Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Radishes 3  The Prudent Homemaker

I picked lettuce, a few snow peas, radishes, green onions, chives, spinach, and beet greens from the garden. I made balasmic vinaigrette and a simle mustard vinaigrette (I added red wine vinegar to the last remaining bits of spicy mustard in the container and shook it for a simple dressing) for our salads.

I found some great deals on food: $0.99 asparagus, pork roast for $1.49 a pound, potatoes f0r $0.23 a pound (I bought 80 pounds), milk for $2.69 a gallon, whole chicken and chicken thighs for $0.99 a pound, broccoli for $0.98 a pound, and a 5 quart-container of ice cream for $4.99. Despite my plans to not buy fruit, I decided to buy some when I saw a few great prices: Gala apples for $0.79 a pound and pineapples for $0.88 each (I have never seen pineapples for less than $1.99 each here, this is the first time I have bought fresh pineapple in over a decade). I also bought some corn tortillas, sour cream (it looks like the sales price is creeping up again; I found it for $1.28 a pound on sale), spreadable margarine, and a 25 pound bag of oats.

My parents came back from a trip with oranges and grapefruit for us. The campground in which they were staying had these trees in abundance, and the owners were just throwing the fruit away. My parents were allowed to take fruit home with them, so they brought us some.

We were also blessed with lettuce from someone whose garden is producing more than they can eat.

We had rain again on Monday. The last time I was a spring with lots of  rain was 10 years ago. I made sure the garden watering was turned off ahead of time, and I put out even more buckets and containers than before to catch the rain, and used that to water the garden during the week.  I also collected water from the shower and from rinsing vegetables. The rain and water-saving efforts have made a huge difference; I received my lowest ever water bill.

Badminton The Prudent Homemaker

The weather warmed and was beautiful later in the week. The children played badminton with a set that I had purchased last year at a garage sale.

We watched a few videos on Olive Us tv. We’ve seen these before, but the children love them, so we watch them again on occasion. We also watched a few episodes of Secrets of the Castle on You Tube, and I saw an epsiode of Forever for free on Hulu. 

We listed to music on Pandora radio.

I sold some items we aren’t using via Facebook garage sale pages.

Nectarine Blossoms The Prudent Homemaker

I traded some daffodils from the garden for nectarine blossoms from a friend (who is cutting down her tree after it is done blossoming, as the tree is infested with borers).

I sewed presents for Wren for her birthday.

I mended a sweater, a dress, and some pajama bottoms.

What did you you do to save money last week?

 

 

 

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148 Comments

  1. Love the nectarines! We have some feral stone-fruit trees along a storm drain near us and I cut a few branches last week to use for floral arrangements. (I’ve never seen them actually fruit so I don’t think I did any harm.)

    Anyway, if you want, you can try to root your pineapple tops for a future pineapple in about three years, LOL!
    http://www.rickswoodshopcreations.com/pineapple/pineapple.htm

    Thanks as always for the inspiration. My garden is going great this year thanks in part to your ministry!

  2. Brandy, an old time recipe for killing borers in fruit trees is to spread tobacco at the base of the tree. A friend of my daughter’s did this. They went to the local smoke shop, & explained what they needed, & the owner gave them some tobacco leaves that had been wrapping for expensive Cuban cigars, for free. Something in the tobacco is supposed to paralyze the borers, which kills them. To me this makes sense, since tobacco is used in multiple underdeveloped countries to kill external parasites. Something to try before your friend cuts down her nectarine tree.

    Frugal Accomplishments: Finished dehydrating the last of the older pears. Bought salt, dehydrated red & green bell peppers, dehydrated potato slices, & dehydrated potato shreds at the case lot sale. This case lot sale had a lower price on potato shreds than I have ever seen before in the #10 cans, so even tho we were not low, I bought several. They will all get used. My husband loves his potatoes.

    Completed a pine cone survey & cashed a check from a previous survey.

    Picked up 5 orange boxes to cut down to hold empty pint jars & began to cut them down.

    Gathered rainwater from the downspouts into plastic jugs to use later on the garden. This was a large & long storm, followed by a second storm the next day. Quite a blessing, given the relatively dry winter we have had in Utah, & we are grateful for it. All my storage jugs for the garden are full, & the rain just kept coming. It was wonderful. Weeded some in the garden.

    Cut a bud vase full of daffodils that had either just opened, or were on the verge of opening, just before the big storm blew in. We enjoyed them in the library this week, but especially so later that night when we could hear the rain & hail mix hitting the bay windows.

    Watched the “Downton Abbey” Christmas Special on PBS & “Cheese Slices” on UEN. Hemmed more flannel wipes while I watched TV. When the blue ones were finished, I cut more from a white pillowcase with blue, brown & grey dots & started on those.

    Had a free mammogram during the days sponsored by our insurance company. They have done this every year since my husband began to work for them in 2004, at a facility with the newest kind of equipment for the procedure.

    Found the last 2 of the wool blankets we have & washed them. The 2 white ones have definitely seen better days, over the last 37 years. This week I aired out the 2nd of the new replacement blankets to remove the smell of the moth proofing. I threw it over top of the tarp that is covering the patio swing, & used clip clothespins to hold it in place on the tarp on the days that were not stormy. I think it needs one more day, then it will be ready to fold & put away.

  3. I love how green your grass is! Is that real grass? If so, how do you keep it in such good condition? A few people around us have real grass, but it seems very difficult to keep up in the desert. Just curious because your yard is so beautiful.

  4. Marivene,

    Her tree has extensive damage. She has another tree (a plum) which looks even worse to me, as far as borer damage goes. She gave the plum a systemic but she still has problems (everyone I know who has done this has still lost the tree). She says the nectarines are plagued with bugs as well. In speaking with her, I found that she does not spray a dormant oil, which would have helped to prevent most problems (interestingly enough, this is the same thing I have encountered with others who have major borer problems). I think she might be able to save the nectarine, but she is unhappy with the quality of the fruit and is determined to take it out.

  5. Melissa,

    It is much greener this spring than in years past, as we have had a mild winter and I gave it a good bit of manure in the late fall. I treated it with manure again a few weeks ago (if you go back a few posts you will see the manure spreader in a photo with swings in the background). The rain has also helped it to green much more quickly than in years past; I have barely watered it this year thanks to the rain. It normally becomes an even darker green as the weather warms. I have found that manure is much more effective in helping keep a green lawn over chemical nitrogen–plus, the soil is improved as time goes on.

  6. This week I was able to sign my son up for a lifeguarding certification class for $40 instead of $175 by making a phone call and reminding the aquatic director that he had offered this deal last year.

    I had a free Redox code, and used it to rent Boyhood to watch with my older son.

    It’s been very warm in Portland this week, so I’ve had the furnace off for days.

    I bought three big bags of groceries at Safeway for $40 by using paper coupons, e-coupons and a $10-off-$50 coupon. I was even able to get two tubes of toothpaste for free by doubling paper coupons.

    We had my parents over for dinner one night to celebrate my step-father’s birthday. I served very frugal items, yet the meal was a huge success.

    I resisted buying onions and milk at Trader Joe’s today when I was there buying dishwasher detergent and toilet paper. Instead I walked to Fred Meyer to buy loss leader milk and the cheaper onions. (20¢ apiece instead of 69¢ apiece.)

    I cancelled our newspaper subscription, which will save us $12 per month.

    I blogged every day this week about my five frugal things, here’s one of them:

    http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/five-frugal-things-44/

  7. Today is the last day of a long weekend. We really hustled these past few days, and installed a floor and built a wall in the upstairs bathroom. I also finished painting the wall in my son’s bedroom, and I decluttered and organised most of the house (and the yard) – including, today, the kids’ books and clothes. In sorting out the clothes I thought for sure I’d have to get some more pants for them; but instead I turned to the dresser which holds the next size(s) up and found plenty to tide us over. I’m kind of almost looking forward to going to work tomorrow – I could do with a break!

    I was given a large bag of clothes and found several nice things for me and some for my daughter (it was a mix of kid’s and grown-up’s clothes). A friend gave us an Easter egg hunting kit. The kids enjoyed an afternoon at a birthday party and came home with a nice lolly bag (I’ve been trying not to pinch their lollies).

    I decorated our new hallway using items I already had. It looks pretty cute. The original plan was to build floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the hall for toys and books. I’d still kind of like to do that; but I was so good at decluttering toys and books, it’s not urgent.

  8. Your girls look like they are having so much fun playing badminton! I bet that kept them busy for quite awhile. What a nice blessing you received with the oranges and grapefruit too!
    We have been making use of our leftovers -today we will have leftover goulash for dinner. Saves us time, and energy costs of making another dinner. I will just add a salad to round it out.
    You can see the rest of my frugal accomplishments here:

    http://vickieskitchenandgarden.blogspot.com/2015/03/my-frugal-ways-this-week.html

  9. Morning from England

    I have been reading your blog for years and it is so inspiring thank you Brandy. My husband was unemployed for 8 months last year, we just seen to be getting back to normal now. Thankfully we had savings and a very packed store cupboard so we didn’t get in to debt but we have no savings left. There is also some jobs around the house that need doing so I am trying to live as frugally as possible to be able to build the savings back up.

    This week I have

    Sorted out the children’s wardrobes there wasn’t a lot to get rid only a few t shirts – I made cleaning cloths and some ladies menstrual pads with them. I have been reading about reusable pads for a while but they are so expensive, as they cost me nothing to make if they don’t work for me I haven’t lost anything.

    I made my son a superhero costume for a dress up day at school with materials I had on hand. The Cape is from a pillowcase that had a hole in it.

    I made my husband some shaving oil. It costs me about £1.50 to make and it lasts him about 6 months shaving everyday. His skin is usually so dry in the winter but this year he has had no problems. I also made another pot for a friend who swapped it with me for a few bunches of daffodils. – mine are just starting to open in the garden.

    I made some marmalade with some oranges I got reduced for £0.35p. The sugar coat £1.37 and I managed 8 jars from it. Marmalade is usually £2 a jar here.

    I had some excess oranges so when the children had eaten them I dried the peels so I will use them in cleaning products and will make some orange sugar.

    I had some excess buttermilk from making cornbread so I made a banana buttermilk cake with bananas that were just about to turn.

    I cooked all meals from scratch.

    My mother bought me down some huge bags of extra bedding that she no longer needed. They are all in very good condition considering they are what my brothers and i had growing up. I don’t need anymore bedding so I am using it as fabric stash. I made a sewing machine cover with a beautiful rose pillowcase and I have cut out a apron from a duvet cover.

    I have made a point of turning lights off, hanging the washing out to dry when it’s nice to try and help cut the bills down.

  10. Hi Brandy. You got some amazing deals on food this week. Did you know you can grow your own pineapples fom the tops ? I hope the ones you bought still had the tops on them.
    Here’s my frugal list for the week –

    * Picked lots of raspberries and yellow pear tomatoes each day.

    * Gratefully received lots of sandwiches from a catering job I helped with.

    * Bought some amazing bargains at my local fruit and veg shop. I bought three mangoes for $1, seven bananas for $1, half a cantelope for $1, apples for $1.99 and two bags of five kilos of potatoes for $5 and a cuccumber for 90 cents.

    * Collected a few eggs here and there. Most of our chooks are molting in some shape or form so they are not laying as often.

    * Dried the washing on the line and clothes horses.

    * Used lots of bread bags as bin liners.

    * Froze some leftovers from 2 dinners. We also ate frozen meals last Saturday as I’d been to a high tea and didn’t feel like cooking or eating much.

    * Made 7 jars of raspberry jam with our home grown raspberries.

    * Gratefully received lots of bread from a friend and some scones from another friend.

    * Filled the car up with petrol at $1.12 per litre just before the latest price increase.

    * Darren emptied our compost bin onto a veggie garden bed. In a few weeks we’ll plant some veggie seedlings I’ve grown from seed.

    * Saved the washing machine water for the next load. We also saved the shower warm up water and used it to water the veggie seedlings. I saved the kitchen sink water from washing hands to rinse out the sinks when they were dirty.

    * Made a double batch of Chocolate Lunchbox Muffins. I didn’t have the room in the freezer to make a triple batch.

    * Made a huge batch of salmon patties using 5 tins of salmon. This was enough for 6 meals for the four of us plus a few spares. I frozen most of them for future meals. Making salmon patties can be messy with all the crumbing etc so when I make them I REALLY MAKE THEM !!!

    I’ve posted photos of some of these tasks on my blog http://myabundantlife07.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/this-weeks-frugal-tasks-7th-march-2015.html

    Have wonderful week everyone.

  11. Yes Brandy, as your first reader “JA” mentioned, I too thank you for your “Minisitry”. You are Blessed of God, and a real inspiration to other women. I hope you recognize this!! I too, am a fellow Christian, who lives on the edge of the desert in South Australia! I really admire your Dining Suite chairs – they are so elegant. Are they from a particular era, such as Edwardian or Victorian. They are beautiful. Thanks again, have a great week, Robyne.:)

  12. It’s been several weeks since I commented. It seems my weeks are exactly the same, all the time, so to post weekly is redundant. Plus, most of the things I do are just so second nature, I actually forgot that it’s frugal. lol

    Anyway, I continued to shop at Grocery Outlet for whatever I can. I wish they had all the requirements but most weeks, I make do with what they offer and adjust the menu accordingly. The last couple of months, they’ve had large packages of hot & spicy ham lunchmeat on sale for $1 per package. I buy a couple each time I’m in there and put them in the chest freezer. I pack breakfast and lunch for the fiance every work day and he enjoys the ham. I am well stocked for at least 2 months. How long will lunchmeat last in the freezer?

    Grocery Outlet also had a store brand of Nature’s Valley crunchy oat and honey granola bars on sale 3 boxes for $1. With 6 packages per box, that is a decent deal so I really stocked up. I have 21 boxes of granola bars! Those go in bf’s lunch bag, too. I noticed they are running low on these at the store so I may pop in there again early this week and grab more boxes. It is nice to know I have one of the lunch bag snacks covered for the next 3+ months!

    I made another batch of breakfast burritos for the freezer. It helps to simplify my morning and it gives the fiance a hot, portable breakfast he can eat on his drive into work. I had a bit of the breakfast sausage leftover when I ran out of the tortillas and I threw it into the green beans I was cooking for dinner that night. Delicious!! I cooked at home all week, and resisted the urge to hit the drive through on my way back from town on Monday. I came home and made a sandwich. My fiance was given some really nice thick steaks by a vendor he deals with at work so we grilled those Saturday night. It was a nice treat — I don’t buy steak because it’s so expensive.

    One unexpected expense was signing up for Financial Peace University. I am thrifty and frugal and hate to spend money but the other half is bleeding us dry month after month. I’ve never dealt with someone that cannot handle their finances so I am hoping that the next 9 weeks of classes will help. I refuse to get married until we have a handle on the money issue. I paid for the classes with money that was gifted to me from my parents. It was a hard thing to swallow — shelling out $100 for classes but then I broke it down into how much it was per week (just over $11/week) and realized that if it made a difference in the way my fiance handles/relates to money, it will be worth it. The class is 45 minutes away, so we’ll use some gas getting to class each week but it was the nearest church offering the program with days/times that worked for us. We’ve discussed budgets before, we’ve talked about putting all the paycheck into a separate account and him getting an ‘allowance’ each week, and he’ll always agree to these things but never goes through with it. I am hoping this class will work. It’s kind of a last resort, actually. Y’all pray for us!

    I finally got a library card. We moved last October and our little local library is only open Tuesday and Thursday for a couple of hours. While I was dropping orders at the Post Office last Tuesday, I remembered that I wanted a library card so I stopped in and signed up. Checked out 2 books on our local town, written by an author that is in her late 80s now but grew up here. As I started reading through the book, I saw that the house we are renting is actually pictured in the book and that she moved in here in 1934!! She went into a bit of detail about the house, how her aunt/uncle had built the place in 1904, the kinds of fruit trees that grew on the property, etc. It was so interesting. I will be exploring the land up beside us this year to see what trees are still up there. I know there are apple trees, which we found out about last fall after the season ended, but the book said cherry trees, and lots of others so I will be searching!! I emailed her through her website and told her how we lived in the house now and how I was interested in learning more about this place and she emailed me back and wants to call me! I think that is so awesome. It will be interesting to hear what has changed since then and what has stayed the same. Maybe she’ll come visit her old house sometime soon. I love having a living link to the history of this place!!

    Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Have a great week, everyone!!

  13. I’ve been regularly attending a free swap. The last time I went I picked up 10 shirts for my son. 2 were new & the others nearly new. Plus I got toy, books, & some clothing for myself.
    I’m working again so I’m trying to take my lunch or smack for the day. It helps with my diet & pocketbook.
    A friend moved out of the country & gave me several odds & ends. I also got what was left in her cupboards & fridge. This included quite a few packages of oatmeal, hot cereal, flour, cheese powder, baking powder, baking soda, among other things. This was helpful as I needed several things she gave me & I didn’t have to go shopping.
    I found can tomatoes for $1, cannoli shells for 70 cents, & muesli for 80 cents. I bought all of them on the shelf.
    I stopped by a supermarket I hadn’t been to in a long time & found out they were going out of business. Most of their items were reduced so I stocked up on powdered milk, oats, OJ, canned tomatoes, & baby back ribs.
    I’ve made most meals at home & watched free tv on the Internet rather than going out.
    I found pull ups bogo.
    I cooked beans & froze them.
    Ate from what I had on hand & tried to save money.

  14. My frugal deal of the week was finding 46 ounce bottles of organic v8 vegetable juice on clearance for $.91/2 bottle packages at our local Sam’s Club and bringing it home and canning it up as vegetable broth. I turned a $4.55 purchase into 34 pints of vegetable broth for my pantry.

  15. Those blossoms are beautiful. This week I got a surprise check for overpayment in the mail. I read free books on my kindle. We had a beautiful party for my son and I did all the cooking and made the favors, I also repurposed christmas decorations for it and borrowed a cd for the music. We had company on Sunday and I did not make a special trip to the store. I was able to come in 25 dollars under at the grocery store. I resolved to keep it like that. Our son starts school in six months and we have been working to afford his private school for years. Though we had a set back with the HVAC, we are diligent with our ebaying. This month we will make five hundred dollars at it. I have decided to downgrade to a dumb phone as I do not think I need an iPhone. We are trying to relook at our finances since the blessing of our third baby means we will have three children in private school. Our public school is in the bottom 3% in the state, which is really saying something since we are in PA. We are trying to decide if it is better to sell and buy our way into a better system( our home value is still 40k under water),or stay as our mortgage will be paid in 9 years or less if we are lucky. It is very overwhelming trying to decide.

  16. Hello everyone! I am glad you are getting rain Brandy. Last week we:
    stayed home most of the week.

    I made copycat Panera bread broccoli/carrot soup, wheat bread, yogurt (used powdered milk and the last of my starter in the freezer), homemade mini pizzas using tortillas for crust, stir fry, coconut milk, coconut flour from the coconut pulp. All meals were eaten at home. I took all of my food with me to work
    My husband and I started some seeds in the house. He didn’t mark the container and “forgot” what his plants were LOL

    I was able to turn the heat off for a couple hours on Saturday due to warmer temps. Then it got cold enough I had to turn it back on.

    My husband found a twin size mattress, box spring, and frame for our 4 year old for $45, in great condition. It’s very comfy. I was able to purchase her a set of sheets for $10 on sale and used a blanket we already had. She’s sleeping much better, so far. She was waking up 3 to 4 times A NIGHT.

    My husband’s best friend’s mother moved, leaving behind A LOT of her possessions. My husband brought me back several shirts. Half I can wear now, and I’m hoping I will fit into the other half next fall. If not, I’ll donate them at that time. He also brought home some stuff I can’t use, so I will donate it to Goodwill.

    I went grocery shopping Sunday and spent less than my budgeted amount. I also took my 4 year old to the car wash and we went through automatic wash. She thought that was a lot of fun. I purchased the cheapest wash. Our black car looked white lol.

    My husband gave our 4 year olds room a make over using stuff we already had. It looks SO MUCH better now. A different dresser, several large toys that she no longer played with, some of her stuffed animals are now in my husband’s “man cave”. (I am a minimalist, he’s a packrat. He insists on saving ALL of our daughter’s stuff. I said it needs to go in HIS space then. We worked out a deal). I can now go into her room without breaking out in hives.

    My husband is having a procedure on Wednesday. We have to be there at 530am. My mother is keeping our daughter over night for us. I will be making food to bring with me and bringing beverages and something to do.

    That’s all I can remember. Have a great week everyone!

  17. I ran out of Pledge, so I made a dusting spray. It works great and is way less than what Pledge costs. I sold some of my sons clothes at a consignment shop and picked out a few things there for this summer.

  18. I love that your family brought you citrus! Your posts have me really eager for spring and radishes from the ground. I’m ready to plant….er….as soon as the snow melts. 🙂

    I had a good week, which is posted here: http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/03/frugal-accomplishments-and-blessings.html I had gotten some cabinets second hand, and used those to organize my craft work space. This past week I was able to sell the ‘old storage’ of mine, and it paid for the new (to me) cabinets with a few dollars extra. I was really happy about that! We also had a good week in general. Thanks for all your ideas and inspiration!

  19. Brandy, the picture of your children playing on the green grass in shorts is a welcome sight for my winter weary eyes.:D I cannot wait until the snow melts and the temperatures warm up!!!

    I’ve had a very frugal fun week this week! Some activities were planned and others were just last minute opportunities, but fun none the less. Here’s my frugal accomplishments this week:
    *Attended the Restaurants Canada Show in Toronto with my husband, where we were treated to so many delicious free samples that I was full by the time we hit the half way point. We also brought home a nice stash of free stuff including t-shirts, several pens, keychain flashlights, several individual Nutella packages, some bags of different nuts (roasted salted almonds and peanuts), several different packages of candy/mints, two sample bags of chocolate covered potato chips (taste like chocolate covered waffles), two very large dill pickles, two yellow plums, butter tarts, cookies, pudding and so much more! Had a great time spending the day with my husband and my daughter enjoyed the treats we brought home.

    *Was invited last minute to attend a ZZ Top concert by my sister-in-law as her husband was too sick to attend. These tickets were $76 each and were bought as his Christmas gift. Although it is too bad he had to miss the concert, I was thrilled when she offered to take me instead! I rarely attend shows like this as they are far too expensive, so this was a HUGE treat. It was also nice to spend time with my sister-in-law in such a fun setting.

    *Not very frugal, but…we went to see a movie with my mother while my husband and MIL took my daughter to see another movie. We all went out to dinner before the movie, which is rare. We bought some of the tickets at Costco, which is much cheaper than at the door and included popcorn and drinks. We also used Scene points for one free ticket and one person gets in free with my daughter’s “access to entertainment” card as a disability support person. I stopped at the dollar store and picked up a bottle of water to put in my purse (I cannot drink pop), saving me over $2 if I had bought one at the theater.

    *Watched a couple free episodes of “Tales from the Green Valley” on YouTube. Loving it so far…thank you to the person who suggested this show. Also watched a couple movies on Netflix this past week.

    *Finally pulled out the seeds and planted some peppers and tomatoes to start indoors for transplanting in May. I’m still working on my gardening skills and this doesn’t always work well. But I keep trying each year, in hopes my efforts will eventually pay off through trial and experience. Most of the other seeds can be planted directly into the ground in May.

    *Assembled a pan of uncooked lasagna and put it in the freezer in anticipation of my brother’s visit next weekend.

    Frugal fails:
    *We ate out a lot this week as I seemed to have something to go to almost every day. :p

    That’s about it for this week. Our weather is predicted to finally warm up this week. Hoping spring is finally starting to arrive here. Have a wonderful, frugal week everyone!

  20. Good morning, Always loving your blog. I wish we were getting the rain here.

    Marivene mentioned hemming flannel for wiping cloths, is there some thing out there on that or is it just something that she has always done?

  21. This week I picked up grapes- seedless red and green for 77 cents/pound on sale at Fresh Thyme store! Also some gala apples (99 cents/pound) and beautiful navel oranges (5/$1- we live in Ohio, remember!) Hubby and son are really getting better at packing their lunches for work now that I’ve added more containers/lids and prepackaged some of our leftovers right after dinner!

    I made some strawberry almond granola from a recipe I saw online and it was fabulous and easy!!! Used my strawberries I dehydrated last year and my Silpat-like mat on my cookie sheet so it wouldn’t burn and VOILA!! Wonderful, delicious granola!!!

    Was able to add an extra $500 to savings from cutting back on expenses this past pay period! Paid another $175 on a debt that leaves only $174. balance! Next month, that debt will be history!!! Snowballing our payments as we get them paid off! Only 5 more, including house! We are seeing them become history! Good feeling!

    We have natural gas to heat our house (an old Victorian with 5200 square feet) and just had our monthly level pay amount drop by $50/month due to our being more aware of our usage and some of our adding insulation and a few new windows! We will add that to our debt reduction and savings!
    Sadly, we realize that we will need to replace our refrigerator (we bought it 20 years ago!) because the last 3 months it has made our electric bill skyrocket (we know that it is the problem because we have 3 separately zoned electric meters). At the rate it’s going, our ROI in buying a nice energy star fridge will be about 5 months! That will definitely make it worth it to us. I guess it has been reliable for 20 years of 13 people opening and closing it a lot, so it has lived a good long life. It is still working, so we will try to replace it before it suddenly stops and leaves us with a mess and a lot of food waste!
    The snow is melting this week and we are excited planning our garden for Spring! We are still eating from it’s production last year! So nice not to have to shop for groceries except when the price is at our price point! Sam’s Club had milk for $2.20/ gallon Saturday so we bought two gallons!

    All in all, a very good week!
    btw- Brandy- I tried going on to the HULU site but in order to see anything but clips, it wanted my credit card info for a HULU plus subscription. It would give me a free trial, but then start billing automatically! I’m confused!

  22. She is making some emergency tp for use in a long-term emergency situation. So, say you have a tornado or earthquake that does serious damage to your town. You would have something to use in an emergency. She is making them 7.5 by 7.5 inches.

  23. Brandy I am so happy about the great prices you found and the fruit your parents picked for you. And the rain!
    I am really looking forward to seeing what you are making Wren.
    We had a little rain, we are just coming into autumn.
    I hope its ok to suggest this… your photos are beautiful. You could certainly supplement your income with your talents… I thought about your photos being made into a calendar complete with year round savings tips. I would want to buy that! Also you have so many tips I am sure if you wrote an ebook it would be a best seller.
    I had a good week. I am working on building up my pantry and made progress on that. Plus I made savings by baking three cakes for gifts, giving jams I had made as another gift, having several no spend days, finding some good grocery specials and I swapped some of my crochet work with my Mum for some of her knitting.This gave me a gift for a friend who had a baby.
    My blog on Fridays is about my frugal things and building up my home. On Wednesdays it is about pantries and preparedness. Mondays usually crafts and cooking. http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/
    I get a lot of encouragement from coming here at least once a week. xx

  24. Brandy, if you put all of the orange peels in a glass jar with white vinegar, you’ll have the nicest chemical-free cleaner for sinks and counter tops. That’s one of the frugal things we have been doing. Also made our own bouillon from the stock of the bones from last week’s canning session. Baked our own cornmeal crackers. Oh! And the best thing was that our local thrift store was having their big winter clearance (85% off) and I stocked up on sweaters to unravel for yarn, woolens to made into heavy duty quilts, blouses to be used for their interesting buttons, etc. All told I came out with a garbage bag size load for less than $10!

  25. We got great news last week. My DH was offered a job back with his previous employer! It is still in IT but in a different capacity. He was hired back at his previous salary and they resumed his benefits as if no time was lost! Hallelujah! We were discussing the timing of everything and it’s really amazing to see how God worked this all out for us. My DH was laid off just about the same time that his mother’s dementia starting moving to the next level. He was able to be home to help her out until her condition grew even worse and she started running away from home. We were able to get her into a great memory care facility and her Medicaid for long term care was just finalized 2 weeks ago. So, DH was able to be available to deal with all of that as well. Then, our tenant moved in last week giving us extra income. A few days later, he is offered this job! So, the extra income will be going to pay down the mortgage.

    We are still trying to get settled into our new living arrangements so I didn’t really have any frugal accomplishments to post last week. This week has been better and once our new stove and refrigerator arrive this will be back to normal. We’ve donated a lot of items and are posting some on ebay. Thankfully I have been able to find room to store all the kitchen items that I feel are necessary to help with our frugal living.

    We did go out to eat this weekend using a gift card I received for Christmas. It paid for our entire meal with money left over.

    I have been using the toaster oven, microwave and slow cooker to make as many meals as I can. We also have a dorm size fridge we are using for the time being. I made chili which we used for a few different meals and a pot of pinto beans. I also made some Spanish rice in the microwave. We have been having oatmeal for breakfast and I cooked some sausage links in the toaster oven. Thankfully we have plenty of canned fruit, soup and veggies that just require heating so we should be good for now.

    Hopefully I will have more to post in the next few weeks once we get into our new routine! Have a great week everyone!

  26. LaurieS, I saw the idea on a blog post while I was recovering from a knee replacement, & thought it was a good idea for emergency preps. I was still pretty medicated when I saw it, & can not remember the name of the blog. I tried finding it, but was not successful, at least not yet.

  27. Hello!
    I:
    – mended some items, put new elastic to my daughters pants waist and plan to cut away worn foot parts of some of the kids tights to make leggings;
    – took my daughters and one more girl to waterpark they wanted, we went on school day which was shorter than usual, so we arrived before 15:00 and tickets were much cheaper. I had 2 bananas for each of us and a bottle of water to get after swimming;
    -discovered that making pre-cooked food from fridge for Saturday lunch was pleasant, i let kids to draw in kitchen while warming the food, I had more energy to set table pretty for just kids and me, also I tried to sit in the table and be present. I enjoyed flowers on table. From this blog I got the idea to grow extra flowers for bringing in, never thought of it, I start this year.
    – found out that making cookies from freezed and melted dough was great indoor activity for kids in different ages. We used gingerbread shape cutters, also just molded the dough. Still, later my 4 years old son was totally hyperactive and I blame sugar in cookies so I may not do it so often and eagerly.
    – from our old stuff I found exactly same unused old type pan shovel my mom uses for her weird metal pans, hers has no looks anymore, handle is melted, I put it aside for Christmas!
    – in farm I used baby lambs organic milk powder for making delicious rice porridge, hubby said there is more useful things actually mixed in than in ordinary milk powder and we just had plenty of in in hand;
    – for making dough I always use big bowl. After using I put it aside unwashed and next day just wipe out the tried pieces of dough and it is clean. Can wash it then if needed. Also for morning porridge I use pot with Teflon inside. I do not wash it, next morning just use wooden spatula to clean the crumbs to trash can and use it again.
    Wishing a good week to everybody!

  28. Pat,

    I sent you an email about Hulu. You don’t have to sign up; that’s the Hulu Plus option. Just search for shows and you can watch for free, so long as it doesn’t have a green plus symbol in the corner. If you didn’t get my email I can email you again. They really want people to sign up for Hulu Plus, but you don’t have to. I have an account with them so that I have a queue for my favorite shows to come up, and it didn’t require me to give them any payment info. You can do the same.

  29. I really love reading all your tips, and that Frozen birthday, OH MY! Just wonderful.

    This week, I found many frugal deals by shopping the sales and using coupons. My favorite was getting free underwear and a free nightshirt from Victoria’s Secret. I also found $0.89 nutrition shakes, $0.25 nail polish, marked down veggies for $0.86, and tons of cheap candy which I used for Purim (Jewish holiday.) All of my deals with pics can be found here: http://thejewishlady.com/super-savings-saturday-3715/

  30. My one frugal accomplishment was finding strawberries for $0.99lb. I bought 4lbs to freeze. If I’d gone earlier in the day before they ran out I would have gotten more. I didn’t really accomplish much this week because we’ve all been sick with a nasty stomach bug. That leads me to my first question. My little guys are 11 months and 26 months and the only thing they’ve been able to keep down while sick has been pedialyte. Pedialyte even the walmart brand is super pricey almost $4 for a 33oz container. What do you do when your little ones get sick and can’t drink formula, milk, or water? So far this winter, we’ve had two stomach bugs and the flu pass through our family so we’ve gone through quite a bit of pedialyte.
    My next question is, we’ve been trying to save on electricity but it seems like no matter what we try our bill keeps going up and up. It was $220 this month, last month it was $208 but every month before that including in the middle of summer ( we live in North Carolina so it gets pretty hot) was around $100. We’ve set the thermostat to 65 degrees, I haven’t been turning on lights during the day, cut the tv usage down to about an hour a day, unplugging all electronics at night, only plugging in computers when we are using them, and I’ve put towels around the doors. Any other tips for how to cut our electricity bill down?

  31. Melissa, your husband’s story is so touching it made me smile. I’m sure that it has been a huge struggle for you when he lost his job. However, I’m so glad it gave him the time to deal with his mother’s illness. It can be even more stressful and complicated when dealing with these things while trying to work full time. I’m sure he’s glad that time in his life is finally over. Congrats on his new job.

  32. This past week, I did do some extra grocery shopping using coupons that were too good to pass up. I am feeling a little more efficient in using coupons than before (most places I shop at don’t take coupons).
    Stayed in most of the week, spent time re-arranging rooms to help with healing. Every room has such beautiful memories of her. I painted some furniture that I have had for over 20 years. I was given it for free, and at that time stripped it and re-stained. I figure in another 10-20 years I will do the same.
    I resumed selling on Ebay and am thankful sales are still pretty decent.
    With a snow day last week, I took time to make a new whole wheat bread recipe – which I put in the bread machine to just do the dough/rise. After it beeped done I was surprised to find I must not have had the paddle inserted correctly, I was tempted to toss. Instead I mixed/kneaded it by hand and let rise a half hour less needed – turned out delicious!
    I realized I forgot eggs and the grocery budget is spent – first reaction is to go buy a dozen, but the reality is they aren’t needed. Looked up egg-less muffin recipes to try for breakfast later this month.
    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  33. I thought my week started quite well, when I received a free flower at the checkout of our local Fred Meyer (not sure why, but it was a beautiful red rose, which is still going strong). Two days later, though, things got even better: one of my neighbors came by, offering me two tickets, free of charge, to that night’s Cirque de Soleil show that is currently in town (worth $130 each). My neighbor had a friend working at the venue, who gave him the tickets, which he was unable to use (he is going another night). We were able to attend, and the only cost was $15 for parking (the show is held in a big tent in a local park, and there’s only one lot to park in). We ate dinner at home before we left, and brought our own water and snacks (all the concessions were overpriced, not that we would have bought anything anyway). We totally enjoyed the performance, and it was a huge surprise to be offered tickets for free. I thanked our neighbor profusely, and he just said he was happy that we could use them. 🙂

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    – I did all the things I normally do: made water kefir, washed out plastic bags, cooked from scratch, used food from the freezer, ate most meals at home.
    – I made fermented barbecue sauce that turned out really well.
    – The green onions I planted last summer (inspired by this blog) survived the winter, even though it was 20F here for several days. They are planted in a pot on the south side of the condo building, which is the warmest spot here. I used them throughout the winter and am still using them. Quite a return on the investment of one package of seeds.
    – I organized a get together for a Meetup group I belong to. Had some great conversation with interesting people for the cost of one cup of coffee.
    – I visited a friend who I don’t see very often. She lives in another city and does not drive. She made me lunch and then we went to a nearby beach to walk with her dog. It was a sunny day and such a fun (and inexpensive) outing.
    – I did our taxes with Turbotax and filed our return. In previous years, we have had someone else do them, because I had my own business and it was more complicated. Now that I am no longer working, I was able to do them. We got a discount on Turbotax through our credit union.
    – It was nice weather so I took lots of walks and sat on our patio and enjoyed the daffodils, and even a few tulips. They are blooming much earlier than normal this year.

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

  34. I just did a search using Pedialyte diy and came up with a blog post describing the water, sugar, and salt replacement. It is something everybody should know in case of emergency, not just the mothers of young babies.

    We found potatoes for sale at Save A Lot 20# for $2.49. I will be carrying them to the basement to slow down their sprouting in just a minute or two. My elderly mom does not like to peel and eat hairy carrots or sprouted potatoes. I got used to both while living in a warm climate but I can’t convince her they are okay provided any bits of green are removed.

    My biggest thrifty find this week was at Walmart. A name-brand cozy underwear manufacturer sells lounge wear on their website for as much as $48 a piece. I got three sets of warm polyester-spandex fleece pants and jackets (not sweats, more stylish) for $17. I have tops to wear with two of the sets and material to make a third in the house. I expect to be cozy next winter. (Who am I kidding-we still have snow on the ground!) These cost less that items would at Goodwill except for the $1 a piece items on Sundays.

    I love reading the posts and the comments. Thanks.

  35. I appreciate you mentioning about canning vegetable broth. I have several large cans of vegetable juice that were given to me. They hold too much for me to use up before they taste tinny. I hadn’t thought of canning them and having them in user friendly sizes.

  36. The flowers look lovely and I’m so glad you were able to get the oranges and grapefruit from your parents.

    Frugal accomplishments this week for me included air drying all laundry, mending a garment, picking oranges from my tree in the backyard, and doing a very small grocery shopping trip just to pick up some bargains. I bought potatoes (10 lb. bag for $.99), mango for $.33 each, cantaloupe for $.33/lb., yogurt for $.39 each (close to sell-by date), and a gallon of milk.

    My grocery shopping details are posted here: http://www.bless2cents.blogspot.com/2015/03/march-grocery-shopping-meal-planning.html

  37. We decided to do a “Fiscal Fast” for the month of March. The bad weather here this winter has caused us to take a hit where income inflow is concerned. In turn we have been over budget for a few months. To “right the ship” so to speak we have decided a “Fiscal Fast” or “No Spend Month” was in order. We have savings and an emergency fund that I would like to leave alone. I suspect we may need to continue this in April as well. We shall see.

    -I reduced our grocery spending budget this month (by half) which has resulted in my making a lot more at home (this is not a bad thing!) I made bread, breakfast sandwiches, cookies, spaghetti sauce, soup, smoothies, and granola.
    -I downloaded the Overdrive app onto my phone so I could borrow digital audio books from my library to listen to in the car. I ordered an auxiliary cable for the car from Amazon using Swagbucks.
    -My son and I went to story time at the library. We borrowed “Walter the Farting Dog” as suggested and he got a big kick out of it! After story time we went across the street to the grocery store for .79 English muffins (my husband has one each morning) and the free piece of fruit via the stores “Kids Club.” They have a lobster tank at this store which provided some entertainment for a few minutes.
    -We took drinks and snacks with us each time we went anywhere. We also watched a video borrowed from the library on a very long drive.
    -My 3 year old had a doctor’s appointment and they give a free book to each patient as they leave. They let him pick one out for my 4 year old too. They were thrilled to have a new Curious George and Thomas book to read at bedtime.
    -I had some errands to run and just as I was heading home realized I needed to use the restroom. I stopped in at the library and used theirs so I would not be tempted to make any unnecessary purchases.
    -on Saturday we finally had some nice weather. There was just a ton of sand and salt in the car so we grabbed a few quarters from the change jar to use the car wash vacuum. We used a car cleaning kit we got at Christmas to wipe the rest of the interior down. Felt good to get the car cleaned up! The snow here has just been depressing.
    -went to Sam’s with my 4 year old and again took advantage of the free samples. He tried a small cup of Kool-Aid for the first time which he thought was awesome!

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  38. I think you will be very happy with the money you have spent on the FPU classes. My husband and I did that several years ago and it made all the difference in how we handle our finances. My only regret is that we did not know about it when we first married. Good luck!

  39. I am back to blogging and reading blogs after nearly a month offline. It was great to read Brandy’s and everyone’s posts. You should definitely try growing your own pineapple plant from the top. Here is an old post I did on pineapple plants: http://ahomeinthecountry.blogspot.com/2012/11/rooting-pineapple-tops-and-dividing.html

    An abbreviated version of my savings for February is posted here: http://ahomeinthecountry.blogspot.com/2015/03/savings-highlights-from-past-month-and.html

  40. -Our big frugal thing this week is we were able to get on a different health insurance plan thanks to hubby being back in the National Guard! We will save $100 a month on our monthly payment and our out of pocket deductible is $4000 less per year. We are super happy about that. We also got a better dental insurance plan so we will be saving money at the dentist as well.
    -Hubby had Drill this weekend with the Guard. He is with a unit 4 hours away so he stays the entire weekend. I sent him with bread, meat, and snacks so he wouldn’t have to buy as much food. He also took a McDonald’s gift card we got through Coke Rewards, and he got a free sub from Subway because we had enough points for one. It looks like he will be getting travel pay, which would be fantastic! It will pay for hotel, gas, and possibly food. We will have to wait and see to know for sure.
    -I used a coupon to get a free sandwich from Arbys.
    -I filled out the survey on the bottom of my Kroger receipt to get 50 fuel points.
    -I got some money back from Wal-Mart Savings Catcher. I am trying to be remember to put in every receipt because you never know.

  41. My husband and I walked around our new neighborhood this weekend and wound up lost but having fun. We took another stroll on Sunday and went to a nearby store to buy bikes. A gift card paid for one of the bikes, and we rode them home. The wind at our face as we coasted down a long hill made us feel youthful and carefree. I’m a homemaker and since my husband uses our only car to drive to and from work, I know I’ll log a lot of miles on my shiny new ten speed. It will allow me to run errands during the week, and it will also carry me down to the aquatic center where I want to start swimming laps.

    Buying the bikes was one of our 2015 goals for the year of us “living our lives”. We move a lot, and we often put off our pleasure goals due to an impending move. Our frugal ways have helped us accomplish a lot, but we want to loosen the purse strings a little bit this year to find fun ways for us to invest in future-frugal fun. Patio furniture and a fire pit our next on our list– they will afford us the opportunity to spend a lot of fun evenings at home and outdoors, enjoying our yard. I’m shopping around and waiting for a deal that works with our budget.

    It snowed here and we shoveled our front drive and back patio for free exercise. My husband had the day off due to the weather, and we had fun playing outside in the snow. Our house sits on top of a hill, and we took a running start with our snow shovel and plowed down the hill. It got the snow away from the foundation, and was super fun at the same time. We took turns and cheered each other on from the hill top. With all of the snow we took pity on the birds and brought home huge bags of feed from a rural supply store– they were advertising a great price. Watching the birds is a great source of entertainment for us during our morning routine, and our three indoor cats also enjoy the spectacle.

    I made pizza, bread, muffins, and cookies, cooked a batch of beans, and made homemade broth from frozen vegetable scraps. All meals were cooked at home and made from scratch. We ate some more oranges from our stash and I saved the peels for scenting a vinegar cleaner.

    After organizing our personal care items, I decided to use up some assorted sample bottles of shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and toothpaste. I mixed some oil with the dregs of a sample conditioner and made myself a hair treatment that I left on while cleaning one morning. Sweet, frugal luxury! We have around two dozen bars of soap that have been harvested over the years (my husband has traveled for work in the past, and picked up random bars during hotel stays). I am looking for a way to use them. We’re shower gel users, so the soap is a wild card for us. I get a great price on laundry soap and dishwasher detergent (where the cost of homemade borax+soap recipes would not necessarily offer a cost benefit). Any ideas on another frugal use on a large scale? (I have googled uses for soap, and a lot of them were very informative but not necessary for me right now and don’t require bulk soap.)

  42. Do you have any public charter schools in your state? I live in Southern California and we are really lucky to have many. Our neighborhood public school is terrible, but we are able to send our kids to a Waldorf Charter school (free). It’s a bit of a drive for us but totally worth it.

  43. Water kefir is made from water kefir grains that you ferment in a sugar water solution. The resulting liquid is water kefir, which can be flavored to make a delicious, probiotic drink (sort of like healthy soda). You can search for instructions online. You can buy water kefir grains from Cultures for Health (they also have good information on their website) or other companies, or even through your local Craigslist. I once bought some grains from a person on Facebook.

    I answered this question for someone a few weeks ago – you might search Brandy’s blog posts for that response.

  44. That is a great price for pineapples. They’re a treat for us as well. Your blooms have inspired me to try some forsythia branches, which I cut today. I’ve read a few tips to try, and hope I’ll have good luck with them this year. We are getting our first blooms here… daffodils and hellabores, which are so welcome. It’s a shame to think of the food wasted in this country, when some go hungry. How wonderful your parents were able to take some of the citrus, and pass some on to you. These postings and this group inspire me so much. As my posts the last few months have been about joining in here, in the interest of honesty, between last week’s post and today’s, I shared some of my not so frugal accomplishments. Today, I’m joining in with you here: http://www.abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-return-of-light-and-frugal.html

  45. *I received a free bread machine from a friend who wasn’t using it and wanted to get rid of it.
    *I made black bean soup and gluten free cornbread muffins for dinner one night–very inexpensive and both were a big hit.
    *I ended up with a whole loaf of gluten free bread that was basically smashed into little pieces (long story). My husband asked me if there was anything I could use it for, so I made overnight french toast for breakfast and everyone loved it (it was actually enough for 2 mornings).
    *I found some great deals at Sprouts yesterday–asparagus for 88 cents/pound, several items that I use regulary for buy-1-get-1-free.
    *From the garden, I harvested thyme, one pomegranate, and a few sugar snap peas. I planted cucumber seeds.

  46. Sold my daughter’s toddler size bike that she outgrew on Facebook- $120 (this was nice as we put it toward buying a bigger bike). Also sold one of our old car seats for $65,

    Listed over 20 pairs of earrings for a friend on eBay and a few pieces of matching jewelry that I had. By listing multiple similar auctions at the same time it’s not only easier for me but also encourages some buyers as they can save shipping. My friend told me I could just have the earrings and keep the money, but I’m going to give all of the profit (after fees) to her and if she wants to pay me then I may accept a percentage. It is definitely more work for me than just listing my three items, but I’m hoping mine will sell for more because of this. (So far 8 have had Buy-It-Nows done for $150 after fees and three more have bids for another $40).

    My husband and I got to go on a date yesterday afternoon while my FIL watched our kids. We went on a four-mile bike ride. It was so much fun, good for us and was it was free! (Definitely better than dinner and a movie out). 🙂

    Purchased some supplies for my daughter’s upcoming birthday party. Spent $8 on plates, napkins & table clothes in very pretty solid colors! (In the past I would have purchased themed items and easily spent $40 or more). These colors match her invites that I purchased on Etsy (using Pinecone Survey payments)!

    I’m doing another catalog party for Scentsy now that the new smells have come out. The sales rep is so sweet! She’s already applied $230 to my sale from her clients (this will be in addition to what my friends do) and I only got the basket a few days ago! This is super sweet of her and I will receive 10% of that in free product. 🙂

    My husband’s sales have slowed down drastically at work so we are going to be tightening our budget even more this month… Hope everyone has a great week!

  47. I have to tattle on myself. After posting the last message, I retrieved my new sets, cut off the tags, and took a closer look at the pieces before throwing them in the wash. There was something funny about the sleeve of one of the jackets. Really funny. It was sewn in upside down. I am taking out the seam right now to sew it in properly. I obviously got a little too excited about the sale price.

  48. Leaving some very shallow (because of the babies, OUT OF REACH) pots of water around to evaporate or hang drying clothes might increase the humidity in your home. Humid air feels warmer so you might be able to turn down the thermostat a degree or two and still feel comfortable.

  49. Thanks for this info! Our book club chose One Second After by William Forstchen, and I’m reading it for the second time before the meeting tomorrow. WOW!!! I realized how poorly prepared we would be as a country if an EMP (or some similarly horrible disaster occurred). Now a friend and I are both working on making our emergency kits better. I’ve thought about making some wipes and will do a search to see if I can find the instructions on the blog you found! 🙂

  50. If flax is something you have in your pantry, try using it as an egg substitute– I use 1 T ground flax with 3 T water to replace each egg in a muffin recipe. Flax makes baked goods extremely light and fluffy. In such a small amount, the taste is undetectable.

  51. When my boys were little and had the stomach bug, my doctor told me to give them 1 Tbsp. Coke Cola every 20 minutes. That was the only thing that they could keep down.

  52. Our blooms are arriving late this year. I love the nectarine blossoms! Peaches are just beginning to bloom here in Georgia and will be spectacular when the orchards are in bloom and you can see peach blossoms for hundreds of acres at a stretch.
    I didn’t comment on Elsa’s birthday but the plum tree embroidery on her birthday dress was gorgeous!

    Here’s what I did last week: http://bluehousejournal.blogspot.com/2015/02/this-week-in-my-home-frugal-saves-day.html

  53. Happy almost Spring everyone!

    * our Albertsons was just converted to a Haggen and they have some good weekly coupons: was able to pick up yoplait yogurt for .25 each and butter for $1.88/#. They also have a couple varieties of apples for .59/# (I don’t think I have seen a price that low in years). Bought about 5# and going back tomorrow to stock up before the ad ends on Tuesday evening.

    * My husband called the internet company to inquire about a extra $20 fee which was in error and refunded.

    * Placed orders for meet from Zaycon so we will be well stocked soon (chicken, ground beef, and hot dogs)

    * one night I was too tired to cook so I quickly made breakfast burritos and served fruit.

    * my son just started track so we will have some very busy afternoons. Planning easy/quick dinners for those days or using the crockpot

  54. We live in Central Virginia, and it has been one very cold winter! Our neighbours say that their heat pumps have been going nonstop for days and their electric bills are higher because of that. It sounds like you are doing all you can to keep the cost down. I would chalk it up to the unusually cold winter. Hopefully you will see a decrease this month as the weather warms up!

  55. Lori, I do pray that this class will help you and reach your boyfriend. It would be just too hard to move onto things like marriage, children , buying a house…with a financially unreliable spouse. It could put you in such a bad position.

    How special that you connected with the woman from your house. I hope you two develop a nice little friendship.

  56. IN answer to the school question. Years ago when I moved into several bad districts (we were military and moved during the kids schooling) I personally choose to homeschool and when I made the first choice I decided I would do it until the end of first grade. After that I sent one child to private school each year and kept the others home. I worked for us. I homeschooled half of all grades from prek to 8th grade. The kids graduated and went on to NYU on scholarship, Cornell on scholarship and Univ of Richmond on scholarship, I have a doctor a lawyer and one that is still in school but will be a doctor when finished as well. So consider all of the options. When I learned how little that went on in the classrooms I decided I could do a very good job myself. Each year when a child went back they were ahead one grade level math , english , and science. Which got them into great schools. The social skills helped with the scholarships. All of the kids went to Public highschool one of the nations top schools.
    So consider everything when you consider schooling.

  57. My frugal accomplishments for the week!:
    *Read 3 library books
    *We had an exceptionally mild weekend (actually 3 or 4 days) so I was able to open the windows and not use any heat or AC.
    *Did two surveys from CVS that were sent to my email, getting $5 ECB and $2 ECB. They don’t expire until April.
    *Redeemed Hallmark Rewards for a $5 Sports Authority gift card. Not somewhere that I normally shop, but there wasn’t anything else I wanted and I had rewards expiring this week.
    *I wasn’t able to make my Swagbucks goal every day last month because I was ill one day, but I did get enough bonus SB to put me over the 2500 amount to get a $25 PayPal.
    *Used apps on my husband’s work cell phone to get back 25c from Checkout 51 for buying tomatoes, 50c from Ibotta for buying milk and paper towels, 25c from Snap for buying quinoa. Also entered receipts into Receipt Hog.
    *My prescriptions from Costco always come with a bunch of printed out papers with instructions, barcodes, etc. I cut out and shredded the identifying information and kept the blank parts for scratch paper. Got several almost full sheets to print out internet coupons onto.
    *My mom just had her hip replaced (and she’s doing great!) Several people came by with food and she and my dad were kind enough to share some of it with my husband and me. We were given some chicken noodle soup, pepperjack and Colby Jack cheese, several bananas, and 12 tomatoes. The tomatoes were getting really ripe so I cooked them in the Crock Pot as the base of Brandy’s Tuscan Tomato Bread soup. I used leftover cornbread croutons from Thanksgiving in place of the bread, and it was actually better than the leftover sourdough bread I used before. We watched the 1922 silent film “The Man From Beyond” starring Harry Houdini while we ate the soup, so now I’ll always think of Houdini (who I love) when I think of or eat this soup! 😀
    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  58. Be careful using milk made for animals; it’s not always fit for human consumption; they allow more ‘crud’ in it than in milk for human consumption.

  59. I went to Walgreens and got the free after rewards antioxidant coconut water and CVS for the free Cadbury egg. I hope the drugstores have more free candy before Easter.

    I picked peas, broccoli and strawberries from the garden.

    I had lunch provided at my employer’s all 5 days and brought home the leftovers every night. Sometimes it’s a lot of food, sometimes it’s just a few cookies or a loaf of French bread – but I’m always able to bring home something. One morning they also had breakfast so I took home the rest of the bagels and cream cheeses.

    I filled out a survey for CVS and got $10 extra bucks! Cold meds were buy one get one 50% off so I got 2 boxes of CVS decongestant tabs 72 pills each box and only had to pay $3.86 out of pocket after the sale and using my extra bucks (regularly $10.99 per box).

    I paid off another small credit card. I’m still working out a better budget and a way to pay off debt. Once my insurance starts at my new job and I don’t have to pay for my own insurance I will be in a better position.

    A bit of a frugal fail – My son came home for spring break so we planned to go out for dinner one night. I had a credit with restaurant.com for years I never used so I got a certificate to a place we have been to once before and liked but couldn’t spend the money to go since the economy went bad. Even after the certificate it cost us more than it would have if we had just gone to one of our favorite super cheap mom-and-pop ethnic restaurants.

    I did all the usual though, still settling in at my new job, washing out baggies, trying to keep up with the garden, composting, being careful with water and electricity, using the rainbarrels…

    Have a great week!

  60. This is my first time to post my frugal accomplishments here, so let me think:

    *had a few cold days, but still managed to keep our gas heater off and just use our fireplace. This meant several *cold* mornings where I had to wait on the living room to warm up, but it worked out that things were warm by the time our kids woke up.

    *hung out clothes on clothesline whenever possible.

    *no grocery shopping this past week. I *made do* with what we had on hand. This involved lots of potatoes, eggs, and soups!

    *my sil asked if we wanted some day old bread. They got a truck load for $12 and she didn’t have enough room in her freezer. I make our breads, but free bread- yes! We ended up getting about five loaves of wheat bread.

    *the mom of one of my piano students brought me five garbage bags of clothes for my two daughters. We got to share some with my niece.

    *my husband and I had a financial discussion one night when neither he nor I could sleep and decided that instead of our set $ for groceries per month, I would get what is left after tithes, bills, and savings. I will enjoy being creative!;)

    * I stayed home except for going to church and to take kids to homeschool mtg.

    *i planted more seeds in the garden: spinach, kohlrabi, turnips, carrots, and Swiss chard.

    *i gathered eggs daily and continue to feed our chickens our compost.

    *We gathered road kill for our freezer. 😉 actually, my husband hit a deer last Monday around 5:30 am so my fil went and got the meat from the side of the road. This makes our second deer for the freezer. Free meat….if you don’t count what it will cost to fix the vehicle! 🙂

    *went to store this weekend to get water (my mom usually supplies is with her good drinking water, but she was out of town) and got two bags of ripe bananas for $1 each. Can use them in smoothies or banana muffins! Also got bag of ripe green bell peppers and tomatoes for $1. Used some in fajitas.

    *on the way home I stopped at a yard sale and got a huge rug for my living room for $15. Also got a beautiful Kelly kids dress for $4 for my little girl and a new with tags black corduroy pants for my 3 year old for next yr

    Enjoyed your post, as usual, Brandy!

  61. I am waiting for the lottery to be drawn for our local public charter school.

    I prepared a box of great quality matching twin boy clothes that my older twins have outgrown for a friend with younger twin boys.

    I participated in a packing project for a mission trip to S. America and received free baby sitting during the packing party and a free lunch for all 4 kiddos

    I used a $half off your largest purchase at Joann’s to cut $25.00 off fabric for my twin daughters’ fall coats.

    I prepared lunch for the ladies in my Daughters’ of the King class (Episcopal Women’s group) and made lentil soup, hummus & veggies and guacamole and fed 6 adults and my 4 kids for $3.00. The other group members contributed fresh bread and fruit salad to round out the meal. It was a great success.

    The blossoms are beautiful!

  62. Brandy, I love your web site and look forward each week for your accomplishments. I, too, would like instructions on how to get free shows from Hulu. Our cable bill has just gone up. I have been wanting to get rid of cable for years.. You are a blessing.

  63. Here is the email I sent Pat:

    Hulu Plus charges people (they have more options for shows if you use Hulu Plus), but Hulu has a non-paid option, and it doesn’t require you to to give them any credit card info. You can even have an account where you have your favorite shows listed. They will then update your queue whenever there is a new episode available (and email if you choose that option; I don’t).

    The whole start your subscription and free week trial is part of the Hulu Plus option. You don’t have to choose that. Just search the shows up top. It will still take you to a signup screen, but you still don’t have to choose to sign up!

    You can search popular shows, or type in a show you want. Anything with the green plus in the corner is only available through Hulu Plus (for which you pay) but a lot of shows are online the day after air with Hulu Plus, or 8 days after air the plus comes off and you can watch it for free. For example, I am watching Forever, Castle, State of Affairs, and Agent Carter right now. All of these have several episodes available to watch free right now. The most recent episode is still on Hulu Plus until 8 days later. I don’t mind waiting the 8 days to get to watch it for free.

    Some shows are just available all the time. Seasons 1 and 2 of Foyle’s War (a WWII murder mystery show) are available for free. Spy, a quirky British comedy, had 2 seasons, and both of those are free still.

    There are also some free movies; around Christmas they have more choices for those. In general I don’t watch the movies on there as most are rated R. I usually just watch the tv shows.

    You don’t have to pay for Hulu Plus. Just keep clicking around; you can even set up an account like I have without paying that keeps your favorites in there. I never gave them any credit card info.

  64. Laura, I made a sewing machine cover from a lovely old pillow case not too long ago and then I found a cute vintage print one at the thirft shop and made a cover for my stand mixer with that one. I love these simple but pretty covers.

  65. Bought some Valentine’s trinkets today at Walgreens for 90% off. Will use some to stuff plastic Easter eggs and save some for next Feb. got some mini Monsters inc characters today at Walmart for 75% off, will use for Easter baskets and to stuff eggs. Tons of books and DVDs from library.

  66. Another fiction book based on this topic is Alas, Babylon. It had a profound effect on both my husband and me. I would highly recommend.

  67. Several years ago I had a very bad stomach virus. I could not keep anything down. We had a friend who is a nurse practitioner. She said that I was very dehydrated. She told my husband to feed me crushed ice. Some how or another the crushed ice fools the stomach and you do not throw up. That is why when you are in the hospital they give you crushed ice when you are sick, giving birth or coming off anesthesia.

  68. I have a note from one of Wendy DeWitt’s classes that says unflavored gelatin mixed with water can substitute for eggs in baked goods. Hope this helps!

  69. This past week was pretty good in the frugal department. Cooked most of our meals at home, used most electricity during off peak hours, and generally enjoyed not spending money ;). Trying new recipes each week to make cooking at home less boring, and 95 percent of the time they have worked well. DH said the homemade beef barley soup was the best he ever had (from 50 percent off meat at the store that I stockpile when I see it). Thanks to you Brandy for your comments as well as the other readers, I learn new ideas every week, though I am an amateur compared to many 😉

  70. I buy the V-8 juice when I find coupons, and then use it to make tomato-ground beef-cabbage soup. It calls for tomato juice but I think the V8 improves the flavor. My daughter dislikes tomatoes, and dislikes cabbage, but she will eat that soup and call for more! I don’t know what alchemy takes place by making it into soup, but she does love it.

  71. Hi, I live far away… In one of Nordic countrys or maybe to say in Eastern Europe. But I belong to the same church as this blogs author. We have a sister missionary now here from Las Vegas!

  72. I hate the heat pumps. We had one bill that was over $700 and the home feels like a fridg. all winter long. After the $700 bill. I did some google research, started with the pots of water and it works the humidity makes the home feel warmer and you can turn off the heat pump some.

  73. I would get restaurant.com GC from having Coke Rewards, and every time, I spent more money than I wanted too (way more) than if I would have forgone getting the GC and going to one of our favorite holes in the wall. (My) lesson learned.

  74. That’s my only regret about FPU too! DH and I say to each other at least weekly “just think of were we’d by financially right now if we had know about Dave when we got married!” At least we know now and have started living like no one else so that later we can live like no one else. 🙂

  75. Brandy, as a side effect of your frugality, you are creating little people who are not materialistic and wasteful. They seem genuinely happy and calm, not the typical frenzied kids rushing from place to place with a fast food meal in the car. So refreshing.

    My frugal efforts were virtually non-existent last week I am sorry to say. I had sickness in my home, including myself, and when I finally had energy for shopping and a little cooking, I took the route of over spending to boost spirits. An impulsive decision for sure. So ladies, I need some encouragement to get back on track.

  76. Sabrina, crushed ice gives you water very slowly. The “very slowly” part is the key. The stomach lining can absorb 2 ounces of clear liquids every 20 minutes, but when you are dehydrated, you are thirsty, & so you try to drink more, faster, & if the stomach is upset, it just comes right back up. The ice chips slow you down to what the body can handle. You can also absorb fluids thru the buccal membranes in the cheek, so that is another reason why the ice works.

  77. Canais, patio furniture is a staple at thrift store here. Where we are, both KMart & ShopKo sell cushions for patio furniture, so if you find pieces you like at the thrifts, you can make them match with the cushions. The cushions go on sale in the spring & clearance in the fall, like all other summer stuff.

  78. That is very exciting about the new bikes! I really want to get one for myself this spring so I can ride with my children, and also run some errands without taking the car.

  79. If you can’t use the soaps, and they are unopened packages of small hotel-sized bars, you might consider donating them. I know our local shelters are always in need of unused toiletries, and prefer the individual sizes.

  80. Canais, there are recipes/tutorials on how to make bars of soap into shower gel/liquid hand soap. It might take a bit of your time to make it up, but could be stored in a large container to refill soap pumps or bottles.

    As for the snow, I’m glad you had so much fun with shoveling. However, as a Canadian, I do warn you that shoveling will get old very fast.:p

  81. the most fun I’ve had saving money this week was taking my 3 year old son to the museum for the first time. I get in free being employed by a reciprocating attraction and he’s free being so young but we’ve never gone being so far. We made the journey on the subway (also his first time) so it only cost me the expense of my own subway fare. I also packed us a lunch and snack so we didn’t buy anything except for one small toy in the gift shop because he had his own money from his birthday.
    I’ve been working hard on keeping our grocery bill down – eating more meatless meals, using leftovers in creative ways, packing lunches and cleaning out the pantry.
    I also traded some of my son’s baby toys that he no longer uses at a thrift store for spring clothes, sandals and some puzzles for him costing me nothing out of pocket.

  82. Even when children get older and participate as Brandy’s do in Archery , you can pack food and make it a family event and it does not have to be fast food rushed. Even when we were rushed when I had two headed towards college and in so many things so that they could get into great schools I still made food and just brought food and they ate it on trays in the car but it was homemade and I know what they were eating. I also packed snacks and drinks. If they don’t watch a ton of tv and they read books they do not become materialistic either.

  83. Wonderful idea; thank you for your comment. I trust that what we invest in time we will save in money when we select our patio furniture. I’ve found some wonderfully creative ideas for building inexpensive fire pits in my research this week. What a fun time I am having with home ownership! It’s our third home in as many years, but I am hoping that we will be staying here much longer. It’s nice to let a little moss grow on this old rolling stone!

  84. I never considered that, but I can see why the small sizes would be preferable. Most are full-size bars with only a few samples. There is a donation center my husband can leave the small bars with when he is on his way home from work. Thanks!

  85. I was curious and found a recipe for making shower gel– it seems like the best way for me to use up my stash, as there are 3 different types of soap that I have many bars of each. As luck would have it, I will have the perfect storage container once I refill my soap dispensers… my large bottle is just about empty. Thanks for your help!

    I’m from Wisconsin, originally, and lived for many years in the far north end of the state. Drifts from the lake would nearly cover our cabin! Now that I’m living in the mid-south of the U.S., this amount of snow is freakish and will probably not be seen in coming years. May as well have fun with it while I can!

  86. Our frugal accomplishments this week:

    A friend blesses us each time we need an oil change and does it for free. This was done this week.

    I cooked at home all week. Some meals I made: pizza and breadsticks, biscuits and sausage gravy, BBQ chicken in the crockpot. I used meat that I had in the freezer from sales.

    I posted MANY items on Facebook garage sale pages and sold over $50. I mostly sold clothes my youngest has grown out of and clothes my husband and I cleaned out of our closets/storage. With the money I did several things, I funded some areas in our budget that needed a little extra, I bought some needed summer clothes for the family (used, from a Facebook garage sale page), and bought a can of tuna and a container of coconut oil. There are several more items left to hopefully sell this coming week 🙂

    I was able to get our cell phone bill lowered $10 without changing anything because they changed the different plans offered.

    I got 30 days free subscription to Kindle Free Time Unlimited (for my boys) and Amazon Prime (for the family). I watched 2 movies off Prime, and received free shipping on a couple books I ordered.

    I used a 20% off coupon on sale priced fabric and JoAnn Fabrics to purchase some flannel and terry fabric. I plan on making baby burp cloths for 2 baby showers I will be attending this month. My mother also gave me some flannel and material. I should have plenty to make with some leftover for another baby gift.

    I am trying to work harder at earning swagbucks, however, I can’t figure out how people make so much money on it! Maybe I just don’t take the time needed to do it?

    I made homemade fruit snacks, yogurt, and granola bars.

    A friend of the family was a blessing and watched our boys for free one night eliminating the need to pay a babysitter.

    I found 2 coupons for Legoland (an upcoming trip we are taking) that will get the children in free with just adults paying. It will save us $150! This is definitely our most expensive trip ever taken (even counting our honeymoon!) so we are searching for many coupons/deals/ways to save money. We were pretty excited about this one. My parents also have a time share where we will be going with them. So, cost of hotel is $0 while we are down there. It has a kitchen and laundry so we will be packing light and preparing food to save on cost as well. We are all SO excited!

    Read a couple ebooks on my Kindle that I checked out of the library.

    That’s it for this week.
    p.s. I can actually see the grass peeking out of the melting snow here in Michigan. Spring at last 🙂

  87. Also, along those lines. We love YNAB (You Need a Budget). It works really well with FPU. It is absolutely the best system we’ve ever used. We first got a free version for our college-aged daughter. Then my husband and I got a free 30-day trial so that we could learn how to use it to help her. We liked it way better than anything else we’ve done. They offer free training classes and at each class they give away free software so we actually won our software. However, we like it so much that I would have purchased it.

  88. In order to save electricity, you first have to know where you’re using it. Your first step is to do an energy audit – find out how much power every appliance uses; and then see where you can cut down. Lights (if you have CFL bulbs) use very little power. TVs don’t necessarily use a lot either (plasmas and the old boxy TVs do; LEDs don’t). Anything with a heating element (for instance, your toaster or electric kettle) will use a lot of power. But you can’t know what to do without if you don’t know how much power it’s using. Once you figure out where your power is going, then you can look at ways to lessen it. Do you need to upgrade an appliance? Do you need to get a new seal put in your fridge? Do you need to change your habits? (For instance, our old habit was boiling the electric kettle every time we wanted a hot drink; our new habit is to boil a kettle on top of the stove and then put the boiling hot water in a thermos and use that throughout the day for hot drinks.) But again, until you know where you’re using it, you can’t cut back on what you’re using.

    We’re fortunate to live in a fairly moderate climate – our mean temperature in the winter is about 50, so it’s cold, but it’s not freezing; and our mean temperature in the summer is about 80, so it’s warm, but we only have a handful of really hot days. That means our heating/air conditioning costs are low. We also have a 1 kw solar system which generates up to 4 kw energy a day (in the summer – in the winter it’s considerably less) and we have a solar hot water heater. Our power bills run to about $1.25/day – half of that is the service fee. Before we did the energy audit and changed our habits and installed the solar panels our electricity was costing us about $7/day and back then electricity itself was about half the price per kw. So, it is possible to make significant changes with your power bills; but how much you will be able to change will depend on your personal circumstances – your heating costs will be higher than ours; you can’t install solar panels or replace big appliances that might be costing you money since you’re renting; etc.

  89. Maggie B – I am a relative newbie here but one thing I’ve learned is that everyone one has frugal fails no matter how skilled, experienced and knowledgable. The big thing I’ve learned is to understand what failed and why and try to do better next time. And when we don’t feel well and those around us are sick it is even harder to keep focused. Congrats on even trying!

  90. I was at the local hardware store and while I was waiting I admired some little oil lanterns. The man who was working and the customer started talking about oil lamps/lanterns. When I said I love using oil lamps the customer, an older man, said that he collected railroad lanterns and sometimes ended up with lamps when he bought lots of lanterns. He offered them to me for free! Since this is a small town and I knew the clerk I said okay to his offer to pick them up from his house located a block over. They are lovely – three antique lamps with 8 chimneys. He reassured me that he just wanted them to have a good home. I reassured him they would (I love lantern light and use them regularly). To honor his generosity I bought some lengths of wick on Amazon as he mentioned that he needed wicks. They arrived today.

    I received the job offer for part-time today! I am so excited. The only downside is that I donated most of my ‘work wear’ a year or so ago. I went into town to do a few errands and stopped by my favorite thrift store. They had women’s skirts and slack on sale for 50 cents. I found four skirts and a pair of nice dress pants! I am so excited! I found another skirt for a friend who has an annual event that has a western theme and she definitely doesn’t have western type wear. It is a floor length suede skirt in a soft brown.

    Took two of our rescue dogs to a local mobile vet for their shots and heartworm. That saved me over $200 by not driving them into town. I hadn’t realized that they did routine appointments during their monthly visit to our area – like heartworm testing and medications as I thought they were just doing neuter/spay.

    Going through my closet for work clothes that will be appropriate. This is a more ‘business attire’ environment than the casual offices I’ve worked in. Found a lot of separates that will work with scarves and jewelry. I do need to look for warmer weather clothing as we can have some hot summers and I don’t have many skirts/dress pants that are light weight for summer.

    Big event for us – I drained our hot tub and dealt with a couple of issues on my own! We bought one several years ago for arthritis and other health issues. We live a long way from any heated pools at YMCA/YWCA so we decided to buy a small one. In the past we’ve had someone else do the work but this time I did the research and called the place where we bought it. Saved almost $200.00!

  91. I did a lot of not-so-frugal things this week. I spent too much on groceries (and I didn’t even buy meat!). And I spent a lot on goodbye luncheons and gifts for retiring and “just moving on” workplace friends. I spent unplanned money on postage to mail my brother my Kindle Keyboard since I was lucky enough to get a Paperwhite as a birthday gift last summer. I had not budgeted for all of these things and had to take a bit of money out of savings to cover it all but it was all worth it! (Except for maybe the groceries. Oh, and a fast food lunch that was so not worth it!)

    But I did manage a few frugal things:

    I used the library. Hooray for free access to books and movies!

    I do pay for Amazon Prime but really only use the “free” shipping and streaming video benefits so this week I made an effort to check out a book from the Amazon Prime Lending Library and listened to some Prime music to help get the most of out of the service. I was pleased to find a number of songs I love for free. I also downloaded a free kindle book.

    Thanks to warm days I was able to turn off the heater except at night for several days.

    As a former member of an Anthem HMO, I may have been affected by the data breach. I went to their website to sign up for free credit monitoring.

    I used a free sample-sized tube of toothpaste and dental floss I was given at my last dental check-up.

    I decided to make do with full size toiletries during a short trip I am planning rather than buying travel sizes or empty containers. Since I am going by car rather than plane, it made sense.

    I made an impromptu dinner from food I had on hand and decided to save the frozen meat I had planned to eat for another time–probably next week since I am hoping to skip my weekly grocery shop since I went overboard last time.

  92. It has been a while since my kids were small, but my pediatrician always recommended Coca-Cola for upset stomachs–as cold as you can get it, and right out of the bottle. He said coke syrup was useful too but I never could find it. I know it’s not something you’d want to give them normally, but it goes on sale a lot here. My Mom always gave us ginger ale. I know pedialite is recommended these days, so maybe Brandi’s advice is more sound than mine on this topic!

  93. Hi Annabel, that’s really great to know. We live 800 km’s from Adelaide, near to the start of the Nullabor plain (Aboriginal for plain without trees). Yes I recently discovered Brandy’s website – and I am very impresses and encouraged by what she shares. Cheers Robyne.

  94. Here is a question for everyone. What do you do for retirement when there is zero in the budget for years and then after 40 years of never having anything saved for you as a homemaker you find yourself out of work? What would you the reader do for retirement?

  95. Hi, when leaving comment, there is a box Subscribe to this entry, but when I have marked it, I have never gotten anything on e-mail, although there have been many comments added and some to my comments, too. Have I misunderstood anything? Thanks!

  96. Robert, I have nothing in the way of practical support to offer you, but you are far from alone in this. When my daughter was a baby I went to a seminar about women and retirement. The financial planner leading the seminar said that only 1 woman in every 5 would be able to rely on her partner to support her during retirement. For most women, divorce, death, illness, accident, or loss of wages mean that we cannot rely on our spouse to take care of our retirement needs.

    I’m in my late-30s and my husband and I save aggressively for retirement. We make decent money; for us frugality is not about making ends meet but about making sure we’ll still be able to make ends meet in years to come.

    If you’re of retirement age and there is no money you might have to look at entering the work force. Don’t underestimate your skills. Homemaking entails some very valuable financial and time management skills which translate well on a resume. In addition to money work also provides a second social safety net. I work in a small community where I don’t live; I know when personal tragedy strikes, as it has from time to time in the 11 years I’ve been there, my co-workers and even the wider community rally around me and help me through it.

    You aren’t alone. You’re in good company, and you can make it through this.

  97. Siiri,
    Same thing happened to me, I am not sure what we are doing wrong or if our email doesn’t accept this choice.

  98. We are in our free trial of YNAB. We have been writing a zero based budget for years but we really like YNAB. We are Dave Ramsey converts too. Changed our life.

  99. Hi Robert
    I firmly believe that retirement savings should never be ignored – you have to find some kind of way to save something. But things do happen so if I found myself ready to retire with nothing saved I would find a way to keep working – any way I could, pet sitting, house sitting, selling crafts, working from home. I can’t answer for homemakers though, I work and have my own pension along with my husband’s, it comes straight off my paycheck so it’s not even a part of my budget.

  100. Frugal this week? Most meals from home, we did buy take out yesterday as I was just not inspired to make a meal. I try to plan for these things but let it slip this week. My big frugal I guess is I got a new job, it took me about a month of looking, interviewing and deciding which one would be best for us.. I had 3 job offers. I am working for a candy company. Not a big national brand but a family owned business 1952 I think is when they officially became a candy company. Nice perk is I get 35% off as a employee and we are allowed to eat all the candy we want while at work.. helps to share with customers what each one is like. I am careful as I am diabetic and only try one piece each day.. a lot I already know about having been a customer since I was a little girl when my Dad bought my Mom a valentine heart filled with their candy and she shared with us kids. So back on the frugal train today. Made a meatloaf for dinner with homemade mashed potatoes ( I made this weekend and froze into batches) green beans and corn. I went to the library yesterday and got free books to read, love our library! I’m sure there is more will try to remember later.. right now I have brain cramps from learning so much at our store. I am in one of the retail stores.. they have 14 stores I think plus the factory.

  101. Hello Robert,
    I do not know all the details of your life. One thing I have taken away from Brandy and the community that comments on The Prudent Homemaker is Hope. Will you be eligible for social security? If so that is a bit to begin.
    There are contributors here who are also at retirement age and write about it on their blogs. Two blogs I follow are “Surviving and Thriving” and “Creative Savv”
    Possibly you can post to Brandy’s frugal accomplishments your frugal efforts and if you have specific questions ( housing, food, heat etcetera) they can be answered.
    Here is a story I recently learnt about meeting a food budget.
    A friends sister, recently divorced and never having children moved back to her home town. She moved into a 55+ block. She met 3 neighbors who each pay her $60.00/week. She in turn cooks dinners and lunches for all 4 of them. She cooks from scratch, many times incorporating leftovers for lunches or another meal( so she does not need to cook every day). She benefits from the income and the meals as she by herself would never eat as nutritionally and diverse:)
    I don’t want to just shoot suggestions at you, though I do have more:) I would like to give you hope that by coming to this site and community you are gathering ideas to support a retirement. Good thoughts to you:)

  102. It has been a couple of weeks, but here are some of my frugal activities.
    *I took the hems out of the sleeves of my husband’s robe to lengthen them and make it more comfortable. I was given a new pair of pj bottoms which are too large and altered them so I can wear them.
    *I shopped using sales, e-coupons and paper coupons to get needed groceries and some pantry items. I found red potatoes 5 # for 97 cents and strawberries $.87 for a pound container, limit 4. Strawberries are on sale again this week, so I may get more.
    *The mail brought a couple free magazines, two full-sized cans of deodorant, cat food sample, body wash sample, some useful coupons, $20 visa money card and our rebate check from Costco for $47.
    *There was a new online shop offering $15 credit and free shipping on lightly worn clothes. I was able to get a nice pair of pants, two tops and a winter beanie for $2.65 delivered to my door.
    *My tomato seedlings are growing well. Several pepper plants survived the winter and are already putting on peppers. A couple basil plants have tiny new plants growing from their seeds, some of which I have transplanted. The snapdragons are blooming and lots of seedlings are coming up, too. We’ve been enjoying lemon bars, lemonade, orange juice and fresh oranges, tangelos and grapefruit from fruit on our trees and neighbors’. I am continuing to share citrus with family and friends. Also shared green onion and tomato seedlings with family and the community garden.
    *I got a good deal on a rotisserie chicken which made several meals and 8 cups of broth. It was a real help on a busy day, but cheaper and better than a restaurant or fast food.
    *i attended a free seed swap and received a few flower and herb seeds along with some labels and printed material.
    That’s all I can think of for now. Thank you Brandy and all for the encouraging, helpful posts!

  103. It has been warm in Portland this week! I looked at your blog post – I live on the west side and I can’t remember the last time I got the Food Day. I was also supposed to get a free 12 week subscription and that ended after two issues. I fear our newspaper won’t be around for long…

  104. This week was especially busy during the first 1/2. One thing that happened is that one daughter broke a bracket off of her braces over a week earlier, but it wasn’t bothering her much. By waiting, they kindly made her an appointment with the existing appointment for the youngest to fix it. Also, because it was close enough to her regular appt., we didn’t have to take her back for that–they were able to do it all on Tuesday, for both girls. That is awesome, both for the time savings, and for the fact that the ortho is over an hour away, one way, so that’s significant gas savings as well.

    Our spring has been unusually dry and warm, so my husband was able to till up a small part of the garden. I planted a very few carrots, beets, cabbage, snow peas and lettuce. If the slugs leave them alone, who knows? I thought it would be worth a try since those are items that take cold weather well. Then it rained, so they are nice and moist for sprouting soon, I hope.

    I had the oldest (at home) daughter spread bark chips around my 4 raised beds in my main garden area. We still till over 1/2 of the main garden, but these 4 beds allow me to get things in earlier, and harvest later, due to the extreme rain we have here in our part of Oregon. They were free from the tree-trimmer people and I hope they will allow me to walk in there even when very muddy elsewhere and keep the weeds down as well.

    I found a 36-roll package of toilet paper at Fred Meyers marked down to $5.99. The Costco rolls are bigger, but they cost much more as well. That was just a package on the mark-down rack due to a torn edge. I got butter for $2/lb. We are still using the milk I got for 99c/1/2 gal a while back and froze. I have been continuing to grab a random frozen item and try to make something for dinner from it. I’m still trying to get a handle on the freezers. When our kitchen fridge broke, we had to unload everything from that little freezer and I found some surprises in there, so it’s either use or toss–either way, they will be gone. In the hurry of the emergency unload for the repairman, things just got stuffed in the garage freezers–so time to sort!

    I’m organizing meals for an upcoming get-away. (I start very early on these projects since I’m so busy during the work weeks. It also allows me to pick up little treats as I find them and stick them in the “box” to make it feel more special for everyone) As usual, I will take most of the food we will eat, we will eat out once or twice, and we will stay in a cabin we are able to use for free. We have enrolled the youngest 2 in classes at the Mark Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for 1 day, so that will be my husband and I’s “date” day. We will leave them there for a few hours while we get a walk and lunch, but will need to stay in Newport, cell-phone available, in case we are needed since we don’t live there (and aren’t even staying in that town). They are expected to bring a sack lunch with them, so I will pack all of those things, including baggies, etc. so I can make that for them.

    I helped my husband unload the back of his pickup. He had been able to get some scrap cedar boards for kindling. They were all sizes, from around 2 inches long to several feet. We sorted them. We put the little pieces in plastic barrels and he will bring them into the garage to use one at a time. The longer ones he will either cut into kindling, or turn them into 4H projects like birdhouses, bat houses, feeders, etc. for the club kids to make. He got a phone call letting him know that he can cut fire wood Friday at a certain place, so he will be doing that, as it is his day off. When you heat with wood alone, you can never have too much wood! He has many stacks and piles curing at various places on the property so we always have dry wood. He tries to keep a couple of years ahead, so he feels very blessed to be able to put back some of what we burned this winter.

    I picked up a couple more piano students, starting in April. I always expect the summers to be much slimmer because many people take the summer off of piano. A few always continue. So, it’s always a blessing to know I will have 2 more to add to the handful of regular students that usually go all summer. There are always a certain number of students who drop out each year and new ones come in, but often they wait until fall to do that, so I’m encouraged.

  105. Robert, if you have (or had) a spouse who worked and contributed to Social Security, you are eligible for 1/2 of their benefit. This is true whether you are married or divorced. If you are widowed, you may be eligible for their full benefit. If you are age 62 or older, I would contact your local Social Security office and make an appointment to see them. You can talk to people over the phone, but this is one thing I think is better done in person.

  106. I have to ask. Are you really male, or is this just the name on a family account. Not that it matters, I am just curious.

  107. We watched just the HULU for years but decided 2 years ago to do HULU+.
    We watch FOREVER also, and CASTLE. I watched AGENT CARTER…I liked it and was disappointed it was just those 8 episodes. I would have watched more. I am a big fan of FOYLE’S WAR.

  108. I signed up for posts to this web site several months ago. I received two or three, then nothing. Since i love this site, i just come back often.

  109. This is such a difficult question/concern. I am 62 and while I have social security my retirement savings were pretty much wiped out.. Here is what I have learned. You are doing the right thing by being here. There are amazing social systems in place that I didn’t know were there- both private and government. I am going back to work so that there is cash coming in. A friend of mine works for a home health organization that needs people to cook, clean, check-in with their clients. I don’t remember what your circumstances are but home sharing is an option – either taking a room in someone else home or offering a room to someone. Reach out – the library system is amazing, local/city organizations are in place if you seek them, your local hospital or health care system are all there to help you. You are not alone.

  110. I’m hoping to take my kids to the Hatfield Aquarium too. I have great memories of the place from when I was a kid and still use it as the yardstick by which every other aquarium is judged. Is it still free or do they charge admission these days?

  111. We had to pay for the special day of classes and sign up early. Otherwise, unless they have changed anything recently since we have been there, it is by donation only. They have a little box to stick money into if you wish–otherwise it has been free every time we have gone. We usually put some in, but it sure is nice to not have to pay $10+ per person, which was what the other aquarium was the last time we went–and that’s been years, it’s probably more now.

    I think because it’s linked with OSU and is used as a teaching facility as well, some of the classes will be taught by university students. We’ve done the classes in the past and they usually get to disect something, look through microscopes, etc. I’m not sure the plan this year–it says to bring boots! So, I’ll bet they are going out to study the water somewhere. We will find out.

  112. Excellent advice for Robert. Also, the widow’s benefit starts at 60, only the spousal benefit starts at 62. Make an appointment, the people at our social security office couldn’t have been more helpful when I lost my job last year. I don’t think you can talk to them over the phone anymore, but you can make an appointment. There are also programs for over 55 job seekers that do a great job. Lots of good ideas here as well.

  113. This is an amazing story. My mom has Alzheimer’s although she’s not to the point of needing to be in a facility yet. What a blessing it was (really!) for your husband to be there to deal with that, and not have the added stress of work too. I’m so happy that things have turned around and I wish you many more blessings!

  114. Thanks for that! The last time I went was when I was in uni and they were rehabilitating Free Willy! We were UO students so if the money went support OSU we probably didn’t donate anything just out of spite. :p If we go this time I’ll make sure to stick something in the box. It’s a great place; so much fun!

  115. Robert, if you worked at all and are drawing SS you can get up to half of your husbands. Say your husband gets $800 a month and you get $250. You are eligible to get up to $400.00 a month. The best thing is that it is retro to his retirement. Check it out and good luck.

  116. I truly love reading your site. I was wondering what you feed your trees and keep them bug free. I just planted seven fruit trees that I received for my birthday. 2 Apple 2 cherry 2 pear 1 nectarine. I have cannedfruit and veggies most my life have always went to u pick garden’s. This year we moved a building and re fenced a lot so that I could grow my trees. Any information will be appreciated. I live in Oregon and have soggy soil.thank you.

  117. Robert,
    When things got tight for my mom, she rented her condo, moved in with us (contributing to our expenses is much cheaper than her own upkeep) and took a part time job as a dispatcher for a security company.
    Is a shared living situation or a part time job an option for you?

  118. Mae,
    There are 2 aquariums very near one another. The one we are going to is the one connected with Oregon State–the Mark Hatfield Marine Science Center. The other one is the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It is the one that had the Free Willy whale years ago. It is awesome as well, but does have a hefty entry fee. We haven’t gone there for quite a while, but enjoyed it when we did.

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