Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Plum Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

Parsley dill cilantro The Prudent Homemaker

I cut lettuce, Swiss chard, sage, dill, cilantro and parsley from the garden.

I used water from waiting for the shower to warm to water seedlings in the garden. I also used water from boiling eggs (I let it cool first) and from steaming chard to water potted plants in the garden.

 I gave both boys a haircut.

I repurposed a basket whose handle had broken to hold some magazines and gardening catalogs.

I cooked a pot of black beans in the solar oven.

I watched a free show on Hulu and one on You Tube.

I  made one shopping trip this week. I found Oil of Olay on sale at Target and was able to combine the sale with coupons. At Sam’s Club, I found a brand of cane sugar that I had not seen before on clearance at $6.91 for 25 pounds. Most of the bags were torn, but I found three that were not. I combined this trip with a trip to the library, where I picked up some books I had requested.

I listed a couple of items for sale on Facebook garage sale pages and sold one.

We enjoyed watching a blimp fly over our house.

Winter found a site that had a piece of piano music that she wanted for free. She printed it and started practicing it. The site is a new one for me.

I cut out a skirt for Elsa using some fabric that I had on hand.

I dug Chioggia beets from the garden. I pickled the beets and we ate the greens. I noticed that these greens tasted a lot more like spinach than other beet greens, which was nice.

Stock The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?

This Post Has 118 Comments

  1. Sandra

    I cooked from my pantry, refrigerator and freezer all week..no trips to the grocery store. Washed plastic zip lock bags for reuse. We are still eating tomatoes from our summer garden. There are not many left now, but we will probably have them through early March. I am reading a book borrowed from our community center lending shelf. I have decorated the house for St. Patrick’s Day using things that have been collected over the years and are brought out again each year to add a little holiday brightness.

  2. Celia

    We were extremely happy and proud to have saved the money to install new windows. A week later our heating died and could not be fixed. Thankfully the windows have made the space heaters work very efficiently. We have a new system going in tomorrow. We were very blessed to be given half the money by my mother and we are going to have to work to pay off the rest. If it were just us I’d be fine with using space heaters til we saved the money, but I am very afraid of my baby toppling a heater or some such catastrophe. We had planned to replace our HVAC next year, my mom turned it from a disaster to a managable problem. At least we can take the energy savings and apply it to our bill. We cancelled our vacation to use that money for the furnace. I made fantastic doughnuts yesterday, dutch apple and strawberry. We are finding lots of ‘llost” toys in the basement, since we have to clean out a lot of room for the workmen. I found a tutorial to make the cake pops my son wants for his birthday. They are fifty dollars for a dozen on etsy if you can believe that. I made rolls, pizza, french onion soup, salad dressing, and a lot of other things. I am potty training my two year old.

  3. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

    Thank-you so much for this blog. I look forward to reading your post as well as comments from the community that has developed here. In my real non-internet life, I know very few people who embrace living frugally. So coming here is a bit like meeting friends for coffee. It’s a warm and welcoming place for me.
    Great find on that sugar! What a blessing that will be, especially when you start canning.
    On the frugal front – I continue to use my cash envelopes for grocery shopping. Last month I was under budget and it looks like I will be under budget again this month. What a blessing that has been for me. I am not working due to health issues and living off savings. I find that using cash makes me much more aware of what I am purchasing and that I am making better choices. I am also recording every purchase made. Again, I am being more mindful of where my money is going. I continue to try your recipes (thanks); tonight I am making your black bean burger. I started my garden yesterday by planting peas and chard. It’s a little early but it feels like spring. I am so looking forward to fresh produce from my garden. I am also going to try some herbs in pots at my apartment. My parsley overwintered well. I am going to try cilantro, thyme and basil. I continue to use up the groceries I’ve purchased and had zero waste last week. Baby steps for sure but I’m getting there.
    Also, no meals out last week. I found that cooking ahead and having something in the refrigerator to reheat for lunch has helped stopped me from those $6 splurges at fast food. I will go out once with my Seniors group this next week – $10 for a nice Italian dinner and time with new friends. That’s definitely a good choice for me.
    Cheering you on –

  4. tina

    Not such a frugal week but maybe a few things:

    * My hubby landed a new job! A nice bump in salary and better work environment (there are a couple downsides but we are focusing on the positive!)
    * used some swag credits to order a couple food items from amazon
    * made bread, most meals, packed lunches, and froze a bunch of leftovers in ready to go for work lunch containers
    * we are narrowing down where the garden is going to go. This is our first spring at this house and I am really excited to get some veggies planted!
    * won a free jar of peanuts and also picked up a free candy bar using saving star
    * added an extra blanket to the bed to keep me warm
    * trying my best to walk daily. helps my stress level and mood and is good for my health!
    * our Albertsons was bought out by Haggen and I got a coupon book in the mail with a few coupons good each week. This week I was able to get a free pound of bananas, a dozen eggs for .99, ice cream (a treat!), mayo, and .59 avocado’s. Such a blessing!

  5. Mandy

    I have begun making garden plans for spring, mostly in my head at this point. I am also planning to utilize ways to reduce our water usage in the garden. I have begun to see reports that we will probably have a drought this summer and want to prevent this from causing to much damage in the garden. When I have a few minutes not taken up by something else I will go through my seeds and see what I need to purchase this year.
    I continue to use shower warm up water and water from the weird pipe to fill the humidifier and flush the toilet. We have a dual flush toilet but began taking it one step further by not flushing every time we urinate. I have been cleaning the toilet one extra day a week to prevent odor and so far no problems. Of course if someone comes over, we flush.
    I made one shopping trip yesterday. I went to Aldi and Kroger. I still have $15 left from my $100 budget. I will be using my new, free, budgeting app on my kindle to redo our budget.
    Our house will be paid off in two months! I am so excited! Then the house will be in our name ( we purchased it on land contract from family) we can change insurance companies for our home owners and auto insurance to save money.
    Air dried all clothing on my drying racks. I use soap nuts to wash my clothes and white vinegar and essential oil for the rinse agent.
    We cooked all meals at home except last night. My husband treated us to dinner out. I took all my meals and snacks to work with me from home. All were homemade.
    My husband and his step father are fixing some parts on the car we bought a few weeks ago. Some parts had to be ordered ( don’t know why they didn’t order them to begin with, but what do I know), so the work on the car will be finished when the parts come in.
    My husband found another plush care bear at the Goodwill store for our daughter for $3. This is her latest obsession. I prefer NOT to have the house cluttered with “stuff” but at least he didn’t spend much money. I am a minimalist, he is the opposite lol. He LOVES stuff.
    That’s all I can remember right now. I can’t wait to read everyone’s accomplishments this week!

  6. Tina in the NW

    I had just typed up my whole post and was just going to hit submit, and my computer decided it was time to restart, which made everything disappear. So here goes again….

    Brandy, your photos are always so beautiful.

    Thanks to everyone who offered kind words and advice on my condo water damage situation last week. My upstairs neighbor was finally forced to take action, so the situation has been resolved for the most part. It was very unpleasant for a while, and hopefully that is over now.

    I was left with a 9×18 inch hole in the ceiling behind my kitchen cabinets. The water mitigation service cut open the drywall to dry out the affected area. I asked around to find someone to fix it, but I knew it was going to cost me around $300 to get the repair done. So I went to our local hardware store for advice, and the young man I talked to convinced me I could do the repair myself. He talked me through the process, even showing me the repair on the store model they have for that purpose. I decided to try it, thinking that I could end this awful episode by learning new skill. (My husband hates home improvement projects, so I knew I would have to do the repair myself or find someone to do it for me).

    So, I bought the necessary supplies, which cost around $50. I also needed a piece of wood for the project, and I found one in the scrap bin for 25 cents. When I got home, I called my dad and asked him to walk me through the process (he lives two time zones away). I also did research online.

    Yesterday, I decided to tackle the repair. And…I succeeded! The hole is patched and looks quite good. I still have the fine finishing work to do, plus priming and painting. I am so glad I decided to do the work myself. I learned something new, and it saved us around $250.

    Other frugal accomplishments and blessings:
    – I made kombucha, water kefir, chicken broth and yogurt. The yogurt was a frugal fail though, as it turned out all grainy and clumpy and unappetizing. I think the dehydrator got too hot and I cultured the yogurt too long. I can’t eat it plain like I normally do, but I can use it in cooking. Bummer.
    – I used $8.06 in rewards credit at our local garden store to get a planting shovel for 69 cents out of pocket.
    – We ate from our freezer and pantry, including jam and beans that I canned last summer.
    – I ate all meals at home except one.
    – I packed a lunch and took the bus on the day I was out. It was nice enough weather to sit outside and enjoy my lunch.
    – I made several cards for upcoming birthdays.
    – I took a walk on my favorite nature trail and saw a bald eagle circling overhead.
    – My daffodils are blooming. 🙂

    I look forward to hearing about everyone else’s week.

  7. I love the linens you bought! You can soak them in hot/warm water with some oxi-clean powder and it will help them to whiten.

  8. AnnaInOhio

    Frugals this week? All meals from home. Today we had Asian Fried Rice with egg rolls. I did not make it from home but bought it at GFS while I was still working there so I did get my discount. I will miss not getting the discount there as a employee but on the other hand less impulse buying. I was offered a job yesterday but am holding off as I have 2nd interviews for 2 other jobs on Mon and Tues this week with more hours and I’m hoping a little more money per hour. Tomorrow I will peel a bag of potatoes and make a big batch of mashed potatoes and freeze into meal portions for later weeks. Both the jobs I’m interviewing for are evenings and weekend shifts so will have to concentrate om making meals ahead of time so dh can eat at a decent hour every day and not be tempted to pick up fast food. I continue to work daily on my crochet afghan for dh for Christmas, funny he is paying absolutely no interest in what I am making LOL! These are squares that will be crocheted together at the end of make a quilt like pattern. Other frugals is I shoveled my own sidewalk and driveway instead of paying the neighborhood kids who came around yesterday offering to do it to make money. I would have liked to help but 1. money is tight and 2. I have a brand new car and feared they might accidentally scrape it with their shovel. It is a lease and we plan to turn it in in a year and a half for another brand new model and they take points off for scratches, dents, scrapes etc. so we have to be very careful to try to keep it in mint condition. It still smells like brand new car inside since neither of us smokes. I’m sure I have done other frugals but that’s all I can remember right now.

  9. judy

    Congrats on getting your house paid off in two months..So happy for you..This is a great accomplishment.. I remember when we made our last house payment about 6 yrs ago.. I SHOUTED for a long time,ha]

  10. Heather Irvine

    Brandy,
    I feel as though I have been coming to school with you each week and learning great lessons. I am “graduating” next week on the 28th when my husband will be losing his job. While it is a stressful time, it is not a time for despair.
    #1. We have no debt at all (we don’t own our house, so not even a mortgage).
    #2. Thanks to all I have learned from you (and thanks to myself for implementing what I have learned!), we have food storage for upwards of 8 months, including a well stocked freezer with meat. I will continue to focus on replenishing our basics as we use them up.
    #3. We have about 5 months of living costs saved.
    Could we be better prepared? Of course. But we could be WAY worse too.
    We will have a small amount of income from my eBay store, which I have been growing over the last few months. But even with that, I have a good amount of items to be listed that I have been stockpiling. So all my profit can go in our pocket, no need to buy more items to sell for quite awhile.
    I will be continuing to look for ways to cut our costs (I LOVE your post about when you think there is nothing left to cut, there really always is something!) and checking in with you.
    I am not good at gardening but love trying. I just planted more seeds today, as well as harvested my Mint and Basil.
    I am learning to take better care of our 2 orange trees. We had a small harvest about a month ago and now the trees are already in full blossom again. My neighbor lets us pick her plum tree when she gets a harvest (last year she only got 1 plum!). Her tree is in full bloom so I have high hopes for this year. I can and dry the plums.
    My kids and I sat down together over breakfast (the hubby was at work) and planned our meals for the next week, including lunches (I homeschool so the kids are home for all meals). This is an area where we can improve, there will be no running out for dinner when I can’t think of something to make or didn’t plan ahead.

  11. Janell in Georgia

    Mandy, Congrats on paying off your house. I don’t know that I will ever reach that point. After my accident and having to quit work, interest rates dropped so we refinanced for lower payments because we were struggling just to survive.
    I have seen you mention this weird pipe before. What is it? An overflow pipe?

  12. Rhonda A.

    Brandy, I absolutely love the picture of the wire basket filled with herbs from your garden…so beautiful!

    I wish I had more frugal accomplishments to share this week. Alas, it was just a lackluster week on the frugal front. Here’s what I was able accomplish:

    *Ordered more bandages from a friend who works at Shopper’s Drug Mart and received her employees discount by doing so (such a blessing that she is willing to do this for me).

    *Finished my beginner’s weaving course this weekend. Really enjoyed it and I look forward to trying to master this skill. Was able to borrow the table loom to take home and work on the project more. I just hope I don’t have any problems taking the project off the loom!

    *Surprised myself on how little I spent on groceries this week, which is enough to take us through 2 weeks (with the exception of buying some milk). The amount I spent is a little less than what used to spend for groceries every week. A little tip for anyone trying to buy groceries every other week – I buy bananas or other fruits (depending on sales) that ripen quickly for the first week, and melon (such as cantaloupe or mini watermelon), pineapple, oranges or apples for the second week. This way I always have fresh fruit available. I also have homemade canned applesauce and canned/frozen fruit from last summer to add variety.

    *Received bonus points on my PC plus card for purchasing the $100 in groceries I needed to buy anyways. I now have a credit for $20 in free groceries through this program. Love free stuff!

    *Made up some butterscotch pudding from my pantry for my daughter’s lunches this week.

    *My mother treated us to take out Chinese food for dinner on Family Day last Monday. There was enough food left over to eat a second dinner the following day.

    *Used coupons for 3 free burger’s at McDonald for a lunch treat after my daughter participated in a bowling tournament today.

    *My husband found a pair of pants he liked at Old Navy a few weeks ago, but held off buying them as they were not on sale. This week, when we happened to be at a mall, he checked into Old Navy. They were on sale at 40% off, so he bought the pants. I’m proud of him for waiting it out until they were on sale. He used some birthday money to buy them.

    *I suggested and am now organizing a fundraiser selling seed for my daughters school. There is a local company that sells heirloom seed which offers a fundraiser package. I’m looking forward to purchasing some seeds this way. Not only will I be supporting my daughter’s school, I will be able to grow heirloom/open pollinated plants and harvest seeds from them for future use!

    Frugal Fails for this week:
    *The battery on my car will not hold a charge anymore. We are trying to decide whether to replace the battery (buy new or buy through car wreckers) or replace the car completely. It’s a 2003 model that we paid cash for a few years ago. It has never been a particularly good car but served a purpose at the time we bought it. I look forward to replacing the clunker, but obviously a battery is cheaper. I’m arguing with my husband as he wants to buy a new battery and I feel the car is not worth paying for a brand new one. To be continued…
    *I have had to travel to Toronto (which is an 1 1/2 drive from where we live) every week for the past three weeks for rechecks after my surgery. It costs us gas money as well as $16 in parking at the hospital each time we go. Although I accept that this is par for the course with having the surgery, the costs are coming out of our budget and not very frugal. I have another appointment this week, but hopefully soon the frequency of the rechecks will decrease.
    *Some day I hope to be able to say that I did not eat out at all this week…but I don’t think that will be anytime soon.:(

    I look forward to reading everyone’s frugal accomplishments. I get so much inspiration from all of you. Have a great week everyone!

  13. momsav

    Good for you for fixing the drywall! I’m always amazed at what a strong woman can do when she puts her mind to it!

  14. Julie

    I am so proud of you doing that repair yourself! How awesome is that! Good for you!!

  15. Rhonda A.

    In museums, conservators use a weak dilution of hydrogen peroxide in luke warm water to soak linens that have yellowed with age. Just be sure to test the coloured areas with the dilution to ensure that it will not cause bleaching.

  16. Rosemary in WA

    After 3 years of searching I finally got a job! I had part-time things to make do, but this uses my training and is in the career path I want 🙂

  17. Annabel Smith

    If everyone lived like you Brandy the whole world would be a better place. No waste for one thing but gratitude for another. Your herbs are beautiful.
    Some ways I saved money this week include… I made over an old trunk that I found on the side of the road. I lined it with rosy paper and now it is my blanket box. This frees up my over crowded linen cupboard so I can make that nicer.
    I made pizzas from scratch and used up a lot of left overs. I harvested basil, chives, parsley and oregano. (it is summer here) I have been making a supply of cards which is a big money saver as I like to give nice cards and write letters.
    I have been growing some cuttings for new plants. I make all my husbands lunches for work plus he leaves with hot coffee in a travel mug. I have made a lot of jam and fruit pies and now I just have one thing to go which is Quinces. I had three weeks of loads of free fruit which has been wonderful.
    I have been reading a lot about your pantry and also reading LDS preparedness and pantry information as it is so good to help me build up my pantry. That is my big project this year. If anyone wants friendship in building up their supplies and lovely frugal living come visit me at http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/ In all things I find having friends who are working on the same projects or understanding what you are doing (and why) is so helpful. Coming here is a big part of that for me. I don’t feel like we are the only ones being careful and trying to get ahead with some savings. Also just with finding happiness in simple beautiful things. I am not interested in wasting money, I look at things and think of how much I could build up my pantry with that money!
    I feel like SJ in Vancouver (above) in real life I dont know many people who live frugally or simply. I have one local friend who does…. everyone else is an online friend. But online friends are wonderful as a blogs, they can be a real community to be part of and so encouraging. Many thanks. Annabel.xxx

  18. Krissy in Sacramento CA

    Brandy, Do you have a link for the free Hulu? DH and I tried to find it last night but could only find the Hulu Plus. Many thanks.

  19. Marivene

    Dried more orange peel from oranges eaten for lunch. I did not use the dehydrator. I used a vegetable peeler to cut wide swaths of zest from the peel, then let it dry on a plate on the counter for a day before I used a pair of scissors to cut the peel into very fine strips, suitable for use in herbal teas or rice. I let the strips sit on the plate on the counter for a few more days, until they are quite dry, before placing them in a jar with the rest.

    Watched “Downton Abbey” on PBS & “Cheese Slices” on UEN. Hemmed more of the emergency wipes while I watched.

    Bought several bags of Idaho russet potatoes on sale for 99 cents for 10 lbs.

    Cut down 7 more apple boxes to hold quart jars in my cubby. Dehydrated some jars of older pears that I found while reorganizing the cubby, which frees up more empty jars for the coming canning season. Picked up 7 more boxes to cut down.

    Continued to hem navy blue flannel wipes for our emergency kit.

    Had a smorgasbord type dinner to use up leftovers.

    Used reclaimed water from the kitchen to water the onions, garlic & lettuce sprouts that are up in the garden.

  20. Sandra

    I bought 200 pounds of potatoes for 40 dollars. It worked out to 20 cents a pound. Not bad for this time of year. I hope to get them for 10 cents a pound in November.

    I got a Sam’s club membership. We’ll save the cost of the membership in butter and cheese alone.

    I made 8 quarts of homemade yogurt from powdered milk. We will be using this instead of milk for awhile.

    It’s snowing today but I hope to get my plants in the ground in a couple of weeks. I am so looking forward to spring.

  21. Sandra

    Oh yeah! I also canned 35 quarts of various types of beans. This has two advantages. One, it makes my pantry look fuller and two, it gives me some “convenience” food.

  22. Terri

    Love the smiley face after ‘my daffodils are blooming’! I was just sitting here looking out the window at mine and smiled too, even on this rainy dull gray day they are bright and sunny. Congratulations on the home repair!

  23. Terri

    Love the smiley face after ‘my daffodils are blooming’! I was just sitting here looking out the window at mine and smiled too, even on this rainy dull gray day they are bright and sunny. Congratulations on the home repair!

  24. Hilogene in Az

    This past week was a good one for us. While we ate two meals out, the rest were at home. And I finally managed to sell quite a few jewelry and silver items (from grandparents and parents as they passed) got a variety of bids and the final prices were okay, so that money went right into savings! I was a bit torn about whether to sell or keep…finally decided that I am 58 and there is no one left in the family to give them to, so it is time to sell. Now that it is done,I am continent with the decision.

    One new thing that I noticed as well, now that we are eating our meals at home, I was quite disappointed in the meals we ate out. Good reinforcement for cooking at home 😉

  25. Michelle S

    Congrats on the DIY project! What a great accomplishment!

  26. Michelle S

    -We got 12 inches of snow on this week and couldn’t leave the house because our road was so bad! We saved a lot just by staying home. Brandy, I am always in awe of the weeks you say you stay out of the grocery store. I always think “how can you do that?” Well, this week I learned it can be done! I had more than enough food in my freezer and pantry to make delicious meals. I did feel a little restricted at first because I didn’t have the ingredients for some of the things I wanted to make. But I improvised or we made something else instead. I made a chicken parm casserole one night, but we didn’t have any parmesan cheese so I left it out and it tasted just fine. When we finally did venture out of the house on Friday, we stopped and bought clementines ($3.99 for a 3 pound bag which is the best price I’ve seen all winter) and grapes ($1.49 a pound which is a really great price for this area. They won’t get any cheaper.). I bought nothing else. This week has taught me that I buy way too many groceries! I missed a couple “good sales”, but you know what? Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean I HAVE to buy it. It will be on sale again.
    -We were able to use our wood stove for heat all week. Our heat pump came on a couple times Saturday morning but it wasn’t on too long.
    -I didn’t go to work all week, and neither did my husband because of the snow and ice. That allowed us to save a week’s worth of gas! Thankfully the nature of our jobs provides that we get paid for snow days so we won’t miss out on the paycheques for the week. We really enjoyed spending time together. We played games, watched Netflix, spent time with neighbours, and shoveled a lot of snow!
    -I used our snowed in time to clear out some clutter. I went through a few boxes and my closet, and set aside stuff to sell and consign. I also have a rather large donate pile.

  27. Myra

    Hello all! It seems that spring is right around the corner here in the Southeast region of the United States. (I am in the southern part of Mississippi). It has certainly got me to thinking about my garden. I am attempting a small raised bed this year. We have tried the traditional row gardening and we have not had much success except with cucumbers!

    Frugal accomplishments this week have not been many. My washing machine, which is only two years old, had to be put in the shop again for the second time since owning it. It is going to cost me about a hundred dollars to get it fixed, and that is just for labor. The shop didn’t charge me for parts since it was only two years old. In the meantime, I have to go to the laundromat down the street to wash laundry and cost is adding up quickly! I will be so glad to get my machine back.

    I have continued to grocery shop within budget and look for ways to cut corners as much as possible. I have spent time rereading your post on cutting expenses and looking at your menus for ideas and inspiration. I have cut out all trips to the thrift stores for clothing. I recently went through my closet and I have enough clothes to wear that I could go a month without washing anything and still have clothing in my closet to wear. Everything fits and is in good repair, therefore there is no need for new clothing, just wants and I am trying to be grateful for what I do have.

    Our only grocery store in town has recently expanded, and prices are beginning to go up on everything. I told my husband today that I am going to have to start searching else for groceries and supplies.

    As I said, not much in the way of frugal accomplishments but I will continue to chip away a little at a time, thanks to all of your awesome ideas! Have a blessed week!

  28. Chris

    This has been a good week – eating all meals at home but for a lunch that my sister paid for because I drove when we went shopping. I bought only things to list on my etsy shop except for one long sleeved tee to wear for layering. When it is sub-zero for days (hello MN!), I can use one more – especially for $1.99!

    I had planned to make your White Bean Rosemary soup for tonight’s dinner but forgot to soak the beans – guess what we will have tomorrow?! I made a loaf a no knead bread that we’ll have with dinner tonight and tomorrow.

    I work in a small cafe a few days a week and last night they catered a dinner at a large apt complex and my husband and I worked that event for WAY more than they normally pay me so we have a nice little cushion of cash to set aside for a weekend trip to Chicago in May. This kind of opportunity comes up a few times a year – sometimes it doesn’t work out – but am always happy when it does.

  29. Melanie

    Your photos are always so gorgeous. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  30. Mari in MD

    This was not a frugal week for me and I’m okay with that. My Mom died on Friday night at the age of 95 and after a 10+ year battle with dementia. All the things that made her a person (her love of reading, her great conversations and interactions with people, her love of her family and children, etc.) died years ago so this was just her body catching up and we are all at peace with that and very, very grateful for the wonderful care she received at the nursing home for the past 9 years.

    My first non-frugal activity was an emergency stay at a hotel last night (Saturday) after the snowstorm predicted for Saturday afternoon developed earlier and much faster than expected. We postponed the funeral home planning appointment (only reason I was out) until today (Sunday) but after it took me nearly 90 minutes to go about two miles, I gave up and three of my sisters and I got hotel rooms for the night AND takeout from The Cheesecake Factory (for which another sister paid). Thanks to past frugality, paying around $160 was doable and preferable to spending hours to get home and definitely better than being involved in one of the many, many accidents that occurred all over the area yesterday.

    My other non-frugal purchase was paying a teenager $34 (every dollar in my wallet at the time) to shovel my sidewalks and parking spaces for my cars. I was able to get home this morning to feed my cats but needed to get back for the funeral home appointment. This was a heavy snow and I had to do some additional shoveling when I got home (sidewalks along the side of the house), but he did a great job and it warmed up a lot when the sun came out, allowing the sidewalks to dry. It is going to get cold (again!) so now the sidewalks won’t freeze. It was worth every penny to me to get this done. Again, my generally frugal way of living allowed me to do it. I was also happy to reward his initiative and work ethic. My neighbor paid him $25 for help with some of her shoveling and I’m guessing he made some more money from other homeowners so I say good for him!

    I don’t even remember what, if anything, I did that was frugal last week! I know I didn’t eat out or buy any groceries. However, I’ll worry about getting back to frugal accomplishments after this week, once the funeral has been held and life settles back to normal.

  31. Mae

    I’m in charge of all the plastering in our home. Take your time with the sanding – it’ll make the biggest difference in the outcome.

  32. Mari in MD

    Tina,

    Try typing your post in Word (or whatever software you use for writing documents), saving it periodically. If your computer gets wonky or restarts, you will still have whatever you typed before your last save and you can do spellcheck on it before posting. Not that anyone ELSE needs to use spellcheck, but I find it very useful for correcting typing errors.

  33. Bless

    Brandy, once again, thank you for listing all the frugal things you do because it reminds me that I could be doing more, myself. Last week, I:
    – packed all my breakfasts and lunches to take to the office
    – was blessed with a free office lunch again, on Friday (2 Fridays in a row!) with enough leftover for dinner
    – had dinner at a friend’s house, on Saturday
    – received a replacement yard waste bin free of charge (lid of old bin broke off)
    – picked 5 oranges from the tree (there’s more on the tree for later)
    – went grocery shopping and spent $11.23
    – bought canned tuna on sale for $.50 each

    My grocery spending is posted here: http://www.bless2cents.blogspot.com/2015/02/weekly-grocery-shopping-february-week-3.html

    Thank you for allowing me to post a link to my blog, here. I appreciate that.

  34. Mae

    I filed my taxes electronically saving me about $2 in stamps. This is the first year I’ve been able to do that; previously I couldn’t find an e-file company that was equipped to handle the 2555 (foreign earned income exclusion). The IRS forms are still far from perfect; my husband isn’t American and doesn’t have, want, or need a SSN or TFI, but they won’t accept that, so . . .

    We found great deals on carrots (19 c/kilo), bananas (89 c/kilo), and strawberries ($3 for a box with 8 very large punnets). I’ve frozen most of the carrots and strawberries and will probably end up freezing quite a few of the bananas too. Tropical Cyclone Marcia landed too far south to damage the banana-growing regions, which means we shouldn’t see bananas increase in price to up to $15/kilo; but 89 c/kilo is about as low as I’ve seen them in years.

    We picked up our plane tickets for our next holiday. My husband waited while the travel agent booked our seats on the plane, too. Sometimes airlines charge extra for this, sometimes they don’t; so we may or may not have saved money; but it’s nice to know the seats are booked. My amazing parents have started stockpiling some favorite American foods for me. Since we have to break up the trip with a few days in Fiji (I know, the sacrifices we make to save money . . .) I contacted their Quarantine to make sure it’ll be allowed into the country. I should be fine, which will save money over having to ship the stuff back home. We also contacted the hotel in LA to ask about their airport shuttle – it’s complimentary, so that’ll save us about $30 in parking fees at the hotel.

    Upon reading the fine print on the tickets I discovered we actually have 93 kilos luggage allowance instead of 60 kilos luggage allowance. My husband is already groaning at the thought. My mother plans to take advantage of our luggage allowance by sending us back with Christmas and maybe birthday presents for the kids. I’m also taking advantage of it by taking Christmas presents for my family on the trip with us.

    I used our wonderful NBN phone/Internet deal to call the LA hotel for free (we get something like 1500 free minutes a month to the US) and also to have a very nice 90 minute conversation with a friend in Queensland (we get unlimited free long distance calls within Australia). Having our phone and Internet bundled with the NBN saves us about $60 – $70/month.

    I salary package on to a credit card at the maximum amount I’m allowed. This allows me to save money off my tax bill as I’m taxed at a much lower rate at the money I salary package on to the credit card. I haven’t been using the credit card much for the past few months, because I know we have several large bills all due between 14 February – 10 March. Since the money is deposited directly there I never miss it; and this means we won’t have to pull the money out of the savings account. I got the statement the other day and discovered I’ll easily have enough to pay them all off.

    Still working on home renovations . . . Still saving tons of money by doing quite a few jobs ourselves, and by shopping around for the best quotes on things we have to hire done . . . We have two large and one small job earmarked for this year. There are three more large jobs I’d like to do, but I think at this stage they may just have to wait.

  35. You just have to type in Hulu.com. For some reason if you do a search for it, only Hulu Plus comes up. I don’t know how they worked that out, but I’m sure it works to their advantage 🙂 You can create an account on Hulu for your favorite shows, so it will notify you when you have a new one (either by email, or when you log in; the new episodes will be in your queue). You’ll see Hulu Plus only shows listed there (there is a little green symbol in the corner for those), mixed in with the regular shows. Many shows are available 1 day after air if you pay for Hulu Plus, or 8 days for free (the green symbol will come off the episode then and it will show up in your queue). The extra wait doesn’t bother me one bit.

  36. Mae

    Yay! Congratulations!

  37. Mae

    I’m sorry for your loss, all the same.

  38. Holly B. from Upstate NY

    It seems like this past week went by way to fast! I picked up 6 pounds of mozzarella at $1.99 a pound. This is the lowest in gets in our area. Today I made a batch of waffles for breakfasts this week. I made a ham from the freezer bought on clearance after Christmas and I made stuffing from bread ends that I’ve froze.

  39. Mae

    Oh – We also celebrated Chinese New Year last week. I printed off a red envelope from on-line, cut it out, glued it together, and filled it with chocolate coins I bought on clearance after Christmas (50 cents/bag). I found some great activity sheets on activityvillage.co.uk for the kids and we used those to celebrate too.

  40. That’s awesome, Tina! Well done!!! Doing your own sheetrock work is messy and not what I’d call fun, but what savings!

  41. That sounds like a great deal on sugar. It’s been years since I saw a blimp; I bet that was fun! I’m unfamiliar with the flower in your last photo… stock maybe? It’s absolutely beautiful. Your photos are such a treat; always beautiful but especially a treat right about now. I’m so thankful to the commenter here, who told me about Manor House and Coal House, both of which I enjoyed last week. Full story here: http://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/02/staying-warm-and-frugal-accomplishments.html

  42. Mandy

    It’s a skinny pipe coming from the furnace and central air. I’ve never seen anything like it before this house.it’s coming down out of the ceiling into the shower and water comes out of it sometimes.

  43. Mandy

    Congratulations on your new job!

  44. Marcia

    I’m sorry for the loss of your mother but know what you mean about her personality having died sooner. My Mom died just over a year ago (at 95) after a few years with dementia but only about 15 months in a facility. We kept her in her home as long as humanly possible. Her death was a relief to us, and to her also. She was more than ready for it.

  45. Janell in Georgia

    Mari, I’m so sorry for your loss. When my grandmother passed at 93, yes I was sad, but how can you really be too upset when they have lived such long wonderful lives. Just to think of all the things they have seen in those years. Prayers for you and the family.

  46. Debbie in Florida

    I filed my tax return and I’m getting a nice refund which will go towards getting my son a new cellphone which he has needed for a couple of months, putting some aside for a grad school graduation gift for my daughter, and the rest will go towards debt.

    We went to Publix and I got 4 bags of dog treats for 15cents per bag.

    I scrubbed the metal frame of the sliding door with all purpose cleaner my father-in-law gave us when he downsized to a condo and passed along a lot of his stockpile to us. I used a brush set made for metal we got free from Harbor Freight. They look *almost* new – as new as they could being 50 years old! – and a huge improvement.

    I cashed in Swagbucks for two $5 Amazon gift cards.

    I had a mystery shopping assignment for dinner while SO was at work. I will get reimbursed for my meal plus a few dollars.
    I ate the lunch they provided at work 4 days. Wednesday they had a lot leftover from a Mexican buffet. One woman took the pan of rice and someone else wanted the sterno cans and stands. No one else wanted anything so I took the rest – a foil pan of black beans 1/3 full, grilled diced chicken and steak just a layer left in the bottom of the foil pan, a huge sack of tortilla chips, a bag of soft flour tortillas, assorted salsas, sour cream, a bit of shredded cheese, an extra foil pan they put the bowls of salsa in, 5 huge bakery chocolate chip cookies. There was enough left for 2 dinners when my son came home for the weekend with a bit leftover after that I froze for when I eat dinner alone. Such a huge blessing! And of course I washed all the foil pans to reuse. I spoke to the person that cleans up after our catered lunches and told him I would be interested in taking anything home after everyone else takes what they want.

    Then the next day they had a lot of leftovers again. After everyone took what they wanted, I filled up a bunch of quart ziplocks – one bag of broccoli, one of brown rice, one of a mixed bag with diced spicy chicken/brown rice/broccoli, and one with a salad that had walnuts and grapes in it plus 2 large oatmeal cookies. The bag of chicken/rice/broccoli went into the freezer for my son. The brown rice and broccoli I put in the freezer for us. I’m so glad I spoke up that I would take the leftovers! I was shy about it because I am new there, but I thought about Brandy and all the readers here that would be cheering me on 🙂

    Then Friday night I brought home leftovers again from a catered in lunch buffet from Chilis – I got steak and chicken quesadillas, steak/onions/peppers from fajitas and a couple of southwest eggrolls. Plus a large piece of Boston crème pie from a birthday we celebrated. All the Chilis food had meat so my son ate some over the weekend and took the rest back to campus with him (SO and I don’t eat meat). Speak up and claim those leftovers ladies!

    I completed 2 Pinecone surveys.

    My son came home for a tournament. I packed PBJ sandwiches, snacks, powdered Gatorade and refillable sports bottles.

  47. Janell in Georgia

    Talk about a boring week. I didn’t even drive my truck for 8 days. My week is listed at http://yourfrugalisshowing.blogspot.com/. Come join me on my new adventure. Make suggestions and help me out. Right now I’m in need on a food dehydrator. If anyone knows where I can find one (I live in Middle Georgia) for a good prices please let me know.
    My week can be found at http://yourfrugalisshowing.blogspot.com/ I welcome new readers and any and all suggestions and criticisms. I’m just getting started with my blog, Hope it will be better so,

  48. Mae

    I also forgot to mention we celebrated Pancake Tuesday! Which isn’t necessarily frugal but it is a little holiday we look forward to each year. For those not in the know, somehow (not really sure how) it became a tradition in certain parts of the world to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Lent). As you can see I’m vague on the details, but what the heck, any excuse to have pancakes, right?

  49. Mae

    This falls under the category of “probably not” but you never know . . . In Australia if you meet certain criteria you can get your transport costs reimbursed for medical-related travel. The criteria is pretty steep (varies by state, but it’s not exactly easy in any state) but it might be worth asking the hospital social worker if there’s a program like that in Ontario that will reimburse you for your petrol and parking costs.

  50. Tina in the NW

    Annabel, what do you make with quince? I made membrillo (quince paste) a couple years ago, and it was delicious. Quince is hard to find around here, I only managed to get about three pounds last fall.

    I am in the same boat as you and SJ in Vancouver – I don’t know anyone locally who is interested in living frugally. The area I live in is quite affluent (lots of tech workers), and the cost of living is pretty high as well. My husband isn’t very frugal either, but I figure I can be a good example. That’s why it’s so great to be a part of this community.

  51. Mary Ellen

    So sorry to hear your mother has passed. But glad to hear you arrived home safe and sound. This has been a wicked winter in the east.

  52. Linda P.

    Congratulations on the new job for your husband!

  53. Janell in Georgia

    Our heating and air system has a drain pipe for condensation, but it drains to the outside. That is strange.

  54. Jane

    I know what you mean, Judy! When we paid off our house,I wanted to tell everyone. But most people don’t understand the excitement because they’ll probably never get to that point.

  55. CarlaM

    Mari, I’m so sorry for your loss. My father died five years ago after years of Alzheimer’s, so I know what you mean about it being time. I pray for strength and comfort for you and your family.

  56. Rhonda A.

    There very well could be a program that reimburses for medical-related travel, but I’m not too worried about it. The procedure I had was more of an elective surgery so I feel like the travel costs are just part of making the decision to have the surgery. I’m just happy that half of the surgery cost was covered. It’s the parking that is killing us. The rate is according to how long you’re there and the Dr. is always behind, so we end up paying more. I think we can use this on our taxes, but we still have to pay out of pocket each time. Very frustrating!

  57. Saving water to repurpose is great. We don’t have water issues here in New England like you do in the desert, but we should all treat water like the precious resource it is.

    On the frugal front, I continue to shop the sales and use coupons. Last week I found tons of freebies—body wash, maxi pads, glade warmers, lotion, and 75% off candy. Full breakdown of all my deals with pics here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-221/

  58. Melissa in MD

    Mari, I’m so sorry for your loss. We are going through the same thing with my MIL. It is so hard to watch the effects of dementia on our loved ones. I’m glad that you were able to stay safe in your travels through all the snow we got this weekend as well!

  59. CarlaM

    Beautiful photographs as always, Brandy! Well, this past week was interesting and certainly has given me a lot to think about. We experienced an ice storm Monday evening, and lost power that night. We figured we’d be okay, even though temperatures were very low, because we have a great wood stove that has served us well even in a blizzard many years ago, a large supply of firewood, a generator, water, battery operated radio, LOTS of candles, oil lamps, and (of course) my stockpile of food. 🙂 The reality was yes, and no.

    The first couple of days/nights of no power we were really getting along fine with the exception of son not sleeping due to the upset of routine and not being able to sleep in his own bed. The wood stove kept the room we were staying in comfortable, and I kept my tea kettle on top for tea plus cooked in cast iron on the surface. However, we found that we only had one working smaller flashlight so I realized that needs to be remedied. We had some extra oil for the lamps, but not that much so I need to stock that. On day three of no power and with temps dropping below zero DH fired up the generator to boost up the refrigerator (because by now I’m thinking hard about all the food I have stockpiled in refrigerator, and chest freezer.) The generator fired up fine, but would put out no voltage. Lesson learned. Check the generator every now and then.

    By day four of no power the wood stove is getting too much creosote buildup causing it to smoke and not burn as efficiently. Temperatures were frigidly cold, so it was uncomfortable in the room with the stove and REALLY uncomfortable to go to the unheated bathroom and kitchen. I was getting quite concerned about our son because he’s anemic anyway with little body fat to handle this cold. So, I decided to take son and go to my mother’s house in a neighboring town. I’m so glad I did. By that night DH was really concerned about pipes freezing in house and HIM freezing too! Thank goodness, the power came on that night. Lesson learned, clean wood stove pipes in anticipation of coming storm.

    Interestingly, before this weather event I had been reading a collection of articles by Laura Ingalls Wilder that I had picked up at a used bookstore recently. I continued to read the book by candlelight last week. Let me just say, I have enormous respect for her and all our ancestors who braved harsh conditions in their daily lives!

    We are now considering more fully alternate power sources. I need to make sure our food stockpile is protected in case we should be without power for so long again. I need to be better prepared in case of an emergency (I pridefully thought we were and you all know what the scriptures say about pride!). I thought about the 48 hour kits, Brandy, when son and I left to go to Mom’s. I was cold, sleep deprived, and stressed and under those circumstances it’s hard to make decisions about what to take, what you need. I will be putting together 48 hour kits in the very near future for sure!

    In the end, we lost a lot of trees (weight of ice) including our big apple tree, but we were not injured and are not the worse for wear. Our horses made it through fine. I would like to think we are wiser and will be adjusting accordingly. Please forgive me for being so verbose, but I thought this might be helpful to someone else!

  60. Allyson

    I have been following for quite a while, but this is my first time commenting. I love this community and all the inspiration I get from here! It has really allowed us to save as much as possible, which is huge since we are a one income family with a SAHD. Here is my blog and frugal accomplishments post for last week. I hope you’ll visit and maybe consider following! I’d love to have more readers!

    http://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2015/02/last-weeks-frugal-accomplishments.html?_sm_au_=issRmjQhqk7JkMBs

  61. Linda P.

    My condolences join those of many. My 84-year-old MIL died last Wednesday. She had been suffering from mild-moderate dementia but was able to stay at home with the help of a several-hours-a-day caregiver until Thanksgiving week. She fell and had a hairline fracture of her hip, but her dementia accelerated either as a result of or cause of the fall, and she never went home again. She fought and clawed and screamed her way through several rehab facilities to unconsciousness and then death last week. It was a heart-rending process with all of us and all the medical personnel scrambling to find the right combination–physical and music therapy, company, drugs or no drugs. It’s a heart-rending disease that doesn’t even allow you to comfort those who need comfort. We obviously weren’t as frugal, either, but that’s what frugality is for, isn’t it, so that we have the cushion we need to be able to attend to what’s important.

  62. Jenni

    Your herbs look beautiful! I can hardly wait till we get that stretch of weather where it’s warm enough to grow cilantro but not so hot that it bolts.

    My husband finished painting an 8 foot long bookshelf (it’s low) that I got for free a few weeks ago. Initially it was bright primary colors and I wasn’t interested in it, but then thought about it and realized that it would make a good base for our television (we currently have it in our room, but it’s getting difficult to watch family shows in there because everyone has to sit on our bed and we have 4 kids now! :)). We got a nice creamy white matched to Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and it looks really nice now.

    We watched a few episodes of free tv both online (HGTV Fixer Upper) and regular television (The Great British Baking Show and Downton Abbey). I also began to cut out the pattern for a basic romper for my baby girl and use it to make scrap fabric into a summer wardrobe for her. So far I have four or five fabrics picked out – a nice pink and white seersucker, some different ginghams and even a blue ticking.

  63. Melissa in MD

    This past week was not a very frugal week for us. I’m learning that sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what you have or in your current circumstances. We are still getting the in-law apartment ready for our tenant who will be getting the keys on Friday. Everything is in a bit of disarray at the moment and we have been using every spare moment to get things ready.

    I’ve moved most of the kitchen items from the apartment into the the old kitchen that we will be using. The problem is that the old kitchen is still not completely ready for us to use so a lot of my items are still in boxes. In addition, the stove and fridge for our kitchen will not be delivered until March 13 because we are waiting on the electrician to move some outlets. We are using a small dorm type fridge for now along with the microwave and toaster oven so are getting by. I’ve also kept the slow cooker out for some meals too. Unfortunately we had to eat a few meals out this past weekend since I had no way to prepare anything. We ordered Chinese and got 3 meals from the 2 entrees. We also ordered subs and got 2 meals out of those as well. I was able to get the time to get to the grocery store and got lunch meat and cheese for sandwiches and I already have plenty of soup on hand that we can heat in the microwave. Not the most frugal choice but it’s the best I can do at the moment and it’s cheaper than eating out.

    While packing things up my husband started a box of items that he wants to use to open an Ebay store. I have lots of antique dishes that belonged to my grandmother that I do not have room to store anymore. We don’t have children to pass them on to so I kept some pieces to pass on to my nieces and nephews but I’m listing the rest on Ebay. Hopefully someone will get some enjoyment out of them and we can make some extra cash.

    Last Tuesday my employer closed the office for snow. Since I didn’t have to drive in to the office I saved on gas.

    I’m really looking forward to this whole move thing being over so we can get back into a new normal and start living more frugally again.

  64. S CO Mary

    Great job! I learned a few things from my father (who was a carpenter for many years and then taught carpentry apprenticeship) – mainly about wood – how to buy, how to work with it (cutting, sanding, staining, etc.). I then started learning ‘real time’ when living in small rental houses that usually needed a lot of repairs and I could barter reduced rent for fixing things. I have to say that ACE hardware and small local hardware stores are incredibly helpful. Most of the big box store’s employees are too busy to help consult but I have found a few who can knowledgeably answer questions. And when all else fails – the internet! I also find one success leads to another – good for you!

  65. SM

    that’s a beautiful flower on your last picture. What’s the name of it?

  66. Ann

    Rhonda, I am a fellow Canadian and I know that depending on your income level you may be able to claim some medical expenses on your income tax (next year). You will need to keep your receipts for that. There is a set amount per kilometre that you can claim for travel.

  67. Megan

    I desperately need to start getting back into the habit of frugality and posting here! This last week wasn’t so great for us, unexpected vet visit for the cat resulted in a bill over $800. While I financially should have just put the cat to sleep, I just couldn’t do it. He’s wonderful and my kids were devastated that it was either surgery or death (this was, of course, ON Valentine’s Day)… So this time we opted to try and save him. (Unfortunately if the issue re-occurs the vet won’t recommend surgery again, please keep your fingers crossed for him)! Thank goodness my husband had just received an incentive bonus at work… and while it would have been nice to put the money in savings, we were incredibly blessed to be able to be able to pay cash for the vet bill!

    Over the last two weeks I have found quite a few awesome deals on meat, so I have been stocking up. Went through the deep freeze and made an inventory list so I know what I have and will use it. Hoping to do very little grocery shopping in March and put some of that budget towards stocking up more or into savings!

    Spoke with a friend and we’re going to do a garage sale this summer. This time of year I normally donate things so that I don’t have to store them until garage sale “season”. Luckily in this house I have a place I can keep things and so I’ve started a yard sale box (pricing things as I out them in). One large box is already filled and priced!

    Have been looking for a child’s desk for a long time (tried purchasing a few but someone else always beat me to them). Was able to get a great little solid wood desk for FREE, just need to sand & paint it!

    So glad to get back to reading & posting here weekly!

  68. Robert

    Find out if the hospital has an alterative lot. We found an alternative lot on our hospital grounds and we saved for the remaining appointments.

  69. S CO Mary

    Woot! Woot! Congratulations

  70. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

    Mae- you may know this already but here goes. Most airlines restrict the size of carry-on luggage but they do not weigh your carry-on bags. So, if you’re trying to get the most aboard, save your heaviest items for carry-on. I learned this when I was a home-stay mom for international students.

  71. S CO Mary

    It finally snowed a lot over the past few days – enough to have school closed. I know that many people here will think “why is she happy over snow?” when so many are overwhelmed with it here in the US. We live on a small farm and have irrigation water that comes from the mountains. The snow pack hasn’t been great this winter which impacts how much water is allocated. The local produce farmers depend on it and when there is little water produce prices really go up – as does beef since corn isn’t planted (which is both cattle feed and then then they put the cattle on the corn fields after it is cut). We had such an unseasonably warm winter so far – breaking high temps for example.
    We decided that the weather forecast might be accurate so spent many hours over two days in our yard. We burned weeds and the grass. That might sound odd but that is the only way to get rid of the nastiest of stickers/thorns and weeds without using (too) many chemicals. After we burned I put on fertilizer and then watered it enough so it wouldn’t burn. This means that we will hopefully not have the same weed situation we had last year when we didn’t get it done in time. Now the snow will settle in the fertilizer and we should have nicer grass this year. Most of it is buffalo grass which is very hardy. We have little ‘real’ i.e. bluegrass type lawn area. It helps keep the house area cooler and also helps keep dust somewhat controlled. I would like to pull much of it up in any event and put in more xeriscaping and raised beds but so far no luck on that front.
    We did a day of errands and shopping prior to the storm. We went to Walmart and I found their nice women’s long sleeve tshirts on sale for $5.00. I am one of those people who seems to have stains on the front of my clothes and my nice tshirts were looking very sad. These are nice enough to wear under a jacket or top. I also found some really nice soft yoga type pants in a deep grey for $5.00. They are nice enough to wear when I run into town for errands.
    When I went into King Soopers (our Kroger) for a few basics I went back to the area where they have the sales bins. I found the Oil of Olay facial hair remover that I have been using for half price. Normal price is $25 which feels crazy but to have it done professionally costs at least $15-$20. I have sensitive skin and have realize over the years that I need to be careful about who does it as I have had burns and sores. I’ve found this product works great for me – easy to do at home and good for sensitive skin. One of my little vanities.
    Made chocolate chip cookies (with half off choc chips), beef broth, potato soup (enough for three meals and another three frozen!) and am planning on making a beef recipe out of the Le Bonne Femme cookbook. I have everything I need to make it. It is one of those long slow cooking dishes so it will heat up the house as well. Had a frugal fail as we were done with errands SO wanted to stop at a little place that is supposed to have great sandwiches. They were $10 and $12! I was disappointed in mine (supposed to be a French dip but had no flavor). Someone else posted that after cooking at home eating out is actually disappointing. I so agree. I kept thinking that the $30 we spent for lunch could have been a big amount to save or put into other things!
    We went to the local University’s women and men’s basketball games on Friday night. It was only $4 for seniors and a lot of fun. The weather was starting to turn cold and I’d forgotten my water bottle in the car (but remembered cookies for a snack!) so bought a bottle of water. Crazy – $2.75!
    I had my annual physical and the great news was that I am healthier than I’ve been for some time! I have been on blood pressure medication for many years and now the doctor is talking about reducing one of the Rxs and perhaps getting off it entirely!!! Apparently the frugal life is helping me from a physical standpoint – no eating out (so no high fat, high sodium meals), exercising more (gardening, yard work and farm work), fixing healthy homemade food and cultivating simple pleasures is having a great impact on my health.
    And finally – some amazing news. Divine Providence indeed. I have had no luck finding work here that would work with what needs to be done around here and with our fall agritourism business. Frankly the job situation is not great here and I am frequently considered ‘overqualified’. I have wondered if that isn’t a way to say ‘older’ or ‘may cost us too much’. While we have our farm (which basically just pays for itself so we started looking for other ways to make additional money with it so the agritourism business) and a few small rental properties that we had to buy when my father-in-law passed away in order to deal with some estate money we have had little cash flow for almost a year since I was laid off. A woman called that I have mentored for several years. She is now an HR Director at one of our local large employers. She needs someone part-time/on-call to help her with work that is increasing. She asked if I would be interested in working PRN for her! Of course I said YES! It the type of work that needs a lot of training and expertise (which I have as it is in the area I am trained in and have worked in for years) and is hard to find the right person who would like to work part-time/on-call. She called this morning and said she had talked to her boss and he would like to explore having me available to work with other facilities in the same area. I can’t tell you happy this makes us. To have some cash flow again and to be able to rebuild our nest egg that has taken a big hit is invaluable. And for me it is the opportunity to be back at work in the discipline I know and (mostly) love and to be ‘out and about’. Heaven sent!

  72. Melissa L.

    Last weekend we spent a bit of time clearing out things from the basement storage area. I found a box of cleaners that were partially used and brought them upstairs to be used. I also found a large box of books that we had already read and added them to our yard sale box. I grouped all the other boxes I still need to go through by “theme”- kitchen, toys, etc. to help make getting it done easier.
    – I made a double batch of chocolate chip cookie dough and placed it in the freezer for treats when we need a pick me up. I also made a batch of homemade pizza dough for the freezer.
    -I went to the grocery store on Monday where my son got a free Valentines Day balloon for free. We had a snowstorm on Valentines so they had a bunch extra. We also got a card from the produce department which gives my son a free apple of banana each time he is shopping with me.
    -I will sometimes buy Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks as a treat for the boys when I can find them on sale for a good price. The last box we had contained a pack that was filled sealed with air and no snacks. I wrote to the company and they sent me a coupon for a free item to replace the box as well as $8 in other coupons.
    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  73. AnnaInOhio

    Sounds like you are doing great in being prepared. I wanted to mention if you do canning, you can “can” oranges very very simple to do. So when your harvest is done, you still have oranges. They aren’t quite as good as the Mandarin oranges in a can but they are eatable and would be awesome for making smoothies.

  74. Christa

    So true! I learned that from Brandy also! My daughters preschool teacher used to sit milk cartons out on a table marked free when they were close to expiring. No one took them but me. Now if they send more milk/juice than class will use that week the teacher puts it down in a bag for me. She takes some also. She said the district sends the same amount every week and she has told them some kids like water at nap time. Instead of throwing it away they said to send it home w the kids. Nobody else would take any. I consider it a blessing. After their valentine party I was helping clean up and she put the leftover goodies n a bag for me. Took a few home for herself but didn’t want all of the sweets.

  75. Jennifer in CT

    I am in Connecticut where it has been quite chilly…we maintain are heat at 62 and have been blessed that we are still using free wood we salvaged from the storms a few years ago to supplement our oil heat. All it took was my husband and I collecting it and splitting it with a dear friends log split-er. Total cost free and lots of exercise!!!

    Last week was a frugal week as I planned all our meals and cooked mostly from our freezer. With a little effort we eat a lot better than we did on our “drive thru” days and the food is a million times tastier in addition to less expensive.

    Last weeks bargains…renewed books and movies from the library on line at work as we do not have internet or cable and then returned them on time!!!

    Used a coupon for a free movie from Red Box on my son’s birthday. It was nice just him and I watched the movie which was unusual in our family but a real treat to have Mommy to himself :0)

    Hubby went to work for some OT (yeah) so I went shopping with my coupons and purchased from Staples a 12 pack of Scott’s paper towels for $2.12. I have changed lots of my ways but these are my weakness…lol

    CVS I purchased mascara for myself and my daughter with coupons and earned CVS Bucks which I used right away for my hubby’s deodorant and two rolls of tp….which were free!!!

    Purchased at Michael’s replacement buttons with a coupon for $2.22 and fixed my daughters jeans and a pair of work pants for me and still have four buttons for future use. This is the first time I did it and it was so easy with hubby’s help. So glad I didn’t fall into old habits and just donate or toss.

    Have a great week and thank you for all the inspiration. This is my weekly treat to myself :0)

  76. Megan

    I’d missed quite a few weeks of these posts… What are the emergency wipes you’re making for? (In lieu of T.P.?). I’m wanting to start building up emergency supplies and having those pre-made is a great idea.

  77. Stephanie

    We had a frugal, simple birthday party for my 3 year old son. He requested balloons and noisemakers–so I got those at Dollar tree–along with 2 white pillar candles for the tables. I made spaghetti, meatballs, and french bread. We had salad using bread from the garden.

    I sewed a new pair of pants for my son using fabric and patterns I had on hand.

  78. Tina in the NW

    I agree, once you start cooking and eating meals at home, most restaurant food pales in comparison to anything homemade.

  79. Megan

    My husband and I have noticed that as well! There are still a few places we really enjoy but it makes it such a treat when we do go out! I’m always bummed when we eat somewhere and I leave knowing I prefer my homemade version more!

  80. Kathy

    Highlights of my week were:
    – bought myself a pair of jeans and a top at the thrift store
    – Shoprite had 10 lb bags of chicken leg quarters for 69 cents per pound. I got 2 bags (20 lbs), which I repackaged for individual meals. Baked some for Saturday night dinner.
    – Made chicken broth on Sunday from the chicken leg bones and leftover meat. Added some dehydrated zucchini and mushrooms from my garden, Swiss chard from my garden I had frozen, a can of beans, onion and spices to make a very inexpensive and yummy soup for my lunches this week. Low calorie too, so diet friendly.

    Love seeing your signs of spring. We are still snow covered here, but spring is coming….

  81. Debbie in Florida

    Congratulations on the job opportunity!

  82. MaggieB

    I’ve been blessed recently with a new job that lets me work at home full time. I don’t have children except the furry kind, but here’s what my job does for my frugality:
    [list]
    I don’t drive or use any gas for work. I’ve only filled my tank once in the past month
    I can get a meal going and let it cook while I work
    I am not tempted to eat out for my lunch break
    I now eat all my meals at home, and my food is simpler and healthier
    I am following a regular routine for housekeeping and am therefore saner
    I have found time for reading, learning, and pretending to be an artist
    [/list]

    I continue my regular frugal habits, which are at the novice level, so I am making a plan for more. I am also continuing a decluttering process of epic proportions. I have completed round 5 of clothing decluttering since a year ago, and I continue to send full trash bags of clothing to the charity shop. I can breathe.
    Peace all
    Maggie

  83. Mae

    It depends on the airline – sometimes they weigh your carry-on. But between the 4 of us we have 93 kilos luggage allowance and when you think we normally travel with a budget airline which allows us 7 kilos each – and they weigh! – I’m not worried about us going over. We’re only going for 2.5 weeks after all and we’re used to traveling light. Besides, I won’t really buy up big. I keep threatening to but mostly it’s to torment my husband.

  84. Athanasia

    Tina, congratulations on the new job position for your husband. Your comment reminded me of a song the children sang at church…”are you humbly grateful or grumbly hateful–what’s your attitude?” It was a real catchy tune too, so I haven’t forgotten it.

  85. Wendy Gower

    I’ve had a very busy week this week with a big cleaning job on every day ( my paid work ). This led to many, many hours on the road travelling to and from my girl’s school as well as the cleaning jobs. I’ve had to be super organised with easier meals and the family pitching in to help keep our home tidy. Here’s what I managed to get done –

    * Kept the curtains closed on the warm days.

    * Picked raspberries, beans, tomatoes, corn and silverbeet from the garden.

    * Gratefully accepted some sausages left over from a charity bbq. I’ve frozen them and they will be made into sausage casserole at a later date.

    * Darren bought home more bread bags from the charity BBQ. I’ve decrumbed them, dried them out and stored them for future use as bin liners and for storing food.

    * Supermarket specials I bought this week were – Shapes biscuits for $1.47 a box ( IGA ), Grapes for $2 a kilo, Fountain tomato sauce for $1.19, Palmolive shower gel 500 mls for $3. The shower gel has been put away as Christmas stocking fillers for my girls.

    * Dried all the washing on the line and clothes horses. I can’t remember the last time I used the dryer.

    * Made muesli bar slice for school lunch boxes and morning teas. It doesn’t last long in my house as we all love to eat it.

    * Made a triple batch of Anzac biscuit dough for the freezer. I baked some biscuits as well.

    * Saved all water from the washing machine for the next load.

    * Saved the shower warm up water to water my mango plants and other fruit trees.

    * Refilled and diluted the shampoo and conditioner bottles in my girl’s bathroom.

    * Made all meals and snacks from scratch.

    * We had a Valentine’s Day dinner at home. Jessica picked a bunch of flowers from the garden for our dining table.

    Photos of some of these things are on my blog http://myabundantlife07.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/this-weeks-frugal-tasks-21st-february.html

    Have a blessed week everyone.

  86. Athanasia

    Carla, having a headlamp per person, even children, frees up hands during power outages. They’re handy for camping too or working on a car in the dark , many different situations.

  87. Mae

    Wendy, our NQR is selling 10 litres of Devondale-brand long-life coffee milk (think Big M, but Devondale brand) for $4, if that sounds like something your house would use. They also have non-coffee long-life milk for 89 cents/litre which is a decent price, but not as good as 10 litres for $4.

    Also, if you’re ever in Ballarat, check out the Dimmey’s clearance shop on Little Bridge St and Peel St. Don’t make a special trip for it – after all this is stuff that won’t sell at Dimmey’s – but if you’re in the area it’s worth a stop. Stock changes frequently. Recent finds include 2 bars of fancy-schmancy soap for 50 cents, clothes from $1 (the one draw-back is that there’s no change room, so you have to guess at a size; they accept returns if the clothes don’t fit but if you’re visiting from out of town it means buying them, finding a place to change, and then returning what doesn’t fit – Dimmey’s tends to take in clothes from American shops so the sizes are American, if that helps; I recognised most of the brand names), packs of 50 thank you cards for 6 cents, children’s books from 10 cents, binders for 50 cents, garden statues for 75 cents (not my style but still tempting because surely someone would think it was a nice gift?) plastic Valentines-themed cups 4 for $1, etc. Lots of stuff, it’s just kind of hit and miss as to whether or not they’ll have anything you want. Definitely worth a look if you have some other reason to be in Ballarat!

  88. Adriana Bean

    It’s been quite some time since I posted but I continue to read the posts which keeps me motivated 😉
    -I have been posting on facebk yards sales for over a yr and have made on avg $50 per month. It’s been an eye opening experience on how much “stuff” I have and do not use.
    -I bought 28lbs of chicken (breasts,thighs,drumsticks) each pkg had $1.25 coupon off. Making it 79¢ per lb.
    -I made Brandys creamy enchilada and balsamic dressing. Both huge hits!
    -i was able to get $2 off per gal making my gas 25¢ per gal. I got close to max (35 max) 33 gals for under $9.
    -my hubby brought home 2 dozen eggs from a co worker who has chickens.
    -I live in CT and we have had some bad weather but it has kept me home and it’s amazing what kind of meals you come up with. Using some food that isn’t normally eaten (frying chicken gizzards-yummy) or boxed foods that get pushed back in the pantry.
    -I have some bottle and can deposits that I collect from neighbors on recycle day and that will earn me $5.
    -my hubby cut his hair.
    -I got 6 blocks of Cracker Barrel cheese from a local grocery store for free using coupons and in store deal.
    -I received 2 coupons for free underwear from Victoria’s secret.
    -i cleaned my washer hose drain using baking soda and vinegar. I also cleaned my dryer lint trap. Keeping them in good working order.
    -I had my oil changed and tires rotated for free as part of my vehicle purchase. $50 savings.
    -I continue to use my dishwasher and washer on quick or light cycle. Reducing power and water usage.
    -washed some baggies and reused some foil.
    -I bot some foil for 44¢. I purchased 4. I also bot some “dent” canned vegables using coupons they came to 14¢. I bot 6.
    Adriana.

  89. CarlaM

    Athanasia, thank you for that comment! You know we have one, but it too needs batteries we didn’t have. It would have been excellent to use because changing son’s dirty diapers in the dark with a flashlight would have been much easier with the headlamp. Of course, it might have been scary to him as it would have been shining in his face some. 🙂 I actually forgot about the headlamp, though, so I’m glad you reminded me to put fresh batteries in it. If we lose power again, I will sure use it!

  90. Cara in OH

    Wendy, I would love your muesli bar recipe! Would you mind sharing it on here? Or the link to it? Sounds yummy!

  91. Mandy

    That’s awesome you can work from home!

  92. Adriana Bean

    Congrats on ur preparedness! 😉

  93. Marivene

    Megan, the wipes are 7.5×7.5″ squares of navy blue flannel, from freecycle sheets & pillowcases, that I am hemming to use as emergency wipes. I plan to store them in a couple of empty baby wipe containers, in our “bucket toilet” that is with the emergency supplies. If we ever need them (earthquake?), we will just wash them out like you would cloth diapers.

  94. Wendy Gower

    Thankyou Mae. I’ll check out NQR. I’ll be in Ballarat at the end of the year so I’ll put that store on a list of things to do. Thankyou kindly.

  95. Wendy Gower

    I’ll be posting it on my blog in the next week or so as I’ve had so many readers asking for it.

  96. Athanasia

    Very wintery here. Today felt balmy as the sun was shining and was up to 23F . I know it will be awhile before I see our own garden flowers, so I’ll enjoy yours …post as many as you want.

    Worked as usual, took lunches and snacks. Have not started driving again yet, because, a couple weeks after the fact and after my xray being reviewed at another clinic north of here …They decided they see a fracture. My pile of mending was getting bigger so my mother took some of it home with her.

    Only groceries we bought last week was6 jars of peanut butter for 1.88 each, 2gal milk/5.00, celery, one green pepper, one cucumber, iceberg lettuce, 5 qt pail of vanilla chocolate chip ice cream, and 3 dozen bakery buns. We had a birthday party for Pauli, my husband’s brother. He requested 7 layer salad and brownie sundaes for dessert. He wanted ham sandwiches so we made hot ham. I bought whole ham at the sales last year. We had 26 relatives and friends over. I mentioned headlamps earlier…he liked it so much when the electricity went out due to a storm last year that thought he should have one of his own.

    The girls are still helping with the cooking and cleaning. They made black bean soup, bagels, English muffins, cream of asparagus soup with our frozen asparagus, egg strata,
    applesauce from root cellar apples, soft shell tacos and refried beans (from freezer), 4 loaves of banana bread, strawberry banana jello, molasses cookies. They also took various soups out of the freezer too .

    We hung clothes to dry on racks and hangers. In the winter they dry so fast and add some humidity to an over dry house. We were home most evenings , read a couple books and watched CASTLE on HULU. Enjoyed having evening devotions around the wood stove and kept a kettle with water on top for hot tea.

  97. CarlaM

    Mary, congrats on the new job opportunity and on the good health news! Yay!

  98. AnnaInOhio

    Thank you for sharing your experience I always learn from what others have experienced and add to my best prepared list.

    We have a generator stored in the house, have only used it once and it’s been sitting in there for a couple years. A guy told me it’s probably ruined because it has gas in it. I’m thinking this spring we’ll take it outside, empty whatever gas is in there and run some kind of cleaner through it will have to check with someone about that.. it would be the same as leaving gas in your car or lawn mower I think. Sigh!! Glad we haven’t needed it but had no idea it would go bad. I have several gallons of lamp oil, add to it every year even though we have not had to use it yet but it’s here if we need it. Need to restock on books too. I’m thankful we haven’t had any serious storms but the last one was a doozy, in the middle of summer and lasted a week.

    Frugals this week so far? I made 14 jars of preserves and jellies yesterday. I save the juice off my fruit (this time of year I buy frozen) and so made 7 jars of Cherry Jam and 7 jars of Cherry Berry Jelly (had saved blackberry juice from last time I made Blackberry Jam). Today I am thawing out some BBQ ribs we had from New Years that I had actually forgot were in the deep freezer so FREE MEAL, Yay! Will have corn on the cob also from the deep freezer. And brownies I made yesterday.

  99. Barb

    Check at the hospital front desk. Some will validate your parking pass so patients do not have to pay. Worst they are going to do is tell you no.

  100. Athanasia

    Wendy, I had to Google Anzac (ANZAC) biscuits….interesting, and they sound delicious. To substitute for golden syrup would you use corn syrup or molasses ? Or honey?

  101. Adriana Bean

    Heck yeah Debbie! Get those leftovers. They probably would’ve been trashed. At least someone will eat it. My hubby got an extra free turkey from work in dec cuz some ppl didn’t claim theirs. Like u said..u don’t know unless u ask.;)

  102. S

    Hi! Sorry but how do you do this water kefir? Thanks!

  103. Krissy in Sacramento, CA

    Thank you for your kind help with the Hulu! There are several shows from the UK that I can’t wait to watch. (How funny and, in retrospect, how obvious, to type in hulu.com directly…after doing Swag Bucks for so many years, I automatically use its search engine.)
    Just a few unique and interesting frugal happenings this week. I read 3 library books, including No Impact Man. Many thanks to the gal who posted about it a couple weeks ago. I got three teabags in the mail from Twinings. Iphone apps: Got 25c back from Checkout 51 for buying onions, a free Almond Joy bar for DH from SavingStar, and I entered receipts into Receipt Hog. I have enough to cash out for $5 PayPal, but I may try to see if I can make it to $10, as it’s 20% fewer points for the $10 amount than to do two $5s, if that makes sense. I found two pennies while out running errands! Not much, but I told myself I was two cents richer than I was when I woke up that morning. 😀

  104. Kathryn K.

    I haven’t posted for a while but last week finally remembered to keep track of my frugal activities:
    -My daughter got to pick out a prize at the library for completing another 100 books towards the “1,000 books before kindergarten program”.
    -I sewed up some rips in a comforter we use as an extra layer on our bed and taped up pages that had rips in them in one of my daughter’s favorite books (Eight Animals on the Town – it has great pictures and rhymes and incorporates Spanish words into it in a fun way.)
    -Went with some friends to our community center gym; it’s free and open to use during the day and is a great way for kids to get some exercise with our current extremley cold weather.
    -We were about and about as a family at dinner time one evening, so we took peanut butter sandwiches and water bottles with us so we didn’t have to go through a drive-through for something to eat.

    And these were earlier this month, but too good not to share:
    -My husband is doing a hobby project for which he needed a computer monitor. I was astounded at the prices of new monitors (pretty much $100 or more – I thought electronics were supposed to be getting cheaper???) and was not happy at spending that much money, so to my husband’s credit he found a used one on Craigslist for $20 in our nearest large city and I picked it up when I was already there for some other things.
    -My mom is a dog breeder and currently has puppies at her house – my daughter is a huge dog lover so I planned for us to go for a visit to my mom’s while the puppies were still there. Luckily I had a work trip to a place in the same vicinity as my parents’ house, so I brought my daughter with me and stayed at my parents’. It was a win-win situation: I had my driving costs covered and my company saved the cost of me staying at a hotel, and my daughter got to see the puppies and spend time with her grandparents.

  105. Becky

    I hope you continue to heal up. It must be frustrating to have a hand not working properly. I’m glad you have your family to help out–what a blessing!

  106. Becky

    This past week, I did not buy groceries again. Our refrigerator was broken for quite a while and we were carrying food back and forth from the garage, so I just didn’t buy more. The repairman, who was here 3-4 times, thinks he has fixed it, but we are waiting for 2 weeks to make sure there in not another broken part. So….I don’t want it filled up, just so I have to empty it again, so we only have bare bones in there and the rest in the garage fridge. I’ve been able to save quit a bit on groceries. All I got in the last 2 weeks was some ice cream and chips for a party.

    Then, yesterday, we got a few things from Bob’s Red Mill because we were in the area on another matter.

    I cooked gluten-free lasagna, taco casserole, and vegetable soup on the weekend using ingredients from the freezers and pantry. Otherwise, we’ve eaten canned fruit, muffins I made, sandwiches, etc. all week. I noticed my husband marinating some chicken and beef this morning for the weekend. I just went out to the freezers and pulled whatever was on top and asked myself what I could make from it. I plan to do that again this week. There were so many little bags of ??? in the kitchen freezer that all had to be taken out to the garage when we emptied it that I’m trying to use. I only found 1 bag so far that I had to throw away. There are mysteries, though:) What I thought was mashed potatoes was actually mozarella/ricotta cheese mix, so I made lasagna.

    I am going away with my sisters for the weekend. We are getting a cabin for free that is a family cabin of one of my sister’s husbands, so she was able to get it for us. We will eat out a few times, and take food for the rest. I’m looking forward to this. The opportunity is so rare because we are all 3 so busy. Although frugality is not our primary goal, it is nice to know it won’t break the bank!

    Last Sunday afternoon, we were able to work outside in the garden beds. I cleaned out the one where I want to plant strawberries. I will wait for my existing bed of berries to put out runners and transplant them over there. Rob put scoops of really old barn leavings, that were completely broken down, on that one, plus 2 others. Our peas are up, the plants in the greenhouse are doing well, but the cold frames are not working. I wonder if the slugs are eating everything up as soon as it comes up, or what? Who knows. I will transplant some things into there soon once I get something big enough from the greenhouse. I found a few onions that we missed gathering last fall putting out shoots and pulled them for green onions.

  107. Tina in the NW

    Hi S – To make water kefir, you need water kefir grains that you put in a sugar water solution in a glass jar. Then you let it ferment for a day or two, which makes the water kefir. Then you drain out the grains, and put them in new sugar water, repeating the process. You can then drink the fermented water kefir as is, or flavor it with fruit or juice, and bottle it if desired. Properly prepared water kefir is low in sugar and has lots of healthy probiotics. We drink it with meals.

    You can buy the grains online (I got mine from Cultures for Health) or get them from someone locally (I have seen them on craigslist). I have also seen people selling/giving them away on Facebook.

  108. Mae

    Good question. Molasses would be too rich and heavy and honey would be too sweet, so I think corn syrup would be your best bet. But don’t hold me to that; it’s next to impossible to find corn syrup in Australia and I’ve never been brave enough to try substituting golden syrup for corn syrup in my favourite American recipes.

  109. momsav

    I’m the oldest of four sisters. We had a week together about three years ago. It was the best trip! We haven’t been able to do it again since, what with all our various time/work/kids constraints. What fun! Have a blast!

  110. Siiri

    So happy for you having job! I am in similar situation, only on the other side of the world and with small kids. Also new in agritourism business… Do you have a blog? All the best!

  111. Mari in MD

    Thank you, Marcia. We would have had her at home (in my sister’s house), but she kept running away, even with people in the next room. My sister was just not able to take the stress of being responsible for her and my father 24/7 and the rest of us worked outside the home so the nursing home was the best option.

  112. Mari in MD

    Linda, my condolences to your family. May you all find the peace that your mother-in-law now has.

  113. Mari in MD

    Thank you all for your kind thoughts and condolences. They are so appreciated.

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