December Roses 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I cut roses from the garden for my nightstand.

 December Roses 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I also cut roses for the entry table.

We had some rain this week, so I left the drip irrigation turned off. I have not watered the garden all month. I’ve never had a December like that before, so I am delighted that the rain (and the cooler temperatures) that we have had has kept it so that we have not had to water the garden.

I planted seeds in the garden. The lettuce seeds I planted were ones I had collected from my own lettuce earlier this year.

I cloched seedlings that were coming up with jars that I had. That will help us to have lettuce sooner with no extra cost to me.

I cut some lettuce from the garden. The plants will regrow new leaves, so I will get several harvests from them.

I also cut Swiss chard, chives, thyme, parsley, oregano, and green onions from the garden.

Wren Recital


We attended our daughters’ recital this week. Three of my daughters performed; it was Wren’s first recital. All parents were asked to bring a treat to share afterwards. We popped a big bowl of popcorn. This is our family’s standard treat to bring to events; it is quick to make, super inexpensive, and always gets eaten.

I sewed the button back on Wren’s coat and mended a bra.

I sold 4 items via Facebook garge sale pages.

I returned two items to stores. One was a jean jacket that I had bought for Winter at Sam’s Club in August for $12.81 (I had been holding it until her birthday later this month). Since my new sister-in-law bought her one at the thrift store on Black Friday, I returned this one. 

My husband and I went out for a lunch date. We used a gift card that he received a couple of years ago in exchange for helping someone. I also had a coupon for the restaurant. We had to pay .38 for our meal plus a tip.

I used the $15 gift card I had received from Target from earlier this month, along with several dollars of printable coupons, plus Target cartwheel,  to buy 2 boxes of Borax, a bottle of stain remover, and 2 large bags M & M’s.

I bought 4 more packages of cream cheese for .29 each using four $1 off internet printable coupons (these reset and the store has the same sale as I did last week continuing this week). I will take the survey from the store receipt for 50 more fuel points, which will mean 10 cents off a gallon for a purchase next month.

My sister-in-law shared some of the lemons from one of her trees with me. 

Clementines The Prudent Homemaker

My mom gifted us 10 pounds of clementines (that is all 10 pounds in the photo, so they went fast!)

I decided not to buy apples this month. (We also still have some in the fridge from last month). Instead, I went back to the LDS Cannery and bought 50 more pounds of white beans for $30 while they are still available at that price.

I canned cranberry juice with cranberries purchased last month for $1  pound. When I was done with making the juice, I took the leftover berries and cooked them in sugar syrup. I then put them in my dehydrator.

What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. [list]
    I have been good about turning lights off when not in the room. Portland is is dark and gloomy this time of year, so a lot of lights get used during the day.

    I traded a neighbor the use of our card table and tablecloth for a two-pound bag of powdered sugar.

    I baked up the last Halloween pumpkin for the puree. I baked a cake last night and will make pumpkin scones today or tomorrow and then freeze the rest in two-cup portions.

    Our second car was totaled last month, but my family of four is making do with a single car for now instead of rushing out to buy a new one.

    I also did the cream cheese deal, although for me it was free since I was able to double the coupon at Safeway.

    My mother offered to include my holiday/birthday gifts for my sister’s family in a package that she’s mailing out today to NYC. This will likely save me around $20.

    Love your blog, it’s my current favorite! I find it very inspirational.

  2. Brandy, I would interested in how you turned the “used” cranberries into dehydrated cranberries! Could you maybe do a post on that early next year?

    Listened to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional as a couple. I particularly liked the story Sister Oscarson shared about the “dime’s worth” of candy that her grandfather sold to an older child as Christmas presents for the younger children. He put a scoop from each bin of candy in his store into a bag & called it a “dime’s worth”, since the boy had only a dime.

    We enjoyed our family Advent together.

    Made an appointment & had several cavities filled before the end of the year, since our deductible & out of pocket maximums are already met this year.

    Baked two more pumpkin puddings with previously baked pumpkin from the fridge. My husband likes these; not surprising since before he had to go gluten-free, he loved pumpkin pie! I also baked pumpkin pancakes several times, & froze some of them.

    Raked up some of the neighbors leaves that had blown into a corner of our yard by the fence. Instead of putting them in the garbage, I bagged them up to crush & put on the garden to improve the soil.

    Pruned the blackberry canes, which should improve the yield next summer. The prunings went into the garbage can the day before the pick-up, & filled it the rest of the way, since it costs the same whether the can is half full or completely full. Later in the week, I pruned the upper raspberry bed & part of the lower bed, & gathered up all the spent fronds from the iris.

    Measured 2 twin comforters that I have. The covers are beginning to wear on them, & I was thinking that rather than replace them, I could sew duvet covers for them & use the comforters inside as the duvet, after mending the worn places on the comforters. The mended spots will not show, & they will still be useable for a long time. I have started looking for fabric on sale that will work with what I have in mind. I have a red sheet (from freecycle) that will work for the “back” of one of the duvet covers already.

    Dehydrated an old can of pineapple rings I found in the pantry along with some bananas that had turned brown.

    Since the start of December, I have been using the mugs from my Christmas Charm set of china (bought piecemeal at thrift stores) for my morning cocoa, & for any non-dinner beverages during the day (the meals I eat by myself, while my husband is at work). I have been surprised how much this simple change has lifted my spirits & made me feel more “Christmasy” without spending a dime. A simple tomato soup with crackers is so much more fun from a Christmas mug!

  3. Your platter that the clementines are on is beautiful! I have a white one with fruit painted on it that I put fruit on. Last week we:
    -used wrapping paper and Christmas cards that I purchased on clearance last year for this year.
    -I used a gift card for a restaurant we do not go to as a present for a co-worker, saving me $25.
    -made my swagbucks goals two days. I rarely do this so I am very happy
    -I made vegaterian stir fry (without eggs), Brandy’s rosemary white bean soup (delicious!), coconut flour muffins (doubled the recipe), banana bread, pumpkin bread, taco flavored lentils ( put these inside lettuce leaves with cheese or on top of salad), vanilla almond milk, almond flour from the almond remains, laundry soap from the rest of the soap slivers, fabric softener from white vinegar and lavendar essential oil.
    -ate all meals at home using pantry items.
    -I did not shop at all last week, grocery or otherwise
    -purchased gas for $2.59 per gallon, which is a good price for this area. This week I saw locations that have gas for $2.50!
    -my company had our Christmas party. I received, as gifts, a large Ghiardelli chocolate basket with two types of cocoa, chocolate candies, chocolate chip cookies inside a beautiful brown swirled glass bowl/vase; a spice set with 6 different spice blends inside little metal containers, a Hello Kitty in a Packer outfit (football) ornament (this was the White Elephant gift exchange); and we all got to make a brownie mix in a jar so I received a free brownie mix and a free large mason jar with lid! There was also food but not much I could eat due to not being vegaterian, but this was ok because I keep food in my little refrigerator in my office for just this kind of situation :). And two little box ornaments filled with m&m’s.
    – used scratch paper both at home and work instead of “new” blank paper. Saved both myself and my company money and trees!
    -Stayed home
    -used homemade cleaners to clean the house and used rags instead of paper towels
    -washed and reused jars/lids and ziploc type bags
    -drank water all day
    -stay mindful of how much of something we use, like dish soap, shampoo, etc.
    -composted the veggie scraps that cannot go in my freezer bag for veggie broth
    -not frugal but I found out I am going to be a Grandma!! 😀 My son and daughter in law got married last July. I am super excited and praying for a healthy preganancy and baby! She is only 5 weeks along so we have a ways to go.
    Have a fantastically frugal week everyone!

  4. I love the photos of your flowers! I usually don’t plant many flowers because I want to devote my time to growing food, but you’ve inspired me to consider planting more flowers this next season! I love having fresh flowers in the house.

    This week was a better frugal week. We continue to do all our usual frugal things like heat with wood, dry clothes in on racks in the house, limit water usage, eat all or most meals at home. In addition to the things:

    I harvested several bunches of spinach from our cold frame. We had a spinach salad on the day of harvest and I had enough left for 4 more salads later in the week. I usually add mandarin oranges to my spinach salad but we were out so I improvised and substituted canned pineapple. I also added some almonds and mixed up a balsamic vinegar dressing. It was great!

    I’m trying to break my bad habit of stopping in the morning on my way to work for a diet soda or iced tea. This week I made my own Iced Tea and put it into a large cup to take to work saving me $5 for the week. It might not sound like much money but over a years time that adds up to $260 which could buy me a month’s worth of groceries! It’s so simple, I should have done it years ago, but better late than never, right?

    Our local grocery store, Weis Market, had 8oz bricks of cream cheese for $.87, limit 4 so I took advantage of that deal. It’s the cheapest I’ve seen around here.

    I dried the peels from our Cuties to use in hot tea and citrus cleaner.

    We had our office Christmas party on Friday. My boss provided a deli tray and we each brought extras. I was tasked with bringing condiments so I grabbed the newly opened mayo and mustard from my fridge and a jar of my home canned bread and butter pickles. After the party I made a plate with leftovers for my DH for dinner that night as I was not hungry after the party. I didn’t have to cook and DH got a free dinner. And I received a generous Christmas bonus from my boss. My co-workers also loved their gifts (the knitted dish cloths and dried herbs from the garden). While I was looking through my Christmas supplies I found small bags that were a perfect fit for the gift. I also discovered several rolls of wrapping paper that I had purchased several years ago that were still unopened. And several packs of Christmas cards that had been purchased at after Christmas sales. So no money spent at all for paper or cards!

    I was off on Thursday and my DH had a meeting so I rode into town with him. I dropped him off and then headed to Sam’s Club with the intention of gathering information to start a price book. About 2/3 of the way through the store a nice employee stopped and asked if I was pricing items. I told him I was and he informed me that all I have to do is log on to and go to the club pickup section. It will link me to my local store and give me prices for every item in the store. I was grateful for the info but was wishing I would have run into him sooner. 🙂

    Finished my husband’s alpaca hat and have started on the mittens. They will be ready in plenty of time for Christmas.

    Have a great week everyone!

  5. Bought 10 pineapples at Fresh Thyme store for 97 cents each- they were canned into 22 pints of pineapple chunks! I had no idea it was so easy to do!! No more paying high prices any time I need a can of pineapple chunks! Yay!!!

    Used some upholstery samples a friend gave me to make drawstring bags to hold the two indoor hopscotch mats I made for Christmas for 2 of my grandsons! Made the princess tutu with tulle and elastic I had in my stash for my 3 year old granddaughter for Christmas to go with the Elsa headband crown i found for her.

    Used Kohls cash to buy the last two (of 50) presents for our kids/grandkids- two toiletry bags for teenage grandsons. I will fill them with shaving supplies, etc. that I’ve acquired for free with coupons!

    Invited to a baby shower this coming weekend so I’m making a baby quilt from my fabric stash. Got back our Sprint rewards in the form of Prepaid Visa cards so we’ll use it to buy a new dishwasher to replace ours that died a month ago! It will be nice to have a new one just as our family starts coming in for the holidays!

    All in all, a very good week!

  6. I finally sold my Cricut on ebay. I won it in a blog gveaway like four years ago. I was so excited about it as I never win anything and had long wanted one. But guess what was still in the box unopened four or more years later? I never once even took it out of the box. So I decided to stop taking up space and sell it. It took a few weeks but it finally sold for a nice price. I was thrilled and home it’s new owner at least takes it out of the box and gets some use of it.

    I again did fairly minimal grocery shopping.

    I planned my meals for the next few weeks. I never completly stick to this plan but it it a huge budget saver as it gives me an idea this week of what I hope to make in the coming weeks and to look out for better prices.

    I again gifted friends with cookie dough. I make a normal recipe for cookies but lay all the dough balls on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Once frozen I pop them in a zip top baggie. That’s what I either keep in my freezer or gift to friends. For me, it means I can bake just two cookies on a chilly night. Warm cookies are my FAVORITE treat! For friends it mean they can bake them as needed- no pressure to consume a batch of cookies on my time table. It’s a hit of a gift.

    I listened to music on Youtube while I was cleaning out the pantry (again! mice are going down as my least favorite animals this year!).

    KK @ Preppy Pink Crocodile

  7. I cashed out Swagbucks for $25 Paypal.

    Free in the mail – Family Circle magazine.

    I went to CVS and Walgreens to spend my bucks/rewards I had left from Black Friday. I rolled over as many as I could, but still had more to use up. I wanted to only buy things that were a good price. I combined sales and coupons so I was able to get 4 bottles of laundry detergent and 4 cans of tomato sauce to add to my pantry and 6 protein bars and 3 protein powder envelopes to finish filling stockings. I also got a gallon of milk. I only paid to pay the sales tax out of pocket.

    Last month the farm where I get my produce box had a special for buy 2 certificates get 1 free for produce boxes. I get a box every other week and this was my off week, so I used one of the certificates to get a box of fruits and veggies and a loaf of French bread.
    I got celery and small bunch of leaf lettuce in the produce box. I’m going to replant the base after starting in water.
    I had a mystery shopping assignment at a grocery store. I tried to stay as close as possible to the reimbursed amount and only went over by $2.47. I got things I need to fill in the pantry and splurged on chocolate coins for Chanukah.

    I completed a Pinecone survey.

    We blessed others listing leftover sections of pine fence and lattice on Freecycle.

    Kmart emailed me a $5 gift card. I went to get sulfate free shampoo and conditioner for my daughter to use while she is here (I just use whatever is free, but I wanted to get something for her to use while she is here for the holidays). With the sale, coupons, the gift card and the little bit of points I had on my card, I thought it would be just about free. When I checked at customer service to see how many points I have, they said I had $10 that was expiring the next day! To use the points, I also got Frenchs onions for Christmas dinner, pecans to make fruitcake, the shampoo and conditioner, and a couple cans of dog food to use up the points. I only had to pay 21 cents!

    I’m looking forward to reading what everyone has done – have a great frugal week everyone!

  8. I bought gas in Tuscaloosa at $2.34 a gallon. I was up there visiting some of my kids so it did not require an extra trip. I made a ham and rice casserole and took some of it to each of my three sons. I bought a turkey for $79 cents a lb at Winn Dixie up there also. I bought for a dollar a can, at Vowell’s supermarket, anchovies, smoked oysters, etc. I like to eat a little bit of seafood, for health reasons, during the week but it is so expensive. I stretch it out, and make a breakfast sauce, with eggs and the smoked oysters or smoked mussels, like I see on the pictures of fancy food magazines. I also made Peanut butter/pumpkin muffins from the Tightwad Gazette’s universal muffin recipe. The pumpkin is actually from a pumpkin custard I made (using a 10 cent can of pumpkin from last year). I did not think it tasted that great, but the pumpkin is delicious in the muffins! I froze the ham bone from last week to use to cook with collards later. I cannot find ham for under $1.49 a lb. That is a bummer. I dyed my hair with $3.00 dye and it looks just as good as when I used to use the $10.00 dye. I just worked a lot during the day, and stayed at home in the evenings, as usual.

  9. I’ve been modifying some of my normal behavior regarding water…and it showed up BIG TIME in our water bill! I can’t quite believe it. I’m shocked at how much of a difference it made. Our water bill is normally somewhere in the 48-60 dollar range…and this month it was only $37! Wow. (I’ve taken to showering only every other day instead of daily…and not flushing the toilet for just tinkles.)

  10. My big “frugal” item opening a Christmas gift: sewing machine! we had talked about buying one since it’s a big ticket item over thanksgiving weekend , but we didn’t find any sales. although amazon had the one we researched and wanted for the amazon price (60% normal price via Joanne).

    It showed up Thursday and he insisted I open it! We have already mended a blanket and replaced the couch pillows (using the stuffing and kept some of the fabric for future use.) …

    A goal of mine is to sell things on etsy to bring in additional money; I am a sahm and future homeschool mom 😉

  11. Congratulations Grandma Mandy! How exciting!
    I especially enjoyed your post as it reminded me of all the simple things we can do every day to save money and reduce waste without feeling deprived. Thank you for going into such detail as “being mindful of how much of something we use” or “drank water all day”. Plus you gave me some great ideas like saving veggie scraps in the freezer until you can use them for stock. Finally, do you dehydrate the ‘spent’ almond fiber to make flour? I simply throw mine in a smoothie, however, sometimes I have too much almond to use up and it goes to waste. I would much rather have the almond flour! Thanks!

  12. My favorite thing for the week–Early Sunday morning I went to a safeway store that I don’t usually go to (it is bigger than our local store). They had many packages of natural/hormone and antibiotic-free whole chicken, chicken breasts, ground turkey, and “ground beef for chili” marked 50% off. Most of them were 1 day before the “sell or freeze by” date. I bought 3 lbs of the ground turkey to use for tacos that day and froze everything else. With the whole chickens I like to open the package and remove the innards and repackage into a large freezer bag so I can just pop them into the crockpot without thawing.

  13. Can’t believe Christmas is getting so close!

    * was able to turn some swagbucks into amazon gift cards for Christmas gifts
    * my husband had foot surgery last Wed ~ thankful for crutches we were able to borrow
    * all meals at home except pizza take out on surgery day (surgery was late in the day)
    * picked up my 40# of Zaycon ground beef. Made 5 meatloaf mix, meatballs, hamburger patties and browned the rest and froze so it’s ready to go
    * glad my 15 year old likes to bake and really helps with holiday treats!
    * have a dehydrator filled with sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon
    * we are saving on gas because my husband can’t drive until his foot heals some more

  14. Earlier this year I read that a regular toilet uses 1/3 of the indoor water usage for a family. A regular toilet uses 3 gallons per flush. Low-flow toilets use around 1.2 gallons per flush. Even flushing less often with a low-flow toilet makes a decent difference on the water bill.

    Good for you in reducing your water bill!

  15. “. . .saving me $5 for the week. It might not sound like much money but over a years time that adds up to $260 which could buy me a month’s worth of groceries!”

    This is such a great point! I love that you equate a $5 savings a week with a month’s worth of groceries over a year’s time! I think that is a wonderful way to look at it!

  16. Good idea for to bring popcorn, something the young and old both like. She looks so brave playing the piano.

    I helped at a funeral dinner at my church this week (I took my canned green beans and potatoes). There were a few leftovers and I was given leftover ham, hot dogs, cherry pie, and the rest of my green beans. I put them to use in my dinner plans last week. We had ham and cheese omelettes, pinto beans and franks; I had green beans for a snack, and someone ate the pie.

    The rest of my frugal list is here:

  17. I started trying to think about the “big picture” in regards to saving money after I heard more that one person ask me why I would go through all of the trouble that I do just to save a few dollars. I started to equate the cost for a small luxury with what that same amount of money could buy for the family. When I initially realized that my dollar a day spent for a large iced tea or soda over a weeks time could buy us 3 or 4 pounds of beans it was eye opening. It brings things into even more perspective when figured over the course of a year. This change in the way I look at unnecessary spending is really helping to keep me focused!

  18. Marivene, we did the comforter cover idea here years ago with the twin comforters from younger daughters beds. We just used sheets we bought at a linen outlet. We had to dig to find compatible colors and prints…they were literally just thrown into big boxes. I did not do the duvet but used the old comforter as the filling, sewed up the sides and tied with yarn.

  19. I need to add that I went over to my father’s house, (batching the trip since he lives near my son’s high school) to grab an enormous box of my old books to sell at Powell’s bookstore. They only bought a small number of the books, but it was enough to use the credit at the Powell’s For Books & Gardener’s store to buy a lovely tablecloth as a birthday gift/housewarming gift for my sister. Plus I donated the rest of the books to Goodwill and will deduct that from our taxes in April.

    I picked up some lovely evergreen branches and pinecones that had fallen from my father’s enormous tree. I’ll use them to decorate for the winter holidays.

    Also, my father fed me tea and toast from his homemade bread.

    I showered without turning on the light and didn’t shampoo since I had yesterday.

    I have white bean cooking in my got-it-for-free slow cooker for tonight’s dinner. I’ll make your soup! (My slow cooker was too small for my family of four, so I traded it out for a larger one that was sitting mostly unused in one of my mother’s guest cottages.)

    I cleaned and organized my refrigerator the other day to minimize waste. I found that a bag of green beans had frozen, but I prepared then anyway and roasted them with olive oil and kosher salt. The texture was slightly off, but they got eaten anyway.

    I took my receipt back to Safeway to get refunded on some produce that want bad almost immediately. I was refunded over $6.

    Heard about a great new decluttering book, but put it on hold at the library instead of using my Amazon (Swagbucks) credits to buy it, as I would prefer to save the Amazon credit for stuff I really need to buy.

  20. Mandy, congratulations on the grandbaby news! It might not be frugal, but you could certainly help them be frugal in regards to preparing for the new baby.

  21. I loved hearing you were able to eat lunch out for $0.38! That’s incredible! WOW!

    My week was not a great one, due to needing new tires and 2 car repairs. I was stuck at home without a car for a couple days, but I did manage to find some good deals by shopping the sales and using coupons. I found emery boards for $0.25 and $0.50 Oxyclean dish tabs. Freebies included apples, World Pea snacks, Revlon eye shadow, and Garnier cleansing wipes. Full details of all my transaction and pictures can be found here:

  22. With all the spending we are doing, I don’t feel like I am saving anything:( But I did finish my training with Bountiful Baskets this week , so I am preparing for future savings, If I can get a site opened here in my town, I won’t have to spend the gas to go pick it up. I made some money, using my new camera I did took photos of a friend, they needed new family photos, they have 8 kids and I give them the images to play with and print as they see fit; they gave me some money and she told me it saved her at least $300, each kid got individuals and she got new pictures with just her and her husband as well 😀 While I was in her town I stopped at the Randall’s that has a gas station so I used my .30 discount and filled up my gas tank at $2.02 a gallon, and picked up a few things at really good prices in the store, not a lot, they don’t have any really good prices on things I want right now.
    I got some Legos ordered, items all discounted, used Lego VIP points, getting free shipping and ordering through Ebates, so I did pretty well for Legos.

  23. Some favorites from last week.
    – Made split pea soup with homemade broth made from chicken carcass and vegetable peelings. Added leftover butternut squash instead of carrots. 4 servings of soup so far and the rest has been frozen. Homemade cornbread to go with it.
    – Bought 11 boxes of facial tissue at $0.99 each instead of usual $2.27 each. Saved an additional 10% using discounted gift card to pay for a savings of about $15.50. I happened upon this sale when picking up a prescription so that was lucky as we suffer from allergies and use a lot of tissue.
    – I have been wanting a jigsaw puzzle for rainy days. When I dropped some items off at a pet rescue thrift shop I found a 1000 piece puzzle for $1.06. I’ll donate it back when I am done.
    – Had to take a knife for sharpening as I have been using it to cut pills in half. We were recently given a pill cutter which I will start using instead. Only $5 for sharpening but shouldn’t have been necessary.
    – DH needed just a few paper plates and plastic forks for a small work party. Fortunately he mentioned it before he went shopping as I had both in the pantry. No spending and no more adding unnecessary items.

  24. My pumpkin pudding recipe is just the pumpkin pie filling recipe from the back of the Libby’s can, baked in a buttered, square glass baking dish. 😀

  25. Being native Californians (now in the Midwest), my husband & I grew up listening to our parents, teachers, etc. telling us to SAVE EVERY DROP OF WATER! We save the milk gallon jugs & use them to *catch* water while it warms in the sinks, tub, & shower. We use that to flush, wash veggies, rinse the sinks while cleaning, etc. Though the water prices here keep rising, our bill stays about the same & I’m convinced it’s because we keep finding new ways to save water.

  26. Brandy, you have all the same cookie cutters I do, even the Santa with the pack. I have 2 of the trees, too. Mine are older than me. Have you collected them or had them all along?

    We made 3 batches of spritz cookies last night. I bought an electric spritz maker about 10 years ago because I’m not able to work the manual one anymore. I have other doughs mixed up and chilling.

    Went to our Homemaker’s Christmas party Friday night and took cheese and sausage and crackers. The sausage was venison, which I don’t like, but was given to us by an uncle in law on one of our family visits the past few weeks. We had a white elephant exchange and I ended up with an ornament and a set of cafe curtains. Both will actually be used as the ornament is unbreakable and daughter puts them on the lower half of her tree to keep the breakables on top away from animals. The curtains are red gingham and were cross-stiched with a white geometric pattern…and there are 2 windows in the stairwell going up to the apartment over the garage and I can put them up there. Not necessary, but will look nice.

    Have noticed price of pork here, since so many are looking for cheap prices, is around 2.29 a pound. We got pork a couple weeks ago from husband’s family’s pork butchering. Also 4 pans of scrapple. I’ve never liked pork much, but I like the scrapple for breakfast. We don’t buy a lot of store meat. I already have a goose and ham for Christmas but I did use a coupon and buy an extra ham for later in February. My name is on the rotation for meals for church for meals for families with new babies, surgeries etc. I always like to make scalloped potatoes and ham. (Other members do other parts of the meal)

    Did mending, composting, recycled. Hung about 1/3 of the clothes to dry inside. Used dryer for rest. Youngest daughter made your red bow and pinecone decorations, for us, the shop, the garage apartment and extras. She got carried away, but we had a box of nice pinecones in the garage that she picked from.

  27. We are enjoying clementines in our house too. I picked lettuce from our little hoophouse last week, and some parsley. We had a large family gathering yesterday, and took sweet potato pies (our potatoes), and brought a salad using storebought lettuce but our carrots. I haven’t joined in with Frugal Accomplishments on my blog this week, but so enjoy reading yours and all the commenter’s posts.

  28. When I am doing my budget, I will multiply the amount I would spend in a year by 10-to see what I would spent in 10 years on that item. Boy is that an eye-opener! We used to spend $60 per month on direct TV. That is $720 a year, but $7200 for 10 years. That huge number had us canceling the service the next month. Even if they lowered the price to $25, it still wasn’t worth the 10 year spending!

  29. We moved some money around from one type of account to another to take advantage of a higher interest rate. While the ‘higher interest rate’ is still paltry, at least it’s something. I finally got my salary packaging started up again since we’re going overseas next year; we were able to bundle the airfares with the accommodation in order to claim both of them, saving us a substantial amount of money. That brings the trip of this cost so far (return flights from Melbourne – LA via Nadi, 3 nights hotel accommodation in Fiji, 5 nights hotel accommodation in LA and Anaheim) down to less than $700 per person. To put that in perspective, the first time I flew to Melbourne from the US 18 years ago, I paid over $700 for a one-way ticket.

    The kids finish school this week. We’ve had a lot of fun doing Christmas crafts or activities every day, although what with the events in Sydney yesterday, I completely forgot! We read some Christmas stories at bedtime, though; and I put out yesterday’s activity for them to do this morning before school. Since today is the first day of Hannukah we’re going to learn about that holiday today after school. We’re all looking forward to a very relaxing Christmas – and I’m so happy all the presents are wrapped and ready to go (and that I came in well under budget!!!)

  30. Very resourceful reuse of materials (recycling). Why pay for a brand new one when a old one can be repurposed again? Good job.


  31. I love Powell’s Books! We’ll be going to Oregon next year and that is on my ‘must visit’ list (along with about a million other places . . . ) We’ll be spending a week in California and a week in Oregon and I really couldn’t care less what we do in California but my Oregon list is growing by the day. I grew up in Oregon, but after I moved to Australia the rest of my family moved out of the state, so this will be my first trip back since 1998. I’m already warning my husband I will leave claw marks in the tarmac and he’ll have to physically carry me on to that plane to get me home.

  32. I have owned all three Tightwad Gazette books for 15 years and use them all the time! This is what started my frugal journey.

  33. I got a price adjustment on a Christmas gift that I purchased right before it went on sale. By contacting the company, I saved $43!

    We turned the heat down one more degree at night to 62 to try and lower our gas bill. My husband and I just put an extra blanket on the bed, and our son’s room is right over the furnace, so he always stays toasty.

    I found spiral cut ham at Target for $1.99/pound, which was .20/pound cheaper than Costco’s price. I also had a Cartwheel coupon for 20% off, so I got our Christmas ham for $15!

    We got some great deals on meat at Costco this weekend. We got chicken breasts, whole chickens, and pork loin. The pork loin was priced at $3.99/lb, and then it was also $1 off per pound, so that was a great price for our area. The package came with 4 loins, which will be good for at least 10 meals for our family of 3. We also stocked up on baking soda, string cheese, vinegar, carrots, and clementines. Costco apples were super expensive, though– we decided to get those through the co-op, which will save us $3/pound. Also, someone last week was talking about persimmons…our Costco had a 6-pack for $7.99.

    We also started planning our summer garden. We have limited growing space outside of our 2 raised beds, so this is a challenge, but we want to grow more next year and not participate in our CSA. We decided that we will grow tomatoes I pots on the patio, leaving the raised beds for beans and a cucumber vine. Then, we are going to try growing strawberries in hanging pots and will plant some melons and autumn squash next to our raspberry bushes.

    My husband got a $10 off an oil change in the mail- great timing, because his car needs one.

    My son and I spend Friday afternoon (our “craft day”) making holiday gifts for his teachers and our neighbors. We made chai scented candles in half pint mason jars- we had all of the ingredients on hand. We also made 4 different flavors of trail mix for our relatives. We put the trail mix in pint jars that I have on hand from my aunt (she gave me several dozen jars about 2 years ago), made labels with the printer and glued them on to the jars, and put them in baskets that I got at Goodwill for .50 apiece. I have been stocking up on the trail mix ingredients over the last 4-5 weeks as things go on sale.

  34. Brandy,

    Have you ever considered to grow a persimmon tree? I like the non-astringent persimmon (fuyu), they can be eaten while still firm for crunchy sweet taste. You can start harvesting persimmons in September through early November (where I live, Virginia) and maybe even later in your area. My in-laws pick all their remaining persimmons off the trees by December in California.

  35. $5.00 can definitely add up overtime and it’s not just food savings. That $5.00 can buy medicine, diapers, clothes on sale, etc.

  36. So funny about being out in the bathrobe with a dead battery at the bus stop! Glad you were able to get it replaced under warranty – that is definitely a blessing! I enjoyed your blog – it seems like the holiday season is off to a great start.

  37. My husband bought 50 lbs of red potatoes at Cash and Carry for $9+ (don’t know exactly what change…). He said there were russets for 6 something, but he thought I’d like the reds. I’m sure I will, especially when I add up the kind thoughtfulness he was showing!

    Almost every weekend, I made several items of food to use in the beginning part of the week when I’m working a lot. This weekend, I made lentil soup with bits of ham, scalloped potatoes and ham, pizza (2 pepperoni/veg. and 1 ham and pineapple. I used a gluten-free pizza crust recipe and saved quite a bit by making the crust from scratch. I used 1 package of turkey pepperoni I got from Grocery Outlet for 99c for the 2 pepperoni pizzas. My daughter cut the large rounds of pepperoni into small triangles with kitchen scissors and it spread over both that way.

    I also baked gluten-free zucchini bread. I was able to use 1/2 cup teff flour that I had been given a long time ago and didn’t know what to make from it. We liked it, so hopefully, I can use the rest of that teff flour that way. I recently cleaned the freezers and found lots of “old” zucchini, plus the “new” from last summer. I’m trying to use it up. That ham is now either frozen, or used! Whew! I made a turkey meatloaf, which we had for dinner tonight.

    We were able to use several scraps of fabric. We made several knit fabric headbands. I used a patttern I bought a while back. One daughter is making a few for friends.

  38. To continue, We cooked from scratch, when home. Made banana bread and cranberry bread, raisin bran muffins, 2 loaves of white bread , potato corn cauliflower chowder, baked pumpkin donuts, hot apple cider, cheese omelets, vegetable fried rice, spaghetti sauce, tuna melts, garlic bread, apple sauce and potato pancakes, coleslaw, homemade baked fries and tofu fishsticks and horseradish dipping sauce.

    Packed lunches and snacks for me and youngest daughter. Used up leftovers. Finished shelling our hazelnuts and packed them for freezer into 1/2 pint freezer bags, then put them all into gAllon freezer bag. We ended up with a little over 7 pounds. Stopped at the thrift store and bought new pairs of white socks, pack of 3, for 50¢, and two new red taper candles.

  39. Last week I helped my disabled son make a gift for his sister. I made two pair of earrings for gifts. I bought a LOT of sweet potatoes on sale for 28 cents per pound. Due to some things going on in our family that day, I had the frugal fail of buying a rotisserie chicken. HOWEVER, I did make the vegetable side dishes we ate with it and with the carcass and some vegetables I made enough broth for two pots of soup, which I froze in gallon size freezer bags.

    I made homemade bread. My husband takes a big thermos of coffee to work with him each day so he doesn’t buy coffee. He usually takes a packed lunch from home as well. Using some Christmas money from my mom I paid for a half-price online class, then signed up for another one using reward points.

    I continue to enjoy my Christmas cacti, one of which I’ve had for at least 8 years! My rosemary and lavender plants continue to do well in pots on the porch.

    Brandy, how beautiful your roses are! Having flowers inside during the winter is like having a bit of sunshine. 🙂

  40. Brandy, your little girl looks so sweet playing the piano. I love the cookie cutter decoration behind the lovely platter of clementines too!

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *Cooked most meals at home, including cream of broccoli soup (from broccoli I blanched and froze in the summer) with homemade bread, roast beef with mashed potatoes and veggies, chicken stir fry, stuffed pasta with Classico brand Alfredo sauce (from pantry, bought on sale), and chicken finger wraps with side of canned baked beans (I haven’t tried making my own beans from scratch yet, but I intend to learn some day soon).
    *Had several different left overs in the fridge that needed eating up. So we had left overs for dinner one night.
    *I mixed up a package of chocolate pudding I had in my pantry and divided it into snack sized reusable containers for my daughter’s lunches. This is much cheaper than buying the individual pudding cups and I feel better knowing it was made with real milk. My daughter loved the treat! (Note: I have also done this in the past with Jello, which is super cheap to buy and is a protein source)
    *Donated several food items from my pantry to the school which is currently collecting for the local food bank. I was able to give some items we don’t really use and some which I was able to buy really cheap. I feel please we were able to give generously to this worthy cause.
    *Was able to combine coupons and sales to purchase 7 containers of Black Diamond cheese spread for $1 each (reg price is over $4 each) and 16 bricks of cheese (~400g size) for $3 each. Also bought two 10lb bags of potatoes for $1.49, one 10lb bag of carrots for $1.97, two dozen eggs for $1.99 a dozen, two containers of cottage cheese for $1.99 a container and four bunches of broccoli for $0.99 a bunch.
    *The week before I had stopped in to the grocery store for a couple items and notices a great sale on crackers, 4/$5 (or $1.25 each). At the time, I didn’t have the cash to buy them so I left it. When I went in to do my regular shopping this week, I notice that all the signs had been taken down except one. There were only 2 boxes left on that shelf, but I grabbed them. At cash I specifically asked to check the price, which rang up as $1.49. The cashier had someone check and I was able to get one box for free (because I caught their mistake) and one box for the listed price of $1.25! Yeah!!!
    * While routing around in my wallet looking for a reward card, I discovered a in-store credit/gift card for Walmart which I had forgotten about (from returning something a while ago). I needed one more gift for my mother’s Christmas present. So when I presented it at cash, I was pleased to discover it saved me over $2.00 on the gift!
    *Volunteered at my daughter’s school recycle sale which they have each year. Parents donate gently used items and the children can purchase Christmas gifts for their families (kind of like a big garage sale). Most items were $1/item or group of small items. It is a fundraiser for the parent council which uses the money to support various things for the children. While I was there, I purchased a pocket watch for my husband’s stocking and a book to add to my mother’s Christmas gift. I also found a beautiful embroidered linen and lace handkerchief that I can use when I’m working in the pioneer village I’m employed at!
    *Every year we have several gifts we give to my daughter’s teachers. Because she has special needs, she has 2 EA’s, plus her regular teacher, her principal (who is quite involved with getting her proper supports) and sometimes other support staff. This week I pulled out the stash of “gift items” (bath and body gifts) that I purchased last year during boxing day and used some for teacher gifts. The gifts had a $5.00 price tag, but I usually find them for at least 50% off during Boxing Day sales. For her main EA, I made an infinity scarf. My daughter also made and decorated sugar cookies with her support worker, so some will get bags of cookies. My daughter also picked up some really cute little wind chimes at the school recycle sale for all her teacher’s as well.

    I think that is about everything for this week. Hope everyone has a lovely week before Christmas!

  41. Love the picture of your daughter at the piano. I remember lessons when I was young. Was probably 50 years ago.
    Found a good sale on extra lean ground beef at Winco. It was selly by the next day and was $1.99 a pound. Bought 15 pounds. The next day I made mini meatloaves with 2 pounds. (Made in muffin tins) Also made meatballs for spaghetti and meatballs with 5 pounds. – then froze them for later use. Cooked the rest and put 2 cups in each ziploc bag in the freezer. Makes for a quick dinner when I get home from work if the meat is all cooked.
    Bought 40 pounds of potatoes at 10 pounds for 99¢. There was a limit of 2 and it was a one day sale, but I price matched at Wal-Mart for two more.
    Had popcorn for a snack with my son who was home for the weekend and watched a movie on TV.
    Got my free item at Harbor Freight – will be part of SIL Christmas present.
    Made french bread – Brandy’s recipe. My DH will use for sandwiches for work this week – Will use the mini-meatloaves as filling.
    Made a batch of soup for my lunches this week.
    Kept the temperature at 64 when we are home during the day, and 60 at night when we go to bed and when we are gone at work.
    My one frugal fail – always in the winter – I take long hot baths at night about 3 times a week. I went through chemo and radiation a few years ago, and since then, I get cold to the bones sometimes. The best thing for it is to immerse in a hot tub. Figure its cheaper than heating the whole house so I can get warm. We are in the country so are on an irrigation system. I pay an annual fee for water (So lucky, I know) and I try not to waste water in any other area of my life.

  42. If you have limited space you might want to check out the blog She has some posts on square foot gardening that might help.

  43. So true. The cost of everything seems to be going up and I don’t see prices coming down any time soon. At our local Salvation Army they have a day when you can fill a bag with clothes for $5 for the entire bag! Looking forward to $5 bag day!

  44. During last week I….
    Took brown paper bags, adding iron on designs I cut from fabric, glued on a couple of buttons and string and fold down the top to close. I made six gift bags for less than 50 cents.

    Put all my gift cards (given to me) in one place, checked expiration dates, and plan to use when possible.

    Put some keepsake ornaments from my mom and mother-in-law on our tree. Some of these are easily 80 years old and I am so enjoying them.

    Made our meals at home.

    Shopped on-line for some super discounted gifts to give this year. I used coupons, got cash back, and spent very little. Not using the car or gas is a savings and I don’t buy unplanned items.

    Washed the cars in the driveway, we hauled buckets of water up from the basement and saved $10.00.

    Took a couple of staff I work with out for a cup of coffee for the holidays rather than a lunch. I made them a beautiful cloth basket and enclosed a coffee gift card that I got as rebates.

    Changed my mind on paint color, and can return it to the store. So glad it worked out.

    Am borrowing cloth table clothes, nice silver platters to my daughter to use for a Christmas party that she is hosting.

    Nice to reflect on the week and celebrate small accomplishments.

  45. Athanasia, Can you share or point me in the direction of the potato corn cauliflower chowder recipe? Sounds wonderful! My mouth was just watering reading it 🙂 Thanks, Heidi

  46. Rhonda, where in Canada are you? Your post made me think you are here…somewhere… 🙂 Unless I’m imagining things. And, your prices on things also made me think that! And I haven’t heard of a recycle sale at children’s schools since I grew up in the States. So thrilled to hear they are still around! Heidi in Guelph, Ontario

  47. I am going to start flying a couple of times a year because of family. I have never paid any attention to trip deals because I didn’t travel much. May I ask, as a novice, how do you bundle deals to get such a good price? I remember flying from Salt Lake to Alabama in the late 70″s, early 1980″s, and it cost over $400 round trip, so I would say your savings is fantastic!!!!

  48. My husband has been saving us money by doing some needed repairs around the house. He researches u-tube videos for tutorials that have been helpful. When we were at the paint counter to get a gallon of paint, I spotted coupons for $5 off per gallon.

    Had to chuckle when I was picking grapefruit to go in a gift box and spotted two lettuce plants and a vinca that had self seeded under the grapefruit tree. It has rained all night, so I’ll go out later and transplant them. The lettuce plants look better than my seedlings I planted. The rain will make it so I don’t need to water for a few days, saving both water and effort. The yellow pear tomato is loaded and giving me a few every day…so yummy. It did almost nothing during the summer, but is making up for it now. Picked the first tangelo and thought of how my mouth waters when reading of rhubarb and some of the yummy things I can’t grow. It’s time for those of us who are desert dwellers to enjoy being outside and harvesting some of the specialities of our area. So thankful for the things we are blessed with! I plan to take a basket of treats to the staff who cared for me in rehab a couple of years ago, and will include some of the tangelos. I have been using my green onions for flavoring in place of chopped onion.

    I was able to get 8 packages of cream cheese for free! One of our stores is having a grand opening, so I got a dozen eggs and a pound of butter for free, too. Brandy and others with a Kroger affiliate, you might see if they participate with a Friday Facebook freebie. You have to load it onto the Kroger card on Friday, but can get it for a week or two after loading it. It’s not a big item, usually, but little bits help. This time I picked up free BBQ sauce and gum from the past two Fridays. The gum will be in someone’s stocking.

    Our Christmas planning and preparations are nearly complete. I made some felt ornaments to be part of gifts. I’ve ordered a few things online when discounted and with free shipping when possible as well as going through ebates. When I am close to the amount for free shipping, I try to find something I need or would make a nice gift to purchase rather than having the money go to shipping. For example, when I was ordering a blue-ray, the discount brought it below the free shipping amount. I found a book that I think my friend will enjoy for part of her Christmas gift and both shipped free for about what the cost of the blue-ray alone plus shipping would have been. I copied a red and white arrangement I saw for $20 at the nursery using a 50 cent poinsettia, $1.89 flat of pansies and my own hanging pot. I hope to pick up a spiral ham that is on sałe for $1.57 a pound, limit one, and may go back before the sale ends for a second. Some of our grapefruit and tangelos, as well as snack items picked up for good deal, after Halloween candy, homemade treats, etc., will be part of Christmas gifts. I let my daughter use $15 of Kohls coupons to purchase some Christmas gifts and she gave me the $15 of kohls cash she earned on the purchase so I could get some gifts. Another daughter treated me to a lovely advent tea. I got to sit between her and granddaughter to enjoy a lovely time of food and fellowship.

    Wishing everyone a blessed, frugal week!

  49. $260 dollars saved is also a full blessings of Christmas gifts for our family (which is what I did with the monies saved this year) It is also if you are wise a mini vacation for a family. So yes it does add up.

  50. Some weeks I go to Kroger just for my free item so I can do the survey for an extra 50 points toward fuel points. Of course I live in a very small town and it is only an out 2 miles to the store.

  51. Thank you Brandy and Readers.. I really enjoy reading each of your frugal accomplishments.
    This wee.k, has been a really busy week..Trying to get Christmas work done early.
    I bought a 1/2 Smithfield ham for 99cents a pound. [you had to buy it with a $50 purchase. I also got a bottle of vegetable oil for 99 cents with this same purchase.
    Items I was able to get at a good price…cream cheese 79 cents, Kraft cool whip 68 cents, sweet potatoes- 43 cents a pound,
    Cheddar cheese-3.68 lb, White lily flour -1.89 for 5 lb, Assorted pork chops- 1.19 lb , oranges 3/100

    I also received a $10 off of a $10 purchase at JC Penny’s. I bought my daughter a sweater that was 40% off, and used this coupon,
    I only had to $9 out of pocket ..

    I made 2 of my granddaughters embroidered pocket t-shirts with their initials on them.. [I had bought the t-shirts on clearance awhile back..bought next size up so they would fit for this winter]. I used chevron fabric for the pockets – this came from my stash.. So, I had no money in these.
    I am working on some other small gifts for the other grandkids.:)

  52. You are correct that I’m in Canada. I live in Peterborough, Ontario. As for the recycle sale, I think the environmental movement has spurred on this new generation. Craft and bake sales were big when I was in school, but more and more parents are working and don’t have time to make stuff, not to mention food allergies. The children have a blast “shopping” though there are some parents who complain about the “junk” that their children bring home. I wish those parents could see how proud their children are as they pick something special out for mom, dad and/or their siblings. It’s really sweet to watch.

  53. Hi Rhonda and Heidi! I am also from Canada (Palmerston, Ontario) 🙂 I stocked up on the carrots and potatoes deals this week too. A few months ago I stopped buying baby carrots and have been buying the 10lb bags of carrots to peel and slice for snacks for the kids (I have 2 girls + 5 daycare kids to feed). I’ve been saving $5-$10 per month just switching from baby carrots 🙂 I have also been buying celery to slice for snacks instead of cucumbers. Celery has been cheaper in the fall and has more uses than cucumbers.

  54. Thanks so much for the info on transforming spent almonds into almond flour. I have been so frustrated with throwing it away, and now have a batch in a 200 degree oven.

  55. Nancy, I’m so glad you mentioned the warm baths as your frugal fail. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Sometimes when I’m having a bad RA day, I, too, am cold to the bone, no matter how much clothing I wear. (I so regret not understanding why my grandmother sometimes needed a space heater in her un-air-conditioned house in the middle of summer!) A warm bath is all that seems to take the chill away and enable me to move more normally. I try to make up for the extra water usage by being vigilant about using warm-up water and in other ways, but when I read what you had written, I didn’t feel quite as apologetic for needing those warm baths.

  56. First of all – I love the little Bissell sweeper that I bought through It is a pretty blue, cost less than $15.00 and really works! Uses ‘sweat energy’ but really picks up cat and dog hair on our flat rugs (we don’t have wall to wall – we have rugs on wood floors). No electricity!

    Second – the propane delivery man came and told us ‘you are good’. Usually he adds every month (we have a set point for addition). It appears that my frugal use of propane is paying off. Stove, furnace, water heater all use propane. I’ve been keeping inside temp at 62-64 during the day and 60 during the night. I also multiuse the stove/oven and use hot water only when necessary (shorter showers, all wash in cold, full dishwasher, etc.). This is huge! Now I am working on the electricity (all other inside use). I have been turning off lights/unused appliances/etc. but I really need to look through our usage report.

    We drive to Denver at least twice a year for specialist medical appointments. We coordinate all appointments and also do shopping we can’t do here. We went on Wednesday for our end of year appointments. Stopped at the Asian Grocery Store and found amazing bargains. We both love Chinese/Vietnamese/Japanese/Thai food. When we lived north of Denver there were many options for restaurants but here there are only a few. Even a stop at Panda Express is expensive and our favorite local place costs us at least $60 dollars for the two of us (not including tip). I’ve learned to make spring rolls (the fresh ones, not fried) and some stir fry. I haven’t done much more as many ingredients are quite expensive at the local grocery store. We were able to stock up on sesame oil (chili, regular and black), condiments, rice noodles, a lot of great veggies for about 1/3 of the grocery store prices! There were condiments we can’t even find here. This will help me make food we love for a lot less and when we want it – especially important in bad weather.

    We also stopped at Trader Joes. I’ve learned to be careful at TJs and my price book has helped immensely! I did find fresh basil for half of what the local store has, teas, and a few other items. The one thing I had to really resist were their fresh flowers. My paperwhites will bloom in a week or two – until then I’ll have wait.

    Almost a fail – made lentil soup with a ham hock. It really was tasteless – until I added one, yes just one, polish sausage I’d frozen! I love to have a batch of soup to eat during the week in winter – I LOVE soup, SO love sandwiches so we compromise on lunch. Dinner usually mutually agreed upon!

    Planted basil seeds in saved K-cups with soil starter bought for 10 cents at the end of season. My rosemary and tarragon are wintering over in their pots and am I really trying to have fresh basil this year. I harvested other herbs and dried them but there is something about fresh basil that can’t be duplicated.

    Bought a 1 penny for a ream of paper at Staples.

    Using cards and paper we have already for presents.

    I know that sometimes pets are not considered frugal but … we also take our two ‘pure bred’ dogs to a vet that they’ve seen for many years that is located in Denver. I say ‘pure bred’ – they were both rescues. One was truly lost (a poodle) and one a ‘humane’ breeder released Shih Tzu. Our vet is able to treat them for conditions known for purebred dogs. When we come up they ‘board’ them for free during the day as they know how far we come for medical appointments. When we left they gave us a shopping bag filled with six cat toys (we have cats as well) and 12 packs of chewie toys! I know that there are various thoughts about the costs associated with pets. For us they are invaluable – companions and more. The dogs really are watch dogs since we live 14 miles from town – they seem to know every safe and unknown vehicle and person and let us know. The cats are incredible mousers which helps so much on a farm. We have NO mice in our home or around. Our other property (which has no cats) does – maybe I need to temporarily locate one there! We do have pet insurance on them as we’ve learned that there are expensive issues that can come up.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

  57. Flights have really come down since the 1980s. They’re tipped to fall even more because of the drop in oil prices. A few tips:
    1) Sign up to You put in where you want to go and what you’re willing to pay (be realistic!) and they’ll e-mail you when fares come up in your price range

    2) Fly shoulder or off-peak if you can. You’ll always pay more to fly at popular times.

    3) If you have the luxury of time, spend a few months watching the fares before you book. Fares go up and down even within shoulder/off peak/peak periods, so that one day you’ll see a fare of $100 and then the next week it’ll be $500 and you’ll think you missed out; but if you wait a couple more weeks it will likely drop back to the $100. By paying attention to the fares for a while you’ll pick up on the cycle and know what price you should be paying.

    4) Think outside the box. If you’re flying international to a small airport you might find it’s cheaper to fly round the world, for instance. If you’re flying domestic to a popular destination you may save quite a bit of money by booking a package deal.

    5) Make friends with people who work in luxury hotels! A friend of mine is using her friends and family discount to get us 2 nights in a luxury suite with breakfast and dinner included for only $45/night. Since our general idea of luxury is, “Oh look, the police have taken down the crime tape,” this is a big freaking deal to us. Also, figure out the cost of accommodation per person – with our family of 4 it’s generally cheaper to stay in a 3 or 4 star hotel than to stay in a hostel, and it’s a lot more comfortable too.

  58. I had to look up where Palmerston was, but now I know! I’m really pleased to know there are a few other fellow Canadians posting comments here too!

  59. Where do you buy your baker’s twine. I see a big spool in your photo above. I found it at Home Good’s for 6.99, but hoped to find it for less.

  60. I love Bountiful Baskets! I hope you are successful in getting it started. Great prices, and it gets my family to try new things!

  61. My bestie doesn’t have a traditional Christmas and it does weigh on her every year (she is a care taker of the men in her family, and her day job security has been getting thinner each year). This year, with a tight budget I went and bought her slippers and socks. The thing is she really has plenty of slippers and socks and every thing else. So I returned the slippers and socks and made her a subway art 5×7 print similar to Brandy’s bookmarks for her children. I wrote all the things I love about her most (we aren’t super affectionate with our words) – after she opened it, our lunches were a bit soggy and she told me it was one of the best gifts she had gotten, and it felt so good to tell her how much she means to me.
    Our super gas station through their rewards program was giving away PB cups – I grabbed those for my husbands stocking.
    Made a batch of lentil vegetable soup and the recipe also has black beans – made a hearty soup.
    I needed a few stocking stuffers for my mother’s stocking (she gets a pinch extra for all the hard work she does for us adult kids) I was scrambling and feeling desperate, and remembered I had bookmarked some ideas to make last year after Christmas. I was able to make 3 small items, (magnet, felt owl ornament and painted sticks – we’re artists) from my craft supply stash.
    Hope everyone has a blessed holiday season!

  62. I asked about the wax seals. Look on the right side of this page. Brandy posted links for me to Amazon where to purchase it. Merry Christmas.

  63. I don’t consider a rotisserie chicken a frugal fail…nor cooking a frozen pizza or picking up take out now and then. I think the best choice you made was to help your son make something for his sister. We all want to save money, but we shouldn’t do it at the expense of missing an experience or an opportunity with someone we love.

  64. Hi Linda P. My mom had RA and she too loved it when she could feel warm. Unfortunately she progressed so quickly that she wasn’t able to get in/out of the bathtub. She received an RX for a hot paraffin bath that she used for years – that really helped her hands as it seemed when her hands were warm she felt warmer. When it finally gave out my sister gifted her with one. I have one now and love it. I’ve seen them for sale during the holidays and they may be on sale afterwards. I haven’t ever seen one in my thrifting and not sure I would be comfortable using a used one. I have Raynaud’s syndrome so my hands are usually cold and stiff so it helps me become more limber. Don’t feel bad about your warm baths – think about how more comfortable you are and you then feel up to doing things!

  65. Heidi, it’s very easy. I chop a large onion, saute in butter, add one chopped head of cauliflower, same volume each of diced potato and whole kernel corn. Add just enough vegetable broth to cover, simmer , add milk as cooks till reaches consistency you like. I leave it chunky and put out bowl of cheese for folks to add to their serving and stir in. I make a lot in winter as use a quart each of frozen cauliflower and frozen corn and storage potatoes and onions.. Only season I use is salt and pepper.

  66. After the recent rain I just noticed lettuce popping up in various parts of our front lawn (my toddler spilled some several months ago 😉 There are also Nasturtiums popping up all over because I guess the previous tenant planted them. Love it.

  67. I popped in here to look something up and just read about the popcorn. Tonight is our church Christmas program (my husband writes in it, directs it and stars in it!!! along with all the children, of course!)….and now I know the perfect snack to take!!! I love the idea and it is so frugal! I did some baking this week, so I’ll take a plate of goodies as well, but this is definitely going to be my go-to ‘party food’ for light party snacks from now on. Thank you for sharing your genius & common sense. 😉

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