Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Radishes 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested French Breakfast radishes from the garden. 

I cut the roses before a frost came and brought them in,

I took more jars outside to cover the lettuce seedlings that had just come up. This protected them from frost and will help them to grow more quickly.

I used old, worn sheets to cover the citrus trees before a frost.

I planted garlic in the garden.

I worked diligently to potty train Ivory this week. Because of this, she now needs undershirts instead of onesies. I cut two of her onesies right above the leg openings and hemmed the bottom to make more undershirts, as I didn’t have enough in her size. I plan to cut a few more of her onesies next week and turn them into undershirts as well. 

I mended holes in two pairs of Ivory’s cotton tights.

I cut oregano springs and set them in water to root. I’ll be able to start more plants this way.

I had the boys add fallen fig leaves to the compost pile.

I cut green onions from the garden.

I cut our single orange and single grapefruit from our trees (a tiny harvest from 4 trees!)

I saved the broth from roasting a chicken and used it to add flavor to some brown rice that I cooked the next day.

I cooked a large pot of pinto beans. This turned out to be a huge blessing, as I became ill last week and I needed Winter to cook dinner. We had rice and beans for dinner two nights. I was able to tell her how to add dried onions to the beans and tomato bullion to the water while cooking the rice, and we had a simple, frugal, and enjoyable meal.

Since I was sick, I spent a lot of time reading. I reread the Little House series, and once again learned several new things.

I also pinned and read this rather interesting article on victory gardening. It showed enough for a family of 5 in a 25 x 50 foot plot. I loved the layout, close spacing, plan to seed radishes with other crops, like parsnips (something I had read about just a few days earlier in a seed catalog and had just decided to do this year), multiple plantings of mixed crops in the same row to maximize space, succesion planting, and pole beans growing the length of the garden. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re looking to maximize your garden space.

Radishes 2 The Prudent Homemaker

From bed, I was able to go through my seeds and see what I still have, and what I need to order, based on what has done well for me in the past.

I continued to save water from the shower and used it to water the potted fruit trees outside.

What did you do to save money last week?

Note: I didn’t go shopping or accomplish most of my goals from last week, since I became sick on Wednesday and spent the rest of the week resting as much as possible. I won’t be posting a list of goals for this next week, as I’m still sick. I hope to be better soon and working on last week’s goals.

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148 Comments

  1. I love that your already planning your garden and getting your seeds ready. It’s a little hard for me to think about it we have a few inches of new snow! I will be dreaming soon ..just dreaming 🙂 I love to fit as much as I can in our garden and we probably space a lot closer than recommended.

    We have been having a No Spend January and I went grocery shopping on Friday this past week. We did pretty good, you can read more about it here:
    http://vickieskitchenandgarden.blogspot.com/2015/01/FrugalListPlusNoSpendJanuary.html

  2. So sorry you’re ill – hope you get better very soon.
    I harvested French Breakfast radishes and used the leaves in salad.
    Harvested lots of mizuna, green onion tops, a variety of lettuces, tat soi, a ruby asian green, and misone.
    Harvested calamondin, several Meyer lemons and 2 Honeybell
    Finely chopped vegetable waste to put in containers for compost – with our warm weather it decomposes rapidly
    Planted more radishes in the container where I harvested them. Planted carrots with some radishes in another container.
    Had to purchase 2 pepper plants and one eggplant as my seeds never came up – planted them in containers
    Purchased 2 pair of pants and 2 shirts at the thrift store for $4.00
    Used only water from the rain barrels to water our 25 containers that comprise our vegetable garden. The fruit trees are established so we don’t water them.
    Am finding 3 things each day to sell at a yard sale on Feb 7th – husband is working on the garage stuff

  3. Oh, Brandy, I do hope you get to feeling better quickly. We have been hit hard with a nasty flu that has spread quite rapidly through our church, but fortunately no one in my household caught it and everyone seems to be on the mend.

    I wrote out my frugal accomplishments list last night in anticipation of your post. I have quite a list!
    1. Spent 73.00 on groceries, 27.00 under budget. That extra money will be used for gas in my car as I am going back to work today.
    2. Evaluated the amount of laundry detergent I use and found that I have been using way too much! I immediately adjusted the amount and will monitor it closely to see how many loads I can get out of one bottle of detergent.
    3. I am also doing the same with my dishwashing liquid. I usually have to buy a large 30 ounce bottle every week and I am going to actually measure it out this week to see how long I can make it last.
    4. Cleaned out a suitcase I had used in early December for a work related conference and found the hotel bottles of name brand shampoo/conditioner/soap that I had stuck in there. Will be using these this week instead of buying shampoo and conditioner.
    5. Scouting out the lowest gas prices in my area. One store, that is close to my work, is 1.83 per gallon right now. Will fill up on pay day before going home.
    6. Purchased oranges for .15 each. Grapefruit was 2.50 for a 5 lb. bag.
    7. Swapped a meal on my menu because I found a cheaper cut of meat to use for this week.
    8. My biggest accomplishment this week was giving my youngest son a 16th birthday party for 45 guests. We do not do “friend” parties except for milestone birthdays and this son wanted a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery dinner theater for his birthday. I served a sit down dinner of smoked pork chops, green beans, potato salad, and roll with tea. I had my sister make a 3 layer cake, which I had priced at a local bakery for over 200.00. She made that cake and had enough ingredients left over to make another small cake for his family luncheon on Saturday for less that fifty dollars. Most of my decorations came from home or were loaned. What I did purchase will be reused for my daughter-in-law’s “sip and see” for our new grandson in February. I had some very talented friends write the script and perform it as their gift to him. (The cheapest script we had found online was $45.00 for a murder mystery dinner!) Altogether I spent about $150.00 for the party. This was less than half of what I spent on my oldest son’s 16th birthday party 5 years ago, before I started getting serious about being frugal. I know I could have probably cut even more from it if I had been a little more diligent, but I was very proud of this party, knowing that the last 16th birthday party I gave set us back about $500.00!

    And I want to thank you and all of the other readers of this blog because I was able to accomplish all of this through the ideas and tips that you give in the post and in the comments! Have a blessed week!

  4. Greetings from cold, snowy Ohio! I have been following your blog for quite some time and am so inspired! One of my goals for 2015 was to post my weekly frugal accomplishments on here as a way to stay motivated and committed to frugal living. This is my first time posting, so here it goes:
    * Stayed out of Target! I LOVE shopping at Target after Christmas for their 50% off sale, but realized there is really nothing I need as I have all the wrapping paper, bows, etc. I need for Christmas next year. (for those of you out there who love Target, you understand what a huge victory this was for me!)
    *Had Sunday Family Dinner at my parents house after church. They made a wonderful meal for my family of 5.
    *my mom gave me a huge batch of chili to bring home. I was able to freeze 3 containers for future meals.
    *made chicken broth from 2 roast chicken carcasses and froze the broth
    *I am continuing to go through closets, bins, drawers and add items to sell at our community Spring garage sale
    *I am a home health nurse and picked up extra nursing visits this week (some for holiday pay!)
    *made all meals at home last week
    *filled up our van at Costco last night for $1.55/gallon

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I’m happy to be part of such an encouraging community. Blessings!

  5. Sending you lots of healing energy, Brandy. I hope you’ll be feeling better soon. I’ve been planning to go through my seeds, and make my list for this year’s order. Maybe this will be the week. I also had a thought to revisit parsnips… try a few recipes, and then grow some if I find some good ways to eat them. The only way I’ve tried them was in a roasted root dish. Though it was pretty good, I’d like to find other ways we like them. The Little House books are wonderful, aren’t they? Thank you for sharing your Frugal Accomplishments even while under the weather. Joining in here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-first-frugal-accomplishments-of-2015.html

  6. Wow, Brandy, even when your sick you manage to accomplish quite a bit. I certainly hope your feeling better soon.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *Bought 20 jars of Peanut Butter as it was a loss leader sale for $1.97/1kg jar! We LOVE peanut butter so this will only last us maybe a couple months. I may go back for more this week before the sale is over as this is an excellent stock up price!
    *Enjoyed most meals at home, including a lovely turkey dinner with all the trimmings on New Years day.
    *Made stock from the turkey carcass, a frozen chicken carcass saved from a rotisserie chicken, and veggie peelings that I saved in the freezer. Used my new Food Saver to package and freeze the left over turkey meat and cooked carrots. We will be making turkey pot pies for the freezer in the near future with the stock and and leftovers. My in-laws have already requested some when they’re ready.
    *Made bread pudding for dessert one night using bread ends that I have started saving in the freezer. Feels good to find a tasty use for food we used to throw away.
    *Washed and saved a bread bag to reuse when I make homemade bread. Also reused some glass jars to store chicken soup base and buttermilk powder that I bought in bulk for my pantry.
    *Went to McD’s one night with family friends for coffee. My daughter became trapped on the play structure when another child vomited all over the stairs resulting in her having a meltdown. One of the nice young employees climbed up and cleaned up the mess so she could get down. They had to close the play area afterwards for sanitation. The manager happened to still be there (it was around 8pm). He came out and gave us four coupons for free burgers as an apology for the inconvenience!
    *My husband had an unexpected day off due to freezing rain (he drive 1 1/2 hours to work in the early morning). My MIL called later that morning and asked if we could give her a ride to the hospital. My FIL had been admitted the night before due to some ongoing health issues and she doesn’t like to drive in bad weather. My FIL was released and we gave them a ride home. They treated us to lunch as a thank-you for the ride. My MIL also gave me some books she had already read, so free reading material!
    *Made up more pudding cups from instant pudding mix divided into reusable containers for my daughter to use in her school lunches this week.
    *Signed up for a beginning weaving course. Although the initial cost is not very frugal, I will be using the info gained from the course at my museum job. I have been involved with getting a restored 19th century Jacquard loom up and running at the museum. I hope to learn how to operate the loom in the future. I also hope that I may be able to use this skill to make nice Christmas gifts in the future.
    *My husband hooked up my daughter’s Wii to the TV so that we can now watch Netflix together as a family. My husband has especially enjoyed having Netflix, so I think it might be a new expenditure once the free month is exhausted, like it or not. At least is isn’t too expensive and maybe we could move towards just having Netflix in the future!

    That’s everything I can think of for now. Have a great week everyone!!!

  7. Those radishes are so pretty, I wish I liked to eat them. I hope your gardens and trees all survived the frost. Last week:
    -I used several coupons when grocery shopping on items I use regularly, saving me over $10 off my bill. I also found several items in the marked down/clearance carts at the grocery store that we use.
    *Squeemish people do not read this one – I purchased some Sea Pearls (all natural, sustainably harvested sponges) with my Amazon gift cards from Christmas. These are an all natural, frugal, and waste free alternative to tampons. I had these saved in my wish list for over a year because I was not sure if I would be able to handle the messiness ( these must be rinsed thoroughly between uses). It really was not that bad and I am glad that I purchased them. I only ordered two and the flier stated they should last at least 3 – 6 months. This will save me A LOT of money and I won’t be putting as much in the landfill. I still have to use sanitary napkins until I can purchase some cloth ones. I think the Sea Pearls can be composted. ** END OF SQUEEMS
    -we ate all meals at home. I made more of an effort to use up produce and freezer items.
    -I purchased some bins from Dollar Tree to organize several rooms/areas in my home. Disorganization stresses me, and my daughter’s room was a nightmare! Several areas are done and I have a few more to go. I spent $40 on different sized bins and containers. This was a planned purchase.
    – The staff members of my department at work were all bought lunch one day last week for a staff meeting by our employer.
    -I continue to use scrap paper for lists, child doodles, etc.
    – my husband finally got to use the snow blower my step father gave us. It worked great.
    – My husband received some plant cuttings from someone that he has placed in soil at home. These were free and are very pretty. I don’t remember what kind of plant they are though.
    -I sprouted lentils at home.
    -I continue to a Teeccino/Coffee blend in the morning, free coffee at work, and water the rest of the day.
    -I put money into my savings
    -I washed and reused zip top bags and various glass jars/lids.
    That is all I remember right now. Have a great week everyone!

  8. Baked another Boston marrow squash & saved the seeds again. Saved these seeds separate from the others, because this squash had a slightly bitter aftertaste that the first squash we baked did not have. That means the seeds from that particular squash will be used “last”, if at all. I researched the Pepo species of squash, & ordered some heirloom acorn squash seeds, & some heirloom spaghetti squash seeds. We plant butternut, (a Moschata), & Boston marrow (a Mixta) every year. Because they are different species they do not cross pollinate, even if planted right next to each other. Every 3-4 years we plant zucchini (a Pepo), but it produces so much that when I am done putting it up, we don’t need to plant it again for 3-4 years, so I looked for several other heirloom Pepos to plant in the “between” years when we don’t plant zucchini.

    Cashed a $3 check from pine cone research.

    Bought wrapping paper on sale after Christmas. Kmart had some paper that had white stars on a red background. 2 grandchildren have July birthdays. I also bought a roll of blue diagonal stripe paper that will be perfect for boy birthdays & Father’s Day. We save our bows in a popcorn tin from year to year.

    Saved the 2 elastic bands that came on a pair of boots I bought. One is long enough to make a necklace & the other is more than long enough for a bracelet. Saved a lid from the Blue Diamond nuts can to become the “new” lid for the 2nd “buddy burner” made in the can from the clams.

    Took down the ornaments from both trees & packed them away in the old canning boxes that have been their home for the past 37 years. Sealed the boxes with packing tape to keep out spiders & other bugs. Took down the Christmas trees in the library & family room & packed them up for next year. Brought the angels & half of the sheep blow molds into the garage to dry off before being stored.

    Changed over the green candles to blue ones for January, but left the white ones that were out in place. Put up the snowflakes that are our “birthday” décor for January.

    Bought 5 tubs of Tang on sale for the pantry & 4 packages of gift tags that were 34 cents each. Bought 2 bags of Christmas candy on clearance, 1 of ribbon candy & 1 cut hard rock candy. Put each kind in a jar for better storage. This year, the only reason we had the Brach’s nougat candies that are traditional for “our” stockings is because I had 2 bags stored. The stores here sold out in early December. I still have 1 bag left for next year, in case I don’t get there in time.

    Bottled goose broth made by simmering the carcass of the Christmas goose.

    Opened the window blinds in the library after the sun went over the house to let the sunshine help heat the house, & reduce the gas cost.

  9. Marivene, this post sounds like the old you, before your knee surgeries! I have been missing the small, day-to-day, changes you make to spruce up your home and make it festive. Your simple pleasures are delightful and make me feel warm and cozy. Thank you for your posts and sharing your life.

  10. Took advantage of several grocery store rainchecks to restock after the holidays. Purchased 15 pounds of split chicken breast for $15. Got 13+ cups of shredded chicken and 4 quarts of broth. Already made Chicken Corn Noodle soup with one cup and froze the rest as the easy starter to 12 more dinners. Also got 12.5 pounds on boneless skinless chicken tenderloins for $1.04 per pound to stock freezer and 5 pounds of ground beef for $1.99 per pound. Other raincheck/coupon deals: peanut butter for 70 cents per jar and canned veggies for 33 cents per can. Used a $5/$25 coupon to make these deals even cheaper!

    Turned our Christmas cards into gift tags for next year. Even with folks sending out fewer cards, I ended up with about 30 new tags.

    Sold several items on Facebook buy/sell/trade sites. Made $95. Some went to our vacation fund, some went to daughter’s college fund.

    Started being more diligent about earning Swagbucks. Running the videos on my phone is such an easy way to earn these since you don’t have to keep prompting it. Not sure why I didn’t start doing this earlier!

    Feel better, Brandy!

  11. I re-read the Little House series myself almost every year. I start in the summer and make sure to read the Long Winter while it is really super hot outside. (LOL) I consider Laura and her Mom my very own great grandmothers. I claim them because they have made such an impact on my life…my parenting particularly. g with our All American History 1 curriculum. I think this might be the key to us keeping on track with our homeschool budget!

    -I have started journaling all of our spending and keeping receipts for this year. I plan to go back at the end of 2015 and tally our budget categories. It is our goal to spend as little as possible this year so that we can put every extra penny toward savings and retiring debt. We are hoping to acquire a mortgage on the home we are renting in the next year or so.

    -At noon on Saturday I suddenly realized I had not planned ahead for that meal…although I had leftovers in the fridge (chili) I knew the children were tired of it already. I was determined to use them up…so I boiled a pound of mini bow-tie pasta and dressed it with the chili. With a little bit of parm on top they all were happy and enjoyed it. It made my heart sing to have salvaged those unwanted leftovers with only the addition of $1 worth of pasta!

  12. Thank you for the info on the Victory Garden. I will check that out tonight.

    For my frugal accomplishments:
    I made sure I put holiday leftovers in the freezer that we wouldn’t be eating right away so they wouldn’t go to waste. I sent cookies back with my daughter that were left so she could take them to a party she was going to. We don’t need to have cookies left around here!

    I picked a fig from my little fig tree. I collected seeds from my roselle/Florida cranberry.

    I went to Goodwill store and bought a nice skirt and 3 pairs of nice shoes for when I go on job interviews and start working onsite again. I had 1 phone interview. Hopefully I get called for an in-person interview.

    I cashed in Swagbucks for five $5 Amazon certificates. I ordered a set of metal measuring cups from Amazon and used Swagbucks to pay for them.

    There is a holiday drive through light show at the fairgrounds that is usually $20 per car. I paid for tickets in advance through an email they sent me so it was only $12.

    I made a pot of minestrone soup for dinner one night with odds n ends from the freezer. I put out leftover cheese and spinach dip and crackers, dinner rolls, etc., leftover from the holidays and other meals to have with the soup.

    I went to CVS and got the free cough syrup. I got a couple rolls of wrapping paper 75% off. I got 3 rolls of stripes that can be used for any occasion and 2 rolls of Hanukkah paper. They ended up being 99 cents each and much larger rolls than what they sell at Dollar Tree.

    I ordered printer ink and got a free pair of Skull Candy headphones. I added these to my sons stocking when he came for New Years.

    I cashed in at Pinecone survey for $18 Paypal.

    I made veggie stock, French onion soup, granola.

    I worked New Years Day.

  13. I didn’t do much this week with the holidays but I did go to Aldi today and found chicken drumsticks on sale for $0.62 a pound and cranberries on sale for $.50 for 12 oz.

  14. Brandy, even sick you are a woman determined – I do hope you feel better soon.
    We had a Weevil infestation and lost 75% of the pantry – never had this happen before, but no more storing items in the bags/boxes they come in. Thankfully I had enough Save Your Way rewards at Kmart to get storage containers for items that will not fit in canning jars.
    I mended 2 items of clothes – one a button, the second I took in the waist on leggings that would no longer stay up (they do now!)
    I brought in a sprig of parsley before Christmas, wondering why I did want to winter over a sprig, it is now a small working its way to medium sized plant.
    I bought 3 lbs of plum tomatoes for a dollar, they were needing to be used that day, so I made/canned 3 jars of pizza sauce.
    The week after Christmas with all going on/house guests back to their states I needed to clean out (pick a room) – I allowed myself not to feel guilty if I didn’t re-purpose it or donate it – and it felt good. That week was not my frugalist, but I know the pay off will be greater.
    House/pet sat for the couple I usually do this for. Ran errands at places that were in route.
    Had 2 recipes – one called for 2 egg yolks, the other called for 2 eggs. Subbed the whites for the 2 eggs in the other recipe (it was to adhere breading) didn’t notice.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  15. I hope you feel much better soon and the rest of your family stays well! Two thumbs up to your dinner helper – good for her! 🙂

  16. Made some inexpensive meals, including ham and turkey crepes (still using leftovers from Christmas/Christmas Eve dinners), turkey “Shepherd’s” pie with Christmas leftovers, Soup and sandwiches for the kids for lunch, burritos and fajitas – we only used about 1 lb of pork for the 8 of us as my family likes to put them all together into a burrito with the home made beans. Breakfasts were mostly oatmeal, a couple days of the kids had toast and we made pancakes twice.

    Continued using most of my grocery money stocking up. I splurged on some beef meat balls for about $2.20/ lb These are precooked and cheaper than I have seen ground beef in almost a year. We will only use about a pound at a time to stretch it as far as we can. i also picked up 80% lean beef patties 4 lbs/ $7. These will be for special occasion meals. Picked up 30lbs of cheese on sale the most expensive being $2.80 /lb. Picked up a few things at Smith’s case lot.

    By the way, I have copies of a couple of the Victory Garden Pamphlets from WWI / WWII era. There was a gentleman in our ward when we were newlywed who collected them. He and his wife taught us the basics of food storage.

  17. AmyinNC, I need to declutter and was thinking about utilizing local Facebook buy-and-sell pages to list items a few at a time. Since my mobility is compromised, decluttering will be slow. I couldn’t tackle a garage sale all at once. Do you let people come to your home to pick up items or meet them elsewhere, such as in a grocery store parking lot? I’ve heard of people who have “porch sales,” placing their sold items there with a container for money to be deposited on the honor system. Have you tried anything like that?

    And Brandy, I hope you’re soon better and that the illness doesn’t run through the whole family.

  18. Oops! I just saw my comment was all messed up. I know you moderate so let’s try this again:
    I’ve been a reader for years, but never comment. Reading the frugal accomplishments post is my favourite part of my Mondays! I didn’t keep track of my frugality last week, but I will do so for next week! I did want to mention though that we hosted a brunch on New Year’s Day. It was potluck, so everyone brought something. I made a ham. I bought a bone-in ham and used your honey glazed ham recipe. It was delicious! Everybody LOVED it! No more expensive, spiral cut hams for me! We had left-overs that I turned into chicken cordon bleu stroganoff. I also used the bone to make broth, which I froze and will use in potato chowder soon. Hope you feel better soon!

  19. Feel better soon. This nasty stuff going around is no joke!! I feel bad for anyone that gets it. We’re staying home hoping to avoid it!!

    My biggest accomplishment this week was using coupons to get 165.40 worth of items for 57.57. It was mainly shampoo, conditioner, hubby’s deodorant, my deodorant and dish liquid! We certainly can’t eat anything that at I bought but I shouldn’t have to buy any more for the year and I got it all for ridiculously low prices!!!

  20. Have you considered a menstrual cup? They are only slightly more expensive than the sea pearls and have a 10 year life expectancy.

  21. Thank you, Brandy, and others for your comments. Brandy, I hope and pray you will soon be well!
    I was sent a 10% off purchase coupon for the store where we do most of our grocery shopping. This, combined with a $2 off $10 in produce, was used to get broccoli for .99 a pound, a pomegranate for .50, five bags, 14 ounces each, of already cored and sliced apples close to sell date for .29 a bag, lettuce for .99 a bunch and a couple of other things. Prices were before the discount. Several other things were purchased to take advantage of the discount, sales and coupons. Although I prefer homemade soup for both taste and cost, the price of canned soup was good, so I bought some to have in the pantry. Besides the food, I found some Christmas clearance gifts at 70% off.
    In the garden, I used Brandy’s suggestion and covered lettuce seedlings with glass jars. We also covered some of the other plants and trees for frost protection. We usually only have frost danger a few times a year. I’ve been I sorting through seeds in anticipation of planting a few more now and thinking what could be planted later. I am working on being more conscientious in putting things in my compost and turning it.
    Since the weather has been cold for us, my husband has been using our fireplace most evenings using wood we were able to get for free or fire logs purchased with coupon and sale.
    We filled both vehicles for .50 off a gallon. I also remembered to take the survey which will add to our fuel points for this month
    Downloaded several free books.
    Resisted going to Target and CVS to check their holiday clearance.
    Cooked our meals at home.
    Exercised at the gym where we have a free membership. They have some of the equipment I learned about at physical therapy and can’t really replicate at home. There is also a nice, indoor walking track. I received a free T-shirt from them for completing a survey.
    That’s all I think of for now.

  22. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    This week I said yes to free food. My in-laws returned from a trip where they had rented a house and bought staples to use while there. I got a box of sugar, flour, baking soda, chocolate chips and 3 sticks of butter!

  23. Sorry to hear you were not well last week. There has been so much ‘yucky’ stuff going around and it seems many are under the weather.
    -Last week I was diligent in scanning my receipts for Ibotta, Snap, and Checkout 51. I often forget and have decided to make it a permanent item on my to do list.
    -I kept the heat set at 68 during the day, and 66 at night. I make sure the kids wear their slippers and I use an oversized cotton sweater I was gifted to ward off any chilliness. This week it is going to be very chilly here so I may need to bump up the thermostat slightly, but will hold off as long as possible.
    -I set up a staging area for decluttering. I have a box for donation and yard sale. I did spend some time going through my boys clothes and filled two boxes for donation and one for consignment. I reorganized all the other clothes (we have tons of hand me downs) and discovered enough shorts/bathing suits for both boys come summer.
    – I cancelled a magazine subscription before it renewed. I had purchased it for $5 for a year, but it was set to renew at $20
    -I used free printables found on Pinterest to update our household binder.
    Hope that everyone has a wonderful week!

  24. I don’t have any accomplishments to add, but I have a question your readers. We’ve recently moved from a rural area with one grocery store to a very built up area in Maryland with tons of stores. There are at least 10 stores that are totally new to me here. I plan on primarily shopping at Aldi and Costco, but can anyone else from the region recommend other grocery stores that have good prices? The prospect of sorting through that many store flyers to figure it out myself is overwhelming!

  25. I hope you’re feeling better now. I remember the first time I re-read the Little House books as an adult – it’s just a different perspective from when I was a kid.

    This week I harvested some nectarines from a tree. This is the first year this tree has produced; it was here when we got here and we had no idea what sort of tree it was, but it wasn’t doing any harm so we let it stay. It produced quite a lot of fruit, although all of it is rather small. Our plums are almost ready; the tomatoes are coming along nicely; and we’ve gotten quite a few strawberries this year too, which surprised me because the plants are a few years old now. (I’m a very lazy gardener.) I’ve also harvested lavender for sachets and eye masks for a future project.

    I prefer to get ready for the following Christmas just after the last Christmas; so I’ve been busy doing Christmas prep work. I’m reusing this year’s Christmas cards as gift tags. As a family we don’t get many cards; however it’s something of a tradition for every child in my children’s classes to exchange cards with each other, so we ended up with quite a stack of cards. I’ve wrapped presents for neighbours, friends, and extended family, using wrapping paper I had on-hand. You may think that’s crazy – and I’m likely to agree with you – but we will save a considerable amount of money by dropping off the presents for the US relatives in March, so the presents might as well be wrapped. I also make the kids an ornament every year; for 2015, I made them both a felt Grinch using materials I already have on-hand.

    I took advantage of an Artscow deal for 2 books for $5 to make a gift for the kids for this year. The Aussie $ is falling so I bit the bullet and ordered several copies of another Artscow book I wrote, which I intend to give out as a Christmas gift to my siblings and a couple of friends this year. That means as of January 3 I was all finished with my Christmas shopping for everyone but immediate family! I also crafted 5-6 Christmas and birthday presents for the kids, so now for all intents and purposes I’m finished with the kids’ Christmas and birthday too, except for 1 or 2 larger items for under the tree. (Of course I always say this, and of course I always squirrel away a few more things throughout the year because the specials are too good.)

    Alas, I ended up buying more wrapping paper. When I saw it marked down to 25 cents a roll for 3 and 5 metre rolls, I buckled. I primarily bought neutral wrapping paper that can also be used for birthdays etc. I also found a couple of things for my husband’s birthday on clearance.

    A local sail club was having an open day so we all enjoyed a day of sailing with a barbecue lunch, followed by a couple of hours at the beach so the kids could play.

  26. Dana, that is awesome. You are a coupon guru. Maybe you can’t eat those things, but you will have more money to go towards your food budget!!

  27. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been sick. Our whole family has been sick since the day after Christmas. It’s been tough too. It’s wiped the children out so badly that they literally laid around for four or five days. (Even when sick my children tend to be up and playing anyway. I have to remind them to rest. They have their father’s tenacity and pain tolerance! 🙂 ) I became sick three days ago and it took all I had to get myself up and showered today. Thankfully, last week I came across milk at Kroger’s clearanced out, so I bought 3 gallons and came home to make massive batches of waffles, pancakes and freezer biscuits. I’m so thankful that I didn’t procrastinate because plain waffles and pancakes have helped us tremendously through the last three days.

    I thought I would mention that the entire series of Wartime Farm is available on YouTube, all 8 episodes. I have learned so much from that series and even my children enjoyed watching it together this past week! We love the Little House series. Whenever I’m feeling discouraged or overwhelmed by my workload, I just sit down and read a few chapters from any of the books. I definitely puts things in perspective! 🙂

    I hope you feel much better soon, my family will be praying for you and yours.

    Danielle Bradbury

  28. The dinner theatre party sounds great.
    I also started cutting way back on my laundry detergent. I have one of the clear tide cups off the big bottles. I don’t even fill it to halfway of the 1 line unless my husband has had a very dirty day at work. Clothes still seem to be clean.

  29. Hope you feel better soon, Brandy.
    I am attempting to be better prepared for meals, keep list daily of things to do and my accomplishment. This past week:
    *husband and daughter built the frame for me a raised square foot garden bed. Just needs soil, which we can get free, but it has been to wet to get it.
    *no heat or a/c this week (Georgia weather-you made need both in the same day)
    *free items this week with sales and coupons 4 boxes of popcorn, tobasco sauce, Greek Gods yogurt, 3 Silk milks, 2 I can’t believe it’s not butter, Greek gods kefir
    *after Christmas chocolate bark 2/3.19 for chocolate dipped strawberries when they are in season
    *8-one pound blocks of Kraft cheese for 50 cents each
    *made turkey noodle soup and turkey sandwiches from turkey breast MIL gave me
    *made Brandy’s Italian bread- it was a big hit! Need to cut recipe in half for just the 3 of us though.
    *husband was given a bottle of locally grown and made olive oil
    *cooked quail that were given to us
    Happy New Year everyone.
    Remember: Pray and eat chocolate

  30. Brandy, I just noticed the picture of the beets on the side of the blog. I have never seen long, thin beets. My husband loves pickled beets and those would work well for that. Could you please tell me what variety they are?
    Thank you,
    Paula
    P.S. Love your blog and hope you get to feeling better soon.

  31. Glad you are feeling better!

    Although my husband and sons were able to each get a deer this hunting season and I have a lot in my freezer, the deal seeker in me still glances at the meat counter when I am at the store. I was able to get over 6 pounds (100 ounces) of Jenio lean ground turkey for $3.96 total. It was on clearance (so i froze it immediately) and I had a $1.00 off coupon as well.

    Milk was on sale for $3.19 a gallon so I picked one up.

    I made homemade waffles for breakfast a couple of times the past few weeks.

    I hosted a few parties/get togethers over the past two weeks and usually was left with all the left overs.

    I earned holiday bucks at a local store and cashed in $9.50 off a ham.

    I am switching from weekly shopping to only going on payday weeks. I hope if I cam not at the store to see things i will not buy them. I hope I purchased enough to last us the full two weeks. We will see and adjust next time. I saved some of my grocery money for the next week in I did not plan well or if I hear of a stock up price on something.

    I put my credit card away. Back to cash only for everyday purchases like groceries and eating out.

    We received a few gift certificates for restaurants for Christmas and my husband and I will use them for date nights.

    We are planning a trip to Florida (beach, my sister, Orlando) for April and I have been thankful for high speed internet to search for the best deals on tickets, hotels and car rentals.

    Downloaded free kindle books and a couple of free apps as well. One is a bible. You choose what to read and there are plans that guide you to verses based on your needs. Finding it great for my daily devotion reading goal.

    Printed numerous coupons at the end of Dec and then again now. I was able to get a half gallon of almond milk for free. I also gave some to my sister in law for products she uses.

    Printed thank you notes instead of buying them.

    Went to a friends for the second annual “burning of the boxes’ party and was able to get rid of a lot of boxes as well as paperwork that I would normally have shredded. We brought drinks and dessert.

    Purchased Christmas lights on clearance for my sister as a decoration for her upcoming wedding. These will be her gift.

    Watched prime movies and made homemade popcorn.

    Enjoyed a day of of school (3-5 inches of blowing snow and 34 below zero windchills) today to make some freezer meals.

    Happy New Year!

  32. Thanks, Brandy! I think the tree is in need of a very good trim. Until this year we haven’t known what it was, so we weren’t sure what to do with it.

  33. Paula, I am going to try growing those beets this year! I think they have an extra advantage of making more in the same row space. They’re open-pollinated, too! If you click on the picture you can purchase the seeds there. Also there is a $10 off $50 code as well to Burpee in that link to save you some when ordering.

  34. I hope everyone is feeling better! I’ve been on/off with a bronchitis/coughing thing since early Nov. Just when I think it’s gone, it comes back. I don’t feel really bad, but I’ve been staying home so nobody else catches it. Add snow & below zero temps and our biggest money saver was staying home all weekend.

    *Filled up the car at $1.44 gal. using fuel points from the grocery store.
    *Daytime thermostat at 62, nighttime at 60. I wear my husband’s old undershirts under my shirts everyday for an extra layer of warmth.
    *Found a clearance bowl of seeds at a local store for .10 ea. They’re from last spring, but I’m willing to try. We have a very large lot, but it’s LOADED with wild bunnies. I spent 3 yrs. working at a garden before I realized it had become a giant bunny salad bar! This year, I’m doing patio containers & making a tiered lettuce/herb garden from old rain gutters & pallets.
    *Made Rice Krispy treats from a discounted squashed box of RK and clearance ghost marshmallows from Halloween. Everything was still fresh & it was a deliciously thrifty treat!
    *In hopes of trying to keep our grocery bill under $200 per month for the two of us, I’ve really been perusing cheaper recipes.
    *Our library has a freebie magazine rack that people add to so I got 2 free mags to read. I’ll return them when I’m done.
    *Signed us up for Recycling rewards (gift cards) thru’ our trash hauler. We get points by the weight of what we recycle.

    Happy New Year! Debby

  35. My daughters use the menstrual cup.They say it is great and would use nothing else.
    In Africa young girls can miss 1/4 of their education, one week a month because of lack of sanitary supplies.
    The cost for disposable pads is prohibitive compared to average wages.
    There is a movement to support female education by supplying reusable (cloth) and menstrual cups. There are a few groups in my city that sew washable pads ( out of scraps and donated fabrics, so frugal:)) for charities overseas.

  36. Hope you’re feeling better soon! Would you please share potty training tips? I’m about to cross that bridge myself with a 23 month old boy, and while he’s my third, the other two were in day care so I really didn’t have to do all that much myself.

  37. Those radish look cool!

    * talking with hubby about our garden for this year. We are in a (new to us) home and so we have to decide the best spot and how to tackle the job
    * went thru the freezer, found a few items I forgot I had and we are working on eating down some freezer meals I had in there (lasagne tonight)
    * made bread, smoothies, popcorn, pasta salad and smoked some salmon (wow, this was so good!)
    * mended a sock for my daughter
    * used the library (would love any series or book suggestions for an 11 year old boy)
    * cashed out for $20 via ibotta and $5 from swaybacks
    * keeping the heat down and use sweatshirts, socks, slippers to help stay warm
    * enjoying the low gas prices; ours aren’t as low as some but it still a good thing 🙂
    * bought a 6 pack of peppers that I sliced and popped into the freezer (love having these on hand)

  38. I’m now writing down our accomplishments so that I have it as an encoiuragement when I feel like I’m not making progress.

    This week…
    *Had 3 fuel-free days when no one left the property.
    *Had 5 no spending days.
    *Reorganized the kids’ clothes in the garage. I was pleased to see that for the foreseeable future for 6 children all that will be needed is shoes for my oldest two and pajamas for my oldest.
    *Reheated soup from the freezer on the wood stove to save on propane.
    *Saved garbage bags we received hand-me-downs in to use in the kitchen can.
    *Made dinner for my mother-in-law along with my sister-in-law as a gift for MIL’s birthday instead of purchasing something.
    *Had a baking day to only use the oven once. The heat from the oven also allowed us to burn less firewood that day. Baked french bread, dinner rolls, sandwich rolls, brownies, and meatballs.
    *I’ve been closely watching our energy usage and January’s bill is $89 down from $99 in December.
    *No eating out or other unnecessary spending.
    *Used a gift card to stock up on cat food, dog food, goodnites, and diapers.
    *Came in $8 under budget for gas.
    *Spent a total of $24.37 on groceries and household items for 8 of us out of pocket.

  39. So sorry to hear about the weevils. My dad used to joke, “Don’t worry about the weevils, they’ll just provide protein if we ever have to use the wheat!” I try to keep as much as possible in glass, because I’ve known mice to chew through plastic containers. But it’s not always feasible; so you sort of do the best you can, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.

  40. I’m not sure where in MD you are but I’m in northern Frederick County. I use Aldi’s quite a bit, Sam’s Club and we have a Weis Market in town. Weis is a chain from out of Sunbury, PA and I don’t know how far into Maryland they extend. IMO Weis has good sales. And they double coupons up to .50 cents. I also shop at Giant Eagle on occasion if they have a good price on something and I have a coupon. They double up to .99 cents. My brother and SIL live near the bay close to the DE border and they have Weis there too along with Save-a-Lot and Shop Rite. Depending on where you lived prior to you move you might find MD to be pretty expensive. We actually do all of our clothes shopping in PA because they don’t tax clothing and MD does! Heck, MD even taxes the rain now!

  41. If you like British TV, a subscription to Acorn TV is $4.99 a month and we found that we watched it a lot more than we did Netflix streaming, so cancelled the latter. The first month of Acorn is free, if you want to try it out.

  42. Brandy,hope you are feeling better soon!
    We are in the middle of a deep freeze, -30C with the windchill.
    This weeks frugalities:
    Bought two 1 lb tubs of Kraft cream cheese for $1.99 after coupons
    Bought four 1kg jars of peanut butter , $2.47 each
    Combined a recipe for black bean burgers with a recipe for mushroom burgers and came up with a winner. The mushrooms were off the reduced cart.
    Created a cream of peppers soup using assorted frozen peppers from the freezer
    Brought up a carton of applesauce from the freezer,it was made with garden apples
    Used some loss leader cabbage and a pkg of Ichiban noodles I found when cleaning out the pantry to make Oriental coleslaw
    That’s about it for my week.

  43. First time listing frugal accomplishments…
    Brandy, hope you are feeling better and can get a bit of extra rest this week. Thank you again for this blog and your entire new website.
    -made turkey noodle soup from scratch using dark meat, which I never ate before now. The soup was fantastic. Better than Progresso if I do say so myself ;). I always used to throw out the dark meat.
    -home cooked all our meals except one breakfast
    -went to the store just once this week and spent $9 on perishables, I used to go to the store 5-6 times a week. Huge savings. Thanks to those on this site for the idea to just stop the madness.
    -purchased cards today at Walmart for $10 shampoo and haircuts. And I do my own color for $6. To think I used to spend $125 for a haircut and color, I must have been insane 😉

  44. I love the Wartime Farm series too. Over Christmas I watched a new one called the Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas. They explained the origins of the 12 days of Christmas and the progression of mince meat pies. I learn so much from watch these shows and always pick up something new each time I re-watch them! Ruth Goodman is an absolute firecracker and so knowledgeable. But I think I love Peter the best…he always ends up doing the dirt work which makes me laugh!

  45. Hi! Let me tell you, one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, my mental and physical health, was to go on the no-period birth control pill three years ago! I went on them right before my wedding. I’d planned on going on the pill for its original purpose, to prevent unplanned bunnies (my husband was 50, already had four kids from his previous marriage; due to paying child support for two, we simply can’t afford to have any kids together.) Perhaps because of never ceasing stress, my body went haywire six months before getting married–I was bleeding every two weeks, so I had constant PMS and constant cramps…even became slightly anemic. I felt miserable and drained, no kidding. I was in tears by the time I finally made it to the doctor. As a result of taking this brand/type of pill, I haven’t had a period for three years, and it’s been the best vacation I’ve ever had! No more tampons, Motrin, PMS, and using up my sick leave…maybe my husband and I can have a second honeymoon from the savings, LOL!

    PS: as a Born Again, I made sure that this brand/type did not act as an abortifacient. (I told the doctor my concerns, did my research, and carefully read all the accompanying information.)The hormones suppress ovulation, and I haven’t suffered any unpleasant side effects.

  46. I read these posts every week, but i haven’t participated so here it goes:
    – I ordered organic heirloom/open pollinated seeds for our garden. We received a $50 gift card from our wedding in august and I was able to get the order to $49.97 after using a 10% off code and a free shipping code. I am looking forward to spring and saving our own seeds, but we have 4-5 months here before outdoor planting.
    – We used another gift card from our wedding to purchase some are for our walls. We have lived in our house for over a year and have lots of very bare walls.
    – For Christmas I printed photos for our parents online using multiple coupons getting them for about 50% off. When I picked them up at Rite Aid they had lines all through them from the printer being messed up. I then had to spend two hours reprinted them. The store manager allowed me to print 20 extra photos for free! I printed 8x10s (approx. $60 worth!) which I then framed using frames I already had on hand. And we have more wall art!
    – My husband was able to sell an item his picked up at an estate sale for $5 for $450! And another he had bought for $20 for $45! I am really thankful that he has the knowledge and skills to buy what I see as junk and turn in it a cash.
    – In addition to our two full time jobs, we have a part time business. I am lucky that business has continued even after the Christmas. I am not caught up on the accounting, but this has boosted our income this month as well.
    – I ordered contacts. My insurance reimburses up to $150 per year so I was able to order $149.97 worth.
    – I cut our paper napkins in half so that we do not use as many. Often we used them for for multiple meal. (I have been toying with the idea of cloth napkins, but have not many any yet.)
    – I have continued to compost and recycle everything possible to reduce our monthly trash bill. We pay per pound in my county.
    – And, finally I am participating in the NO spend January and I have cut back our grocery budget by $100 this month.

    Yes, that was a lot, but I was off this past week!

  47. I have some of those beet seeds started in one of my pots. I want to get as much vegetable for the space as I can since my garden is mainly in containers. I think they’re called “cylindra.” They are supposed to grow 8 inches long, according to the packet. The young plants came through our recent frost okay, no thanks to me, since I didn’t realize to cover them. I also ordered some asparagus yard long bean seeds, hoping to get a bigger harvest of beans, as well.

  48. *I found cold cereal that my husband and kids like for $1.69/box (I don’t like to buy it normally, but they love it so I got 4 boxes at this price).
    *The kids picked many valencia oranges from our tree and made fresh-squeezed orange juice. They were thrilled! I also harvested some lettuce, thyme,and a few sugar snap peas from our garden.
    *I picked up my Cuisinart 2 quart pot free from Albertsons (from saving stamps).
    *A friend of my mom’s gave us a large box of outgrown clothing and shoes in my daughter’s size. There were a lot of nice things, including some very nice leotards that she can wear to dance class.
    *Made gluten free pumpkin bread, Brazilian cheese bread, Brandy’s granola, chicken broth, and a double batch of coconut rice pudding (portioned out for kids lunches).

  49. We had post-Christmas Day celebrations with both sides of the family, so my week past includes those events.

    Accepted a warm turtleneck sweater my aunt did not want/doesn’t feel she would need in Texas. Saved a gift bag and tissue paper that I received a Christmas present (very warm felted mittens) in for my gift wrap stash. (I don’t think I have ever purchased tissue paper.)

    Used cards left over from my wedding stationery (will be our 16th anniversary in 2015) for daughter to write Christmas thank yous. (There is now one left. :)) Note to self: I need to restock thank you, Christmas card, and kids’ birthday card supplies.

    Brought home leftover Chex mix from family Christmas gathering for snacking during the car ride.

    Inventoried freezer and pantry (and defrosted freezer). Made notes on some meals to make/have. My work gives away a turkey or ham to employees every holiday; because our Thanksgiving travel plans were delayed due to weather, last year’s turkey that I was supposed to contribute was still in the freezer. I roasted it this weekend; since our family of three cannot eat an entire 17-pound turkey and leftovers all at once, I ground up a lot of it in the food processor and froze in 1-1/2 cup portions for use as ground turkey in various dishes.

    Also still had a bag of cranberries in the fridge; I used most of them in a recipe a friend had shared over Christmas at our book group gathering: you coat the cranberries in beaten egg white, then toss them together in a paper bag with powdered sugar, and chill on wax/parchment paper. Makes a fairly healthy snack, which also fits in with my focus on health for the year of 2015.

    I did go grocery shopping before our temperatures plummeted; hope to not have to do so very much (except for milk) for most of January. Remembered to upload my receipt to Checkout 51; also joined Receipt Hog and uploaded receipt there. It is an app mentioned in All You magazine last year (found the article I saved when decluttering); you “feed your pig” grocery receipts and earn coins. Need to print out Swagbucks coupons.

    Before that, made post-travel meals with items we had on hand: veggie-stuffing bake with boxed stuffing mix, Miracle Whip, frozen broccoli; two-cup corn casserole; blueberry French toast casserole with bread crumbs made from the lingering slices from several loaves of bread that were in the fridge, cream cheese from holiday sales and blueberries picked last summer and frozen.

    Worked on some decluttering; found receipts for school supplies purchases and put with 2014 tax file (we can deduct cost of school supplies in our state). Cleaned out my purse and organized gift cards; looked up balance on one partially used one (and was pleasantly surprised to find it was higher than I thought.)

    Not necessarily frugal, as I paid the registration fee (which goes to charity; a scholarship for a local youth), but as an investment in my health, I participated in an organized walk/run on New Year’s Day. I was one of the winners of a $25 gift card to a local restaurant, and the “goodie bag” had some very nice things in it as well: a nice long-sleeve T-shirt that will make good exercise wear, toothbrush, bottle of water and granola bar, pen, and the bag itself is a high quality reusable bag.

    Received my free 2015 Betty Crocker calendar (likely for work), and hung my free 2015 Unity calendar in the guest/sewing room.

    Sewed on my daughter’s latest batch of Girl Scout patches, and mended a tear in some underwear (fairly new! very annoying they didn’t hold up better!), for some colors using thread I inherited along with my grandmother’s sewing basket.

  50. We had post-Christmas Day celebrations with both sides of the family, so my week past includes those events.

    Accepted a warm turtleneck sweater my aunt did not want/doesn’t feel she would need in Texas. Saved a gift bag and tissue paper that I received a Christmas present (very warm felted mittens) in for my gift wrap stash. (I don’t think I have ever purchased tissue paper.)

    Used cards left over from my wedding stationery (will be our 16th anniversary in 2015) for daughter to write Christmas thank yous. (There is now one left. :)) Note to self: I need to restock thank you, Christmas card, and kids’ birthday card supplies.

    Brought home leftover Chex mix from family Christmas gathering for snacking during the car ride.

    Inventoried freezer and pantry (and defrosted freezer). Made notes on some meals to make/have. My work gives away a turkey or ham to employees every holiday; because our Thanksgiving travel plans were delayed due to weather, last year’s turkey that I was supposed to contribute was still in the freezer. I roasted it this weekend; since our family of three cannot eat an entire 17-pound turkey and leftovers all at once, I ground up a lot of it in the food processor and froze in 1-1/2 cup portions for use as ground turkey in various dishes.

    Also still had a bag of cranberries in the fridge; I used most of them in a recipe a friend had shared over Christmas at our book group gathering: you coat the cranberries in beaten egg white, then toss them together in a paper bag with powdered sugar, and chill on wax/parchment paper. Makes a fairly healthy snack, which also fits in with my focus on health for the year of 2015.

    I did go grocery shopping before our temperatures plummeted; hope to not have to do so very much (except for milk) for most of January. Remembered to upload my receipt to Checkout 51; also joined Receipt Hog and uploaded receipt there. It is an app mentioned in All You magazine last year (found the article I saved when decluttering); you “feed your pig” grocery receipts and earn coins. Need to print out Swagbucks coupons.

    Before that, made post-travel meals with items we had on hand: veggie-stuffing bake with boxed stuffing mix, Miracle Whip, frozen broccoli; two-cup corn casserole; blueberry French toast casserole with bread crumbs made from the lingering slices from several loaves of bread that were in the fridge, cream cheese from holiday sales and blueberries picked last summer and frozen.

    Worked on some decluttering; found receipts for school supplies purchases and put with 2014 tax file (we can deduct cost of school supplies in our state). Cleaned out my purse and organized gift cards; looked up balance on one partially used one (and was pleasantly surprised to find it was higher than I thought.)

    Not necessarily frugal, as I paid the registration fee (which goes to charity; a scholarship for a local youth), but as an investment in my health, I participated in an organized walk/run on New Year’s Day. I was one of the winners of a $25 gift card to a local restaurant, and the “goodie bag” had some very nice things in it as well: a nice long-sleeve T-shirt that will make good exercise wear, toothbrush, bottle of water and granola bar, pen, and the bag itself is a high quality reusable bag.

    Received my free 2015 Betty Crocker calendar (likely for work), and hung my free 2015 Unity calendar in the guest/sewing room.

    Sewed on my daughter’s latest batch of Girl Scout patches, and mended a tear in some underwear (fairly new! very annoying they didn’t hold up better!), for some colors using thread I inherited along with my grandmother’s sewing basket.

  51. I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. Being sick is the worst! I don’t know how you were able to get so much done, even feeling so badly.

    I saved a lot of money last week by using coupons and shopping the deals. I found whole chickens for $0.69/Lb, razors for $0.49, $0.25 yogurt, and butter for $1.99. Also lots of freebies: 7Up, Herbal Essence body wash, sponges and much more. Full break down of all my transactions with pictures here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-1315/

    Also, if anyone needs some encouragement, I’m giving away a free inspirational poster in a giveaway.

  52. We enjoyed a great vacation for 2 nights at the coast with family. Due to a great deal my sister got for us with her time-share, it was economical. We had to change rooms for the 2 nights, but it was worth it. Several cousins came over, and we all bunked into the 2 suites–lots of good family time and the celebration of 3 family birthdays. Because my sister was hosting the party, she paid for the kids to play games at the arcade. We planned for, and went out to eat 2 times, one was pizza for the birthday party (we paid for our own family). My sister wanted to use up her food since she was at the end of her 9-day vacation, so we cooked for everyone in her suite. I took some yogurt, fruit, snacks, cookies and lunchmeat to fill in with. The young adult cousins who bunked in with us ate a bunch of that up. We fed the whole crew leftovers for lunch the next day and cleaned up my sister’s fridge a lot. It ended up being one of the more frugal vacations we have taken, especially since gas prices were down. We were able to pack very lightly and fit into the small car, which saved even more gas. The best part was not the savings of money. It was being able to visit with people in such a relaxed way for several days. Christmas was wonderful, but was filled with lots of cooking, etc. This was a time where we could just enjoy each other’s company. It also meant a lot to us that the kids who we have poured so much into over the years are turning into such good company and are such a pleasure to be with. It also warms our hearts that they want to spend time with us during their college vacations.

    I bought a few produce items when I got home from the coast, but am not planning on shopping more until next week. I plan to keep the grocery shopping to a minimum and try to continue using things from the freezer, canning shelves and pantry.

    I spent some time making recipies specifically targeting certain gluten-free flours that I’ve had for a while. I made some biscuits, some cookies (2 kinds), and some olive bread. I plan to continue using the little odds and ends before they go bad. One cookie recipe was so good that the cousins, etc. gobbled them down at the coast, not seeming to even notice that they were gluten-free. They were orange snickerdoodles with chocolate drizzled on top. I’ll make them again. I’ve also continued my plan of cooking more beans, split peas, lentils, etc. We have a lot of meat, but want to stretch it out a bit since my husband doesn’t want to raise another batch of pigs for a while. (or chickens or turkeys either, right now) He is thinking of raising another batch over the summer this time so I am looking at several months before my supply will be replentished. Also, I really, really want to empty out a freezer and unplug it, since we run several and the electricity is not cheap.

    I cooked a few items on Sunday afternoon. We ate them Sunday, and then warmed up more tonight for dinner. I had enough time to fry a big pan of potatoes to fill in the dinner tonight, using some of those we got for 13 cents a pound a couple of weeks ago (we bought 50 lbs) Tomorrow, I will put on a crock pot, since I have a full day. Wednesday, hopefully there will be leftovers. By Thursday, I’m able to re-group with the cooking, since I have a lighter day then. We packed lunches today, as usual, and will again tomorrow.

    A friend gifted me with a case of mushrooms she got for free somewhere. She got several. I’m glad to have one and hope to dry them as soon as my friend returns my dryer. Since I was gone anyway, I figured she could use it first, but need it back before mine go bad:)

    I’ve also been pouring over seed catelogs. I want to take inventory before ordering, as well. I used a few dollar store packets last year as well and had good results on most of the things I grew. I often buy a package of seeds from Pinetree, Johnny’s, or Territorial, with the specific intention of using 1/2 and saving 1/2 for the next year and I remember doing that last year. I just need to see which packs are still 1/2 full. I start my own seeds and don’t need a full package of hot peppers or pear tomatoes, for instance in one year. Also, buying 2-1/2 pounds of green bean seeds from Territorial lasts me 2 years and is less expensive, so I did that. (I buy Venture because they taste good and I get a huge crop) I grow more beans than any other crop because I can them and we eat 2-3 jars per week during the winter–more than 100 jars during a typical year. I do practice succession planting, only our season is not as long as yours, Brandy, so I need more preserved food.

  53. I can’t tell you how many times I have re-read the Little House books. I love them and it seems like I learn something new each time I read them. As I go about my day I will often think, “Now, what would Ma do?” about this situation. It helps me to think of her and how she would stretch a food item or a resource.

  54. Hi Brandy — hope you are feeling better, or at least will soon! I’ve posted my frugal accomplishments on my blog: https://allthatjunkinmytrunk.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/frugal-accomplishments-and-weekly-meal-plan/

    I wanted to let you know about a comet that is easily visible in the night sky (northern hemisphere) now until mid-January; it’s called Comet Lovejoy and it can even be seen by the naked eye but of course a better view would come from using binoculars or a telescope. We’re planning a viewing evening this weekend as part of my (very geeky) birthday present. One thing we are doing is driving a bit to a part of our state that is a little less populated so that our view of the sky isn’t hampered by light pollution. We live in a city; I would imagine the view of night sky from the desert would be phenomenal.

    Also, I think we are in the same gardening zones, although since I live in Florida my day to day reality is rather different than yours. I’m excited to clear out my garden beds this week and get some cool season veggies planted. By late next month I will need to have most of my “regular” season veggies planted — I still find this a little odd even after 10 years of living in the south. 🙂

  55. Silver – If you are having that heavy flow and complications, talk to your doctor about an endometrial ablaision. Not a hysterectomy. Only removes the lining of the uterus. Still have all your other parts and hormones. Ended my periods completely (although some people report some). It is surgery however so only if medically necessary and if you are 100% sure you don’t want any more children. I had it done 5 years ago and it was the best decision for me.

  56. – Finished crocheting a baby blanket that I started years ago and gave it as a shower gift. Had all the supplies just not the time.
    – Gas is finally cheaper. We live near the Ohio/Indiana border. Ohio gas is cheaper so we calculated to see if the savings justified the mileage to travel further to purchase and it did!
    – Resisted the urge to eat out and make a big pot of chili instead. Lots of leftovers for lunches this week.
    – We have radiant ceiling heat and have it off in all the rooms except the living room and kitchen.
    – Sanded and repainted our back door instead of replacing.
    – Hubs fixed another power cord the puppy chewed. (Dogs got a death wish!)
    – Watched a Redbox movie for free with a code (and remembered to take it back in time so no late fee!)
    – Reorganized our laundry room – somehow clean FEELS frugal. 🙂

  57. Hi, Debbie. I’ve noticed in the past you have commented on getting items at Harbor Freight. We have a store opening in our town soon. I looked at the coupons and the items are free with a purchase. Do you have recommendations for inexpensive purchases you use to get the free items? I’m hoping to get some small tools for Operation Christmas Child boxes for older boys. Thanks for your help. Everyone who comments on this blog is always so helpful and supportive.

  58. We would definitely have to drive out of the city. Our city has very strong light pollution. The Luxor did turn down their light, which shines straight up into the sky, but it can be seen for miles before entering the city, and you can see it from my living room windows, too. There are groups here which go out into the desert to be able to see stars.

    Can you see much of the comet now, with the full moon? It was quite bright when I got up today, shining through my windows.

  59. You have to wait until later in the night for a more complete darkness, when the location of the moon begins to set. Here is some information from sky and telescope about where the comet will be: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/spot-comet-lovejoy-tonight-122920141/

    The virtual telecope project is airing live viewings of the comet TODAY and January 11. VTP is located in Europe, so the viewing will occur in the daytime for US residents; might be a fun way to see it without having to leave the house.

  60. Greetings! I hope you’re finally feeling better!
    *Made a trip south to buy a used car. This is not frugal in the traditional sense, but it saved money over buying new. My BIL scoped out the car for us and dropped it at my son’s. So, we didn’t have to drive the extra 5-6 hours to pick it up.
    *Stayed at my son’s one night and sister’s the next, so no hotel costs.
    *While at my son’s, we went to two thrift stores and found a few things to re-sell on ebay.
    *We don’t have any decent grocery stores here in the U.P; so i ran into Aldi’s while out of town. Love Aldi’s! I even got a free quarter! (Cheese, dry beans, tuna, marked down M&M’s for the trip home:)
    *I took breakfast food with us; my son made smoothies one day and my sister made us dinner, so that helped the budget.
    *Since the Sunday/coupon paper was 99cents, as opposed to 2.00 here with little in the way of coupons, i bought three papers. The coupons i clipped more than paid for the papers! (Garbage bags, toilet paper, dog food.)
    *Gas was about 50 cents a gallon cheaper so that was a great help!
    *Listened to a book on CD on the way home. I still have 12 CD’s to listen to! Yikes!
    *Free hugs from the grandsons!

  61. Brandy, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been sick! I heard on the radio today that Influenza has now reached epidemic proportions in the US and that the flu shot does not cover this particular strain of flu! My MIL’s memory care center was closed to visitors last week due to confirmed cases of influenza A. We can visit now but we have to wear a mask. Glad to hear you’re on the mend though, and what a blessing that your daughter is able to help out so much!

    We had a good week. For New Year’s Eve my DH and I roasted hot dogs (purchased BOGO) in the fireplace for dinner. I also splurged on potato chips and dip (which I never buy or make!) and ingredients to make Smores in the fireplace as well. It was all a real treat for us. Then we checked out 2 movies from the library for the evening. We had been wanting to watch “Holiday Inn” with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire but Netflix does not have it and it was not free on Amazon. So we check at the library and not only did they have the movie, it also came with a second Bing Crosby movie “Going my Way” which DH had been wanting to see! And both for free!

    We harvested more spinach from the cold frame, enough for 6 more salads.

    I finished knitting a hat and scarf from myself with yarn that was already in my stash.

    Received my unused vacation pay and used it at Sam’s Club to do some stocking up in the pantry.

    Ate all but 1 meal at home and that meal we picked up on the way home from the memory care center. We stopped by McDonald’s and got the value meal that comes with 2 cheeseburgers. We get it large size and we each get a cheeseburger, we split the large fries and order 1 additional drink for $1.00. Our total comes to $6.48 for dinner for 2. Not bad for an occasional meal on the run.

    I reorganized by coupon binder and put together a filing system for grocery receipts. I want to see how much less I can spend on groceries this year compared to last year.

    I also made a list of all of the meals that I can make just from the ingredients that I already have on hand. I hope to be able to stay out of the stores, other than for milk and some fresh produce, for the next 3 months!

  62. Hi Christine! I have a comment on Harbor Freight. This can be like a candy store for some as they have such ‘cool stuff’ – for others not so much. I have friends/family who are welders and they really don’t like the quality of the welding gear – but they are professional welders so they need the best gear. What I have done to get the free items is to buy things I know we need/use in bulk such as bungee cords, zip ties. I bought solar lights last summer and wasn’t pleased as they didn’t last long (and we have plenty of sunlight). Their tarps are good and their boxes of cheap paint brushes are great for using when painting small projects. Hope that helps!

  63. If those wild bunnies are cottontails & not jackrabbits, they are delicious. We ate quite a few of them growing up, & it was a very thrifty way to protect the garden.

  64. Yesterday I went shopping for some grocery items at Target. Later on I was talking to my husband and told him I have decided I cannot shop there for groceries any longer- the temptation to purchase other items is just too great!

  65. My family and I also just moved to a new area. I have decided to concentrate on shopping at getting to know just two stores right now. I will shop at Sam’s Club and Shaws (a New England grocery chain.) I will occasionally pick up other items elsewhere as needed. This way I can take the time to build up my price book. Once I have that taken care of I may add another store.

  66. Brandy – hope you feel better soon! There is a commercial on TV that shows an adult opening a door and saying “Sorry Dave, I need to take a sick day today” and then they pan to a child in a crib. The point is that parents can’t take ‘sick days’. I am glad that Winter could help you – I am oldest of five and while my mom wasn’t ill until I left home I learned to do a lot just by being ‘in charge’.

    A good frugal start to the New Year. For New Years I baked one of the whole chicken’s I found for 79c a lb at Albertson’s using Brandy’s recipe. The best chicken I’ve ever baked! That went for several meals, including leftovers and I froze the carcass for broth in the future. I’d found bags of store brand stuffing for 89c after the holidays so made stuffing, mashed potatoes (I put in the last of a small tub of chive flavored cream cheese left by someone at our community holiday gathering), etc. We don’t eat enough bread to accumulate bread ends for stuffing.

    Kept inside temp at 62 day and 60 night. We layer, open up east/south/west curtains as the sun moves. We had a couple of overcast days so those days had to boost the temp to 64. I’d found some great Woolrich slippers at my favorite thrift store last fall – like soft clogs with a felted wool top. Those with heavier socks are perfect indoors for my cold feet. Also cleaned out one last box from my last job and found some fingerless gloves I used as our offices were absolutely freezing. I now have those on to keep my hands warm and still be able to work (Raynaud’s syndrome). Used nightlights in hall bath and bedrooms so I don’t turn on lights at night until I need to. I am the official “lights off” grinch as SO seems to leave a trail of them on going from room to room… I won’t compromise safety but it seems silly to leave all the lights on in a room when leaving it.

    I am determined to learn one new Asian dish per week this year. I checked out three books from the library and had stocked up on ingredients when we went to the Asian market in Denver in December. We love Asian food (Thai, Chinese, Japanese) and usually have that when we go into town. We prefer the one really nice Asian fusion restaurant as the quality of the food is great and it feels like a real treat – to the tune of $65 for the two of us!. Tonight I am preparing Dan Dan Noodles – we used to get this at P.F. Changs when we lived in Denver. I also am making miso soup and a small salad with miso/sesame dressing. I think I can make it for less than $7! Woot, woot! I am going to try sushi next. SO doesn’t like the raw fish sushi – just the california and avocado rolls. This will help vary our customary meals of comfort food/Mexican/Italian. BTW – a Panda Express opened up in town and we went to lunch as a treat and it was still almost $30 with drinks! Given what I am reading about how Asian cooking is really frugal I am now inspired!

    Went into town for my every other week shopping trip (part of my New Year plan – as many point out NOT going into the store saves more money as my frugal fail will attest to). I bought only those items on my list until my last stop. I had to go to Kings Soopers to pick up a couple of things and get a one-off prescription filled (we use the mail order pharmacy to fill our prescriptions as the savings is significant). It was crazy busy so had to wait an unusually long time – I was in the store almost an hour. After I did my needed shopping and stumbled across a great sale on store brand cottage cheese and sour cream (they are changing the label so have the ‘old label’ on sale) I wandered and ended up getting into trouble:(. I found some ‘instant’ miso in the Asian section that I misread as $2.99 – it was $7.99. It will be more expensive than buying miso paste every month. And bought some ‘crackers’ – the kind that you pop at the holidays with a hat/saying/toy inside. I like to do that at either Christmas or New Years. I thought they were half off but when I checked my receipt they weren’t included. AND I was hungry and thirsty so not thinking clearly. So those will be returned. That $15.00 back will help me a lot with my monthly grocery challenge. One good outcome of the experience is that I received 50 fuel points by filling a new prescription at the pharmacy. I filled out the questionaire for more fuel points last night (I tend to forget). I found out that the local stop and shop gas place a mile from us is affiliated with our KS’s and so I can buy something I need (their milk and bread go on sale regularly) and fill out the questionnaire for 50 more points. That will help those weeks I don’t go into town and do grocery shopping.

    We want to change the color of the curtains in one room – they are currently a plain cream. I had a 40% off coupon for Hobby Lobby so bought a bottle of Rit dye for $4.00. We’ll see how that turns out. Found red Christmas bows 90% off as well – bought six for 30C each. We use them outside on our porch and they don’t last long in our wind. This is cheaper than making them. Price checked their lamp oil and a large bottle is $17.99. Will get the coupon next week for 40% off and buy a bottle – that makes it a reasonable cost. Still looking for other sources.

    Thanks to all for the pointer of going on line to check Sam’s prices – that has really helped my price book. I am slowly doing an inventory as I sort cupboards/pantry/freezers. Should be able to keep to budget.

    One frugal save that involved an investment is a Soda Stream machine. I like sparkling water and hated paying a minimum of 80c a bottle. I have one cup of coffee in the morning and drink tea as well but do try to drink a lot of water – sparkling water helps me accomplish that. While the machine is an investment I have recouped the cost quickly and still have my treat.

    Hope you feel better soon! This flu bug that is going around is a nasty one. We got the flu shot but apparently it wasn’t ‘correct’ for this flu season and/or the flu bug was mutating quickly. My hands are raw today from washing them during my shopping day – and using sanitizer!

  67. I hemmed curtains for my daughters room, stitched up a blanket that had some rips on the seems (it’s out favorite fuzzy blanket), used rosemary in the garden, went to the library, entertained at home and got some great grocery deals on apples and oranges!

  68. I had one in 2006 and it has been GREAT, although the periods (and my reason for them — uterine polyps) can come back.

  69. Where we live there is no light pollution and we can see three galaxies from our back yard! (My sister is a physics geek. She pointed them out to me.)

  70. Let me try this again. Looks like something happened with my first post.

    I live in northern Frederick County and find that, for me, the best prices are at Sam’s Club, Aldi’s and Weis Market. Weis is a family owned chain from out of PA and I’m not sure how far into MD they extend. They have good sale prices and double coupons up to .50 cents. They also mail out store coupons. On occasion I will shop at Giant Eagle if they have a particularly good sale. They also double coupons up to .99 cents. My brother and sister-in-law live near the bay and they shop at Weis but also have a Save-a-Lot and a Food Rite (? i think that’s the name of it) that they use.

    Are you from MD or did you just move here? If you’re new to the area you will find out that, depending on what county you are in, things in MD are expensive (IMO). We actually shop in PA for clothes because PA does not tax clothing. MD taxes just about everything. Heck, even our rain is taxed now! We hope to one day be able to move out of the state which is sad for me because this is where I was born and raised. It’s just getting too expensive to live here now!

  71. I’m sorry you’re poorly.

    Everyone was right and we were all sick for weeks and weeks. We saved a lot of money because we did almost nothing for over a month.

    We paid off the last of our daughters hospital bills and are so excited to have that money back. To save money this week I spent four hours baking for a family party, that was my gift. We are making about 1,000 extra dollars this month and are using it to help pay down the credit card bill we ran up during my pregnancy. We think it’ll be paid off by April. Hooray! I went to a yarn store having a huge sale and got some nice yarn for crafting projects. I am very happy to have time for crafting again, even if it is at five a.m.

  72. Hope you are feeling better, but my word, you got a lot done!
    – Brought breakfst and lunch as well as all drinks for work during week.
    – Received a $3.00 orr $5.00 produce coupon in my email. Got close to 12 pounds of onions for $2.75
    – Got another 10 lb bag of russet potatoes for 99¢
    – Cashed out $12.00 from Pinecone, and then set up to transfer to PayPal
    – Renewed books and books on CD online, since did not have a chance to go to the library
    – Received 2 doz. eggs from neighbor. She has chickens, I garden in the summer. I keep her supplied with fresh procuce in the summer and she supplies me with eggs almost all year. I have probably bought 10 doz eggs in the last three years.
    – Found boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.77 a lb (Bought 3 lbs.) and 93% lean ground beef for $2.99 a lb. (Bought 10 lbs)
    – Made baked potato casserole with the remaining turkey from Christmas dinner, some of the potatoes purchased on sale and some broccoli from the garden which I froze last summer.
    – Made popcorn for a snack.
    – Reviewed seed catalogs (I have 5) to determine which to order from. I will only order from 1 each year in order to keep shipping costs down.

    There is more, but this seems long enough. Hope everyone has a wonderful new year.

  73. Oh, Marivene, you shoulda seen how big my eyes just got reading your comment!! I grew up in L.A. and could really flip to vegetarianism anytime if not for my meat loving husband! The birds & bunnies I get in my yard- along with occasional geese, ducks, raccoons, and even skunks never fail to make me smile. They’re one of my greatest joys since moving to the Midwest. They’re like my children! The bunnies & a few of the birds don’t even run from me unless i’m an arm’s reach away.

    No wabbit eating in this household!! Better to try containers. Maybe we’ll do okay.

    Debby, the animal lover

  74. Poor Peter Cottontail!
    Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, hippity-hoppity Marivene hits him on the head.
    Adds him to her cooking pot, then she adds some veggie stock, that’s what he gets for crossing her potting shed!

  75. If you’re not already hooked, try Cambodian food. So yummy! Malaysian food is also delicious, although it’s a bit spicier than Thai or Cambodian. Well, definitely spicier than Thai; Cambodian food can be quite spicy too, but it’s a different type of spice. Malaysian food seems to have quite a bit of chili in it.

    You can also dress up every-day food with little Asian touches. My kids are picky eaters, so when we go to SE Asia (which we do almost every year, since it’s a very cheap holiday for us) we always end up eating waaaay too much KFC and McDonald’s (mostly KFC, as it’s much more popular than McDonald’s in that part of the world). One really nice thing about KFC in Malaysia is that the chicken always comes with a serving of fried rice. Ketchup is spicier there too; so if you’re serving fries, maybe add a bit of chili sauce in with your ketchup to give it a bit more of a Malaysian feel. In Australia, Thai sweet chili sauce is as ubiquitious as ranch dressing is in the US – it’s a very easy way to add a taste of Asia to pretty much anything.

  76. Hi Adriana – yes I am looking for a new job. I still have a job but it’s time to move on to something better. I just started looking so I am being picky right now.

  77. Hi Christine – keep your eyes open for items you can get totally free. Coupons lately have been free items with purchase but in the past they have had a lot of coupons to get things totally free. I found the same to be true as Mary did – some items are very cheaply made but if you need something to just use a few times it’s a great place to shop. We got a tamper and brick chisel to build a wall so it was great for that and we still have them for more projects around but no, they would not last for a professional landscaper. I found the duct tape to be junk FYI on that. But the paint brushes, tarps and flashlights are great and little odds n ends like a little magnet bowl to hold parts was great.

  78. Thank you Mae! I would say my miso soup and salad were good. The Dan Dan Noodles – spicy but not quite what I was looking for. I am going to investigate Cambodian food! I just discovered Thai sweet chili sauce – found a HUGE bottle at TJ Maxx (I think there is something similar in Australia and UK?) for $3.99 US. That is about 1/5 of grocery store price. I started using it in sauces this summer – it is lovely. Where do you go in SE Asia on holiday?

  79. Debby, Jackrabbits are more likely to carry tularemia than cottontails, hence the differentiation. Bunnies are indeed cute, but a doe rabbit bears young every 30 days, and the litter is often 8-10 babies. Those babies can breed when they are 4 weeks old, so the population increases very quickly. If you do nothing to control them yourself, then the abundance of rabbits will attract wild predators, such as coyotes, bobcats & cougars.
    Mae, my father hunted rabbits with a rabbit dog & a gun. HE didn’t view it as sport; he did it to feed his family. I don’t bop them on the head, altho in WWII, the government handed out pamphlets instructing people how to raise rabbits for food, because they are easy to raise & do not make the noise that chickens do. The babies are big enough to harvest (or to breed) when they are 4 weeks old, so they provided a steady source of meat. I prefer chicken, turkey or goose stock to veggie stock, myself.

  80. Hi Mary,

    Nice to see a fellow Coloradan on this board! I live just south of Denver.

    I’m wondering how you use your Soda Stream? I LOVE LOVE LOVE Diet Coke (and love carbonation) and have been working on giving it up for mostly frugal reasons (but also partially health), so I read up on the Soda Stream. From what I could gather it appears that you have to buy canisters etc. to make flavored soda. For your use–just sparkling water, I’m guessing—do you have to keep buying something to make it? I think having just carbonated water could help me with my Diet Coke addiction, but I would only buy it if I could make something without a recurring expense. I’d really appreciate your insight.

    Thanks!

  81. Brandy..hope you are feeling better.
    This week…
    -I made a door draft stopper from a pair of my husbands old pants.
    -We ate all meals at home.
    -I dried stale bread-making cubes to either use for stuffing or crush for bread crumbs.
    -Used up all the Christmas cookies I baked, either gave away or enjoyed.
    -Paid bills on line, no need for postage.
    -Completed a knit scarf, can start wearing.
    -Organized all my spools of sewing thread so it is easy to find by color.
    -Used up last small amounts of shampoo/conditioner.
    -Returned a dress I bought, while it was a great deal, changed my mind didn’t feel I would wear it enough to get my money out of the purchase.
    -I used a coupon, then a gift card to pay for our New Years Eve at the movies. It was free and still have $4.00 on the gift card.
    -I put extra blankets on our bed..wind chill will be -40 here tonight.
    -Took our own lunches and coffee to work every day.
    -I donated some kitchen utensils that I found in our attic.
    -I made homemade bean and ham soup.
    -I shoveled the snow on our driveway, thus, not having to use the snowblower and fuel.
    Stay warm everyone!

  82. I live in Australia – I know what a pest rabbits can be! But they’re still adorable. My husband’s grandpa worked as a rabbit-hunter during the Depression. It was an actual job here until mixomotosis was introduced to bring the rabbit population under control. I’ve had rabbit a couple of times; personally I don’t like the taste much.

  83. We can get to Kuala Lumpur for about $200 return if we wait for the right sale; and from there other destinations in SE Asia are as little as $20 return. That’s flying Air Asia. Because accommodation and (most) food is so cheap there, we can stay in really nice hotels in SE Asia for two weeks for what friends of ours pay for one week camping in Australia, so it’s a cheap holiday. We’ve taken our kids to Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Singapore. I want to go to Laos and Vietnam next.

    Sweet chili sauce goes great with chicken. Or, if you’re really in a comfort food mood, try putting a bit on top of sour cream and serving with potato wedges. It’s also very nice on top of cream cheese as a dip or spread. It’s very versatile. It’ll become a pantry stable for you, for sure.

  84. I took the bus downtown to pay my son’s college tuition in person. Doing it this way saved me 2.75% over paying online. And when you’re talking college tuition, it really adds up. Also, I have a free bus pass through my job.

    I took some leftover Japanese Yen from my son’s trip to Japan and converted it back to dollars. I’d been meaning to do this since last August and it netted me $72 in spendable money.

    I stopped at my credit union to deposit some money my kids received for Christmas. I also found a quarter under the coin counting machine. I cashed in all the money I found on the ground in 2014, which added up to $37.90!

    I had them print out temporary checks which should last us around six months.

    I walked to my nearby grocery store as we were out of basil. I brought my own jar and filled it up for $1.25. I also had a coupon for a free half-gallon of free milk.

    I ordered two textbooks from Amazon instead of the college bookstore and was able to use $35 in Swagbucks credit. I used my mother’s Amazon Prime account for free shipping.

    With permission I snipped some rosemary from my next door neighbor’s garden and am rooting them in pretty antique mason jars.

    And this was just today!

  85. Marivene, I have to say I’m with Debby to some degree on this one. Our back yard backs onto an unused farmer’s field which has overgrown brush and and some old apple trees scattered through it. Over the past several years had deer move into the area. I too am an animal lover like Debby. I even worked as a veterinary technician for over 10 years! We have thoroughly enjoyed watching the does have babies every single year (most of the time there are twins!). They happily come into everyone’s yard and feast on our vegetation. I even have a neighbor who feeds them deer feed.

    It is illegal to hunt in our area, and so we just enjoy these beautiful creatures, even though they eat our gardens. Nonetheless, I do secretly like the fact that if the SHTF and the world fell apart, we would have a natural food source in this area. I don’t like venison, but I could grow to if that was the only source of meat. I would also have a hard time killing and eating a rabbit, but I do appreciate your comments. It is a legitimate suggestion. Everyone comes from a different background and we need to appreciate those differences more.

  86. Thanks! Some folks wouldn’t find it too exciting but we are home bodies and really enjoy spending time together so it was a perfect way for us to celebrate. Although, I didn’t mention that we were in bed by 12:30 AM.:) Just can’t stay up until the wee hours of the morning anymore because I’ll wake up with a headache and get nothing done the next day.

  87. Hope you get better soon, Brandy! I’m very thankful you have a great blessing like Winter in your life. Having an older child does make things run more smoothly if you are ill or need to do errands. Of course, I might be tooting my own horn since I am a firstborn daughter as well, haha! Currently my mother is visiting her parents oversees so I’ve been in charge of meals and rides for my siblings. It’s sometimes tiring but I am thankful that I get to repay my mom back even a little for her care and it made me realize just how much she has to do on a daily basis.

  88. The dinner party sounds like so much fun! Most of the frugal bloggers I know have little kids so I’d love to be able to hear more about raising teenagers frugally. Do you have a blog? Would love to hear greater details for planning the party as well as day-to-day saving. 🙂

  89. Hi Carrie – I live east of Pueblo! My soda stream came with two C02 cannisters and some trial sizes of flavorings. I am not usually a soda fan unless I don’t feel well and then it is regular Coke. I prefer just carbonation so I use the bottled water we get from our local artesian well company that has operated here in Pueblo for 125+ years (Clark’s). We have ‘city’ water which is essentially village water as we don’t quite qualify for the city designation in east Pueblo County :D. It has a strong chlorine and chemical flavor so we get bottled water for drinking, making powdered milk/coffee/tea. I get the replacement canisters at Bed Bath and Beyond – they are about $12.00 and I use a coupon. I’ve noticed that lots of places now replace the cannisters (WalMart, Staples, etc.). Those who tried the flavorings weren’t thrilled with some of them but others were okay. It did help one friend dramatically cut back on buying soda and she moved to just drinking sparkling water. It was in the 50s yesterday and nice enough to be outside working – today I awakened to fog, light snow and cold temps. Have to love Colorado weather!

  90. The banter from this post is perfect. The animal loving, meat eater in me is going back and forth on this debate. Love it!

  91. Thanks for the recommendation on Venture tomatoes. This year, tomatoes will be the largest crop to grow (we use tomatoes like you use green beans). I am always looking for a type to yield the most.

  92. That is a really smart idea with McDonalds. The Mister and I eat there maybe once a year, and it usually a “lets get a snack” kinda thing and then we order too much (if we think McDonalds is a good idea, we are on the verge of hangry). I seriously just made note of this to remember for next time. THANKS!

  93. I cooked black-eyed peas from dried peas for the first time ever. I used a variation of a recipe from the Neeleys and they were the best black-eyed peas I’ve ever eaten! I also cooked cabbage as they were a really good price recently.

    We have a cheese making dairy farm about an hour from our house. The cheese is so delicious and you can actually watch it being made through large windows. The cheese is much more expensive, of course, than the store brand blocks of cheese are at the grocery stores, but my is it good and I like the fact that it’s local. We had to drive right by there one day to pick up our daughter from a conference, so we stopped in (no extra gas cost to get there). Well, they sell ends and pieces that are cut off in the process which are bagged for sale. They are much less expensive per ounce than the regular blocks, so that is what we buy. We spent just over $25, and if you spend over $25 they give you a 15 ounce bag of cheese free. So, we saved two ways. Still, this is a big treat.

    My sister came over to stay with the children so my husband and I could go out on a date. We went to a matinee movie (did not buy a drink or snack there). Then we went to dinner using a restaurant gift card my sister gave us for Christmas. This was our first date in about five years due to our son’s health issues! It was great!

    Oh, and I made homemade sugar cookies that I didn’t get around to at Christmas. 🙂

  94. See if they have a Sharp Shopper store near you. It is a family owned store wiith overruns and really good prices on dairy products. We live in Virginia, in the north west.we like Costco and Aldi’s, if our garden is not producing.

  95. Oops, I found a typo in my post. The Boston marrow squash is a Maxima species squash, not a Mixta species. We haven’t found a Mixta species we like yet.

  96. I didn’t check the link on victory gardens but thought I would share that I have planted carrots and spinach in the same row before. It was rather successful. The carrots take so long to germinate that the spinach seemed to protect them as they grew.

  97. Tried that (endometrial ablasion), didn’t make a difference in my flow. Many women get relief from this procedure but I was not so fortunate.

  98. I live on the West coast (Washington) but celebrated New Years on east coast time. I figure that since our football schedules are all on east coast time, I could adopt east coast New Year.:) Was in bed by 10:00 (i mean 1:00);)

  99. Linda, I do mostly use the porch sale honor system you described. We call it pitch pick-up or ppu when listing. It is good for things $20 or under and I have never had a problem. With more expensive items I will meet people at a local shopping center. If it’s a large item I always use the pronoun we and schedule for when my husband is home. Hope that helps.

  100. Was gifted a soda stream with lots of flavorings when daughter moved in with friends who already owned one. I am a diet coke junkie and the diet cola flavoring with the soda stream was undrinkable – use it for bubbly water with the orange and lemon flavorings she gave me. I really hoped it would answer my need for diet coke – but sadly, no.

  101. I have sewn cloth pads from old t-shirts they work great- not many sewing skills needed since they are not seen. I almost bought some and then I was taking old t shirts and pjs to my car for charity. I realized I could do it myself for free with that fabric! 🙂

  102. I had to go back and find who posted about saving the elastic bands so I could thank them. My MIL gave my daughter and I both some warm slippers she found stashed in a closet the other day. When I took them out of the package yesterday I saved the elastic bands. When I gave them to my daughter to make bracelets with and told her what they were, she was so excited. She is 20 and is a true blessing when it comes to saving money. She helps keep me on track and comes up with some good ideas herself.

  103. Hi, everyone. I am a regular reader but don’t ever comment. But I have some questions about cashing in Swagbucks that I was hoping one of you could answer. The best use of my points look like it would be the $5 Amazon gift card – they only cost 450 points. But before I do so, I want to make sure I can get and use more than one of them at a time. Do any of you have experience doing so? Thank you in advance for your help!

  104. Once they give it to you, you type in the code to Amazon, and add it to your Amazon account. So, you could add in as many as you get along the way, and when you have enough to get what you want, the money will be all together in your Amazon account. It’s like making a bank deposit in your Amazon account when you redeem your gift cards (They don’t have to be used on one order. You can choose to use your gift card balance or your debit/credit card when you check out, so if you wanted to save them all until Christmas, for instance, you could.)

    Swagbucks limits you to how many cards you can order per day.

  105. Jennifer,
    We actually grow Venture green beans. They are a bush type and also a Blue Lake variety. They really produce. They are the kind that make a lot of beans over a short period of time. We can pick often when they are going good, process them, skip one day, and do it all over again. As soon as I have picked them in the early morning, I turn on the sprinklers for a while to settle their roots from the stress of picking, and to plump up the growing beans. I like to grow Carson as well. They are yellow, good quality and when you mix them in the jar, they are beautiful. They are a little later than the Venture, so all jars are not mixed, since green ones get ready first. I can most of my crop. I freeze a few packages for soups, etc. when I don’t have enough for a full canner load. I grow many succession plantings of the Ventures-planting every couple of weeks, and I plant several rows when I plant. They grow and produce much better when it warms up a tiny bit–planting too early doesn’t yield very many. I plant a few anyway as my “gambler’s crop” in hopes of getting some to eat sooner. I do plant some pole beans to eat fresh until frost-Blue Lake, and Purple -Podded Pole beans. They take a long time to grow, but produce until frost. The purple ones are too tender to can, to me, when picked small, but are really good stir-fried in some oil or butter with garlic for eating fresh. So, I only grow a few of those.

    I’m still struggling with getting lots of tomatoes here in our higher elevation, with poor the poor soil we have. This past year, I started them really early in the greenhouse, put fertilizer in with the roots when we planted and planted a LOT of plants. We got a really good crop, but some of that was because it was a marvelous growing year here as well. Some springs, we have put wooden cages up and covered them with plastic to try to warm them up sooner. We have used walls of water sometimes. We just keep trying. Since our crop was so poor last year–we lost all of it to blight–I canned, canned and canned this year since we got a bumper crop. I will have carry-over so I don’t have to worry if next summer is not so great. I grow Glacier Extra Early to get some as soon as I can. Then, I do some round ones, and some Roma-types, as well as different cherry ones each year. The only criteria for choosing this past spring was “blight-risistant” and it did help.

  106. Melissa, with Weis if you are willing to do a 5 minute survey online you can get $2 off your next purchase of $40 or more. It is on the receipt. From me using it, it doesn’t seem to have an expiration date.

  107. Janell, the original idea came from Brandy, who saved the elastic from the tags on her trees & bushes when they were putting in the white garden.

  108. Bunnies must be territorial, cuz we rarely have more than 3 or 4 around at a time. The babies must move out quite early! Maybe it’s because they see my giant cat in the window. She’d love to go out and *play* with the bunnies.
    Oddly, we got more coyotes when we lived in the L.A. foothills. I’ve never seen any near here. Red tailed hawks, yes. Our last dog was a coyote pup. Best dog I ever had. Smart as a whip. Even she didn’t chase the bunnies lol. The most that would happen is that she’d pop her ears straight up.

    No, I’ll stick to the little meat we eat from the market. 🙂

  109. From memory, I believe houseplants love to be watered with the water you use to soak the homemade pads before washing. I know it sounds disgusting but apparently there are all sorts of minerals in there. (Disclaimer: I’ve never actually used reusable pads but I went to a hippy college, where nobody shaved, everyone used reusable pads, and everybody talked about the value of eating your own placenta, so this is from memory, from a conversation I overheard probably a couple dozen times.)

  110. Thanks for the reminder about the survey! I did it once but have not taken the time to do it since. $2.00 can buy a bag of dried beans!

  111. I just have a question about the box-burning party. Are you burning shipping cartons or gift boxes??? Because we always spend the time to fold the gift boxes and save them for another year. In fact, so few stores give free boxes anymore, that we especially save the ones from the more posh stores! We also have an assortment from stores that have gone out of business a number of years ago! We also save gift wrap and ribbon from one year to the next. We tend to buy good ribbon from Joanne’s and reuse it as many times as possible. I also pick up partial skeins of yarn at the Goodwill–especially green and red—and save them for Christmas decorations and gift wraps. My daughter is very artistic and her packages are a work of art, every single one of them. Her fancy ribbons are a huge part of her secret, so I especially save the ones from gifts from her, and then re-use them after ironing—although never quite as nicely done as her packages, they do make a difference.

  112. Hmmm, thought I posted on here earlier in the week but can’t seem to find my post LOL
    I got an amazing deal on Nabob coffees today. On sale for $4/1lb bag and I had $2 coupons good on any Nabob product. I bought 16 bag of assorted roasts for $32:):):)

  113. This week was a week full of blessings. Was able to go shopping with my pre-teen daughter alone. As one of her Christmas gifts santa left her a $50.00 shopping spree with mommy. I am so proud of her…she purchased two new shirts at Bob’s (New England store), 6 Kind bars, and one Luna bar for a total of $1.33 saving over $45. Our next mission was a white fluffy Infiniti scarf. With sales and points earned through out the year she was thrilled with her purchase price of 2.12 for a $30 scarf. It was a fun adventure to shop the bargains after the holidays with her; may become our tradition. Since we live in New England and have hit a cold spell we have been utilizing our pellet stove and fire place so I have begun hanging our laundry in doors to dry to save money. We have a dryer but try to use for only “emergencies.” We ate all meals at home except two which we had a gift cards for so two very nice meals out only cost us $25 out of pocket for a family of four. We have really been conscious of our spending habits and have avoided dining out so this was a real treat. Luckily I have a very supportive hubby who appreciates all my efforts to save us money. While at Lowe’s to purchase a toilet repair kit hubby wanted to price antennas for our home; he found an old fashioned one for $80 so we are going to save for it and purchase in the spring. We have not had cable or internet at home in almost 3 years. Although we are in a better place financially we can’t see paying for something we can get free (tv). We have been using an interior antenna but its faulters on windy days. I also completed three pinecone surveys and uploaded receipts. Thank you all for your calming and frugal inspirations…this website is my treat to myself. Have a wonderful week full of blessings.

  114. Did you go to The Evergreen State College? My husband went there. Anyway, your description of the college cracked me up.

  115. We love those bush green beans from Territorial. We can about 50 quarts a year and eat lots fresh. I freeze a few bags for stir fry and soups. Every year we have enough left on the vines to call the gleaning group which sends local families willing to pick their own fresh veggies and they love those green beans too!
    One thing our local neighborhood does is organize a seed ordering party. We bring our inventories and trade some seeds but mostly we decide how to share our territorial order so we save on shipping and experience a huge savings in being able to order larger seed volumes and split them between friends. Sometimes splitting a larger package a number of ways is a fraction a the cost of buying the sampler pack and we get more seeds!
    I’ve always wanted to comment on this blog. It’s been such a blessing to my family and a constant source of purposeful inspiration.

  116. I just started using a Diva Cup this month. I was skeptical because of leakage when using tampons. My first day, which is my heaviest, I didn’t leak at ALL with the Diva Cup in place. Now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to try it!

  117. I got some free magazines in the mail thanks to Recyclebank. NO ONE believes that I get them all for FREE!! I hope it lasts for a long time as I am a voracious reader.

    Downloaded a few free books onto my iPad via the Kindle app.

    My son didn’t have school W-TH-Fr due to weather conditions in our area…so that saved on us giving him lunch money, which is $2.50 a day for elementary school children.

    ate at home as much as possible. Stayed home as much as possible too. Now that my commute to work is only 30 miles round trip per day, I’m saving $ on gas too! Which is a BONUS! Gas dropped to $1.83/gal this week in my town.

    Reading frugality blogs such as this one and PennilessParenting.com helps to motivate me. I personally know Penny over at that website. She is uber-frugal much like you Brandy.

  118. We don’t get much predation of our garden despite many rabbits and deer. There is still food to be found in the fields to keep the deer grazing in winter and they also like the compost piles. The many dogs keep them away in the summer. The rabbits really love the weed plantain. If you have that growing in your grass they will gladly munch on that all day long and ignore your garden. I enjoy watching them grazing, and the younger ones hopping and chasing each other around. So, let the weeds be in your grass, if you can.

  119. Marcia we save the boxes too. I have old ones from defunct stores also. Some of the oldest ones are so nicely made and this was before they started making them fold-up. They are heavy duty, some with embossed names on them. My favorite one is a pale blue one from Tiffany’s (the jewelryy store). It’s in my store of boxes, I know I never received a present in it so not sure where it originally came from but it’s 40 or more years old.

  120. Hi ladies, I hope everybody had a wonderful week! Brandi, I hope you’re feeling better by now, and I’m sure your honey took good care of you and the kids–he looks and sounds like a sweetie!

    For this post, I will report in on the week we rang in the new year. I took a half day for NYE so I could take a nap and be fresh for my date with Darling. I glammed up with extra make up and my sparkly rhinestone wedding jewelry, and we went to dinner at the Spaghetti Factory, which yielded some nice left overs. The night was freezing, so we skipped going out for cocktails and warmed up at home with the fireplace. Darling isn’t a drinker, so we toasted each other with the sparkling apple cider we had left over from Christmas. Despite the nap, I didn’t make it to midnight–what a weenie I am! Remembering a friend’s advice on starting the new year by setting the tone for a happy year ahead, I’d wanted to serve a special breakfast, but since there weren’t any specials on bacon I put on a pan of Pilsbury Grand cinnamon buns ($3.69 vs. $8.99 for the good bacon) and they were scrumptious! With it I served up coffee in our white and silver wedding China cups, to make it a bit more fancy.

    My mom’s birthday was on the third, and I wanted it to be really special for her; I’ve really been inspired by the way Brandi adds so many pretty and special touches to her celebrations. For the lunch, I took the left over KFC chicken and biscuits out of the freezer and used the disposable Christmas party ware I’d put aside in anticipation for her birthday. To go with the chicken, I made mashed potatoes from a mix I’d stashed away in the pantry. I also made the dark velvet torte she’d requested, using the ingredients I’d bought on sale during the holidays. All I needed to buy out of pocket for lunch was chicken gravy for the potatoes, and chocolate chip ice cream to accompany the cake. Her gifts were her fave perfume (50% off earlier in the year) and a beautiful white robe to keep her warm. (Purchased at Walmart with my left over “allowance”). The gifts were wrapped in tissue paper and placed in some beautiful gift bags I’d saved from Christmas. We really had a wonderful time, and she was really happy with her celebration! The next day, she left me a really lovely VM to let me know how much she loved her party, and that she was really impressed by how pretty the presentation was. Brandi, I owe a lot of the credit to you, for the ideas and inspiration you provide– thank you for sharing your flair with us readers!

    To wind up our holidays, we went to see The Hobbitt in my favorite theater, with tickets we’d received for Christmas. I love going out for the big screen so much, I’d choose a movie over dinner out any day! We saved on the snack bar by sharing a large slurpee and a junior bag of kettle corn. This will probably be the last of the movies for a while, so we really enjoyed it!

    have a great week, everybody!

  121. 3.I use my old dishsoap container and dilute 3 parts water to 1 part soap for things I want to soak or wash individually. My husband was doing a squirt of soap on everything and we were going through way to much. Now he uses the diluted stuff and it lasts way longer and cleans just as well. No complaints from him as long as I keep the jug full for him.

  122. I too use no-period birth control since having five children and it has CHANGED MY LIFE!!!! No more mood swings, migraines, anemia etc etc besides all the money I save on feminine supplies. I couldn’t recommend this enough!

  123. Thanks! Sorry I missed the responses, I’m a little confused about how subscribing to a thread works. We are in Charles County, up from NC, and yes, we are in sticker shock! I’ve heard that to register our vehicles we will have to pay back taxes from the year the cars were manufactured, despite the fact that we paid taxes in other states during that time. It’s so crazy! Do you know how Food Lion compares to Shoppers? Those are the two closest stores to us. We do have a Giant Eagle about a mile away too, so that’s good info to know.

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