Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I sowed seeds in the garden for poppies and larkspur.

I watched the hummingbirds and the hummingbird moths (pictured above) in the garden. The moths turn into hornworm caterpillars, which means I’ll have to be extra vigilant in the garden this year, as they will eat a tomato plant to the ground in one to two days.

Winter sewed two tote bags to carry her grocery purchases home while at college, using my favorite tote bag tutorial that you can find here, drop cloth that I had purchased years ago with proceeds from a garage sale that I had, a lining from fabric from my mother-in-law’s stash that she gave me before she passed away, and navy duck cloth from Hobby Lobby, purchased with a 40% off coupon. This is such a quick pattern; she cut them out one afternoon and sewed them up the next afternoon.

I harvested asparagus, lettuce, arugula, Meyer lemons, green onions, snow peas, Swiss chard, and parsley from the garden. The Swiss chard is wonderful this time of year. You cut it and it grows back in a week and a half, ready to be cut again. With several plants in the garden, I harvested large amounts of chard several days this week. I put it in soup with white beans, onions, half a pound of shell pasta, chicken bullion powder, and Italian seasoning (my new favorite soup), as well as made a large batch of Swiss chard soup. Swiss chard soup is the least expensive meal I make, and it makes enough for all of us to eat twice. Everyone loves it, including the baby!

Speaking of the baby, he is walking all over!

My dad offered several things to me that he was going to donate to the thrift store. I ended up taking several of them, including several kitchen items that I will give to my second oldest when he moves out, some enamelware skillets and saucepans that I can use for food photography props (they’re too small for everyday use for my size family), two hot pads, some emergency rain ponchos and fold-up daypacks that my girls can use in future years for camp, two citronella candles and an anti-mosquito lantern that can be used while camping, a camping shovel, some mop cloths that we can use with our mop, some quilting rulers, a foldable bench/scaffold that I will most likely end up using for taking photos of families, and a floor lamp. Two weeks ago, he also offered me a foldable stool, which I also took.

My parents went to several garage sales and brought us back a number of items that they got for free from the freebie piles that several sellers make, including a sand pail and sand shovels and a girl’s bicycle with a flat tire. We can mend the tire and use the bicycle.

I read the entire Darling Debutantes series from the library. They had the whole series as one e-book.

We opened the windows and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine in the house.

I collected shower warm-up water and the water from drinking glasses at the end of each day and used that water to water potted plants on the patio. This is something I do almost every day but only mention occasionally.

My two oldest attended the wedding of a friend. At the end of the reception, my eldest son was offered some leftover pulled pork, rolls, and baked beans to take home, which he gladly did.

What did you do to save money this past week?

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82 Comments

  1. I was thinking that I had never seen such an interestingly patterned hummingbird (I initially read it on my mobile, so the picture was smaller) and then read that it was a moth. I can see why it was named the hummingbird moth!
    I love Winter’s shopping bags! I sewed a whole bunch for my mother something like 15 years ago, and she used them until they wore out. This was way back before reuseable shopping bags were popular, but the ones I sewed were way stronger (and larger) than any plastic shopping bag, and my mum gratifyingly preferred to use them. Winter’s truly are gorgeous!

    My week pretty usual, and I tried to save where I could:
    – I made more Singapore Zoodles for my husband, and served his with chicken. I served mine with my Apricot & Zucchini couscous (http://approachingfood.com/a-simple-sassy-side-dish-apricot-zucchini-couscous/). For the Singapore stir-fry, I used some green onions from the freezer from my garden last summer, and onions that I bought cheaply, sliced on my meat slicer and froze (amongst other ingredients).
    – I’ve been using a new free website plug-in, Create from Mediavine, and playing around with it, trying to learn how to use it best. I learnt that it can make lists, so I tried it out this week: http://approachingfood.com/5-preservative-free-dinner-recipes/. I love that so many plug-ins are free! I have more time than money to invest in my blog (and not much time, given that I have a 5 month old), so a price-tag of $0 is always appreciated!
    – I hosted my parenting bookclub (parenting book borrowed from the library) and served popcorn (purchased on sale, with a rebate, and using airmiles) and homemade bread with my garden veggie spread (http://approachingfood.com/garden-veggie-spread/) , plus drinks leftover from my daughter’s baptism. It was the same $5 menu as that I served when I had a few other friends over to meet the baby last week. The other ladies also brought food and we all had a great get-together for very little OOP. Plus, I had leftovers for snacks for the week. I also gave some popcorn to my sister and a friend (packaged in little white bags I previously traded for).
    – I made a batch of Afghan Slice (a New Zealand brownie-like square) using some leftover cornflakes that I had. I likely won’t make it again, but it hit the spot for a late-night chocolate snack.
    – I took my daughter swimming for the first time, in my sister’s condo pool. No pool fees, plus my family came to see her try swimming for the first time, so it was a fun, free outing for the whole family. My daughter wore a swimsuit handed down to me from a friend, and she also has a swim diaper handed down from another friend. Perfect! I made a thank you picture to send to my sister, using the free Canva app.
    – I sewed a toy basket for my daughter, from fabric gifted to me, and used a flour sack hand towel as lining. Reversable, plus it matches the chair cover I sewed for my husband, both of which are in our living room.
    – I used a gift card from Swagbucks (i.e. $0 OOP) to buy the cheapest food items 3x ($4 total) from Starbucks when they had a promo on. I’ll get loyalty points because of the promo, which I will later use to buy an expensive item ($12 plus).
    – I made oat-flour to use in baking, and also a batch of Greek Yoghurt to eat with the last of my cranberry sauce/jam.
    – I also made smoothies using frozen fruit purchased on sale over the past few months, plus whey leftover from making Greek Yoghurt.
    – I sent a friend a care package from items I had around the house: fancy scented soaps that my mother gave me, some chocolate that my husband gave me for Christmas, a puzzle book given to me years ago that I never used, and a few herbal tea bags. I packaged it in a bubble mailer that I traded for last week. No money OOP except for the mailing fee, and hopefully it will make my friend feel cared about.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

  2. My fall planted swiss chard is finally putting on some size, though not quite ready for harvesting. I planted more, which is starting to come up, along with three types of lettuce. We also planted tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds, as well as potatoes last week. We’re going back to raised beds in one of our gardens, and are trying Trex boards this time, which we found for less than half price on Craigslist. It took a trip to VA to pick them up, but we enjoyed a little road trip. We have enough to make seven 2′ x 8′ beds. We’re having another cold spell, with snow in the forecast for tomorrow morning, but it won’t be long until spring is here to stay. Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/04/new-raised-beds-frugal-accomplishments.html

    1. Forgive me if you have a lot of experience with raised beds, but in case you don’t: with Trex you have to provide more internal supports than with regular wood. We have two Trex beds, eight feet long and three feet wide and three feet tall, and they bowed so badly (especially after a heavy rain or watering) that we had to take out the soil and add supports and then put the soil back in. A few years ago we got used horse troughs off Craigs List and after punching drainage holes in, they are now the best raised beds we have. Too slick for critters to climb into, the soil warms faster and better than with wood or Trex beds. If you get the opportunity, you might want to try troughs. Have had raised beds for over 30 years now and wish I had thought of troughs earlier!

      1. Thanks, Mable. We were given the heads up on that issue with Trex, and have supports in place in the middle of the bed. So far so good. I really like the trough beds I’ve seen people using too, but so far, my husband is not on board with that idea. I think they’re more attractive, plus much higher from the ground than our beds, a definite plus as we age. I’ll start looking on Craigslist for them now too. Thanks again.

      2. Did you fill the horse troughs with rocks or any filler before putting soil in them ? What is a good price for use horse troughs?

  3. Wow-great pics. I have never seen a hummingbird moth before. Great to see your baby walking and I love the bags Winter made-if it was financially feasible for her to make more and sell them to supplement her college income, I am sure many people would like to buy such sturdy and attractive reusable bags. Brandy- I definitely think you could supplement your family income with doing family and wedding portraits if you wished to.

    Spring is in the air here too-which means the snow is melted and the average daytime high is 8 C-still at least 6 weeks before danger of overnight frost passes and gardening begins in earnest. My frugal wins this week-used a $3 off coupon to gas up the car and $15 off $100 purchase at the grocery store, Applied for a credit card giving 30,000 free aeroplan miles and the fee waived for the first year( after which I will cancel it) if I spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. DH will do the same and voila we have 60,000 miles which equals 4 return short haul flights( 1,000 km) for DD to come and go from uni. Not that we need 2 new credit cards but nice to take advantage of this offer. DH and I did our income taxes ourselves and after contributing to an RRSP we got a small refund. Watched my friends 4 children for 4 hrs on Friday for extra income. Wishing everyone a wonderful week.

  4. Such beautiful spring pictures. I am loving all the flowers!

    My highlights for the past few weeks- used up several items from pantry and freezer. I’ve tried to restrict my grocery shopping since we have so much that needs to be eaten.

    My mom came into town and treated me to a day trip to Gibbs Gardens. The daffodils and tulips were blooming beautifully. We ate at a Louisiana/Cajun inspired restaurant for lunch. It was a fun Saturday and free for me.

    I cleaned the carpets this past weekend. It wasn’t difficult but had been a job I kept putting off.

    I put several movies on hold at the library. I have a lot of books that I own that I would like to read or reread.

  5. Such a pretty time of the year!
    This week I stocked my pantry with several things on sale: bottled water- 32 pack of sixteen ounce bottles for $1.99! That’s about 6 cents a bottle! I bought 10 cases (just under $20!) to put in our basement storage to keep for emergencies. I made sure my daughters knew about this sale and got some from their local Kroger’s to have in their storage too! Since the sale continues through Tuesday, I may buy some more.

    I bought ground beef (80/20) for $1.99/pound. A very good price here, not a “WOW” price but with all the weather calamities lately across the country that may impact our beef supply, I’d rather add to my storage now at this good price than to be faced with much higher prices or doing without. I’ll make some into hamburger patties for grilling, some into meat loaves to freeze and the rest cooked up and crumbled for freezer to pull out as needed for a recipe.

    Helped daughter process her sale chicken into ziplocs with individual uncooked chicken breast, cubed cooked chicken breast, cooked in crockpot, shredded chicken breast for freezer. All these not only saved her money because of the sale, but also will save her time in meal prep! So glad my daughters are seeing the wisdom of stocking up and “investment” cooking and preparation!

    Based on the request of a friend, I made some Reusable Bowl covers that are reversible and machine washable to cut down on the need for plastic wrap. It’s another way to use up my excess fabric stash as well as adding a little to our savings for hubs retirement in 2 months as well as paying down a hospital bill! Here’s a link for 1 set I made up yesterday: https://pin.it/zlth37j4wa764h
    We’ll see if there is a market for these. I do like the idea of cutting back on disposables while making use of materials I have on hand!
    Since Spring (otherwise known as allergy season! ) is starting to show up, my nose has been dripping like a faucet again, so I’ve been grateful for the flannel Softies I made so I’m not spending on box after box of Kleenex! https://pin.it/5rusvgxtuz5lmi . It’s amazing to me how little changes can really add up to savings!
    My daughter and I made up 2 dozen breakfast burritos for her to take home. We bought ground turkey and I added my homemade breakfast sausage seasoning to it before cooking it up. Daughter had tortillas and cheese she bought on sale and I added 2 dozen eggs from my chickens to scramble up. Voila! 15 minutes later the burritos were made and ready to package up for grab and go breakfasts!
    Gave our new granddaughter a quilt I made for her. https://pin.it/frhsfs6oxzirpn
    I am so grateful to have my gift cupboard where I keep quilts and other things so that I don’t have to scramble at the last minute to get a present made or bought!
    Chickens are doing well- about 3 dozen eggs/week! I let them out to spring clean my veggie garden so it will be ready for planting! They do such a good job of eating the weeds and the grubs/bugs that may be lying in wait to snack on my veggies! Gives my hens some extra protein too! Win-win!!
    It’s been a good week and I’m grateful!

    Pat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. That would be a wow price here for ground beef! I have not seen it that price in years.

      What do you put in your breakfast sausage seasoning?

  6. Thank you Brandy for the picture of the hummingbird moth. I now know what to look for . I planted over 180 seeds and some have already sprouted. I just need the gardens to dry up some and let Hubby get out and do his thing so I can plant it.
    Been an up and down week, I would say on the frugal side we did OK… The 2 jobs Hubby was suppose to do on Saturday fizzed due to weather but should be this week if the sun keeps shining. The bills are paid except for 3, I have the money just waiting for paperwork to go through.
    I have kept to using the drying rack or clothes line for the clothes. Our water usage according to our softener company is half of what they just were told by the EPA that a person should use. Made me feel good plus he added means we use less salt so we save there also. We got our propane tank filled, was told we had enough credit that it would pay at least half of this tank which I had thought we would have to pay for the full tank. We contracted last fall but didn’t contract enough since we had no way to figure it out. Still we had a cash balance as the contract price was higher than the going rate and our company only charges the going rate and NO higher than the contract price (even if that means they pay the difference).
    I will be going in for surgery due collapsed 5 cm of small intestine from Crohn’s in a couple weeks (crossing t’s and dotting i’s for ins). I am baking different bread, muffins etc for the freezer and putting some unbaked doughes also in the freezers to help Hubby. We already talked about meals and laundry etc. Daughter 4 is coming up in 2 wks to do what every spring cleaning I don’t get done. I bartered gas money, a ham and a turkey in exchanged of 12 hrs(including her 90 min of drive time each way). I might send bread home with her also.

    Blessed be everyone. Love reading the comments, helps refresh old practices and brings in new ones.

    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/04/frugal-day-by-day.html

  7. I stocked up at Aldi’s before they closed for remodeling. I also made raised beds from leftover brick. I am using my garden soil, but I bought Black Cow compost to mix in with it. I also bought rubber mulch for the front of my house because I realized that I can’t afford to buy regular mulch every year, and this has color guaranteed to last about 10 years. They were both on sale at Lowes. I put out pinestraw but I don’t have enough for all my beds. I had overwintered my flowers in the garage and they all came back! All you have to do is water about once a month to keep them from dying. I won’t be buying any this year. I am saving money by staying home. LOL We did eat out for a change, but I saved about $4 with a coupon, which paid for the tip. I saved plastic eggs from last year to let the Young Women use for our ward egg hunt. I am surprised at how many people throw them away every year.

  8. Brandy, those tote bags are absolutely gorgeous! Winter should make a few more and sell them to make some money for herself. If was so nice of your dad to share the household items with you. I’m glad a few have been earmarked for your eldest son, to help him when he starts out on his next stage of life adventures. Can’t wait to see the enamelware in your beautiful photography. I absolutely LOVE enamelware! I guess your youngest decided he’s had enough of sitting around in a house full of siblings and decided to get up and join in the fun. You must be exhausted chasing that little boy around, though at least there are many others who can help keep an eye on him as well. Thoroughly enjoyed all your photos this week!

    We have been experiencing beautiful spring like weather lately and all the snow had melted. In fact, on Saturday, it poured rain the whole day. Early in the week we were trying to remember if March had came in like a lion. On March 31st, mother nature answered our question. We awoke on Sunday to about 3-4″ of freshly fallen snow and the most dazzling snow scene you could ask for! Our puppy kept asking to go outside, so she could play in the snow. So I guess March went out like a lion this year! Our frugal accomplishments for the week before we head off on our month long Europe adventure:
    *Meals made at home included hot chicken sandwiches with baked potatoes and carrots (I had dental work done, so I had scrambled eggs once the freezing came out), breaded chicken fingers/patties with Knorr side kick noodles & sauce and corn (intentionally made extra chicken fingers to use in school lunches), grilled cheese sandwiches with potato chips, “make your own” pizzas (toppings & naan bread pulled from freezer), BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs, pasta with cheddar sausage slices and sauce, and roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn.
    *We gave my mom money for her to buy groceries for while we are away. She bought lots of fresh produce, including 2 bunches of bananas plus a big bag of bruised bananas for $1, 2 clearance romaine heads for $1 each (perfect for Guinea pig), and some stock up items to help her get through the month. She still has plenty of cash left for her weekly shopping needs. But I am pleased with her efforts to shop frugally (not a normal habit for her).
    *My mom made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies early in the week to use in school lunches. We also had pulled a banana bread loaf from the freezer on the weekend to use for lunches. Between the two, school lunches had a treat in them and other family members were able to enjoy the treats as well. On Sunday, she made a batch of classic chocolate chip cookies for school lunches the this coming week, as well as made 2 banana bread loaves (1 with chocolate chips added, the other with dried cranberries) for the freezer.
    *I prepared 2 Easter gift bags of goods and small presents for DD and her friend from our candy/chocolate stash (I pick up all kinds of candy on sale when I find it at awesome prices to use for various Holidays) and gifts I found on clearance. Since I will be away over Easter, I have given these to my mom, for her to present to the girls at Easter.
    *Took DD to her cooking class again this week. The teens tried their hand at making some breakfast items. DD really loved the Mexican inspired egg, bean & veggie wrap as well as the lentil granola bars. We were able to bring home 4 extra granola bars. Hubby and my brother were able to try them, as well as DD eating some for breakfast the next day.
    *For her cooking class challenge, DD made Low Carb Breakfast Egg Cups (recipe link: https://lifemadeketo.com/low-carb-breakfast-egg-muffins/) as her breakfast item. She played with the recipe a bit and used spinach, feta cheese, garlic powder and oregano. Turned out AMAZING! Highly recommend trying these. You can really add, substitute & modify ingredients as you choose. I’m thinking she should try onion, corn, peppers, possibly black beans and taco seasoning (could even serve with salsa). The egg muffins can be made ahead then stored in fridge or freezer (quick meal idea), very portable (for those with busy schedules) and they are perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Flavourful, healthy, vegetarian friendly, gluten free (and dairy free if you don’t add cheese), and frugal recipe for those on a tight budget (especially if eggs are on sale or you raise chickens yourself)
    *My mom and brother took the puppy to a free, local dog park for the 1st time, to let her run off some of her excess energy. Puppy came back exhausted and happy. She then went a couple more times during the week, with various family members tagging along for the fun.
    *We also took puppy to a local pet supply store for a free nail trimming. Cost $5 for a tip and I picked up a treat for puppy at DD’s begging. Not exactly free, but I can live with that cost until I find my dog nail clippers buried somewhere in the garage.
    *Used my Wellness Centre membership 2 times this week. Chose not to use in more, as I didn’t want to risk inflaming muscles or back problem right before we left for our trip. The membership expires on April 6th, but we leave on the 1st. My brother and DD can still use it though, if they wish.
    *Hubby and I finished packing our backpacks for our Europe trip. Last minute, he decided the coat he had was too heavy. So out we went to buy him a new one. Thankfully found a nice one at 30% off. I also scored 2 new t-shirts for $5 each, one of which I will be taking with me. I sure hope we haven’t forgot anything important! Our plane leaves for Ireland at 11pm tonight (April 1st). Very exited, but already missing my daughter.

    I hope to maybe read the blog and comments as I get a few moments of down time. However, I will not be able to easily post comments as I usually do. So I promise to write all about our trip when we get back, including any frugal travel tips I can remember!!! Have a great April everyone!!!!

  9. I’m not aware that I’ve ever seen a moth like the one pictured above. It’s rather beautiful. How smart it is of Winter to sew some grocery bags for her use while away at school. It looks like she did a great job of it! And Brandy, you must have your hands (more) full now that Hamish is running about.
    This past week was eventful. For the first part of my week, my back was once again bothering me so my plans of decluttering and organizing was postponed. Because I wasn’t as mobile my meals were rather plain and even then I was very tempted to order in because it was difficult to stand for very long. I resisted though which did save us some money.
    -Then on Saturday, my eldest daughter who is getting married, threw a wrench in our plans when upping the date of her wedding from November to May! She and her fiance went to look at their final wedding venue and they were offered $2500 off the package if they’d change the date to fill up an opening for May. Since they are paying for their own wedding they jumped at the chance. However, they did check in with both sets of parents to see if we could manage the time change before they definitively booked in the date. We all agreed that it would be a challenge but it could be done. So now, instead of the bridal shower I was planning to have outdoors in August, I’ve now arranged it for April 13. Since where we live, the ground outside will still be soggy, never mind the chance of April showers, the party will be had indoors. Now it’s a mad dash to get the wedding invitations out, as well as inform everyone of the shower date; bridesmaids dress/shoe shopping will happen this upcoming weekend; and planning and shopping for the menu for the shower. It’ll be hectic…I hope my back holds up.
    -Besides all that, my middle daughter moved back in with us this weekend because she was laid off at work. We spent Sunday moving her stuff back into our house. She’ll find another job, save more money and we’ll see what happens from there.
    This past week, I did manage to get a few things accomplished:
    * took advantage of a sale on ground beef and made hamburger patties, and froze, to barbecue in the summer; made meatballs for the freezer; cooked up 2 large pots of spaghetti sauce and froze in baggies in 4 cup measures. I got 8 bags out of it.; made 1 pot of chili and froze in individual packages. Froze the remainder of the beef in individual 1 pound packages.
    * got boneless, skinless chicken breast on sale 40% off, so I manage to pay $13.00 for 12 breasts. Froze.
    * got ground pork on sale, 40% off so bought 3 pounds of it. Froze.
    * made another batch of yogurt.
    * using frozen pumpkin, I made an orange-pumkin cake with streusel topping.
    * served white bean, kielbasa and vegetable soup. Used some of the mixed greens I froze previously as a substitute for spinach in the soup.
    * used a loaf of homemade bread I previously froze for toasting.
    * made baked apples for dessert.
    * pitchers of iced tea and iced coffee.
    Hopefully this week I’ll be able to get more things done. Cheeers.

  10. I have never seen a hummingbird moth that close, but I have sure seen the “kids” up close on my tomatoes. You might want to hang some small flat pieces of wood near your tomatoes — wasps like to build on the underside, including the parasitic wasps that go after hornworms. I got that tip from an organic tomato farmer. Of course, with small children you would have to place them carefully, should you choose to try that.
    Your pictures are beautiful, as always. Winter’s handiwork is great, as always. It’s always so pleasant to come to this blog and see the beauty in everyday life.

    I have mostly stuck to “the usual” for frugal efforts this week, including:
    Hung out laundry, in these rare days when the weather has been perfect to do so.
    Used my homemade laundry detergent.
    Cooked from scratch.
    Didn’t waste food. Ate leftovers as lunches or incorporated them in another meal.
    Dug out a piece of colorful fabric from my stash to make simple stuffed toys for two small grandkids’ Easter baskets.
    Used the “Alvin Corn” recipe to clean some windows.
    Kept my errand trips to a minimum to save on gas and time.

    Spring is definitely here in Florida!

    1. We have so many wasps! They build nests everywhere. Last year we were overridden with them.

      1. We are already having the same problem with wasps.
        I sprayed two areas yesterday evening. My husband is allergic so I have to be sure to get rid of all of them.
        Unfortunately, they decided to make their homes right at the garage entrance where my husband has to access
        his car each morning.

        1. Dish soap and water will destroy a nest. I have used it before and a beekeeper here used it to get rid of some Africanized bees in my garden.

          1. Brandy, we have so many wasp nests every year on our front porch. They attack us on the way in. They zoom inside, uninvited! Seriously–dish soap and water? What brand? How do you spray the many nests without getting stung? I am presuming it doesn’t kill them immediately as you are spraying. I have even used extra-hold hairspray before, as it makes their wings stick together mid-flight. I would love to know the details of your more natural method, please.

            1. I used the sprayer that I use to spray my plants. It’s a pump sprayer. Just a little hand-washing dishsoap (any brand) and water. I can shoot it with a little distance but I wore long sleeves and jeans when I did it just in case. You could wear gloves too if you want. I was about 2 feet away, max. I came back the next day and they were gone. The same thing happened when the beekeeper did in my Africanized bees. Spray, leave, check back the next day.

  11. The photo of the hummingbird moth is incredible! What a beast for creating plant-eating caterpillars. I can only imagine the size.

    We are all going to miss Winter when she heads off to school this month. I love seeing her creations.

    • Combined errands with dentist appointment including doing my big April grocery shop early, which meant creating a meal plan for the month.
    • Used a self-service car wash.
    • Needed paperwork notarized so went to my bank for free service.
    • I’ve been sick so I watched a DVD from the library, HGTV free shows, and read library books. I was also really happy to have frozen soup to defrost and eat.
    • Tried a new recipe and made a pot of pumpkin pie oatmeal – I added cloves and ground ginger to the spices in the recipe
    • Once I was feeling better, I made asparagus soup, banana bread, tomato, ham & cheese roulades from The Assortment blog

  12. First time commenting here, although I have been reading this beautiful blog for some time now. I really like the idea of using the shower warm up water for the garden, but how do you all transport it from the bathroom to the garden? Do you just take the bucket that the water’s been collected in and haul it across the rooms to the garden?

    1. Yep! I have a 3-gallon bucket that I keep in the shower. I have a square shower, and when I shower, I push it into the corner, so it can still get clean water in it while I am showering (it gets it from one side of me). I just haul it outside and dump it into the pots.

  13. I have some old cotton flowered tablecloths (50-60’s style) from yard sales that I don’t use and have no sentimental attachment to. Do you think that fabric would work well for grocery tote bags? Must they be lined if so?
    I am sure having strong bottom seams and sewing handles on firmly are keys to good totes! I use ones I have received free from conferences and such for groceries, getting a five cent credit per bag at our major store. The ones with squared off bottoms seem to work best, and I would prefer prints to not show dirt.

    1. Those would work beautifully if they are the heavier cotton. Personally, I would add a lining just so they are heavier duty and the handles are sandwiched between layers so they are also reinforced well.

  14. Here is what we did:

    * Borrowed books and ebooks from the library
    * Listened to free audiobooks while I did extra house cleaning. I made the time fly and the work so much more enjoyable
    * To my husband’s joy, I baked a double batch of cornbread from scratch
    * Cooked delicious meat that we had purchased from a farmer
    * I had an excellent meeting with a client who is experiencing good results from taking care of her health
    * Thoughtfully, I pre-made parts of meals on Saturday night to make Sunday night more relaxing.
    * I cooked a huge batch of beans in the thermal cooker and used them for three different meals. 🙂
    * It was a delight to take a walk outside in the fresh, crisp air! (No gym membership needed to exercise.)

  15. Your son is adorable!

    Had a pretty good week, frugality wise.

    • Used free tea, coffee and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Canned 11 jars of turkey with broth and chicken with broth (I call them soup starters. I just add veggies and pasta on the night I use them) and 1 jar of just broth. I made them from 1 roast chicken carcass, 1 roast turkey carcass and a bag of chicken bones from when I cut up 4 chickens a few weeks ago. I also used a gallon sized Ziploc bag full of carrot peelings, onion skins and tops and celery ends to make the stock. Practically free food.
    • Ate in 7 times. Meals were steak, baked potatoes and grilled asparagus (twice); vegetable soup made from my leftover container in the freezer (it made enough for 3 more lunch servings. Ate 1, froze 2); hamburgers, corn and baked beans; Brats with cabbage and boiled potatoes; salmon, baked potato and broccoli; and top ramen with leftover steak and broccoli.
    • Hubby brought his lunch 1 time. He had lunch paid for at work 2 times. The other 2 days he ate at Taco Bell pretty cheaply. I brought my lunch the day I went into the office.
    • Worked 13 ½ contract hours.
    • Had Dad over for lunch instead of taking him out. He had a jar of jam that he couldn’t use, so gave it to me and then wanted pb&j sandwiches for lunch. Had that with a can of fruit cocktail that had been in my pantry for a while. We watched “The Greatest Showman”. It was a movie he had wanted to see. I was able to rent it from the library.
    • Stopped at the 99c store on my way home from the office and bought 6 packages of English muffins, a bag of bagels and a loaf of raisin bread. Also picked up a couple of frames that I needed. I have a hallway that I have hung family pictures in (I have a very big family!) I’m doing all the frames in black.
    • Cancelled a monthly subscription.
    • My boss had me order 2 baby gifts and 1 sympathy plant for some clients. I went through my Southwest Rapid Rewards account and got 1000 points per purchase. Plus used my SW credit card so got points for the purchase cost as well. And my husband has a business trip that I booked on our SW card also, so he will get the points from the cost of the flight plus the mileage.
    • Weather got up in the high 80’s this week. Needed the AC, but tried to use ceiling fans as much as possible.
    • Used a gift certificate for drinks at our Trivia league night. Just had to pay the tip. Then we came in 1st and won another $30 gift certificate.
    • Got a free candy bar from the Friday Freebie.
    • Sent a birthday card and a get well card from a stash I already have.
    • Got 8 ½ lbs. of pork chops for 49c/lb. Also got some things off the clearance rack for Valentine’s Day at 90% off. One of the things is a pale pink vase that says “love”. My daughter is pregnant with a baby girl right now. The nursery colors are grey, mint green and pale pink. I plan on getting some mint green flowers to put in it and giving her that for the baby’s room. Also got a free box of foil from the Monopoly game going on, and from the ½ off clearance rack, I got a box of tissue for 50c and 2 honey Dijon mustards (regularly priced at $5.49) for 69c each after sale, clearance price and Ibotta rebates; a Hot Wheel car for my grandson for 62c, and some Thanksgiving cocktail napkins for 50c/package. Also got salad dressing (5 bottles) and BBQ sauce (3 bottles) for 49c each and 10 bottles of PowerAde for 49c apiece. When my Hubby works in the heat here in the desert, he does need the sports drinks vs plain water. I also got 3 – 4 lb. bags of sugar at 99c and 3 cans of corn for 29c each off the clearance rack.
    • Hung 3 loads of clothes outside.
    • Hubby put in 2 raised beds in our backyard. We planted tomatoes, 4 kinds of bell pepper, jalapeno, cilantro, basil, swiss chard and zucchini. Hopefully we will get some produce this year. A large investment, but it will pay off in the years to come. Plus Hubby uses it as stress relief. He loves to garden.
    • Hubby’s friend races cars and is in town for a race. Normally Hubby and I do things together, but this time he went with a couple of other friends and I skipped it. Not worth paying the price of admission to do something I wouldn’t really enjoy. I just stayed home and watched a Netflix movie.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  16. Always such a pleasure to see your new photos and posts Brandy!

    This past week I tried organize my outside chores on the nicer days and did some cooking and baking on the cooler days. I continue to list and sell items on my local FB buy and sell site, which helps declutter the house. I worked 5 hours at my occasional office job and my husband was able to earn some extra money preparing income tax for a couple of people. I made my swag goal x7 this week and was able to gift my out of province university daughter some kitchen supplies from a Swagbucks gift card. My seeds are sprouting inside and my perennials are just starting to poke through. I am not planning on purchasing anything else for my yard this year, but I will be moving a few plants around.

    Wishing everyone a lovely frugal week ahead!

  17. My friend knows I dislike gambling, so as a joke for the last decade, she always includes two rippies in with my birthday card as a joke gift. I dutifully open them, never win anything, so tell her thanks for nothing and we have a laugh. On my desk this weekend I found the two rippies she sent months ago, hidden under some papers. I opened them and won $250!! This morning we sent them off, because for prizes higher than $100, you have to mail them in to redeem them.

    Aside from cutting the husband’s hair, and a mystery shop that paid for an oil change plus $40 cash, all my frugal efforts won’t pan out for months—I started seeds for over 100 leeks, plus seeds for tomatoes, cukes, romaine, flowers, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli. In a week I will start the zucchini and winter squash, plus all my herbs. Many of the seeds were leftovers from other years or received in trade with a gardening friend. I use my own compost for the seed starting medium and recycled items for the containers. Except for the lights I have to keep them under until the weather moderates and I can put them in the greenhouse during the day, I have spent only about $25 for supplies and that money came from saved My Points gift cards I earned. I keep track and we regularly save over $1000 (after expenses) by growing our own food, so I will be reaping the savings starting in late June.

  18. Oh Brandy,
    I died laughing at the adorable picture of your baby! He looks as if he’s letting you know he’s not so sure about this walking thing ?.
    And Winter’s bags are darling!
    Thank you for sharing your lovely life with us.

  19. Winter made lovely bags, and the baby is so cute! I had dental work done today, and will have more done in three weeks. My insurance pays 50 percent. I went to the thrift store and bought Dansko shoes for $3.99, a purse for $3.99, a Lands End bathing suit for $3.99, and a t-shirt with the local college logo for $3.99. My son told me I needed “new” jeans and they were 10 dollars at the thrift store. I am so happy because everything I bought was on my wish list! Unfortunately, I need new tires. I am not surprised because I travel 60 miles, one way, to work every day. I will get that taken care of this coming weekend, but that is a huge expense. I am trying to use up the last of last year’s mulberries because the tree is already showing small berry buds. Hope everyone has a great week!

  20. I caught up on grocery shopping except for butter. Our local grocer’s price this week was nearly $5 a pound so I am keeping our remaining butter for table use. I hope the 1.5 pounds on hand lasts until the next sale. The grocer never puts decaf on sale, but CVS had a 40% off coupon for almost anything so I stopped first there and got mom her decaf and then got my regular coffee on sale at the grocer’s.

    I altered two thrift store wool skirts I had been saving to fit me if I ever lost a lot of weight to fit mom. She is almost at her best weight but her waist has gotten a bit bigger the last few years. I had been asking her to sort through her clothes but trying on outfits is exhausting when you are 95. I took the waistband of a skirt she no longer could zip up and compared it to the waists of all her skirts and pants. She now has six or seven bottoms destined for Goodwill along with four pieces of mine. I also took a $1 stretch velvet shirt from Goodwill that I loved except for the fact my arms were too long for the cuffs to reach my wrists and cut off the sleeves above the cuffs, hemmed them, and now have a comfortable, pretty top with sleeves that go just.past my elbows.

    I now have a CPAP machine. I was not aware until this week that use of CPAP can reverse brain damage caused by sleep apnea, reduce gastro-esophageal reflux, improve mood and kidney function. I look like an elephant wearing the mask and have awakened two nights in a row, briefly, thinking a storm must be coming because of the wind only to find my blanket too close to the vents on my mask. But I feel a bit more like my younger self already. The pump is very quiet and the mask, while very funny looking, is not uncomfortable. My sister has been told to get a sleep test too but has been postponing it because of cost. But she likely will save money in the long term by following her doctor’s advice. Feeling more clear-headed and energetic is priceless.

    Today, I am baking bread and chocolate cake. I’ve told mom that with the rising costs of everything, we have to be very careful not to be wasteful so that we continue to have all we need.

    Oh, the Wild, Wild West of free street camping that started last October in San Diego likely will end this month. The mayor has been getting lots of complaints. No surprise. Parking was in short supply in beach communities even when camping was banned. One of the interesting challenges of living in an older apartment with half as many parking spots as apartments is lugging a week’s worth of groceries home in the dark from the nearest open spot over a block away. However, I am still planning on getting an older minivan and using it as a minicamper occasionally. But I won’t be sleeping in it in San Diego. I might want to live in a senior housing complex someday (I am hoping years in the future because mom wants to stay put) and I doubt regular rvs, even short ones, are allowed in its parking lot. But a minivan won’t rack up storage fees.

    Winter came back for a visit this weekend but the forecasters are saying it will feel like spring shortly. The grass is greener now than it was Friday-at least the grass that is not still covered by the new snow. I love seeing and reading of the growth in other people’s gardens.

  21. Hi everyone,
    Winter’s tote bags are awesome! One of the things I’ve done with some of the freebie tote bags I’ve gotten is to replace or put a bottom in the tote bag using plastic canvas. I get it at JoAnn’s and use a coupon. I cut them to size and put in the bottom of the bags. This provides a really strong bottom and is washable. The cardboard ones that often come in the free tote bags aren’t washable. The clerks are always commenting on my bags and wondering where I got them.

    1. Plastic canvas sounds like a good support! I saw some samples at a fabric store once that used vinyl/ plastic/ thick oil cloth as sewn on bottoms.

    2. I love your suggestion of plastic canvas. I made a tote bag for my books in college from the scraps remaining after I had sewn some sturdy pants and used iron-on interfacing to stiffen the interior of its bottom. The bag was machine washable and dryable and lasted all four years. The self-fabric shoulder strap ran under the bottom of the bag twice to support the load. The books were so heavy–one shoulder stayed an inch or two lower than the other for a year or so after college.

      Winter’s beautiful bags look like they are sturdy and will last too.

  22. Hi Brandy and everyone from Australia :).

    Brandy you are right swiss chard just keeps on giving and is one of our favourite crops here too to grow. The tote bags Winter made are divine and will certainly come in handy when she shops and how lovely baby is now walking although that means more time keeping an eye on him as they move so quickly :).

    Our savings added up to $71.70 last week :).

    In the kitchen –

    – Made 3 loaves of bread in the breadmaker saving us $10.47 over buying them locally.
    – Made 3 batches of Moo yoghurt flavoured with our homemade strawberry jam saving $8.43 over purchasing it.

    In the gardens –

    – Pulled down 2 more posts from the grapeyard vineyard.
    – DH put together our post hole auger that turned up in the mail.
    – Tabatha the cat caught herself a 60 cm highly venemous Eastern Brown snake (the 2nd most venemous land snake) and dispatched it without being bitten. She brought it inside and quarantined it in the food storage room and wouldn’t let us in there until it had passed from this world. She is one fiercely protective cat with her humans and got to say an apt hunter.

    Finances and listings –

    – I listed 32 handmade items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $52.80 on normal listing fees.
    – Paid our usual minimum fortnightly mortgage repayments and paid the additional monthly interest on the loan as well to save time and interest paid.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).

    sewingcreations15.

      1. Me too Athanasia she is a wonderful cat and sort of companion animal for my husband who has PTSD from his service. Having animals around calms him down and he has a real affinity to cats who just flock to him. She curls up with him when he lays down during the day and it is so sweet to watch.

        Have a great week :).

        sewingcreations15.

  23. My hubs and I have been trying with great success to use what we have when it comes to meals and not wasting food. We have been planning our meals around what is already in our freezer and pantry. I cashed in 2200 swaybacks points for a $25 gift card to walmart. This will be used for sandals and water socks for my son for the summer. I went shopping with my mom and she treated for groceries for our family as well as a lego set for my son for his birthday later this year that was 50% off at Target! while there, I also purchases two sets of toys for our gift closet at 50% off as well. went to a parenting seminar where they provided dinner and childcare; they offered my son to take home an extra pizza which we gladly accepted! We are regularly taking swag bucks surveys in order to redeem for gift cards for amazon, target and safeway. our goal is at least one of each per month. Any extra swagbuck points will be used to secure gift cards to Lowe’s to put towards a new fridge. I have a feeling we will need a new one by the end of the year.

  24. Love those bags – they look very much like a couple that I have from a certain east coast US Co. but I’m sure her’s cost a fraction of those – and look just as good!
    And Hamish really doesn’t look too happy about something – but love those sturdy little legs – bet he’s off and running any minute now.

    Can’t say it was an especially frugal week but I did work 22 hours so that is good – I’m due a couple of cheques at the moment so looking forward to making a big deposit by the end of this week. I took snacks or a sandwich with me each day and only bought a coffee on one day. Mondays the kitchen is in use as an army of volunteers prep & cook to serve over 300 homeless people at our weekly supper so I try to stay out of their way.

    I enjoyed free coffee and snacks at Sunday Fellowship and Tuesday night’s volunteer session and a lovely lunch after the Lenten Talk for this week (donated $5 but it was certainly worth it).

    I had planned on a day out with a friend on Friday but as she was ill I took myself off to IKEA (hadn’t been there since before Christmas) – spent $15 but it was still a lot less than I probably would have spent with my friend. Did end up having one meal out as I met two out of town friends for supper on Saturday night. I hadn’t seen them since September so it was great to catch up and as I only had a burger and a beer it didn’t break the bank.

    I did a good clean out in my kitchen and pantry on Friday when I got home from IKEA so I’ve taken note of what needs to be replenished and moved things around so it makes some items a bit more accessible. Funds for the replenish will be available in mid-April so I have made my lists and will start to carefully check the flyers for sales and see what I can match up with Loyalty point offers to build those back up. It’s going to be a busy few weeks!

  25. I’m lurking in the background reading posts. No savings and it seems like no real frugalness going on. Spending a great deal of time with my parents due to terminal medical issues. Doing my best to not spend money but somethings can’t be avoided. Trying to save my sanity. Sending smiles and hugs to those in need.

    1. remember to take a little time for yourself. A cu of coffee outside perhaps. You need
      a break or two now and then. Prayers for you. Ann

  26. I love Winter’s bags. She could definitely sell those and make some money at college! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were chicken stir fry with rice, hamburgers over salad, grilled steak strips with roasted potatoes and broccoli, eggs with bacon and biscuits, seared fish with baked potatoes and green beans, baked chicken with green beans and brown rice/quinoa, a chocolate cake with a confectioners sugar/milk glaze.
    *My co-worker got a new office chair and was going to throw her old one out. I took it as an office chair was on the list of needed items for my son’s apartment.
    *My husband changed the oil in my car and my son’s car. He used a $20 off $50 coupon to purchase the oil and filters.
    *Cut my husband’s and my son’s hair.
    *When we bought our home a few years ago we knew it was only a matter of time until we would need to replace the roof. Thankfully, my husband works for a home improvement store. We were able to purchase our roof/install through them during a 50% off materials and labor promotion. In addition to that, he was able to use his 10% employee discount and he will make commission on the sale. We paid for it with our credit card to earn points and transferred the money from savings so we can pay the card off immediately.
    *Made my own hummingbird liquid and put out my feeder.
    *My boss offered me a raise. I was able to turn down the raise in exchange for having every Wednesday off. I’d been praying about working less and being home more. This was the perfect example of God’s provision. I hope to make good use of my time cleaning/organizing my house, baking, and helping others.
    *Found a desk for my son’s apartment at a thrift store. It was marked down to $18.75. Also found 2 lamps each marked 50% off. We went through my kitchen and bath and pulled out a lot of things he can use. Made a list of the few things we will need to buy so we can continue to look at thrift stores. Accepted a toaster oven from my mom for him.
    *Earned $3 for spending $30 on fruit this month (all bought on sale) at FL.
    *Met my husband’s siblings at at central location about an hour and a half from us for lunch. It was a buffet and we both drank water. On the way back, we stopped at several thrift stores. I found a heavy-duty like-new pot with lid and a fitted sheet for my son, a brand new Home Interior candle and a pair of jeans for myself.
    *My mom told me someone gave her some purses that were not her style and would I like to look at them. The strap of my favorite purse had just broken and I didn’t think I could fix it so I said yes. Imagine my surprise when they turned out to be Coach and Dooney & Bourke!! I took 2 and passed along 2 to my daughter. She was delighted!
    I have found that keeping track of my frugal accomplishments not only encourages me, but also makes me so grateful! Thank you, Brandy, for this place to share and learn!

  27. Brandy , I saw one of these insects here last summer, just didn’t know what it was called.
    This week’s frugalities include:
    -drying all clothes on a rack in my basement, still too cold for line drying
    -packed all meals from home
    -received $21 from my Checkout 51 app
    -wore thrifted scrubs to work everyday
    -used herbs I froze last summer in my meals
    -planning my garden to maximize the space
    Have a great week!

  28. This week we decided to take a look at our budgets and completely change them for April. We want to get the last of our student debt paid off so my husband can go to work for himself. I’m very worried about the possibility of no income for a while so my grocery plans this month will be to stock up on the essentials. I’ve already cleared out a cabinet in the kitchen to store extra food.
    In addition I’ve only been driving 3x a week and this has really saved us on gas money. I’m going to continue to do this until summer when I can drive even less, I don’t enjoy leaving the house in summer anyway.
    I’ve been cooking all our meals from scratch and trying to make multiple things at once so I’m not wasting the gas to heat the oven.
    My daughter started to fill up the bathtub but then decided to not take a bath until the morning, I was able to get a lot of it into buckets to water the potted plants and refill the toilet a few times so the water wasn’t wasted.
    Fingers crossed the garden does well this year and I can stock up the pantry this month!

  29. Wonderful pictures! Loved the one of Hamish!

    *This week wasn’t overly frugal unless “spending to save” counts. I shopped at the local liquidator that sells mostly Costco returns. I got two pairs of the Costco version of Uggs, two pairs of pajamas, 4 sports bras and some long underwear bottoms for $75.78. Most of it was for my daughter, who has reimbursed me for all but $20 for my Uggs.

    *I found some 50% markdown dairy at Fred Meyer–a gallon of milk for .99 and Activia yogurt for $1.39. Both were 11 days before the pull date! (???). I also bought about 12 lbs. of asparagus for .99 lb. to make more pickled asparagus, which is tomorrow’s project. I got triple fuel points for my son on all of the produce, plus I took the survey on the register tape for an extra 50 points.

    *We cooked and ate all meals at home and did all of the usual frugal stuff…which sometimes consists of doing nothing at all! One thing I do regularly is to tear dryer sheets into thirds and use 1/3 sheet per load.

    *Not frugal for me, but son and daughter-in-law closed on their first home last Monday (near where Winter will be attending college in eastern Idaho). They are moving in the middle of this month. My son was 35 miles from here last week on business. He rented a trailer and when he leaves tomorrow, he will be taking home my late mother-in-law’s bedroom suite, my old Dyson, a rug we had at our old house and the late Lulu’s dog bed (they plan to increase their family, LOL).

  30. I noticed my telephone bill had gone up by $50 per month so I phoned and asked about it. It turns out that my discounts had expired.
    I negotiated my new 2 year deal and received my $50 per month discount back. — same total discount amount but different discounts.
    The pain in my arm is great at night so instead of sleeping I’ve been working on our book. I’m beginning to like it. It’s just a history of a local park but
    my friends and I have put a lot of work into it. We’re hoping to get a grant (or two) to cover the printing costs.
    I should be finished my part tomorrow and then I’ll be sorting stuff out and tidying. I like to do it outside so I hope this year we have no more forest fire smoke.

    Brandy, I love your moth photo. Superb.

  31. During the past week, we camped at the beach, using our park pass for all but 2 nights. On those nights, my husband and I enjoyed a get-away together for the first time in a long time. (We had to pay for those 2 nights because the park pass is only valid if our youngest daughter is with us–she’s the one who qualifies for it–and she was on a mission service project with the youth group for those 2 nights). Paying for those 2 nights made us continue to appreciate the park pass all the more! My husband and I went out to dinner one night while we were having our time alone. Otherwise, we cooked all the meals at the campsite, or took food in the car if we were out and about.

    Our daughter who lives in Hawaii came over for a week and we enjoyed her company. We took her camping for part of the time and had a huge birthday party for her. I had my husband run out to the bread outlet store for inexpensive rolls, but otherwise, we were able to pull off the party with food we pulled from the freezers and pantry.

    Yesterday, I got a gallon of milk. Otherwise, I have not needed to go shopping. We’ve been eating the odds and ends left from camping and pulling things from the freezers and pantry. I’m hoping to hold off until the end of the week to make sure I’ve really used up the things that need to be used before buying more.

    I have a few seeds that came up in my greenhouse so far. Hopefully, more will come soon. They seem to be sprouting slowly this year. My husband took a gift card we’ve had for a couple of years and bought 2 blueberry bushes and 20 strawberry plants, which I will be planting in the back yard. I am working on a place for them, but I had to be back at work yesterday, the weekend was full of the birthday party preparations, and now I look out and it is pouring rain, so it’s too wet for yard work for a while again. It will happen. I did get a few branches chopped up and put in the yard debris bin and got the lawn mowed for the first time this season.

    I put pictures of the beach and other activities on my blog: http://beckyathome.com.

  32. I am still ill so I’ve only left the house to see the doctor. This saved me all the gas money and wear and tear on my car.
    I, also, use water left by the kids and grandkids to water plants. I’ve done it for years and had never considered it as a savings. Thank you.
    Being ill we have made soup in the slow cooker for my meals. We figured that each meal is costing me less than $1.50.
    I bought a used pattern for the sloth costume I will be selling this year.
    I watch for sale items in my sewing world. It is one of the ways to make wonderful items without “breaking the bank” to buy fabrics and notions.
    There isn’t much else this week.
    Money was spent on OTC medicine for the vaporizer. Bronchitis and pneumonia are a pain in the chest. *laughing*

  33. What a sweet picture of Hamish! This week was full of frugal efforts that hopefully will bear fruit in the future.

    *Planted flower and herb seeds for the garden, put on heat mats under lights in the basement. I’ve also got the cold frames (new! homemade present from my husband) full outside. I’m excited to see how they will do. Nothing up yet in them, but that’s no surprise in New England.
    *Cleaned up all the garden beds on Saturday, our first sunny and warm day. Foolish of me to rake at 39 weeks pregnant, but I’m ready for this baby to arrive!
    *We cooked a steak dinner for my mother-in-law for her birthday. She loves filet mignon, so we splurged on one for her and then did a tasting for the rest of us of different kinds of steak. It made it feel a little less like a purely cost-saving measure to make it a tasting, more like an adventure. And now I know how much my family prefers NY strip steak. Not exactly frugal, but the money on groceries went way further than money in a restaurant.
    *eating up freezer and pantry
    *Managed to get a textbook from interlibrary loan that I really wanted to see but wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy. It took the library 4 months to get me a turn with it, so the only frugal thing I contributed was being willing to wait. It turns out that it looks terrific, so I’ll buy a used copy on Amazon when my turn ends.
    *I attempted and was pleased with a batch of strawberry popsicles. I’ve never made anything other than juice popsicles before and tried making a smoothie out of these before freezing them with some fruit pulp. Yum. And popsicles from the store are expensive!
    *Hooray, hooray! Aldi makes a duplicate of my sons’ favorite granola bar. It’s in no way frugal for us to buy store granola bars, even at Aldi, but my sweet husband got the boys some as a treat, and they all got hooked. Until I can figure out a duplicate recipe at home, I’d sure rather pay 1.80/box than 3/99.
    *I”m experimenting with plating our foods to make them food for the eye as well. It’s been fun, though I’m not gifted at it. Since my sons are 4 and 2, we’re definitely still working on mealtime behavior, but I think that the pretty table helps them rise to the occasion.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone! I always enjoy reading these posts and the comments.

    1. LOL I dug out a sapling sugar maple from my parent’s place and transplanted it into my back yard at 40 weeks – it put me into a very fast labor and delivery of her ON her due date no less! Unless there are some complications, the work is much less than what your body has to do to deliver the baby 🙂

  34. *****Brandy, I have never seen a hummingbird moth before, though if they bring tomato hornworms I’d rather not. We do not have a problem with tomato hornworms here, gladly. Hamish looks as if he takes walking very very seriously. 🙂

    *****We have had snow on and off for 2 days now but it is melting as fast as it falls. Huge flakes. It is like being inside a snow globe. Most of our other snow has melted except for spots in the shade or the plowed up piles. Thoughts are turning to Spring, but spring like weather is not a sure thing for weeks yet. I have not seen any of the bulbs emerging yet. The asparagus should be poking up soon. As usual, since my oldest girl moved back next door I no longer have to plan and plant the gardens. Such a relief. I happily deal with the fruits and vegetables of her work.

    *****We did all the usual of mending clothing, eating at home, cooking and baking, recycling, packing our lunches and using up lefovers and composting. Since the younger and middle daughter will be moving home we are cleaning out the 2 spare rooms. One was Olivia’s since we moved from the big house next door to this ranch. But the other has always been the guest room used mostly by my brother in law when he lives with us. It was decorated a few years ago with a horse theme. Johanna has never lived in this house as she and her brother lived together for college in another town. Olivia’s room is pretty much the way she wants it but we pulled everything out and cleaned floor to ceiling. Oldest daughter and our renters helped me. The spare room we removed all the horse posters and horse lampshades and curtains and bedding etc…Paulie likes horses. The room has 2 twin beds, one that slides half under a corner table when not in use. Right now she said she’ll go with just the mini blinds on the windows as we don’t/won’t need the warmth of curtains soon and then we can see about bedding and curtains then. We just need to relocate the sewing area and we are thinking of using one half of the 4 season room.

    *****Needless to say I am very happy the girls will all be back in the same area, all 3 of them. I have no idea where the 2 girls will eventually be led, but this is nice for now. Awhile back I had mentioned the estranged sister of my husband…her husband had left her for another and and she has slowly rebuilt all her connections to the 7 brothers and sisters and to the cousins, aunts and uncles she hasn’t known for the last 20+ years. She’s doing well and joins us for family gatherings and even takes Paulie for a day here and there. She is in the next town up and with her background in being the office manager for her ex-husband’s business she was able to easily find a job.

    *****Attended a lovely baby shower at church with a delicious luncheon provided. My mother, oldest daughter, my sister in law Susie and 2 aunts and I went in on the gift together and bought the baby swing on their list and then also gave them a CD of baby lullabies. Also attended a ladies afternoon at church, also with a light luncheon and dessert and listened to an interesting speaker from another church. My name was picked and I was able to take home the small floral centerpiece from the table I was sitting at. Last Friday night was game night at church and everyone brings a snack. I made hummus and brought carrot and celery sticks for dipping. Even though I switched to a different grocer from the Kroger affiliate I still down load the free item onto my card. Picked up a free candy bar and I think it was a flavored rice packet over the last few weeks. Our new grocer had a frozen food sale and we bought 35 bags of peas. We grow peas but we tend to eat them all up and only have the minimum for freezing by the time the season is through. We attended a family 50th wedding anniversary party.

    ***to be continued

  35. I have a check for $37 dollars to pick up from consigning clothes.
    We have sold our house and moved in with dear friends for the remainder of the school year. I am helping friends with some household jobs in return.
    I brought with me a small pile of books to sell on eBay.
    I am also working on a backlog of sewing projects. Some are gifts. Some are thrift store clothes re-makes.
    I found a Nike golf shirt ( looks brand new) at the thrift store for 10 cents! My husband happily took that! I also bought 3 pairs of jeans for 10 cents each. I use them to make denim bags to gift and to sell.

  36. I stuck to my grocery budget this week. I too stocked up on a little bit of ground beef thinking prices will go up. Instead of going over, I went over the list and took a couple things off and then scaled back on other things that I wanted to stock up on. I immediately came home and froze the extra meat. I was able to get some chicken thighs on special which made a very tasty pasta dish with peppers. While I cannot yet harvest from the green house, I only bought produce that was cheaply priced.

    I planted a pea patch in the green house as well as more lettuce, some herbs, more radishes and spinach. They do very well in there. The kale has sprouted. I also cleaned out the strawberry bed. I’ll have to start over on that. I lost all of my plants. I am going to plant from seed. They are supposed to produce fruit the first year… we’ll see. I started an instagram to document the green house and various projects that I plan to under take over the next few months. If anyone cares to follow literally from the beginning, you can find it here. https://www.instagram.com/aplaninmind/?hl=en

    I am loving the bags that Winter made. I don’t know what it is, but they appeal to me when they are handmade. The last bag I made was a messenger bag in a French garden print. I just started a farmer’s market bag this week. It has multiple pockets to keep your purchases organized and separated with one large center pocket. I am very excited that it is almost farmer’s market season. The bag will not cost anything as the fabric was donated. Other frugal sewing included mended pants for my daughter.

  37. -I found two new dresses at Belk on a clearance rack that were marked down to 40% off the lowest tag price. I got each dress for under $20 a piece.
    -My daughter’s banquet dress had an inappropriate dip in the back that violated her homeschool co-op’s dress code. So I found just the right shade of fabric at Hobby Lobby on sale at 50% off and plan to make a modesty piece to make us all more comfortable…and not get her kicked out of her event:)
    -Enjoyed free drinks and birdwatching with my kids at my husband’s 10K last week
    -Planted a small garden this year and remembered to line my raised beds with hardware cloth to keep out voles. One year they ate almost all of my sweet potatoes, but were kind enough to leave behind a few chewed up remnants as a peace offering…
    -Used a Krispy Kreme coupon to get a rare treat for my family to enjoy at the end of a rough day
    Pictures of my week at http://thethriftyeducator.com/2019/04/02/frugal-things-11/

  38. I just printed off your recipe for swiss chard soup. I planted some of this a few years ago and the plant produced so much! But I had no idea how to use it so I wasted a lot of it. Do you have any other ideas on how to use it? I tried sauteeing it like spinach, as my kids love spinach but didn’t like it. So I am curious to know what else you used it in.

    1. I steam it and put lemon on it. I put it in stir fries and in soups, both chopped and blended.

    2. Kristy, my family dislikes greens that are just stir fried so I use them in other preparations where they are steamed, chopped finely and mixed with another ingredient(s).
      * For example, I’ll mix the steamed, finely chopped leaves with ricotta cheese, parmesan, garlic and Italian seasonings and use as the stuffing for Vegetarian Stuffed Pasta Shells in tomato sauce; or I’ll use this filling as a layer in Meat Lasagna or Lasagna Roll Ups. Nobody has ever noticed that it’s not spinach when used this way.
      * Sometimes I’ll brown ground meat, add Italian seasonings, garlic, onion, chopped swiss chard and grated mozzarella cheese then I’ll use this as a filling to make Stromboli. I serve each stuffed bread slice with marinara sauce.
      * Like Brandy, I’ve chopped both the fresh leaves and stems into small pieces to use in Soup along with a bunch of other vegetables and pasta.
      * When I have an over abundance of swiss chard, I’ll steam the leaves, chop, then squeeze out the excess water and form into 2 inch balls and freeze. When I add to soup, I just add a few frozen balls directly to the broth. I can also defrost the amount I need for any recipe.
      * Sometimes I’ll make Spinach-and-Stuffing Balls substituting swiss chard leaves for the spinach. Delicious served with garlic dip.
      * I add chopped, steamed leaves to Egg Frittatas.
      * With the stems, I’ll dice them fairly small and add to Coleslaw along with some bell pepper dices, celery, onion, carrot and the cabbage. If the stems are red, it adds a nice colour to the slaw.
      * We enjoy Steamed Vegetables in Wraps, so I’ll add swiss chard stems along with the other veg.
      * I also stuff the leaves as I would for Stuffed Grape Leaves.
      Hope some of these suggestions help.

    3. i like to make swiss chard with garlic, sour cream, bacon and an onion, sautéed oh yeah and a small can of tomato sauce. It is Yummy.

  39. Brandy, I noticed you mentioned reading a series of e-books called “Darling Debutantes”. I assumed they were some sort of offshoot of the “Darling Dahlias” series, but if so, I can not find them anywhere. I quite enjoy the “Darling Dahlia” series, so could you let us know if they are, in fact, related?

  40. Frugal Accomplishments for last week :
    -Cooked a turkey from the freezer that was purchased at the pre-Thanksgiving cheap prices. Used in many meals.
    -Combined errands to save on gas. Also signed up for a rewards card at the Walmart gas station, which is our preferred gas station, and have already saved a few cents per gallon. More gas savings this week because our daughter was on spring break from school this week so we didn’t have any trips to school in the mornings or to the bus stop in the afternoon.
    -Paid off the smaller of my 2 medical bills, adding $65 back to our monthly budget.
    -Found business card paper while cleaning and organizing and printed my husband some cards at home. This saved at least $15 by having them printed elsewhere, and we just wanted basic cards. We are putting these at local small businesses and handing them out to those we know or my husband has done work for previously so they can hand out to people looking for construction. Our local paper is over $50 to run a once per week ad for 4 weeks (a month) so this could be a much cheaper and hopefully more effective marketing method.
    -I noticed the 2 extra payments we’ve made this month on our truck were applied to interest only and not principal. I wasn’t sure if that’s the only way to do it, so I chatted with the bank (it’s an online bank) and they changed both payments to principal payments and told me to contact them anytime I wanted to make an extra payment and they’d make sure it was applied correctly. I’m glad I asked!
    -Earned $2.00 in Ibotta rebates ($1 was from my mom’s receipt as she doesn’t use the rebate apps). I had enough to cash out so transferred $20.93 from ibotta to Paypal. This will go into our savings account.
    -Spent 3 hours shopping our auto insurance and ended up staying with our current company because “all of a sudden” they could find us more discounts even though I very regularly ask! But now we’ll be saving $100 per month.
    -Finally talked my husband into looking at other options for our satellite tv service. We live in the middle of nowhere with no cable options and cannot stream. We also live too far away and too many obstructions for one of those big antennas to work. So our options are no tv or satellite. We finally agreed on a lower priced plan with a different company so will be changing soon. The savings will be $60 per month for the first 12 months and then $25 per month for the 2nd 12 months since we have to get a 2-year contract and they raise the price during the 2nd year. Still a savings so that’s great! I went through Ebates to get $37.50 back and used 2 offers through the tv company to get $250 in Visa gift cards which will come 30 days after the installation. My mom was looking to change her service as well, so I invited her through Ebates and earned another $25 off that and then she was able to get the same offer I did and she received $10.00 more from ebates for signing up.
    -Our electric bill was $21 lower than last month so it’s paying off doing those little extras like thinking before I turn on a light, hanging laundry on the clothesline, etc.
    -Worked out our April budget and it’s looking doable. This is due to sticking to our budget for the last several months and consistently trying to come in under budget in as many areas as possible.
    -Dehydrated onions that were 99 cents for a 3 pound bag at ALDI recently. I dug the small dehydrator out of the attic that my friend got me at a yard sale for $2. It worked well, and I have 2 quart jars (reused from previously purchased spaghetti sauce) full of dried onion flakes.
    -Made sauerkraut out of sale-priced cabbage during the Saint Patrick’s Day sales. I followed an recipe in an old cookbook that was as simple as chopping the cabbage and adding to jars with salt and water. They should be ready in 3-4 weeks. I got 4 packed quart jars out of 2 medium heads of cabbage. I reused old mayonnaise jars although now I don’t see mayo in glass jars anymore so I’m glad I saved them.
    -Spent $100 at the accountant to go over the Turbo Tax return we filed for our college daughter. They found errors and filed an amended return which not only saved us from paying almost $1,000 in taxes owed according to the TurboTax return, but netted an almost $1,000 refund! That was time and money well spent.

  41. I feel like I need to start writing things down so that I can remember frugal things that I have done. This past week, I went shopping for a family member’s birthday – remembered my coupons, kept to my budget and left the stores without any “extras”. This was a big win for me 🙂
    On Friday evening a coworker brought dinner for the entire staff so I was able to save the meal I had brought for the next night’s meal. He brought in homemade Indian food. I was pleased to be able to try new foods as well.
    That’s all that I can recall. Have a great weekend everyone !

  42. Spring break is here for us, meaning a change in routine. Monday I took the grandbabies to The Living Planet Aquarium, using Frontrunner/bus to get there and back. Tickets purchased after 4:00 p.m. were $5.00 less, so that saved $10.00 on admission. We had a scare; the two year old decided to take herself to the gift shop and we didn’t know where she was during that time. The staff was fabulous to get the word out to look for her. Thankfully, she was shopping and was quickly located. We ate dinner at the aquarium, a rare treat for the grands. Fortunately their portions were generous and the kids were able to split a plate. The highlight of the aquarium was the kids’ delighted giggles when a butterfly landed on my nose! Tuesday found us at the Bean Museum at BYU, which is free. We spent about two hours and could didn’t see everything. Today it’s a bit showery so we are headed for the library for our entertainment. Tomorrow will be a picnic at the park if the weather permits. Friday, maybe Hogle Zoo, depending on weather. I’ve enjoyed the break from being up early and have enjoyed fixing more complex breakfasts that I normally do. I’ve also enjoyed not feeling like I had to hurry. I spent about four hours over the weekend purging paperwork, filing, etc. Lots more to go, but feels good to get that much done. Have a wonderful week!

  43. Brandy , while on my Facebook page , I am seeing the Macy’s small appliances for $8.99 after rebate. Southern Savers is the blogger who posted it. I imagine a peek on her Facebook page will give you the link as I am not skilled in this device.

  44. I love your pictures, as always Brandy! And the information about the humming bird moth is very intriguing. I’ll remember that when we plant tomatoes next.

    We had a pretty frugal week, including a short road trip for business, but I took the family along for fun too. We stuck with our usual meal planning, which saved tremendously. We had crock pot Asian chicken and Asian slaw, which provided enough food for several meals. I have also enjoyed the warming weather and we’re spending more time outside, which means that I could do some outdoor yoga and walking, along with playing with the boys.

    Please stop by for our other frugal accomplishments!
    https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2019/04/frugal-accomplishments-1st-week-of-april.html?_sm_au_=isVkDfN7jQMQrSQF

  45. In my workplace (a hospital) I noticed that co-workers receive flowers quite often as there is a gift shop downstairs. I explain that I am a gardener, and ask if I may have the bouquet for my compost bin when the flowers begin to die. Without fail, the ladies are always happy to bring their dead flowers to me, and nearly always, give me the vase as well. (Valentines Day is especially productive!) The gift shop will also give me flowers that can no longer be sold. It’s wonderful.

    After putting the flowers into our compost bin, I run the vases through the dishwasher to sterilize them, and then keep them in my gift closet so I can share zinnia’s, roses and other fresh cut flowers from our garden with friends and family all summer long, for a lovely, thoughtful, no-cost gift. If a vase is especially large, or beautifully shaped, I can wrap it in a decorative bow (up-cycled from baby showers, and birthday parties) and give the vase alone as a wedding or birthday gift. Lesson learned: You have not, if you ask not!

  46. In the kitchen:
    I made 12 cups of whole wheat olive oil baking mix for $3 that will produce : a batch of biscuits (add water only), pancakes (add sugar and water), cornbread (add cornmeal, sugar, salt and extra baking powder), pie crust (add water and additional oil), and muffins (add water, sugar, fruit or chocolate chips.) Great mileage for four adults for only a little more than $3. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups olive oil, but I cut it down to only one cup oil and found it works just as well. Saves calories and money.
    A dozen homemade lemon muffins were eaten as dinner bread one night and the remaining six muffins became lemon cupcakes several nights later with the addition of a simple lemon glaze.
    Used leftover romaine stems from a salad, finely chopped, in a lentil soup for added nutrition.
    Used leftover pancakes for sandwiches.
    I like to precook a big batch of plain, old-fashioned oats. That way, we can just scoop out enough for a quick microwave heating as needed. The refrigerated oatmeal is so thick that we add water when reheating, thus stretching the amount of servings.
    I hand-chopped 1 pound of pork loin (much cheaper than ground beef) to produce a course-ground meat. It took an hour to hand-chop it that small!
    I save the inner, plastic bag from store-brand cheerios (we eat cheerios on top of salads, instead of croutons) to use as disposable counter protectors for rolling out pastry and making bean and meat burgers.
    I bought 6 pounds of reduced, 25% off, super-lean ground beef at $3.20 lb. and repackaged for the freezer. Unfortunately, I had just bought from Sam’s Club what was labeled as 90% lean, but had turned out to be 75 or 80%. (Time and distance kept me from returning it.) I find that it is worth it to pay more for the lean ground, which produces more actual food to us. The Sam’s Club fatty meat produced a full cup of grease per pound that we do not use, while producing less actual meat that we do use. To me, if I pay $2.50 per pound, but throw away half as grease, it’s as if I paid $5 per pound, and that is not worth it. I would rather pay more for actual meat that we use. The same goes for cheap chicken parts that are mainly skin and fat that we don’t eat.
    I am planning a very low-spend summer, with regards to food.

    Yard and Garden:
    I am hauling all tree branch and shrub trimmings to very back of yard to fill in areas where dirt has washed downhill and into the creek, bordering our fenced property. In two years’ time, it fills in the low areas. Last year I hauled it all to a previously sunken 3 foot deep area to rot and make new dirt for a new garden. The logs are rotting nicely and I have plenty of wood mulch to put on existing gardens to help them stay moist once the severe heat sets in. By next year the area will be filled with rich soil for a new garden.
    Found potting soil at Family Dollar, 8 lbs. for $1. That is around the same price I pay for 25 pound bags elsewhere. The good thing is, I can carry the 8 lb. bags much easier than trying to haul the 25 lb. bags from the bottom of the driveway to the far back yard.
    I have 45 potato plants and 150 bulging onion plants. Hoping for a big harvest this year. We cannot get fresh potatoes in the stores in our area of the country. Most of the time, they are sprouting in the stores and start rotting by the second week home. I have found my homegrown ones last for months.

    Entertainment:
    I spent the past week reading 15-year old frugal cooking forum posts from the UK. It has been free entertainment, learning new names for familiar foods and cooking methods, and how different foods are cooked and spiced differently than what I am familiar with. So fun to explore the world’s different culinary cultures. Apparently, it is quite common there to “bulk out” ground beef with oats and red lentils. When I tried it, the result was a mushy, unappetizing glob of stuff that barely even had any beef taste, whatsoever. I will stick it in a chili recipe, though, and no one will know the difference, but in the future, I will stick with my usual bulking out ground beef with brown lentils that don’t get mushy or brown rice.

    We are enjoying spring weather, beautiful flowers, and brightly singing birds here!

    1. Thank you for the information on buying lean ground beef, which I generally do, but am always tempted to purchase a lesser quality.

  47. Thank you for the information about hummingbird moths! I have seen them in my yard in past years, but did not know they could be destructive. Also, I’ve been enjoying the Darling Dahlias books which I heard about here. Thank you for all your work in maintaining this site! And blessings to you and your family as you adjust to having your daughter away from home.

  48. I canned 11 pints of chicken breast bought on sale, 8 pints of ground beef, and purchased 20 pounds of pasta on sale. Although not on sale, I bought 50 lbs of flour at the wholesale supply store, and packaged it in mylar with oxygen absorbers. I encourage everyone to start building up their stores of wheat, corn, and beef products. The flooding in the midwest has destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of crop and feed lands, along with the cattle herds. I forsee the price of beef going down in the short term as the herds are culled due to lack of feed, but then it will go very high when that supply is gone.

    Has Winter considered looking into working at a bridal or upscale mens shop while in school? Such places are often looking for people who can do alterations.

  49. It has turned out to be quite a non-frugal week here, but certain things had to be done. My husband’s driver’s license was about to expire on his birthday next week, and since the doctor has said “no more driving” we went and exchanged his for an enhanced non-driver ID, and mine for an enhanced regular license. So after several months, we can now return to Canada when we want. The enhanced license eliminates the need for a passport (and is considerably cheaper) and is good for visiting Canada and Mexico but Canada is like a 35 mile drive, so the only country we are likely to visit.
    The same day, I took husband’s hearing aids in to be repaired, having finally gotten them both in the same room at the same time. He kept misplacing them. The remote for them is broken beyond repair, but I don’t think he remembers how to use it anymore anyhow. If I decide to replace it, they will have to call for a price.
    The following day we had the plumber here to fix something that the town has recently told us was not up to code. This was news to us, because it’s been that way for 30 some years. Anyhow, it needed to be fixed and the guy the plumber sent was no more thrilled about it than I was. They had given me an estimate based on about three hours work–he was here for four, and the job is not finished yet. He had to talk to the boss about exactly what he wanted him to do for the second part. He will call to schedule that when he has a chance to come back. The estimate is probably now low for the amount of work he’s done!
    So I got those things accomplished, which is good, but there is no good way to save on those particular costs, so the first two I paid for up front and I’ll be saving towards the plumber’s bill until it arrives.
    Aside from that, I have been saving on groceries with my constant sale-price only stock ups. This week I spent $88 but that was the highest in several weeks. They had some good BOGO specials–and also B2G3 (buy two get three free)—certain things that go on sale regularly I will only buy when they are on sale. I just wait and then at sale time I try to buy enough to last until the next sale. Snapped up a number of items this week. I want to use up some canned goods before buying more, so they don’t get stale, so am planning on even less spending for the rest of this month and into next.
    Still not warm enough here to move into spring clothing, but I’m trying to find time to start some cleaning, washing curtains, etc. I keep finding cat hair hiding where I don’t expect to—who knew the cat looks out the window between the lace curtains often enough to leave a deposit of hair on each side of the curtain that he peeks out of? I discovered that this week and removed about “half a cat’s worth” but now MUST wash the curtains as well. This cat is very attached to my husband, and has to watch him when he goes out to get in the mail and newspapers every day! Sometimes he howls as long as said husband is outside, too. He doesn’t seem to care whether I am here or not, unless it’s meal time.

  50. Plant dill beside your tomato plants and the caterpillars will eat it instead of the tomatoes. Even though drought is not much of an issue here, I do like you and water my plants with the unused water that people don’t drink. I hate waste. Beautiful bags btw.

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