Fig Tarts The Prudent Homemaker

Most weeks I save by making do at home and not shopping. This week involved a lot of saving on items I needed and wanted while shopping:

I love the symphony. Starting from the time I was 13, I used to save all of my babysitting money (and most people paid me $2 an hour) to be able to buy season tickets for myself and a parent to purchase season tickets to the symphony every year. I did this for years as a teenager and I loved going. 

My husband and I went to the symphony once–on our first date. It’s been over 17 years since I’ve been. The Las Vegas Philharmonic has been sending out coupons in the local ValPak for individual performances for several months. I looked online, saw what pieces they would be performing, and decided that the one I really wanted to see the most was their last performance for the season in May. I waited until the coupon deal came: 25% off tickets–and I bought two of the least expensive seats they have. I am very excited to get to see the symphony again!

I even have a dress to wear! The week before last, I decided to check out the Dillard’s clearance center after three people told me about it. I found a formal dress there (and dresses were on additional markdown that week) and paid $54.06 with tax (the original price was $238!) I’ll be able to wear it on other occasions as well–and hopefully to the symphony again next season! (Apparently, the sales were even better at the clearance center this week: on top of the clearance prices, dresses were buy 1 get 2 free! For Las Vegas readers, it’s the Dillard’s in the Meadows Mall that has been turned into a clearance center. It’s one floor only, and they are open Tuesday through Sunday, 12-7 Monday-Saturday and 12-6 on Sunday, and you can get their app to see what additional markdowns they have each week.)

My husband dropped off our clothing donations while out running an errand in the same part of town. We always try to combine errands (even close ones) and by so doing are able to use under 10,000 miles a year (and often under 6,000 a year) on our vehicle.

I started another group of bags to take to thrift store to donate. As the children are outgrowing clothing and I now need a smaller size, I continue to make up bags of clothing and other items to donate. 

I planted three tomato plants that I started from cuttings from another tomato plant. I had broken off the lower branches to plant the plant deeply. I’ve had them in a cup of water on the kitchen counter for a few weeks and they have rooted. Hopefully they will all take.

I planted seeds in the garden for Armenian cucumbers, red noodle beans, and Hubbard squash.

I cut Swiss chard, lemon verbena, lettuce, green onions, and arugula from the garden. I also pulled radishes and picked snow peas from the garden.

I accepted some free Dutch iris bulbs from someone who was dividing them. I shared Swiss chard and nasturtium seeds with her.

I am making a diligent effort to use up food from the freezer to make room for this year’s harvest and some great sales that I can find. As part of this, I made some fig tarts using frozen figs. I’ve never used the figs this way before and almost everyone in the family liked them this way. I have a number of frozen figs to use up, so I’ll try measuring the next few times I make these so I can share a recipe.

I took in a dress that was too big to make it fit me. 

I redeemed Swagbucks for a $25 Sam’s Club gift card, that I will use towards our groceries this month.

My boys continued to sell camp cards for Boy Scouts. This is the first year our troop has opted to have boys sell camp cards to earn money for camp. As Boy Scout camp is fairly pricey (around $400 per boy, depending on the camp), it can take a lot of odd jobs to earn the money for camp. (This was a great deal for the buyers: the cards cost $5 and the buyer gets a $5 off coupon for a grocery store, plus many other discounts at other businesses (including a free oil change–user just pays tax and the disposal fee).  Half of the money from each card goes to the boys to pay for their camp. If boys sell a certain number of cards, they can even earn a free week of camp at a local camp and a free day at a water slide park!)

Swinging The Prudent Homemaker

I went garage sale shopping with my parents at the semi-annual community garage sales in my area (there were at least 6 community, i.e. neighborhood, sales in my area and we went to 5 of them). I found several items on my list, including jeans, pants, and shirts for several family members for $1 each. I found a tie for my husband for $0.50. I bought a dress for a daughter for $2. I bought several history and science books for the children for $0.25 and $0.50 each. 

My dad always find it amazing that my mom and I make a garage sale list and actually find items on our list! Eventually, I usually do find items on the list, and this time I found a few items that had been on my list for a while: some wooden children’s hangers (several for $1) and some 5-pound hand weights ($1). I found a small glass bowl that matches another I found at a garage sale a couple of years ago ($1).

I bought a couple of mirrors; one was $3, and the other, a long, beveled mirror, was $20. I found a small bulletin board with a fancy frame for $3 and a large picture in a nice frame for $7. As much I liked the framed bulletin board as-is, it was just about the right size for a picture that I needed framed, so my dad took the bulletin board out and added a piece of glass and a mat that he had (one of his scraps, as they closed down their framing business last year) and framed the picture in it for me. 

One of the sales we went to was an estate sale (where we bought several items). The family had 3 large #10 cans of tomato puree out with the other items in the house. We asked if they were selling them and they said we could have the canned tomatoes if we could use them. As these were items on my grocery shopping list this month, I was delighted! They also gave use some other pantry food items that were in the house, including two containers of juice, a box of cake mix, a container of icing, two boxes of pudding mix, 4 bags of pasta/rice mixes, and a bottle of tabasco sauce.

What did you do this past week to save money?


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  1. It is pretty wonderful that you find so many things from your list at garage sales.

    I majored in music in school and adore the symphony. I haven’t been in a decade. I’d love to go again! Maybe someday when we’re debt free.

    Our Boy Scouts (not my sons, but friends of ours) were selling camp cards like that last year. They had 10% off of a trip to Kroger. I loved those cards! Sadly they don’t have the same coupon this year. 🙁

    Here are the ways we saved this week:

  2. Symphony tickets & free food! It sounds like a good week! And, I love your fig tarts — the stars on top are what make it!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I couldn’t sleep one night, and finally, at 5 am, got up and did some kitchen prep. I grated cheese so that I can make macaroni and cheese very easily for dinner one night, and I peeled potatoes (and then put them in a bowl of water in the fridge to avoid browning).
    – Made freezer mashed potatoes with some leftover cream cheese and sour cream from my fridge and some storage potatoes. I froze it as an easy dinner side for the future.
    – Made fettucine alfredo using up bits of this and that. Made just enough for two nice meals!
    – Bought some face cream and combined a rain cheque with a coupon to get the cream for the cheapest I’ve ever been able to. I’m still using up the dregs of my old bottle (and will for some time) but it’s nice to have another bottle ready for when I need it!
    – I finally tried Brandy’s chicken fried steak! I used home dried onions, and substituted Montreal Steak spice (plus a tsp of veggie bouillon) for the poultry seasoning, and used leftover homemade gravy instead of mushroom soup. Yummy! After dinner, I packed a serving for lunch and froze the rest sans gravy. The DH didn’t like them as chicken fried steak (he grew up on a cattle farm) but when I used the frozen patties to make him a burger for lunch, he really liked them!
    – Got a (small) bonus at work and applied it straight to the mortgage! I do love doing that with any little bit of unexpected money that I get. Makes me happy to see the principal go down even the tiniest bit!
    – Practiced making chocolate bunnies with molds, using white chocolate wafers I had in my pantry as well as chocolate chips (which I know aren’t the best for molding). The small solid bunnies I’ve set aside and will use it in some Easter-themed dessert closer to Easter, and the single large bunny that I made was imperfect…so I ate it! I’m practicing so that I can give some as hostess gifts to the children of a friend who invited us for a holiday meal.
    – Was gifted some loose leaf tea from a client at work – Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, as well as Amaretto Almond Biscotti tea – and I’ll repackage it prettily in mason jars and re-gift it to my sister and as hostess gifts.
    – Couldn’t figure out what to make for dinner, as I hadn’t gone shopping in a while. Ended up using up the last pear in the house to make pear pancakes. Lots leftover to freeze and then pop in the toaster or microwave for quick future breakfasts!
    – Redeemed Pinecone Research points for $5 to my Paypal account.
    – Made myself a mug of hot cocoa using my homemade chocolate sauce, and topped it with some leftover chocolate whipped cream (chocolate ganache gone wrong – but I refused to throw it out because it was a delicious mistake!)
    – Dug through my candy stash and pulled out some chocolate mini Santas that the DH had given me for Christmas. I melted them down (they were compound chocolate, and I don’t usually eat that, but it’s better for molds), and turned them into chocolate bunnies using my rabbit mold. I just ate one, and they’re minty chocolate, yum! I love that I was able to repurpose something that I wasn’t using into something that I will definitely use! I’m thinking I will use them to decorate the top of a chocolate cake.
    – Made Brandy’s tomato basil soup, but replaced a couple of items to make it more pantry-friendly for me.
    – Made Hot Cross Buns! ( I used up the last of the candied fruit that I had bought from a bulk store at Christmas time when I had made fruit cake, and used up some raisins that I had in my cupboard. I used my basic pizza dough recipe and then enriched it, so it was a) easy and b) not expensive. So glad I’ve come up with this recipe!
    – Made cookies with the child of a friend, and was able to use up some mint buttercream that I had had sitting in the fridge for a long time. I hate to waste food, so I was very pleased to be able to use it up! I also used sprinkles that were given to me by a friend and some homemade coloured sanding sugar.

  3. I think my favorite part of this week’s post was your buying a new dress for the symphony. You will feel beautiful and have a lovely evening. Good for you.

  4. What a great deal, especially on the free food at the garage sale. I’ve noticed that on estate sales, they are sometimes clearing out everything, and I’ve seen them try to sell old, dusty food for as much as it is at the store. No one wants it then. But, other places, it’s very cheap or free. I will think about buying it depending on the condition and price. I’m glad you got the big cans–nothing anyone can do to wreck those, so win-win!

    Good luck to your boys selling those card. We’ve certainly done our time over the years selling things to raise money. It’s a lot of work for both the parent and kids, but I love it when kids can put in effort and earn money for their events. Right now, one of mine cleans someone’s house every Saturday for 2 hours to raise money for her summer camp and mission trip.

    This week, I spent quite a bit of time in the yard and garden. I planted the early spring things that will grow around here at this time of year. It’s been pouring rain every since, so they are watered in all right. Hopefully, they won’t wash away or rot from too much moisture!

    I did a lot of cooking. The rest is on my blog:

  5. I am attempting to refinance my home, in order to vest in our retirement program. I am doing this is case my son becomes sicker in the future, and I have to quit work to take care of him. That way, I would have an income to pay mortgage, utilities, living expenses, etc. We shall see if the refinancing loan goes through. I think the only issue will be some things about the house. Otherwise, I just took care of my kid, brought my lunch, and ate at home. I am having to go see him a lot more, so it is more gas but that is ok, I am NOT complaining. Y’all have a blessed week!

  6. Hi! I’ve been very busy. Whoooee. I accepted a huge bag of handmedowns from an acquaintence that only has one child. My middle child only needs rain boots now, he’s good for at least six months, maybe a year.

    I bought some great children’s books at the thrift store.

    I planted seeds, some from last year.

    Mostly I’m fundraising right now for a big bingo in May. It is a lot of work, and driving to local places, but I plot it out as best I can and then email places at night, if the fundraiser is successful, I’ll call the extra gas money a bargain. I’m looking forward to applying everything I learned about flower vs vegetable gardening this year. I’m very pleased to say my lavender plants overwintered.

  7. Thanks for sharing about the frozen figs! We just moved to a house with a large fig tree and I need ideas for using them up. Freezing them will be great!!!

  8. -Made salt-free taco seasoning, using herbs and seasonings from the pantry. It has a little more heat than the store-bought packages, which is a good thing for me. It is currently on sale for 3 packs for $4, and I certainly made a least that amount. There are quite a few ingredients, so I am not sure it would be frugal if you had to buy all the ingredients to make it.
    -Was making salmon cakes, but didn’t cook the potatoes quite long enough to mash them easily. By the time I realized that everything was in a bowl together, so I chopped up the potatoes and turned it into salmon hash. Very tasty! Too much oil for an everyday menu item, but a really good-tasting rescue.
    -Made blueberry muffins, which were light and tasty. Seem to have eliminated the bad habits that were making my baking stodgy for a while. The muffins didn’t last very long, though.
    -The board I am sitting on provides an IPAD for reading all the related materials. Used a Youtube video and instruction from the College’s IT person to learn how to use the IPAD for free. The modem at home wouldn’t support the IPAD for WIFI because it was too old a model. The phone company sent a technician to my remote rural home to install (plug in) a new modem. There was a problem which meant he needed a coworker so they could do some work up a telephone pole, and 2 1/2 hours later I was in business. No charge, because the modem comes with my internet package.
    -A coworker gave me two wicker baskets that she didn’t need. Another coworker gave me a box of girl-guide cookies. (I drive her once a month to my book club in the next town over.)

  9. Oh what a great find at the estate sales! It will help you along with your grocery shopping I’m sure! We also were able to go to Estate Sales and I got some items on my list. In a couple of weeks garage sales will be starting in Michigan too. Very exciting to find things I need for my household.

    Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments:

  10. Continued to dig out at least one tree tub full of weeds, grass & roots from the planting beds each day.

    Set out the glass cloches to warm the soil where I intend to plant the beans & the squash. Our last frost date here is May 15, but I can plant 2 weeks early if I warm the soil. It takes about a week for the seeds to sprout & another week for them to outgrow the cloches, & then the frost date is past. Those 2 weeks turn into 4-5 extra pickings of green beans at the end of the season & mean more squash hardening off before the frosts.

    Cut fresh daffodils & grape hyacinths & put them into vases to enjoy in the house & to lift our spirits on the gloomy, rainy days.

    Picked up a bag of “grounds for gardeners” at the local Starbucks.

    Cut the grass for the first time this season & used the clippings as mulch for the garden. They are the last layer, on top of shredded leaves sprinkled with coffee grounds.

    JC Penney was having a 15% off sale on top of sale prices, so I went to look for a blouse to go over a long black skirt for a funeral outfit. I wore the black skirt, since there are so many shades of black, & found two black & white blouses that look nice with the skirt, one of which also looks nice with a black jacket I own, so now I have a summer & a winter outfit suitable for the occasion. I no longer fit in what I used to wear to funerals, & I know from previous experience that at the time of the loss is not a good time for me to go shopping.

    Cleaned out some clothes that no longer fit & donated them at the thrift, along with some kitchen items that never come out of the cupboard. I brought 13 half pint jars & one tall jelly jar back home with me, all but one with rings in good condition. The half pints were only a quarter & the 12 oz jelly jar was 35 cents. I always remove the rings to check the rims of jars before I buy them, since this thrift is a federally sheltered workshop, & some of the workers do not understand that a nick in the rim keeps the jar from sealing. I found one nicked rim & did not buy that jar. I put the ring that had been on it on another jar on the shelf, so others could also see the nick. For crafts, it might not matter, but for canning, it does.

    I was sick for the first 3 days of the week with some type of enterovirus, & spent a lot of time in the bathroom. I was very grateful for the extra store of baby wipes we put in, & will replace those used on the next shopping trip. I was glad to have the rhubarb juice ice cubes in the freezer, & dehydrated elderberries on hand.

    Ate all meals at home. DH ate several meals of leftovers while I was sick, since it was a battle to stay hydrated for me. I lost 5 pounds in 3 days, but half of them found me again by the end of the week.

  11. I’m glad you were able to get tickets to see the symphony at such a good price. We all have special things we love to do, so it’s lovely you will get a fun night out in a beautiful new evening gown. Great yard sale shopping too! That was so generous of those people to share some pantry items they won’t be using. Loved reading your post this week!

    We’ve had kind of a tough week this week. My daughter had a few meltdowns this week. One she handled well, considering the circumstances. Another resulted in her getting kicked out of robotics (lets just say I’m not too happy with the whole situation and how it was handled). Then, to top it all off, I received news that a co-worker of my passed away from her injuries sustained in a horseback riding accident. I had worked closely with this individual in the past and considered her a friend. She was an amazing, high energy women with so much knowledge and wisdom. Her passing has been upsetting…I will miss her greatly.

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week are:
    *Meals made at home included breaded chicken burgers/strips with corn and choice of french fries or sweet potato fries, “make your own” pizzas (using up some naan bread I previously froze), grilled ham & cheese sandwiches with salad, meatballs in Diana’s sauce with mashed potatoes and green beans, hot chicken sandwiched with corn, and BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs with potato chips (1st BBQ of the season!)
    *Made homemade garlic sriracha mayo by mixing powdered garlic and sriracha seasoning with mayo. Much cheaper than buying bottles of pre-mixed flavoured mayo and we can adjust the taste to our liking (DH likes it spicier than me). Plus it adds amazing flavour to our meals. Hubby used it on his chicken burger and I used it to dip my sweet potato fries in. Also used on burgers & hotdogs!
    *We bought a rotisserie chicken meal deal from the grocery store one night for dinner. I used up some leftover green beans as a side for DD who doesn’t like cold salads. Leftover chicken will be used for another meal and chicken carcass was frozen to make broth later.
    *Bake Chocolate Banana Applesauce cake on Sunday to use for DD’s school lunches this coming week and the rest was our Sunday dessert. It was really good! [i]Recipe link:[/i]
    *We took my daughter to the 1st appointment of many at the hospital this week as a referral to the PHIT program. This program is designed to help children who are overweight. We met with a nurse practitioner and fitness consultant this time, but there will also be meetings with a nutritionist, a psychologist and I think a pediatrician as well. They start by each member of the team asking questions (they were none judgement and very respectful, too), a blood work screen was ordered (3 people, 4 pokes in 3 spots before several vials were filled…and no meltdown! Yeah!), then when all the info is gathered, they come up with a plan to help according to the needs of each individual child. Since my daughter is on the Autism spectrum (with several issues from that contributing to her weight) and she takes meds that increase her appetite, we are thankful for individualized help. Even better, this is covered under our Ontario health care, so the only cost is parking at the hospital (that’s expensive enough!).

    Looking forward to reading how everyone did this week. I could use the inspiration and distraction.

  12. I had several items on my shopping list but was determined not to purchase unless I found awesome deals. I was in need of some additional tops/blouses to wear to work. I was happy to find two new tops at the thrift store. My girlfriend wanted me to go to a LuLu clothing party with her last week. They sale leggings and tops and dresses made of very soft cotton. The prices were too high for me so I didn’t purchase. I did some research on-line and several people complained about the quality of the fabric. I found a LuLu top exactly like the one I saw at the sale for $3.00 at the thrift store. I decided to try it for $3.
    I am planning to expand my patio this year. When we first purchased our home several years ago, it was just us and our two children and the patio was just the right size. Now that the family has grown, we need more space. While at the thrift store I purchased an end table/coffee table for the patio. It has a metal base with a glass top (in brand-new condition) and was only $15.00. It will be perfect to hold drinks, potted plant and book/magazine this summer.
    I was looking for shirts for my grandson while at the thrift store because I like to have a couple extras at my house. Someone had placed a young gir’ls shirt amongst the boy’s shirts. It had the cutest pic of two bunnies (done in black and white). I purchased this shirt for $1.99 and cut out the pic and framed it. I have it in my kitchen for Spring/Easter. I have already gotten several compliments on it.
    I feel I had a very successful shopping trip and got several things off my list with the minimum amount of money spent.

  13. Happened to run n to the Save-a-lot a couple blocks from my house and found chcken thighs (4 pound packages) marked down to 40 cents/pound! I bought 12 pounds and pulled skin off and then cooked 8 pounds up- 4 as Teriyaki chicken and the other as Asian Ginger chicken! Great dinner entrees with lots left over for lunches/leftover dinner nights! Also bought 30 pounds of 80/20 ground beef on sale for $1.50/pound and cooked up 20 pounds with minced onions and froze in 2 cup amounts in ziplocs in freezer for easy dinners!
    Sugar, flour and cooking oil were on sale this week for $1.09/4 pounds of sugar, $1.29/5 pounds of flour and $1.29/48 oz of ol!
    I found peelie coupons on the bags of flour (gold Medal) and it made the flour $1.04/5 pounds!! I was low so I bought 50 pounds. A friend gave me coupons for $.65/2 bags of sugar so I bought 64 pounds for $.77/4 pounds!!!!
    No coupons for the oil but I was getting low and so I bought 7 bottles!

    They also had whole boneless hams on sale (about 9 pounds each) for $1.99/pound and it was the extra lean. Although the price per pound is about 30 cents more than last Easter, it is still a price that I am pleased with! With my Bosch electronic slicer (from e-bay for $10 about 8 years ago!), I thin sliced two if the hams for deli sandwiches, ham,egg and cheese biscuits and McMuffins! I will thick slice one ham and then cut into cubes, bag and freeze for recipes that call for cubed ham! At $1.99/pound rather than the $3/7 oz pre sliced ham in the meat department, I feel like it was quite worth the investment!

    We bought 3 cherry trees to round out our mini-orchard (13 fruit trees) and the next 3 days, DH has taken vacation so we could dig the holes and get those planted as well as dig holes for 34 short wooden columns that we got for free with free pallets and are using to edge the pea gravel around our fire pit! We are making use of those landscaping and building materials the we have been gifted so that we don’t have unsightly “stacks” of materials in the yard or on the porch!
    We built more prototypes for our Spring line of pallet decor and outdoor furniture and are just about to open a new Facebook page and website!
    I sold 3 things on eBay this week so that brought in an extra $65!!! I accepted a sewing job for $50 and have 2 bridesmaid’s dresses to hem that will be an additional $100 to our savings!!
    Made and gifted another quilt. My Spring garden is now planted and the potatoes are popping up and so are the lettuces, peas, Swiss chard, cabbages and broccoli! Makes me happy to work outside!!
    I am going to put more things for sale on eBay, Craigslist and Facebook. It helps me declutter while bringing in some $$! I love it!!
    Hope everyone else had a great week!!

  14. I have successfully frozen whole lemons and whole limes. To use them, I defrost them in the fridge or I put them in a bowl of cold water. Then I juice them just as I do fresh lemons and limes. If the produce hasn’t been sprayed, I zest the peel and freeze it.

  15. I always enjoy reading your frugal accomplishment posts, they are very inspiring. It’s amazing how different lifestyles are across the country, especially when it comes to mileage. I live on a farm in rural South Dakota. We combine trips as much as possible and keep a well-stocked home, as the closest small-town grocery store is 20 miles away…closest Wal-Mart, etc. is an hour away, but we still put nearly 3,000 miles per month on our primary vehicle. Mostly traveling to work, school, etc. We love our rural lifestyle, but it definitely involves a lot of driving!

  16. I went shopping at Goodwill, to see if I could find a dress to wear to a function later this month. I found a simple little black dress in my size. It was priced $6.89 BUT it had a grey tag on it which made it 75% off so I paid $1.72 for it!!! I can jazz it up with accessories and a shrug since it’s sleeveless. Also got 3 tops one of which was 50% off so I got 4 pieces for under $12!

    Got several free magazines thanks to Recyclebank Rewards & My Verizon SmartRewards points.

    Booked a hotel room in Columbus Ohio for April 28th thru Expedia for $75/night! I am going to see my favorite Derek & Julianne Hough of Dancing With the Stars fame perform in their Move Beyond Tour. I paid a pretty penny for my ticket but it’s my gift to myself in celebration of being 5 years cancer free as of 4/26/17!! Also my son’s 13th Birthday! The hotel room has a King bed/Free WiFi & continental breakfast. Convinced Hubby to go & arranged to have his brother watch our son & the dogs while we’re away for about 36 hrs tops! We haven’t had a date night since 12/15! I will use Uber to get to & from the theater with a free ride code from a coworker who is an Uber Driver in her spare time.

  17. A new dress and a date to the symphony? Oh, how exciting! I am so happy to hear that you’re able to get out of the house and have fun things to look forward to. Sometimes just going to the grocery store seems like a nice break for me (probably every mom feels that way occasionally).

    I continue to stay frugal by shopping the sales and using coupons/rebates whenever possible. Last week, I found $0.99 broccoli, $0.25 oranges, $0.99 body wash, and 4 FREE bottles of nail polish. I also have a free daily bagel at Panera in April. All of my deals with pics here:

  18. I have been diligently trying to use up my freezer food. I used a couple bags of frozen pumpkin to make a maple/pumpkin cake for Sunday dinner. We had five birthdays in March so I used up the tub of ice cream – except for about a cup which melted before we put it back in the freezer. So this week we had sliced strawberries (on sale) and I poured the melted ice cream on top which made a yummy cream sauce. I also had carmelized onions in the freezer which I put on top of oven fried potatoes. That was less successful but it freed up freezer space. I used up some frozen mashed potatoes. They tend to get mealy so I drained them and then added in some butter and a bit of cream cheese and heated them in the oven uncovered. They turned out great. I realized that everything put into the freezer needs to be labeled. I thawed out what I thought was a chicken breast, but turned out to be a small portion of pork roast. We ate it anyway, but I need to remember. I have several dozen eggs (mixed) frozen in 1 egg portions. I’m continuing to plow through them.

    We are doing some minor changes on our home and got an estimate for painting. It was close to $2000 so we have been spending our nights and Saturdays doing it ourselves, which will cost us about $200 instead – but lots of labor. It’s given me a chance to go through cupboards and get rid of many things that we don’t use.

  19. I am so glad you get to do something you love after all this time! I hope to see an opera someday.
    Last week:
    I took some of my “mad money” that I have saved to take advantage of a great deal on butter at Aldi. It was marked down to $1.99 in their flyer. When I got to the store it was marked down to $1.89, plus gallons of milk were .77 each! The butter was limit 6, so I purchased 6 plus one gallon of milk. I have done no other grocery shopping in the last week.

    I keep a running list of groceries we need in our kitchen. I have been able to cross off most of the list as I find a suitable replacement for the “needed” item or find what I thought I was out of hiding in the pantry or cupboard. I really need to find time to reorganize.

    I was gifted a large bag of pistachio nuts ( in shell). I used 1 cup to make pistachio milk that I have been wanting to try. I put the ground pistachios into the oven, dried them out, and added them to the granola I made. I finally made applesauce from the apples I was given and got 2 big jars full. Used canned grape juice (from gifted grapes) to make gelatin (from gelatin powder I forgot was in my pantry). I cooked a big pot of black beans for meals for the week.  I made taco soup (Brandy’s recipe) for my lunches for the week, black bean burgers, and froze 2 1/2 cups for later use. I cooked a pot of pinto beans and made refried beans for burritos and tacos this week. I froze 2 jars so they wouldn’t spoil. I made chocolate pudding (Brandy’s recipe from her popsicle recipe), scalloped potatoes and ham using potatoes that needed using up and ham that has been in the freezer for a couple of months.

    wrote out a dinner meal plan on a small dry erase board on my fridge to avoid eating out.

    planted seeds in egg cartons to sprout using saved egg cartons and soil we already had

    exchanged books/movies at the library

    made more reusable cleaning wipes (vinegar, water, essential oils)

    I hung laundry on my racks inside to dry (either to cold or rainy to hang them on my outdoor lines yet). Black clothes go through 10 minutes in the dryer first to remove pet hair, lint, etc. Sunday I FINALLY had a warm, sunny day to hang laundry on the outdoors clothesline!

    I turned the heat off on Sunday 🙂

    I applied for a couple of jobs online, saving gas and wear and tear on our vehicle.

    I ground up a huge jar of cleaned egg shells in my food processor and sprinkled them around my apple trees to hopefully add calcium to our soil. My apples did not do so well last year and I am hoping to remedy the problem.

    My temporary job is guaranteed through this Wednesday but after that I could be done or get a few more days. My boss is not sure yet. The company provided lunch for all of us today (Monday) so I saved my soup for Tuesday and ate free Sandwiches, chips, and cookies.

    I spent some time re-reading past blog posts on this website 🙂
    Have a great week everyone!

  20. I am jealous of those who can garden already–I did my first weeding in a flower bed today but as soon as I went out it got quite windy–which of course, died down as soon as I came back in. It was 72 but just a week ago we had 4 inches of snow so today was my first real chance to get out there. I received some new perennials I had ordered in today’s mail but I had more to do in the bed I want to put them in than I realized–only got it about half done today before the wind started bothering my asthma! Hopefully it won’t rain ALL DAY tomorrow and I’ll be able to do some more. Before the snow last week we had a day and a half of pretty heavy rain–so last week was spent mainly in the house. I did get some papers gone through and made some good meals, but all in all, didn’t accomplish the things I really would have preferred to–outdoors! Our frost free date isn’t until the end of May anyhow, but clean up is certainly possible now, when it’s dry.

    I did try a new Mexican casserole yesterday–which husband LOVED. it has rice, ground beef, black beans, tomatoes, and cheese–how could he NOT like it? I was going to save the leftovers until tomorrow but he ASKED for it tonight, so that is what we will have. Prep for today involved grating some more cheese and starting the oven. Easy night for me. I also made a double recipe of granola today—in the past couple weeks I have used up some dried diced apples that were ready to be gotten rid of. Today I added a few apricots in the bottom of the bag so I could get those used too. Great use for bits of nuts and fruits that have been hanging around a while. Last week’s meals also included two nights of bratwurst (5 sausages to a package.) Since I require low fat diet, I cook the sausages in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes or so and the grease cooks right out of them and into the water instead. That way I get low fat sausage at sale prices. One night we had them with au gratin potatoes and broccoli. Another night I split them and reheated with hot pepper cheese, which we had in buns with a tossed salad and corn for sides. Pizza (homemade with turkey pepperoni) also lasted two nights! Plus I made two small pies–coconut cream for me, vanilla cream for husband–quick and easy just because I wanted coconut–which he does not care for. Worked out well for us. This week is his birthday so another pie will be on the menu—he never chooses CAKE. Costs stay pretty low when one package of meat lasts two nights, for sure.

  21. Death in the family last week so schedules have been off as well as sleep. I baked cinnamon bread and took eggs over to my brothers house . the next night we had potluck dinner. I made several dozen rolls and a big macaroni salad. Told my daughter she could take the leftovers home. I’ve been using up bits and dabs from fridge. Thawed out butternut squash, chicken and stock, and black beans to use it n meals this week. Made the chicken and stock into soup with some rather limp veggies from the fridge. Black beans got made into chili. I shopped at the thrift store for a summer dress. Also found a black silk jacket that fits me and cost almost nothing but is likely the finest garment I’ve ever had. Other than family meals we ate all meals at home and spent only 32.00 on groceries so far for the month

  22. Ah yes, boy scout camp. I don’t have any kids and seem to be very short-handed with help around the house (long story). Last spring, the neighbor boy stopped and asked if I had seen a cat around the house. I went outside to look with him and laughingly mentioned the sorry state of my shrubs on their side of the property. He stopped short and asked if I needed help. Uh, well, are you looking for work? Yup, gotta save for boy scout camp and I have to legitimately earn a portion of the money by doing jobs for someone other than family.

    He had no clue how much to charge and said $2 an hour. I’m not one to take advantage. $5 an hour may sound pricey, but you can’t hire landscaping, gardening, organizing and cat tending help for any where near that cheap. He cleaned out my garage while I was gone for a week….did a great job with absolutely no supervision. I think we will be replacing some small garage windows this year AND he’s already lined up to paint the block around the bottom of the house.

    13 years old….got me a kid-of-all-trades!!!

  23. We had an incredibly beautiful weekend – the sunshine and 60 degree temps were such a mood lifter for me and I was able to get the trailer we are flipping completely scrubbed down, the curtain rods all painted and the curtains I made hung and all the cushions I recovered put in. It is also staged for showing it to potential buyers. We are having to sell it “as is” since my hubby’s health problems are worsening and he can’t get the plumbing and gas lines hooked up. Just pressure washing it and painting the tongue and bumper did him in for 2 days. The sale of this will help pay bills while I am not able to work after surgery. I keep making these huge lists of things I want to accomplish in a day and am getting frustrated that i can no longer work physically like I used to. I am going to have to rethink how I write my “things to do” lists to make it more accurate to what I CAN accomplish. I think that is THE most frustrating thing of getting older (and my Dad agrees too 🙂 ) So, this week:
    * My Dad taught me how to tile and grout a floor and wall and my master bath has an actual floor now, not just plywood underlayment. I am SO loving how it looks. The tile was leftover from a cousins remodel and they gave us all of the leftovers + Dad had leftover grout from his bathroom remodel. I did run out just shy of the whole thing but another bag will get us thru the main house’s bath as well! So pretty much the only cost was my sore knees 🙂
    * We ate ALL meals at home – It is hard to find restaurant food that has no onion or garlic, no msg or preservatives. Dinners included Pad Thai, Palak Paneer, burgers on the grill, salads with grilled chicken and meatballs with sauce (the guys use the bottles store sauce – I make my own) and many nights were leftovers (I need to work on not cooking like I am still feeding 2 teen athletes)
    * While I was tiling with my Dad, my Mom made up bathes of gluten free banana and pumpkin muffins for easy breakfasts for me out of things I already had on hand.
    * My red peppers are already up 2 inches in the South window. I still need to plant the hot peppers. I used gift tag stickers on the side of the tray and wrote what each variety is. I have other markers I will use outside when I transplant them (paint sticks painted in bright colors with a heavy clear-coat to protect them)
    * The one transplanted grape vine appears to have made it thru the winter! One less thing I will need to purchase 🙂
    * My MIL gifted us with some brand new, [i]very[/i] expensive towels that were too heavy for my FIL to use…..they are worthless. I have washed them 3x in an attempt to get them more absorbent but for whatever reason they are just NOT as good as the cheaper towels I have gotten at Kmart (Ours was one of the stores to close so I’ll have to try Walmart) so I think I am going to sell them on Craigslist and use the money to purchase a cheaper towel to go in the master bath.
    * We sold “The Bus'” pull-out loveseat couch and put the recliners we were gifted from my in-laws (we get ALOT of junk…um I mean stuff they don’t want anymore – alot of it never leaves my car and goes to Goodwill immediately!) The money went to bills.
    * I helped a friend sort thru her mother’s hoard (and yes, her mother is hoarder…..she has been as long as my friend remembers) and since I have lost quite a bit of weight, I was desperately in need of some clothes – I think I have more clothes right now than I have [i]ever[/i] had in my life!! And alot of very nice dress clothes, lots of shirts and some jeans and capris, an absolutely gorgeous wool coat + a black trash bag full in my daughter’s size as well, including a Land’s End jacket from when they still made very, very high quality things (the wool thickness is unbelievable AND it is such a classic style it will work for many, many years). It was like Christmas hehe + I got several kitchen items I was in need of as well. I have thanked her many times over because there just isn’t money for me to shop for a new wardrobe, even 2nd hand right now!
    * I visited the “pet pantry” to get the cats some canned food and litter.
    * I put tighter elastic in some of my too big jeans and made them into my outside work jeans – I am definitely NOT a stay clean gardener LOL. All my jeans have grass stained knees and dirt stains where I wipes my hands off…and I usually have to wash my feet before bed since I do almost everything barefoot in the summer or in crocs which aren’t any good for keep your feet clean 😀
    Joy: Watching my dogs dig to China in the yard (no I don’t care and they look so incredibly happy while they are doing it), seeing all the daffodils and violets in blossom and playing with my new ducklings. I think that about covers it. Hope all of you have a safe and frugal week.

  24. Do you mean LuLaRoe? If so, the leggings are polyester and spandex. Most of the tops and dresses are blends of cotton, polyester and spandex, sometimes rayon. It’s very popular in my area. With the exception of the leggings, everyone I know has been very disappointed with the quality of the fabric. If you’re looking for just the leggings, you can get similar fun patterns on Amazon for half the price. 🙂

  25. You could try soaking the towels overnight (start with hot water) with a double measure of regular (not homemade) laundry detergent, then wash a couple of times with no additional soap to completely rinse it out. No fabric softener or dryer sheets. Sometimes that helps break down the manufacturing chemicals. I was given a set of expensive towels that started out like that…once they were broken in, they were great and lasted 20 years before being made into rags.

  26. Sorry to hear about your friend, Rhonda and also about the robotics club kerfuffle. That is unfortunate. Regarding the hospital parking – check to see if the hospital sells parking passes that are good for a number of visits over non consecutive days. A nurse recommended this to me and I did it before we had our second son. I was able to get a 30 visit pass that was good for a year. This saved us literally hundreds of dollars. Also funny that you mentioned Diana sauce because I opened a bottle of it that has been in my cupboard for ages this weekend and have been thoroughly enjoying it. Hope this week is better for you.

  27. Is it just our family or are times getting tougher?
    Mended four clothing items using up all items in fridge and freezer made baked apples out of free apples worked five extra shifts to help out with bills kept all electric off as much as possible washed cars by hand at home stayed home and sold many items still listing more considering doing the community garage sale extra earnings this past week $122
    Still working on decluttering the house and cleaning it is a very slow process around here I clean up a mess they make five more I declutter a room they bring home two rooms full of things people gift to them I try not to grow weary hubby celebrated 70 year birthday this past weekend we have grand sons birthday and of course Easter yet this coming week wow life is moving fast

  28. I’m so glad you are going to the symphony , have a wonderful time Brandy.
    At the discount grocery store , I picked up a boneless deli style ham for $.99/lb. My sister decided to host Easter so now I need to figure out what to do with it. Wish I had a meat slicer to make it super thin for sandwiches. Also went to the 50% off sale at my local thrift store. Picked up 2 jeans, 1 capris, 4 shirts and a planter for $20. I’ve lost weight, so I really was in need of some new things. I’ve gone through my entire wardrobe and have 3 garbage bags to donate. I just need some more shorts or capris and I’m set. Have a good week.

  29. I spent a couple of days with my daughter up at her college apartment. I am pretty stocked up on everything for myself, so I went couponing with my weekly 45.00. I started out with some high dollar coupons and did quite a bit of rolling at CVS. In the end I had 3 large packages of personal care products to give to a friend. I got 150.00 worth of items for my daughter. She is stocked up on TP, laundry detergent, shampoo, deodorant and other girlie items. She was delighted and actually walked away with rewards in the amount I started out with. I ordered her seven magazine subscriptions from several free sites. We ordered various trials and samples. My favorite thing was ordering several coupons fcom Recycle Bank. The daughters local grocery store accepts competitor coupons that mine does not accept. I imagine some time in the next month we will make a huge shopping trip. We should be able to get 120.00 worth of groceries for free shipping for boots and loss leaders. Who knows what we will get, but ultimately I will be happy to have anything we find.

  30. My Grandparents had a beautiful farm in a tiny town of Bonesteel, South Dakota. I have many fond memories.

  31. Estate sales are the BEST for used household goods. Do you subscribe to I find it extremely useful.

    Some of this week’s savings:

    * We took trips the past couple of weekends and in both cases, we turned off the router and digital thermostat to save electricity while traveling.
    * Washed and saved good-quality plastic serving utensils (tongs, big spoons) left from a catered party to reuse for camping.
    * Saved water from rinsing a jam jar and cottage cheese tub for use as the water in our overnight slow-cooker oatmeal.
    * Cut my own hair.
    * Donated 20+ books to the Little Free Library to the local police division headquarters, came back with three new-to-us books: soil science for me, a Louis Sachar for my son, and a biography to donate to my son’s school library.
    * Made and froze 14 servings of baby food in reusable jars (6 carrot, 6 buttered carrot, 2 mashed pear, 3 oatmeal, 1 refried beans)
    * Line-dried laundry including all cloth diapers.
    * Made coffee at home from home-roasted beans.
    * Took my son to a free event at the library.
    * Washed and saved a cereal-liner bag. It took grilled-cheese sandwiches to school and carried sugar packets to Cub Scout family camp.
    * Ate leftovers from our party.
    * Bought chicken thighs on sale.
    * Put the children’s school photos in frames purchased used at a thrift shop.
    * Received a bag of coffee grounds from Starbucks. Worms love coffee grounds and will ultimately improve the soil near our tangerine tree.
    * Picked up a bag of recycling left next to the dumpster at my kids’ school. The return value will be donated to our Cub Scout pack recycling fundraiser.
    * Saved 90 percent off a quality-brand springform pan by buying used from Goodwill. I will use it to make midnight torte.
    * Used stamps that were gifted to us in exchange for helping a friend clean out her late mother’s home.
    * Ordered two books for the kids from the library instead of buying from the Scholastic catalog.
    * Saved water by draining ice-chest water onto oregano starts.
    * Collected water from a dripping faucet to water new front-yard plants including yarrow and oregano.
    * Our emergency kit stockpile included several ponchos that we could use in case of rain at Cub Scout family camp, avoiding the need to buy new.
    * Our emergency kit stockpile semi-miraculously contained an exact replacement for the multitool knife I “donated” to TSA last week!
    * Took the kids to a newly opened “fruit park” in our area and after chatting with the naturalist for a while, was happily gifted with a huge bag of tomatoes, limes, peppers, cilantro and onions.
    * Frugal plant propagation using saved plastic nursery pots: 10 pineapple salvia cuttings & 5 borage seedlings. I will give these away to friends or plant in a nearby communal garden space.

    COOKED AT HOME: Kale-sweet potato-black bean skillet. Overnight oatmeal. Coffee. School lunches. Steamed green beans and green bean puree for the baby. Breastmilk! Big German pancake (“Dutch baby”). Slow-cooker sweet potatoes. Cucumber fridge pickles.

    HARVESTED: Borage flowers for a future tisane, the last of the tangerines, thyme for cooking.

    COMPOSTED/FED TO CHICKENS: Contents of kitchen-sink trap, coffee grounds, drier lint, overripe produce, avocado rinds, all the eggshells from our Cub Scout den’s camping breakfast, et al.

  32. Look into local high schools and see if they have a “symphonic band”. While not quite the symphony, a high school concert is a good way to enjoy some of the classical pieces for free- and they’d love to have you- the audience is typically the band parents, lol. A symphonic band, or a wood wind ensemble concert is slightly different from a regular band concert, in that they use more string instruments. Not all schools have them, but the school website should tell you if they do, and list the concerts on the school calendar. If your local college has a music program, the senior recitals are also a good freebie source for music.

  33. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 😀 . Brandy I am so happy that you were able to find a nice dress for yourself for such a good price, are able to go to the symphony and got some wonderful items off your needed garage sale list for good prices too 🙂 .

    We have had a very exciting week having seen the bank and have been told we now have enough money saved to borrow for our own house 😀 . We have been taking our house plans around to builders to get a cost , looking at blocks of land and ready built homes available on the internet and of course lots of planning too.

    Here is our frugal accomplishments for the week –

    Financial –
    – This week we have banked $33.77 into our saving for our home with cash which brings our savings up to 19.36% of our target.
    – Used $55.20 earned in my internet craft shops to pay for groceries that needed topping up in the home. This will allow us to save more money for our home next month.

    Groceries –
    – Purchased 22 tins of chicken meat at 22.7% off regular prices to stock up our grocery stockpile saving $6.38 on regular prices.
    – Bought 4 containers of deodorant on 20% off special to top up supplies saving $4.80 off regular prices.

    General household and kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Washed, diced and froze capsicums picked from the gardens.
    – Made a lovely cucumber juice from excess cucumbers picked from the gardens.
    – Combined errands when going out to save on fuel costs.
    – Used saved grey water from our showers and washing machine to water the lawns with rather than using town water.
    – Used our solar lanterns at night rather than turning on any mains powered lights.

    Gardening –
    – Mulched around planted seeds that sprouted with saved dried and shredded leaves instead of buying hay.
    – Thinned and replanted silver beet and spinach seedlings that were too close together.
    – Harvested cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, strawberries and capsicums from the gardens.

  34. You are such a good steward! It’s great to hear about all the ways you are saving! Yay for cleaning out the freezer – I am doing this too and trying new recipes. We had snow last week but it was in the 70s for the last 2 days – my first round of cold-hardly seeds are in and the radishes have just sprouted. I rescued some large plastic corrugated panels from the garbage at my office – they had been used as wall-type dividers, and have great plans for cold frames! MANY years ago I played in an orchestra, and we always had an open door policy for rehearsals. If you don’t mind a possible occasional break here or there in a piece, it is a free way to enjoy some top-notch music if your symphony will allow.
    Thanks so much for sharing all your ideas!

  35. Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * I bought 5 dozen eggs for 55c a dozen. I had to buy a 5-dozen box to get that price, but we’ll go through it before they go bad, especially with Easter right around the corner.

    * I got a head of celery for 77c, tuna for 49c a can, frozen vegetables for 53c a lb, and 4 packets of taco seasoning for free from a local grocery store. The last two combined sales and coupons for the best savings!

    * I made a delicious (though not entirely healthy) dinner of homemade garlic bread and marinara sauce. I made a second batch of garlic bread the next day to use up the remaining sauce, so we got 2 dinners for 2 people for under $2.

    * I also baked 2 loaves of your french bread recipe, though I let the dough sit in the fridge all day before baking. It really helps the crust texture, plus I can make the dough before I leave for work and it’s ready to bake when I get home (I just have to wait a little bit for the dough to warm back up!).

    * I did laundry at my mom’s house, saving me at least $10 compared to doing it at our apartment complex. While I was there, I worked on grading and homework, so I was able to be frugal with my time too.

    * I made a large batch of Budget Bytes’ jambalaya in my instant pot. This will feed us for several meals, plus the whole thing cost about $4 to make, since I used bell peppers that I had previously chopped and frozen, used cooked black beans instead of chicken, and used a sausage I had bought on sale.

    It’s hard to believe that Easter will be this weekend already! I’m planning on bringing a couple dishes to my family’s dinner, including a baked mac and cheese and some peanut butter cookies. I’m also debating deviled eggs, because they’re always well loved and super cheap to make.

  36. I adore my LuLaRoe pieces. I have not had an issue with quality or wear and tear. They are a bit more expensive (and they are addictive) but I have been quite happy with my items.

  37. Sue, you could slice the ham into thicker slices to use as ham steaks and any ham pieces that are too small for a steak can be cubed up to use in soup, casseroles or on homemade pizza. We like to marinade ham steaks in a honey mustard sauce, but I’m sure there are other recipe ideas on the net. You could also try slicing the ham thin with a very sharp knife for sandwich meat or try mashing some of the cubed meat to make a “flakes of ham” type sandwich filler. Hope this helps!

  38. I don’t do nearly as well as some of you ladies, but trying.
    I turned off the AC due to the torrential rains here and the cold spell afterwards.I actually remembered to return my library books on time! Amazing feat for me. I wrote the due dates for the new books in my planner, in my phone calendar and in my electric work calendar. Maybe I can do 2 times in a row!
    I ate all of my meals out of the fridge/freezer and pantry. Spent $14 for groceries so far this month. It is my turn to bring meat for our staff potluck. We one every other week, we eat off the collectings for 2 days, and it works out that once a quarter I have to bring meat. I did a survey after my last grocery trip and got a $5 off a $40 shopping trip. I will go this afternoon to pick up 2 hams, a cabbage (to make cole slaw), yogurt, and some fresh fruit. One ham will be for the potluck with the any leftovers and the bone coming home for soup, the other is for the freezer. That will last us a year.

    Went to replace a makeup brush and they had a sale that if I bought the bronzer the brush was free. The bronzer was $1 more than the brush, so for $1 I got make up too.
    Refreshed the reusable cleaning wipes. Bought fabric to make more mop covers. Fabric was 50% off plus I bought the end of the bolt so I got an additional 10% off and at the register they do a 10% military discount. Less than $6 for enough fabric to make more than a dozen new mop covers.

    My favorite work pens were on sale for half price, so I bought 2 packages. I can wait until they are on sale again for the price I was willing to pay. Found a new box of my favorite golf balls and a new gold glove (new in package) at the thrift store. I needed them for a charity golf tournament I’m playing in this weekend. Also found an Easter dress for $5 at the shop.

    Less than frugal – bought a new leather motorcycle vest a to wear to a (different) charity fundraiser this weekend.

  39. Oh wow, those fig tarts look heavenly! We just planted a fig tree of our own so hopefully in, oh, five years I can make my own homemade fig tarts. 🙂 And great job with the symphony thrifting! Mr. Picky Pincher and I have always talked about going. I personally LOVE ballet but haven’t been to one since I was a kid. Unfortunately Mr. Picky Pincher hates ballet, so it might be another few decades before I go again. 🙂

  40. Hi Brandy,
    We have a fig tree, too and it is prolific! I make a lot of fig chutney, fig butter, fig jam, and a mock raspberry jam using figs and raspberry jello. I then use the fig butter or fig jam to make jam bars with an oatmeal crumble for the bottom and top layers. Those are absolutely delicious. I’ve also created fig crisps. I don’t have a recipe written down, but basically I cut up the figs, add brown sugar and some cornstarch plus spices — I’m going for a fig newton in a bowl. Then I add my usual crisp topping and bake. This is truly heaven on a spoon. I love your tarts — the crisp is easier, though and will serve a crowd. Our variety (Brown Turkey) doesn’t dry well, so I definitely go with more canning/freezing options. We also put cut-up figs in oatmeal and smoothies. Chris

  41. I love your post…it is such a blessed day when I can reuse and not waste…not to mention a make-do dinner that sounds yummy!

  42. Oh Lorna, let me be the first to congratulate you on meeting your savings goal for your house!! You have been SO inspirational week after week with your sacrifice and frugal ways. I am thrilled for you that you can now move forward with this next chapter in your life. Enjoy looking at plans and land, knowing that you are finally going to accomplish your dream 🙂 SO very happy for you after all of your hard, hard work!!

  43. Rhonda, I am so sorry that you had such a bad week and for the loss of your friend. May she Rest in Peace.

  44. Congratulations Lorna! You have worked so hard on saving for your house-good job! Have fun now looking for the right home.

  45. I can’t garden yet, either. Still to cold here. I did start some seeds growing so they will be ready to transplant when it warms up enough.

  46. I had a lovely week last week. I think my favorite frugal accomplishment was using an indoor/outdoor tablecloth to recover tattered patio chair cushions. I even managed to get a café table cloth from the leftover fabric. I am now thinking of using the second table cloth to recover four other cushions I have had for a while. I’d spray painted two of them last year and they held up really well but I’d have to buy paint and I have the tablecloth on hand.
    Brandy so happy you bought the ticket for the symphony. I hope your savings soon allows you to routinely purchase a season’s ticket so you can enjoy your music.

  47. What a nice long post you had this week Brandy. You can certainly tell it’s your busy time of the year what with gardening and rummage sales. Things are slowly waking up here. Our tulips and other bulbs are starting to bloom, but no leaves on trees or growing grass yet. We have had some warm sunny days that we enjoyed spending outside. We are in the 30s again and snow (the icky slushy mixed with rain kind) was hinted at by the weatherman. We do have tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers and eggplant started in the greenhouse. A couple more days and we will direct seed the peas. They don’t mind cooler soil. The asparagus and the rhubarb are showing. Hung clothes outside a couple times.

    This will all be for 4 weeks again. Did all the usual of recycling, composting, cooking and baking at home, packing lunches for work and school. Mended holes in socks, a torn seam, an unraveled waistband. Restocked the root cellar with cabbages at .09 lb at the St Patrick sale, carrots .49/2lb bag, yellow onions .99/3 lb. enough to last into summer. Memorial day will be another big sale. Bought 100 lbs of potatoes at .99/10 lb bag. My daughter did this for me as this store is close to her school. They only allowed 1 bag per person per purchase so she went through 10 times. My cousin went to Sam’s and I didn’t have time to go so I told her we needed tortilla chips. The bag she brought back was big, at least 5 pounds worth and was only 5.85 or so. They were the restaurant style, good, but unfortunately a lot of broken chips. That didn’t matter to us much as we use tortilla chips mostly for nachos and the cheese just holds it all together anyways. Cucumbers have been .49/ea for a couple weeks so keep buying those and red and yellow peppers have been 1.49/lb so bought those too. Bought milk each week along with sale butter as much as allowed. Bought 25 pounds of cheese at the factory. Bought white shelled eggs at the grocer for dyeing for Easter and farm eggs for general use. Bought iodized salt, ramen noodles, large can of chow mein noodles. Did go to Aldi and bought the cheap cream cheese, marzipan. They did not have the spekulatius cookies husband wanted. Bought 3 boxes of grape tomatoes.

    Youngest daughter had her birthday sleepover and invited 15+ girlfriends and cousins. We let them have the house. Her dad helped her get all the lawn furniture out around the fire pit and built up a good size bonfire ( it was about 20 F that night) . I bought 10 loaves of fluffy 1.00 bread at the gas station and mixed butter and oil. (Any bread leftover I just break up and dry for future stuffing use). They wanted to make pudgie pies so we did up fillings like taco meat and grated cheese and vegetables, sliced ham and some cooked bacon. They had brownie ice cream sundaes for dessert. She wanted the big party as they are getting to the age of graduation, some are getting married, they feel like their free days are ending soon. My husband and son in law and oldest son went over to brother in law’s house to finish up inside work in the addition they built and husband stayed over there. I stayed over at oldest daughter’s house and we had the 2 pregnant ladies over, my sister in law and daughter in law. We did fun things…my oldest girl soaked their feet and gave them pedicures, we made 4 containers of homemade baby wipes…took 2 rolls of paper towels sawed in half, baby oil and baby wash and some water. We also stamped some thank you cards for baby presents, meals etc for the girls to use. We had soup and my daughter brought us in some pudgie pies they made for us and we also had brownies and icecream.

    Over the last 4 weeks made corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread with currants, spaghetti sauce, veggie burgers and hamburgers for grill, German potato salad, baked beans, 4 bean salad, coleslaw and cucumber salads several times each, white bread and rye bread, corn bread, biscuits, bean burritos and grilled vegetable quesadillas, Mexican rice, nachos several times, banana pancakes, corned beef hash, toasted open face cheese sandwiches a couple times, grilled fish, macaroni and cheese, scalloped corn, banana bread. Made a cherry crisp, molasses cookies, rice crispie treats, brownies, baked apples, egg and sausage breakfast bake, giant baked pancake with raspberries from freezer and whip cream. Those are the main things I can remember.

    We had 2 funerals with luncheons to attend. I brought the 4 bean salad to one. We had a progressive dinner at church. Our family signed up to bring some toppings for the salad course…I brought the tomatoes and crispy noodles for toppings, my oldest girl brought craisins and sunflower seeds. After the dinner they had a spicy food eating contest…one of my brother in laws participated and came in 2nd. We had a Fine Arts festival at church and I displayed a small angel wall hanging that I started 23(!!) years ago and finally finished. My youngest did a humorous reading. We had our every month community hymn sing. Our tenants invited us over for dinner and they discussed plans for the garden again. They have enjoyed being able to have the room to grow food and trading their help for produce. Dropped the rice crispie treats off at church for the youth group meeting. For our 1st Sunday church meal (potluck) I brought coleslaw using the copy cat KFC recipe from the internet.

    As I mentioned my son and his wife had their first baby and named her Anna Joy. She is 2 weeks old already. Time goes so fast. Baby Dora is already 5 months! It is hard to believe we are already planning up coming summer events. We will probably add a deck onto our 4 season room this summer. My husband has drawn the plans, gathered some of the supplies and is putting out feelers to find out when friends and relatives are available to help. We are planning a little trip for our anniversary this year so checking around to see what relative or friend has a cabin available that weekend. If none, we might camp. We’ll take along our canoe and fishing things of course.

    Looking forward to this weekend with Easter Breakfast put on by the youth and then church service then our family gathering. We are going separate ways for Easter dinner as my mother, my younger son and his friend Christie are joining with my older son’s family and the rest of us are going over to my husband’s side so my middle girl will be there as she lives in that town. My sister in law will tell me what to bring, it is usually pies. Happy Easter!

  48. Just a friendly heads up about free magazine subscriptions. My 2 free one year subscriptions were an extension of something I purchased online, so I did give vendor my credit card number. After eleven months, my subscriptions were automatically extended for three times the regular cost! There were no company names on my credit card bill, and no live voice to talk to when I called. Recording said my subscription was going to be cancelled. Well, it was not cancelled because the magazines kept coming. I called many times, and each time recording said it was cancelled. After two years of that, I finally had to cancel my credit card. If you didn’t give your credit card number for postage or any related purchase, you should be fine. What happened could have even a fluke, but hopefully, my mistake will help someone in the future.

  49. I wanted to add my congratulations, too! It’s a long road to saving such an amount; good for you and your husband!

  50. Brandy, As a natural scavenger myself, I am delighted to hear of your wonderful finds! Today I took a handmade pottery vase and filled it with beatiful pink silk flowers (both found at a thrift store, and tied a lovely pink ribbon around it. I put it in a nice gift bag with tissue papers that I already had. It will make a perfect birthday gift for a friend tomorrow. Last week I was searching for a particular packing box for my Ebay store and discovered a nice box sitting right on top, filled with packing peanuts and two objects inside. I brought it home and discovered that the items were a brand name vase and a whale sculpture, each of which is now listed in my store for $125. A friend went to a thrift shop with her daughter last week and bought a womens wallet. On the way home she discovered a $100 bill inside! It seems to be raining unexpected blessings.

  51. Hello,
    Thanks for writing. It is inspiring to read.
    I am still spending too much on food. I’ve joined a group to help keep myself on track more with that.
    This week’s accomplishments: I accepted hand-me-downs from a friend. I kept 65 pieces for my youngest and donated 2 bags worth. I kept track in my clothing inventory. I have a smaller storage area, so I try to keep things minimal.
    I made all but one meal at home. I keep finding rotisserie chickens on manager special for $2.50. I can stretch it into 2 meals plus broth or soup. I made jambalaya with the broth today. I didn’t have Cajun seasoning but made do and it’s good.
    We borrowed books and movies from the library. I am in a book club and used inter-library loan to get the book.
    I used fuel points to save $7 on gas.
    I bought some seeds for the yard. I’m unsure where I will plant them but greens, beans and zucchini will be welcomed in the summer. I tried tomatoes in a place that was questionable last year and that worked very well, so I’ll squeeze some more garden space from the yard. We mostly have shade and walkways on our small lot, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for small lumber so that I can make a small fence so the children don’t trample on the new garden space.
    We attended a free Easter event as a family on Saturday. We walked there and the weather was PERFECT. The children got candy, coloring books and other small items. We attended another community event tonight and had supper there.
    I’m excited that we can go to a camp and stay at a cabin for free through work. We’ll be there for two nights for Spring Break. We’ve planned to eat out the evening we travel. I have bagels, eggs, pancakes, that jambalaya and sandwich and snack items ready to pack so that we don’t spend other money on eating out.
    I planned a birthday party with my son. An at home bonfire party will be fun and affordable.
    My mother sent money for an Easter gift for the children. I was able to buy frisbee golf sets for each of them and I was so surprised that my husband had the same idea. That will be a fun, active, free family outing this summer!

  52. Hi Lynn and thank you for your encouragement 🙂 . We have been working long and hard and hopefully it will eventuate in our dream house being built or purchased already built.

  53. Cindy S thank you also for your encouragement 🙂 .

    We are having fun indeed looking at houses and land, so many to choose from 😮 . We are preferably after 1 – 5 acres of land to build on or a property already built with near to what our specifications are.

  54. Terry C and thank you for your encouragement too 🙂 . We haven’t taken out the loan yet with the bank but know how much we can borrow and are in the preliminary stages of working out the costs to see if we have enough money with the known loan amount.

    We will keep you all updated.

  55. Florrie, you don’t have to give out any credit card information with Recyclebank or RewardsGold to get free magazine subscriptions. I have gotten many free magazines this way for years. I’m sorry your experience was different.

  56. I have never heard of that site but I will check it out! Here the estate sales tend to be when the garage sales are going on, as most community associations only allow sales twice a year at their semi-annual garage sales.

    How are you using your borage blossoms for tisane? By themselves or with something? Borage grows so easily and always flowers right away for me so I am curious for more ways to use the flowers.

  57. My boys are happy to have this kind of work. I have a 13-year-old and a 12-year-old, and they love getting hired to do jobs for people to earn money for camp. I’m glad that you’re able to have this boy help you; I’m sure he is thrilled for a chance to earn money for camp!

  58. We have been trying to do this, but strangely the local school doesn’t put these performances on a calendar on their website! (Prom, graduation, and AP exams are listed). I know they usually have a spring concert and I have had my daughter ask other students when it is (who are in the orchestra) and for some reason, they never know what time the performance is! I will try asking around again because are wanting to go and the performance is usually free (and should be soon!)

    I played flute in high school myself, but our school only had a marching band and a jazz band (no orchestra). We always had a spring concert though; the last one I performed in fell on my 18th birthday!

  59. Yes, lululemon is even more expensive and has quality issues, as well. Their activewear is almost all synthetic fabrics. I don’t think they do parties though, which is why I assumed LuLaRoe, which is an MLM business.

  60. What a fun birthday party! I”m sure they all enjoyed it. And, what fun for you, getting ready for new babies.

    It sounds like you are busy cooking up delicious foods, as usual. I, also, love to cook, and love hearing about what you’ve come up with.

    Have a happy, blessed Easter.

  61. momav and thank you for your encouragement too 🙂 and it is not easy to save a good deposit I have to say and took us just over 2 years to do that.

  62. Jlynn and thank you for your kind words as well, I knew eventually we would get there. It does seem a long road to take but with persistence we got there.

  63. Things are tougher here for us. I left a job a year and a half ago expecting nag to find a new job soon. I still have not found a full time job. A part-time job is my only option at this time and while that will help, it’s not going to replace the income. We can’t afford to hire out any job we can do ourselves. We’re mending and repairing more and limiting anything absolutely necessary.

  64. Brandy thank you for your encouragement and it is partly because of your inspiration and wonderful recipes and ideas from both yourself and your wonderful contributors that we have saved to much 🙂 .

    Incidentally we just love your granola and oatmeal cookies and other recipes and have printed them out for our own use. They are all absolutely delicious and very low cost.

    We are off to see 3 houses and 2 blocks of land tomorrow and will update you as we make progress. We are counting the costs of our tower before we build or loan for it.

  65. I often buy up several of these types of hams around the holidays when they are super cheap. At first I had my husband take them to work (he a cook) and use their meat slicer to shave up the meat, but eventually we invested in our own meat slicer. I cut them into ham steaks, shave into sandwich meat and cut the end pieces into cubes, then package it up into usable portions for the freezer. This way we just pull it out as we need it. Great way to save on meat costs and provide variety to your meals throughout the year…Brandy taught me that!

  66. I haven’t posted in a while! Our frugal things this week were staying within budget on our shopping, stocking up on meat for our freezers, and not wasting any food! I also used some freebie coupons to stock up on a few pantry items we needed. We had an unexpected (and expensive) plumbing repair this week, but fortunately we had the funds to cover it. Sticking to our budget made that possible!

    I do have a question for you, Brandy. Without getting political & just talking strictly about home food storage/preparedness – what are your feelings lately about preparedness? We are feeling like it is very important right now, with all that is happening in the world, to really double check our food storage, first aid kits, water, etc., and make sure everything is properly stocked & within date. I almost feel like there is a timeline on this. I live in an area where we tend to get bad spring storms as well, so that’s just another reason to make sure everything is in good order. Just thought I’d ask your opinion on those things!

  67. Funny you should ask that Pam, because I have been wondering if people are doing food storage much anymore. I have at least 3-4 months of food/supplies if we rationed certain things. A lot of the you tubers that I used to watch about it have stopped making videos. I do enjoy the Store This Not That book and you tube channel though. I just think it makes good sense to be prepared as you can come what may.

  68. Our locally owned paint store gave me the contractor’s discount when I asked for it. I go out of my way to go to this store both for the discount and the paint quality. It never hurts to ask.

  69. I started cleaning out my pantry last weekend. I try to do this at least once a year. No matter how organized I am, I always find items that are near or past their expiry date. I’ll wait for sales to restock.
    I like to have a deep pantry for a variety of reasons. One big one is that I am now on a fixed income.With the pantry, I am more able to buy only store loss leaders/sale items. I can stretch my limited income this way. Some times I can not go shopping due to health limitations so a deep pantry means I can prepare food without having to go out.
    Building a pantry was life changing for me. Having Brandy’s pantry recipes has also been very helpful. I try to make at least one pantry dinner each week.

  70. I am not Brandy, but I am LDS (Mormon) and our Church has for years recommended food storage in case of illness, job loss, weather events etc. I do not exactly follow the recommendations but for a list of the year supply of food generally needed you can google LDS food storage and it should come up. I is also on the site. I have a small house, and I keep about a six months supply of beans, rice, pasta, canned vegetables and fruits, canned meats, cornmeal, flour, sugar, spices, etc. The recession was disastrous for my wallet, and food storage, I found, was a good idea.

  71. Someone else may have already mentioned this. Our local cultural attractions usually have a Pay What You Can night for one performance of each show. For example, if a play runs for a month, the PWYC night is always the first Thursday after opening night. You pay whatever you feel comfortable with. You might check and see if this is available for the cultural attractions you are interested in. Also as a way to share Arts/Cultural activities with people who might not afford them, the public library has a few free passes to most cultural events. I think you are probably limited to how many times each year your can receive the free passes but it might be worth checking into. When Broadway shows come to Memphis it they are not 100% sold out they have what is called a Student Rush night. Students, teachers, first responders, nurses etc can buy best available tickets for cash only on the day of show. We’ve gotten $200 seats for only $25 before. Just some ideas, none of these might be applicable to your geographic area.

  72. How wonderful where you live! I bet there are deals like that all over.

    I found out about the Las Vegas Entertainment tax when I went to buy these tickets. Thankfully it was only $4 a ticket extra; my mom said that she has paid $20 tax before on a $40 ticket for a concert here. It depends on the entertainment tax, the venue tax, the ticket seller charge, etc. They all add up. Even the high school plays are bought through a service and I imagine they charge a fee as well for the purchase like the other places.

    So we might now get as many awesome deals as you do, but I bet there are some things out there I still don’t know about, as entertainment isn’t usually a line in our budget.

  73. Pam, It’s always a good idea to be prepared for whatever comes your way. People lose jobs, take cuts in income, deal with natural disasters, etc. all the time. My own family has an irregular income; having food storage means if we don’t make money one month, I can still eat. It also makes it possible for me to hold out for the best sales out there. Right now I’m mostly buying fresh food as we eat from the pantry; I am buying a few pantry items but my pantry is pretty stocked in most things. Should we see a loss in income (and without a regular paycheck, as we are in sales, that can always happen) then we will be fine to not go shopping for quite a long time.

  74. You ARE lucky. I pay $12 an hour for a teen to help with yard work and am having trouble finding one for this spring and summer. I miss the young man who started with me at 14 and left this year to go to college—he got so good I could just tell him where to plant things and he knew exactly how to do it. I email him periodically to tell him how much I miss him and what a huge help he was to me.

  75. Lorna,
    Congratulations! As many have already said, it has been wonderful seeing the progress you have made over time, and how diligently you kept after it. I enjoyed reading your posts because they helped inspire me to keep focused and looking forward.

  76. Rhonda, I’m sorry for your loss. That is hard.

    When I have been to the larger hospitals in the state in metro areas they all validate parking. Is that an option?

    I heard you mention Diana sauce often so I finally googled it. Ended up on an all things Canadian website.

  77. Sometimes I combine cans of leftover paints to create a new color (one of a kind!) while using up old paint and saving $. My laundry room has a rather Martha Stewart-ish shade of greenish blue that I love! Just try to avoid making mud colors with bad combinations 🙂

  78. Try emailing or calling the school. They should be able to either tell you straight up or connect you with the music department. You might also try local colleges and universities. They usually list their concerts and recitals on their website. Many of those concerts are also free and the rest may be low cost. Enjoy!

  79. Boy, at that price, I’d be buying several and freezing the meat in portions to use as needed for various meals (chicken ranch tacos, casseroles, soup, hot chicken sandwiches, wraps, salads, meat pies etc.). I’d then put all the bones in a pot and make a big batch of broth to freeze in measured portions (good for soups, chicken favoured rice, gravy base, etc.). Not only are they useful, it saves on hydro and time to cook them!

  80. I totally understand, Brandy, because entertainment ( nor vacations) have not been a line in my budget either. I will, occasionally, go visit a state or national park that I usually have to pay anywhere from $1.00 to $4.00 to enter. I only do this maybe four times a year.

  81. Loved the picture of big sister pushing the swing. Octavious doesn’t look too sure of things! The tarts look fabulous, too. I’ve made pies, quiche, hand pies, but I’ve never made a tart.
    For frugal accomplishments;
    *We got to Skype with our son and grands. We haven’t done this in awhile so it was a nice treat. The youngest is now one and a half, so no sitting still for long.
    *The big news is I’ve been able to hang clothes on the line. That never happens this early. I actually started on March 31st. There’s no stopping me, now!
    *I’m still walking for exercise. The Tribal Center has stopped giving tokens for the farmers market because they’ve already run out of money! Now that I know I don’t have to be Native to utilize the facilities, I’ll continue without the added incentive. I feel so much better already!
    *I sold a few things on eBay. Sales have slowed way down so I should get busy and list. There’s always something to sell.
    *I had to drive an hour to the largest city in the U.P; but I got to see Doctor Strange for free. They do this all year long. We’re also allowed to bring our dinner. (I put $$ in the jar) I get to see movies my husband would never watch. I love to watch movies which is something we don’t do a lot of anymore.
    *We celebrated our (36th) anniversary last week by going to see my husband’s art hanging in an art gallery. (Photographs) Tonight, we go back for prizes and to find out if any sold and/or if any will travel to Mackinaw Island. I’m so happy for him! We did other things while there, but this was the highlight!
    *I baked a new recipe for chocolate nut bars. They were a hit, so I made two more trays for the Moose club’s dessert table. All supplies were from the pantry/freezer.
    *I also made up two batches of cookie dough using odds and ends leftover from Christmas. I put some in the freezer and the rest have been devoured by The Mr. (He has a sweet tooth that won’t quit!)
    *I decided to be brave and planted kale, spinach and chard in a huge tree-size pot I have. Then it snowed. So, we shall see how that works.
    *I trimmed my few pots of raspberries. I see new growth so that’s a good sign.
    *I’ve started watching the third season of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. Love that show!
    *I finally got some mending done on my white quilt. It needs to be washed and hung in the sun. I’m hoping it doesn’t tatter some more. I still need to add a new binding but I’m dragging my feet….
    *I made tapioca pudding for the first time with pearls I’ve had for quite awhile. I added blackberries I picked last Summer. It was delicious! I have enough pearls for another batch. Now that I know how to make it, and we both enjoy it, I’ll be inclined to make it more often.
    *Our water bill went back up, into the stratosphere, actually. I called the city and they sent someone over to check the meter. No leaks. But, the guys told me the charges increased, yet again. There was no notice of any kind. My husband pulled the water saving shower head, put in a new gasket and turned it down a notch. Maybe, next month will be less.
    That’s about it for me besides the usual. I hope everyone has a great week ahead.

  82. I do know that preparedness is a large part of Mormon culture (I am not LDS). I think it’s a great idea! We look at our food (and other goods) storage as almost a type of “savings account.” If we are ever stuck at home or have a large unexpected expense or loss of income, we will still have food to eat & soap to wash our clothes, etc.

  83. Susan, how nice! Is the farm still in the family? I looked the town up to see where it was in the state. 100% rural, lots of Germans, basically a 0 crime rate…sounds nice. It looks like they’re giving incentives to move there. I love rural life. Cities make me nervous.

  84. Things are tough for me also. Life has seasons, but I am tired of this tough season, going on eight years…lol!!!

  85. We had one splurge last week but in the end this will save us a lot. We drove our daughter to an in state school 4 hrs away to check out. She is going there instead of across the country!! Whew a relief.
    We did all our normal savings, cooking from scratch and put more money into savings for new house. Have a great weekend all!

  86. I’d say there are more obstacles to success these days. We’re all working class, no millionaires or billionaires among us. Fortunately we live in an area of just under 4% unemployment but I see folks having a harder time having leftovers for saving after bills are paid. My husband is self employed and the work he does depends on buyers realizing they want a higher quality product than mass produced big box store offerings.

  87. Cooked all meals at home. My pantry challenge goes very slowly since there are only two of us and my husband eats very little. I try to cook mainly out of freezer and pantry supplies . this week I knew hams would be on special and Winco had a coupon 10$ off 40$. I picked up a shank end ham. Hubby boned it out for me. Saved 4 ham steaks for breakfast meals. Froze 5 packages of meat and two containers of meat and broth from pressure cooking the remainder. Gave the bones to a very happy dog after the pressure cooking and made a big pot of bean soup out of the remainder. We will be enjoying ham meals for a long time to come. Still too cool and breezy here to work outside much. Garden is still a distant promise. I did plant snow peas but I don’t see them coming up yet. We lost most of our roses and raspberries to a really hard winter. Spring promises to bring lots of work

  88. Our town high school has concerts a couple times a year and so does the University. They are very reasonably priced, like 2.00 with students free. Also as Bethany said the senior recitals of the music majors are good to attend, also the senior art shows. One of the churches in town holds free pipe organ concerts over the winter at noon. They let you bring your lunch in to eat while listening. The park has a different music program once a week in the summer at noon, sometimes bluegrass, sometimes country, sometimes a string quartet. Varies.

  89. Our local theater group has $10 tickets on opening night for their plays. There are usually goofs at some point – like the last play where they forgot to put the house lights on at the end of the play. At that price, I can go a few times a year.

  90. My grandsons orchestra usually does a fall concert and a spring concert. Call the school and ask to speak to the orchestra teacher and leave a voicemail. I’m sure they will call you back with the dates and times.

  91. When I was a kid I used to save up my babysitting money to go to the ballet. My mom would just drop me off, as nobody else wanted to go. I had a friend whose father was a well known classical musician. He got us free tickets to go to the opera. I loved going to those type of things.
    I am almost finished with my husband’s costume for the French medieval festival. Just have the pants to make. I am about half done with my medieval dress. I got the material from a set of new sheets that I found at a thrift store.
    I wanted to find a pair of leather sandals for the summer. I found a brand new pair of Clark’s sandals at Goodwill for $7.99. I had tried on a pair of Clark’s at a high end store the week before for $80. Glad I didn’t buy those!
    My last haircut was a $55 disaster. In my community it is difficult to get a haircut for less than $50. To make a long story short, my hair was horrible with layering on one side and none on the other. I was unhappy everything I looked in the mirror. So I asked my husband, if I cut the sides, would he do the back? He agreed but I am not sure how happy he was with the idea. I told him I had total confidence in his abilities. The end result was wonderful and I am so happy!
    We went to a retirement party. The food was pretty bad – chicken wings (not too bad) and corned beef tater tots (yuk) but it was free food.
    Our condo building has a spot to deposit or pick up free books. I have found some really good ones lately.

  92. Bethany and Brandy,
    Thank you for these tips. I have been wanting to go the Opera and is it $160 to $260 for two people. Then I remembered that my mother-in-law goes to a Local movie theater to see the NY met opera for a about $25/person.

    Then I looked up our local university and the Symphony is $15/ person.

    Looking forward to giving these and the High School a shot.

  93. Congratulations on the in state tuition. My son is going to take his core classes at the local tech school and live at home for two years. We crunched numbers and showed him how much he will save. In addition he will be getting money back that will be used towards the 3rd and 4th year. I am pretty sure that by doing it this way, he can graduate
    debt free. My middle daughters expenses for school have been an incredible burden on all of us. We are already looking for books online instead of getting them at the school bookstore. I honestly have found higher education to be a huge money making scam. Financial aid needs to be looked at closely . My daughter was short 1200.00 that first year. They

    gave her a 5000.00 loan which she did not need . That loan costs almost 9000.00 to pay back. Schools are in it to make money and do not always give good advice.

  94. By themselves so far! I got the idea from the YouTuber Jake Mace (he gardens edibles extensively in the Arizona desert; his channel is “VeganAthlete”). You could definitely combine them with lemon balm or such but so far I’ve just been collecting a handful of dropped flowers every time I’m out in the yard. It would go faster if I picked flowers off the plant but I don’t want to steal pollen from the bees (“bees love borage”). I’ve just been dropping them in a jar as they come in and they dry and shrivel easily. I actually haven’t tasted it yet. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  95. Everything in our area keeps going up 4 years ago a hair cut was $27 with a tip it was $30 now it is $48 without a tip. It is outrageous!
    Where is the money to come from? It all goes into what we eat and needed items like electric.
    Our water has gone up our trash collection bill has gone up, our electric has gone up. We added the twin girls I take side jobs to help out but frankly at 55 I’m exhausted just trying to help the kids out with the grand babies.

    Frugal this week I found a very nice basket at the goodwill and made a home made basket for my Grandson his first . I am very excited!
    A neighbor gave us a bike that is larger than the one he rides now so that is a major blessing!
    I am busy prepping for the community yard sale in June and I have a lot set aside I still want to add some.
    I hope to earn over $300 this year. I worked four days this last week doing odd jobs for people around the area.
    We do the Nat’l parks too and in our area that is a lot of parks!
    The one really nice thing about this area is our date day is Sunday’s after church we go to eat (Usually share a meal about $10) then go to a park or free museum and make a lovely day of it. (If we don’t have the money to eat out we do a picnic and if it is really cold we have even done a picnic in the car / while sitting and looking at a park)
    I bought two blouses and a jacket at the good will on senior discount day ( I’m unhappy with the shirts but I will gift them away and the jacket was worth what I paid for all three even a great deal for what I paid for all three)
    I sold four items this past week all small stuff but I am still working on cleaning out the house as we will move at some point and we have enough for 10 families.
    I fixed a clock this past week too saving it from a landfill.

  96. I suppose I am to share my successes, but it was just one of those weeks.

    First, I, once again, stuck my foot in my mouth and was caught.

    Then I saw a second rainbow over my yard and wondered if God is trying to say something to me? Just wondering.

    This next week is going to be better.

  97. I forgot about this but when I was finishing my graduate degree I lived in a large city and you could attend the dress rehearsals of the symphony orchestra for free. Also with a student ID you could arrive 45 minutes before a performance was to start (plays, ballet etc) and if there were any seats left using a student ID you could buy a seat for much less. I’m not sure of the discount but it was at least 1/2 off.

  98. Momsav, congratulations to your husband on his photos being displayed. I hope they do well! Also congratulations on your wedding anniversary. May you have many, many more wonderful years to celebrate.

  99. In state tuition is a wonderful thing. We live in a small town but it happens to have a large state university. 3 of my children were able to get their undergrad degree there and live at home. The one had to go to another town with the nursing program and we sent her brother along as they had his degree there too. That way she was not alone. They lived with an older couple who were teacher friends of my parents. My mother lived at home and this school is where she met my father, State Teachers College as it was called back then. I lived at home for undergraduate as did 3 of my brothers for their teaching degrees, but when I had to go to the city to get graduate degree it was arranged for me to live with an aunt and uncle there. We believe the academics and the family/church tie is more important than the college “experience” of dorm life etc. Also you save a lot of money. We have all graduated debt free over the years.

  100. I really blew my budget this last two weeks. I have 2 birthdays, my grandson’s baptism, Easter, a baby shower, graduation, out of town guests, and more entertaining than I expected. I tried to make Easter special for my kids and grandkids. I will cut back next year, My kids could use a little help now. I will use my pantry and freezer. I am trying to buy gifts ahead of time and save money. I have found most people are doing parties and birthdays more extravagant. I did find a nice book on sale for $4 and it was $17. I bought 5 for gifts. I found candles too. I will start my garden and hope to use this during the summer. My kids come over and they eat and raid my cupboards. I am ok with it but groceries have gotten so expensive.

  101. Brandy, I noticed the concrete block (?) wall in the photo with your children and the swing. Is that a commonplace “fence” between houses? I’ve never seen that before as only wooden fences/chain link are used where I live; and barbed wire in more rural areas for pasture fencing. Just thought it was really interesting!

    Seven of the nine blackberry plants I planted are growing and even blossoming, as are the strawberries. Tomatoes and pepper plants are strong and cucumbers have sprouted. Waiting on the watermelons, a new seed called Mini Love which produces small melons in a compact space. Sunflowers and zinnias are sprouting all over. It’s hot and humid and everyone was dripping with perspiration after the Easter egg hunt. I’m mowing the grass for the 9th time this year….good grief. A local ad said they were selling flower pots so I went to check it out. The new owner and non-gardner said they were giving her allergies which was funny since the pots were outside and the plants were all dead. I bought 6 pots full of excellent potting soil for $8 and one actually had a huge hosta in it. I took them home and planted cosmos and nasturtiums in them. When I turned over the hosta pot, it fell into about 8 clumps and I planted them in a shady spot with some azaleas. I love hostas and I was really happy! Was walking through Kroger and saw ground chuck 1 lb chubs marked to .99 and asked the meat lady why. She said the expiration date was the next day so I put all 16 in my cart and put them in the freezer. Good deals that made me happy.

  102. Knowing early this was going to be a busy month for the family I am behind on a lot. We did plant some seeds Sat hoping it would rain but not yet.
    Made beef broth off the bones from Sunday’s dinner.
    Trying to piggyback volunteer errands with other errands…and track them for next year’s tax deductions and to save gas.
    Trying to save funds so I can pay for the kids summer camp. Hoping I can make magic happen. In another year sis may be old enough to babysit.
    Not much cooking the next week. Sat is cub scout family campout. Sun-following Sun we have daughters play practices and performance each night so I’ll only need too come up with a dinner for the family on Friday. The play has meals for family the rest of the time. I will take the reprieve in this chaotic time.

  103. Its been tough for us too. My husband has been out of work since October. He’s been through 2 corporate lay offs due to reorganizations in the last 5 1/2 years.! The last time was in 2012, it took over 1 yr for him to regain employment. I can’t plan or think about anything in the future due to the instability of his career.

  104. My son plays for a symphony in NC. They sometimes allow people to sit in on their final rehearsal before a performance for free. It’s a great way to hear beautiful, quality music and enjoy seeing a little bit of the process the orchestra goes through to prepare for a concert. It may be worth checking with some of the symphony orchestras in your area to see if they offer this opportunity!

  105. Everything is more expensive. I am frugal by nature and just about go into shock when I go to the store. My husband and myself do everything and still we can’t get ahead. We have 4 kids and 2 grandchildren. When I have to feed all of them it is so expensive. I haven’t been finding good sales. Ugh. I will try to garden more and look for items at farmer’s markets. I can, freeze and dehydrate them. I am using my dehydrated tomatoes. They are awesome. I guess where there is a will, there is a way.

  106. I do a two yr storage, my one daughter is working back up to a yr storage the other kids do 2-3 mos. My dad does a 2 month knowing if things get bad he will either come to me or my brother or one of the grandkids. I do over 1200 sq ft of gardening. Hubby was cut to 3 days a week for 2 yrs and food wasn’t something I had money to buy.

  107. Yes, either call the school or use the staff directory on the website and email the choral/band/whatever director. I agree, the talent level is sometimes astounding and they definitely appreciate a full audience Also, My alma mater, Ohio State, provided many concerts. They were free for me as a student several decades ago, but perhaps your local college has some free, or very low cost, performances.

  108. We just accepted a massive and I do mean massive amount of clothing for a little one and my hubby says we need to buy a large thank you gift what are your ideas. They did send enough for at least 4 or 5 years worth of clothing even some shoes.

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