I cut apple branches from the garden. Something about having them on this table makes me feel immensely rich. I definitely need to cut some more often.

I cut zinnias from the garden.

I cut basil, red noodle beans, and Armenian cucumbers from the garden.

The children watched a few episodes of Little Einsteins for free on Disney Junior. I printed coloring pages for them from the same site. I printed free dot to dot pages from this week’s Dover Children’s Sampler and free coloring pages from here.

I listed a couple of items on a Facebook garage sale page and sold both the same day. This has encouraged me to get rid of some other items that are going unused and taking up space. I have decided to set a rather large goal of selling enough stuff to buy matching bookcases for the other side of the library! It might take me a while with some items only being $1 each (I’m planning on listing some children’s clothing, among other things) but if I can do this, my house will be cleaner, definitely less cluttered, and I’ll have a room that I have dreamed about most of my life.

We added to our emergency fund this week.

Underwater volcano experiment: sand, water, and the wax from a tea light, which melts like magma and pushes up through the wax to the surface of the water.

I cooked a large pot of black beans this week, from which we ate for several different meals, including black bean burgers, and rice and beans (twice).

I coked a pot of lentils to make lentil tacos. I made enough for us to have them again another time and froze those.

We made blueberry muffins,

I made French bread.

My husband cut his hair and the boys’ hair. He also blew out the coils on the back of the fridge, which keeps it running better and longer.

Winter made a gift for a friend using supplies that we already had on hand.

What did you do last week to save money?

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  1. Dehydrated parsley (or another green herb) in a half pint jar with a red peanut butter lid on it makes a very pretty Christmas present for neighbors or extended family 🙂

  2. Kbeeps, running is a great lifetime sport. Please make sure she has decent shoes. I’m not sure how old she is, but it wouldn’t hurt to visit an athletic shoe store. They’ll check her stance and accurately measure and give you some good advice, even if you don’t buy the shoes there you will know what to look for. (Younger son worked at a store like this during college)

  3. If you have an Albertson’s with a meat counter, they still wrap your order using waxed freezer/butcher paper. At my store, they are willing to give an extra few feet to you if you buy something. Otherwise, Sam’s sells large rolls white or brown. The brown makes nice wrapping crsfting paper used waxed side down. Yes, they are about $25, but it’s the best price per foot I’ve seen, 900′ in length X 15″ wide.

  4. Although I do not post much, I read your blog every week and gain much inspiration from it. You are proof that one can live an elegant life on little money. Our frugal accomplishments are more about what we DON’T do. We live in a retirement community where it seems everyone is always upgrading. We live happily with what we have. We bought no new furniture when we moved. We used the furniture we had. I polished my scratched cultured marble bathroom sinks with auto paint rubbing compound rather than replacing them (worked great, by the way). I sewed new slip covers and pillows, using material I already had for the pillows. I bought clothes for this new climate from the excellent thrift stores in the neighborhood. My husband made a counter for the laundry room out of plywood that I lime waxed, rather than buying granite. Living this way is so much more satisfying that buying expensive and new. Thank you for your example.

  5. I made a plastic bag dryer with a wide mouth quart that had a chip. I put some of those flower marbles in the bottom for a little extra weight and then took 6 pairs of wooden chopsticks that were in my “to use someday box” and overlapped them about 2″ (thinner point together) and glued together with wood glue…husband clamped them too. That made 6 sticks about 18″ long each, I splayed these in the jar and it sits in the window ledge and I can slip the washed bag over for drying.

  6. Oh wow, I had to google to see what you were talking about. I thought it was something new, but like they say, everything old is new again. We’ve got the obligatory tractor tire shellaced white as a flower holder in the wood shop yard, and my daughter turned our old tire swing in the oak tree into a hanging planter a couple years ago. I do like the scalloped and cut edges , none of ours have those. Would take some muscle to cut through those tires though.

  7. Hello brandy and fellow ladies!I love your wood floors!! I had the same kind in our house in VA. 😀 they are what caught my eye!Its been several wks since ive been able to post but here are a few highlights:-i was given a 4 tomatoes and 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes from my neighbor. Altho we cannot speak… They are extremely friendly and kind. -i made more bread crumbs. I used what i had left for meatballs. I was able to use half for our dinner and freeze the other half. -we are happy to report that our home in VA is under contract after 2 wks on the mkt. they have completed their home inspection and nothing major was found. -i have made about $20 last wk on facebk yard sale. -reduced our soda intake…saving us money and calories. -started walking at the track .. Free exercise close to home. Congrats on being able to increase your food budget!!-Adriana

  8. Dear Anna, Please get some rest. Go to bed an hour early take a nap whenever possible. I know you may not feel like you have time, but I am worn out just reading about all you have done. Being a single Mom is exhausting, and you do so much more. It is impossible to be in good spirits when you are tired. Take it from a nurse and grandmother and please take care of yourself. Hugs and kisses!

  9. So sorry to hear about the roof and chain saw I second the idea on solar. I was reading a blog that there roof pitch was not right for solar panels so they just built a rack on the ground so the panels would go in the correct direction, pitch etc. When we had power hooked up a long time ago sometimes they have discounts one of the guys that worked for the power co wired the poll on the side ask some friends if they know anyone. We still got a permit for the pole but it was much cheeper. I will be praying for you.Patti

  10. Thanks for the tip on polishing cultured marble. And I also never heard of lime wax before. Reading this blog take me hours because I stop so often to Google various words, look up recipes, and visit new blogs. What an education! Thanks to you Brandy!

  11. I didn’t get the chance to post last week! So this is for 2 weeks:- There was lots of canning the past 2 weeks! 67 pints corn salsa, 12 pints pickles, 7 half-pints crabapple butter, 12 half-pints pectin, and 17 pints tomato juice.- Bought 20lbs of “seconds” at a local apple orchard for $0.75/lb. I made applesauce, dehydrated apple slices, and pie- Bought a watermelon for $1.49- Found 4 skirts at the thrift store in my size. 3 are White House Black Market brand and one is Anne Taylor. They are very nice and look like they were barely ever worn! I also found 2 candy thermometers- I picked my mother-in-law’s garden while she was gone for the weekend, and she told me to take the produce. I got tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and TONS of green beans. It has been a weird year, usually by now the green beans have been done for about a month! (not that anyone is complaining!!)- Went to Costco with my parents who have a membership. I got butter ($2.65/lb) and sponges. That’s actually a GOOD price for butter here. I’m jealous of your $0.50 find!- My husband and I made a coffee table for our living room out of plumbing pipes and wood. We finally finished it! The plumbing pipes were pretty expensive ($70) but we had the wood and I went over to my parents’ house to sand and seal it (my dad had leftover polyurethane so I didn’t have to buy that either). So for $70 we have a beautiful coffee table that will last us a lifetime!- I looked at my PTO accrued and realized if I didn’t take time off soon I would stop accruing! (I guess I don’t take a lot of days off of work…) so I took last week off. I spent most of the time cleaning, organizing, canning, or doing projects we’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the time, so although it wasn’t really relaxing, I feel much more relaxed now knowing they are all done- I stocked up on Ziploc bags at Target when there was a good deal. After it was rung up, I took a look at my receipt and realized that although they were marked as being $3.99 they run up at $4.75. I went to the service desk and explained, and they refunded me $3. I’m glad I checked!- I have been wanting a really big desk for my home office, and I told my mom what I was looking for. Two days later she called me – her and my dad were at ReStore, and they found a beautiful office desk for $30! It is exactly what I was looking for and in amazing condition! I was so excited- I used left over bread cubes (frozen from the “ends” of our bread) to make a baked French toast dish for a breakfast treat- We buy a quarter of a cow, which is more economical for us where we live than to buy grocery store meat. We had some chuck roasts and we weren’t really eating them, so I thawed one out and cut all the meat into little cubes and made a beef stew out of it. Beef stew is my husband’s favorite meal (I always double the potatoes and carrots, he hasn’t noticed!) and we were out of stewing meat. It turned out perfect, so I’ll be doing that with the rest of our roasts- My in-laws are continuing to go through my husband’s grandmother’s estate. I ended up receiving her canning jars, which is a huge blessing. I received 27 pints and 49 quarts that are good for canning, plus some vintage ones I’ll use as decoration or for dried goods- My sister-in-law is buying new furniture and was going to sell her living room couch (less than 4 years old and in perfect condition) with the matching comfy chair and ottoman for $75 on craigslist. We told her we would buy it. We want to replace the awful old couch currently in our living room, but we didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars for new furniture. We will get her couch in about a month when they receive their new one. We are so excited!! And it will fit well in our house!- My mom wanted to learn how to make yogurt so she came over and I taught her. We also made bread and buns. She gave me a pint jar of yogurt as a thank you for teaching her. She wanted to give me more, but I honestly don’t eat as much yogurt as I should and know she will use it.

  12. Paula and others who mentioned it…I was at the store yesterday and they had all there usual displays of items for football game eating and they were offering samples. I stopped at all the samples, naturally, and came to one that was a dip and chip…it was of what you speak! They had made a dip of velveta and rotel/Rotel. It was tasty, very creamy. I did buy one can as they were handing out coupons too, but not the velveta. I thought I could mix it with some refried beans and maybe cream cheese or Montery jack that I have in fridge.

  13. Mandy, I am proud of you too! That is great that you are producing so much less garbage. Are you composting? I can’t remember if you were the one who said they were using worms.

  14. In the UK I was given a huge marrow (giant zucinni/courgette), Bramley cooking apples for free picked at the bottom of the lane..and I have my eye on some pears overhanging a neighbours fence but I’ll ask first. Blackberries are there for the picking along with damsons, sloes and bulaces. There is more ‘free’ food than I know what to do with. I brought a pair of patio window length curtains for £3 for a car boot sale, 12 items of top end clothes for £11 at the same sale, clothes like I could never afford to buy new. I got salmon for dinner 45p paid instead of the full price of £2.99 at the end of the day supermarket knock down hour. Three new jumpers brought from an on line sale – £18 instead of the £56 with discounts and an extra £5 off voucher as it was my birthday recently. I’ve also been well enough (long story) to increase my hours working from 24 to 36 for the last few weeks – It’s been a good week and I feel blessed. I love reading what you are all doing in the frugal world.

  15. I paid 99 cents at Walgreens per dozen eggs; I paid bills online saving stamps; I bought 4 chrome mixing bowls with lids for $1 at a garage sale; My husband received a free hair cut from a friend who is a hair stylist; saved a blouse by soaking and hand scrubbing it instead of throwing it away; and painted textured wall paper and re-purposed it instead of peeling it down and buying and installing new which saved bunches!I am so excited to have found this blog and I am very encouraged to save money! Thank you for all the great ideas and information!

  16. Linda, I do the same thing! 🙂 It takes me a day or two sometimes to get through all the comments. I usually wait for a few days before reading so that most of the comments will have been made by then. I learn something new each week! Thank you to all!!

  17. Athanasia, you mention the possibility of using refried beans for a dip. I don’t have the recipe handy, but it is a forgiving one. You can make a baked dip of the beans, sour cream, Rotel, grated cheese of any kind, finely minced onion, etc. I have made this in a casserole in the oven, then kept it on a warming tray for a party.

  18. I’ve used freezer paper for applique work in quilting. You trace your pattern and iron the shiny side to your base fabric. I’ve found it at Wal-Mart and Kroger.

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