shake the crumbs out of bread bags for the same reason. No matter how hard I try not to get plastic bags, I know there will always be some. If I can’t reuse it, I decided the dirty bags would be the ones to go. I line waste baskets with plastic grocery sacks…again, no matter how hard I try…….

  30. Thanks, Stephanie N.! The weather has been helping market the Soup Cozies and the flannel Softies ((Kleenex alternatives) by being so cold already across the country! Lol! We have only had a dusting of snow, but our weather has included pelting sleet/ice and bitterly cold winds so eating something hot like soup while blowing or red, sore noses has become the new “normal” routine here! A marketing miracle!!! Lol!
    And yet, I am still discovering fabric stash I didn’t remember I had!! So my decluttering by sewing my excess stash into useful things goes on!!

  31. Thanks for the idea, Patti! Right now, I’m concentrating on using my excess fabric stash into things that I can “assembly line” produce- cutting in bulk, sewing operations in bulk, etc.
    My concern with doing something like the boxers is that it would be challenging with all the possible sizes to know what to make and have in inventory. And the beauty of these bags, Cozies and Softies that I’ve been making and selling is that I can build up inventory so when an order comes in, like a few minutes ago, I can just go to my labeled inventory and pull out what is ordered and get it shipped out that same day so that the customer gets it anywhere in the US within 3 days!
    I’m afraid with making several sizes, it wouldn’t allow me that luxury. But truly, thank you for

  32. Valid point! I hadn’t thought of that! I do think there is a way to make affordable (less than $10 a pair) boxers that are of decent quality! I don’t know what it is, but if I think of it, I’ll let you know! Haha! Best wishes on clearing out your stash by selling lots this holiday season!

  33. Went to both sets of parents house for Thanksgiving. Somehow I caught a cold and have been nursing it. Been spending time at home. Husband has had to buy a lot of kleenexes for us both. He has been able to go to work. But I’ve been home doing a lot of sleeping. I’ve been making soups for us to eat. It started out that I was trying to lose weight. Now it is nice to have soup because it is cold and I don’t feel well. I lost 10 lbs in the last couple of weeks, even with Thanksgiving. I was just careful not to over do it. Now I just want to feel better.

    Saved money by not going anywhere since I’ve been sick. Spent money on kleenexes, nyquil and emergen- c for my husband and myself. Not really frugal but at least we haven’t been to the doctor yet. They don’t give us antibiotics anyway. So I’m trying not to go. Insurance from old job will be up soon. i hope we don’t have to go after that. I think all the sleep is making me feel better anyway.
    I hope to go to a food pantry this week. We have to save to buy propane and pay taxes on our little house. I worry a lot about becoming homeless. We just paid taxes on house and so I have a few months to worry about saving for the next taxes. In the meantime we are trying to keep up with the bills. I also know we will need propane. I think we might have enough to get through the cold winter. But then we will need to buy some.
    I’m grateful for my home. It is not fancy. But it is warm and a pleasant place to be with my husband. I’m grateful for family. I know they would help us if they could. I’m grateful that we decided to build a tiny house with a smaller payment. I’m grateful for this blog. it is an outlet for me. I don’t talk about my worries to anyone. It is not fun to go to a food pantry although the people are kind and getting the food is a blessing. I’m grateful for my boys who I know would help me if they could. My parents have helped a lot and my husbands parents and brother gave us some meat. I’m grateful for them. I’m glad that my husband has a job even though it is not much over minimum wage. At least he likes it. I get hours taking care of my son sometimes.
    I’ve been trying not to feel sorry for myself. I know that there are others that have it so much worse. Sometimes I wish I had someone I could talk to. We used to be in a position where we could help others financially. Now we are not. Now in my warm little house I know I should talk about the pretty sunsets and the beautiful sunlight glistening on the snow outside my window. But all I can think is I wish I was on a beach somewhere. I know I should be grateful for what I have. It is just I’m so afraid of losing it.

  34. Thank you for the website reference. I will check it out. I received a cardboard chart with all the notes on it that sits on the keys. I also have a small reference book on chords that should help me down the road.

  35. You may want to take your receipt back to CVS and ask for a price adjustment. Many stores typically make the adjustment within 7-14 days of purchase if the items go on sale for less.

  36. Oh, Tammy! A few years back we were very much in danger of losing our own home due to several years in a row of a low income, and I know how you feel.

    You are wise to pay your taxes and use the food bank. I remember seeing someone on another site say she did the other–bought food and became homeless, and had done so multiple times. She had small children. If you can keep a roof over your head, you can go to the food bank, and then you will be warm and fed, plus you can cook inexpensive things like soups–not something easily done if you become homeless. The food bank is there to help you. There are also commodities at several food banks that are offered in addition to the regular food; they have things like beans and meat. They are every other month. You should ask at the food bank if they offer them (they are a government program). My sister-in-law runs a gleaning group, getting the expired food that stores are throwing out (the same stuff goes to the food bank, but they have an abundance and so it goes to several gleaning groups in town). She told people at the gleaning group about commodities. I believe it is a federal program. I don’t know if you are in the U.S. or not, but see what you can find online about commodities in your area. You will need to bring a social security card for each family member and they have assigned days and times when you come to get the food. I have never been, but when things were very bad several years back for so many she let everyone know the days so that if they needed the food, they could get it. Commodities are in addition to the food bank, but every area is different.

    You may also be able to find out about any gleaning groups in your area. Those are quiet groups; I really don’t know how you find them but you might want to ask at the food bank if they know of any. SOme have people pay a bit for a bunch of food and some are free. The one here is free.

    Because of your low income, you may also want to look into applying for food stamps and Medicaid online. Do a search and you can see what the income qualifications are in your state. Your entire application is done online, so you don’t have to leave the house.

    It is a different feeling, being able to help others and changing to being the ones who needs help. It is hard. I remember how nice it was to be able to help others in that way and I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end. Count your blessings as they come; a grateful heart makes for contentment. You lost 10 pounds! Way to go! Sometimes being sick is a blessing. I couldn’t lose weight much after my babies past a certain point until I got sick after my 8th. That helped me start losing weight and after that I was able to keep going. You can do this–all of it!

  37. Tammy – first and foremost, you’re in my prayers. I’m sorry you’ve fallen on hard times and hope you continue to use this blog as a way to talk to others when you need to. I know there are lots of us who care about others on here and want to make sure they are ok.

    I echo Brandy’s points above and also suggest contacting your local Catholic Church. Ours has a food ministry through our thrift store and you simply fill out a basic application and can get free food as well as some utilities paid for (this is in addition to government based food stamps). Many, many Catholic Churches have similar programs. You do not need to be a member or even a Catholic (or religious for that matter). If they don’t, they may know of another church or non profit agency in the area that offers similar services.

    I know it’s hard to be on the receiving end of help, but please take it. It’s there for when you need it. Plus, with your amazing attititude, I know you’ll be in a position to help others again at some point in the future. Sometimes, even a hug or a smile is a huge help and I bet you have both to spare 🙂

    Consider this message a hug from me to you. I care and I hope you’ll keep us updated with your situation.

  38. Brandy,
    Thank-you for responding. I really needed that. Thank-you. You are right that being grateful makes for contentment. I’m sure that once I get better everything will be easier to deal with. God Bless you Brandy.

  39. Just put in an order for 2 sets of Softies. 1 for our granddaughter (6 y.o.) & 1 for my 89 year old mother-in-law. Looking forward to getting them 🙂

  40. Although in a tough place, it is wonderful to hear you are making the right decisions. We are fortunate to have food banks and other helping organizations available for such a time of need as you have right now. I know how it feels to move to the receiving end of things and how hard it is to still be thankful as we have been and, in some instances, still are there. As Winston Churchill, the man I consider a hero for saving western civilization, said, “Never, Never, Never give up.” And, there is always the amazing Apollo 13 story. “Failure is not an option.” As long as you are moving forward, you are winning! You can do this! Faith trumps all.

  41. Best blessings to you and your husband and family, Tammy!
    I hope you feel better soon, (continuing the fluids and rest, and visualizing yourself on the beach isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Gargle with salt water as well). Feeling better should help you feel more in control of your situation. Then you can prioritize more clearly to decide where you can put your resources, and look for more services that can help.

  42. Hi Barbara and here is the recipe for you and it is from a really old cook book dated from the 1940 – 50’s that has been reprinted over the years called The Schauer Australian Cookery Book. We do variations from this recipe and all work well baring in mind that here in Australia we know biscuits as what you call cookies if you live in the United States 🙂 .

    Queen Drop Biscuits

    Cream 6oz of butter and 8 oz of sugar to a cream.
    Add 2 eggs beat well.
    Add 1 Tablespoon of milk and mix.
    Put in 12 oz of sifted plain flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
    Here you can vary the recipe and add either 1/4 lb of currents, or 1/4 lb of coconut, or we add 1/4 lb of choc chips and 1/4 lb of chocolate chips. Then add a pinch of salt and mix well.
    Drop small pieces (a teaspoon full) on greased tins or tins lined with baking paper and bake in a moderately quick oven for 8 – 10 mins or until golden brown on top.

    Enjoy the recipe and biscuits and this is very similar to a shortbread recipe and you could also use it for that too.


  43. oops that third variation to the recipe should have read 1/4 lb of choc chips and 1/4lb of coconut to be clear.


  44. Mostly what I did lately to save money was to cook for family here! I got a 16 lb turkey for 49 cents per pound. We ate abundantly from it–and I sent the leftovers, divided up, with my daughter and granddaughter to their homes as well. I still have some turkey left although only enough for 1 or 2 more meals. We made good use of all the food I made. On Saturday, my DGD’s friend from Wales arrived for a vacation and she brought him here for dinner on Monday night. It was so nice to see him again–he was an undergrad here when she was and has visited every summer except the last. He has finished school now and works full time. He used the summers to work and travel in the US. Now he is working in London England and applying for a job with the same company in Toronto in Canada. That’s only about a hour and a half from where DGD lives in the US. He won’t know about the job until after he returns home–I think he leaves this weekend.
    We also had dr appts this week, so meals were cobbled together from whatever was in the fridge at the moment. We ate well, nothing fancy, but we ate! Tomorrow we may venture into the mall for some Christmas shopping efforts. I have bought some things on line and will rely on gift cards to finish up, but I need to have a few things for everyone to open. No one needs much of anything so making practical choices is quite difficult. I will stop and replenish groceries on the way back from the mall too. I only need vegetables and dairy this week, I think. Freezer and pantry both full. I like to have the shopping and wrapping done early and save the last week before Christmas for baking.
    Somewhere in the middle we were invited to a family birthday party and renovation unveiling! My nephew and his wife tripled the size of their kitchen by removing one wall and adding space on one side. My kitchen is so small I was quite envious—she will get lots of usefulness from this change, and her husband did most of the work. Now it’s open into the dining and living room area and so spacious looking!! High ceilings add to the spaciousness also. Their kids are just 5 and 1, so it will be very much used in the next several years.
    With all that going on, we’ve had no time for eating out or going much of anywhere, so have saved money that way too.
    This morning surprised us with 8 inches of snow and an early dr appt—I drove over the top of the snow to get out of the driveway as there was no time to shovel it all and we are too old for doing so anyhow. My husband did clear it later in the day, a little at a time, despite my pleas to let it melt. I need to hire a plowing company before it snows again!

  45. Thanks for the order, Laura! I got it into the mail right after we received your order! You should have the tracking number already and it will arrive by Monday! I suspect your weather in the UP is colder than ours down in Buckeye Nation!

  46. Tammy,
    I just want to add my 2 cents worth of encouragement to you. I totally understand how hard it is to be the receiver. That is the season of life we are in now. We always were the givers and that’s where we LOVE to be. Right now, we can’t afford to give in the same way because we don’t have the income we used to have. But, even though we have very little money to spare right now, we are still finding ways of giving. It’s still hard to emotionally make that change, though, especially during the holidays when we are faced at every turn by “giving trees” and “coat drives” and so forth. In the past, we would have done them all. This year, we picked one thing–the shoeboxes, and did 2 boxes with my sister’s family, instead of on our own, like we would have done in the past. Then, we volunteered a few hours at the collection site. It helped me to do that, probably more than it helped them, because it reminded me that there is more than one way of giving, and that I was still capable of giving, money or not!

    I do try to remember the joy I have when I give, and remember to not deny others that pleasure when they are helping me. I’ve been trying to just simply say “thank you” and express my appreciation, and point out the absolute truth, which is that God used that person to meet a need I had been praying about.

    I haven’t needed to find a food bank since our garden was so prolific, and we have a lot of food. But, I would go if I had to. I would not anticipate it being a comfortable thing to do, either, for me. So, hang in there.

    I was in a gleaner’s group for several years. The one I was in had a pretty high income (comparatively) that you could qualify with, but also had a pretty high level of commitment for you to do to put in your volunteer hours. We sure got a lot of produce each week, though! Each group is different, I think. I’ve heard of several ways they are done. Some require more hours, and some require basically none at all. I stopped being a member because I could not keep up the requirements as I had some changes come into my life which required a lot of time. I volunteered quite a few hours each week when I was a member. Now, I don’t live in the right county, so would not be eligible anyway, even though we make far less money than we did when we were members. The group in this county stinks, I’ve been told, so I haven’t even checked it out.

    Most of all, remember that your bank account is not a measure of what you are worth. .

  47. Tammy,
    Prayers and hugs to you. You reached out to an amazing community of people. Brandy has some amazing ideas. I would also agree, if your in the U.S you can apply for medical/food stamps online. Most have an income calculator that will tell you what you may be eligible for. My husband was unemployed for 7 months last year and with 3
    Kids and one of those kids with Autism I didn’t hesitate to get help. We received 268 in food stamps but most importantly medical. Cobra was 2000 a month and we couldn’t afford it. Food banks, go to those and check them out. Also churches too. I’m grateful for the help we got us through a rough time. Also is it possible your taxes can be made in payments? My aunt is on a payment plan as she couldn’t afford to pay it all at once. I will be praying for you and your husband. It’s ok to reach out I’m glad you did. I hope this helps even a little.

  48. PJGT,
    I like what you had to say. Thank-you. Thanks-you for reminding me “Faith trumps all.” But I also liked your other quotes.

  49. Heidi Louise,
    Gargling with salt water is a good idea. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing that. I usually think of it.

  50. Becky,
    Thank-you. You are right. My bank account does not measure my worth. I do like to give. It makes me happy. And you are right God does use people to meet our needs that we pray about. (Sometimes I need reminded.)
    One day my husband went to a pantry and the kind people asked if we knew anyone else that needed food . He said yes and they loaded him up with a ton of stuff. My son had said that he had a friend that needed food. I just didn’t know how badly. When I got there with my son. The man was crying. He told me we had answered his prayers. He literally had nothing and no way to drive anywhere to get help. He was so frail. And all he did was pray. Boy I cried too. I’d been feeling sorry for myself. Since then, his food stamps came in.
    God has met my prayers many times. Yet, sometimes I need reminded.

  51. Praying that things get easier for you. I have 2 suggestions. The first is to let everyone you know that you are willing to take leftovers. I cannot count the times I have been given leftovers from events that I’m not at. Friends and family know I will use them so I get phone calls and I always run to pick them up. Second is with the holidays coming, let friends and family know that you would like food items or gift certificates to supermarkets as gifts. When Hubby and I were young and broke, I would let people know that food was preferred. Opening a box of groceries from my parents on Christmas morning was better then a candle or clothes that I don’t need. My parents are older now and don’t need anything. Every Christmas I make them a big basket of special foods that they like. They always love it. Good luck. We are all here to help in any way we can.

  52. I’m so sorry your son is ill again. It is so hard for a parent to see their child suffer. Hugs to you — and I hope his health improves in the new year.

  53. Tammi, Patti is right. Our church (Catholic) has several ways to help. I know they’re all different, but call the office and ask. My husband works as an ambassador for the St. Vincent de Paul Society. People call the church and 2 ambassadors are sent to try and assess the immediate needs. Sometimes it’s rental assistance, utilities, prescriptions, etc. You don’t have to be Catholic and they won’t try to convert you! There’s also a Blessing Box in the parking lot with basic foods. I don’t know how many churches have these, but they’re also just in neighborhoods. Ours has toiletries on one side and food on the other. Our church is SUPER active with outreach assistance & they work closely with the local Methodist church. Really, it’s a matter of finding that right group. Good luck & I hope you feel better.

  54. Thank you! I love short bread! My husband and I are planning a trip to Australia! Having so much fun planning our trip! Do you make eccles cakes in Australia?

  55. I’m glad the website is up and running and that the issue was easily fixed. Hopefully this comment will go through with the planned maintenance.

    I purchased a coat a few weeks ago when it went on sale. On Black Friday it was on sale for even more. I emailed the company asking if they could do anything and they were able to reimburse me the difference.

    I am making a meal for a family- I have all the ingredients in my pantry/freezer so do not have to go to the store. My husband and I are going on a trip soon so also plan to eat from the pantry this next week.

    I put several books on hold at the library. Amazon is running a kindle unlimited deal of 99 cents for 3 months. I signed up and will probably cancel after month 3. I read fairly quickly so feel can get through a lot of books during these 3 months. The deal ends tomorrow for anyone interested.

  56. We definitely have had a colder than usual fall. Thankfully we heat with an indoor woodburner. Thanks for the quick shipping on my order.

  57. Brandy Chambliss, Patricia Koernig and Marybeth,

    Thank-you for you love, ideas and prayers. Everyone praying for me and my family thank-you. I felt so devastated last night. Now I feel so much better. I must share this. My husband got a call this morning. He may get a job with good pay and benefits! I’m so excited and hope it goes through. I’m always amazed at the power of prayer.
    Brandy I’m so happy you have this blog and thank-you for your help last night. It is not a done deal, but it looks promising. I do need prayers that this job will go through. Thank-you so much. In the meantime I will follow the advice of you and so many of your readers and reach out for help until our situation improves.

  58. Aw, thanks, Margie! You make me feel accomplished! I’m lucky that my MIL has been able to hold the baby during the day in between feedings and diaper changes, so I’ve been able to grab a few hours of sleep and actually get some chores and such done. It’s amazing how much one can fit into a small bit of time when that’s all you have! Any trades I’ve done, I’ve arranged to meet at the subway station close to me, so sometimes it’s the one (or two) times I get out of the house during the week. I get 15 minutes of fresh air speed-walking there and back so it services a triple purpose: trading, fresh air, and exercise!

  59. Just to jump in as well — and not knowing your age, but some US counties have the commodity program but it’s for seniors.

    Our food bank has a great program for volunteers in their main warehouse. if someone volunteers 5 hours/week, they are eligible for a food ‘basket. If they do 10 hours in the week, they can pack a banana box full of items they chose themselves.

    If you’re in the Phoenix/Tuscon area in AZ there is Produce on Wheels Without Waste. For $12 you get 70 pounds of fresh fruits and veggies. They distribute weekly around the area or you can go to their warehouse. No income restrictions.

  60. Hi Barbara and I am sure you will enjoy yourself here in Australia on your trip and will love the countryside and wide open spaces if you visit some of the smaller outlying country towns 🙂 . A must is a trip to a zoo to see our koalas and kangaroos and lots of zoos have koalas that you can hold such as Australia zoo or Lone Pine Sactuary just to name a few. Don’t try and get close to the ones in the wild though as they are not so friendly 🙂 .

    Most welcome for the recipe and enjoy ! .


  61. Cindi and you are most welcome for the recipe too and hope you enjoy them and we are also fans of eating anything with coconut in it.

    This recipe has so many things you can do with it and all turn out delicious.


  62. Lillianna, I am so glad that you were able to pay all your bills and Sugar Cookie was able to spend time with friends on Thanksgiving. So nice that you have had contact with your son as well. Your positive attitude, despite your minimal bank balance, is very admirable. I wish you the best for a better financial month in December, so you may take advantage of future deal. There are always more deals to be had.

  63. Tammy November 28, 2018
    My parents used to run a food pantry… SO I will tell you what she used to tell others before they passed. You paid deserve the help when you need it. Apply for everything you can. Electric companies have HEAP AND PIP, go to the local welfare, ask at the pantry. When Daughter 2 was working at the local bank, 75% of the tellers were getting assistance and going to the food pantry. We lost 2 houses, the one we lived in and the one our daughter and 4 grandkids lived in. It’s BEST to do what ever you can to keep your home.

  64. Lillianna, One of the ways I make a few hundred dollars a year is through It can be time consuming at times, but you can cash your money out through PayPal or purchase various gift cards. I usually do Amazon. Also, I don’t know your situation but if things are very tight, please don’t hesitate to sign up for food stamps or disability for Sugar Cookie. You amaze me every week with your positive attitude! You are very inspiring! I am so glad that you got to talk to your son, I thinks son’s are pretty special myself. Thank you so much for your families service and sacrifice. For some reason you have been in thoughts this week, I will continue to pray for you Lillianna and look forward to reading your comments every week!

  65. What a week! I finally was able to get in for a colonoscopy, and am fine for the next decade. However, the preparation made me quite ill. Good push for my final size to lose. Almost there.

    We went to my inlaws for Thanksgiving. My DD had to change an airline ticket and chose to come back to see us for Thanksgiving and one last doctors visit before her new insurance kicks in. My MIL asked (yeah!) what we all wanted for Christmas and we were able to tell her. We were so excited to ask for warm boots, socks, dog chews and a wood stove steamer. Just what we are in need of.

    Found a dime for my change jar, ate leftover turkey even though we don’t really like it much, gathered more kindling before the snows came, ate keftovers, shopped at the thrift store for all things Christmas this year and found perfect gifts! What a blessing. Stayed home.

    I am really in need of a sewing machine and mentioned to a dear friend of this need. She has one in her garage just waiting for me. I’ll drive over this weekend and pick it up. An extra trip, but worth it. What an answer to my prayers! The mending is piling up and I’ve a couple presents to make!

    My son has an extra week of a private request for ski instructing this break. It is a much needed for him.

    I always have to watch that I don’t fall into complaining (raised that way…perfectionist family) and it was one of those weeks that kept me on my thankful toes. Do we not have food, shelter, clothing, and I even can consider Christmas presents this year? How blessed I am!

  66. Hope everyone had a great week!
    We took advantage of some Black Friday sales: poinsettias for .99/each; will be part of the teacher gifts I send with my kids. Hopefully they won’t think that the poinsettias are poisonous; pretty sure that’s an urban legend. I also bought a new ipad at Walmart. I have a little longer to decide if I want to keep it or return it. We don’t like other brands of tablets as well, but $249 is still a lot of money.
    Although I planned to buy stamps, a lady in a facebook group was selling the old tear-and-lick variety for about .50 on the dollar. I bought quite a few, as I hope to send Christmas cards.
    I bought loss leaders at local grocery stores.
    I found a lot of items at Goodwill for my own family, and to resell. They charge me .99 for a smocked toddler outfit, which they call a onesie, I then get 30% off as the teacher discount, and I can typically sell them on facebook for $10 if in good condition. But, it does take time to wash, iron, photograph, list, etc. This is my “side hustle.”
    I’ve been successful making at least four $5 dinners each week. Not all meals are inexpensive, but if most of them are, I’m able to stick to my budget. Frugal meals were spaghetti, chicken soup, breakfast for dinner, and chicken enchiladas.
    Most Christmas shopping is done. I try to do it throughout the year.
    We’re using Halloween candy to decorate gingerbread houses, and I have some tucked away for Christmas stockings.
    Have a great week!

  67. Tammy, I also want you to know I am praying. Please, I also want to encourage you to reach out for help. Our neighbors have struggled financially for years. One of our coldest and snowiest winters they had no propane, no more wood to burn and no money. They called around to churches and were able to get their tank filled. I also know that the town trustee can help. Not sure if it is called the trustee everywhere. I would call your propane company and ask if they know how you could get assistance. I know there are agencies that will help you out with this. One I am thinking of is United Way? Also, in the next county over from where I live you can dial 211 and get assistance for needs such as yours. Keep your chin up, I think you are doing great! Also, I don’t know if you watch YouTube at all but there are several channels that might help you, “Living on a Dime”, “Rhoda Stone”, “All Things Frugal and Fabulous”. Hope this helps.

  68. Hello Brandy and everyone.
    Just a note about the wasp nests. We’ve also had this problem in the past. They seem to like to build them in the same areas…behind the shutters, under the propane tank lid etc. We discovered that by spreading a thin layer of petroleum jelly in those areas they cannot build their nests because they won’t stick on the jelly! This has worked amazingly well for us. Hope this helps

  69. Brandy, I just wanted to mention that on my trip to mainland China I noticed that the pomegranate trees had plastic bags with water in the bottom of them. It’s to keep the fruit moist so they don’t have to water the trees as much. Thought it a useful bit of info that I would pass onto you in case you can incorporate it into your garden.

  70. Lorna, could you tell me if your zoos in Australia have platypus in them? My daughter LOVES platypus, of all things, but has never a live one. DD has talked about visiting Australia, so she can see one. I understand they are not easily seen in the wild as they are somewhat like beavers here is Canada…around, but you have to be in the right place, at the right time to maybe catch just a glimpse of one.

  71. Lorna you will have to let me know if ebay is worth it anymore. I did a ton of that years ago but got out of it when I was listing things worth $50 and only making like $6.00 after all was said and done.

  72. Hello to Brandy and everyone! So fun to read everyone’s comments and experiences.

    Tammy – You will be in my prayers and fingers crossed about your husband’s new job opportunity. And I do love your attitude and willingness to do so much with what you have in your life. I think many of us have been there. There is so much help at your disposal. I agree with everyone’s ideas and don’t have any new ones – but am sending hugs and good thoughts.

    On a side note and completely opposite – we had a family unwisely purchase a very large expensive home this past summer which they couldn’t really afford. The husband was sadly laid off from their job this past week and all efforts of help have been firmly rebuffed from family and friends. They will have no money as of the end of December. Hoping they will have hearts soften and be willing to accept help and advice. They have 3 kids under the age of 12.

    We have continued all our usual frugal endeavors. Making meals at home, staying home as much as possible, using the library, coupons, sales.

    We put up all our Christmas decorations over Thanksgiving weekend and I so love sitting in the dark at night and enjoying the lights. Our home is small but I enjoy it very much. I’ve been slowly wrapping gifts, watching Christmas shows, listening to music and lighting candles. Our weather has turned colder and dark and I love to find reasons to be grateful because I usually have a more difficult time in winter. I decided to use a large, large strand of white twinkly lights in my home after the holidays to try and extend the warm feeling.

    Thanksgiving was just 6 of us but we had a wonderful day. We made simple dishes but have really enjoyed the leftovers. I froze 3 Thanksgiving Casserole pies for later use. I used all the turkey in sandwiches and soups. It was a wonderful weekend.

    Brandy – your dinner table and offerings looked so lovely. I’m glad to hear it was wonderful. So sorry about the wasps! I don’t like those things at all.

    Hope everyone finds some joy in their week. Thank you for bringing so much joy to mine 🙂

  73. I’ll second the St Vincent DePaul society. We have several in my town. Also a food pantry at my church. It’s a blessing to be able to help.

  74. I am glad to see the blog running well and pray that there are no further problems. It is such a blessing to read Brandy’s post and all the comments. Sometimes I learn new ways to be frugal that hadn’t crossed my mind. But more often, I learn new ways to be grateful for what I have and ways to express that gratitude in my words and actions toward others in my life. Here, I am reminded to slow down some (in my insanely busy schedule!) so that I can experience the beauty and wonder in God’s creations, including people from all walks of life.

    I am staying as frugal as possible, relying mainly on food we already have, buying only the essentials for household needs, and delaying other purchases until spring. We have many medical issues that have escalated this fall. Grandson and I had 12 doctor appointments in November, 12 already lined up for December, with more to come, as testing has revealed more issues for each of us. Though it is hard for most to imagine, medical copays for insurance, prescriptions, doctor visits, and 4 hospital payment plans consume more than one- third of our monthly income, each and every month. I am anticipating that to increase greatly with new additional tests and scans that have to be scheduled. Income-wise, we do not qualify for assistance of any kind. Thanks to an early Christmas gift from my dear, elderly father-in-law, we are able to pay the taxes on our home. Our home is a very cheaply built, post-war frame house that needs so very many repairs that we can’t begin to afford, nor do we qualify for assistance to fix it up. But most rooms are warm and most roof leaks are only in one room. And our home is filled with much love and creativity. Our two younger daughters live with us, as well. What a cozy sight it is, when all sit in the living room: one daughter knitting items to sell, another daughter painting pictures on canvas for gifts, hubby editing music for a figure skating club’s Christmas program, and me sewing Christmas pillows for gifts. I am so blessed.

  75. Hi Rhonda A and yes some of our zoos do have platypus displays in them but I couldn’t tell you which ones as I haven’t been to a zoo in a while. Best thing is if you are planning a trip here is to ring the zoo and find out.

    You are right they are very illusive and shy creatures but can be seen in the wild on odd occasions and more found in Southern NSW, Victoria and Tasmania and you can also see them in rainforests and national parks where there is clean and running water and not many people around.

    I can understand why your daughter likes them as they are beautiful creatures to watch in the wild :).


  76. Tammy, when I give food to food banks you are exactly the reason I am giving. No one should be without food…ever! There is plenty in this world to go around if we just make efforts to ensure it is available to those who need it. So please don’t be embarassed you need to use this service. Any one of us could need it at any point in our lives. I am grateful that I can help and grateful that people like yourself are able to eat because of it.

    Every week, I ensure a young girl, my daughter’s friend, has a school lunch because she has food insecurities in her home. My brother is living with us right now because he quit his job and has no money. My mom is helping him pay bills to keep him afloat as he looks for another job closer to here. I buy the groceries, and make sure we all have food to eat evey day. There was a time when I didn’t know how to pay the bills and buy food for my family. If it hadn’t been for my mom’s help, we too would be homeless and starving. I am now paying it forward. I’m sure you will too when your finances improve for husband and yourself…because that is the type of people we are! Hang in there Tammy, it may take a lot of time and hard work, but things will improve.

  77. Hi Janet I do find eBay worthwile to sell on and sell my new handmade items on there and make some extra money for our budget.

    The secret is to price your items correctly so you are making enough profit on them. The general rule of thumb on pricing is to work out your costs and triple that for your sales price you put on the item + add your fees on to that price. Here anyway in Australia in the retail shops they make 700% profit on average on what they buy the products for to allow for wages, rent, utilities etc.

    I think finding a niche product that not many people are selling is the key. I tend to design and make all my own products and therefor my products are not something that everyone sells. Never undervalue your work and time that you put into something and remember it is ok to earn a wage from what you do and you will find your products are a far better quality than what you can buy in the shops if you use quality materials as I do.

    I hope this helps.

  78. If the perscriptions are at CVS or Walgreens you could transfer it to where the family celebration was and if that saved you gas money pick it up in that area.

    Just FYI. I had to do this once to save us both time and money.

  79. Hi,
    Late post but I finally had a quiet moment and thought to add a few comments. Brandy, your photos are wonderful ;). As usual.

    We finally cooked the last turkey from our freezer for thanksgiving, bought last year at this time. It was excellent! I froze the legs and carcass last week, and just tonight am starting to thaw them out. Once thawed, I will put in the crock pot and make broth for soup. After all the cooking for thanksgiving, I didn’t have the heart to make soup :). But we just finished our last frozen chicken noodle soup so the time has come to restock. I have been trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat…my husband really likes meat/chicken, and I have learned he is fine with soups as long as an occasional piece of chicken or ham can be spotted :). So we eat a lot of soup!

    I bought two more turkeys, so that will hold us for this year, I still have two hams from last December so no more of those needed 🙂

  80. Your sweet baby is bringing up so many memories of my first born. My daughter also had extremely painful gas. The wrap should help. The heat transferred from your belly to hers helps to ease the pain. I never produced milk for any of my children which would have probably been the best option for my little one but we ended up jumping from formula to formula, trying to find one that would help ease her pain. We finally ended up with Lactofree and it did help. Not sure if it was because of the formula or if since she was 3 months by that time if she aged out of the colic stage. I did also use gas drops and gentle knee bends to try to relax her digestive tract.
    She is now almost 24 and she still experiences digestive issues-especially with dairy & fatty foods. There is a family connection with digestive issues including allergies and crohns.

  81. It was wonderful to read that you were able to get a sewing machine for free from a friend! That will be so help to have. Great job finding perfect gifts at the thrift store for your family. I hope your family enjoys their gifts as much as you will enjoy those gifts from your MIL!

  82. My goodness, Tejas. I certainly hope those Dr’s figure out what they need to do to help you and your grandson, then start the treatments soon! I’m sorry that you are both experiencing health issues and the heavy burden of medical costs. I admire your family’s positive outlook and efforts to make the best of a difficult situation. Sending hugs and best wishes for some financial help throughout your medical journey.

  83. Jennifer O.- We are on holiday this weekend at our daughter’s in Houston, but on Monday night we will be returning and replenishing our stock, so take another look and you may find something!!

  84. I know I am late posting but wanted to send my encouragement to all who are experiencing difficult times.

    I cleaned and organized my pantry and believe me when I say it was in desperate need. Now everything is organized and I can see what I have. I put aside a group of items that I will be donating to the food pantry this week.

    On the same note, I went through my gift closet and sorted and organized. I ended up with several nice items I will be donating to the toy/gift drive.

    I have a few more gifts to sew up and then I plan to make some sugar cookies in the shape of sheep for my grandson and a nice big plate full for the children that live next door to me. I’m excited to try making these cookies. I plan to dip the legs and head in chocolate and then frost the body in fluffy white frosting. My 5 year old grandson is really into learning about animals right now so I thought this might be a fun thing for him.

    I also want him to understand the importance of giving so I will be spending an afternoon with him and helping him make some gifts for his mom and dad and whomever else he decides. This will involve paints and paper.

  85. SJ,
    Wow that sounds like a neat program in Tuscon/ Phoenix area. and thank-you for telling me about the other programs.

  86. Thank-you Juls,
    I think you are right, is is best to try to keep my home. Now that my cold is about over I’m feeling much more positive. But also everyone including you talking to me on Brandy’ s blog is very helpful.

  87. Jean,
    Thank-you for you prayers. I will check out those YouTube channels too! Thank-you for the other ideas too.

  88. 1. I found Star Wars fabric on clearance at a Walmart for $1.50/yd…so my son will be getting a quilt for Christmas
    2. Found many nice children’s books at the thrift store to add to my nieces and nephews gift bags
    3. Used accumulated credit card points to reduce my bill by $400, which will pay for Christmas, as well as a good chunk of my car insurance premium that I chose to pay in a lump sum to avoid installment fees
    4. Picked up turkey breasts on sale and shopped at Aldi for the first time in months…which helped me to remember why I love that store:)
    5. Made stained glass window clings out of construction paper and tissue paper to decorate for Christmas and bought items at the Dollar tree to make Advent candle votives for our Advent wreath

  89. Getting on the average plan with the electric company and natural gas companies can really help budget better since they are the same every month.

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