Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Ivory with Herbs The Prudent Homemaker

I cut beet greens, Swiss chard, green onions, parsley, asparagus, dill and thyme from the garden.

I tip layered some blackberry vines. This is super simple–it just involves burying part of the vine to allow it to root in another spot. After it roots, I will cut it from the original vine, and I’ll have some new vines! If everything takes, I’ll have 4 new plants in a short while. 

Brandy The Prudent Homemaker

My husband cut my hair for me. He also cut his own hair.

I took the survey off of the grocery store receipt to earn 50 fuel points. Combined with the points I earned from shopping at the store the week before last, I will have ten cents off a gallon of gas. The grocery store that offers this deal usually has the same regular price as the gas station right up the road, and they are both the lowest price around. The fuel points makes this even lower.

I paid utility bills online.

I replaced the button on a dress.

Strawberry Jam The Prudent Homemaker

I bought strawberries for .99 a pound and canned jam with them.

I started a batch of apple cider vinegar using apple cores.

I zested the oranges I cut last week and dried the zests to use in future baking recipes.

I watched free shows on Hulu.com and pbs.org. I turned on a free show for the children on pbskids.org.

We enjoyed watching  a beautiful sunrise.

I took Liberty for an eye exam (they are $69 at Walmart). I ordered her two pairs of glasses from Zenni Optical, plus a backup pair for myself, for less than the lowest pair they had at Walmart (which was $9 for the frames, and $29 for lenses, plus tax–but only $6.95 a pair for her glasses, including lenses. Shipping is $4.95, even if you order more than one pair of glasses). I went through Ebates first when ordering. They have double cash back right now, so I also will receive 4% back on my order. If you’ve never ordered glasses online before, make sure to have the eye doctor give you the pd (pupillary distance) measurement. You’ll need it to order glasses, but the doctor doesn’t usually give you this measurement on your prescription unless you ask.

I spent some time updating my garage sale list in prepartion for shopping at a community garage sale next month.

Nectarine Blossoms 2 The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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125 Comments

  1. We are buying our first home! We close next month (granted the inspection is good) . I am thankful it was under budget, has an unfinished basement with future plans for playroom and school room for the kids, a barn and three acres! We are so thankful!

    Cut my sons hair.

    Put all of our tax money into savings (we will have to buy a washer and dryer).

    Making lots of our meals from the “frugal” list and using up pantry list.

    Ordered out one meal.

    Was able to put money into savings from left over grocery money.

    Bought some clearance clothes for our youngest.. She is 8 month and is in 12 month clothes, her sister clothes that size are summer.. So I try to be careful with purchases.

    This week I will be spring cleaning! And selling!

  2. Your hair looks very nice. My friend cut my hair for me the last time I had it done and she does such a nice job. Saved me around 20.00. I am a very good organizer so when she starts to spring clean I will help her a few hours to be a blessing to her too. They have chickens and give me eggs also, in exchange I share baked goods with them. I am so thankful for the friendship we share and the encouragement we are to each other. Have a wonderful week. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures. My garden is still under snow but we have had days filled with sunshine!

  3. Hello! What did I do to save money last week? Let’s see….
    1. I was on spring break, so I saved gas by staying home.
    2. Not saving money, but cleaned my house from top to bottom. Gathered a lot of stuff for a garage sale I am planning to have next month. I have a lot less clutter and a cleaner home, which makes me feel so much better.
    3. Only spent $40.00 in groceries and toiletries. We are leaving for a church conference on Wednesday evening, so I cleaned out the fridge and used perishable items in cooking this weekend so I wouldn’t have to throw anything out.
    4. Made a new dress. My sweet husband purchased me a simple, basic sewing machine so that I can practice sewing. Now to start building up my fabric stash!
    5. My pantry is full, thanks to a large purchase two weeks ago. I will continue to spend my regular budgeted amount for groceries to fully stock it so that I can start buying only sales. I have been working toward this goal for about two years and although I could get things such as sugar, flour, rice, etc. built up, I couldn’t get my meat supply built up because it is so expensive. Now I have a half full freezer and can focus on only meat on sale.
    6. Sat down with my husband yesterday to plan how we will eat while at the church conference this week. We will be preparing meals to eat on the way and then we will find a grocery store to purchase other items for meals to avoid eating out as much as possible.
    7. Replaced two tires on my car for 75.00, which was an enormous blessing to us, since we will be using my car for the trip which will only cost around 110.00 in gas for this trip. (We are traveling almost 11 hours from South Mississippi to Indianapolis, Indiana.)

    Have a blessed week!

  4. I made strawberry jam, found butter on sale at Aldi’s for $1.89/lb and paid $46.56 for $932.58 worth of groceries at Sam’s Club. (They were resetting their frozen food section and were having a clearance sale on many items.)

  5. Greetings, hope everyone is having a good week. My crocuses are blooming!

    My daughter and her boyfriend spent part of spring break with me so it was interesting from a frugality standpoint. The boyfriend can REALLY eat, but you would never know it looking at him. They took my old car so she has transportation to and from the summer job that she is hopefully going to get in the major resort city near their school. They stayed until Friday saying the food I was serving them was much better than the food at school!

    Presuming she gets a job, my daughter will live in a furnished apartment at near her university starting in May. She just has to supply her own mattress. We found a foam one at Ikea that is very firm and just to her liking. It came rolled up and shrink wrapped with carrying straps. At $350, it was $200 under my max amount. Her boyfriend bought the same mattress and took them back to school belted in the back seat. I also gave her our camping equipment because they and their friends want to go camping and I know that I’m not camping again unless there is a cabin, Best Western, etc. involved. I freed up a lot of room by giving them two tents and a huge bin full of camping supplies, including an air mattress.

    I took them out to eat two times, including Ikea for the Swedish meatballs they both love and a local restaurant that is really good and not much more than most chains, except when it comes to desserts, which were worth EVERY penny. Those of you in central Maryland: If you need a nice restaurant, try Barrett’s Grill in Hunt Valley at the mall. Trust me on this! I received a bonus at work that after taxes and 401K contribution covered the meal costs and the groceries I bought them with a few dollars left over. Not many, but a few.

    The groceries included items from my freezer and the store ranging from butter and side dishes to several different meats, some packaged and some prepared (such as meat loaf). There were also cookies, snacks for the road trip, and lots of candy for Easter baskets for them and for making a big tray for their friends who won’t get home for the 3 day weekend. They also took one of the whole organic chickens that I bought for $1.49 a pound since they were near their expiration date (not my intention, but they asked, so I gave them one). I gave them lots of tips about eating well for less (no meal plan next year!) and on cooking that I am now writing up for them as a reminder and to share with friends.

    I bought three half-price packages of organic teriyaki beef that were also expiring soon; they are now in the freezer.

    My credit card points are now doubling through the July bill because I’ve spent over $15,000 on the card since August, including the down payment on my ‘new to me’ car and my Mom’s funeral. The bill is paid in full every month. We received $225 in gift cards and my daughter bought new bedding while I stocked up on various household and personal items. I anticipate at least another $50 in cards by June. We also used two $5 off coupons and a 30% discount at Kohl’s to buy a few clothing items for my daughter and me.

    I’m doing the other usual stuff – not wasting food, taking lunch, re-using baggies, turning off the heating oil when I don’t need hot water, using the gas fireplace and room heaters instead of central heat, etc. Now if it will just stop raining so I can get to work in the gardens.

  6. -Roasted a whole chicken, froze some of it for meals later on. Used the rest for meals during the week.
    -Used a $5 off a purchase of $5 or more coupon from Kohls to get a pillow for free
    -Did a pinecone survey
    -Bought a bottle of OxyClean laundry detergent. It had a mail in rebate offer for the full purchase price. I filled out the paper work and mailed it off.
    -A local grocery store had bread marked down to $0.50 a loaf. I bought one and made it into bread crumbs.
    – Filled out a survey at the bottom of my grocery receipt to get 50 fuel points. Combined with the survey I did last week, this will give me 10 cents off of my next gas fill-up.
    -I have made my daily goal on swagbucks every day this month! I hope to do it for the whole month. The extra points will be nice. I am going to be in a wedding this summer and we are ordering the bridesmaid dresses online. The site takes paypal so I am hoping to earn enough paypal money through swagbucks to completely pay for the dress.

  7. Love that haircut – LOVE that smile! I made strawberry jam this past week too! Our berries were 1.25 a pound, and that is the lowest I’ve seen the past few years. I waited the last couple years for .99 cents and it never came, so this is the first year I’ve made strawberry jam in quite a while – my family is very happy!

    All my frugal accomplishments/blessings for the week are posted here: http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/03/frugal-accomplishments-and-blessings_14.html

    I just posted a menu for the week as well: http://quietcountrylife.blogspot.com/2015/03/this-weeks-menu.html

    Visitors welcome!

    We had really warm weather this weekend, so I started seeking out the items I will use to garden this year. I will have to do a lot of it in containers this year, because the deer have gotten really comfortable here and just eat everything I plant. I have ways to cover/protect the containers, so that is what I will try this year. We’ll see how it goes! Thanks again for all you do…

  8. That jar of strawberry jam looks delicious! I like those older square jars, but I only have a couple of them.

    Finished airing out the blue wool blanket, then folded it for storage with a few of the others.

    Cut another bud vase full of fresh daffodils for the library. Spring is not here yet; we will have several more freezes & the buds on the apricot tree are open, so we will probably lose that fruit again this year – our last frost date is not until Mother’s Day!

    Removed the glass cloches from over the lettuce on the warmer days, so they don’t cook, & replaced them at night, so the lettuce keeps growing.

    Finished hemming the flannel wipes I had cut out. There are 35 of them; they all fit in one plastic baby wipe box, but the box is really stuffed full. When I have occasion to cut some more flannel pieces, I will begin a second box.

    I forgot to mention that in previous weeks we received our federal & state tax refunds. I did them myself through Turbotax, & the day after I sent them, Turbotax announced a problem with fraudulent returns, so we were relieved when the checks came thru. We started sending our tax returns off electronically 5 or 6 years ago when California announced a budget crisis & said that they would not be able to process all the refunds. Even tho we live in Utah, we decided then that since the early bird gets the worm, we would always be early birds.

    Picked up 3 more free apple boxes at Fresh Market to cut down for empty quart jars. Cut down the apple boxes as well as 3 of the orange boxes I picked up last week. Most go to my daughter.

    Bought 40 pounds of black beans, along with a bucket & Gamma lid to hold them.

    Completed another pine cone survey & received a pine cone check from a previous survey.

    Our daughter had mice get into a large tub where sleeping bags were stored. They ruined several of them, but the two most expensive (thankfully) had not been torn up at all, but absolutely reeked of mouse urine. The first thing she did was hang those two out in the bright sun on her clothesline for the afternoon, while we googled how to remove the smell. The next day, she put one of the sleeping bags in her front load washer with cold water, ½ cup vinegar & 1/8 cup baking soda. The instructions said to soak the item in that solution for an hour, agitating once in a while, then drain & wash in plain cold water. Since her front loader can’t exactly “soak”, she ran the bag thru on an extended wash cycle that took over an hour, then let the machine rinse it in cold water. Then she washed it again in cold water, with just a little soap added, as usual, & dried it outside on the line in the sunshine. It worked, & tomorrow she will do the other sleeping bag. Between the UV light, the vinegar & the soap, any danger of hantavirus should also be eliminated. Thought this might be useful to share for those of us who need to store camping items in the garage, shed, or barn.

  9. We came home from the hospital and have a new baby brother to add to the family! We spent very little on groceries as mamas from our church brought us dinner all week long. Such a huge blessing!

    We stayed home most of the week and only left our town for doctor visits (which are in neighboring towns). We received all of our tax refunds back and put the money in our savings envelope. Some will be used for my maternity leave (my hubby is a SAHD), and the rest will be used for carefully planned purchases. One such purchase is an Amazon Prime subscription. We are loving having access to Sesame Street and other fun TV episodes (we do not own a TV) and fun movies! We also plan to use the Prime subscription for the quick shipping with no minimum purchase.

    Since I am home for several weeks, I have quite the list of goals. I’ve been hitting our Swagbucks goals each day and participating more in other earning sites. We use gift cards we earn there to buy things from amazon.com. This saves us money on our grocery bill. I’ve been working on a cross stitch project that will be a Christmas gift for my parents (and it’s a good thing I started now because it may take me that long to finish it!).

    With the addition of a baby brother, many friends have also gifted us with boy clothing. Soon, I will need to make up an official list of what else we need as garage sale season will start here in another month or so. We will fill out the remainder of our son’s wardrobe through 24 months from garage sale finds this summer.

  10. Good morning Brandy,
    I love your picture! You look beautiful~~ I hope your garden tour went well. I have been wanting to make strawberry jam too. Where do you usually buy your canning jars? I just have a few.
    Here are my last weeks frugal accomplishments. I spent approximately $40.00 on our food bill. I will try to have this as a monthly budget for food for the net 6 months. Since I have spent several months storing for my pantry and freezer, I think I can mange this food budget. I am being phased out of my position at work, as expected, so I am looking at the possibility of a forced early retirement at 59 1/2. Thankfully with your wonderful blog, I have been able to learn so much from you and find this as a blessing from God for His provision in this next chapter in our lives. I so enjoy and look forward to reading your blogs each week. They give me so much encouragement 🙂
    I only drove my car twice last week and will probably use it twice/week from now on for local chores and bible studies. This will help to keep my cost down for gas/month.
    My husband bought us a 2 y/o bare root semi dwarf apple tree ( our first for our new home) which cost about $40.00. I am very excited to see it produce in the next couple of years. I am wanting to buy one more dwarf fruit tree for our small yard. Here in the Puget Sound NW I have read that plums and pears grow well too. Just trying to decide which I can use more of for future deserts and canning. Our weather has improved and soil should be about 40 degrees now so I plan this week to get the veggie garden in full swing. I found rosemary and oregano in our garden ready to be harvested. Do you dry your own herbs to store?
    We ate at home all week , except one where we went to Burger King for a small date..spent less that 7 dollars. Since we have a loss of one income now, I plan to cook most all meals now at home.
    I went to Joannes fabrics and found a couple of creative projects to put into my 2 grandchildren’s easter baskets. They had a large sale so I was able to spend little and yet provide fun activities for them~~ ages 7 and 9.
    I hope you have a wonderful week
    Blessings
    Patty from the NW

  11. Brandy your hair looks lovely! The last week was good for us. I have been cooking a lot and adding to my freezer meals. My husband picked up some extra work, three things in fact, and this will be a great help. He also caught fish and crabs which covered a meal.
    I asked a friend to team up with me. She is a good ebay seller. I am a good finder of things to sell. So I am going to do the finding and she the selling and split it. Hopefully this will make us both some extra money.
    Another friend started posting great specials she finds (in Australia) so we are developing a good system to alert each other of wonderful prices. This is really helpful. For my other savings they are listed on Fridays on my blog http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/ I made progress on building up my pantry too. A little bit of progress each week. Thank you for the lovely inspiration and encouragement.xx

  12. Your hair looks great!
    We had a really mixed bag this week. I had to go to the emergency room but took a minute to check our insurance and see if one would cost less. I ended up being admitted and have to see a cardiologist, so we made sure the one I chose was also a preferred provider. We are going to ask for a discount for prompt pay when the bills come. I saved 20% on my huband’s broken foot that way, at the same hospital.

    I got toilet paper for BOGO and had a coupon, I am going to go back for more. I saved about 40% shopping for the food bank, and also got milk for us for free by tweaking our list to take advantage of a promotion. My son was super happy to get his favorite chocolate milk. I know the food bank does better if you give them cash, but I am teaching my children to give and they understand giving pasta and soup better, when they “get it” we’ll switch back to cash donations. We were given a coupon to a restaurant, which was fortunate because my husband and I were exhausted after the hospital. So we took the children out to dinner so they’d go right to bed and we could too.

    My husband got a raise, we will be able to pay off our furnace and car by January if we are careful. We made 250 dollars in profit on ebay. I saved almost thirty dollars on our grocery bill with sales and coupons, and also came in under budget for the week. I am very happy about that as I have set a goal of decreasing our budget by 25 dollars so we can have the extra hundred each month. My husband stayed up all night to make a cardboard Transformer for my son’s birthday. It’s fantastic. We are going to hang it in their room after we take down the decorations. I resisted the urge to buy a cake and made my son’s birthday cake. I am saving the leftovers for cake pops so I don’t have to make another cake Saturday. All three of my childrn have March birthdays, it’s a bit hectic.

  13. You look young and fresh! He gave a great cut!

    I have wanted to get out of the house – we are still healing and I am still learning a “new “routine to my days. Going out costs money and where as shopping can be fun, there isn’t anything I really want – to part with money for. SO…we hosted a small dinner get together with friends we haven’t seen in a very long time. I roasted chicken using Brandy’s recipe (GOODNESS -SO DELICIOUS!), served potatoes and green beans from our pantry. It was the cheapest 5 hours of fun I have had in a long time. Friends brought cheese and dessert and left us the left overs. Toasted cheese sandwiches for me, extra pie for the mister.

    I found a few free vintage cross stitch patterns online. There is a 7 Virtues cross stitch pattern I am adoring – the cheapest I can find it is $10 just for the pattern. I will attempt to map out my own by using lettering and grids that I have.
    Also stared latch hooking a rug (when the light is too dark to read the cross stitch patterns) using materials I have on hand.

    Started making breakfast – usually have muffins/granola on hand – but now have been making oatmeal with a dollop of homemade jam. Made a batch of gluten free fudge cookies, we don’t need to be gluten free but it was nice to make a treat without flour and I used up a lot of my confectioners’ sugar that has been sitting. All meals but one were made from scratch. My waistline loves it!

    I wanted a nice basket to put the weeks ironing in – the one I liked was way out of my price range. I was looking for something decorative. Using a free online tutorial and painter’s drop cloth (a gift from years ago) I made a large canvas storage bin – my cost – just my time which I have a lot of at the moment.

    Updated/dressed up a spring purse by adding a colorful scarf that I had.

    I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

  14. The jar in the photo above came from the thrift store. I’ve bought them at garage sales, thrift stores, and at Walmart. I’ve also been given quite a few.

    Yes, I do dry my own herbs. I have a goal to no longer have to buy any herbs that I can grow. I am also continuing to expand the list of herbs that I grow; this year I am trying cumin. The herbs in the picture above were dried.

  15. Brandy, I was hoping you could share your strawberry jam recipe. I looked under your canning link but did not find it.

    Frugality continues to be about the same here.
    Ate out 2 times last week but that is pretty normal for us. Found some great prices at Sprouts on our usual produce and chicken purchases. They were far better prices so I will be sure to make them a regular stop each week. It is right next door to our gym so no extra trips necessary. Made a wedding gift and two baby shower gifts for some friends. I love making gifts when possible. It makes it feel more special to me.

  16. I usually just use one in my Ball Canning book. Last week I couldn’t find the Ball pectin at the store and had to get another kind, while I waited for some to come from Amazon. That kind (from Mrs. Wages) had a completely different recipe and times! Sadly, it didn’t make as much. So, in the end, I have learned that it really is going to depend on the pectin you use. I will try again now that my Ball pectin has arrived, and hopefully I will have more jars this time.

  17. Congratulations on finding a home that meets your needs, dreams, and budget. That’s a wonderful accomplishment and I’m thrilled for you. What a fun, new adventure in your life!

  18. Brandy, that is one adorable picture of your daughter with the basket…so cute! Your husband does a wonderful job cutting your hair. There’s no way I’d get my husband to cut mine. He would refuse, and, quite frankly, I don’t think I’d trust him anyways. It seems surreal to read that you are already doing canning. We are finally warm enough this week to melt some of the mounds of snow. It’s melting slowly, but I can’t see the grass yet.

    As for my frugal accomplishments, I am happy to say that I had a good week this week:
    *I am thrilled to say that I finally had a week of NO EATING OUT!!!! YEAH! All meals were made at home with the majority being made from scratch.

    *I cooked a package of three large boneless, skinless chicken breasts and made it stretch over three meals for four people! I made hot chicken sandwiches the first night, chicken noodle soup the next night, then reserved enough meat to mix it with pasta and Alfredo sauce in a casserole dish, topped it with mozzarella cheese and baked it for a third meal. All meals were delicious!

    *Other meals made from scratch included tacos, homemade pizza, and lasagna (which I previously made up and froze). Made banana bread pudding with some overripe bananas and some freezer burnt hamburger buns…turned out amazing! Also baked an apple pie from freezer that we made from scratch back in fall. I made two loaves of bread this week to enjoy with the soup and the lasagna, and made an extra batch of pizza dough, divided it into three and froze it to gift to my brother.

    *My brother came to visit this weekend. He has recently separated from his wife and is trying to start a household on a limited budget. We gifted him some household items, including an area rug that we previously bought at auction for $15, a coffee and end table made by my father before he passed away, a box full of pots/kitchen bake-ware, an old TV and a DVD player we were not using. We also gave him some food items from our pantry stash, including some frozen sliced luncheon meat, a package of frozen hotdogs, the frozen pizza dough mentioned above, a large Ziplock bag of flour (from our large bag), a box of cereal (previously bought for $0.33), pasta, a few jars of pasta sauce and Alfredo sauce, a few jars of peanut butter, some jars of homemade canned jams, jars of home-canned peaches and some personal care items. He greatly appreciated everything. It felt good to be able to share our abundance with him.

    *Read an article on Pinterest about starting seeds and the problems with dampening off. I had recently started some seeds and had put a sheet of plastic wrap over the pan to hold in heat/moisture. After reading that the seeds need good air circulation, I removed the plastic wrap. It also suggested using a sprinkle of cinnamon on the top surface to inhibit mold and fungal growth, which I also applied. In the last day or two the tomato plants have started to sprout (no signs yet from the peppers). Hoping that my new knowledge will help these seedlings grow into healthy hardy plants.

    *Washed out and reused a few Ziplock baggies, bread bags and bread bag closure tabs. My husband also brought home a large food container from work for using to store the large bag of bread flour he bought through the restaurant wholesaler (my husband is a cook in a restaurant).

    *Frugal Laundry tip: If you get blood stains on your clothing, try using saliva to take the stain out. The enzymes in your spit will digest and break down the blood, helping to remove the stain. Just spit a good amount on the area until covered, rubbing in as necessary and let sit for approx. 10-20 min., then rinse with cold water and a scrub with a bit of soap. Most of the blood stain should come out with this. Launder as usual afterwards. This works on fresh or dried spots, but not stains that have previously been laundered.

    That’s all I can think of for now. So looking forward to spring! Have a great week everyone!!!

  19. On Tuesday, our ladies’ group from Church had an activity of freezer meals that I was in charge of. We were able to assemble 20 meals – 10 for each of our two sets of full-time missionaries in just 40 minutes time! There were 5 different meals which were easy to cook up- microwave or crockpot and it only used 3 pounds of chicken and 2 pounds of ground beef to make all 20! The meals easily would serve 4 adults and leave them satisfied! Gave out recipes to all who attended including recipes for the dry mixes- buttermilk ranch dressing and dry Italian seasoning and taco seasoning and showed them how economical it can be to prepare healthy, satisfying meals on a really small budget! Reminded me of what a blessing it is to have homemade mixes on my shelves and a full pantry of “ingredients”!!!

    Made a simple Shepherds Pie for a Linger Longer potluck after our Church services using ground beef I had precook end and had in ziploc bags in freezer, green beans I canned last summer from our garden and some on-sale Russet potatoes for mashed potato topping! I made a huge pan (the size I did when there were all 11 kids living at home!) and it was the first thing eaten up at the potluck! Several people asked for the recipe which kind of embarrassed me because it’s so simple and fast!
    I have been thrilled to see jars from my pantry being emptied, washed and returned to my basement pantry for our canning season this year! I’m grateful we are eating and enjoying the things that I’ve canned in the past seasons! Our food storage like my fabric storage is constantly being rotated! Years ago, our kids couldn’t tell anyone what they thought about eating “food storage” because it’s always been a part of our normal meals and snacks. It’s good to see them carrying this on into their families!
    This week we (the Hubster and me) will take an evening or two to start planning and imagining how we want to improve the landscaping and the gardens in our yard. We will also expand/remodel our tool shed. Those kinds of “dates” where we dream and imagine and then start to implement are so wonderful! Better than any fancy dinner and a show or other activity because we’d talk and share feelings! It’s the best!
    Made brownie mix and our son used some of it in a hurry when he remembered he had signed up to bring a dessert to a dinner he was going to! That saved time and money!! And gave him another chance to be cooking on his own! I’m going to be baking my one hour bread this morning using some of my flax and 9 grain cracked cereal add to my whole wheat flour. The house will smell amazing!
    Weather is starting to be less winter-like and the snow has finally melted so this week we will plant our potatoes.

    All in all, a very wonderful and blessed week!

  20. I LOVE your pictures! She is adorable:) Last week:
    I was able to hang my laundry outside two days!
    I was also able to turn the heat off three days! 🙂
    I paid some bills using my online bill pay with my bank, for free
    One more payment, and my house is paid off!!
    I ordered some groceries online using a new service. I ordered enough to get free shipping. I did save some money compared to prices at my local grocery store.
    I received several cloth storage bags from my mom for long term storage of items I plan to keep. I also received two plastic shoe-type boxes of pantyhose and tights from my mom. She doesn’t wear them anymore (different job) and now I do. Saved me TONS of money! My daughter and I also picked up a grocery bag full of pine cones from her yard to do various crafts with at home.
    Used scrap paper for my daughter to paint and color on using supplies we already had on hand.
    I made cinnamon raisin bread, roasted veggies, a quinoa/veggie casserole type dish, a fruit crumble using several fruits that were needed to be used up, vegetable broth using veggie scraps saved in the freezer. We ate all meals at home and I took my food to work with me. My daughter and I ate lunch with my mom on Sunday, but this was planned.
    My husband had a procedure done as an outpatient last week. We had to be at the hospital very early. I made my smoothie and snacks the night before. I did not spend any money that day and utilized free wifi for entertainment on my kindle in the waiting room.
    His prescriptions, for 4 of them, cost around $10. He has good insurance through his employer.
    I had a cable salesman show up at my door last week. I said thanks but no thanks. It took me over a year to get my husband to agree to cancel Dish Network, I certainly didn’t want him to get cable! LOL
    Had a game night at home with my daughter and husband playing my husbands old Nintendo! It was a lot of fun.
    I put two more articles of clothing in my donation bag. I also took another two boxes and a bag of “stuff” to Goodwill.
    That’s all I can remember. Have a great week everyone!

  21. Brandy, may I ask which grocery store awarded the survey points? I’ll be in the Vegas area in another week or two, helping my mom out with getting a stockpile and other such savings. Thanks in advance!

  22. Great picture. You look lovely. 🙂

    As for the pupillary distance for Zenni Optical, they also provide instructions on the website on how to measure it if you don’t have it on your prescription. I had to measure my own PD for the reading glasses I ordered, which worked out fine.

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – I did all the things I normally do (cooked from scratch, ate most meals at home, washed out plastic bags, made water kefir and yogurt, cooked from the freezer, composted food scraps in my worm bin, read books from the library).
    – I bought four blocks (two pounds each) of Tillamook cheese that were on sale for $5.99 a block at QFC (Kroger). They were limit two per customer, so I had to go to the store twice, but it’s a only block away from where we live. This is the new cheapest price – I used to see it for two pounds for $4.99, but I have not seen that price for months. This amount of cheese will last us for a long time.
    – I scored at Goodwill: I found seven Brita water filters (in sealed packages) for a dollar each, which will last us a year. On sale, the cheapest I can find these is about $4.25 each.
    – Also at Goodwill, I found five tubes of the special toothpaste I use (because of dental issues) for $1.99 apiece. Normally a tube sells for over $5. The toothpaste was in boxes and looked fine (and I am not particularly squeamish about buying these types of things at a thrift store).
    – I had been wanting a small wood recipe box to organize my recipes. I finally found one (also at Goodwill) for $2.99, complete with dividers and a bunch of recipe cards. I imagine that it’s at least 40 years old – the blank recipe cards inside are from the 1970s, and there’s still a sticker on the bottom of the box from the wood products store it came from in Wisconsin. A small frugal pleasure that I will enjoy every time I use it. 
    – I made Swiss chard soup (inspired by Brandy’s recipe) and added various refrigerator remnants, plus homemade broth from meat and veggie scraps I keep in a bag in the freezer.
    – I found a source of free composted horse manure on Craigslist, and picked up two big buckets of it to work into the soil of my plot at the community garden.
    – I planted onions, garlic and peas in the garden. The next day it rained, which is good for starting seeds.
    – Someone put a working vacuum out by the condo dumpster. It’s in good shape, so I brought it in and tested it out. My sister’s vacuum is on its last legs, so I offered it to her, and she was happy to have it. It’s crazy what people get rid of.
    – I continued to enjoy my tulips and daffodils. I love springtime.

  23. Patricia,

    You will probably need another apple tree for a pollinator. There is a nursery that is somewhat in your area. http://www.raintreenursery.com In their catalog, they have an excellent list of different pollinators for different apple trees. That may help you determine what you need. I ordered from them for the first time last year. Good luck with your trees.

    Judy

  24. I have had 3 not very frugal weeks, my girls and I traveled to Ca to visit and be there for my baby brothers wedding. I did do a few things, we had a family lunch with all my siblings(it was also my mother’s birthday), I made stuffed shells, 3 large pans full, instead of buying 4-5 jars of marinara, I bought the #10 can from Sam’s club, and used the whole can and seasoned it myself. My mother loved the sauce, instead of buying frozen spinach we tore up spinach we already had, and bought a large package of sausage to crumble and cook, bought this also at Sam’s club making the meat less expensive than the small packages, I was also able to get a large tubs of each of the cheese’s needed for less, I ended up spending about $40, including French bread loaves and salad. This is way less than my family usually spends for Sunday lunch, we had 18 people there.
    Also I was the photographer for the wedding, saving my brother quit a bit of money. I made my two little flower girls dresses.
    When going through security at the airport I found some helpful things, I always ask if I can have another adult family member help me to my gate. On the way there my husband got a gate pass at ticketing when we checked our bags. I always assume I will be hassled at security, separating me from my kids, one year it was wearing a skirt, they had to pull me aside and check, One year it was my baby sling, I was wearing my baby, this year they didn’t like my camera case and had to extra check it. So this adult helper is so helpful! On the way back it was my mom and the only delay through security was patting down my ankles, she didn’t like how full my pant legs where? Anyways being prepared helps my stress. On the way home I also found I could pack some food items through security, I asked and was prepared to throw it away, but the let me take applesauce pouches, and string cheese, and an unopened bag of nuts. That saved us some on food as our travel day took most of the day.

  25. What a darling helper you have! Your goal list sounds similar to mine… a bit of sewing, gardening, making laundry soap. We’ve had good luck with layering too. We were just talking yesterday about moving a peach branch that we rooted this way. It doesn’t get any better than free. Your new haircut looks fabulous. He does a great job! Joining in here: http://www.abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2015/03/heritage-wheat-bluebirds-and-frugal.html

  26. We purchased a flat of strawberries from a local fundraiser they do every year. Not so frugal, but the strawberries come shipped cooled straight from the field and are so good and for a good cause. They will be here Thursday and we leave Saturday for vacation. Can I freeze them and take them out when I get home to make preserves?

  27. Congrats on the safe arrival of your new baby boy. How wonderful that your husband is the SAHD! It must be very nice for your family to be all together at home right now. Such a wonderful blessing for your family!!!

  28. Yes Brandy, you look beautiful! Your husband did a great job on the haircut. I am need of a good haircut, but I am not that trusting of my husband. My hair is thinning on top, I think just due to childbirth, aging and thyroid issues. I also can’t believe how gray I am getting. I am only 37 and it is really depressing! I bought a $6 box of haircolor and it didn’t cover any of my grays. My husband says that I just need to accept my “silver highlights”! I guess they were free!

  29. My frugal things for the last week included:

    Buying 50%-off meat at Safeway, which brought the drumstick price down to $1/lb.
    Buying a car for $1500 under Blue Book.
    Packing school and work lunches.
    Made cute spice labels using electric tape.
    Decluttering my house, which makes it a better place to be while giving us the tax deduction for Goodwill donations.
    Finding and using a $10-off coupon for my son’s driver’s ed class.

    I wish I could find 99¢/lb strawberries. That would be the perfect prompt to throw together a batch of freezer jam.

    Of course, I also blogged about my frugal things as well over at The Non-Consumer Advocate:

    http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/five-frugal-things-48/

  30. Thank you! I will look at thrift stores and garage sales for canning jars. 🙂 Cumin is a very good herb..

  31. Hi Judy thank you for the information about the nursery. We bought our semi dwarf apple from Watson’s Nursery in Puyallup. This apple tree has 4 different apple varieties and does not need to cross pollinate as we were informed through the nursery. Since we have such a small backyard, we were hoping to find a tree without having a cross pollinator. I will look into the website you posted as well…blessings to you~~Patty

  32. I haven’t commented for quite awhile but I faithfully read your blog Brandy, it really inspires and motivates me to be careful with all of ours pennies! My most satisfying accomplishment last week was to purchase some new basketball shorts for my 12 year old for only $2.13! He’s growing quickly and I know how important it can be at that age to feel like you are dressed like everyone else. I had a couple of coupons and a reward coupon that helped me buy him what I knew he would love at such a small cost to me.

    I’ve been busy in the garden. Last year I noticed that I had some volunteer currant bushes coming up in a weedy spot so I’ve been clearing away the weeds this spring. I’m sure I need to thank the birds that left the seeds there for me. Also trimming back the raspberry bushes and planting lettuce, spinach, and peas, all the good things you are harvesting from your garden now!

    We continue to be careful with leftovers, shop with a list, bake our own bread, walk when possible and plan our trips in the car. We are planning a trip to Washington D.C. in May for our son-in-law’s graduation and also to meet a new grandchild so we are trying to save as much as possible. I’m making a quilt for the new little one with some fabric I already had on hand. I bought additional supplies using a coupon. It’s fun to be frugal when you know that will make it possible to spend time with your loved ones.

  33. Ivory [I think this is the baby’s name?] Is beautiful.. Such a lovely photo of her..
    You look really pretty in your photo too. Hubby did a good job, cutting your hair.
    Great job saving on the gas prices..
    Have had a good week, Our sun shine is out and spring is on its way..
    Have been spring cleaning, cleaned the pantry and organized it, so I could make a list of needs, and
    what I already have.. As I will be restocking more real soon.
    FOund strawberries for 99 cents too..[yea]..SO, I am making preserves too.
    Have several mending/sewing jobs to do this week.
    I am boxing up some winter clothing, and pulling out summer things as spring is on its way.
    Thanks you everyone who shares on here..It is so helpful
    http://www.frugallivinginjudy‘sworld.blogspot.com

  34. What lovely photos of you and of your daughter!

    I’ve done the usual frugal things like taking breakfasts and lunches to work with me, having dinners at home, and hanging laundry to dry.

    But I did a stock-up grocery shopping at one of the big warehouse stores, plus regular weekly grocery shopping, so, spent most of this month’s grocery budget. I’ve just over $10 left in my grocery budget to last me for the rest of this month. I bought 25 lb. rice for $8.99, 4 lbs. butter for $7.99 at the warehouse store; chicken drumsticks for $.79/lb., tangerines for 3 lbs./$1, and pears for $.49/lb. at the ethnic grocery store.

    My totals are here: http://www.bless2cents.blogspot.com/2015/03/grocery-shopping-and-meal-planning.html

  35. To build up your fabric stash, put the word out to friends and family that you are interested. Just about everyone has fabric they are not using.

  36. Don’t forget that old bed sheets are great for building a fabric stash as well. often the fitted sheet wears out before the top sheet does, so family/friends may have an excess of these. Lots of yardage in one sheet!

  37. Taking myself and son for eye exams later this week ~ thankful for insurance 🙂

    * made banana bread, pizza, loaf of bread, and cooked a turkey breast in the crockpot. Daughter made pudding.
    * got apples for .59/# and .99 tortillas and .99 Muir glen salsa and free mini bagels
    * rented a redbox movie for the family to watch (Alexander and the horrible, no good, very bad day) which we all enjoyed
    * had a work meeting and got a free lunch, it wasn’t very tasty but it was free.
    * my son has started track practice. Since it’s really too far to drop him off and come home I try to use this time for errands or make sure I bring a book along :). He always takes a reusable water bottle and a snack from home.
    * DH took my car and got a few warranty items fixed and a free oil change

  38. Don’t forget Ozbargain.com.au – users list everything they find on sale and then other users vote on whether or not it’s a good enough deal to stay on the site. A lot of the stuff won’t interest you but there’s enough that will, it’s worth visiting regularly.

  39. About the only thing I did frugally this week is to can some chicken that we bought for 99 cents a pound. We went on a trip to visit our sons that live in other states. We cut costs by bringing some sandwiches and a thermos of our own water. We stayed with family. But traveling is never cheap. While we were out we visited some thrift stores and bought some summer clothes. I guess we saved some money by turning our thermostat to 55 while we were gone. All in all, not a very thrifty week for us!

  40. Oh! I forgot to add your hair looks nice! My husband and I have been cutting each other’s hair for the last 40 years. We also cut all four of our sons hair until the grew up and moved away. I can’t even calculate how much money that has saved us over the years!

  41. This week I did a fair bit of mending. I also altered one shirt – I’m not a very confident seamstress so that was huge for me. I’d found it second-hand and really liked the style but it was mega-big on me, so I took it in along the sides and gave it a bit of a waist. It looks pretty good. I hemmed some pants for my son too. We bought them last year on deep discount ($1 marked down from $20) but they were a bit too long. I left the length there, though, so that as he grows I can let them out.

    I’ve finished decluttering the house. Not exactly frugal; but in a way I think it’s very frugal, because it makes you realise that less is more and then when you’re out and about and you absolutely fall in love with something you end up asking yourself, But is this just going to be something else to get rid of? Also you often find little treasures to repurpose. I found some gorgeous postcards I’d picked up about 15 years ago, which are reproductions of 1930s WPA posters for national parks, and framed a couple in existing frames – they’re in the new bathroom, and I smile every time I see them.

    There’s a popular family legend in my husband’s family, and I realised it would be very easy to get to the bottom of it, so I sent off for the government documents a couple of weeks ago. They came yesterday. It was not at all frugal ($20 for what was essentially a 3 page report, plus an additional 6 pages informing us why certain pages had been redacted and were missing from the final copy) but it was a lot of fun to read and very exciting to finally get to the bottom of this particular story. It’d be nice to see the redacted parts; but they won’t sufficiently change what we now know are the facts.

    We’ve had lots of fun playing cricket together as a family almost every night. It’s just nice spending more time together; and it’s a free activity, since we already have the bat, stumps, and ball.

  42. Faith, we pray the inspection is all it should be. Congratulations on the new home. Country life is nice…space to grow and roam, you can see the stars better at night and you see and hear more wildlife.

  43. I went to Home Depot to get some potting soil to start by seedlings. I found potting soil that was $8 a big bag on sale for $1. I picked up 3. I hope to start my seedlings indoors this week. It is only eight weeks until our last frost date!

    I went shopping this week. We seem to be settling a pattern of shopping every other week with a budget of $40 for two. I am hoping to keep this up as the extra money is going towards paying loans off early.

    I picked up one pack of corned beef at $1.99 a pound. I have never made this before, but I put it in the crock pot with potatoes and carrots and it came out wonderful! Strawberries were $1.66 a pound, which is good for our area, but they were extremely ripe so I only bought one pack.

  44. Don’t feel embarrassed about how simple the recipe is, I’m pretty sure everyone who asked for the recipe will love it even more for that! I have two picky eaters and hate spending lots of time making something they won’t even try; but if it’s simple and tasty, who cares if they like it, I’ll eat it and have leftovers for a while. That’s a bonus, not a drawback!

  45. Brandy –You look lovely! It’s nice to see you include a picture of yourself on the blog!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    Free in the mail – Family Circle and Eating Well magazines.

    I cashed in at Pinecone Research for $12 Paypal.

    I ate the lunch provided at my employers all 5 days and brought home the leftovers every day.

    I spent some time working on my budget. I thought about taking on some part-time contract work after I got settled in my new job so I can pay off debt faster but decided against it. I have worked overtime every week for pretty much the last 10 years as a necessity and I’m burnt out. My new pay without overtime equals what I was making before with overtime, so I’ll just keep chipping away at my debt and enjoy some quality of life too.

    I went to Aldi to pick up some chips and cookies for us to take on a picnic while we swam at a local water park. We treated ourselves to seasons passes as a combined Christmas/Hanukkah gift to each other when a friend offered us 2 of their friends and family employee discount passes, so we got a 50% discount on the season passes. We decided that will be our only entertainment expense for the year and skip anything else that costs money. They allow you to bring food into the park, too – so we don’t have to buy anything there or pay for parking.

    Aldi’s had a yam and apple casserole with pecan praline topping 50% off in their freezer case (probably leftover from the holidays?). I got 2 at $1.85 each (each one serves 5) and will serve those at Easter.

    For the last few years I have made every holiday dinner totally from scratch. Since I also work full time and have autoimmune issues, it was exhausting and always caused a flare of my symptoms. Since I have a better paying job now, and I spend very little on groceries with SO and I both getting 2 meals a day provided through work, I decided to budget $25 on Easter dinner and not make the entire dinner from scratch. While I was at Aldi, I checked the prices of half hams and boneless hams. I need to work out the numbers, but I’ll probably get the boneless ham since half the family is vegetarian anyway and then I won’t have to deal with the bone which no one ever wants to take home and it goes to waste. Easier to slice and serve, too. And Aldi carries Hawaiian dinner rolls so I hope to purchase those rather than making my own dinner rolls. I will probably make dessert since that’s easy to do and would be a huge savings over buying a dessert. I have everything to make tres leches and that has to be made the day before, so saves me time on Easter Sunday as well.

    I still need to work out Passover dinner. I need to talk to SO about what he wants to have.

    We worked in the garden. Pulled the broccoli since it had stopped producing and cut the leaves for broccoli slaw and to eat as greens sauteed in olive oil and garlic. Spread a batch of compost. Planted zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, eggplant and tomato seeds. Pulled some weeds. Cleaned out the pond a bit and added that to the compost. Pruned the apples on the apple trees since the trees aren’t big enough to let the apples grow yet. Picked strawberries. Deadheaded the flowers in the butterfly garden. Planted some bulbs in the fairy garden and kept one aside to force inside.

    I pulled out the glue gun and did some “mending.” I reglued the sole inside my son’s watershoes, the seam of a zipper on a cooler that was too thick to sew, and the liner of one side of my glasses case came loose from the case.

    Frugal fail – I had some food waste this week of a couple of tomatoes that went mushy before I could use them and a little bit of peas I had set aside to have in a salad but they dried out before I could use them.

    Have a great week ladies!

  46. Your haircut looks great! Love the picture of your little helper.
    I downloaded the SwagTV app for my phone and it makes it much easier to meet my daily goal. I ordered my first $25 gift card for 2200 swag bucks. I want to try to earn one of those each month.
    Aldi’s had mushrooms on sale for 69 cents a container so I stocked up and dehydrated most of them since I had used almost all that I had.
    I found an free app called Hoopla that allows me to use my library login to borrow audiobooks. Their rental period is 3 weeks instead of my library which is 2 weeks, so I have more time to finish the books.
    Continued to freeze leftovers instead of letting them go bad if we don’t get to eat them right away.
    Almost garden time so I’m saving my coffee grounds and egg shells to add to my garden.
    I had made a batch of apple jelly last fall that is a bit on the runny side. I bought some plain yogurt this week and mixed in some of the apply jelly to flavor. Yummy and frugal, plus no artificial flavoring.
    My local store has some great meat buys this week. Got 80%lean ground beef for $2.48 a lb and boneless pork chops for $2 per pound. I might pick up more this week to stock up as I try to stay below $2.50 per pounce on all meats.
    That’s all for now. Thanks for sharing with us!

  47. Great photos as usual. Your daughter looks so happy to be helping in the garden.

    I’ve had a very productive week with lots of great specials bought to fill my cupboards, baking and cooking completed as well as being wise with what we have. Here’s what I got up to this week –

    * Gratefully received some glass jars from my friend Leesa. Thank you so much. Those salsa jars are the perfect size for my relish and the lids are apple green in color ( my fav ).

    * Gratefully received some sandwiches, and egg and bacon muffins

    * Mended lots of socks. They had holes in the toe area so they were worth mending.

    * Spent some time making birthday cards. I only have a few stamps and ink pads from many years ago. As card making can be an expensive hobby I’ve taken my lead from Annabel at The Bluebirds Are Nesting blog. She makes beautiful cards using pictures from magazines. Here’s a link to her blog. athttp://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/feather-your-nest-friday-6th-march-2015.html

    * Cut up three old socks to use as garden ties.

    * Froze three single portions of leftover chicken curry. These will be written into the menu plan as a free meal.

    * Picked a handful of raspberries each day and froze them.

    * Dried the washing on the line for free. It looks like I’ve reduced my washing to 5 loads a week without compromising on cleanliness.

    * Saved the shower warm up water. Some was poured into the washing machine and the rest was used to water my mango plants. They are looking quite healthy.

    * Made up a batch of dried seasoned bread crumbs.

    * Darren bought two litres of chocolate flavoured milk for 50 cents. It had one day left on it’s use by. We don’t normally by flavoured milk but this bargain was too good to refuse. Darren and the girls had a couple of glasses each to drink that day. Megan used the rest to make icypoles.

    * Bought 10 kilos of chicken drumsticks at $1.98 kilo. Darren and I divided them up into 15 meal portions ( 4 drumsticks ) and froze them. We also have rain checks for another 15 kilos which we’ll redeem throughout the next twelves months when we need them.

    * Made two chocolate cakes at the same time. One is for us and the other is for morning tea at church on Sunday.

    * Bought the supermarket bargains listed here Grocery Specials.

    * Found three cushion inserts at Savers op shop for $2.99 each. A few cushions on our family room couch and Megan’s bed were looking a bit flat. Spotlight sells the inserts for about $10 – $15 for the size I needed. I’d been waiting for a sale but Spotlight doesn’t seem to reduce them often. I’d never even thought of looking at Savers, but there they were. Three near new ones just waiting for me.

    * Cut and whizzed a few bars of soap in the food processor I added this to my bucket of powdered soap that I use to make laundry powder.

    * Picked a bunch of roses from the bush in the chicken coop.

    I have a few photos of some of these tasks on my blog http://myabundantlife07.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/this-weeks-frugal-tasks-14th-march-2015.html

    Have a great week everyone.

  48. My husband cut my hair too!!! It was his first time ever doing it for me and we were both a little scared, but it turned out nice! I also cut my son’s hair for the first time. Then I cut my husband’s hair, but have been doing that for about 15 years! Brandy, your hair is absolutely beautiful (so is Winter’s up-do)!

    This weekend I made four aprons out of fabric that was gifted to me a long time ago to send down to Haiti on a mission trip. It makes me so happy to be able to help others!

    Since it warmed up this week, we were able to get out and start cleaning up the garden and yard. I even planted a few seeds! We aren’t very good gardeners, but we try.

    Today I got butter for $1.89 a pound and cream cheese for .89 cents! That is the cheapest I’ve seen it in quite some time! I picked up a couple of treats that were marked down to use for Easter. My children are too old for baskets, but I still give them a little something. I was able to get two shirts for $10 for my son-in-laws from Kohls and three t-shirts for my girls from JCP for very little oop and am having them monogrammed. All total I think I will have spent about $25.00 for five Easter gifts for my children!

    I hope everyone has a blessed week!

  49. Your daughter is so adorable and I agree with the others, your haircut is lovely 🙂 I’m the haircutter (hairdresser?) in this house. For everyone-all 7 of us, for the last 18 years so far. My teenagers only trust me to cut their hair so I guess I must be doing something right lol.
    I’m not nearly as thrifty as some people, I’m sorry to say, but I do try my best. In my defense, I was very ill and hospitalized for 8 days almost 2 months ago, and I still have not regained my energy and 100% health yet. Here’s a few things I did this week:
    Cut my 16 yo son’s hair.
    Cut my own hair.
    Sew’d up some more mama pads out of fabric I had already. Highly recommended!
    Hemmed a pair of dress pants purchased from the thrift store.
    Repaired a hole in the knee on another pair of pants.
    Made homemade pizza Saturday evening when I really didn’t feel like it lol.
    Cooked every meal at home.
    Stayed around home as much as possible to save money and gas.
    Watched a movie on Netflix with my oldest 2 teenagers. Had a blast!
    Got our income tax filed yay!

  50. You need a product that is designed to cover ” stubborn grey”. I use Loreal Preference at about $8. You may need to leave the product on longer. Good Luck

  51. Janell, wash them, stem them, dry on towels then freeze. When ready crush them as they thaw and follow your usual recipe. We do it all the time with blackberries too.

  52. I used to cut my husband’s hair and my 2 sons until it became too hard on my finger joints. The women don’t cut their hair.

  53. I also go to the thrift store, garage sales, Salvation Army, and keep used clothes for extra fabric. I also watch for clearances at fabric shops, JoAnn’s, Walmart, Hobby Lobby. I haven’t bought “real” fabric in awhile. One of my greatest finds is when I go to a local thrift store and get a bag full of fabric scrapes for a $1.

    Miss Brandy has lots of suggestions in building of fabric supplies. And of course, coupons are useful.

  54. It seems like we have so many expenses right now, it is hard to see where we have been frugal 🙁 The biggest accomplishment though is that I talked with my boss about changing my work hours to reduce my aftercare costs for my 2 older children. Changing from 8:30-4:30 to 7-3 will save me about $400/month! Plus I will spend less time in traffic and spend more time with my kids (the downside of course is that I will get less sleep and no more am yoga classes 🙁 ).

    I used orange juice from the oranges on our tree to make healthy gummy snacks for my kids lunches. I also made energy balls containing cashew butter (found on clearance), oats, honey, coconut, and chia seeds. They taste great, are easy to pack for the kids lunches, and are quite filling.

    The only thing I harvested from the garden is thyme. I made a simple insecticidal soap to try to get rid of the aphids on my swiss chard. Right now I have black bean soup in the crockpot, which is so tasty and inexpensive to make (I used dried beans). There will most likey be leftovers for my and my daughter’s lunch tomorrow.

    I have a question for you and your readers. We moved into this house in July and it has a large orange tree out front. I’m thinking they are valencia oranges? Definitely not navel. And they really are not very sweet at all. I can’t think what to use them for other than orange marmalade (and in recipes that call for lemons, like lemon bars. but those kinds of things don’t really use much juice).

  55. The picture of your little one with the basket is adorable! Last week was really up and down in terms of frugality for us, despite the best of intentions. Some weeks are just like that I guess. Hoping this week is a little better!

  56. A couple thoughts/suggestions on how to use the oranges are to can them with a syrup that might help sweeten them, or use them to make orange cranberry muffins/loaf. You might also look for meal/recipes that call for an orange juice, such as an orange glazed ham. The peels could be dried to use in recipes later.

  57. Absolutely! Our family originates from an area in Ontario that is known for growing apples. Every year we do a drive down in the fall to remove flower ornaments from my grandparents/great grandparents gravestones and to buy a bushel or two of “C” grade apples fresh from the orchard. We then make up a bunch of unbaked apples pies and apple crisp for the freezer and apple sauce for canning. We often pick up pumpkins as well and make up pumpkin pies and pumpkin puree for the freezer. This way we always have homemade pies for all the winter/spring holidays or whenever we have need for a special dessert.

  58. Rhonda, I have never froze apple crisps, but I recently started making the crisp topping up in bulk and freezing it in batch portions. We grow our own apples but we also like to pick up other varieties on the E side of the state and the W side and over into Minnesota when we visit family. We get our sour cherries from Door Country. We grow pumpkins and freeze the puree. Pies are our favorite dessert.

    Saturday was our games night at church and since it was “pi day” 3-14-15 we had a pie buffet for the food. There were 41 round pies and 8 slab pies (pies made in a jelly roll pan). I made apple-cranberry-walnut pie. People could eat as much as they wanted and plates were made up for the shut ins.

  59. Mandy, that is so great…only one more house payment and paying of that large medical bill. All those little saving practices really add up.

  60. A couple weeks ago you mentioned making Wacky Cake. We had it growing up and I had forgotten about it. It’s on my list to make – thanks for the reminder!

  61. Today, I got up early and made rhubarb-strawberry-razzberry crisp from frozen fruit. I made pumpkin muffins from frozen pumpkin. I also put on a crock pot of beef soup using vegetables from the freezer, fridge and canned things. This was so I would have food to feed people that are coming for dinner tonight, plus us, of course. I am continuing to pull items from the freezers and use them, while sorting through anything that has gotten too old, etc. I am starting to see some “dents” in the packed freezers. I am not throwing away much of anything, which makes me feel good that I am getting to some of these odds and ends before they go bad.

    I am continuing to plan for the summer trip we will take. I am buying some items each month towards that so it spreads it out and I can look for bargains. On Saturday, I used a $10/off $10 at Penney’s, 60% off an Easter dress for the youngest, got some tops for $2.97 each, etc. I don’t go to the mall much, so love to find bargains when I do. I also bought some shorts for each of the 2 girls that were with me for decent prices.

    We took the girls to the Rockin’ Worship Road Show. It was $10 to get in and was a 4+ hour Christian concert. I hadn’t been to a concert for a long time–for years my husband would take which ever kids were the right age to concerts and I would stay home with the littler ones. But, this time I went. I didn’t even need earplugs! I guess there are some small benefits to getting a little older:) and not hearing quite as well as I used to. It was the first “big” concert for the 2 we took, and they enjoyed it a lot, especially the 14 year old. One reason it is so reasonable is because they don’t pre-sell tickets. Some people wait in line for 7+ hours to get in. My daughter thought that would be fun, but I declined that offer and we went right before the doors opened, waited in line a little bit, went in and easily found a seat. I didn’t grudge the people in the front seats their seats–they earned them:)

    We chopped, split and hauled 2 pickup loads and a trailer load of wood out of a forest. My husband could only get a permit for 1 day last week, so we made the best of it. He has talked to the man in charge of the area and has been given permission to return to the same spot during spring break for a day. It is an experimental forest, a tree farm, and so the logs were cut and decked and all we had to do was cut, split and throw into the truck. It is hard to find any easier way to get wood than that!

  62. You might also put the word out to your church and friends through Facebook or personally and offer them as a trade. Someone might be looking for sour oranges. I’m in a Facebook gardening group and everyone offers what they have an abundance of and ideas what they would trade for (plants, other fruit/veggies, gardening items, baked goods, etc and some people just say make an offer).

  63. What a blessing to have such a wonderful husband to do that for your son. I used to make cakes ahead of time and put them in the freezer we had 3 birthdays in November. Cake are easier to frost when they are frozen. Praying you feel better soon.
    Blessings,
    Patti from San Diego

  64. Apple trees are wonderful. I have one and there are some all over my neighborhood so I don’t have to worry about pollination. My tree is a Golden Delicious but they never did look like the ones in the store LOL! They are just small green apples; some turn red later in the fall but mostly those are tiny. We share ours with the squirrels and birds but there is still more than plenty to use. I make canned apples which we use just to eat and also make applesauce. This year I’m going to try to be less lazy and boil the peels to make apple jelly instead of throwing them in the compost. We have a Dwarf cherry tree but it doesn’t produce very much and what it does produce the birds get. I have a full sized Bing Cherry in my front yard that I planted but as of this year, still have not seen any cherries on it:(. Worrying if it wasn’t mislabeled and is only a ornamental not a fruit tree. It’s beautiful anyways. I would love to have a pear tree. I wish we were able to post photos here, would love to show some of my canned goods but it wouldn’t allow me to post.

  65. Thought of a few new items. We went out of town for the weekend so I pulled a few days of leftovers from the freezer for dinners during the week. What a bonus to have ready cooked meals in the freezer when I lack the time or motivation to make dinner! Also bought all the ingredients for making bread from scratch. Stocking the pantry over the past two months has cost more, but I noticed this month, we are half of what I expected to spend, and our freezer has lots of protein, so it really does pay off.

    Brandy, thanks for the lovely picture of yourself, we often see your kids, but not you. And great haircut 😉

  66. I can oranges when I find them on deep sales. While they don’t taste as tasty as fresh oranges, I use them when I make smoothies.

  67. My frugals this week? Not as good as usual but found Scott TP coupon in the Family Dollar flyer $5 off and it rang up 75 cents less than price on the shelf, so I got 12 rolls of TP for $1.00. I bought 1/2 lb. of candy at the store I work for (high scale chocolate candy store) and a lb. of nuts there we get 35% employee discount. Only bought 3 new tops to wear to the new job at the thrift store spent about $6 for all 3 shirts. I am wearing my pants from my last job instead of buying new ones.. new job we are allowed to wear jeans but mine are a little too worn out looking. I am taking my lunch to work with me each day also my coffee in a thermos. We watch 2 movies a week through Netflix we don’t have cable so this is our only entertainment, we don’t go out to the movies. We are slowly making a list of streaming movies to watch and will downsize our Netflix soon to just streaming for the summer months. Snow just melted this weekend so we are finally starting to see earth and looking forward to gardening again this year and hanging my clothes on the clothesline again. Unfrugal is we fast fooded twice this week, sigh! I have been making meals up to quickly heat up as I am working noon to 6pm and next week will go to 3 to 9pm shift so need more meals for the freezer that can quickly be popped in the microwave. I cooked 3 chickens this weekend in the Nesco roaster, deboned and froze 2 of them. Last week I made meatloaf and froze the leftovers for a second meal this week. I also cooked up a bunch of potatoes and made into mashed potatoes which go along with either the chicken or meatloaf meals. Someone mentioned making homemade TP.. I had a nice brown flat flannel sheet for my couch (we have 3 dogs) and the puppy did some heavy ripping on the sheet so I washed and dried it and will be cutting it up for emergency or hard times cloth TP. Dh is not on that bandwagon but for me I have used them. We also use real dinner napkins that I have bought at the thrift store for our meals instead of using paper towels. I continue to stock up when I can on paper bowls and plates for emergency use such as a emergency shut off of our water supply which has happened in WV and last year in Dayton, Ohio. Be prepared.. if you can’t use your water, you can’t clean your dishes. I stock water but want to be able to use as much of that for drinking and cleaning our bodies not cleaning dishes with. I also order my meds. a week before they run out so I can stock up on medicines which is frugal in that I don’t waste a trip to the store just to get meds. and if we have a power outage I have at least a week’s supply of meds. I try to be prepared for emergencies and be frugal about it. Our new Honda CRV continues to save money on gasoline.. dh drove 398 miles on $25 worth of gas.. it went a whole month before we had to fill up again. So it’s helping pay for itself by saving us on gas cost. The job I quit I was driving 17 miles a day round trip, the new job I have I am only driving 4 miles a day round trip so saving gas money there too. My truck is a 2001 Dodge and it is not good on gas mileage. As I get more into a routine with work, I now work across the street from a shopping center so will try to plan some of my purchases around my work schedule. The library is also on my route home so I can drop off and or pick up books on my way to and from work. I think that’s it so far this week. Brandy I always love your pictures.. great picture this week of your little girl and you. I don’t often post about the pictures but they are beautiful. You are quite a gifted photographer. Oh another frugal is my dh had to have prostrate biopsy surgery 2 weeks ago.. his urologist wanted him to go to his private surgical center but it would have cost more money than to have it done at our hospital which the doctor is licensed to use.. so we insisted that he use the hospital instead of his private center which will save us a lot of money. The hospital also has financial aid so we will be able to write off some of the expenses our insurance doesn’t completely cover.. we would have been able to do that through the doctor’s private center. You don’t have to be poor to get financial aid just meet their guidelines for income eligibility.

  68. So wish you lived near us we have several logs of maple wood in our back yard from where we had a tree cut down for free by our electric company last year but have not had the physical stamina to move it ourselves. We’ll be putting a ad on Craigslist soon hopefully someone will come and get it.

  69. Greetings from Oregon!
    Well the last few weeks have been a roller coaster. My husband and I will be married a year in May, and what a difficult year it has been. Finally through patience, prayer, and hard work he was able to find some employment at two different locations. One being on call for a company he had worked at before, the other learning new valuable skills! We are thrilled! We are still going to have to adjust around here…it means our seven year old will have to go to after school care every day but he is looking forward to it.
    We are now creating a list of things to pay off and what things we have been putting off. We want to buy a home so we are looking to buckle down and get it done in the next year.
    At the grocery store I scored make up I use for fifty percent off! Good stuff, too. I bought several and put them away for future use. Since he starts work this week I went and bought sandwich makings. I will start making bread, and slicing ham we already have, but I scored two large tubs with three different kinds of sandwich meat in it from Grocery Outlet for $4, regularly $10. Score!
    We are trying to find an activity for our son to do…he wants to play flag football next month but the sign up fee is $100, so I think I am going to go in and ask about payment plans, etc.
    One thing I have been stressed about lately is school. I am twenty-six, going on twenty-seven, and I have been trying to get my pre requisites done for a nursing program since I was twenty. I have failed a few classes and had to retake them, and now have only five more to go before I can apply for a program. I submitted my FAFSA and am hoping to go Summer term, taking only one class because its math and I struggle greatly with it. I failed this math class in the fall, and decided to switch schools because when I sought out help it wasn’t given. I am just afraid I will never live my dream of being a nurse and will be considered “too old”. I work in a hospital and see nurses on the floor that are much younger than I am. I don’t know, its all just very frightening. Sorry, not a very frugal rant 😉
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  70. Jessica, my sister was much older than you when she went back to school to become a nurse. You can do it. Think positive and don’t let others keep you down!

  71. I had a really good, frugal week last week:

    -Made all meals from scratch, save one which was paid for with a gift card from Christmas
    -Made yogurt, granola bars, and shortbread.
    – Dried all laundry inside on racks
    – sold a couple of baby items on kijiji and signed up for a mom2mom sale at the beginning of may! (looking forward to this to clear out a few tubs of kiddo clothes)
    -learned about a new method of organizing called the KonMari method from “The life-changing magic of tidying-up” I think this will really help me keep everything organized, and keep track of all our families clothing needs better.
    – worked on potty-training my DS.. slowly but surely! looking forward to saving $$ not having to wash all those diapers 🙂 t

  72. Things are slowly starting to get back to normal in the frugal department for us this week.

    DH started his new job on Monday. He is working just about a mile from my office and our hours are such that we can car pool. On Wednesday’s I work later than he does, so he will go to the memory care facility to visit his mother (it’s about 5 miles from my office) before coming to get me. That way he gets to spend time with her without making a special 30 mile round trip into town.

    I have packed lunches everyday for both of us and made coffee for him and iced tea for me to take along to work. I made vegetable soup in my slow cooker for my lunches. He likes PB&J (homemade strawberry or blueberry) and peaches or applesauce that we canned last year.

    Made up dinner menus for the rest of the month and should not have to buy anything from the store until April.

    Started tomato seeds (3 kinds and a total of 40 plants) and pepper seeds (2 kinds and a total of 15 plants). The broccoli, cabbage and some of the herbs should be ready to plant by next weekend. I’ll also put in the potatoes, onions, carrots and beets. We had a couple of really pretty days in the 50’s but it’s now back down into the 30’s with some rain and snow mixed for Friday. I’m ready for Spring!

    Oh, and Brandy, I have to echo what others have already mentioned; that is an absolutely precious photo of your little garden helper!

  73. My middle sister was in her late 30s when she finished nursing school. Never give up on your dreams. I finally finished my bachelors degree two months before my 50th birthday. At the time I thought maybe it was not going to be very helpful. I was so wrong! I am now 62 and in those 12 years having the degree made the difference between getting a job and not getting one! And nursing is one of those ‘forever’ fields – my mother and aunt were both nurses and they were always able to find work when they needed to. Hang in there with math – I waited until my last class was statistics which I dreaded and in the end I did okay.

  74. Patricia – I’m in the Seattle area, and I have found that thrift stores around here generally overprice canning jars – I often see them for 99 cents each, without bands or lids, which is not really a good deal. It depends on the store, so check around. And sometimes it’s cheaper to get jars on sale at the grocery store during canning season (and they already come with bands and lids).

  75. Jessica, I graduated from one college course when I was in my early twenties, and had a career in the field for a number of years. But it was never what I thought it would be and grew to hate it. A few years ago, in my late thirties, I decided to switch careers and go back to college. The career I chose was something I never would have tried as a young person. It took maturity to realize that it was possible. Here is what I learned from my experiences:
    1. Mature students have a mature outlook when the make choices for their future careers. Never underestimate the advantages of age and experiences over youth!
    2. If this is truly what you feel is your life calling, it will mean far more to you when you get there. The process may seem daunting, but it will be worth it in the end.
    Don’t give up on your dreams, Jessica. Dreams are what motivate us to do better.

  76. Jessica—my dream was to finish college, as I got married after the third semester and my husband was in the service at that time. It took a while, but I graduated at 39 and worked for another 20 years after that, making more money than I had previous to getting the degree. It’s worth the effort you put in, but I also had financial problems–so some semesters I took two classes and some semesters I just couldn’t afford it! You will get there if you keep at it.

  77. Such a sweet little girl – that smile is captivating.

    Worked outside which is a great form of frugal exercise. We had a record high and then a rainy grey day on St. Patrick’s day – made it feel like an “Irish” day.

    Stopped twice at my favorite thrift store. First time I found the 50cent skirts – bought four of them. Two will work well at my new job, one is floor length so can be a little more ‘dressed’ up and one is in a travel type fabric which won’t show wrinkles and is ‘fun’ but still appropriate. This situation is more ‘dressed’ up than I’ve had in awhile so I went through my closet to find what will mix and match and was pleasantly surprised. I also have a several pairs of comfortable dressy flats in my favorite style (Enzo Angiolini “Liberty” – I think they may be phasing them out). I found several in colors/color combinations that I might not have paid full price for at the Thrift Shop for $6.00. This job is at a large hospital in the area that is quite spread out and will involve walking on hard floor surfaces so I need comfy shoes and I really don’t wear heels much since breaking my ankle and having a knee replacement.

    At the same thrift shop I found a small accent pillow for the library that is by Globus and made in France. I bought one in the same size when I was in France several years ago. This one is more whimsical but goes well with the one I bought. And since I paid 75 cents for this one I am really pleased! The one I bought in France was considerably more :).

    All the usual made most meals at home, made homemade bread crumbs, hung out laundry to dry, checked out books from the library. Then one major frugal fail – ugh.

    We had tickets to join friends at a concert. We’ve learned that parking can be an issue with this venue so we try to go early and have our monthly meal out at a local pizza place that is near there an has free parking. This time we were late and the pizza place was packed so we walked down the street and decided to try a place we hadn’t been to. It wasn’t crowded so we went in. It turned out to be a very expensive mistake. Dinner for the two of us – one glass of wine for me, an aperitif for SO and a dessert to split was $80.00. And to top it off the mashed potatoes that came with our entrees were instant! I didn’t say anything and it wasn’t until after the concert that I mentioned it and SO said “yep, I thought so to but didn’t want to ruin the experience”. So next time we go to that venue we’ll either eat at home and then walk around the area before the event. Now that the weather is getting warmer it will be easy to do that. A few years ago I wouldn’t have batted an eye and all I could think of was that amount of money would be half our grocery/sundry budget for the month!

  78. If you are going to college with Pell Grant assistance please be aware that there are limits. They will not pay for more than 6 years equivalent tuition

  79. I can’t believe how big Ivory has gotten!! She’s a proper little toddler now! Your children are *SO* beautiful!
    Frugal accomplishments for the week:
    -Read 3 books from the library
    -Redeemed for $5 PayPal from Pinecone Research
    -Redeemed Hallmark Rewards for a $5 gift card from Starbucks. We make our coffee at home, so I save them up for when we travel.
    -Received a Baush & Lomb Bio True contact lens solution free in the mail. Will donate it, as it’s for soft lenses and I wear RGPs.
    -Got my monthly free loaf of sourdough from Boudin Bakery.
    -We had some store bought corn tortillas that we didn’t really care for, so I made baked tortilla chips out of them. We had nachos. I also sent some of the lower branch grapefruits from our tall, tall grapefruit tree to my mother-in-law and my husband’s uncle. I am trying to eliminate food waste of any kind.
    -Got 5 free bags of Superpretzel soft pretzel bites from Dollar Tree. There were dollar off coupons in the Sunday coupon insert several weeks back.
    -Got 25c back from Checkout 51 for buying bananas, and 25c back from Ibotta for buying milk. Entered receipts into Receipt Hog.
    -DH and I continue to cut down the volunteer/”weed” trees on our property ourselves. We have tons of wood to give to my parents! Wood is their main source of heat in the winter and we can’t burn in our fireplace, it makes me sneeze.
    Best to all!

  80. Thank you so much everyone! I really appreciate you sharing your experiences with me. I am committed to getting there, one day at a time.
    TCR-Thank you for the info! My next week day off I intend to go in and speak with a FA advisor and see what kinds of resources are available to me. I know that there are also scholarships through my work as well, I just need to do some digging.

  81. This past week I had a nearly free weekend holiday. A friend invited me to her vacation home and she drove us there. We both like to cook so we made all but one of our meals at the house except for one breakfast, which I treated her to in appreciation for the invitation. Besides that, I shared in the cost of food and that was all I spent to get away for the weekend. Right now I can’t afford to travel much so even a couple of days in the mountains is a huge treat.

  82. Shannon – I always pack a lunch when I fly (plus an empty water bottle that I fill once I get through security). I’ve had my food items searched more than once, but they have always allowed me to bring my lunch through security and onto the plane.

  83. Jessica, let me chime in here.

    First, you don’t necessarily to change schools when you don’t get the help you need. My daughter failed trig the first time and checked for a professor who other students said was really helpful and a good teacher who made it understandable. That worked for her.

    Second, I’m another one who went to school late. I have been a member of Mensa (top 2% IQ in the country) but had NO idea what I wanted to do when I graduated from high school so I went to secretarial school (much to the consternation and frustration of the high school guidance counselors). I bounced around several jobs, did some waitressing (probably the best education in “people” that I ever received), and was in a secretarial job when I was typing up documentation and told the programmer that she had a mistake in her logic in the notes she gave me. She and another programmer had been chasing this issue for 2 days and they told me that I needed to go to college for programming because I was wasted in my current position. I had some credits already but it still took me 6 years to complete my degree, including some semesters when I took 9-12 credits while working full-time. School was a LOT cheaper back in the ’80ies and my employer ‘s reimbursement program paid for just about every credit I took. I had gotten a junior programmer job about a year into my education, so it was job related. I didn’t have a child at the time and often didn’t have a boyfriend because there wasn’t time, but it was worth every minute of studying and lost sleep. I have made a lot more money and been much happier in my career than I was before I got into this field. I graduated at 34.

    You are NOT too old to pursue this. If this is what you want to do and this is where your talents lie, you CAN do it! Good luck!

  84. Stephanie, my daughter checks out yoga DVDs from the library and puts them on her computer. You will also save money on not paying for the class, too. Overall, it sounds like a very positive change for you and your family.

  85. My sister-in-law who is a nurse told me the best way to remove blood stains. It’s peroxide! Just pour it straight onto the stain and rub it in a bit, then launder in cold water. It works very well!

  86. Congrats on your new sewing machine.. Know you will have so much fun.. I absolutely love sewing. and that fabric stash, will build quicker than you think.ha..
    Hope you have a nice trip to Indiana.. I am in North Ms.. but was raised in Vicksburg.

  87. Jessica, don’t give up on your dream of becoming a nurse! My sister-in-law went through nursing school and became a nurse at the age of 50! She is a very compassionate person and all her patients love her! She was always meant to be a nurse, and God made it work out for her in His timing! Great nurses are a treasure to people, so keep working on your goal!

  88. Tina, sometimes the newer jars in the store are thinner glass, & break more easily. If the price were the same, & the thrift jar were free of any nicks on the rim, I would buy the thrift jar. The only jars I have had break in my years of canning have been the new, thinner ones. Several of my canning friends have had multiple jars break from those purchased at WalMart this past year. Older jars are noticeably heavier, & for me, they have lasted much longer.

  89. Yes, this new job have given us blessings to so many ways! We used to visit 3-4 times a week but noticed that she seemed to get anxious when we were there and then would end up calling us several times after we got home not remembering we had been there. The director of the unit said that,for her sake, it would be better not to visit so often so as not to interrupt her activities and to make sure we try to stay on a regular schedule. It has helped her anxiety level tremendously. She is now always happy when she see’s us, is trying to joke around and never calls us afterwards. I would be more concerned about not visiting so often if this were not such a wonderful place!

  90. Debbie, sounds very sensible to not take on the extra work and to make the holidays a little easier on you. If you end up getting sick that will do no one any good.

  91. Terri, I’ve used that method as well. It does work very well. However, saliva is free and hydrogen peroxide can be expensive to buy if using it frequently.

  92. I’ve used this recipe for years; i make up the dry ingredients in plastic containers, (i know, blah!!), write the liquid measurements on the lids, and store for my own cake mixes. I make four at a time which usually lasts about a year for us. As said, moist and delicious!!

  93. Jessica, my daughter is in nursing school. She will be 21 this year. She has several people in her class 40-50 years old. Don’t give up. Hugs.

  94. Its never too old. My mom got her nursing licenses the year I graduate high school. She was forty. I got my associate in general studies when I was 35. My hubby going back to school and he turning 42. I know a lady who got her bacholars at 65.

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