Roses and Thai Basil 2 The Prudent Homemaker

My husband cut my hair.

I sold several items using Facebook garage sale sites. I used some of that money to purchase 3 pairs of used boys’ jeans in a size 14 for $4 a pair, 2 pairs for $3 a pair, and 3 long-sleeved shirts for $3 each (size 12, so Cyrus can wear them now). This is a bit higher than I usually pay for used clothing, but I was happy to find clothing in his size in good shape for a lot less than new, so I jumped on these. The jeans were put in a box for when he needs that size next year.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

My friend and visiting teaching companion suprised me Tuesday night with a smoked turkey breast that her husband had smoked. We sliced it on our slicer and had sandwiches with it.

I went to Joann’s early Black Friday sale on Wednesday, where I bought flanel prints for $1.74 a yard, a bolt of pellon for $2.99, and three tiny bottle brush Christmas trees for $1 each (I have been wanting some of these for years). Another woman there gave me a couple of 40% off coupons that were good that day only (she had extra) and I bought plaid flannel (not part of the sale) and flannel-backed satin with those. I paid for the satin from the Facebook garage sale money.

Thanksgiving The Prudent Homemaker

I cut roses, Thai basil flowers, and dusty miller from the garden for Thanksgiving arrangements. I put together a bowl of green tomatoes and our lone butternut squash from the garden, plus some onions for a centerpiece on a homemade burlap runner.

I hosted Thanksgiving, and made turkey, roasted rosemary potatoes, rosemary olive oil bread, and 2 pumpkin pies.

On Black Friday, I bought myself a pair of shoes from Amazon, using the gift card credit I earned from Swagbucks. The shoes were already on sale for more than 50% off, and I got an additional 25% off using a promo code

I also bought a watercolor book that has been on my wishlist for a long time for the children for 30% off, using a promo code.

I picked several small white alpine strawberries from the garden.

I cut basil, Swiss chard, green onions, thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, and the first lemon of the season from the garden.

I gave basil away to three people this week. One of them brought me some goats’ milk when she came to get basil.

My new sister-in-law took Winter to the thrift store on Friday. Winter took money with her, but my sister-in-law said she would buy her purchases as a birthday gift to her. Winter found a pair of riding boots (just like she was wanting) that look very new for $6! (She said they had a whole boot section there). She also found herself a jean jacket (something else she had been wanting), another jacket, and a beautiful skirt that she can wear to church. I had already bought a jean jacket for her at a great price at Sam’s Club a while back, so I will return it and use that money towards something else.

She also brought some shoes that no longer worked for her and gave them to Winter. All three pairs fit! They are all black heels. This means I don’t have to buy a pair of black shoes for Winter for church, which is a great blessing.

My mom went to Costco on Friday evening, and noticed that they had cranberries there in a 2-pound bag for $1.99. I had her pick up 10 bags for me, and I paid her back with money I made from the Facebook garage sales. These will be canned for juice.

I cut buttons off of 5 articles of worn clothing and added them to my button jar.

I made a few gifts this week; you can see them in my Gift a Day series.

I started decorating for Christmas using items we already had and from the garden. I printed some free printables as well and put them in frames that I had. (You can see some of the ones I chose from my Christmas Inspiration board on Pinterest here).

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I purchased a 50lb box of carrots for $9.99 and prepared and froze about 45lbs. The rest I gave to my mom. I cut my hair (always do!), I also gave my youngest son (4yo) and oldest daughter (17yo) a hair cut today. Did alot of baking this week. Stayed home as much as possible to save on gas. Kept our thermostat set at 65F and layered on extra clothing to stay warm. (Canada). Hmm..I’m sure there is more but I’m to tired to think right now. Love your blog!

  2. I bought most of my family gifts (I make half and buy half) that needed to be purchased in one fell swoop last week after reading about a few great deals going on online. I was really struggling with what to buy the teen boys in my family and ended up getting them overnight duffle bags for about $8/each and that included free shipping and monogramming on, of all places, a wedding website. Go figure! Plus I used ebates! I got other gifts there too but was most excited get every last boy in my family checked off!

    I still need to make the scarves for the women in my family but I already own all of the materials.

    I ended up getting three turkeys this year (one more than last year). I’m super excited about it. One I cooked last Monday and the others will be cooked later in the year. Then my dad called me on Tuesday morning to ask if I had room for one more turkey. His new company gives them away but as he hasn’t been there a year, he had no idea. I said sure but a small one. So I now have a bonus 9 or 10 lb bird also in the freezer.

    I sold a few more things on ebay. Not much money being made but something is better than nothing. Plus getting a few more things out of my house is appreciated.

    I did really well grocery shopping- though I spent a lot. But it was all planned for because of the sales. This week I plan to buy as little as possible though to get back on track. And also because I don’t need much.

    I had an epic long text convo with one of my best friends whom I have not talked to much lately (bc life is busy). It just filled my bucket right up. Then I had a long phone convo with my very best childhood friend (we’ve been friends since birth- almost 36 years!) and a long text convo with another good friend over the weekend. Just the simple act of reconnecting with cherished friends has really done wonders for my soul.

    I got a haircut at the local beauty school (I can’t remember if I mentioned this last week). Including a very generous tip is was $10. It took a lot longer than normal because it’s a school and the gal had to consult her teacher a lot. But my cut looks awesome. I will definitely go there again!

    I found a shirt and two pairs of pants, all new with tags, in a bin of winter clothes. In my own stinkin house! I bought them two years ago (actually the shirt was a gift) and never wore them and I guess didn’t wear them last year. So for the grand price of zero I am now the proud owner of three brand stinkin new items of clothing!! Hot diggity dog! I din’t love the shirt at first (a gift) but now sort of do so it’s already been worn and enjoyed. THe pants both need to be hemmed, which seems why I never wore them. But I will do that this week for sure because I am in dire need of pants. The timing of this find was perfect.

    I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving!
    KK @

  3. This past week, I had Thanksgiving dinner at our house for a total of 25 people, including those of us who live here. We served turkeys my husband raised, ham I bought for $1.49/lb (spiral sliced), and had people bring a lot of salads, desserts, etc. The most expensive thing I made was a gluten-free peppermint cheesecake. It was great!!! I used purchased g/f cookies to make a crust and that alone was over $5. I saved money elsewhere.

    We got butter at Fred Meyers several times. ($2.50/box). I also got sour cream and cottage cheese for $1/each.

    The table decorations were all from things I grew in the garden, or had on hand, except 2 candles. So, I spent $4, total. My husband drilled holes for candles in mini-pumpkins. I used a few leaves from outside, little pumpkins, several assorted candles, a centerpiece my daughter found in the basement and tableclothes I already owned. We used my stonewear plates for all of it, even the dessert. I did buy 2 packages of napkins with fall leaves on them—$2.

    Because my niece is autistic, she gets extremely anxious waiting for Christmas, so we tried the pj’s on her that I had made. They were very large, but I do know how far to pull the elastic up in the waist so she can wear them. She loves them, and will rest easier knowing what’s in that package. I will rest easier knowing they will work for her:)

    I spent quite a bit of time the past 2 days cooking for the week ahead. By the time everyone took leftovers home (that was the plan behind 2 turkeys, plus ham),there was still a lot left, and so we ate leftovers on Friday and Saturday at noon. We were ready for hamburgers Saturday evening. We got all 3 sets of bones boiled, and extras frozen. We had white bean/turkey chili tonight. I made spaghetti sauce in the crockpot for after church. I have the ham broth and bits and more white beans soaked to load the crock pot with ham and beans before I head out to work in the morning. I have 2 pans of shell pasta in the fridge, and used some frozen ricotta/cheese filling I had frozen, plus the spaghetti sauce left from lunch. We’ve been eating a lot of home-canned green beans and frozen cauliflower. I served home-frozen corn Thursday, especially for a niece who is home from college for the holiday–it’s her favorite. I keep pulling from those freezers because I want to empty one and unplug it as soon as possible.

    I plan to eat from the bounty of my freezers and home-canned food in preparation of the Christmas holiday. We were invited to go to Seaside with my sister for a couple of days around New Year’s. I am planning to save the extra grocery money for that trip. She got us an extremely good deal on a unit at her timeshare.

    I made a skirt for a daughter from courderoy I had on hand.

    We worked on a 1000 piece puzzle I had in a closet upstairs. It had never been opened. I don’t remember when I got it.

    My 18- year-old daughter got a job! She has had 2 days of training, and 1 day of actual work so far. (Of course, she was paid for all of that). We will have to drive her, and it is a distance–so time + $, but it is time for her to take this step. She will be able to buy some things for herself, plus pay a small amount of rent. Because my children have all had a rocky start in life before I got them, it takes a little longer for them, as a rule, to overcome their anxiety and do things like this. I’m really proud of her for trying hard and doing what was a very scary, difficult thing. (For those of you who are curious–upon the advice of the therapist who is working with us and her, we set a rent amount, and set a bunch of chores with pretty good payment prices and she can do jobs for part of her rent. We are trying to get the idea across that when you are older, you have to pull your own weight, but to not overwhelm her).

  4. Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family!
    Cleaned out the coat closet, found a huge pile of things to donate, a smaller pile of things to toss, and most importantly space for coats and the air conditioners. Gave several pair of outgrown winter boots to a friend with younger kids. While checking coat pockets, found $6 and change, just enough to get the last Thanksgiving veggies at Aldi. I had never shopped at Aldi before – I think I will be going more often, as some of the produce, eggs, and milk prices are far better than the supermarket across the road.

    Qualified for a free ham at my favored supermarket – that went on the table at Thanksgiving with the turkey, plenty of leftovers for sandwiches and a bone for bean soup.

    Cashed out $5.29 in SavingStar rebates, received other rebates in the mail in the form of grocery store vouchers that I’ll use to buy some pantry staples.

    Hosted Thanksgiving. Most ingredients for desserts and sides were from the freezer and pantry, only needed to buy a few things. Friends who came to have dinner, and for dessert/football, brought a variety of pies, candy, and cookies to share. We had leftovers all weekend.

    Only slightly over budget for November – $516 out of a budgeted $500 for our family of 4 plus 3 cats. I’d have done better but for Thanksgiving. I did add up my freebies and found I’d gotten almost $250 in free products over the month thanks to good sales, coupons, and a generous coupon policies. Most things we use, a few will go into holiday charity/food drive boxes.

    Enjoy the coming holidays!

  5. We went to CVS and Walgreens for the free items before Thanksgiving and then went on Black Friday for more freebies. I split orders to pay with rewards/bucks so I wouldn’t be stuck having to spend a lot of bucks in the next couple of weeks. I put away quite a few things for stocking stuffers.

    Lowe’s sent me a $10 off $50 coupon. We bought another fig and pomegranate tree, a huge pot for the fig, potting soil, a nice bucket with a pour spout so I can mix fertilizer and water, and a new spigot for the rain barrel.

    I made a frugal, easy dinner day before Thanksgiving, broccoli soup made from the stalks and sandwiches on nice rolls with roasted cherry tomatoes (using cherry tomatoes from the freezer) and provolone cheese I had in the freezer from one of the mystery shops I did.

    I worked half a shift on Thanksgiving.

    Free in the mail – samples of Dial Acne Control body wash and Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

    I opened a new checking account at Discover for a $50 bonus which I will get in January.

    I kept picking more calyx from my Florida cranberry, freezing some and using some to make tea.

    I went with my son to the mall on Black Friday. He wanted to look at dress shirts at JCPenney’s but by the time we got there everything was picked over. When we got home, I went online without him knowing. I ordered the ones he was looking for, got free shipping, used the 15% coupon that was in the paper and went through ebates. These will be his holiday gift.

    Have a wonderful frugal week!

  6. I’ve continued to work on homemade Christmas gifts.

    I was given a winter coat in a larger size (to fit over my pregnant belly).

    I made 2 loaves of bread and 1 batch of chocolate granola.

    Temps have been in the 20’s and 30’s this week, but our furnace has been off most of the time thanks to our wonderful pellet stove. We bought pellet fuel at a discounted price that will probably get us through mid-January before we have to buy more.

    I swapped 2 books on

    I used the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving dinner at my inlaw’s to make stock.

  7. I hosted Thanksgiving. I bought the turkey for $0.69/lb, used frozen yeast rolls from then neighborhood food co-op, used mark-down sausage in the stuffed mushrooms. The cornbread dressing was made using leftover cornbread that I had been saving in the freezer for months. My son brought an apple pie that he got as a free gift when he joined Sam’s club using a Groupon.

    After Thanksgving was over, we boiled the turkey carcass and we will be having turkey noodle soup for dinner tonight. We made turkey pot pie for lunch yesterday. On Friday, I went to my local Kroger and the meat department was marking down fresh Butterball turkeys to $0.59/lb. I bought four!

    I am making pillowcases for a few Christmas gifts for kids out of novelty fabric that I already own.

  8. On the day after Thanksgiving, I went up to my mother’s house in the northern part of the state to finish cleaning it out to be sold (I was an only child so it was just “me” to do it.) It has been my childhood “home” since I was a year old and I am in my mid 50″s. I squalled like a baby all the way back to where I live now, which is about four hours away.. Mother would have told me to hush up. She couldn’t stand “mess” But, I found many things that I needed, like a comforter, dishes and glasses, pictures for my house, end tables, a folding table and chairs, lamps, etc. so that was good. My frugality for the week is more about what I didn’t spend: I made collards, homemade corn bread, pinto beans, cookies, muffins (using the tightwad gazette recipe), breakfast casserole, and cheese grits from things I already had on hand. I had made Thanksgiving dinner for my three boys and left all of that with the leftovers for them about an hour from me(they are in their mid 20″s and eat a I talked to my daughter by phone, she lives overseas, so it was a good week anyway. Y’all have a blessed week.

  9. –Fixed the patch on Big Brother’s khakis
    –Made a triple batch of laundry detergent
    –Made hummus. Bonus: Homemade hummus is so cheap, I don’t mind if the kids use “too much,” so it reduces conflict!
    –Packed my lunch on the days I went to my new job.
    –Signed up for 2 Capital One 360 savings accounts (one for me, one for Mr. FP) which should net us $100 each in a few months for their Black Friday special.
    –Learned how to adjust my bike’s barrel adjuster myself

  10. I took advantage of a sale (buy 5 get $5 off instantly, unlimited) on baking supplies that my grocery store Meijer was having this past Saturday. So after multiple $5 off, $10 mperk, Target coupons & manufacturer coupons (we’re lucky enough that our Meijer takes Target coupons, so I had several for this baking sale) for most of the stuff I bought. I got: 10 assorted pouches of Betty Crocker cookie mixes (I hardly ever buy these but it was to good of a price to pass up), 6 (4lb) Domino sugar, 6 assorted bags of Nestle chocolate chips, 5 unbleached Gold Medal flour (5lb pkgs), 2 Pam olive oil spray, 4 (2oz) McCormick vanilla extract & 3 Keebler graham cracker crusts I spent a whole whopping $18.19 & saved $64.05 after all discounts. I added these purchases to what I already had in my pantry & I am now set for 2015. After reading about chocolate going sky high bc of a drought & fungus I knew I really wanted to take advantage of the choc chips that were part of this sale. So I’m thrilled with everything I got & all the money I saved 🙂

  11. In the past couple years, retailers in Canada have started offering Black Friday sales here to encourage consumers to shop locally instead of cross-border shopping. On the news this year they showed scenes of Black Friday shopping in the U.S. which looked like mass chaos. The news reported on a couple different fights that broke out over who would get the cheaply priced item. Then they showed the “Canadian” Black Friday shoppers who were nicely and politely lined up, patiently waiting to get into the retail stores, then proceeded to walk in in a calm orderly fashion once the store opened. We couldn’t help but laugh over the contrast.

    Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    -I am trying to get back into the habit of grocery shopping every second week, as I find this saves me quite a bit of money. So this week we only purchased milk as needed and used what was on hand for most of our meals. This included beef stew from scratch, chicken noodle soup from scratch, home-made bread, home-made baked goods for lunches, canned fruits and vegetables I blanched and froze in the summer.
    -I went shopping for some more fabric to make more infinity scarves for Christmas presents. I found some nice plaid seersucker fabric in the clearance section for $2/meter (~$1.83/yard) and some pretty knitted fabric with a silver strands woven through it for $5/meter (~$4.57/yard). I bought one meter of each. Each meter made two scarves which I sewed this weekend. I now have eight infinity scarves made that cost me around $8.00 out of pocket total for all eight.
    -we used a Redbox promo code twice this weekend to watch two movies for free.

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

  12. Cranberries here never went below 2/ $5. I bottled cranberry sauce & cranberry juice from cranberries purchased on sale for that purpose.

    Bottled turkey chunks in turkey broth, as well as some jars of plain turkey broth for the pantry after we ate several meals from a turkey I baked. Began to thaw a 2nd turkey for our “Thanksgiving” meal with our youngest daughter, who had to work retail on Thanksgiving thru Black Friday. Made turkey vegetable soup with some of the last of the 1st turkey.

    Bought 2 quart jars at a thrift store for 50 cents each. I also found 5 green glasses there that match my oldest daughter’s set, & bought them because some of hers have broken. The green glasses match her ivy Corelle set she uses daily, plus her Christmas Charm holiday dishes.

    Bottled what will probably be the last of the tomato sauce made from ripe tomatoes from the ripening bowls.

    Buried kitchen waste (eggshells, tomato skins & seeds & spoiled cranberries) in the bottom tier of the garden to compost in place over the winter. The worms are happy.

    Put up the artificial tree in the library & decorated it with a single string of lights to backlight the nativity ornaments we have collected over the years. Put away the Thanksgiving decorations in their boxes, then set out the nativity sets on the bookcases in the library & on the 3 cornered cupboard in the dining room. Set out the Advent wreath, so it would be ready for the first Sunday of Advent on the 30th.

  13. Your new sister-in-law sounds like a keeper! I did not venture out on Black Friday, but did get some good deals on Amazon for all my sister’s children. When I read your post, I was reminded that I cut buttons off of clothing while I was repurposing some fabric yesterday. That’s the wonderful thing about these posts. There are often “aha” moments, either from great ideas that I could do, or a reminder of things that I already do, which serve as an encouragement. Joining in here:

  14. This week I stocked my freezer with 4 turkeys- 59 cents a pound and gave another 1 to my daughter who was hosting 30 of us for Thanksgiving. We always do Thanksgiving as a pot luck affair since our children are all adults now, so I brought a “why pay high prices for a honey baked ham” that I make every year and our traditional cream cheese/cashew/pineapple salad. The kids brought all the rest! Invited a new member of our church to our Thanksgiving dinner. He’s a returned vet who has had a lot of challenges. Afterwards, we dished up enough leftovers for him to get a few additional meals from. Made us remember just how blessed we our with basics of life (and so much more) and family and good health!
    Stocked up on a lot of staples for our pantry that were free or close to it with sales and coupons- about $200 worth for $27! Found mark down lemons and limes for 10 cents each- one bag had 7, the other had 10, so for 70 cents! Checked and found out that i could freeze those whole, so into the freezer they went! Got mark down bananas for 28 cents a pound, so after baking cookies and muffins and bread, the rest went into the freezer! Several types of hot peppers were marked down and so for about $1.50, i have 3 gallon size ziplocs filled and labeled with hot peppers! The markdown produce was the day before Thanksgiving and i think everyone was too busy to notice!

    Raspberries were 50 cents/ box, so i bought 3 (12 box) flats and froze them! Made a big batch of potato soup in the crockpot with some of the Amish potatoes i bought at the produce auction back in september. I still have about 100 pounds left in my basement! They had been 12 cents/pound.

    Made two jeans quilt tops for a friend from her Dad’s old jeans and will help her back and quilt them. Made aanother large lap size quilt from my fabric stash and have started quilting it to give to a friend who is having a lot of challenges right now.

    So much to be grateful for!,,

  15. Thank you, Becky, for giving children who “had a rough start” before they came to you such attention to their needs now. How much more frugal can we be than to take care of the bodies, minds and souls of children and not waste their gifts?

  16. Not much frugal this week.. just took my truck in for preventive maintenance had the transmission oil changed only to find a piece of plastic in it somewhere (guy talk?). So there is something amiss inside the transmission that they can’t see but will go bad down the road so more money to be saved to replace the transmission. Also had turn signals fixed so I don’t get a ticket. Was at Aldi’s today, they had butter on sale for $2.49. I had just bought one at Krogers Saturday for $3.99 a lb. store brand so this was a little better bargain so I bought 2 for now, will go back and get more this weekend. We don’t use a lot of butter but do use it for homemade popcorn and toast and of course baking during the holidays. Aldi’s put a $5 off of $30 coupon on my door this morning.. never have done that before so I’m excited since I shop there every week anyways.
    I think that’s about it.. we ate leftovers all weekend, have been watching free movies on Netflix streaming.. Lillyhammer Season 1, 2 and 3. We did just resign up for the DVD’s, we find we watch more movies in the winter when we can’t be outside so we’ll catch up on all the movies we haven’t watched then switch back to streaming in the spring/summer/fall months.

  17. Congrats on your new job! And I love homemade hummus – I can flavor it as I want and just plain is good too!

  18. Sending good thoughts your way for cleaning out your childhood home. I’ve had to do something similar and was surprised me after some time went by is that the things I had taken to use are good, and gentle, reminders of my family and parents.

  19. Had to laugh at your comment about the contrast. I am a quarter Canadian (my maternal grandfather emigrated in the early 1920’s to the US to find work). When we went to Vancouver a few years ago with friends everyone commented on how ‘nice’ the Canadians were. I had to smile as my grandfather was described as the nicest man anyone ever met.

  20. We had a cousin-in-law visit for the week of Tgiving so keeping frugal was a bit of a challenge. She likes to shop so we went into town to spend a day in the old part of town that has a lot of cute shops. I didn’t buy a thing! I am recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery so wasn’t able to do as much cooking as I normally do for guests. Still managed to cook and eat a lot from from the fridge and freezer but we did end up eating out three times.

    Long story but we have a small house on the farm that we used to rent out. After the last renters moved out this summer we decided to make it into our agribusiness/agritourism business office. We also use the basement for storage of paint, food and have the two big freezers there that we don’t have space for in our home. It was becoming an amazing hassle to rent it out as it is quite old and we are 14 miles from town so good renters were hard to find as well. We kept the living room as is (one big room) and furnished with things we had in storage from downsizing houses. We had a small TV that we put in and bought an antenna for so when we have multiple guests we have someplace for them to be. AMAZING – the antenna works beautifully – crystal clear for all local channels and a couple that show a lot of old tv shows during the day. I went to Dollar General on the Wednesday before Tgiving and bought a $29.00 DVD player for $15.00! So we took up a lot of DVDs we have. During the winter we get a bit ‘house bound’ due to weather so we decided to have a ‘movie’ night up there on a weekly basis so we have a change of scenery. We will be inviting good friends who live about a mile from us as well. We can use that space as the office and not have to move everything from the dining room table when we are working on the farm/business books.

    We cooked Tgiving dinner up there and had our friends over for a pot-luck Tgiving. They baked the turkey and brought their family favorite sides. We had family favorite sides and on a non-frugal note bought pies at Village Inn as there were special requests for their pies. Next year I will be much more mobile so will be baking the pies myself for 10th of the cost. They left the turkey carcass as they don’t make stock/soup so I froze that one. We baked one of the ‘free’ turkeys I found through Albertsons as well as we like leftover turkey. I seal-a-mealed the leftover turkey meat and have the carcass to make soup with this week. We are set for some time with fridge/freezer food. All I should need to buy is fresh fruit/veggies (will start up Bountiful Baskets in mid-December) and milk. Right now it is $1.99 at Albertsons so I will buy some to freeze.

    Other frugal accomplishments: stretching two pairs of shoes I bought at my favorite thrift store. Both slip on type clogs – a red pair of Clarks ($8.00) and a black pair of Merrels ($5.00). Many, many years ago I worked in a small boot/shoe/saddle/tack repair shop and learned a lot about shoes. My right foot is at least a half size larger than my left so I have shoe stretchers to take care of that. I learned that if you spray the shoe with a mix of rubbing alcohol and water and then stretch them the stretching actually works (and usually doesn’t stain the leather – I always check first). I found one of my stretchers at a thrift store for $2.00. Since I now need to wear good, flat shoes it has been huge money saver to find good as new shoes while thrifting and then stretch them at home.

    Rented library books for my knee ‘confinement’, found a lot of lovely Christmas books for $1.00 at my favorite used bookstore and found a copy of a novel I’ve wanted to read (Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch) for $2.00 in hardback! It will be one of my settle in for the winter books.

    Found paperwhite bulbs at 8 for $3.00. I love to force paperwhites in the winter and used to either have to order them or buy them in a specialty garden shop. Found them at WalMart on closeout. I bought two bags and am forcing some in containers I’ve kept to give as gifts and some for me to keep the winter blues away.

    Hope that the success of the antenna and the movies will help SO think about significantly downsizing our satellite usage. It is the one big expense left for me to tackle but hadn’t been able to prove that ‘good tv’ was available w/out having dish connections in three rooms was possible until now :).

    The usual – kept the temp at 64 during the day and 60 at night, washed only full loads of laundry and dishes, hung clothes to dry on the drying rack, took short showers.

  21. I was given some bananas about a month ago and froze them to make a hummingbird cake. I’ve never frozen bananas. I had a hard time getting the peelings off and used a knife. Should I have let them thaw first?

  22. Rachel, I also live in Canada and also keep our thermostat at 65 (on the weekends). It is programmed for 63-64 during the weekdays when my kids are at school and my hubby is at work. I warm it back up to 65-66 around 4 pm. (We keep it at 63-64 overnight!! I like it cold to sleep 🙂 ) It works fine for us (well, mainly. My husband has a range of about 5 degrees which he is comfortable year round – hahaha! Seriously…) I just wear an extra layer. Our gas bill is very reasonable…just to confirm, I think that’s the perfect temp 🙂 🙂 oh, and I have also lived in Edmonton, although we now live in Guelph, Ontario (just so you know the type of cold 🙂 )

  23. Happy Frugal Accomplishments Day!! Last week:
    -I scored some amazing deals at Walmart and online (Christmas gifts). I also purchased a pair of winter boots for myself. Can’t list the deals for obvious reasons lol. I had never gone “Black Friday shopping” before and not sure if I will again but I am pleased with the amount of money I saved. I used Swagbucks for my online purchases. I checked Ebates but none of my purchases qualified.
    -I made lentil tacos, whole wheat bread, stir fry. We ate all meals at home and used what we had in the pantry/fridge/freeze. I did go out to lunch once with my mother, son and daughter in law, and daughter. This was a planned expense.
    – I did not grocery shop last week.
    – I had previously posted about Kindermint. This “company” was supposed to purchase your great conditioned kids clothing and then resell them cheaply. I sent her approximately $80 worth of excellent quality children’s clothing, following her listed standards in the included brochure. I never received a correspondence from her. I emailed her twice and she still did not contact me back. I emailed her yesterday and threatened to file a complaint with her local Better Business Bureau (which I did end up filing a complaint) and she finally got back to me stating that she chose not to purchase ANY of the clothing I sent her and then took it upon herself to DONATE the clothing to Habitat for Humanity!!! Please, do NOT use this company. I wish I had done more research. I have local charities in my area I choose to donate to. So, lesson learned.
    -took some scrap paper home from work because I had run out at home but had LOADS of it at work. I write lists, my daughter colors and draws on it.
    That’s about it. I did the “usual” as well, washed and reused baggies and jars, took all food to work, drank water, took quick showers.
    Have a great week everyone!

  24. Have you ever seen the movie “Canadian Bacon”? There’s this scene where the American characters, who have painted anti-Canadian slogans all over their van, are pulled over by a Mounty. The Mounty looks at their van and says something like, “Do you see what you’ve done that has made me so upset?” Then he hands over a can of spray paint, indicates the graffitti, and says, “We have two national languages here. En francais!”

  25. Last weekend we celebrated our 15th anniversary. Since it’s kind of a big deal, we decided to take the family sailing. The original plan called for a 10 hour car trip plus a night in a hotel plus a very expensive day-long boat hire without an instructor. Since we really are novices, we revised this down to a 3 hour car trip plus a half-day boat hire with an instructor. It was a considerable savings. We did have to buy new shoes for the kids, with white soles (to not scuff up the deck of the boat), but we managed to find Ked’s knock-offs for $5/pair, and now the kids have summer shoes.

    Since the kids had a day off school on Friday, I encouraged us to go through their toys to see if there was anything there they were ready to part with. There wasn’t much; but it also gave me a chance to put a lot of toys into storage and drag a lot of toys out of storage. They’ve had a lot of fun playing with the ‘new’ toys. This also gave me a chance to move the few Christmas decorations which were in the storage cupboard, down to the shed with the rest of the Christmas decorations (and move the toys, which were in storage in the shed, up to the storage cupboard in the toy room) – that makes more sense!

    I’m feeling well and truly ready for Christmas. I’m feeling pretty prepared for just about everything – the kids don’t need any clothes for summer or for the new school year; we’re well-stocked for toiletries; there’s food in the pantry and in the freezer. It’s a nice feeling, to feel prepared.

  26. I made my first Dutch Apple pie.

    reused ham in a variety of meals. using the last up tonight for homemade pizza; put bone in freezer to make ham and bean soup this week or next.

    bought Christmas present online. including 3 new pjs for each child; saved over $100 – bought clearance, used coupon code & store cc. got $15 kohls cash back and already paid cc to not get fees. will use cash back for jean purchase for my son.

    got has for $2.50/ gal.

    ate all but 2 meals at home, which is good since SO was home 2 extra days 😉

    had 2 at home dates. ice cream and a movie. and movie while wrapping presents.

    donated some clothes.

    decided with my sisters and mom that no presents this year.. we are going to go out for brunch and a local science center — quality time.

    hand painted on scrap paper with the kids “Christmas themed” and hung up on wall.

  27. We kept the temperature in our house down low and used the woodstove a lot. Our heating bill was only $40 for November, which is really good for Northern Michigan. Down 20% from last year. We buy our wood from the village for $40 a cord and they split and deliver it. We also got some free from neighbors in exchange for helping cut their trees. Lots of trees need to be cut around here because of the ash borers.

    Bought 10 pounds of butter at $2.50 a pound and froze it. Butter has been running about $4 a pound here, so that was a huge saving. Now I have enough for the entire year. Also bought several bags of cranberries for 99 cents a pound and froze them to make our own cranberry juice.

    Most of our Thanksgiving dinner came from our own garden, just had to buy the turkey on sale and the fruit bread for the stuffing.

    Our local thrift stores were having 50% off sales. I bought two woolen skirts, 3 skeins of knitting yarn (for 65 cents the original price on them was $9.50 a skein!), a Shetland wool vest (I wear a lot of vests) 2 pairs of tights, 2 spools of ribbon and 2 patterns , a cookie tin for putting Christmas cookies in for a present, a t-shirt, a pair of freshwater pearl earrings all for $13.

    We save our seeds but our growing season is too short to save root vegetable seeds. Pinetree Gardens (which has the best prices usually) had a Black Friday Cyber special so I saved 15% on the seeds I needed. I also went through Ebates and got a 8% rebate on a squirrel call that my husband wanted for Christmas from Amazon.

    I knitted a pair of Norwegian style mittens for a Christmas present from yarn that I had.

  28. I set up my camera on a tripod at the park and took family photo’s. I bought Lego’s, linking thru ebates, and using Lego VIP points for discounts, I placed to orders so that I could ship some as gifts to my mom’s house, the rest to come to me, splitting the order I got free shipping for both and free gift with purchase. Also earned more VIP points. We have a Lego store so if I am at that mall I can pick up some stocking stuffers for free using those points.

    I also bought myself a new Dyson vacuum cleaner from Khol’s, my current one got a whole in the top, I covered it with Duck tape and have still been using it, It is 9 yrs old so I told myself if I could find a new one for under $350 I’d buy it, Well after combining a bunch of promotions I got it! and my final price was less than my goal price.

    I also placed an order with Joanne’s, also linked thru ebates, My choices where not quite as good, but I saved myself a trip to town, gas to there would have cost me $5

  29. I am glad to read of simple ways you have saved even in the midst of one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.

    One of the most frugal things we did this past week, aside from cutting the boys’ hair, was to build a nightstand for my side of the bed completely from wood we already had (and it was from the previous owners of our home, so we really didn’t pay for it). Our bedroom only has a small space about 14 inches wide, and for the past three years I have not been able to put anything there. My husband and I are trying to do more basic furniture building with free plans from, and now that he’s out of law school he has more time on the weekends to help me with it. He has never built anything else aside from some raised beds for our garden, so it was a big first project from him, but I’m really grateful for it. He painted the base with leftover gray paint and I covered it with some faux marble contact paper. It was kind of amusing when he saw the contact paper – “But how do you get it to stick on?” he asked. “It’s Contact Paper,” I replied. “That’s what it does – haven’t you ever seen contact paper before?” But he hadn’t!

    The other thing we are trying to do is organize our basement better so that we have a good space to build things. The previous owners installed lots of pegboard, and I thought it would be nice to have hooks to organize some of our tools/supplies. Then, on Saturday, I went to Joann’s for fabric, and found that my store was closing/moving to a new location, so while they didn’t have lots of fabric, they did have lots of pegs/shelf supports that they were selling at 5 cents a piece. I was really happy with this find, along with a wire paper organizer they were selling off for $5. I’m hoping to set up an art station for our kids down in the basement and this will be perfect for it.

    Thanks for all that you do, Brandy. Your steady posts are encouraging!

  30. I am so sorry you had a bad experience with Kindermint. I looked them up and saw this on the Wikipedia page
    “According to one of its founders, clothes which do not pass Kindermint’s quality control process are donated to charity partner Habitat for Humanity and customers are sent receipts.”
    Please make sure they at least send you a receipt for everything you sent them!!!

  31. Cindy, comforting thoughts and heart healing to you as you go through your mother’s home / your childhood home. My Grandma passed away in September, and I drove down from Canada to PA to help my mom (who was in town from Arizona where she lives) and my aunt, etc. clean out and work on my Grandma’s home. Neither my mom nor my aunt are good at those type of projects, nor was anyone up to it because of the emotions involved. I saw firsthand what it was like for them, so I can try to imagine what you are going through without personally experiencing it or fully understanding it myself. Praying you find peace and comfort during a difficult time and season. (It was also my mom and her sibling’s childhood home. Bless my frugal, 92 yrs young Grandma that lived independently in this home for the last 6 yrs (when my Pap passed away). ) And, I was also the blessed recipient of several items from her home. I often cry or smile (it’s a toss up) whenever I use these things (I have several things from her kitchen, which is what I wanted as I wanted to USE something and remember her.). I think of her and feel blessed (whether crying or smiling!). I hope you experience the same using or seeing these items from your mom’s/childhood home. So glad you got to speak to your daughter overseas and feed your sons that are young (hungry) men! Ok, sorry…that was long.

  32. Rhonda, I live in Canada (8 yrs now), but I’m American (Canadian husband and dual kiddos), and I laughed when I read your comment. I have many things to say on both sides related to this. Hahaha.

  33. I make juice by placing 1 cup of fresh cranberries & 1/3 cup sugar in a quart jar, then fill with boiling water. Place an insert & ring on the jar & process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. If you put it up in November, it will be ready to drink by January. Strain out the berries to serve the juice, but don’t throw them away. They are great in muffins or pancakes.

  34. Hello, I’ve had mostly no spend days the past week. We had 2 days of heavy snow, over a foot in that time period. This was followed by temperatures of -38C days. All I did was drive to work and back home.
    Some of my frugalities included:
    Defrosting peaches for adding to yogurt. Peaches were frozen during the summer.
    Defrosted a container of pesto,used it on homemade pizza and on sandwiches.
    Made a batch of Brandy’s barley soup using frozen turkey broth.
    Packed all meals to work and cooked all suppers.
    Dried laundry on racks in the basement.
    Bought 2 bottles of Vim cleaner for .39 each after coupons.
    Have a good week:)

  35. Last week was very frugal but extremely exhausting! Black Friday is always my biggest week of extreme couponing. I shopped Sunday, Tues, Thurs, and Saturday–2 trips each to CVS & Rite Aid, and 4 trips to Walgreens. I did many transactions to roll rewards and ended up with so much stuff it was unreal! I have a year’s supply of hair elastics, toothbrushes, vitamins, cold medicine, tampax, gift bags, antacid, paper towels and so much more! Final totals for the entire week:

    Walgreens: $15.88 out of pocket, $14.50 Register Rewards!

    Rite Aid: $17.33 out of pocket, $18.59 UP Rewards!

    CVS: $6.80 out of pocket, $12.96 Extra Care Bucks!

    Full details of all items and pics here:

  36. Hello Miss Brandy and readers,
    I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. November zoomed by in a blur of activities. We drove out of town and stayed with family for a much needed visit and vacation. We have a big family so things were busy and hectic. Aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings running around and then sitting down to a wonderful dinner. This is what my family needed and the peacefulness that goes with being with the people who love you. Now the Christmas holiday is arriving and the magic and holiness of the season.

    My frugal accomplishments:
    Stayed with family who offered us hospitality so saving hotel expenses (I did contribute to meals and hostess gifts)
    Brought side dishes (as did every family member) so did not have to make a whole meal
    Turned heater off the whole time we were gone
    Made all meals at home (kids off school for the week)
    Had pressure tire checked at station for free
    Sold items for $20 (into savings)
    Have a parttime job for next week
    3 free Redbox video codes (watched 3 movies)
    Movies at dollar theater for 50 cent/admission
    Order 8×10 photo from Walgreens
    Went Black Friday shopping and got over 60 items for $35 and have funds of about $40 (in coupons) left
    Originally had $70 of coupons left but bought boots and cardigan for $8 (originally about $90)

    Best wishes,


  37. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    This post is mostly about frugal Christmas holiday accomplishments versus weekly frugal accomplishments. This fall, my child had surgery for a tumor in her head. The surgery was successful and the outcome continues to be positive. While any and all amounts of money are worth the health of a child, the reality is medical bills have to be paid. As a mom, I gladly pay those bills in exchange for my child’s health. However, the financial state in our lives changed from secure to uncertain followed by financial worry. All “extras” and more were eliminated from my budget to make ends meet. In early October I thought there would probably not be much if any funds for Christmas–gifts, outfits, activities. I was very blue over that thought. While Christmas is not about presents or material things for my family it is about celebrating the birth of the Christ and the holiness of the season. For me, the survival and “re-birth” of my child’s health is a wonderful celebration of her life and a joyous ocassion. Selfishly I wanted a special Christmas with gifts, activities, stocking stuffers, and outfits as well as a huge family celebration. Again, reality about bills reminded me there were not funds for Christmas this year. Every extra bit of money goes to paying medical bills.

    I read Brandy’s words of encouragement, previous posts (on Money Saving Mom and others) about making gifts as well as the “Gift A Day” series. [u]I mean I really read them and took them to heart.[/u]. I may not have the funds to make Christmas the way I would want to and I use to do before my child’s illness but I can still do something about Christmas. With careful planning and being very frugal and using a gift closet that included extreme bargains (bought last January for 90% off), this is my frugal list for Christmas gifts, outfits, and activities:

    Black Friday shopping funds: got some household items that freed up funds from that envelope—also saved a tiny bit from Oct. and Nov. budgets. Also realized I had some funds available in coupons, gift cards, and reward programs.

    Made most of our Christmas gifts from things on hand at home (4 Christmas purses, 3 Christmas skirts, 2 Christmas headbands with flowers, 3 Christmas scarves, 4 Christmas hankies, 4 red felt flower pins, 4 lace headbands, 8 crocheted scarves, 4 Bible bags (with Bibles), 4 sets of prayer beads, 2 “Vera Bradley” like handbags and matching ruffled key chains, organizing pocket holder, embroidered pillowcases).

    From my gift closet stash I had available: 4 robes, 2 Christmas fluffly pairs of socks, 2 sets of slippers, 4 travel bags with small make-up case, three large stuffed animals, mittens and hats.

    Items I bought with $10/$10 coupons (Kohl’s, JC Penny’s): 2 red tops, 1 green top (plus other tops)

    Repurposed: gold sweater (from my closet, very minimal wear)

    Shopping for stocking stuffers over last couple months: candy and gum that was almost free or free, Halloween candy at 90% clearance, free samples from companies, free items from Black Friday shopping (hair bands, bobby pins)

    Christmas activities: all free; made a list of goals with dates

    Each child will receive one store bought gift that they really would like (with the help of coupons and a bit of help from family) and with a very slim budget

    [b]Moral of the story[/b]: Christmas is about the spirit of the season, the holiness of a birth. When I look at this dear child of mine, I realize the holiness and power that God bestowed upon this child of my heart (and of all of my children). I am humbled that God gave my family such a gift of life.

    Being poor is a state of mind. Frugality is a lesson in humility (my thoughts). Being poor or living on a limited income or a limited budget is a testimony to our spirit of living. In the end, I humbled myself and re-thought how I could celebrate Christmas as a tribute to this beloved child who has experienced things no child should.

    I am joyous that Christmas is here and that all my children are well. I know my children will like whatever gift I give them but most importantly they will remember the holiness of this Christmas and the survival of their sister.

    Blessings during this holy season,


  38. I am sending you comforting thoughts and prayers for healing. My beloved mother passed away several years ago. Cleaning out her house was difficult to say the least.


  39. You commented that you were using the cranberries for juice you can. Could you tell me how you do that?

  40. Anna, you have blessed many people with this post. It will be an inspiration to so many….with and without funds. So thrilled your child is healthy and doing well.

  41. I tried to pull up but it wasn’t there. I’d be interested in the plans for the nightstand.

  42. Hope everyone had a nice thanksgiving:

    * stocked up the freezer with a second turkey with plans to cook it over Christmas
    * we are fostering a dog for a family member and were able to use a kennel we still had on hand that our dog outgrew. The dogs are getting along well with each other so that is great news!
    * made a good size meal for thanksgiving and was able to eat leftover for a few days and have leftover turkey soup in the freezer for grab and go work lunches
    * took the whole family to the dentist ~ no cavities and got new toothbrushes, floss, etc
    * my 11 year old is making wonderful use of the library. He is suddenly very excited about reading and working his way thru a lot of books 🙂
    * keeping the heat down and the layers on plus blankets to use! Getting lots of use out of my slippers.

  43. Dearest Anna, please send me one of those hankies right away! The tears are falling but the heart is flying. Thank you for the gift of love you have given me. It joys me to know my prayers may have helped in some way in the joy of your family. I love your posts and think of you often my friend. Blessing to you and yours.

  44. Anna, you have such a beautiful spirit. I am so happy for your daughter’s improvement. That’s a wonderful Christmas gift that your whole family can enjoy. I am uplifted every time I read of your weekly accomplishments. Blessings of the season to you and your family..

  45. Dear Anna, my daughter too had neurosurgery a little over 2 years ago (the beginning of her senior year in high school). She had Cushings Disease caused by a benign pituitary tumor. Cushings is a terrible disease, especially for a teenage girl. However, she is now in her second year of college and much of the disfigurement is gone, the scars are fading, and she is beautiful and strong in her absolute faith in and trust in her Lord. She handled the entire experience with grace and hope and I am so proud of her! When she was three years old, I had twin boys and due to twin-to-twin transfusion one of my sons was stillborn. Our other son is now 16. He has Cerebral Palsy from a stroke he suffered at birth. He also had kidney failure at birth, so I donated a kidney to him just before his 1st birthday. I know what it is to see your children wheeled away for surgeries and to watch them suffer things no child should have to. I know what it is to have medical bills that just don’t seem to stop. I also know that at these times, God is closest to us and He will give us strength for today. The hardest thing is to not worry about the future. We don’t have strength for tomorrow, but we do have strength for today. It is wonderful that you are seeing the blessings in your lives and appreciating so much what really matters. Your resourcefulness is truly admirable. Your children are blessed to have you for their mother. God bless you and yours and I will be praying for you all. Thank you for your wonderful post, which is a good reminder to us all this time of year.

  46. Thank you, Anna for sharing your story and how you have found ways to overcome your financial woes. We all have crosses that we bare in our lives. That is why many of us are here, looking for inspiration to help us though the tough times. Your story proves it is possible if we just look at what we do have and think outside the box. When your children look back on this Christmas, they may not remember all the thing they received, but they will remember how hard their mother worked to make Christmas extra special after a really tough year. You are truly an inspiration!

  47. Thanks Cindy! We have worked hard to insulate our house. We use old-fashioned thermal lined drapes, you’d be surprised at how effective they are at keeping the heat in and at keeping the heat out in the summertime also. We have a small house, only about 1000 square feet, so that’s one of the secrets. Ha! Our woodstove is a soapstone one, so it maintains the heat for a long time after the fire has burnt out. It’s an old house that was built before central heating and was built by someone that really knew what to do to make it cozy.

  48. Anna – I’ve followed your comments for some time. Your wisdom, kindness and grace in face of adversity have always been inspiring. Blessings to you and your family and so glad to hear good news about your daughter.

  49. We did not host Thanksgiving for the first time in many years – I couldn’t believe how relaxing it was!! Went to our sister’s 2-1/2 hours away with another sister. They filled our tank on the way home. Made a side and a dessert for nearly nothing.

    Stayed home all Black Friday. Did a volunteer project on Saturday as well as shopping at CVS using their cash back was out of pocket $4.05 for tree lights, paper towels and dawn detergent.

    Shopped at Lands End with my daughter and saved more than 50% on a fleece liner for her coat, a tee for new daughter-in-law, fleece tee for daughter and a down vest for me. On Monday our heat went out and I waited 13 hours for a repair – so appreciated the down vest layer to keep me warm!

  50. Thank you for sharing your story (tear, tear). Your story is so comforting to me. I am glad your daughter is doing so well. Her story of illness parallels to my daughter’s illness. I do not always share details of my child’s illness. However, for months I watched my daughter suffer from the symptoms of cerebral hypertension, excruciating headaches, uncontrollable nausea and vomiting, double vision, horrible pain in her neck and back, losing weight and fading away. We visited every hospital, emergency room, urgent care and specialist in the area before finally getting the diagnosis. My biggest relief was it was not cancer. Numerous medical tests were required. One time after she had a lengthy spinal tap, I saw her on the stretcher on her stomach, eyes pained, tears on her cheeks and looking “beat up”. Besides feeling helpless in the face of her pain, I thought what a brave child. In the end neurosurgery was required to remove the tumor. When they wheeled her away I wanted to yell “stop!”. Time stopped as we waited for the news of the outcome of the surgery. You are correct no one wants to see their child suffer. Her head was shaved and now she has a large scar across her head. Thank you for sharing about how the physical and emotional scars will heal and the hope in a couple of years the memory of this illness will too pass.

    I hope your son is doing well and what a gift that you were able to give him a kidney. That is a demonstration of pure love for your beloved child. I am lucky all of my other children are healthy. Thank you for your prayers. My wish is God continues to take care of you, your family and precious children.

    Maybe in some post you can share how you remained frugal when all those medical bills that kept coming.



  51. Thank you so much for the kind thoughts. It is the readers of this blog who have blessed and inspired me as well. Best wishes for a wonderful and frugal holiday:).

  52. Thank you for your prayers dear friend. It was your prayers that helped my daughter and family during such a difficult time. Hope is we are now passing the season of life.

  53. Thank you for such kind words. Everyone who reads these posting on Miss Brandy’s blog gives so much of themselves. I am lucky to learn so much about frugality so I can keep afloat. Blessings to you this season of hope.


  54. Thank you for the lovely comments and wise words. My daughter is the inspiration of our story. I believe every reader of these postings shares inspirational words in someway to others. The weekly postings about frugality and what is shared has kept me going when medical bills were overwhelming my budget. My wish is that we all find inspirations in our lives. Yes, this is will be a wonderful Christmas and I hope for you and your family too.

    Best regards,


  55. Mary, thank you for your thoughtful words. Best wishes to you and your family during this season of renewal.


  56. What a humbling sight to see so many wonderful and supportive comments this morning! Thank you to everyone for your wonderful prayers and kind and wise words. I will pray for all who are in need of financial stability and in need of support to make ends meet and finally for health for each reader and their family members.

    There is a singer at church who sings “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” during the Advent service. Her spirit fills my heart. May everyone reading these postings have their heart filled with hope as they continue on their frugal journey in life.


  57. Purchased fresh green beans for 99 cents/lb. Bought 11 pounds….served for Thanksgiving and froze the rest.
    Pre Black Friday….purchased on line (and through Swagbucks) a wheeled duffle bag, 4 baby outfits, a top and earring backs for $50, earning $15 in Kohls cash (all gifts). Used gift cards purchased through our grocery store to get discount on gas. Won’t shop on Thanksgiving…my personal protest to keep Thanksgiving a holiday for all to spend with their families. Black Friday – purchased a 55″ tv at a great price. This will encourage my young teen to have her friends at our house for movies. Purchased with a rewards credit card…to be paid in full when bill arrives. Ordered a couple of presents for my mom on-line (she doesn’t “do computers”)…..through swagbucks, used coupon codes, rewards credit card. Found $5 in some papers I was going through. Received a check from our car service department for $70….very long, frustrating story….glad to finally get the check promised months ago. Hosting bunco with a white elephant gift exchange rather than a purchased gift exchange. This will add to the fun.

  58. Oh Cindy so sorry to hear about your Mother passing away. I had my sister helping me this past September with my Mother’s house and it was a job, so I know how hard that had to be by yourself.
    Like you I found things I needed and every time I use them I say thank you Mom.

  59. I am jealous of your heat bill -ours is quite a bit higher and we live in Michigan. We are currently working on things though to make it a lower bill …we found the thermal lined drapes work well too! We also found that the small electric heaters are not the money savers they say they are. This months bill wasn’t bad at all for a October that was like a January so we are improving.

    I’ve never heard of PineTree gardens is that in Michigan?

  60. I haven’t posted frugal accomplishments in a couple of weeks, so this is more than this past week’s worth. We received another truckload of hay from my SIL. We have a horse and a pony. The pony is for therapeutic riding for our disabled son. The way we can afford to keep them is my SIL’s generosity in sharing hay from her hayfields with us. Due to all the stocking the pantry shopping I’ve done at Kroger’s in the past month (shopping sales + using coupons), I had a lot of fuel points earned on my Kroger Plus card. We used that last week when we filled our conversion van (necessary due to son’s wheelchair) with gas, so our cost was only $1.74 per gallon! Btw, Kroger has a free Friday download with their digital coupons every Friday for anyone that doesn’t know this already. So, every Friday there is an item you can get for free by downloading the digital coupon. One Friday this past month it was for dog treats. We don’t have a dog, but I got them to give my SIL for her dogs.

    I sorted through my beads and jewelry making supplies and discovered I have materials for making several gifts. I purchased a book for our daughter at Amazon for 30% off. My mom gave me lots of holiday cookies and a $10 off coupon to Kroger. Shopped on Black Friday at a local Christian Book Store where I found many gifts for great prices. They were giving $10 store “dollars” for every $50 spent. While we were waiting in line to pay, a woman gave my daughter $20 of her store cash saying she would not be back in the store during December to use it!

  61. Anna, I’m sorry for all the pain your daughter suffered! And you! Yes, I actually diagnosed our daughter correctly a year before the doctors did just by looking up her symptoms online, but her lab work was not showing it. It was very frustrating, but I’m grateful for the excellent care she received and that she is doing well now.

    I’m afraid I am more of an example of what not to do financially unlike how Brandy has handled her situation. That’s why I am here. To learn how to do better. We have had several big advantages over the past 16 years. First, my husband has always had a good job and earned a good income which has been crucial because it would have been extremely difficult for me to work given our son’s health issues. Second, we have had good insurance for most of that time with the exception of a couple of years. When my son was born and spent his first four months in the hospital, then came home on dialysis, we had amazing insurance that covered it all. That was huge, of course. Third, we would not have made it without a lot of help from family and friends. There are so many folks raising disabled children who have far greater financial hardship than anything we have encountered, so I certainly feel I have no right to complain. We are thankful.

    I will say that many of our frugal accomplishments have more to do with what we DONT do rather than what we do. We rarely eat out at restaurants, go to movies, or any other entertainment type activities. Due to our son’s health issues, my husband and I haven’t been out just the two of us in five years! We don’t buy anything new, rarely paying retail for anything. I buy most of our clothes and household goods at thrift stores and garage sales.

    For years my husband drove an old Mercedes diesel that could run on filtered used vegetable oil. We received a TON of used oil from a catfish restaurant. My husband would patiently filter that old oil and put it in his car along with a little diesel fuel. It ran great and his car exhaust smelled like French fries! LOL This was during the couple of years that we had not very good insurance, so this fuel savings was sure a blessing!

    My house is furnished with mostly hand me downs, but I don’t mind. Each piece has history and reminds me of the love of the giver. We don’t care about name brands, designer wear, or being in style. Now, our daughter cares about being in style, of course, but one of the blessings of age is being comfortable without so many fancy things.

    Also, my husband and I both learned many of the old time skills and we use them to do things for ourselves. We rarely ever hire someone to do things. My husband can do most auto repair, certainly regular maintenance type things like changing the oil and putting on new brake pads. He does basic plumbing and carpentry. I learned to garden from my Dad. I can sew, knit, and weave. I also have a spinning wheel and several drop spindles for spinning my own yarn. Many years ago I raised angora rabbits and angora goats for their fibers to spin. This seems like a lifetime ago! Before children! I think it’s so important to learn the old skills so you know you can do most things for yourself even if you choose not to. I have learned so much just from reading the comments on his blog! There’s a wealth of information here.

    Probably our greatest frugal accomplishment is that until a few months ago we have not had a credit card in 23 years! Not one. This has led to some scary moments for sure, because when the bank account is empty there’s no back up. However, I think it’s been great for us and has kept us from adding more debt to the medical debts we have been paying.

    I have had many frugal fails and I have a big weakness when it comes to scrapbooking/art supplies, so there’s been some real foolishness there. I think one of the biggest challenges is to not make poor decisions financially when feeling sad about our situation. It’s so easy to do, to buy something unnecessary to lift the spirits. We all know that’s not the answer, of course.

    I hope I haven’t bored you to death with this answer. I think frugality looks different from one person to the next due to our differing circumstances, so I’m grateful to Brandy and those who comment because you never know when what you write can be just what the reader needed that day!

    With regard to medical expenses, Anna, I would recommend getting itemized statements if you haven’t already because mistakes are common. Secondly, most providers will work with you to get payments set up you can afford and may wave off some of the balance. It never hurts to ask!

    Take care

  62. I was able to buy fresh turkey on Saturday after Thanksgiving for 50¢ a pound. bought two. cooked one on Sunday since all our leftovers from Thanks giving were gone and one is in the freezer. That makes a total of 3 in the freezer. At Winco they had stuffing veggies (chopped onion and celery with herbs) on Saturday for 10¢ a package, I got four. I almost bought some before Thanksgiving at 99¢ per pkg. Each package is one pound. Used two in the second turkey and stuffing on Sunday and two in the turkey vegetable soupI made with broth from the Thanksgiving turkey. Cooked a crockpot full of black beans and froze in 2 cup portions. I grow my own black, calico and pinto beans so the cost to me is nominal. Bought a 25 lb bag of long brown rice at Winco. Worked out to be about 57¢ a pound. Cooked a big kettle of that also and froze in 2 cup portions. Found Florida avocados (they are huge) for 50¢ each – also at Winco. Other things too, but can’t remember now.

  63. Here’s what I did:

    1) Worked Thanksgiving Day at my new job, which earns me time and a half. Got NOTHING extra for working holidays at my last job 😉

    2) Made 2 pumpkin pies from scratch–well, using Libby’s Pumpkin Puree and Pilsbury pie Crust. But they were well received by my hubby. I’ve never made Pumpkin pie before…so I was happy they turned out ok!

    3) Made Stuffing and Green Bean Casserole from scratch, because it’s NOT Thanksgiving without green bean casserole, also made homemade mashed potatoes.

    4) Hubby smoked our turkey in his propane smoker. YUMMY!

    5) Downloaded several free books to my iPad via my Kindle app 😉

    6) Got several free magazines in the mail thanks to Recyclebank!

    Not so frugal–got my Christmas Club money, the day before Thanksgiving. So, I used it to treat my son to something he’s been wanting. He’s a good boy, gets straight A’s at school, is nice to his friends at school so I feel that he deserves to be rewarded for being a good kid. Things I never had as a kid…the ‘in’ clothes/shoes, etc I want to give him if I’m able. It was an early Christmas gift 😀

  64. Love the idea of paying rent and doing chores. We have a 21 yr. old who is getting a rocky start in life as well, but really needs to learn responsibility. But if overwhelmed, he shuts down. He starts a new job next week. Thanks for posting.

  65. My husband has a knack for troubleshooting issues. In the past several weeks he’s taken the time to either figure out what the initial problem was and fixed it, or after discovering the problem researching it to see how to fix the following: the clothes dryer, the sink in the children’s bathroom that wasn’t draining properly, the safety on a shotgun that someone else messed up while cleaning the gun, and a part on my dad’s riding lawn mower. Just yesterday our microwave quit. After realizing that the problem wasn’t caused by the breaker being thrown, he took the time to find a $6.95 fuse had gone out. This is quite a savings, as the microwave also serves as the fan exhaust and overhead light for our stove.

    I’ve stocked up quite a bit, so the only thing we needed from the grocery store this week has been milk.

    My brother has been fishing nearly every day for the past couple of months, and one day last week reached the limit 3 days in a row. He has shared fish from his freezer; I gave him some tangelos from my tree in exchange. I have broccoli and lettuce plants growing too, but those yields aren’t what I had hoped. I added potato and carrot peelings, as well as some broccoli trimmings, to the compost that were from Thanksgiving side dishes.

  66. I’m a bit late in reading and posting this week due to some issues with getting my MIL squared away at the memory care facility. I really missed reading because I love starting my week out reading about everyone’s successes! It really keeps me motivated and on track! Last week we:
    -Had an early Thanksgiving dinner with my brother and his family on Sunday. I made 2 pumpkin pies to take with ingredients I already had on hand. We got to meet my 5 month old great nephew for the first time!

    -On Thanksgiving day we went to my cousin’s house for dinner. She insisted that we bring nothing but sent us home with enough leftovers for the next day’s lunch. As a hostess gift I gave her an assortment of dried herbs from my garden.

    -Was able to stock up on several items at the grocery store and got 5 cans of soup, a pound of coffee, a loaf of bread, a bunch of celery, and 2 boxes of tissue for free!

    -Although we’ve had some cold snaps the spinach in my garden is still going strong. DH and I built a cold frame around the spinach bed out of wood and glass we had on hand. It’s looking great after a week! I’m hoping to be able to harvest fresh spinach all winter this way.

    -I love tea and have been experimenting with herbal teas from herbs I grew this past summer. So far my favorite is anise hyssop with some vanilla extract added. It’s so good and much cheaper than the fancy teas from the store.

    -For Christmas this year a co-worker is baking the pie of our choice for each of us. She brought mine into the office today. We always request apple because she makes the best I’ve ever tasted. It will not last until Christmas-DH is already pre-heating the oven to bake it when I get home. lol

    -When we were in DH’s hometown earlier this year for his grandmother’s funeral we went into a local yarn store. I purchased 2 skeins of locally produced alpaca yarn. I decided to make a hat and mittens for my DH for Christmas out of yarn from his hometown. I’m almost finished with the hat.

  67. What a wonderful hostess gift and very thoughtful gift – especially the connection to the location of the yarn for your DH!

  68. Thanks! My DH and I started making gifts for each other about 5 years ago after realizing that, at that time, if we need anything we just bought buy it during the year. We didn’t want to feel like we HAD to buy something just because it was Christmas. We are both fairly creative (actually DH is an artist and has great carpentry skills and is VERY creative) and decided that it was more special to receive gifts from one another that we had taken the time to make. One year he took an old photo of my great-grandfather with his pet goose and painted a portrait of it for me. It’s my favorite gift ever! Now that we financially cannot buy gifts for each other it’s really no big deal since we already have the new tradition of hand making them.

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