Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

 

While some of you were inside during the coldest winter recorded in the last 25 years in the U.S., I spent as much time as possible working in the garden trying to get things done before spring officially arrives. I realize that our current temperatures are summer temperatures for some of you (!!!)

I pruned grape vines, roses, and fruit trees.

I planted more bulbs in the garden.

I had my daughter’s heels resoled (just the heel portion) when one of the heel pieces broke off, rather than buying her new shoes.

My eldest son purchased a used moped for $325. State law requires it to be registered (only once, but not annually like a motorcycle, trailer, or a car) but as long as it is below 50ccs, insurance and annual registration are not required. In addition, it gets 75 miles per gallon! This is a much less expensive option for him to get around than having a larger vehicle with a large gas expense and an even larger teenaged insurance expense. This kind of moped doesn’t go fast enough to ride on the freeway, for those of you who are wondering about this type of moped.

I watched the Thunderbirds practice as they flew over my house and also while driving.

I went to the library’s semi-annual booksale, where I purchased children’s paperbacks for $0.25 each, children’s hardcover books at $0.50 each, and six hardcover fiction novels for $1 each. The six books will be a gift for my mom for Mother’s Day; they are from a series she is reading.

We had rice and beans for several meals. In order to use the last of the leftovers when no one wanted the same leftovers, I turned them into soup with canned tomatoes, canned corn, chicken bullion, grits, and several spices (cumin, chili powder, and paprika). As I used an entire #10 can of tomatoes, it tasted more like Spanish rice soup than like taco soup, and it made a refreshing change that we all really enjoyed.

I cooked great northern beans in my solar oven and used them in a soup with Italian seasoning, Swiss chard from the garden, chicken bullion powder and water, and dried onions.

We harvested lemons from the garden and made lemonade several times.

 

 

We had a simple birthday celebration for my son at home with homemade brownies (I purchased some eggs and ice cream for the party). I took photos of him in the garden for his birthday photos.

What did you do to save money last week?

 

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170 Comments

  1. * I continued to try and use up forgotten things in the freezer.

    * I started looking also for food in the cupboards that keep getting passed over.

    * I started taking in a green plaid skirt for my daughter. We purchased it a week ago at the thrift store, as she loved it so but it is several sizes too large. I made some progress, but need to do a bit more adjusting on it before it fits just right.

    * I found a brand new pair of black dress pants for myself at the thrift store for $3.20.. They still had the new price tag of $79.00 on the pants, so I felt extra blessed to find them!

    More details as well as a recipe for Cranberry salad on my blog here: https://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2019/02/frugal-friday-week-of-january-27.html

  2. It’s just great to see more photos of your children! You take beautiful photos. I hope you will continue. They are growing up fast!

  3. Wow, your children are growing up so much! It must be such pleasure to see them grow and develop.

    My week was nice and busy, as I like it. I was able to get some frugal accomplishments done:
    – I made Ultra-Creamy Hummus (http://approachingfood.com/ultra-creamy-hummus/) from some canned chickpeas and a few other things in my pantry (garlic, balsamic vinegar, etc.). My husband loved it and it made enough for me to have high protein lunches for most of the week. (My site is temporarily down as it crashed when I tried to update some — free — plug-ins but my husband is working on it and it should be fixed soon. Better than hiring someone, right?)
    – I made a batch of Greek yoghurt.
    – I made iced tea from tea gifted to me.
    – I made a loaf of nut bread from some leftover nuts in the shell we bought at Christmas. I used a recipe from a book I received for Christmas: “1000 Ways to Please a Husband, with Bettina’s Best Recipes”, published in 1917!!! It’s a cookbook ostensibly in the form of a novel. Very dated, stiltedly written, but also charming as long as you keep in mind it was written in 1917). For those who are interested, the recipe and book are here: https://archive.org/stream/thousandwaystopl00weav#page/34/mode/2up. I doubled the amount of nuts used, blended the nuts until coarsely ground in a blender as opposed to chopping them, and left out the lemon extract, and it turned out very nicely. I came across another link while looking for this one, which talks about economy in the kitchen, and so is very relevant to this site: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15464/15464-h/15464-h.htm It’s called “Foods that Will Win the War and How to Cook Them”. Free online through project Gutenberg.
    – I made a batch of LSA to sprinkle on my morning cereal, or to stir into hot porridge. It stands for Linseeds (flax), Sunflower seeds, and Almonds. I had ground flax and almonds in my pantry, and was able to buy sunflower seeds last week with a coupon. I blended it all up (and also tossed in some leftover homemade almond flour) for a nutritious nutty-flavoured mix that is high in protein and omega-fatty acids. I’m trying to eat more protein-rich foods to keep me full to help me lose the baby weight, while still making sure to get all the nutrition I need. And omega fatty acids are excellent for baby’s brain development.
    – I made a special dessert for my anniversary: a sort of trifle presented in a champagne glass. I used cupcakes that I had frozen (leftover from my daughter’s baptism cake) and sliced in threes (then cut to fit the glass), whipped up some cream with some icing sugar and some almond sherry (gifted to me prior to my wedding – I only use it for baking, so it lasts forever!), layered them in the glass, and dusted the top with chocolate curls. It tasted amazing and looked great! I still have cupcakes in the freezer, so when I next have guests over, I might make a larger version of it, and add in some leftover strawberry jam while I’m at it.
    – I sewed a cloth basket for my daughter’s soft toys. It has handles so it can be hung somewhere if I want to, is easily washed, is reversable, and is in the same fabric that I sewed my nursing chair cover in (a high contrast black and white fabric), so it matches the room décor. Her nursery isn’t big, so I needed to maximize the space we have and this will fit in a corner by her crib.
    – I made another batch of Apple Pie Hot Cereal in my slow cooker, and will eat it for breakfasts or lunches this coming week.
    – I made Lentil Quesadillas for dinner one day. Very affordable.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 giftcard
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a $5 gc to Starbucks (earned using Swagbucks) for a helium balloon (in package) in my daughter’s first initial. I’ll save it for her first birthday party. They’re all the rage on Instagram, but they’re also very expensive online.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. The 1918 “Foods That Will Win the War” looks fascinating, if for the propaganda value if nothing else, (Save -various foods- and serve the cause of freedom. U.S. Food Administration). Thank you for posting it, Margaret!
      I would frame page 2 if it was clearer, or perhaps set it to music. Maybe the no caps type was trendy at the time?

      food
      1 – buy it with thought
      2 – cook it with care
      3 – serve just enough
      4 – save what will keep
      5 – eat what would spoil
      6 – home-grown is best
      don’t waste it

    2. Historical cooking from the late 1890’s to 1925 is my great interest that I have spent many, many hours joyously researching over the past 5 years. I started researching for frugal, vegan options while cooking for my son and just fell in love with the whole era of women who patriotically conserved food to support the Allied war effort. Rationing in the US during WW1 was purely voluntary, although there may have been some shortages. I noticed the mention of the “fireless cooker” at the top of the page you linked. Apparently the idea of slow cooking to save fuel and energy has been around about 125 years. It was called the fireless cooker in North America, while in Europe, it was called the haybox. The method was basically an insulated box to hold the pot that had been heated and boiled for a certain amount of time to finish cooking overnight in the insulated box. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I cook several historical dishes each week to save money.

    3. Margaret, I am trying the hummus recipe but can’t seem to peel the beans as you mentioned. Never heard of peeling beans but I am willing to give it a try. So far they have soaked for two days (in my refrigerator) and the skins won’t come off. What am I doing wrong?
      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

      1. Hey Jeannie! I’ve only ever peeled canned (and therefore already cooked) beans. I’m assuming that these are cooked beans? That might be the issue. Let me know if that doesn’t work out! I actually had a friend who made this recipe yesterday and really liked it, so I hope you do too! (Even if the beans won’t peel!)

  4. Brandy, you have the most beautiful children- or handsome in your son’s case. Thank you for sharing your photography.
    Anne in IL

  5. That was a smart buy on the moped. Your son looks really happy.

    This week was a quiet one. I baked bread and made meals from scratch. Still mostly eating from the pantry and freezer, though we bought a few groceries.
    I planted some seeds under a grow light in our guest room – cabbage, broccoli, chard, and lettuce. All of these should be able to go into the greenhouse by the end of March. I also cleaned up the greenhouse a little. It felt great to be digging in the dirt, even a little.
    I also planted some hyacinth bulbs I have been chilling. I put them in pots in the windowsill. I got them on clearance after Thanksgiving.
    I’ve been reading and listening to lots of books from the library.

  6. A friend told me about a big sale last Thursday at a factory warehouse that sells Dried fruits, nuts and snacks. They were selling case boxes (15-30 pounds each) of yogurt covered raisins ($.80/pound), chocolate covered graham bites ($.24/lb) mini chocolate toffee bars ($.75/lb) and several flavors of yogurt covered pretzels for $.35/pound. Knowing that we have several kids locally who have about 20 grandchildren between them, I bought not only for our pantry, but also for them. I bought around 244 pounds! But then, the factory gave me a rewards card and stamped it for every $5 I spent. ( I spent a total of $105!) with the rewards card, I now have a $10 credit to use another time!
    Kids came over on Saturday and bought over 140 pounds! My net spent (after they each paid me) was less than $40!!! Some of these are things I will use in gift baskets for family and friends so that really has a great savings for our budget! Some will be inexpensive treats for occasions when I need to take treats/snacks to an event. Our food storage budget will always let us put some treats into our pantry, since fun comfort foods help when times are tight!

    I just finished quilting a lap quilt for a client’s 7 year old granddaughter so I will be paid for that tomorrow.
    A new customer came and bought 2 sets of “farm” fabric Soup Cozies on Saturday. When she asked if I had any, I looked through my stash and actually found 4 different fabric possibilities. She picked out 2 and I made up the sets before she arrived that same morning! So grateful to have supplies available and ready to put together quickly!

    I followed up with 2 online marketplace commenters who said they wanted Scrappy Bag and Soup Cozies and sent them quick note to tell them that it looked like our miserable winter snow/cold were past and that I wanted to see if they were still interested. Both of them resulted in sales! If I hadn’t just sent a chatty message to follow up on their comments 2 weeks before, it probably wouldn’t have happened! So that felt good!

    We are still eating out of our pantry. We were given 6 big bakery croissants and so I took a package of premade meatballs out of the freezer, spaghetti sauce from basement shelves and sliced cheese from fridge and made meatball subs I toasted under the broiler. We had enough for dinner plus 2 extra serves for lunches!
    I used tortillas to make ham/turkey/cheese wraps (22 of them) for lunches. The rest of the tortillas I used to make breakfast burritos (8) with scrambled eggs from our hens that I added last little cut up prices of the ham into and sprinkled with shredded cheese.
    Tortillas used up before they get wasted, same with sliced meats. So a total of 30 servings from those leftover tortillas! And quicker grab and go breakfast and lunch options!!

    I made Sweet and Sour Pork the other night, making the rice in Instant Pot and a jar of my home canned Sweet and Sour. Sauce and one of pork chunks! How easy and fast that was to heat up and serve! But not only did it save time but also $$!
    We are now 8 paydays away from hubby’s retirement! We are firming up our plans and discovered that with the mandatory yearly disbursements IRS will require us to take that those will make it possible to have our house paid off in 3-1/2 years from now! That would be our final debt because we will have the other ones paid within 30 days after retirement date! There is a sense of excitement growing as we get closer to our goals!
    This payday, we were able to put an extra $300 into savings and the same amount towards Hubby’s hospital bill. In the past 9 months, doing this has enabled us to pay over $5000 of the bill and we are now down to under $2000 owing on it! We can taste victory!!
    We are decluttered and donating, selling or tossing so much as we work our way through the house! It’s all making it so much easier to maintain that way!!
    What a great week this has been! Hope you and your family and all the other commenters find joy and success in frugal accomplishments this week!!
    Pat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

      1. You’re right, Vickie and now, today, being given 80 pounds of tomatoes because less than 1/3 in the three 25 pound boxes were bruised and weepy but the other 2/3 were firm and beautiful! So far today, I’ve canned 14 quarts of tomatoes with many more to come in the morning! Then 6 big pineapples for $1 each at the same place will be canned into pineapple chunks! I feel extremely blessed!

    1. What a great opportunity to get some nice additions to yours and your family’s pantries through a factory sale, Pat! I would have stocked up, too!!! They all sound so delicious. Wish I could have went with you!

    2. Oh, I should also mention, for those who live in Toronto, there is a Peak Freans Cookie Factory Outlet store in East York/Scarborough area (address: 1400 O’Connor Dr, East York, ON M4B 2T8). If you google it, there are directions on how to get there. The products they sell are factory seconds (flawed packaging, odd shapes, etc), but amazing prices! Used to work near there when I lived in Toronto. It’s a good place to stock up on crackers, cookies and other wonderful treats at amazing prices. Don’t go too often, though…it can be deadly!

      1. Here in Columbus, we have the headquarters for Cheryl’s Cookies and they have twice a year sales where things are about 75% off including frozen cookie dough, premeasured into individual cookies ready to bake! That’s a fun place too!!

      2. I know the Peak Freens place! There is also a very unobtrusive bakery on Warden, just past St. Clair. They sell a lot o leftover baking supplies at astonishingly low prices. Actually, I might go check it out this week as I’m in the area. I’ve bought cranberries and flax seeds on sale there and large containers of chocolate cheesecake bites for only $5 (I believe I served some at a party one; no on knew they were bought so inexpensively). They also sell unbaked croissants and such. I haven’t been in years, and it’s just a small store at the side o the building, but if it’s still there, it’s worth checking out! I hope to do that this week and then report back for any Torontonians on the blog who might be interested in discount baking supplies or food. Oh, and another great place in Toronto is the Dimpfelmeier baker outlet in Etobicoke. Really nice baking at really low prices if you choose wisely. And I believe there was (possibly still is) a super-duper tortilla store close by to that that sells fresh tortillas (made in front of you) for a very cheap price (including some corn ones in addition to some wheat ones). Mmmm. Now I’m hungry AND want to bake! 🙂

    3. I can feel your excitement from here! We are working to pay our house off in 9 years, when we both turn 65. That will make our retirement so much more feasible! Good luck!

  7. Monday is my favorite day of the week! This is because of you, Brandy. How I love these posts! Thank you for encouraging us all to be careful with what we are blessed with, to help others, and to find joy in the simple things.

    Thanks to the reader who mentioned the increase in stamps a week or two ago. I was able to run to the Post Office and stock up. We won’t need stamps for ages and it saved $15!

    And to the reader who joked about using the cotton from a medicine bottle to remove her nail polish. My mother gave me a bottle of B-12 that had cotton in it-guess what I did? Lol!

    We are working down our pantry and freezers, which seems to be the norm with many of you this time of year. Made a delicious pot of turkey soup from a carcass and meat that we had frozen over the summer. My husband said it was the best I have ever made. He may have just been really hungry but I’ll take it!

    Kept out of those tempting drive-thru lanes and ate all meals at home. This has been an issue for me lately and my waistline is the proof! Not to mention my pocketbook.

    The children and I are beginning to talk about our spring/summer garden. Last year’s garden was an absolute bust but we are determined to do better this go round. We accepted a very nice (and large) fairy garden that we plan to use on our deck for herbs and possibly lettuce and spinach. The garden in the yard is a favorite haunt of the local deer population. We run two layers of fencing to keep them out, which does the trick. Poor hungry fellas but we are hungry, too!

    As a family we have been staying in (VA weather is nuts! Last week below freezing and today it is almost 70) and watching an episode of the Waltons on Amazon Prime each evening. What a wonderful show to encourage love, friendship, and thriftiness. I “darned” a pair of alpaca socks that were headed for the trash after thinking of all the things they did to save money during the Depression.

    Looking forward to hearing how the rest of you did last week.

    1. Susan, where do you live in Va? I live near Richmond. Yes this weather is nuts. On 2/1 we had sleet and snow, then the next few days was close to 80 and today the high is going to be in the low 40’s! Weather whiplash!

      1. I LOVE the Walton’s! Watch it every night. It first came on tv in 1973, when my oldest daughter was a baby. I would have never imagined that someday my grandchildren would be watching it. I love to see all the things they do and use on there. They have a record player almost like the one I had as a teenager. It brings back many memories!
        I also save cotton from medicine bottles. I have a jar of cotton in the kitchen and in the bathroom. I never buy cotton.

  8. Beautiful photos once again! Our weather has turned warm, and I opened up several windows today, for some lovely fresh air. I worked outdoors one day last week, and hoped to again today, but ebay listings and an order took up the majority of my time. So, later this week it is.

  9. Your children are beautiful! And look very happy!

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea 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.
    • Ate in 5 times, including fajitas made from leftover steak and beans; Leftovers soup, made from the freezer container I have; a ham steak with an older box of au gratin potatoes and my home canned green beans; leftover chili from the freezer; and pork loin roast with Pasta Roni and green beans. On Friday, we took our daughter and son-in-law out for dinner as we were celebrating. My daughter is pregnant and we all went to the ultra sound on Friday and found out she is having a girl! Also, my SIL’s birthday is today, so it was a birthday dinner for him too. On Saturday we went to party at my brother’s house, so I didn’t have to make dinner.
    • In cooking the pork loin, when I took it out of the pot to rest, I covered it with a large glass bowl instead of foil.
    • Saved the plastic bag from the au gratin potatoes to use again. I usually use these types of saved bags for leftover meat, as I won’t reuse a ziplock that had meat in it. Also saved a bag from English muffins.
    • Hubby brought his lunch to work 4 days. I brought mine the 2 of the 3 days I went into the office and my boss bought me lunch the 3rd day. The company I contract for provides snacks, so one day I had a granola bar from there for breakfast.
    • NOT frugal, my Dad wanted me to take him to the casino. I did and lost money. I told him that until I make that money up, I won’t be taking him out to lunch but serving him lunch at my place instead. Not that big of a sacrifice to him, as he likes my cooking! I do have a hard time telling him no, so I have to watch myself next time he asks to go. I did serve him lunch that day before we went. We had turkey and gravy from the freezer (leftover from Thanksgiving), instant mashed potatoes that I have had a while and my home canned green beans.
    • Worked 14.75 hours contract work.
    • Bought some store brand Mucinex for my husband and it was supposed to be BOGO, but there was only 1 on the shelf. I went to the customer service counter after my purchase and he refunded ½ of the cost of the one I bought.
    • Was going to stock up on tuna at 69c/can, but they were out, so I got a raincheck. Also got some more 49c/lb pasta.
    • Got a few more Ibotta rebates.
    • Put together a box of pantry items that I decided I didn’t want and gave them to my sister, who is on disability.
    • At our weekly trivia league night, Hubby won a $20 gift certificate and $2.
    • Bought 2 pillows a couple of weeks ago for our guest room (with gift card). When I put them on the bed, I saved the plastic bags they came in and will use them as garbage bags.
    • Resisted the urge to buy a treat for my grandson when we went to the store. I had candy at home already.
    • Made date muffins with dates I had in the freezer for our breakfasts.
    • Our friends got tickets for free to the Waste Management Open and invited us to go along. We paid for the Uber ride to and from the event. Crazy what people will pay for these things! The tickets he got were “worth” $3,800 for 4. It included a steak and salmon lunch and drinks. And we had the “cheaper” tickets for that area!
    • Used the library.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  10. Brandy, I’d love to see a picture of your son’s moped! Are there many mopeds in your area? How did he find a used one?
    My week was just the usual kind of stuff–
    *DH filled the gas tank this morning. It had been 2-1/2 weeks since we last bought gas, and we had about 1/4 tank left. (I would have waited until we were on fumes before I bought gas, just to see how long we could go!).
    *I went to JoAnn’s and used a 50% off coupon for material to make pillowcases for DD and 50% off Dritz notions. I started sewing the pillowcases yesterday. I have been using up thread I already have (some of it is older than Brandy, LOL).
    *Continued making a big pot of homemade soup each weekend for weekday lunches. Last week’s was a new recipe for potato soup.
    *I bought 6 lbs. of 80/20 ground beef for $1.88 lb. at Super One. I was going to do the rest of my shopping there, but their prices are so much higher (at least .50-$1 more per item) that I also went to Winco. Winco doesn’t advertise (at least not here), so I didn’t know until I went that they had beef tri-tip for $3.48 lb. The best price I have ever seen for this cut was $3.99. So I bought one tri-tip for a future special meal, as well as another 8 lb. bag of oranges for $3.99. I redeemed $4 worth of coupons, but probably only saved $2 or so over the cost of buying store brands.
    *I cooked most of a pound of black beans and froze 3 sour cream cartons full. They were quite old and took a long time to cook, but turned out great.

    1. I had to laugh at your gas tank “running on fumes” comment. After experiencing a four day power outage in our area over ten years ago, when it was impossible to get gas (because the pumps need electricity to work), I never let my tank get below half full. My husband thinks this is weird, but he never complains when I fill up his gas tank before a big storm. 🙂

      1. Tina, are you talking about the massive black out, when we had widespread power outages that took days and some areas over a week before hydro was restored? I remember it very well, because my daughter was only about 3 months old when it happened! She’s now 15 yrs old. That black out left a very lasting impression for me. When I think about emergency prepareness and stocking my pantry, it’s one of the biggest things I think about. I have made sure to incorporate foods that require no heating up to prepare (canned pasta, baked beans, etc.), as well as alternative ways to cook, should we loose power for more than a few hours. I also try to stock lots of water on hand, because we are on a well, which requires electricity to pump up the water. For us, no hydro means no water!

        1. I am big on preparedness and always have a lot of food and water in the house. I have a gas range and gas fireplace so I can heat and cook, even if we don’t have power. We also have a second car (pickup truck, actually) that is full of gas. I just wanted to see how long I could go on this tank!

        2. Rhonda, yes, I totally understand that! Our big storm was in 2006. I learned a lot from that experience. We don’t lose water when the power goes out, but everything is electric in our condo, so no heat, stove, lights, or hot water. We now have decent emergency supplies and a small butane stove, which we have used multiple times during subsequent power outages.

          1. In 2003 it wasn’t a storm that caused the power outage. It was a widespread failure of the power grid that affected millions in Canada and the US! With the current volatility of our global communities, I often wonder if we might be headed towards a conflict that will change everything as we know it.

  11. Hello from chilly (but nowhere near as cold as some of you) England! I’ve finally managed to find the cash to start a proper food storage. My son’s sports practice weekend was cancelled last weekend due to frozen pitches and the money I’d set aside for that (£40) was used to start it off. I made a trip to our local Lidl and purchased oats, pasta, rice, flour, juice, canned vegetables and fruit, yeast, sugar and a few bits and bobs and stored it in a spare cupboard in the garage. It’s looking very organised in there and I feel very happy to have made a start. With the threat of food prices increasing due to Brexit, the £40 was money well spent to give me a little peace of mind. I’ll add to my store gradually now over the coming weeks. I also made 6 jars of damson jam tonight with gleaned damsons I’d had in the freezer, it tasted good even when scorching hot!! I can never wait until it’s cooled down before I try it for the first time!! Have a good week everyone.

  12. I love the idea of a moped, especially since you live in town! My frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Passed along info on a free health screening to a friend who doesn’t have insurance.
    *Earned cash back by submitting receipts to Ibotta.
    *Used my Flexible Spending Account card to pay at the chiropractor, as that money is taken out of my husband’s check tax-free.
    *Made a large container of salad at the beginning of the week and took some out everyday to pack for my lunch.
    *Drank free hot tea and coffee at work.
    *Cut scrap paper into quarters at work to use for list-making/taking notes.
    *Cooked a crockpot full of garbanzo beans to use in my salads for the week.
    *Kept the heat at 63 at night and when no one was home and at 67 when we were awake and home.
    *Bought an 8-pack of blank note cards to use for birthdays, sympathy, etc for $1.
    *Stocked up on boneless, skinless chicken breasts at $1.79/lb. and earned $5 reward for spending $25 on meat/seafood in January.
    *Stocked up on $1 bottles of salad dressing and earned $3 for spending $10 on condiments in January.
    *Earned $2 for spending $10 on paper products in January.
    *Used items in the pantry/freezer to make crab dip, tomato bacon squares and chocolate chip cookies for our Super Bowl party. Also pulled out a cheeseball that my husband had mistakenly bought at Christmas and I had frozen. Made sweet tea and lemonade for the party.
    *Our neighbors sent over a seven-layer dip so I paired that with tortilla chips in the pantry and served that at our party as well.
    *Accepted stuffed mushrooms and popcorn chicken that one of our guests offered to leave after the party.
    *Filled a bag with ice from our icemaker the day before our party so we would have enough ice without having to buy any.
    *Cleaned with orange-infused vinegar.
    *Colored my own hair (roots) with a 1/2 bottle of hair dye.
    *Walked with a friend again and caught up on our weeks/shared prayer requests.
    Here’s to a productive and frugal week!

  13. Brandy I love the photos of your children they are really beautiful. Good on your son for buying himself a moped as that will save him hugely on registration, petrol and insurance costs. My husbands only means of transport for years as he lived near town was a moped and he loved it. The purchase of the ex library books are a good frugal option for building up a home library and I used to do that when my children were at home too.

    Our savings last week added up to $267.45 :).

    It was fortunately a bit cooler here this week which was a relief but we did go swimming in our rain water tank pool often to cool us off none the less.

    Finances –
    – Paid another extra small payment off our mortgage which will save loan time and interest.

    Using up what we have –
    – We repaired a rain water tank filter with a piece of aluminium flyscreen off a window that had a large hole in it and there was just enough so we didn’t have to buy any.
    – Used paint we already had to paint 2 window sills, a beam holding pipework leading to the rain water tanks which had no paint on it, a window surround and window and a step leading to the outhouse toilet which took around 2 hours to put on two coats of paint. This saved us $70 over hiring a painter to do it for us.
    – I also collected peeling paint chips from the rain water tank shed to match up the paint to repaint it when we save the funds shortly.

    General frugalities –
    – DH cut my hair and I cut his saving around $100 over getting our hair cut in a hairdressing salon or barber.
    – Saved grey water from our washing machine and hand washing water and shower warm up water and dish rinsing water to water fruit, herb and ornamental pot plants. Used grey water pumped from our grey water tank to water a mandarin ? tree in the yard.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made a quadruple 2.8 kg batch of honey, almond, sultana, honey and oat granola with a splash of vanilla extract to last a few weeks saving $47.45 over buying the equivalent quality in the supermarkets. Thank you for the recipe Brandy this is our favourite granola which we sub the cranberries for sultanas in.

    Home organisation –
    – Moved all fuels, tilling machine, palm frond and branch shredder from the metal 2 door shed into the 3 bay leanto garage as it is more ventilated in there.
    – Moved all garden pots, compost bins, garden hand tools and brooms under the tank stand shed. This will give us a dedicated gardening shed to work from.
    – DH assembled 2 x 4 shelf metal garage shelving units (bought previously on special) to put into the double bay metal shed to store tool boxes and other items in there on.

    In the gardens –
    – I trimmed a hedge growing over the side of the garden path.
    – DH cleaned out the gutters on the patio and home with the blower vac and a gutter cleaning tool taking around an hour saving us around $50 over hiring a general handyman to do it for us.

    Have a fantastic week ahead everyone :).

    sewingcreations15.

  14. Hello Frugal Friends,

    I hope you are having a great week. I have never thought to put grits in a soup, sounds interesting!!
    Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    – Yesterday I had my in laws over for dinner. We thought it was their turn. Anyways, we pulled a meal together.. unplanned, and made it work instead of going to the store. It was a little mismash but that is ok.
    – I am trying to get back on frugal track. We had a family emergency that we flew from Colorado to Wisconsin for. We are trying to build savings back up and pay attention to all those little things.
    – My church is doing Financial Peace for the whole church. I am excited for my kids to do the children’s programs for it.
    – We were sick with the Flu A last week. I guess it was frugal because we were stuck in the house for days.
    – I sent away for and signed up for lots of free offers which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2019/02/04/freebies-today/
    – I am working on a menu plan and shopping plan for the commissary.
    – I got some free chocolates from Walgreens with a sale and coupon. They will make nice Valentine’s gifts.
    – I also got some free canned goods from Safeway with a sale and coupon from the Kuner Beans Website.
    – Meals at home, Swagbucks, Earning Station, library books and all those normal frugal habits…
    That’s all for now!
    Blessings,
    Liz

  15. I’m putting together a box of goodies to send to my daughter for her birthday, along with a check. Several were things I had in my pantry, some were gifted to us. My son commented that our family was hard to buy for. I pointed out that there was some challenge in shopping for a non-consumer family, but at least there were no grand expectations to live up to!
    I am cooking black beans in the Instapot, they have been sitting in the pantry a while. I will freeze them.
    My hairdresser is pregnant with her first baby. I gave her a baby blanket I sewed. She was thrilled.
    I cut kale, swiss chard, meyer lemons and rosemary.
    I have been collecting denim from free sources or bought for 25 cents at thrift store. I am gathering courage to start making bags to sell. I sew a lot, but need to really perfect a couple different items.
    I passed a travel soap dish to my younger daughter. It was bright purple, My older daughter had a shampoo bar that she was taking on a trip and it was too thick to fit in her travel soap dish (the purple one). So she gave me her purple one, and she took my dish which was a different shape and did fit her shampoo bar. I didn’t love the purple, but really didn’t mind having it. Then my younger daughter needed a second travel soap dish (one for body soap and one for shampoo bar), so I happily gave her the purple one. I love that our family asks amongst each other before thinking of buying.
    I have a section in my pantry for ‘use up right now’ items. It has helped me to use up some things that were near or just past their expiry dates. I don’t mind using a cake mix slightly past its ‘best by’ date. I made one today as cupcakes, which I will freeze. I often have a teenager that’s looking for a small sweet treat, and I always get a smile when I say there’s something in the freezer.

  16. I’ve noticed some readers mentioning they don’t receive notifications of new blog posts. Interestingly, I was unable to receive email notifications of your posts before, but now that you have changed things up, they appear regularly.

    In reference to a previous post: I love the idea of following museums, etc., on Instagram. Another thing I love to do is check live feed cameras at places I’ve visited, or wish I could visit, or just find fascinating.

    My best friend in high school (now my sister-in-law) and I used to toodle around in mopeds in our late teens, and we enjoyed it a lot! Even back then, mopeds were economical (and fun).

    Frugal: We had rain, so I made sure all sprinklers remained off. I did a grocery shopping that should last several months. I punched in my rewards number at the checkout and watched the total drop by $60 – I know it’s probably a bit of a gimmick but it cheers me up. Thanks to purchase/loyalty points, I went across the parking lot and filled the gas tank, and received a 20¢/gallon discount on gas. (This also counted as “combining errands”.) I cooked using what we had, and we enjoyed leftovers. We’ve made an effort to use up our stash of travel soaps/shampoos/conditioners – I haven’t had to buy these items in months, plus it’s fun remembering our travels.

    I accepted (delightedly) an offer of never-used bedding for my guest rooms from someone who bought it and found it just wasn’t what they wanted. The items are very good quality and as we have company tentatively slated at different times in February, March, and April, this was a useful and timely gift.

    Decluttering: I’ve scheduled a pickup of items to be donated to Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore. We’ll receive a tax credit for the donations. My late aunt was a great advocate of Habitat and volunteered on at least one building project, where she was privileged to meet the founders (President Carter and Mrs. Carter). When I support this organization with donations I always feel I’m honoring my aunt’s memory.

  17. Lovely pictures and your beautiful new site. I really admire how you constantly save in so many areas. I love the “books” for mothers day gift. I tried a no spend January as much as possible. You have great ideas.
    . Meals from freezer n pantry.
    . Personal needs hair..nails..health came at home
    . Cleaned out..tossed out unneeded things. Helps things to flow easier.
    . My daughter made a table runner for Spring.
    . Read a few books. Signed up for Free online classes about nutrition.
    . Kept a list of frugal items. Helps me remember.
    * I really want to be more aware of needs months ahead. Working on this

  18. I have been wanting an ottoman for my chair in our cabin. It’s not just comfort, but I spend quite a bit of time sitting and doing work during the school year and it isn’t good to always be crossing my legs. There just isn’t room for another desk, so I use a lap board I was given for free. This week’s thrift store visit yielded an ottoman. It is nice and small, round, made of solid light-weight foam and a tolerable color. It’s cover zips off, so I can wash it or recover it when I get time if I want. So excited.

    Our bi-weekly laundry run is going well. We did run a little low on socks, but persevered. I am thinking seriously about how to get the low flow washer we have here hooked up to the water tank. I am thankful that there is a laundry near by, but I dislike using them. At least we have a dryer hooked up and working.

    I found some fabric pieces at the thrift shop and forgot to take them to be washed when I did the bi-weekly wash. I took them in and washed them when I was running another errand and, when I went to pick them up from the washer, a women had 24 minutes left on her dryer and offered it to me. I took the time to dry the fabric (it didn’t take 24 minutes) for free and caught up on some reading that I had with me. That was a nice bonus!

    Other frugal accomplishments are…
    * I found a penny
    *I filled the kindling bucket from dropped branches in the yard after some heavy winds
    *I tore up more cardboard for fire starting
    *my son brought home newspaper from his college library’s recycling bin for fire starting
    *I shopped sales and have used the crockpot to make chicken for my daily salad during the week at school and a chuck roast that was a super meal deal at the grocery store. The potatoes, carrots, onions, rolls, brownie mix, frozen vegetable, can of soup and a liter of soda were all free. We don’t drink soda, but I chose ginger ale and hid it in the closet to have on hand should we get the stomach bug.
    * I downloaded the free tetris app onto my phone after reading that playing tetris increases grey cells in the brain. I don’t always have time for my usual games and puzzles to keep my brain sharp. I’ll give it a try even though I am not fond of online gaming.
    *I mended a blanket, sheet and finished some shoe bags for travel that I will need for an upcoming trip. I used thread, fabric and elastic that I owned already.
    *I successfully washed a pair of dry clean only slacks

    I have not been very productive this week during the very, very cold weather. We had quite a bit of time off and I did not accomplish anything much; however, we stayed warm and cozy during the arctic blast! I must have needed the rest.

    1. Instead of playing Tetris, since you don’t like games, why not keep your mind sharp by learning about things that interest you? You could learn a new language or a new skill.

      1. I agree, Brandy, but am out of time. I’m already resurrecting my French to assist my son when he takes it in college next year (it is his true nemissis), working toward my board certification in my teaching area and listen to learning/teaching podcasts on the way to work and back. Not to mention that I just started reading and rereading my way through the classics…starting with the first modern novel: Don Quixote. Usually I play games and do puzzles, but have just run out of umph! If I don’t like the online game that I can play in the grocery store line and such, I’ll just delete it ?

  19. Love the pics of your kids, and the moped sounds like a terrific option for your son. We’ve had quite a bit of much-needed rain, so we’ve not done much in the way of gardening around here. I’ll take the rain, though! I’m also hoping that the cooler nights we’ve had–and are predicted to have–will result in a better stone-fruit crop this year. Last year was so warm we didn’t get much of anything. I did notice that our lowest-chill peach (an Early Elberta, perhaps? It’s too wet to go outside and check. Ha!) is already starting to blossom. Yay!

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate all home-prepped meals including LO minestrone, chicken fajitas, Slow Cooker Vegan Sweet Potato Chili w/ homemade corn muffins (and I tossed into the chili some pumpkin puree, carrot puree, and tomato paste that was hanging about in the freezer following some baking I’d done ages ago), Chinese Lemon Chicken w/ steamed rice and green beans from the freezer, cold cereal on an extra crazy night, and ham and lentil soup using homemade ham stock and LO ham from the freezer.

    * As a result of our eating mostly from the pantry and freezers in January, we kept our January grocery bill down to $98.17, which is less than half of our monthly average for 2018. (I know that Brandy feeds her much-larger family for quite a bit less per person, but I’m learning from her and others on this site.) Our chest freezer is still full, so I’m trying to keep February’s grocery expenditures down as well, albeit not below $100 as I need to restock a few things.

    * Harvested a lemon and some spinach and Swiss chard.

    * Did lots of baking. Made 5 loaves of bread, orange cranberry muffins, lemon cream cheese scones, and oatmeal banana chocolate chip cookies.

    * Scraped up the lemon glaze drips from the waxed paper after making the scones and put them into a 4 oz canning jar. I probably had 2 oz. Then I used a spoonful or so in hot tea over the course of the next few days. Yum! The glaze was really too good to waste. 🙂

    * Made peanut butter.

    * Son wanted a “Frozen Hot Chocolate” from our church’s coffee shop. Instead of spending the money to buy one, we came home and made a chocolate milk “smoothie” at home which worked just as well.

    * Bought son’s swim fins on sale on line and used a cash-back CC. We did not buy the recommended resistance shorts at this time. Son will make do with his regular swim trunks for now. (Items needed for son’s HS swim team.)

    * Because of the rain, we’ve not had the sprinklers on, and we’ve used saved rinse/warm-up water for potted plants.

    * Was tempted to eat out twice on Friday (it was an unusually hectic day), but we resisted. Ate PBJs for lunch and cold cereal for dinner instead. Not ideal, but cheaper and healthier than eating out.

    * I opted to not go to a grocery store to pick up some on-sale, but not essential, items.

    * After making the Chinese Lemon Chicken, I had 1 1/3 C of chicken broth left over. I stuck that into the freezer.

    * I’ve started using empty, clean sour cream containers to freeze stocks/broths. The 16 oz size holds 2 C of broth. I was freezing broths in freezer bags, but I had more than one bag spring a leak. 🙁

    * Used our own canvas bags when I did do some grocery shopping.

    That’s all I managed to write down. Have a great week, everyone. Stay warm!

    1. Roberta,

      Early Elberta is a medium chill peach. You may want to add a low-chill peach tree to your yard as well. I have an Early-Elberta as well as a Desert Gold, which has less than half the required chilling hours of the Early-Elberta. As I had some trees die and the years keep getting warmer, I replaced with low chill varieties to be sure to get fruit. Katy apricots are low chill and so are Royals, but they require only 1/4 the chilling hours. It also means I get fruit twice: apricots twice (April and May) and peaches twice (May and July).

      1. So the rain stopped and I was able to go out and check the peach tree. It’s an Eva’s Pride (which is a low chill variety), not Early-Elberta. It has several blossoms already and lots of buds just about to open, so I’m excited about that. Last year (the year we planted it), it bore lots of tiny peaches. I’m pretty sure we should have culled some of them to get larger fruit, but since we’d just recently planted it we let it alone. Do you cull your stone fruits?

        Our Anna apple tree also has a few blossoms already; we’ll harvest from it in early summer. Our lemon tree (Eureka) is loaded with fruit and will continue to produce unless it gets too hot. No blossoms on our other fruit trees (peach, plum, apricot, pomegranate, and naval orange) as of yet, but with the rain and cool nights we’ve been having I’m hopeful. (I really need to write down the varieties and then track the weather and their production so that I can plan better for canning, freezing, etc.)

        I know you eat your apricots fresh and make jam with them, but do you ever dry them? We enjoy dried apricots, but they are typically pretty pricy. I’m hoping that we can produce our own once our little tree starts producing.

        If you get a chance (and the time), I know I would enjoy more posts on your fruit trees. It was here that I first learned about chill hours (I think it was your post about apple trees). I’m always so amazed by what you’re able to grow in your harsh conditions.

        1. I do thin my fruit, and it makes a huge difference in size. I wrote a post about it: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/how-to-thin-your-fruit-trees/

          I don’t dry our apricots, as with so many of us, it’s easy to eat them all. Marivene once mentioned that she would can hers and later dry them after canning them. They were much sweeter that way. I wondered if you could speed up the process by cooking them in a sugar syrup and them dry them. I have thought about trying it that way and was going to last year as we have plenty of canned jam, but then we ended up having a very tiny harvest last year due to weather affecting the trees.

          Your peach must be very, very low chill to be ready to open! One of my apricots is going to be ready any day now (Katy); it’s the first tree to bloom as it is very low chill. Trouble is, we are having high winds, and two nights of freezing temperatures are predicted. I may not get anything from it because of that.

          1. Thanks for the link to your thinning post. I’ll have to read it (again, actually).

            Yes, the Eva’s Pride is considered a very low chill peach (only 100-200 hours, according to the Dave Wilson Nursery website). It was developed for zones 9-10, so it’s perfect for us.

            Our apricot is a Gold Kist (300 chill hours). The tree is TINY, so it may be a while before we get much of a harvest–but I’m hopeful! If you do ever try dehydrating yours, let us know how you like the results. Can you cover your trees with sheets to protect them from the cold and winds? (Or would the sheets just end up in a neighbor’s yard? 😉 )

            When I was a small child in Phoenix, we had a couple of apricot trees in our backyard that always seemed to bloom around my birthday in mid-February. I wonder what variety they were . . . .

            1. Sheets get blown in the wind; it’s so hard! Frost is predicted the next two nights and while I never think we’re going to get another one after January’s warm weather, we always do!
              My Katy Apricots are 100 hours, I think. The Royal Blenheim (also just called a Royal) is around 300 and blooms a month later. Don’t quote me on those numbers; I’d have to look them up to be certain, but it’s around those. The Katy in my front yard blooms a bit before the one in my backyard. I think the HOA would bust me for a sheet and my neighbors would report me. It wants to open up any day but this storm sure is bringing the cold and wind!

          2. Brandy: Could you put the sheet on at night and take it off in the morning? That would keep the cold off of the fruit at the coldest time, night time. That is what folks do here but then, again, I do not have to deal with an HOA.

            1. Possibly. The trouble is, you need about 4 or 5 sheets per tree, and I just don’t have that many to use. We’ll see how everything weathers the cold. January was lovely and warm but February has turned quite cold!

  20. I love that you were able to provide your son with a great and inexpensive mode of transportation. My son was quoted an astronomical amount of car insurance for a 25 yr old small truck. I am obsessed with my electrical bill. It was only 100.00 this month and I am going to try a few more things this month to try and reduce it . I’m finding that with my children coming and going each month and the temperature differences it’s really difficult for me to see where the usage surges are from.
    For someone who has such a small budget, I find, it takes a good chunk of time to manage it. This week I focused on how to save more on our non food items. I made a list of items the family uses. All health, beauty and household items. They were divided into needs and wants. Some items are more important than others while others are used but not necessarily needed , like nasal strips for colds and allergies . My goal was to determine where each item can be obtained for the least amount. My daughter can obtain several needed supplements and vitamins by prescription from her medical insurance. I just have to remember to ask for them. The insurance also provides over the counter items by mail order. I will now order items that we are not likely to find for low prices. Many more items can be bought at the salvage stores. I just have to stop in each week and buy the items on our list when they are available and tuck them away for when they are needed. This approach should provide us with what we need when we want it. I have set aside a small amount of cash for those shopping trips. I have added my list to my coupon wallet. This week I scored a huge haul. I bought a glucose meter and 10 boxes of testing strips for 15.00. I don’t have medical coverage so this will allow me to keep check on my borderline problem. I sat in the floor and searched through 12 banana boxes for items on my list. Many of the items I got were 10 and 20 dollar items for $1.00 . There are a few items I can coupon for but coupon restrictions are making it not worth my time. There is a great deal on laundry detergent this week but the coupon only allows you to use one coupon. It’s not worth the gas to make multiple trips. I will start turning in my used ink cartridges at Staples each month and use that 20.00 credit to buy toilet paper , trash bags, batteries and laundry detergent . Anything else like pet supplies can be bought with Swagbucks giftcards. This week’s donation items for ” baby Henry ” are tubes of Bourdeaux butt paste found for 1.00 . I have a bad habit of not checking my receipts or change. This week a 5.00 item rang up for 7.00. I received the 7.00 back and got the item for free. I just love free stuff. I hope everyone is cozy and warm. We missed the worse of the bad weather and stayed toasty warm in the small bedroom with just the space heater.

    1. Great work!
      In one place I lived there was such a toilet light that when I switched it on, some kind of built-in ventilator in toilet always started working, too, and I found out it took enormous amount of electricity.

  21. I’ve been very cognizant of using up pantry and freezer stock. My oldest daughter is getting married this year, so we’ll need extra money. Although she and her fiance will be paying for their wedding, we will need to purchase our wedding tux and dress, my youngest daughter’s bridesmaid dress, paying for the rehearsal dinner, hosting a bridal shower, buying a wedding gift etc. It’ll add up in no time, so I’m trying to be even more frugal than normal.
    That said, I made:
    * 4 loaves of bread.
    * homemade yogurt, granola and a berry compote as a topping using frozen blueberries and blackberries.
    * banana nut muffins using bananas that were past their prime. Served as breakfast fare along with the yogurt.
    * bread pudding for dessert using up scraps of freezer bread and homemade chocolate sauce as a topping.
    * second weekly dessert was homemade mocha-chocolate pudding. Served with leftover frozen Christmas cookies (a few still left in the freezer).
    * pumpkin cherry nut loaves using frozen pumpkin and cherries in place of cranberries, because I don’t have any more. Froze one loaf and sent the other in my husband’s lunches throughout the week.
    * two large pots of chicken stock from freezer bones and scraps. One I froze and one I transformed into vegetable rice soup and served with the homemade bread.
    * used leftover rice and frozen pinto beans in burritos. Topped with the yogurt instead of sour cream, which I didn’t have, home canned salsa, lettuce, cheese, and some “onion sprouts” from a couple of baking onions that had sprouted, as a substitute for green onions.
    * cooked all meals at home.
    * ground up some dehydrated celery and combined with salt to make Celery Salt.
    * for lunches, I ground up dehydrated red peppers and carrots and beat into plain cream cheese along with dehydrated chives and garlic powder to make a flavoured cream cheese spread for homemade bagels. Some of the cream cheese I mixed with the yogurt as a dip for veggie sticks or thinned it even further to make a dressing for salads.
    * made my own lime syrup using frozen lime juice, and mixed with dehydrated orange, lemon and lime slices for a refreshing drink.
    * used an egg substitute in the pumpkin loaves and muffins to stretch my regular eggs for scrambling, poaching etc.
    * the usual: doing laundry during off-peak hours; baking during off-peak hours; reusing Ziploc bags; turning off lights when not in the room, etc.
    * Only bought $23.00 worth of groceries on milk, eggs and fresh produce. I will continue to keep the grocery bill as low as possible this month and bank the savings because of the wedding. This will become an ongoing, diligent effort for this year.
    Cheers.

    1. Wow, your cooking and baking this week is very inspiring, Pat J! You gave me some great ideas to consider using in the future (like your flavoured cream cheese!). Please keep sharing your cooking and baking ideas as you continue with your on-going frugal efforts. I can’t wait to read more on this subject each week!!!

      1. Thanks Rhonda for your kind comment. I began making my own flavoured cream cheese because my girls seemed to “inhale” the containers as soon as I brought them into the house. It was getting costly so when I spotted plain block cream cheese on sale for $1.50 , which is at least half the price of some flavoured cream cheeses, I decided to experiment. My girls enjoyed the Vegetable flavoured cream cheese that Philly makes, so I started there. Then I made Herbed cream cheese using dried chives, parsley, garlic and dill. The kids liked both kinds. Buying the plain cheese on sale makes it very economical. A word of caution to anyone wanting to make their own: start off with a light touch when it comes to the seasonings as the flavour becomes stronger as it sits. More herbs/dehydrated vegetables can always be added in afterwards, as per taste. Enjoy!

    2. Thanks, Pat J. for some good ideas. I dehydrate peppers from the garden. I’m going to try making veggie dip per your procedure!

  22. It’s the lunar new year today. Happy Yesr of the Pig! ?
    *We recurved several gifts: 2 boxes of oranges, a box of mangos, and a toiletry set. One set had spam and cooking oil.
    *We went ice skating and saved money by having our own skates.
    *we cooked at home rather than going out.
    *Our apartment had a private movie theater for residents. We reserved it and invited friends over for a movie and popcorn.
    *I live dried laundry.

    1. I keep tell our Guinea Pig that it’s her year! She just looks at me funny, then goes about her business without a care in the world. Some pigs just don’t know how special they are.

  23. Not looking forward to the next heating bill, but we stayed warm during the recent deep freeze. In our poorly insulated previous house, I discovered by accident that running the clothes dryer would slowly thaw the frozen pipes in the bathroom, which was sort of tacked on at the far end of the house. That saved us a plumber call once. (The danger with thawing frozen pipes quickly is that they might burst).
    Grocery store had grapefruit juice on super clearance and I stocked up, though the rest of my family doesn’t drink it. I found a recipe for grapefruit carrot soup online that I had all the ingredients for, (onion, carrot, potato, homemade broth, juice, cream I got on clearance as well), and really like it.
    Many of my actions are automatic, following what my parents did. Found new library books, keep heat low, block drafts, don’t shop much. Husband cooks often at home and bakes bread. I’m currently keeping track of the minimum amount of rinsing I need to do to pre-clean dishes before I put them in the dishwasher. I figure if there are smears but not globs, they will get clean. I need a haircut but am putting off spending the $20 on it as long as possible.
    I had received two kalanchoe plants for gifts last year, and had put them in one large pot outside over the summer. They grew about two feet tall, very healthy, but weren’t re-blooming. I brought them in for the winter and finally looked up what to do to have them bloom. Turns out, they are “photoperiodic” and need lots of dark nights and only a few hours of brightness to set buds, so I am trying that. One branch broke off and it is rooting in water. Spell-check suggests “nonchalance” as the correct spelling of “kalanchoe”, which I find funny.
    Happy savings, all!

    1. How long do they need darkness? Do you water them during the dark time? I have some that never rebloomed and I would love to see them bloom again.

      1. What I found compared kalanchoes to poinsettias, that they need 12-14 hours of total darkness at night for 8 weeks, until they set buds. They can either be covered or put in a room that isn’t used much, which sort of cuts out your house! Do only minimal watering during that time, less than half of what is usual. I can see where this would be easier in a greenhouse with controlled lighting systems.

        I hadn’t thought of them as succulents, but they are in that grouping of plants, which I normally kill through too much water. Spring and fall are the normal blooming times for kalanchoes.

          1. I went to a retreat at a monastery years ago. In the dining room there was a chest – the kind one puts blankets in – with a sign on it that said to NOT open it, it was Brother Someone-or-another’s poinsettias, that he was keeping in the dark… Chests or big plastic bins might work.

          2. I wonder how many years Brother-Someone kept the blooms coming back?
            I had thought about putting a box over them at night, or perhaps a trash can, as easier than moving the plants.

  24. Hi everyone from Virginia! We have had a beautiful day here, so I turned off our heat and opened windows for fresh air! I enjoyed the sunshine while I walked for exercise. A note to add to what Ava wrote in her comment about using live webcams: I also do this! I sometimes check a webcam for one of my favorite beaches in NC, or other places that interest me but I may not visit. One fun webcam to see is at the South Pole station! You can access it at the NOAA website: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/spo/livecamera.html The image is updated every 15 minutes if a satellite is available, or a time lapse option is available. Of course mostly you’ll see snow, and more snow……lol. I think it’s neat to be able to be able to “visit” such faraway places. Have a great week, everyone!

    1. I was part of the Antarctic program several years ago. The time to look at the SP and McMurdo station are from Sept through February. Otherwise it will be dark and little action as the “ICE” is closed, there are far fewer people and it is dark. There are other web cams that show the ICE in winter (our summer).

  25. January is a rough month around here…the weather is usually bad and hubby’s work drops off. Hopefully, February gets a little easier.

    Mother in law sent home a 12 pack of coke
    Used grocery pickup for $10 off order
    175 gift tags from my mom. I should be set for awhile
    Picked up 2 books of stamps before the increase
    A pipe busted on our hot water heater. It was $45 in parts and just under an hour of hubby’s time to fix(it probably would have been less time but the 12yo was assisting). I hate to see what it would have cost to hire a plumber
    I earned $10 from Ibotta. I save that $ up and use at Christmas
    I earned a free fountain drink from a local gas station
    My mom is on a new medication and cant take ibuprofen anymore so she sent over 5 new bottles of it

  26. I hope he loves his moped as much as we do ours! We love getting out for a ride at night and we always end up finding someone to talk to. We stay though on side streets but it’s totally doable to go to the store with. Of course we have to wait till Spring as Winter has shown up in Michigan full force. We are having a great break between storms and we have worked outside getting things we need done. Among other things Husband carried in a load of wood for the fireplace and I even vacuumed the van today.
    Here are the ways I’ve saved this past week https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2019/02/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-2319.html
    Have a great week
    VIckie

  27. Hello Frugal Friends,

    Another week spent inside to stay warm. Stayed home, ate at home, created at home, made do with what we had to avoid going out. This past week I listed and sold $40 worth of items on FB buy/sell site.

    I patched and mended a pair of my husbands work jeans, I altered a shirt for my younger daughter, I made some fingerless gloves for my oldest daughter. I continued to use my sewing machine and materials on hand to make a lined tote bag using 2 mens Dress shirts. I am trying to improve my sewing skills and this project was inspired by pinterest.

    I made 1 card with some paper scraps and I was able to trade a fellow crafty neighbour some books for her craft supplies. Win win!

    Around the house I closed all of our blinds and heavy insulated curtains to keep the cold out. I organized the pantry. We used our natural gas fireplace for heat.

    I worked 6 hours at my occasional office job. I accepted lots of freebies this week from our office “free – please take” area. I was able to take home 2 pieces of really cute Christmas fabric, 2 metal storage shelves, and 1 dozen squares leftover from a function. Stopped for milk on the way home from work to use my time and gas efficiently.

    I made swagbuck goals x 7 and I received a cheque for $20 from another survey company.

    Thank you Brandy for hosting this wonderful blog! I look forward to reading all about everyone’s frugal efforts.

  28. I’m one of those who was so cold in Minnesota this last week – I’m living vicariously through you, Brandy! I came to look at the lovely garden photos on your site here regularly last week. And then I planned my garden! How’s that for wishing…we had ice this morning and the current temperature is 9F (-12.8C). Spring will come; just not in February for us!

    Here are my frugal items for this week: http://lea-intherefinersfire.blogspot.com/2019/02/frugal-friday-last-week-in-january-2019.html

    We were not particularly exciting as we were home all week with the children off school due to cold and my University even canceling classes one day and 2 half days. We did see extended family two times (one planned and one a complete surprise) and did a bunch of cleaning out. I’m grateful for both!

    Your photos of the children are wonderful, Brandy! Thank you for sharing, Lea

  29. This week my son stayed with us.. We want to finish the house so he can have his own room. Right now he is enjoying the couch. Been cooking at home. Entertaining ourselves with the internet and talking. And preparing food. My son brought his dog so we are busy and entertained with him. Really enjoying having my son around. Walking with my other son several times a week, starting yesterday. I appreciate him putting me into his very busy schedule. Got to see grandchildren this week..
    Getting eggs from chickens except on the coldest day this week.
    Cooked lots of eggs, leftover ham gifted us from Christmas, black bean burgers, homemade pizza, Sandwiches , Burgers, sweet potato mash, potatoes, and pulled pork that was gifted us. Fruit and veggies.

  30. Beautiful pictures capturing your sons birthday.
    There is much to be celebrated each day with all blessings small and large. While we may not know the reasons or the outcomes we must trust in whatever comes our way. This week…
    -Found a $4.05 mistake on a loss leader item that was not entered into the computer at the grocery store when we were checking out. The service desk staff was impressed that we were the first ones to notice the mistake and this was a late in the day. (DH is great a doing math in his head)
    -Researched a new printer, called company to see if new printer could work without WIFI and use bluetooth like it had said it would. First customer service person said yes it would work on bluetooth. She transferred us to a tech. staff who said NO must be on WIFI. We don’t have WIFI so worth the phone call. Our printer, works but takes a couple of steps, so will celebrate what we have.
    -Hosted friends for a SB party. Everyone brought wonderful food and beverages. I made the main meat for sandwiches (Which I got on a deep discount), sides, a dessert and had paper goods from my stash and had my house decorated for Valentine’s Day so no money spent on any decorations.
    -Borrowed a tax preparation program disc from a friend for free.
    -Ground coffee beans that we got as a gift for our morning brew all week long.
    -During the polar vortex, drapped blankets and put rolled up fabric in front of all door bottoms and on window sills. Lots of drafts so we layered up with sweaters and warm slippers.
    -Sent an elderly relative a Valentine’s Card from a 5 pack I got at the thrift store. I wrote a newsie letter, picture and samples of fabric from projects I am working on that I know she will like to actually see while I wrote about them.
    -I am organizing a “hot spot” each day and am finding treasures and trying to determine how to use them up. I am rotating my clothes and making use of what I have, which in plentiful. Being home full time means no need for work clothes.
    -I put peppers and tomatoes in the freezer because the freshly purchased to use on salad had gone past their peak.
    -Enjoyed a beautiful day going to 2 “free” events in our community. It cost us less than a gallon of gas to attend so, for $2.19 we had a wonderful time.
    -Tried selling some items I had picked up at an auction that were thrown in with the items I really wanted however, antique store was not interest. I will donate to our local church run thrift store.
    Hope all stay safe in this winter weather

  31. Great photos of your kids.

    Our Seattle area winter had been mild until yesterday. We woke up to about 6 inches of snow. It’s supposed to be around 18 F tonight. The hummingbirds constantly fight over our feeder, which is so fun to watch. Today I had to duct tape hand warmers to the bottom of the feeder so the solution wouldn’t freeze. 🙂

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – Finally (finally!) cleaned up two areas of clutter in the bedroom. Everything is put away and it looks so nice. I felt such relief after this was done. I was inspired by Brandy’s new year’s goals of cleaning up clutter. I have found I can get a lot done by doing this in five minute increments.
    – Dealt with everything in my mending pile. Hemmed two pairs of jeans I bought on sale a while back, and tapered the legs of a nice pair of thrift store pants. They look much better now. Also mended a cloth fabric bag for my mom.
    – Refurbished a liter bottle of vanilla extract that was about 1/3 full. Added a new vanilla bean and filled it up with vodka. The bottle already had several vanilla beans in it. I started this bottle in 2015, and have refilled it several times.
    – Received a bill for a doctor’s visit that I had already paid in the office. Contacted the billing department and got it resolved.
    – Bought marked down roses at the grocery store (our store marks down flowers that don’t sell). The roses were gorgeous and I am still enjoying them.
    – Found a gorgeous brand new shawl at the thrift store. It was half price, in perfect condition. Will give it to a friend.
    – Organized my fabric stash. Collected a few pieces I won’t use and donated them to the thrift store.
    – Bought toilet paper in bulk, along with a few other items.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  32. From Portland, OR – This week I:
    -got a brand new Pampered Chef mini-loaf pan that bakes four small bread loaves at a time FREE from my Buy Nothing Group. I immediately used up all my old frozen bananas and some leftover cans of pumpkins to make quick bread to eat some and freeze most of it. I love that loaf pan so much after using rusted out old loaf pans for years!
    -my mom was caring for her sick mother so I made some batch meals and brought some of the food over to her. So easy to do – and I know she appreciated it!
    -I’m cooking meatless meals about half the time now and adding beans and veggies. Yay for savings and better health!
    -Also from Buy Nothing, I received a bag full of new-to-me clothing. I’ve been offered clothing from this neighbor before and I was so excited when she offered again because she has great taste and her clothes fit me perfectly! It’s been a great help because I am transitioning away from working at home to more days in a school setting. I’m thankful I didn’t need to spend money on a wardrobe.
    -I biked to work last week and biked to several errands and appointments. I also made my kids bike to school and church activities. We’ll see how this week goes, as the temperature is supposed to drop and we might see some snow.

  33. I saved money last week by waiting until the weather warmed back up before trying to start the car again after it refused to start Thursday morning after it had sat through the coldest stretch of weather in decades-as in records for cold were broken that were established before my mom was born. That day, Mom needed a prescription and the pharmacy would not deliver it. But a friend came to the rescue and even volunteered to go to the grocery store across the street.from the pharmacy drive-thru. I gratefully texted her a short list. I added an extra $5 to the check I gave her for gas–but then I forgot to sign it and when I called her before she left our driveway about the signature, her adult son glanced at the check and didn’t notice the missing signature. Sigh! So I still owe her for the groceries.

    Today, I saw that Instacart home-delivery of groceries from Kroger now exists for our zip code. Happy dance time because the only options for fresh food for us has been pizza after an organic grocery delivery service shut down. I had free delivery on our first order (except for the tip) but the code for 15% off didn’t work. I spoke with a rep from Instacart who explained that I had ordered from them instead of Kroger. (Hmm, I had set up my list starting at Kroger.com in my browser.) But, after consulting with her supervisor, she gave me a $15 credit for future purchases. I could have canceled my order and submitted another and used the credit today. But I wanted to keep the 5-6 pm delivery slot for a deli chicken. Mom and I were very pleased with the produce-picking skills of our shopper. We both felt thoroughly spoiled. My sister said that’ll cut down on impulse purchases. I told her not-so-fast. You can end up scrolling through a zillion tasty items while filling your online shipping basket. I went the Instacart route after reviewing the sales flyer for our nearest grocery store and realising that most of what we needed were not on sale there this week.

    I added a collapsible solar lantern/usb charger and a hand crank/solar/aaa battery-powered weather/AM/FM/alarm/beacon/flashlight/reading light/usb charger to our emergency supplies this week because the items were discounted on Amazon.com.

    I also bought a used cookbook, 250 Best Meals in a Mug, and have been trying some of the recipes. I love the fact that with a microwave, a mini-fridge, a large mug or two (Grab-it bowls are what we have), a small knife, measuring cups and spoons, and minimal flatware, a single person or a couple with the most basic of kitchen supplies could keep themselves fed with tasty home-cooked meals. Two-serving instant cakes and cookies are great for mom and me.

    Your photos remind me that spring will come. Eventually.

  34. only tiny savings here like changing burned out lightbulbs with LED from the Dollar Tree. They’re cheap and supposed to last a long time. I guess we’ll see. used the $5.88 cell phone charger to charge my phone with the car’s electricity instead of the house’s, since the car had to be running anyway. It will take a while to save enough to pay for the car charger, but eventually . . . got a bag of free coffee grounds from Starbucks to put on the garden spot, never done that before, don’t know how well that will work. maybe I will use the grounds as part of a mix for a raised bed for growing carrots. bought grocery store roses and ribbon from JoAnn’s and made a funeral arrangement and delivered it via a relative instead of ordering from the florist and paying to have it delivered. I have ribbon left for another project. found a mint pantsuit at a thrift store for my mother-in-law for $4.50 that still has store tags on it. I hope it fits. She is 100, and can’t do much shopping because of congestive heart failure. One car’s tranny quit; my husband had to coast the car the rest of the way to where he was going. That will be a major expense even though my DH will probably do the work himself.

    1. Elizabeth, we just installed those Dollar Tree LEDs in our bathroom light fixtures. We have the “Hollywood style” vanity bars that take round globe lights, and the round globe LEDs are so expensive. The Dollar Tree ones look nice and so far they are holding up nicely! I did buy some extras to keep in stock, because I know DT is notorious for discontinuing items once you like them. How funny that several of us are using those bulbs! We have switched to LEDs through most of our house and it is a definite savings once you get past the initial cost of the bulbs. I’m so glad Dollar Tree is finally selling them.

  35. Beautiful children photos!

    Brandy, your Neem oil spray suggestion is working so well for my broccoli plants! No more aphids! Thank you!

    Harvested potato fingerlings grown from burying potato peels in the early fall. Hilled potato plants with soil mixed with fireplace ashes for potash.

    Got a tip to bank credit card rebates and keep charging purchases to accumulate more rebates versus cashing rebate checks at store.

    Hubby cleared dam of accumulated wood by our creek. He chopped and used them in our wood burning stove. While the stove kept us warm. we made big pots of stew, clam chowder, beans, boiled peanuts, and many pots of hot water for evening hot beverages. We store boiled water in a good thermos for next day’s breakfast.

    We squeeze half of a lemon in every glass of water we drink to keep our body cells alkaline.

    Happy frugal February, everyone!

  36. Hello …
    I took a look at the Double Chocolate Banana Applesauce Muffin recipe Rhonda A posted and thought that since it was already egg-free and dairy-free, I could probably adapt it to be gluten-free as well. Success!! I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour and added 1/2 t xanthum gum. They were perfect. The calorie count came out at just under 200 calories. Next time, I think I’m going to try them as mini muffins and get them to 100 calories. Plus, it will really be the perfect size for a treat. These muffins are rich. I shared some with a friend and brought one to my PT today. I definitely earned “brownie points.” 🙂
    I’m almost ready to declare success on some gluten free muffins that use leftover oatmeal as one of the ingredients. I need to try it one more time and do a final tweak.
    Refilled my foaming hand wash dispenser with the contents of a hotel bath gel and water.
    Made Hungarian Mushroom Soup with a huge container of mushrooms I found reduced.
    Made my husband a big pan of lasagna using ingredients I got on sale. Remaining portions are now in the freezer for when he needs dinner. It’s something I can’t eat anymore. He was very appreciative. I was fasting for a medical procedure, so it was good timing.

    1. I would love to have your Hungarian Mushroom soup recipe, if you don’t mind sharing it! I love mushrooms and it sounds delicious.

      1. Sure, Pam B. I start with Mollie Katzen’s recipe in the revised edition of the Moosewood Cookbook. I’ve tweaked it though, especially to make it dairy-free and gluten-free. Here’s what I do …
        2 T oil (Canola, Sunflower … whatever, you prefer)
        2 c chopped onion
        1 1/2 lbs. mushrooms, sliced
        1 t seasoned salt
        1 T dried dill weed
        1 T paprika
        2 t lemon juice (I used bottled)
        3 T brown rice or oat flour
        2 c water
        8 oz tomato sauce or tomato/vegetable juice
        1 c non-dairy milk (rice, coconut, or cashew — these are ones I’ve used) at room temperature
        Black pepper, to taste
        5 oz plain, non-dairy yogurt (I’ve used coconut & cashew)
        Optional: hot sauce
        Sauté the onions in the oil for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt, dill, & paprika. Stir well & cover. Cook for 15 min, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice.
        Sprinkle in the flour, 1 T at a time. Cook and stir until thickened.
        Add water & tomato sauce or juice. Cover, cook for 10 minutes. Stir often.
        Stir in non-dairy milk. Add black pepper & more salt, if needed. Whisk in yogurt. Don’t let it boil, but make sure it is hot.

        If you can do dairy, by all means use that. Whenever I can get mushrooms on mark-down, this is definitely one of my go-to recipes.

    2. I made those muffins, too, and they were a huge hit. I actually made them again with half the amount of chocolate chips and no one noticed!

      1. When I make them again, I’m going to replace the water with coffee. I do this in another chocolate cupcake recipe and it’s really nice.

    3. I’m so happy this recipe can be easily made gluten free, Chris! They really are amazing muffins. Mable is right on using less chocolate chips. Because they have a nice cake/brownie like texture, 1/2 the amount of chocolate chips wouldn’t take away from them at all!

    4. I made this muffins as well. Thanks for gluten free changes. I am always looking for gluten free recipes that are tried and true.

      I subbed 1/2 c honey for the regular and brown sugars. And I didn’t add any chocolate chips in the muffins just mini chocolate chips on top. Brings them down to about 150 calories each.

      I think these could be used as brownie cupcakes! They are awesome. Thanks Rhonda a keeper recipe!

  37. My husband is considering purchasing a used moped as well since he lives near school and doesn’t need to go on the freeway. Additionally, parking is a lot cheaper. He is currently on a diet so we aren’t eating out very much and if we do, we get chicken and rice bowls + a drink for $6. So far, we have been saving about half of what we normally spend on food (!!!!), which is a great bonus to his newfound healthy lifestyle.

    My work provides free tea and coffee so I am happily sipping away at all the green tea I want, which is good for my skin and body. They also provide free breakfast on fridays. I don’t like having breakfast but I am making more of an effort to eat something in the morning.

    Now that my husband is back in school after a break and I am working, we don’t go out on many dates as we prefer to sleep in, which also saves money. Netflix has a lot of new shows and movies out and we both enjoy just relaxing at home and watching a show.

    We had a free museum day in our city and I was able to get tickets to two museums that usually cost $15 a person to enter. Parking was $15 but for some reason, after we got our tickets validated at the museum, it turned out to be free! I was able to share a delicious dish I really loved at a restaurant with a group of friends and the bill came out to be $12 a person including tip, a lot cheaper than if I had gone by myself. I don’t normally get to eat at these more expensive places so it was a real treat and to have it at a much lower price was the cherry on top.

    For the Superbowl, my church asked us to host for the college students. They provided all the food so all I had to do was provide the space. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and free lunch/dinner.

  38. Forgot to mention in my last comment Brandy, but I ADORE all these new photos of your children. It’s crazy to see how fast they have grown. When I first started following your blog, your eldest ones were tiny. They have all grown up into handsome young men and beautiful women. Your babies are now sweet children. I hope to see an updated family portrait soon!

  39. Your children are really beautiful!
    I love the idea of using a moped instead of a larger vehicle. In your area where it is not cold and not wet, it seems a good solution.

    We in Estonia (Northern Europe) have had the blessing of milder weather this week. This saved us some firewood and power, because we didn’t need to heat that much. With the temperatures around the freezing point, the children enjoyed playing in the snow – they are not really happy going outside when it’s colder but they love to build snow castles and snowmen.
    I cooked most of our meals from the pantry and freezer. I cut apart a big pumpkin that we ate in several meals, I also gave slices of it away to friends.
    We are still furnishing our oldest son’s room. In an used-items shop we found an used desk for him. It is real wood and in good condition, but since it has an intense green colour, it was marked down to 15 Euros (approx. $ 17,15 ), this is very cheap. Our son loves green. 🙂
    I knitted a pair of woollen socks for my youngest son, using the wool that I had saved, pulling apart an old sweater.

      1. Libby, thank you for the kind words. English is my third language, but I think I am better in writing than in speaking.
        First I peeled the pumpkin and cut it into chunks. I froze some in portions for further meals. I made a simple pumpkin soup (pumpkin, onions, garlic, celery, water – boiled and pureed), a pumpkin quiche (something like this: https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/pumpkin-bacon-quiche-easy-pastry/p78grhfl) and a pumpkin-coconut cake. We always keep the pumpkins over the winter, traditionally on top of the cupboard. There is no Halloween tradition here, so most people won’t use pumpkins for decorations.

        Margie – throwing away real lamb’s wool is a sin. Even if it is completely torn and in small pieces, it is still possible to make new yarn of it. As long as your hands and wrists are OK, you can learn to knit. It is fun and a good cure- or prevention – for depression and stress. Our youngest son (9 years old) has learned to knit, too, he wears proudly a scarf that he made for himself and his classmates have started to ask their mothers for wool and knitting needles!

    1. You have been lucky in having a milder winter when so many areas of Europe have had colder and snowier than normal – you really can’t predict weather these days can you?
      That was a great find for your son’s room and I’m smiling as my mom use to pull apart old sweaters in order to reuse the wool – wish I’d paid more attention when she was knitting!

      1. Margie and Reet: me too! my job was to stand in front of my Mom with hands apart, while she wound the wool around my hands, making a skein of wool from old sweaters etc. She grew up during the Depression, and was always careful of spending unnecessarily, as so many of us are now doing with this great new Thrift Movement! do you suppose we are in a depression of sorts?
        Ann Lee S
        Brandy: the children are growing so fast, your son was just a boy a few blogs ago, now a handsome young man. I see both you and your husband in his face. ann lee

  40. Such lovely photographs of your children! It has finally warmed up here and now it’s raining! From one extreme to another it seems! We had another quiet week here at home. We ate all meals at home and my husband took his lunch to work everyday. I have been taking my mom grocery shopping as she hasn’t been feeling well and she picked up a 10lb bag of potatoes, some grapes and 6lbs of oranges for us. She also sent home some extra pineapple and dinner leftovers. These additions to our food make such a difference to us and we are grateful. Our pantry and freezers are full so I am predicting a low food budget this month. I met my budget and savings goals for January and I am pretty sure that I will in February as well. I have been adding things to the box to sell at the children’s resale store. They offer cash on the spot and it is a great way to add to savings and clear the house at the same time! Hope everyone has a lovely week!

  41. What a lovely little girl you have!
    My lovely (big) little girl is becoming very expensive she failed the finall test for her tractor license twice now. And she is very sad about that ofcourse, it is very very expensive . We hope she passes on the 18. of february, then she has to go for the third time, we try not to put the pressure on her on therms of the money but she knows whats the costs are. As I was at my cleaning job telling about it (it is an temporary employment agency), the bos of the agency offered to pay the third attempt!!!! who has a bos like that these days!!! As my son is emlpoyed though his agency he will invoice it on his name so he can pay it from a fund he is a member of…….that is a 700,- euro bill.
    But we still keep up the frugal stuff:
    – practise Swedish language on duo-lingo
    – mended 3 wintercouts (husband, son and friend of son)
    -mended a pair of pants for a friend of daughter ( yes they know where to find me)
    -made yogurt with my new yoghurt maker. (not really happy with the results though, there is a lot of wey every time a make it. I put it in a collander with a cloth)
    – baked a lot of buns from scratch
    – got 2 smal cans of sprouts from the neighbour he bought 3 but did not like the taste of it. I put it in a stew/hotchpot with potatoes
    -made pumkin soup from scratch with sweet potatoes
    -made an extra paymant of our morgage that wil bring down the monthly payment
    This is my frugal live for now….longing for spring.
    Greetings from Tanja, Netherlands

  42. 1. Made low carb cookies and salami wrapped cheese snacks at home to save money and stay on my diet plan
    2. My husband’s surgery was covered by workman’s comp…so thankful!
    3. Wrote out at study guide for Of Mice and Men to use in homeschool (I forgot how depressing it was…) and plan to put it on my Teachers pay Teachers store if my daughter likes it (my very own guinea pig)
    4. Made a gallon of tea and Crystal lite instead of buying premade drinks
    5. Used my dad’s air compressor to add air to my tires ( I cannot imagine paying $1-$2 for air…)
    https://thethriftyeducator.com/2019/02/05/frugal-things-9/

  43. Brandy thank you for writing a few weeks ago about museums on Instagram. I love starting my day seeing artwork. I signed up for: Louvre, Uffizi, Rodin, Kunsthistorisches, Beaux Arts de Strasbourg, Getty and a local museum…..I might have overdone it!

    During the oil crisis in the 1970’s, my GRANDMOTHER bought a moped, strapped a plastic milk crate on the back to hold things, and rode around town. As a 15 year old, I was MORTIFIED! Now I think what courage she had to be authentic and living her values. I bet your son loves the freedom of having his own wheels

    • Baked chocolate chip walnut cookies as a gift – I didn’t get Christmas gifts to everyone on my list so I’ve been baking and giving “January” gifts.
    • Hung laundry up x 3
    • Cleaned up cat vomit using rags rather than paper towels.
    • Talked to a friend in Spain for free using WhatsApp.
    • The latest newsletter from Good Reads contained several new books I want to read. Using the computer, I put them on hold with my local library.
    • We are expecting -20 to -30 degree weather so I took a piece of bubble wrap and a rubber band and insulated the outside faucet.
    • Rolled up beach towels and put in front of doors to block cold air. Rolled up a smaller towel and put on a window sill.
    • Opened kitchen cabinet doors under the sink overnight to make sure pipes stayed warm. My sink is on an outer wall.
    • Kept window shades and curtains, in non-south facing walls, closed during the day in several rooms to conserve heat.
    • Made pizza from scratch – it bakes in a 415 degree oven so helps to heat up the house!
    • I cut the flaps off the box in which my Amazon order arrived, lined it with an old towel, and the cats are loving it as a “nest.”
    • Made swag goal x 1
    • After a doctor’s appointment, I stopped into a nearby grocery store and only purchased a loss leader produce item – hot house cucumbers for $0.99 each.
    • Streamed a show on PBS
    • Watched two HGTV shows for free via streaming to my computer.
    • Made pommes dauphin; cucumber, feta & couscous salad; a large pot of steel cut oats with frozen peach slices; and a pumpkin & candied ginger cake

    1. Libby, your reaction to your grandmother on a moped made me crack up laughing, as I immediately imagined MY grandma doing that and my reaction at the same age!!!

  44. I was prosecuting a murder trial so most of my January so I was too busy to spend money…lol. I broke a tooth right before trial and my dental ins. paid for half of the costs. My ex husband felt sorry for me so he sent me hummus, and a homemade pumpkin pie. It was really about all I could eat, so I was grateful for the free food! My mouth is starting to recover so I am gradually eating more food , but the tooth loss was a forced diet!

  45. Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * As we live in Minnesota, we were right in the middle of the polar vortex last week. Schools, college campuses, and many businesses (even the postal service!) were cancelled, so we did not have to commute in Tuesday-Thursday, saving gas and wear on the car. We kept the house at 68F during the day to reduce heating costs (we had to use the baseboard heaters, since our more-efficient heat pump system did not want to work), and also utilized our electric blanket at night when we turned the thermostat to 65F.

    * I baked several items during the polar vortex as well- I used some corn tortillas to make baked tortilla chips, I made more bread, I made a pizza, etc. I figured that since we were trying to heat the house anyway, this was a good excuse to make several items in the oven (though I did make multiple items per oven use, so I was efficient there as well).

    * I made several batches of soup to help with the weather. I made Budget Byte’s Easy Tomato Soup and an easy version of french onion soup using some caramelized onions I had in the freezer (I had bought the onions on sale and caramelized them as a way to preserve them).

    * We probably could have gone grocery shopping last Monday, based on how little there was in our fridge, but I made us push through until Saturday in an attempt to use up what was left in our pantry, fridge, and freezer. This included things like: eating up oatmeal packets that were originally bought to keep at the office but I never ate; making french toast from homemade bread (oh my gosh, this was so amazing that I’ll have to make it again soon!); using up all of our bread and resorting to making cheese quesadillas to go with the tomato soup instead, which used up the last of our flour tortillas; making buttermilk pancakes, as the recipe I use makes a huge batch that we can eat from all week; pulling leftover red beans and rice from the freezer; and cutting up and juicing old oranges (a little too far past their prime for eating out of hand) and using the fruit pieces to put in orange jello, and the juice to make a delicious drink by mixing it with hibiscus tea. All of this resulted in a very empty fridge, a half-full freezer, and a still well-stocked pantry.

    * We got our new freezer and set it up- 5 cubic feet instead of 1.1, but surprisingly, we didn’t need to move much around to put it in the same spot! I picked up a few baskets from the dollar store to help keep it organized.

    * When we went grocery shopping, we bought pretty much everything we’ll need for the month. Barring a few items like frozen broccoli (the store was completely out!), we’re set for the month on food. I also bought items for our new freezer, as I like to keep a few easy-to-prepare meals on hand in case of nights when we’re out of leftovers and I don’t want to cook (A few $2 frozen pizzas are way cheaper than the alternative: takeout). Since we have our large now, I also plan on making our own convenience items (like packing up pancakes, waffles, and french toast for the freezer, making extra loaves of bread to keep in the freezer, making extra batches of hamburger buns, making batches of pasta sauce or chili and freezing, etc). These should help with those nights when I don’t want to cook, as well as middle of the week “We’re out of bread but I won’t be home to make any” and the Sunday frenzy of “I would like to make bean burgers for lunches, but I forgot to start buns yesterday.”

    * I set up the AeroGarden I got for Christmas with the herbs it came with- two types of basil, mint, thyme, dill, and parsley. I can’t wait for my first harvest! Because out apartment does not have a balcony, we can’t grow items outside, but we can at least grow herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers in the AeroGarden. I’ll be saving the plastic parts of the seed pods and buying fresh growing material to grow my own seeds in the future.

    * I’d like to sprout some seeds/beans this month. I’ve got mung beans, soy beans, broccoli and alfalfa seeds, and wheat seed, as well as lentils and chickpeas. I think I need more uses for sprouted goods, so recipes using sprouts would be appreciated!

    Have a great week everyone!

  46. Brandy, you have so many good frugal ideas, I try to use them and also some of my own along the way, Made cinnamon rolls last weekend and they were a complete flop, so rescued them or hope so as I had put pecans in the gooy on the bottom, have a pan of bread pudding in the oven. Got pecans and English walnuts in the shell marked down from Christmas last week for .99 a pound, got some and when I got home decided what a good deal it was and so had son get me some when he was in town, had two quarts of picked out pecans and about a pint of English walnuts, They are alwsys so expensive I never buy them. Made five pans of different kinds of bar cookies for daughter as she is having friends in for husbands birthday glad to help her out as she does day care in her home as well as taking on line college classes, so she is busy Have made a denim quilt top for great grandson for Christmas next year, need to get backing Making great grand daughter Barbie doll clothes for part of her Christmas, been a long time since I have done anything like that wish me luck!! Been using a lot of fruits and veggies from the freezer this winter, hope to have a good garden to refill it next summer. We have been having very cold weather but was warmer over the weekend, happy for that a lot of the snow melted.Have a happy a happy frugal week.

  47. Brandy, your photos are gorgeous! How fun to look back on all of them through the years and see your life captured. So sweet:)

    I love when others recommend books, videos, blogs, etc for further learning. I wanted to share some of my recent finds related to food as is being discussed in other comments. I found this one as a free Kindle download (but you can read on your computer, phone, etc): Everyday Foods in War Time by Mary Swartz Rose (1918). She was an assistant professor in the Dept of Nutrition at Teachers College at Columbia University. A note in the introduction says it’s reprinted from The Farmer’s Wife. It’s an interesting read and includes information about utilizing milk and other forms of protein and sparing meat. It also has some old-fashioned recipes that are worth a look.

    The other resource I have to share are books by Jane Watson Hopping. She does “The Pioneer Lady’s” cookbooks and there are several. When I got one from the library (the only one they had) and fell in love, I looked for good used copies online and have about half of the collection now. I love these books because they tell the stories of previous generations but also includes still-relevant recipes and tips.

    We had a boring week, if you consider the usual boring! Our frugal accomplishments;

    -Made soup for lunch on Sunday and had leftovers for my lunches for the week. This week was a vegetable-barley soup.
    -Used a dog food bag in place of a trash bag
    -Had a day off school so one less trip to town
    -Bought ground beef while it was at stock up prices ($1.49/pound) and got the limit, which was 2 so my mom put some on her order for me. When I went back by ALDI 2 days later, they had already sold out so I couldn’t get more. I was very happy to have gotten what I did as it was almost half off the usual lowest prices.
    -Other usual things like reusing plastic bags and washing full loads in dishwasher and washer.
    -I worked out how much trashbags cost and it’s $0.15 for the “sustainable” ones that use recycled plastic and $0.10 for the regular. (ALDI and Walmart run the same in our area.) We have a 13-gallon trashcan in the kitchen and an 8-gallon in the bathroom/laundry room. I replaced the bathroom can with my mop bucket with a plastic grocery bag since we still get a few of those each month when shopping at Walmart. I’ll just change it a bit more frequently. Our trash service is a flat $60/month so it’s not saving us anything on the trash bill, but we will use fewer trash bags, which always bother me to use anyway! lol (Our trash service is for 3 households, as we live between my in-laws and my mom, and the rural trash company we have allows us to combine households. So our share is $20/month.)

    1. I have not seen that price on ground beef for many, many years! What a deal!

      Thank you for mentioned barley soup. It’s been a while since I made any and I think I will do that this week! I have dried onions, carrots, and celery in the pantry that I can add and some leftover turkey as well.

      1. Brandy, I was amazed at the price as ALDI prices here is usually $2.79 per pound, which is the cheapest I can find it. Barley is my very favorite grain and my go-to for vege soup since my husband doesn’t love soup. I’m looking for a place to buy it in a big larger quantity because I can only find it in the little 8oz boxes at Walmart here.

        1. I buy barley at my local feed store. It is not sold for human consumption but for animals. It is not treated with any chemicals because the bag would have to list it. The problem is that it has small sticks and leaves mixed in. I sit out on the porch on a windy day and winnow it by pouring the grains from one big bowl to another. The wind blows the leaves and sticks away. It is extremely cheap purchased this way. I think I paid $12 for a 50-pound bag. It is stored in my basement in plastic containers and lasts forever.
          Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  48. Is that Ivy in the first picture? What a sweet little girl she has grown into! I didn’t realize that was your second son until I read it in one of the comments. It’s been a while since you shared pictures of them. I hardly recognize who is who anymore, they’ve gotten so big!!!! As for the Moped, what a great option for your teenaged son. We don’t see many of them around here. Our weather is just not suited to using them most of the time. It’s not worth investing in one if you can only use them a few months of the year and only when it’s not raining!

    We had a busy week last week. Hubby celebrated his 50th birthday. He didn’t want a big party to celebrate this amazing milestone birthday. Instead we celebrated by doing things he enjoys most. I think he was happy in the end, not to mention the big vacation we are going on soon! This week our household’s frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included “piggies-in-a-blanket” (breakfast sausage and cheese crescent rolls) with carrots and coleslaw, baked ham with scalloped potatoes, green/yellow bean mix and fresh baked apple crisp (from the freezer), one pot Southwest Alfredo pasta (new recipe, see below), tacos (choice of beef or black bean) with choice of toppings, canned soup (from the pantry), and homemade lasagna.
    *We tried a new dinner recipe this week, One Pot Southwest Alfredo Pasta (recipe link: https://www.wineandglue.com/one-pot-southwestern-alfredo-pasta/). I modified it slightly to suite our families tastes, but the main part I was interested in trying was the jarred pasta sauce mixed with taco seasoning. Well, everyone ate it, but l admit it was slighly underwhelming in flavour. Although I’m not sure I would do this recipe again, I’m inspired to find a really good, slightly spicy Alfred sauce, like the ones I often enjoy at restaurants.
    *Made a double batch of Double Chocolate Banana Applesauce Muffins (recipe link: https://www.momontimeout.com/double-chocolate-banana-applesauce-muffins-recipe/), as they were such a hit with the family the last time I made them. I bought 3 or 4 bunches of bananas throughout this week, just so I could have bananas to make these. Apparently the family is on a banana kick, because they kept getting eaten up! At least they are a cheap fruit. The muffins will be used for school lunches and snacking on this coming week.
    *I used a cookie sheet to cover the lasagna while cooking it, instead of aluminum foil.
    *Limited the groceries I bought this week to keep within my budget. Found small boxes of cornflakes on sale for $1.88, which wasn’t a great deal considering how cheap the big boxes are. However, on closer inspection, I noticed these boxes had $1 off coupons attached, which made them only $0.88 each. At that price, I picked up 2 to put in the pantry. Cornflakes are not only useful for eating as cereal, but can also be used in various recipes as well! This is a great example of how I am always looking for ways to stock my pantry, even with limited funds.
    *We ran out of potatoes last week. The grocery store had 10lb bags of potatoes on sale for $3.97. Not the best price, but we needed them. I was set to buy a bag, when I noticed they had 15lb bags of “imperfect potatoes” for the same price. For 5lbs more, I will happily deal with weirdly shaped potatoes!
    *My husband celebrated his 50th birthday on Friday. For his gift, I gave him a dozen of is favourite chocolate bars, as per his suggestion (only cost $9 for his gift!). He and I, as a couple, went out for lunch at a favourite restaurant where he received a free birthday meal. We combined this trip with renewing his license plate stickers, as it was in the same area. Afterwards, we went to see a movie of his choosing at the movie theatre. We did not buy any food at the concession (which is very unusual for us), since we were full from our lunch. Half way through the movie, I pulled out a halloween sized snack bag of little cookies, which was just enough for us to share. For dinner, the whole family, including my mom, his mom and my brother, went out for his “official” birthday meal celebration at yet another restaurant. The man LOVES to eat out, so this was part of his special 50th birthday celebration. We offered to buy MIL’s meal, since she often insists on paying for ours. My MIL gave us a gift card to use towards the bill. She had no idea how much was left on it, but wanted us to use it up. Turned out it had $4 & some change left. Thanks for helping with the tip…LOL! Two of our meals were prepared incorrectly (1 was cold and 1 steak was not cooked as requested). The meals were remade and we were not charged for them as an apology, which did save us money.
    *As a continuation of Hubby’s B-day celebration, the family plus DD’s friend made a trip to the chocolate factory and the cheese factory. Hubby picked out his choice of chocolates, so he now has a really nice chocolate stash to last him a while. DD picked out her stash as well. I got 1 bag for myself and one bag for DD’s friend. Most of the chocolates we bought were BOGO a free bag which saved us money (the chocolates are also factory seconds). At the cheese factory, I picked up a bag of garlic cheese curds and a good sized brick of 4 year old cheddar (not cheap but so worth it for the taste). This cheese factory is an artisan shop that is run as a co-op, which means the farmers that send their milk to the factory share in the profits. I don’t mind paying a bit more for their delicious cheese knowing it is the farmers who benefit.
    *I found beautiful, thick, soft, luxurious winter scarves on sale for $3 each (reg. price $12) and bought 2 for my gift stash. These are going to make really nice gifts for someone!
    *Enjoyed watching the snow fall. I don’t particularly like snow, but the flakes were big and fluffy which made the world outside look like a snow globe. It made me smile.
    *Used the Wellness Centre 2 times this week.
    *We put in our application for the potcake puppies this week. Here are the pictures of the puppies up for adoption if anyone is interested (who doesn’t like looking at cute puppies): http://www.ptbocanada.com/journal/2019/1/30/peterborough-humane-society-has-8-adorable-potcake-puppies-to-adopt. The girl at the desk remembered me applying for a puppy the last time and said I had made the “like” pile then. I’m hopeful we might get picked for one of these puppies this round!

    Wish you all great joy and happiness this week, as you work through your frugal efforts. Thanks to all who share their ideas in the comments. You are all so amazing!!!

      1. I’m sorry, I got her name wrong. I am horrible at remembering names! My apologies. Ivory is a very beautiful little girl. Love that photo of her! Thank you for sharing the recent photos of your children with us. I enjoy seeing how they have changed and grown.

    1. Rhonda- I also bought that 15 pound bag of imperfect potatoes – used them all up when I did mashed potatoes for the Church’s Robbie Burns lunch. There was only one rotten one in the whole bunch so it was a good buy!

  49. I love the coloring of your lovely daughter’s eyes, and your son is such a handsome young man! A nice-looking family, there!
    I was as frugal as I could be for someone whose appliances keep failing —
    I found some needed items at the thrift store and left with only those three items.
    I’m building up a stash for a yard sale. My daughter and I like to do one or two sales a year, in the spring and/or fall, when the weather is decent.
    I put down several items at the store and backed away, instead of buying them. Zero dollars is the best sale prices of all.
    I replenished some spices from the bulk section at the co-op. It is so much cheaper than using the little pre-filled bottles.
    I’ve been stretching the meat in my meals, using about half of what the recipes call for.
    I persevered with my health insurance for seven months, and finally got them to pay more of my bill. Now I have to argue with the providers to give me back some of what I paid, as I had already paid the bills due to being threatened with collections, and in one case, actually being sent to collections over a bill I was still trying to straighten out. It’s tiring, but it’s worth the fight.
    I replaced two more bulbs with LED bulbs. I have very few left to replace.
    Last year was a very hard year, and this year is not looking much better, but I hang on to my faith! I have stayed frugal throughout — spending a lot more money isn’t going to help my stress, it’s just going to worry me more.

    1. Jo, you are in my prayers. We’ve had way too many years like that, and I refuse to get used to it or accept this as normal. It is for now, not forever! Ttush

  50. Not much to report this week as it was so cold that it meant more days at home than usual – although that does save money in the long run.

    I’m finally starting to see a bit of a dent in the freezer as I continue to use up proteins already purchased as the basis for meals. I will add in a few more pantry items as the freezer gets depleted. I spent $25 on food on February 1st and do not anticipate another trip to the grocery store until around the 10th and even then it will be for milk, fruit & veg only as I really need to keep this month’s expenses as low as possible while still eating well and healthfully. I did get a box of shortbread for free – I was picking up items for Sunday Fellowship and tins of shortbread had been reduced by 50% but when I got to the checkout it rang up at full price. If that happens here we get the item for for (up to the value of $10) so got a bit of a bargain for the church!

    I didn’t do much socially last week and it did leave me feeling a bit “blue” so I do have a few things planned for this week and I did book myself for a couple of free upcoming events so that will get me out for only the transit fare.

    I love the photos of your children Brandy – they look just lovely!

  51. Brandy, I am always amazed by your photos! I took a photography class in high school and would love to take another sometime soon. I feel like our boys are growing so fast and I want to capture them as they are before we lose those precious “little boy” years.

    We did a great job this past week of sticking to our budget. I purchased about $40 worth of groceries on sale, used rain checks, and a gift card and really only spent $5 out of pocket. This grocery run should last us at least 10 days. We continue to work toward making use of our freezer and pantry stash. We also made good use of Walmart gift cards for necessary vitamins and some baby shower purchases.

    I have to have a mole removed that is “atypical” today. It’s not the first one I’ve had removed, but I’m hopeful that results will be benign when it’s sent for biopsy. I also hope I handle the procedure well. It is on my abdomen, above my belly button, which is a pretty sensitive area. Any prayers would be appreciated. I try to go once a year for a skin check, but I had waited two years since my last check. I’m grateful for our savings and insurance, but hope it won’t be too much out of pocket.

    Here are the rest of our accomplishments: https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2019/02/frugal-accomplishments-first-week-of.html?_sm_au_=isVnTSttZsnvsvkQ

  52. I have an ongoing dream that I will one day get to eat citrus fruit fresh off the tree. It’s on my bucket list.
    Anytime I read the comments following one of Brandy’s post I end up inspired and I learn so much. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to comment.
    I spent the last half of January finding frugal ways to make working for a living a little easier. I sewed my self a “buff” using one of my youngest son’s old scouting tshirts to keep my hair from getting tangled in my hard hat and I dyed a pair of ugly 1970’s clogs to wear on the hard concrete floor.
    https://hiproofbarn.wordpress.com/2019/02/01/frugal-endeavors-use-it-up-wear-it-out-make-it-do-or-do-without/
    Have a great week everyone!

  53. I’m glad you are getting to work in the garden, and the picture of your son is amazing!

    Last week was so spring-like that I went out for a couple of days and worked on digging up some dirt from one flowerbed and moving it to the 2 new raised bed frames where I did want it. Boy, was I sore:). Then….today…snow! It’s pretty rare for us here in the part of Oregon where I live, so I’ve enjoyed looking at it’s beauty. By using the dirt I already had to fill in most of the new frames, I am saving quite a bit of money. My husband spent about $25 getting me enough new dirt to finish off the top layer. It’s still in bags…I’m taking a break from that project until the snow leaves, but I can’t imagined how much it would have cost to fill them in completely with purchased soil.

    We cooked a lot. I shopped the sales, used a $10 off $50 coupon at Safeway, and kept using up things that I home-canned and froze last summer. I tried to make a list of the things we used up last month that needed to be replaced and got as much of it as I could this week. My grocery budget will be higher this month than last, due to needing things like gluten-free oat flour, Saran Wrap, and so forth, but I still plan on using up lots of things I have on hand again. Produce prices have risen dramatically in the last few weeks, but I will keep buying it. We do use lots of home-canned/frozen as well, though. For instance, we eat green beans from our garden several times each week. Still, my husband burns through the salad stuff since he eats it daily, if not twice daily.

    We had friends over and served salad bar, using leftover ham, cans of things from the pantry like olives and artichoke hearts (so rarely used, but nice to make for company), hard-boiled eggs, etc. and each person made their own. The same friends helped Rob move his last 2 pieces of heavy woodshop equipment from my sister’s farm to this house. It was time, after storing them there for over 2 years. Our friend has a huge lift in the back of his work truck (he’s a metal fabricator) and lifted it with the equipment, saving everyone’s backs. Even better, we got to visit with friends we hadn’t seen for a while.

    I enjoyed watching the birds as they continue to visit my new bird feeder my husband made me for Christmas.

    I cleaned and mopped, using a squirt of dish soap in the water, my re-usable mop, and rags I use and wash.

    My husband scrounged up a garbage can and 2 boxes full of wood scraps that are perfect for starting fires in the morning.

    I got some books from the library and have been reading them. A couple were cookbooks for my Instant Pot and I hope to try out a recipe or two.

    1. Becky, I read that soil for a 4×8 raised bed can easily cost $200 when bought in bags. It’s cheaper to buy by the yard, but only if you have the means to haul it. Otherwise, the soil plus delivery also can run about $200. The article suggested mixing whatever compost you have (in whatever state of decay) with whatever native soil is available, and adding about 2 inches of bagged topsoil on top. I took this advice last fall. I used a bunch of half-done compost (mostly aspen and horse chestnut leaves and grass clippings) and mixed it with the dirt from our fencepost holes and some alpaca poop I got by asking on freecycle. It is under snow right now, which is supposed to be good. I’ll be topping it with bagged soil when I plant the strawberries in the spring. I also have 3 garbage cans filled with leaves and grass clippings and I have regularly been adding kitchen scraps.

      1. Maxine,
        After living in the country for most of my life, I’m frankly having trouble adjusting to the fact that I have to BUY dirt at all because I live in town now! It’s also hard to adjust to the fact that I don’t have a tractor anymore for my husband to haul dirt and till with, or a trailer to haul it home with, or our pickup to haul it in anymore! Lots of changes, but really, I am adjusting. It’s just different.
        That’s a TON of money for one raised bed! I’m glad I had that flowerbed to dig up. It’s narrow, but there is dirt to use, and we really need the extra 2 feet to make it easier to get in and out of our parked camper without walking in irises. I’m hoping to find a place for some of the iris bulbs I’m digging up.
        I have been slowly getting this yard how I want it. I have a large garden area in most of the back yard. Last year, it was more like one huge raised bed because I planted it so closely. Once it got going, my husband didn’t have to use the little tiller because the plants grew together and weeds couldn’t take over. I have 2 huge compost piles and we dump all our scraps into them, along with weeds that aren’t super full of weed seeds, or ivy branches, or anything else undesirable. I’ve thrown rotting veggies and scraps right onto the barren garden this winter, and my husband will till it in this spring. He plans to make me a 3-bin compost system like I had at our old property. One thing at a time.
        I am also glad for the little bit of snow we got today. I’ve heard it referred to as “poor man’s fertilizer” because it brings the nitrogen down.
        It sounds like your raised beds are coming along really well.

  54. I became absent minded when I was sick in bed for4 weeks with the flu . I found that I had accidentally missed a payment for my cellphone. I phoned the company to straighten it out and while talking to them was offered a 25% discount on the cost of my cell phone for one year. A great savings!

    I don’t know what my present forgetfulness now was caused by (brain “freeze”?) but I forgot to ask my friend to pick up the big bag of sunflower seeds from Superstore when she was there doing her own shopping. I, in the meantime, had gone into Indigo. We were halfway home when I remembered and didn’t have time to backtrack. I was a bit distressed as the temperature was going to plummet. We have been lucky to have wonderful winter weather and relatively warm. Up until now, I have been able to sit outside for an hour at the end of the day for bird photos (the brown creeper comes just before dusk). Now, however, we have extreme cold. Anyway another friend dropped off a bit of bird seed from her supplies and the birds are happy. True friends — not only do they make sure I have food but my birds, too!

    I picked up my store credit from Indigo, sat and looked at books while my friend was in Superstore. I used the credit for Still Life by Louise Penny. I had previously read one of her later books but contributors here said that I should start at the beginning. So I bought her first book and greatly enjoyed it. Also, I bought a book called The Lightless Sky which describes the life of a young boy in Afghanistan whose father, a doctor, was killed. in a raid. His mother sends the boy off when he was 12 to get to safety. It is the story of how he travelled for 12,000 miles encountering human traffickers, smugglers, overcrowded boats and is one of the earliest accounts of the refugee experience first-hand. It is very well written. It sells for $31.99 in Canada (less in the States) and I bought it on a sales table for $8.00. Here is a very moving story that gives insight into the culture of Afghanistan, into a society that had suffered not only from the war with Russia, then a civil war, etc. The author after a year reaches Britain and goes to school where, today, he is about to graduate from a British University.

    I highly recommend this book. It shows how foreign soldiers alienate a civilian population by inadvertent ignorance of local customs and culture. And the devastating impact on health that has arisen for a generation of children from war. I heartily recommend this book.

    I’m staying in during the extreme weather and will make soup today.

  55. Hi everyone!
    My January savings highlights were as follows:
    gave both boys haircuts saving $20.
    I usually get my hair cut every 2 months. Did not get done before Dec so since it seems ok so far, I think I am going to try to stretch it out as long as I can until Spring. Thinking of changing my style. Still needs to be short or it tangles too much but it will give the hairdresser a little more to work with for a different style. Saves $20 per hair appointment.
    Survived the week where our take home pay after taxes and health insurance premium was only $36. My husband was unable to work that week but grateful that he did have a paid holiday to cover the premium.
    Have been utilizing both the pantry & freezer in a way that is more beneficial for our family. Used up most of the food my inlaws gave us before they left for Florida. Much less leftover food waste this month.
    Spent the month either creating or improving systems regarding my pantry & shopping needs to help organize, save time and hopefully save money. Currently trying to get a better idea of how many of each item used in my household will be needed for the year. This way I can use sales & bulk purchases to my family’s best advantage and put our money to the best use.
    I usually provide my family a daily snack along with a dessert on Fri/Sat/Sun. Have been relying too much a store bought snacks. Trying to break that trend to save money.
    Had a simple celebration for my son’s 18th birthday. Used a cake mix from the pantry using a homemade frosting and made his favorite meal (oven tacos). I totally forgot the lettuce but nobody missed it.

  56. It’s been an up and down week along with the weather all over the place here in OH plus due to being sick and then finding out my meds for my Crohn’s is no longer being made with the same formula and is now in Italy instead of US. and in legal problems. Thankful my GI office helped me figure out what to eat to hopefully keep stable and a good part I will be growing this year and will need to put in the freezers to help keep the grocery budget down. Using Swagbucks I bought a 2 qrt slow cooker to make yogurt in, just need to find a recipe for how to do it in a crock pot. Also using Swagbucks I bought raw vinegar with mother to make refrigerator pickles. They want me to eat fermented foods but with salt brine or raw vinegar so I get the live bacteria. Hubby thought it was funny I got excited that the trash service called me and offered me $3 a month off it I paid automatically every quarter… until I mentioned that was around 2 months for FREE. How often do you get an utility co. to give you that for free? LOL
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/02/on-budgetwell-actually-under.html

  57. Here are my frugal accomplishments from the past 2 weeks. And yes, Brandy’s temperatures seem balmy as Minnesota is experiencing ice and snow this week, after last week’s Polar Vortex!
    4th week of January:
    — Used bananas from the freezer to make two loaves of banana bread.
    — Served the banana bread with chicken tortilla soup made from a mix we purchased on vacation last summer.
    — Signed up for Chewy.com and ordered dog heartworm and flea and tick preventative medicines for half of the price of getting them from the vet.
    — kid used hoarded/saved ribbons for school project
    — returned and received a refund on a backpack purse purchased from Justice as a possible Christmas present, but not used
    — Christmas ham leftovers menu appearances: in a frittata with carrots and onions; in creamy wild rice soup
    — cooked up enough wild rice on the day of the soup to use in a subsequent day’s shrimp and wild rice casserole (shrimp from freezer, purchased on previous grocery sale). Also, because I made a bit too much wild rice, used the additional to bake a maple/wild rice cake
    — Deep cleaned master bath; sorted through some toiletry sample sizes for donations and better organized others for use. Found a shower cap to use as I am growing my hair longer but don’t want to wash it daily in the shower.
    Last week of January:
    — 48 hours straight of no driving or leaving the house due to Polar Vortex and its 55-below windchill (saved on gas expenses from my regular commute and did afford me some uninterrupted time to work on a work report due end of January)
    — received a free box of mints from the bank
    — changed my settings to online statements as the bank has begun charging a $2/month fee for paper statements
    — completed 2 Pinecone Research surveys and received a free product for testing
    — Used Christmas ham leftovers to make a pizza with purchased crust, spaghetti sauce, canned pineapple; followed up with spaghetti meal later in the week to use rest of the sauce. Also had 12-year-old daughter make blueberry pancakes (from scratch, with blueberries picked in summer and frozen) for dinner on one of her no-school days
    — Daughter received a last-minute birthday party invitation; ordered gift from Amazon with no out-of-pocket cost due to a previously received gift card
    — Deep cleaned living room; sorted out (with daughter) some books and games for sale at spring consignment sale

    1. Joanna, How do you order these items from Chewy? Do you need a prescription from the vet. The puppy princess requires a $22.00 flea pill each month. This is one item I just don’t know how to purchase cheaper.

      1. Lillianna, When you place the order for the Rx on Chewy.com, they require you to fill in information like your dog’s size (weight, important for medication) and your vet information. Then they will contact your vet for you to confirm the prescription information — I think it’s kind of like filling a people Rx at a pharmacy, when they require the dr.’s approval. It can take a few days to get approval, but they sent me a couple of emails during the process to let me know “we’re checking in with your vet” and other updates. You can search their site to see if they have your specific medication before you do all this. Good luck with the puppy princess’s flea pills!

  58. Beautiful photos, as always! Really enjoy seeing your children grow up. The moped seems like a great option for your son.

    We have had spring weather here as well. I keep hearing about the polar vortex, but yesterday it was 80 degrees here! We have been able to turn our heat off and have the windows open since Saturday, which is nice and a moneysaver. It will get cold here again later in the week, though.

    Last week we cooked all meals at home, and took our lunches/snacks to work. This is something we strive for every week, but it doesn’t always work out as planned. We did pretty good last week, though! I made 2 loaves of bread in my bread machine, which was a freebie from a friend who had won it as a door prize years ago and never used it. It’s an older model that makes a round loaf, but works great for us. We had a couple of large events at my work, which meant food leftovers for the staff. I brought home a large unopened tub of sour cream, a loaf of bread, and a box of Splenda all for free. One of our neighbors moved out recently and gave us several things: 2 large brand new pet beds with washable covers (our cats are in love with the beds already, funny because they are so fickle), 2 wool area rugs, some large plastic storage containers, and a beautiful faux floral arrangement, I was especially glad to get the rugs, because it allowed us to replace 2 smaller rugs that were actually in poor condition (worse than I realized.) At an estate sale I found 2 cabinets that perfectly match our guest bathroom. We gave $40 for both pieces. They fit perfectly in the bathroom and gave us some extra storage space for linens & toiletries. We purchased headlight bulbs for my car on Amazon, and my husband replaced them himself, so we saved the cost of installation and a higher purchase price at an auto shop. I recently started using microfiber style makeup remover cloths (like the Makeup Eraser) to take my makeup off, so saving money on buying micellar water or makeup remover wipes. It started when I found a package of the Makeup Eraser brand cloths on markdown at Sam’s Club, and then I picked up a less expensive 3-pack for $3 on Amazon (they work just as well as the name brand). I know this is not something that will apply to everyone, but I wear full makeup everyday for work, and enjoy wearing makeup, so being able to remove it with just water & a washable cloth is a nice find and a definite moneysaver.

    I hope everyone has a great week!

  59. I want to make some Meyer lemon syrup to can. Are there reusable lids for canning? I have about 40 pounds of Meyer lemons to do something with!

  60. Brandy,
    Love the photos this week of your kids and congrats to your son on his moped!
    I just wanted to say that this last weekend we had a small bit of snow-about an inch. It was also Super Bowl weekend. I went to our small grocery store in our small town and was surprised to see the parking lot full and everyone filling their baskets-everyone apparently waited until the last moment to pick up their snacks for the football game and also wanted to stock up for the snow. Crazy to me that people wait until the snow arrives to be prepared.
    I went to the doctor yesterday and learned that I will be having several tests done over the next two weeks. I am very thankful for insurance and savings to cover those costs. I feel confident knowing whatever medical bills may lie ahead that thanks to Brandy and this community, I know how to provide for my family with the least amount of money as possible.
    Thank you to everyone for making that possible.
    I painted all the interior doors in my house with one quart of paint. With part of another quart, I painted all the trim around the doors and closets. Now guess what? the bedroom walls look really bad and I realize it has been 10 years since they have been painted!! Where did that time go? I have put aside money for 2 gallons of paint which should be enough to do both bedrooms with some leftover. This is not exactly frugal but maintaining your home is frugal in the long run.

  61. Gosh, it was so nice on Sunday, in the 60s, and today we’re iced up and FREEZING! I even went barefoot in the afternoon. Today, I need a coat to go over my coat!!

    *Still using up the wallpaper sample book I got just for the askin’- I lined the drawers of my sewing desk. And, I covered the insides of a bunch of small boxes to make drawer dividers. It looks so pretty when I open the drawers!
    *I cut the fronts off of the Christmas cards we rec’d. I use the pretty side to make tags or decorate gift bags. I use the white sides of the ones I don’t use for grocery lists and reminder notes. I put all the Christmas letters we rec’d in a folder for reminders when I write to people through the year or maybe even next Christmas!! I read a lot of freebie magazines or newspapers and I sometimes think that a certain article or comic might interest someone so I cut those out and put them in my folder, as well, to send them next year with their card. I always get notes back about those and people seem to love it. There was once a Reader’s Digest article about the popularity of the name ‘Jennifer’. So, I clipped it and sent it to my old neighbor….Jennifer! She wrote back that she loved reading it & was tickled I thought of her.
    *I rec’d a gift from my friend from a spice company named Penzey’s. 8 different spices & blends….with recipes!! I am thrilled! There’s a few blends I haven’t ever tried and the others are spices we use regularly. And you all know how expensive those can be!
    *Got a couple of needed items at the thrift store. A covered bowl for the oven, a pack of brand new card envelopes in apple green!, a large vase that I’ll use for a toilet brush holder, and a sturdy metal file folder box. <—we had a cheap plastic one that has fallen apart over the years, but I really didn't want a new cheap plastic one so this was one of those 'WOO HOO!!' finds lol! A handle, the lid closes, it clicks shut…..ahhhhh~
    *I made some body lotion with Coconut Oil & vitamin E oil. I love this stuff and it lasts so much longer than bottled lotion.
    *Got some good grocery deals with loss leaders & coupon combining. A lb. of cheese for $1.65, 2 8 oz. bags of sliced cheese for .75 ea.,, a big can of soup for .45, & 6 pkgs. of pasta for $1.94.

    Add me to the emptying the freezer crowd. I always try and get it way low before storm season. Thunderstorms and power outages are all too common. We won't mention the tornado threat….

    Brandy, I've never been a huge fan of roses, but those blush ones on your heading make me swoon! I'm going to look for some of those this spring! I hope I don't kill them!

    1. Those are actually white Iceberg roses! They turn pink when it gets cold. At first I was upset about it, but this year they really turned into a beautiful shade!

  62. Your children are quite photogenic. They are all different in appearance. Some of them are blond with blue eyes. Yet your birthday son had dark hair. A attractive, lovely combination of good looks.

    1. Yes, four of our children have blue eyes. Three are left-handed. Two have curly hair. Three were blond as babies; my husband was, and his hair got curly and darker as he got older. My two youngest may end up with curly hair. I think most of the children look like my husband.

  63. Brandy, your blog posts motivate me so much!

    I have used more bus with my kids, as I get to ride for free with a baby in a stroller. Also all kids under 7 ride the bus for free. During the day it goes past us every 20 minutes so it’s quite handy if we are going to the nearest library or somewhere downtown. (Without the stroller I would pay 3,4€ there and another 3,4€ back) I also love that you don’t have to clean the bus from snow before driving as we have got snow this year almost every day in Finland.

    Yesterday I found potatoes (0,2€/kg, normally 0,7€/kg), eggs (1,8€/kg, normally over 2€/kg) and bananas (1€/kg, normally at least 1,4€/kg) for a good price. I have never seen potatoes so cheap, with eggs this was also the cheapest price I have seen so far. Bananas go on sale for that price a few times a year. Here the stores usually limit the amount of food you can purchase on sale. But yesterday there were no limits.

    We have continued to heat our house mainly with wood and despite of the coldest month of the year we cut our energy bill by 20€.

  64. We had a combination of frugality & not so much here: DD came home from NYC for a quick visit & was given a free haircut from our stylist, saving $30. Plans to drive DD to train to return to NYC didn’t work out so had to purchase a $49 bus ticket instead. Hosted our annual Super Bowl party & all the guests brought food & beverages which resulted in leftovers for the next day, unopened soda for a future event, & cookies for the freezer. Due to the freezing temps Hubby couldn’t make the chicken wings outside in our turkey fryer like usual so we ordered from a local restaurant costing quite a bit more than cooking ourselves. Took lunch to work every day in January, but exceeded grocery budget by $7.00. I guess that is how it is sometimes, even the best laid plans can go a bit wonky! On the all positive side, we had no food waste & I did not purchase anything outside of groceries, cleaning supplies, and health care items all month! This was big for me as I realized that I would go to the thrift stores as retail therapy and justify it because it was cheap. As someone commented earlier, no dollars spent is the best deal of all!

  65. Hello to all! Another week of beautiful photos from you Brandi! You get so much accomplished every week 🙂

    *My low spend January went really well. I’ve decided to keep doing it in February. I was able to cut my grocery bill in half for the month and will continue to try and do that for February as well. I like seeing the amount of my savings go up.

    *Made all meals at home except for our date night which we used a coupon and a gift card. I am still trying to menu plan but really have to make up meals day by day depending on leftovers and what needs to be used up. We had Tortellini Soup (added spinach instead of kale & used a different meat), whole chicken with bacon & cheese mashed potatoes (snuck in chopped up spinach, shredded carrots & zucchini). I’ve got the chicken back in the crockpot today to make stock. Will also make chicken noodle soup with that for dinner. Made pork burritos with lots of veggie toppings. Also made beef stroganoff with same snuck in veggies as the mashed potatoes. Served it all with various fruit.

    *I pack my kids lunches everyday and it is wonderful to heat up leftovers for their thermoses. I also like to put in 2 different veggies and a fruit. We’re still using Christmas candy as a treat. Every week I disinfect their lunch boxes by cleaning them. I also do this with their backpacks. It seems to have helped this year cut down on illness.

    *My dd attended a school dance. The tradition is to do a day date as well as the evening. It’s a busy day. They chose to do a scavenger hunt at a local store (free), dinner at a home with parents helping with all the food. I was asked to bring dessert. I made a white homemade cake and chocolate homemade cake. Each had homemade frosting. These are wonderful cakes that don’t taste at all like a box mix. I cut them in squares and arranged them in a black & white checkerboard pattern on a serving tray. Also provided already purchased vanilla ice cream. Saved half of each cake for our own Sunday dessert. They were a hit!

    *Exercised using YouTube. Also keeping track of calories on the Losin It App. Very helpful. My DH uses it as well.

    *Stayed home most days and combined errands on days I went out.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week. We keep getting more snow! Jealous of the yard work you are able to do outside right now.

  66. We are to have colder weather here tonight and tomorrow. I call our area “the banana belt” as there can be snow all around us and nothing here – something to do with the large river that flows through changes the micro-climate. We have had so much wind – days on end. That gets tiring to say the least.
    We’re doing a deep bottoming out (my grandmother’s term) of every space – sheds, garages, house. We want to head out in our RV and both of us really want to know that we aren’t coming home to a mess. What has been so interesting is that we’re discovering so much we can use (I’ll never need another silk flower, panty hose, bath/body soap, spool of thread, button, hot glue gun, tool ever again- ever!). We also have loaded up the truck twice so far and have one more load to go to the thrift stores. There are several in our area and we try to spread the wealth as it were – and some sort of specialize in things (women’s clothing, books, bed linens, furniture). My greatest challenge is to go only to the unloading area and not then through the front door.
    I have to say that it feels so good to be more organized and know what we have and where it is. We watched a couple of Marie Kondo episodes on Netflix and she really is very interesting. I am using that does it bring me joy phrase a lot. I’ve put together a couple of large boxes of things that I’d like to sell on eBay, along with boxes of my late father’s blue willow collection. I’ve kept one teapot and a couple of lovely cups and saucers but that is about it.
    Still loving not having Dish to watch tv. We really get our money’s worth from Netflix and Amazon Prime. Have watched some fascinating documentaries and I am doing a slow binge of watching two or three episodes at a time of “Lewis” which is a spin off of the British Inspector Morse. Keeping an eye out for another season of Misomer Murders, Agatha Raisin and also watching old seasons of mysteries. I’ve loved mysteries since my first chapter book many, many years ago – The Boxcar Children. We rearranged the living room and now have the antenna facing north which means we get great local channel reception as well.
    Started some herb seeds in a little mini green house – they are up and will be ready soon. Repotted some house plants, including ivy cuttings I rooted in water and a few small house plant starts. I want to take some plants with us in the RV as I think they add to the environment so much. Used DollarTree pots and some Miracle Grow houseplant soil I found in one of the sheds.
    Found a ham for .47! Only bought one as we still have some left from the Christmas ham that I put into seal a meal bags. As with others cleaning out the freezer, fridge and pantry and not eating out.
    I think we finally have replaced all the light bulbs in the house with LED bulbs – using Dollar Tree bulbs along with some deeply discounted bulbs from HomeDepot. We also are replacing all of the bulbs in the RV with LED bulbs – instead of buying from Camping World I went on line and found 20 bulbs for the price of two at CW! That will cut down on power pulled from the battery as well as save a lot of energy when we are plugged in somewhere.

  67. The last few weeks been a whirl wind of family drama which involve use but we couldn’t control it. We were stuck inside because of of the cold weather school was off for 6 days in a row. We stayed home and kept warm with blankets. Big frugal fail was I cleaned out my freezer. I end up throwing away freezer burnt food and food that I didn’t know what it was. Threw way to much food. I put on my calender from six months now to clean it out again. Hoping to find a job soon but we had 2 factory shut down that employed 250 people so we will see.

  68. My frugal accomplishments last week were:
    I checked out books from the library – both at the library and online. I listened to free audio books.
    I hung clothes to dry. I even hung a sheet to dry which I usually use the dryer for. I plan on just using the dryer to finish the towels and carharts from now on.
    I did a weekly meal plan and only got the things we had to have to put it together plus a box of mushrooms – 10 pounds for $5. I’m continuing to use up what’s in the freezer and the pantry. We dehydrated mushrooms, made mushroom ketchup (a British condiment), and froze sautéed mushrooms.
    I shredded and froze potatoes for hash browns. I canned small whole potatoes for soups. We grew the potatoes this past summer and they were beginning to sprout and I don’t want to waste what we worked so hard to grow.
    My husband made homemade enchilada sauce. I used honey gifted to me in my tea. I also used it in zucchini bread and looked up other ways to replace sugar with honey.
    I worked on embroidering pillowcases with supplies I already had.
    I made a list of seeds for the garden and then crossed out a bunch because I need very few and my enthusiasm starts to fad about mid-season because the garden can be so much work.
    I remembered to post recipes and inspirations I used this week on my pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/heidiberryman5/my-frugal-week/

    1. Right now he is using my husband’s helmet, but he is researching purchasing one of his own. There is no helmet required while riding a moped in our state (a helmet is required for motorcycles, which go faster, but not mopeds), but we would like him to wear one and he wants to wear one as well.

  69. I read a friend’s IG site. There she mentioned an interior design store. Years ago, I had been in that store and had seen a bathroom light fixture that would fit where the old one is. It was $600.00 then. I just couldn’t afford it. It was one of only two that would fit the space. So when I was reminded by my friend’s IG of the store, I checked again to see if the store still carried the light. Now the old fixture hasn’t worked for several months and I only use that bathroom in daylight. The price had gone up to $890.00 but the last one was on sale for $89.90. I bought it and now just need to save up for the electrician. I could not believe my luck!

  70. Very lucky on my part! Or, meant to be! The only problem is that my bathroom fixtures (taps) are silver while the light is bronze but the bronze light fixture will be above mirrors and no-one will ever see the bronze and silver together at the same time! So matchy-matchy went out the window. All of them are antique style. At the price, I just felt it will all work somehow! And to make a play on words “let there be light!”. I spent my last $120 on the light fixture plus cab but am glad I didn’t ask a friend for a ride as the fixture is really heavy and the cabbie was great in helping to get it from store to home.

    It is minus forty outside today. I shovelled one-handedly some snow but decided it was just too cold. They say that –40 is with the windchill but there is actually no wind, thankfully. A good day to make soup, do duolingo (I now am on level 24 out of 25) and some chores.

    1. Hi Margie,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I have been thinking about it. It will be a while before I can afford the electrician so I will think about it. Since the bronze and chrome will not be seen together, I think it may not matter. How are you? Are you still in the polar vortex? I thought we’d escaped but it’s caught up to us and is now upon us!

  71. Brandy, I am so happy for you that you were able to work in the garden this week.

    * Before we went out of town, I roasted a chicken, de-boned it, and froze it so that we would have meat right away when we returned.
    * I purchased cheese, chickens, and avocados on sale.
    * I gladly accepted a client’s offer to speak on the phone rather than meeting in person since it was freezing outside.
    * I was blessed to prepare all my husband’s lunches and breakfasts at home.
    * We stayed warm by opening blinds in the morning, wearing multiple layers at home, drinking tea, and cleaning.
    * Instead of traveling to Antarctica, we just stayed home and were able to experience the same kind of weather. 😉 Ok, so I have never wanted to travel to Antarctica, but now I can say that I have experienced first-hand how cold it is there!

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