I covered seedlings in the garden with glass jars to help them grow faster. They work like mini-greenhouses in the garden and I have found that covered seedlings grow three times faster than uncovered ones. I have been using smaller canning jars in the past, but I am starting to keep other miscellaneous glass jars that we have been given (ones that contained food) as regular jars for the garden. During the warmer months, I will keep them in the garden shed on a shelf. I was given some marjoram cuttings (from a grocery store package). I decided to tear off the bottom leaves and try to root them in water to plant in the garden. Marjoram is in the mint family and should root easily. When I went to take off some bottom leaves, I noticed that one of the cuttings was already rooting in the package! I have seeds for marjoram but this will give me a head start. I harvested lemons from the garden. I made a triple batch of laundry soap. I read an e-book from the library. We continued to eat from the pantry. This has been such a blessing, as we have had to replace several things lately, including our microwave, our toaster, and our dishwasher, and our vacuum had a wheel break in half. I ordered a replacement wheel for the one that broke off of our vacuum, rather than replacing the vacuum. We bought the dishwasher on sale, saving $200, and chose to haul the old one to the dump ourselves (saving a $20 haul away fee). My husband will install it himself when it comes next week, rather than paying for someone to install it. I watched two free webinars. I turned off the sprinklers and drip irrigation before rain was predicted. We got a good rain for here (1/4 inch!) I contacted David Austin roses about two roses that failed to grow last year. Through their guarantee, they will replace them, but you have to ask for it. My husband gave our two eldest boys haircuts. I photographed a friend’s wedding as my gift to her. I was also going to arrange her bouquet, but she ended up just using some faux flowers that she borrowed. Her wedding was very frugal. It was simple and lovely. What did you do to save money this past week?

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  1. It always seems like things fail in bunches at my house. So sorry about your dishwasher, but I’m glad you were able to save some money and find a frugal solution.
    I had some extra expenses this week, but handled them all. I was one of six hostesses for a very large wedding shower for our church’s choir director. We made all the food ourselves and divided up the expense of the food and the gift we gave her. My share of everything was $50.
    The ice tracks for my boots broke and could not be repaired, so I had to order another pair – we walk every morning and there is so much ice it isn’t safe without some sort of traction.
    After making 4 dozen tea sandwiches for the shower, I used the bread crusts I cut off to make French toast casserole and bread crumbs, and saved the rest in the freezer for future use. We ate shower leftovers for lunch for a couple of days.
    I canned 7 pints of sweet-hot pickles – the recipe starts with a gallon of dill pickle slices, so I can make it any time of year.
    I cooked dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and used some in a salad and some in hummus.
    I have a tin full of sample tea bags I have collected over time and I have been using from that tin for my afternoon tea. Some of them are better than others, but I am determined to make a dent in the collection.
    My friend came over to help me make food for the shower. It was her birthday and I presented her with a pot of hyacinths I am forcing.

  2. Wow, quite a few things have had to be replaced at your place recently! I love your attitude that your pantry is a blessing in freeing up money to allow for replacements, as opposed to being upset that the appliances failed. Really admirable, your attitude! Always an inspiration!

    My week was good, albeit slightly less busy than usual. I did get some frugal things done:
    – I used up some leftovers: a bit of ricotta cheese, a bit of pesto, a bit of grated cheese, some leftover parmesan cheese, and a bit of tomato sauce, and added an egg, some frozen spinach and pasta to make veggie lasagna.
    – I also made bruschetta to serve with it using the last of a baguette that I had in the freezer. My mum loved the bruschetta, and my husband did too, so I posted the recipe on my blog: http://approachingfood.com/easy-classic-bruschetta/
    – I’m going through my cupboards trying to use things up and to reduce our grocery bill this month, and came across a package of ramen noodles. I made it up and topped it with ginger garlic stir-fried bok choy (a veggie that was on sale this week) and added some chicken from the freezer for my husband. It was a delicious ramen soup and very inexpensive!
    – I made some cashew milk using the last of the raw cashews in my pantry, to stretch my dairy milk, and to add some more protein.
    – I made a body scrub using coffee grounds from previous hotel stays, plus some bulk bought honey. Moisturizing, exfoliating, and even (temporarily) cellulite-reducing!
    – I redeemed some Pinecone Research points for $5 to my Paypal account.
    – I used a coupon when buying a taco kit and a salsa jar to get a large package of cheese for free (worth over $5). I only used the coupon when the taco kit AND the salsa were on sale. Usually I grate the cheese when I get it and put it in the freezer ready for use, but I didn’t have time today, so I just packaged it for the freezer. It’ll just be a bit crumblier when I grate it.
    – I had some dental work done and paid for it using my credit card to get loyalty points. I then paid off the card with savings.
    – I had dental surgery as well and made homemade vanilla pudding and smoothies to eat as I recovered.
    – I was at my parents’ place and made brunch for them. They didn’t have any eggs, so I found a recipe online for eggless pancakes, which my family enjoyed. I made waffles another day for them, which was a nice treat too, and popped some in the freezer for my mother to enjoy another day.
    – I picked up chocolate chips and dishwasher detergent at the lowest prices I can find, which is Costco, using my Costco membership that my workplace paid for. I took my mother there as well, and she also purchased some items using my card.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as usual!

  3. It never fails…I don’t think I have anything to share and then I consciously think of all we’ve done through the week and remember multiple things. Accountability is a good thing! Our frugal accomplishments for this week are:
    *Packed super bowl party leftovers for lunch one day.
    *Leftover pot roast with carrots and potatoes was hanging around in the fridge. I chopped the roast up and put it along with the carrots in my soup container in the freezer. I took the potatoes and added sour cream, cheese and parsley to make smashed potatoes.
    *We’d been limping along with an old, barely working, hand-me-down vacuum cleaner for over a year waiting on a good sale. This week we found a Shark marked down from $149 to $49. Score!
    *Used leftover cornbread and turkey from the freezer to make a casserole. And my hubby actually ate it. ? He is not a fan of casseroles!
    *Went through Ebates to book a VRBO and order office supplies.
    *Went by Dollar Tree to pick up bleach, vinegar, toothpaste and soap. It”s the cheapest place I have found for these items.
    *Went through a detailed statement from my doctor line by line and discovered that I was charged for regular appointments (copay of $40) several times when I only got an allergy shot (covered 100%). Will call and have these recoded.
    *The plastic lining around the lint trap of my dryer has a crack in it which was catching any drawstrings and pulling them out. My husband had the brilliant idea of covering the crack with heat-proof tape used for ductwork. Worked like a charm!
    *Helped my son use a Groupon coupled with a discount to order roses/chocolates for his girlfriend in NY at a 63% discount.
    *Received a Burt’s Bees lip balm in a gift. It made my lips more chapped, for some reason. Instead of tossing it, I am using it on my heels as they are dry in the winter.
    *My husband replaced a ceiling fan in my son’s room. We were not able to save the old one, but we did save the light bulbs and the screws.
    *Accepted a meatloaf/mashed potato/veggie blend/strawberry shortcake meal that was leftover from our church’s Valentine’s banquet. My husband also won a game at the banquet and the prize was a large container of Hershey Kisses. Upon arriving home, I immediately froze 2/3 of them to use in baking at a later date.
    *Earned $.80 on Ibotta. Every little bit helps.
    *I found some cans of paint that were left in our house when we bought it. One of them matches the blue in our guest bath. My husband filled in a small chip in the drywall and touched it up. We’ve been living with that chip for the three years we’ve been here so I am glad to see it fixed…and at no cost!
    Thanks to all who share…what an encouragement!

  4. Hello from snowy Seattle area! We have had between 6 to 8 inches of snow in the last week where I live. It’s beautiful (and more snow is on the way), but it’s creating a few issues. The snow we get is generally pretty wet, and then it thaws slightly as it warms up during the day, and freezes over again at night. So we are left with a thick layer of ice in a region with lots of hills. The main roads are fine, but side streets and hills are dicey. Our condo is at the top of a steep hill, so mail and deliveries have been delayed and we have had no trash pickup for a week because there’s no way the garbage truck could make it up here. I doubt there will be garbage pickup this week, and the dumpsters are already close to overflowing. Our condo manager ordered snowplow service the after the big snow hit, and it took six days to get on the plow schedule (they came yesterday). I finally got my car out a few days ago and left it parked in a movie theater/strip mall parking lot at the bottom of the hill, so I can at least run errands if necessary. I have to walk up and down our steep icy hill to get to my car, and I am thankful to have good boots, a hiking pole and Yak Trax (crampon like things that fit over the soles of your boots). So, the last week has been interesting. 🙂

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – Stocked up on groceries before the first big snowstorm. Picked up a few more things when I was able to before the next round of snow hit. Stores are getting very low on produce because many haven’t been able to receive their daily deliveries. Shelves are empty, and I’ve never seen that here.
    – Made a bit batch of soup and put it outside my front door since it was below freezing and the pot wouldn’t fit in my fridge.
    – Made scones when I wanted a treat. Prepped food for future meals to save time later.
    – Repurposed an old teapot as a watering can for my indoor plants. It is a cute teapot with good memories attached to it. I am not using it but didn’t want to get rid of it.
    – My husband started a puzzle and we have been working on that.
    – Did all the stuff I normally do: cooked and ate at home (except for one meal in two weeks), brought my lunch to work, made water kefir, mixed up neti pot salt mixture, read frugal living blogs, and read a book I already owned.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Tina – thank you for the idea of using a tea pot as a plant watering can! I have a tea pot that my mom bought me 50 years ago and the lid was broken in a move. I have been unable to toss it and have tried to use it as a vase but the neck is too small. Thank you!

      1. This one, of course. Also:

        There’s a wide range of content on these blogs, and my life is very different than some of the writers (I don’t have kids, and I am not religious). But I think each of these bloggers has a unique, interesting perspective, and that’s what I appreciate.

    2. We use to live in Washington (eastern side) and many people would have to leave their cars at the side of the road at the bottom of hills all winter. I had never experienced that before! Winter was so crazy there! Because we were surrounded by wheat fields, the plows wouldn’t use salt on the roads (to avoid run off contamination in the fields) and the hilly roads would be so slick! Seattle streets are so narrow, I’m sure it’s crazy to drive there in the ice! Good luck to you!

      1. Thank you! It’s been pretty crazy here. We had 15 inches of snow, and now it’s starting to melt. There’s standing water everywhere, with risk of flooding. Good times! 🙂

    3. Why have I never thought of that! I also have an old, chipped teapot that I can’t get rid of. I never though of using it as a watering can! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Great story about the marjoram. That would have made me happy too. I will keep the jars as greenhouses in mind. Growing three times faster is quite significant. I’ve not planted any seeds yet, but have been pruning, using a new to me method, called chop and drop. It’s a bit more work than burning the prunings, or dragging them into the woods, but I hope it will reward us with healthier trees and bushes. The idea is that the prunings will break down to feed the plants. It’s ideal to do it doing rainy season, to help speed up the breaking down process. We’ve had a nice rain this morning. I look forward to reading everyone’s comments during the week.

    1. Hi Tina,
      I live in the Puget Sound as well. We ended up with about 15 inches of snow as of today. I also stocked up on supplies and was grateful I didn’t need so much as I have a good supply of emergency foods in my pantry. We lost power, and I used my camp stove outside to heat up soup I had made the day before when I prepped for impending outages. It’s been quite a week of heavy weather~ and we have more weather ahead of us~ stay warm and safe.
      I plan to use meats and vegetables and last summer fruits from my freezer and pantry for the next 2 months so as to not spend much in the store. For this next month Feb15- Mar 15 I plan to only spend $20.00 / week on sale items for our food bill. With having to buy some extra items for our Winter storms, we needed to spend the money here. Thankful I had storage I can use. And a special Thank you to Brandy for your information on Pantry items. I have using homemade laundry soap for clothes and homemade cleanser for home cleaning. This last month I have not driven my car very much and spent half of what I normally do for gas. I had planned to start vegetable seeds for this Spring when we were surprised with our Big Winter storm. Since next week may be better I will start the seeds indoors and put a shelf in my garden window in the kitchen. It is still very cold so I may search for a good grow light to help with the starts. I have plenty of seeds from last year plus what I collected from veggies~ so I am super excited to start planning for this Spring garden.
      I love your photos Brandy, you have such a lovely family. So happy that you were able to purchase the items that you have needed.
      Better go now, we keep losing power with our storm tonight.
      Patty from the NW

      1. Patty – We lost power here too for 24 hours. It’s been a challenging week. Glad you stocked up! That makes life so much easier.

  6. I had a friend who used to joke that a new appliance made the old ones nervous so they all would break at the same time! Wow – microwave, toaster, DW, and vacuum – that is A LOT all at once. So glad your husband has the skills to install the new one – hope it goes smoothly.

    • Made swag goal x 2
    • Hung laundry out to dry x 2
    • Temp hit 55 so I turned off the furnace and opened up windows to get some fresh air into the house.
    • Questioned a charge on my mobile phone bill and received a $14 credit. Also reduced the service level, which will save me $10 a month.
    • Washed my car at the self-service car wash.
    • Cut open a tube of hand cream to get at the last bits. I’m always amazed by how much cream is still left in the “shoulders” of the tube.
    • I planned out meals for the entire month of February and then shopped at Aldi, which is 35-40 minutes away combining the trip with other errands. Came home and put three half gallons of milk in the freezer as well as several packages of frozen vegetables so I can pull them out as the month progresses.
    • Timed the large grocery shop and errands to be the first day of my credit card’s billing cycle, meaning this amount won’t need to be paid until the end of March. “Float” like this doesn’t save any money, but does help cash flow.
    • Cooked a batch of dry black beans overnight in my slow cooker.
    • Used a Groupon that I had purchased last year and had a manicure and pedicure.
    • Colored my hair at home.
    • Made chicken stock from carcass using the slow cooker.
    • A friend wanted to meet at Starbucks so we got together but I didn’t order anything.
    • Made ham & broccoli quiche, baked Brandy’s blueberry muffins, baked oatmeal cookies and used up a partial bag of white chocolate chips I found shoved into the back of a corner cabinet as well as dried cherries. Made chicken taco soup, zucchini parmesan chips, and roasted chicken in one pan and green beans, carrots and onions together on a sheet pan
    • Streamed a show for free
    • Washed ziplock bags
    • Used mineral oil and oiled all of my wooden kitchen utensils. Many years ago someone had commented that the $7.95 bottles of mineral oil sold in the hardware store have the same contents as the $2.95 bottles sold in the pharmacy. I kept the hardware store bottle as it has a convenient spout and now refill it with the mineral oil from the pharmacy!

  7. I cleaned out 3 purses, washed one, and set one aside to put new handles on (it’s a fabric tote style bag). This will make it feel fresh and new.
    I pieced quilt batting scraps to use on a small child’s quilt that I’m putting a new back on.
    I squeezed Meyer lemons and froze the juice. I also made some lemon syrup which I water-bath canned.
    We are moving and my husband has been bringing home boxes from the school where he teaches-empty paper ream boxes and discarded boxes from the cafeteria. We will not have to buy boxes.
    Borrowing a friend’s shredder to deal with some paperwork.
    Seeing what I can wash or clean around the house to make it feel fresh and new. I have deep cleaned the washer, washed throw quilts, washed coats and purses, took all the trash out of my car. It helps me feel better!

  8. Oh, no! I can’t imagine having to wash dishes by hand for 11 people while waiting for the new DW! ((( Brandy’s kids, LOL ))) Sorry you have had so much trouble with breakdowns! This was our week–

    We had two no-drive, no-spend days last week, which seems to be fairly usual for us. Since it has been a snow day today, with several more forecast, we might be staying home quite a bit this week. Here’s what else we did–

    Made another big pot of homemade soup Saturday for weekday lunches. This week it was Brandy’s recipe for taco soup, and it is delicious (and very filling). Just a note, if you’ve looked at Wal-Mart for Knorr chicken bouillon powder in the 2.2 lb. size and couldn’t find it, try the ethnic food aisle.

    I cooked another pound of black beans, which yielded 6-1/2 cups of cooked beans. The soup recipe called for 5 cups and I froze 1-1/2 cups, which is the same amount of beans in a #2 can.

    I cooked extra for my pantry. (We eat better and cheaper when I do). Last week I made cooked coleslaw dressing, taco seasoning mix and miracle spray…the best cleaner I have ever used.

    I bought spices in bulk at Winco for pennies instead of dollars.

    Last week, someone here mentioned using expired yeast that had been stored in the fridge. I keep mine in the freezer. It stays granular. I’m still working on a 2 lb. package I bought 15 years ago! (You can tell how often I bake! I always test first, and it’s always been fine).

    I sewed two pillowcases for my daughter using fabric bought for 50%+25% off with JoAnn’s coupons.

    I ordered a 31 lb. bag of dog food from Amazon for about the same price as I would pay for it at the store when on sale…but I don’t have to wrestle it on and off the cart. I ordered from one of your Amazon links so you would receive a commission.

    I did our federal income taxes last week. I am waiting on one piece of information to finish. Our taxes are about $2,000 less than last year, thank you President Trump! I used H&R Block software. I bought the CD because I didn’t want all my personal info out there on the internet. Only when I took the CD out of the package did I remember my computer does not have a CD-Rom! LOLOLOLOL (Fortunately, there’s one on my husband’s old laptop).

      1. Miracle Spray is a DIY spray cleaner that does a fabulous job, especially in the bathroom. I got the recipe from an Aussie blog, The Cheapskates Club, and converted the measurements from metric. (Recipe below). It is a bit soapy, and works best when you spray it on, wipe it off with a damp rag, then go over it with a dry rag. I would not use it on mirrors because of the ingredients.

        6-1/2 cups water, including 1 cup boiling water
        1-1/4 cups vinegar
        2 tablespoons washing soda (made by Arm & Hammer and located in laundry aisle)
        1/4 cup dish soap (I use Dawn)
        5 teaspoons eucalyptus oil

        Dissolve washing soda in 1 cup boiling water. Add remaining 5-1/2 cups of water, vinegar, dish soap and eucalyptus oil. Stir gently to avoid excess foaming. Decant into spray bottles.

        Everyone agrees this is great stuff! The oil of eucalyptus, by the way, has some disinfecting qualities and improves the smell of the vinegar.

  9. Brandy, I love your garden experiments! I wish I had the time to start things from seed indoors and take cuttings, but we’ll make it work by starting as early as possible outdoors.

    We saved the most this past week by spending very little on groceries and eating from our freezer and pantry. While we had a few medical expenses, I’m finding healing on the Paleo diet, which is encouraging. It certainly isn’t cheap, but we’re making it work by utilizing the food pantry, shopping smartly, and buying in bulk when we can through Costco. Here are the rest of our savings:

    I hope you’ll come visit! Thanks for all the encouragement, everyone!

  10. My friend was sick for a week and I asked if she would like a meal brought in. She gratefully accepted and I was able to make soup, homemade bread, and took some homemade jam. I did stop at the store and buy her some chocolate but was grateful I had most everything on hand.

    I continued to declutter parts of my home. I shredded about a ream of old paperwork and consolidated some of writing into one notebook. Lots of papers went into the recycling bin. I also sorted through my upstairs pantry and found some items I need to use. I had a couple of boxes of expired crackers that didn’t smell fresh and I needed to discard them. But there wasn’t too much waste!

    I went to a work event with my husband on Saturday night and won a lovely new crockpot! I just got a new one about a year ago, so I don’t need this, but will keep it on hand and it will make a nice wedding gift for someone.

    I got pineapple on sale for .98 each at Sprouts. I bought four of them, three for dehydrating and one for eating fresh.

    I attended a class on botanical skin care and learned how to take better care of my skin for much less money! I do need to spend probably less than $10 for supplies, but that should keep my skin in good shape for a couple of years.

    My credit union is offering 3% in CDs for 6-11 months. That’s a super rate. I was able to transfer some of our savings to take advantage of that rate.

    I have been knitting dishcloths for the international organization knitting4peace.org. I received six skeins of cotton yarn for making them from a woman whose mother had them in her stash and has since passed away. I’ll be able to make twelve dishcloths to donate.

  11. When one appliance breaks, they all do, don’t they? We just replaced our dishwasher, stove, electric broom, and the a/c coil unit.
    I had a few frugal successes this past week:
    I found some good sales on food, kept my food bill low, and cooked even when I was so tired because my husband is in the hospital.
    I took a seminar for work and was offered the chance to do a survey. I did it, and won a $25 gift card from Amazon! I almost didn’t do the survey, but I’m glad I did.
    Even though my week was crazy, what with putting my husband in the hospital, I managed to use or freeze all of my leftovers except for 1/3 cup of rice and a little cheese.
    I finished a DIY project at the house.
    I filed my own taxes for free.
    I walked past some cute clearance decor items, because I don’t need to spend money on them, and I don’t have space for them. I’m trying to clean out, not fill up.

  12. I used a coupon for 50% off from a local flower shop to deliver flowers to my Dad in the nursing home. He misses his garden and yard the most and always grew roses.

    I used the last of my Swagbucks to order a couple things for Hubby. I need to get back on building that up again.

    We both played”taxi” to the Amish bringing in some money.

    We closed the 401k as it was losing money really bad, transferred it to online savings and cut the budget to keep us from starting on the IRA 1 yr before we planned.

    Hubby has been looking for a flat bed trailer , at least 25 ft long for the jobs he has had to turn down due to not having a big enough trailer. He thinks he has found one , the owner is willing to hold it until he can go check it out this weekend. If he gets it , it comes in under what we budgeted if for by $5000.

    Electric bill was up $25 so I called the electric company since it was higher than when the Christmas lights were up. It was up for everyone due to sever cold but ours wasn’t as much as what they felt it should have been especially since we added 2 humidifiers, heat lamp on the pipes in the pump house and Hubby’s diesel truck having to be plugged in along with the furnace running more. Still on average it’s below what I set the monthly budget.
    Rest is here. https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/02/frugal-moments.html

  13. We had a cold snap last week, so we’ve had our central heat running for several days. We keep it around 67, so it runs enough to keep the house warm & us comfortable, but the bill isn’t too high. We did our large annual “stock up” shopping trip this past weekend. We try to buy enough for a year of many items, so during the year we only have to make small “fill in” shopping trips. We hit Aldi, Costco, Trader Joe’s, and placed a large Amazon order, so we are set through 2019 on many items. In case anyone is curious, it is things like shaving soap (which we both use – so much cheaper than anything in a can & less skin irritation), toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, lotion, dry pantry goods like coffee beans, dry pasta, rice, cat food, birdseed etc. We bought bulk meat at Costco, divided it up into bags, so now our deep freezer is completely full. We also purchased some new, needed clothing items (undergarments for both of us, boots for my husband, work pants for me). We also got my husband’s eye exam done & bought new frames & prescription for him. All of this took us most of the day Saturday & part of Sunday to get everything bought & stored away, so we were wiped out by Sunday evening! I still managed to meal prep my lunches for the work week (chicken tikka masala with cauliflower rice) and snacks (cottage cheese, bananas, apples, veggies & hummus). We always bring all of our meals & snacks to work so we don’t have to eat out. Many of my coworkers eat lunch out on a daily basis (I work in a downtown metro area), and I can’t believe how much they spend on a weekly basis. We ate most of our meals at home last week and avoided a lot of food waste by using leftovers up. I agree with what you said, Brandy – we view the pantry almost as a “savings account” so we can spend or save elsewhere as needed.

  14. Last week I made barley soup, which we had for two meals, along with homemade french bread. Then the rest of it was frozen for us to use another time. There are just my husband and myself at home, so we end up freezing leftover portions quite often! I also made lentil soup. We had some for two meals and will use up the rest for lunch today with homemade bread sticks. I was able to purchase underwear at 60 % off. I had been thinking of buying this particular type for some time, but the price was more than I wanted to pay. It is time to begin considering what seeds we will start indoors and inventory what others we may need for spring planting. The weather here (Utah) is quite variable. Our last frost date is usually around May 15. We enjoy our canned tomatoes and whatever other produce we manage to grow and preserve, as well as the fresh things, of course. There is a constant competition with the deer in our area to see who will get to it all first! It’s great that you had some rain, Brandy!

  15. *I found two free books!
    *I used a coupon and was able to get free body wash.
    *I purchased thread to make a repair.
    *I used up soybeans from my freezer–still working on using up foods!
    *I was given free raspberry plants from a friend’s garden! I had to dig them up, and learned how to prune them back and now have. a raspberry bed started in my garden!
    *I started some garden seeds under lights.
    *I made four loaves of bread.
    *I was able to order a dress from LLBean for free!
    *I did my own taxes, and am SO happy that they are all done now!!!

    Pictures and more on my blog at: https://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2019/02/frugal-friday-week-of-february-3-9-2019.html

  16. I got a few cold items on clearance at Aldis which were marked down because they are about to close for remodeling. I was hoping they would mark down everything, but they said they move the stuff they don’t sell to a nearby store. I got to try new humus I would have never tried at full-price. I found my son a new leather billfold and new underwear at the thrift store at a great price. I recently bought a yogurt maker for $5 at Goodwill, but I haven’t tried it yet. At Lowes I found a half off edger to do my sidewalks which always grow weeds along the edge. I’ve been wanting one for ages. I am surprised at myself that I don’t want to eat out much anymore. I would rather cook. I’ve got to where I worry about the cleanliness of the people cooking the fast food. When I was a teen working in fast food it seemed like the workers looked better groomed. My son recently quit working in fast food, and he has told me some things, too. On the other hand, I am glad that these places will give felons a second chance. They certainly need one. Anyway, eating at home saves money.

    1. Julie , if the yogurt maker does not work, yogurt can easily be made in the crock pot , which is how I make mine or some people use an instapotb

  17. Frugal Accomplishments:
    1. My microwave, which was over 20 years old, finally bit the dust. Rather than buy one, I had one at work in my classroom that I seldom use and we have one in the teacher’s lounge which is right across the hall from me, so I brought mine home to replace the one that died. No money out of pocket.

    Frugal Fail:
    1. We bought a house in 2018, so I wasn’t sure about how that would affect our taxes, so I had a tax place do them. UGH! Not only did we get less money back this year, all of it but 67.00 went to pay the fees for someone else doing my taxes!!!!! I watched her do them and realized it was something I could have done myself. (I’ve done our taxes using the free e-file through the IRS for several years now). I was so upset as the fees were over 200 dollars!!!!! Total Frugal Fail!!!!! But lesson learned, I’ll do them myself next year!

    Not much else this week. Hopefully the coming week will be better. Have a great week everyone!

  18. I’ve been out of town and sick so haven’t posted the past few weeks. Being sick I didn’t do a lot or go many places so saved money that way.
    A friend was given tickets to a food event. We went and were able to enjoy numerous plates from multiple restaurants for free.
    I read some books that my mom’s library had when I went to visit her. She also gave me her credit at a used bookstore so I “bought” 2 books for free.
    My husband and I went on a cruise. We stuck to the free drinks and only used the money credit we were given. We did not buy any souvenirs. We were able to go to an amusement park for free thanks to a friend.
    It has been so warm this winter that my daffodils bloomed a few weeks early. I cut some to enjoy in the house.

  19. Again focusing on saving money for my daughter’s wedding, I cooked meals from the freezers and pantry and zealously used up leftovers from the previous week.
    I used up:
    * some remaining lime syrup by baking a lemon-lime blueberry coffeecake and spooning the syrup over the top while it was still warm. My second eldest daughter nearly devoured the entire cake by herself.
    * used up the remaining chocolate sauce from bread pudding to make hot chocolate.
    * saved the remainder of daily brewed coffee in a mason jar in the refrigerator. By week’s end, made a pitcher of iced coffee.
    * used up some day-old bread and made French toast served with thawed peaches and cool whip.
    * using up the last of the day-old bread, made stuffing for a casserole.
    * made 2 loaves of date-applesauce bread to use up a jar of applesauce languishing in the fridge. Froze both loaves to have on hand for unexpected guests.
    * some applesauce got transformed into donut holes (Timbits for those of us in Canada) – sent to work or lunches. The remaining 4 Tablespoons got spooned over cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast. Along with maple syrup, it gives it a nice sweet-tart flavour.
    * boiled a ham in water for dinner, then used some of this “ham broth” as the liquid to make yellow split pea soup for another meal. This gives the soup a nice smoky flavour. Added ham pieces to make it heartier.
    * the remaining “ham broth” was frozen for a future meal of baked beans.
    * made 2 homemade pizzas.
    * for my eldest daughter’s birthday made her requested meal: chicken pot pies. Made 4 extra and froze.
    * made a baked vegetarian shepherd’s pie using leftovers. First layer: homemade stuffing from stale bread, Second layer: leftover vegetables, Last layer: leftover colcannon (mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage and onion). Served with previously frozen gravy.
    * baked 3 loaves of toasting bread – froze 1
    * before peeling oranges for fruit salad, I zested each piece onto a strip of plastic wrap. I then placed in Ziploc bags marked “orange zest” and froze to use in future baking recipes. This way, I can still choose to make recipes requiring orange zest even if I don’t have any fresh oranges on hand. The same is repeated with lemons or limes.
    * deboned on-sale chicken breast. Froze both the meat and the bones for soup.
    * refilled foaming hand soap dispensers with on-sale body wash purchased last year. These types of dispensers naturally use less soap because it must be diluted with water to foam properly.
    * repaired a seam in a comforter that we received as a wedding gift in 1990. It’s a good-quality blanket as this is the first time I’ve ever needed to repair it.
    * did all the usual, money-saving activities.
    Cheers everyone.

    1. I love the idea of saving up the coffee for iced coffee. My husband and I only drink it on the weekends, but there is always some left in the pot each day. I’m am going to use this idea!

      1. I thought that idea was pretty awesome, too. My mom and daughter are the only ones who drink coffee in our house. There is often leftovers each morning. Humm…I wonder if DD would like iced coffee made from the leftovers. Perfect idea for summer!

  20. Well, Brandy, as they say “when it rains it pours”. Sorry you’ve had to replace so many appliances at once. At least you actually did get rain! I hope your friend enjoyed her wedding. I’m sure her photos will be absolutely lovely!

    Our biggest event this week was not frugal at all. We adopted a 5 month old immigrant baby…an adorable potcake puppy who came all the way to Canada from the Bahamas! She has spent most of her life in a kennel, so literally everything is new to her. DD is in love, the cats not so much. Here is the link again to pictures, we adopted “Embrace” (now called Eevee): http://www.ptbocanada.com/journal/2019/1/30/peterborough-humane-society-has-8-adorable-potcake-puppies-to-adopt. She is already vaccinated and spayed, which was included in the adoption fees.

    This week our frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included homemade beef stew with dumplings, breaded chicken fingers/burgers with white rice and corn, pulled pork sandwiches with Caesar salad, breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce and potato wedges, make your own sub sandwiches (used various packages of cold meat and sausage style “hotdog” buns from freezer) with potato chips and home canned peaches, homemade cream of potato soup (used home canned turkey stock, some “imperfect” potatoes, carrots that were going mushy & home dried celery) topped with cheese and served with homemade bannock biscuits, and roast beef with mashed potatoes and green/waxed beans.
    *Though I did not buy a lot of groceries this week, the total was a bit more than I expected. I was running very low on cheese in the freezer. The store finally had a sale, with blocks of cheese priced at $3.77 instead of the full price of $5 – $6. I bought a dozen assorted blocks, which shot my grocery bill total quite high. However, I won’t need to buy cheese for a while and buying it in bulk when on sale saves me a lot of money in the long haul!
    *Used a coupon to get a free bottle of conditioner, which was added to our pantry stock.
    *Made up 2 boxes of pudding (using powdered milk) from our pantry for school lunch treats for this coming week. I made 2 different flavours, then stretched it over 10 reusable containers with a layer of each flavour per container. They needed to be used up anyways and both girls were excited about having pudding as their treat!
    *A switch from snow and cold to warmer and rain caused tricky road conditions. Some of the buses (but not all) were cancelled on Monday. DD’s bus happened to be one of the cancelled buses, so she missed her first day of the new semester. She didn’t sleep well the night before (most likely anxiety), so it might have been a blessing in disguise. By weeks end, she ended up having 3 snow days in total. DD definitely eased into her new classes. It worked out well, however, because it gave her extra bonding time with her new puppy.
    *Use my wellness centre membership 2 times this week.
    *I pulled a small frozen package of finely diced salami from 2016, that hubby wasn’t fond of, and used it as treat rewards for puppy training. At least it is getting used and it was much cheaper than buying doggie treats! She is an extremely active puppy. However, I am finding she responds well to learning tricks, which helps her focus on something other than destroying the house. I cut up an old blanket into 3 usable pieces to place in the dog crate for a nice comfortable bedding for her to lay. While time spent in the crate is minimal, her comfort when she is in there is important. Having more than 1 kennel blanket allows us to change and wash bedding as needed. We also gave her a Frisbee that we picked up for free somewhere, a raw hide bone my mom had floating around the house and an old, stained plastic bowl we never use anymore, to play with. Since her attention span is short, multiple toy options help. She seems to favour these toys over the expensive Kong toy and ball we bought at the store. Typical kid!

    Hope everyone has a lovely week. I look forward, as always, to reading all the comments!

      1. They are pretty cute puppies. We met Alpha at the vet clinic this week and exchanged phone numbers. His new owner would love to connect with as many other owners as possible and possibly do a play date with them. The puppies came a long way together, after all! I’d find it interesting to see what the other puppies are like.

    1. Oh – you picked the trouble maker outta that litter 🙂 If you are having problems with her shredding bedding, try fleece – while working at the boarding kennel we found that the “shredders” didn’t like fleece so much. Crates are awesome for keeping both the pup safe (the bill for impacted stomach/intestines is no joke!) AND your house in one piece. Congrats! And have fun – just like kid’s they grow up way too fast!

      1. I didn’t actually pick the puppy, she was the one they offered us. I have a lot of experience with animals, as I was a formally trained Veterinary Technician with over 10 years experience in the industry before I switched careers. I’ve worked at a holistic & conventional vet clinic, a very large 24 hour emergency clinic (both in Toronto) and an animal shelter. I am very aware of behaviour problems and the cost of vet bills! In fact, I have a lot of stories I could tell from my experiences. Thankfully she is not a shredder. But she does have dominant tendancies and attention seeking issues, most likely due to spending so much time in a shelter setting. Although we are making some headway, she is exhausting to keep on top of. We love her, but it’s definitely a challenge for the whole family to deal with right now. One week in, a lifetime to go!

        1. I give you credit – I would never take on a puppy someone else picked for me. I can see it in her body language in the photo and by her eyes that she is a challenge – I’m glad you have the experience to cope! Our female Dane gets in what we call “bitch mode” (there is a reason why the word has come to mean what it does). If she had been someone’s first dog (or even 2nd) with someone who had no experience. she would have easily become a monster (150 pound aggressive one). Every now and then she gets it in her head that she’s in charge – that never works out her way and you’d think she’d learn but some dogs, like some people just love to be difficult! On the other hand, those dogs often become those incredible bonded family dogs once you get past the hard parts.

  21. * This week just didn’t seem very frugal. I must not of noticed there was a national break day. Because it certainly seemed like it. My stove is out, the microwave died as well as the DVD player. I was just fine with all of that but then I had phone issues. I feel like I am simply unwilling to go without a phone. I was frustrated and angry that there was just no solution to my problem. I spent $100.00 and bought a new phone with a new service. It ends up being $ 6.00 more a month but at least this company has customer service instead of email only computer generated customer service. I refused to pay $ 30.00 for a new case at the phone store . I came home and ordered one on Amazon and used a $ 10.00 gift card to pay for it.
    * I’m missing $125.00 in swagbucks that I have requested be paid to me. I’m always annoyed when they don’t show up.
    * I also have requested the $ 3.75 I was charged after using points to get two free Redbox movies returned to my account. I find this is becoming quite frequent. Maybe they think people don’t keep track of this .
    * I finally managed to check my water heater settings. It is not my energy hog. I decided my critical thinking skills were just not helping me, so I watched several you tube videos on energy savings. It would appear my television and our internet router/modem are the energy sucking hogs. From now on, I will shut the internet down when we go to bed. I mainly just like the television noise , so I am making adjustments. I will use a radio app on my phone . I have my favorite show downloaded on my tablet. I will try this for awhile to see how much the electric bill drops. Being forced into an early retirement and living on a limited budget is challenging. My total monthly electric bill may be as much as double just with that tv and internet box.
    * My greatest frugal win was watching those you tube videos. After the energy savings blog played , the man had a second blog that automatically played. I was busy making notes and wasn’t paying attention , until he started talking about a refrigerator problem I have. I need to replace a small part and it should be easy . Inexpensive too. This man just extended the life of that appliance.
    * I popped the top off of my expensive clinical strength deodorant . There is a good 3/4 of an inch of product left. I have about 10 fake empty containers that I will continue to use up.
    * We had several gift cards in a kitchen drawer. I called and got the remaining balance on each one. I wrote the balance on each card with a sharpie marker. I went through the self check out line at Wal-Mart and paid for each purchase with a giftcard. Even the random 85 cents paid for a bar of soap .
    * One day the weather is 20 and the next day 75 . The house stays about 55 so we are still not using any heat. My yard is very confused.

    1. Lilliana, You might enjoy watching Glenda Sulley on youtube. She is a senior living on limited funds and has been doing a series about living on social security. I find her personality quite lovely with her Southern charm. You also might want to watch Rhoda Stone. Her channel is about stockpiling and cooking frugally. Although I don’t agree with everything on their channels, they have definately had me thinking about food insecurity that so many face.

  22. It has been a successful week.
    Mom has settled into assisted living and seems to be quite happy. Being waited on hand and foot has always been something she desired. Now I have time to turn my attention to the mess in my house.

    *The past week we have been able to send 3 loads to the thrift store. At least now we can walk through the basement without stumbling.

    *When I pulled the junk away from the basement wall I noticed slight moisture on the blocks and was horrified. After the plastic was removed for a few days, it dried but I don’t want to take any chances. I spent yesterday bleaching and cleaning a section of the wall then sealing it myself with a sealant. After the strong smell dissipates, I will work on another section until the whole basement wall is finished.

    *I was able to use coupons (thanks again to Lillianna for her help) and saved $9 in coupons on needed items.

    *Free items I received was a jewelry box with family jewelry when I visited Mom. Nothing has any monetary valuable but it’s only important because it belonged to distant relatives. I will sort through the box and see what I can pass on to other family members.

    *Used $.30 off a gallon of gas at Kroger. We filled up our car, Dustin’s car plus a gas can so we were able to get all we could at the good price.

    *I suppose the biggest and most important thing to happen is that I can now say my health is improving. I no longer think I am going to die!!!! I count that as being quite amazing.

    Now that I have good news, I will share. After Reese was born, I began to have problems. I first noticed I could not lose the weight I had gained no matter what I did. I went from doctor to doctor for years and never received any help. My health has gradually declined and no amount of healthy eating, exercising, herbal treatments, or anything else has helped at all. Three years ago my health became so bad, I could hardly get out of bed. Once again, doctors could find nothing. That was when I started my blog because it was something I could do. Finally, I found a new doctor who is unconventional and was able to diagnose my problem. When I described my symptoms, he nailed it before any tests were taken. I have Hashimoto’s disease which is an autoimmune disorder where my body turns on my thyroid. It had progressed to the point that my other organs were shutting down. My treatment so far has been various detoxes, large amounts of nutrients, and infrared light therapy. It is working. The downside is that insurance pays for nothing and it is all very expensive. My treatments along with Bill’s stem cell treatment is the reason we timbered our land.

    Living frugally is so important and it has made a huge difference. Now we can afford the expensive treatments. It isn’t how I wanted to spend my saved money, would have preferred a trip to the Bahamas but it is better than death.

    FRUGAL BLOGGING BUDDIES: Don’t be discouraged because you don’t feel like you are making any progress or that you are not saving enough. It all matters! Every time you cook at home, use a coupon, air dry a load of clothes, wash out a baggie or anything else, it adds up. The effort is worth the savings.


      1. Hi Jeannie, my sister has Hasimoto’s desease and I have a thyroid issue. I would recommend reading a book called “Stop the Thyroid Madness”. I know you are doing alternative treatments but if that stops working for you I would recommend this book. It saved my sister and me.

      2. Marybeth, some of the blood work and other tests were covered but that’s it. I was offered drugs from other doctors that treated the symptoms but this has been my only choice at healing so I am grabbing it!

      3. So glad to hear you found an answer and are getting some relief. I TOTALLY know about how expensive alternative practitioners can be, and not covered by insurance. Grr.
        I hope your hubby is doing better too.

    1. Jeannie – I’m so glad you found treatments that are working. How terrifying and frustrating it must have been before finding that doctor.

      Sending you hugs and wishes for continued healing.

    2. Jeannie—

      SO happy that your health is improving! God does lead us to the help that we need! I am thankful for the wisdom of your new doctor. I appreciate your encouragement to keep up with doing our small frugal attempts. Sometimes it definitely feels like it doesn’t make any difference, but I wonder then what our expenses would be if I WASN’T trying to be frugal and save money!

      1. Susan, all those little things I have done over the years really added up. First, it was because the money saving was necessary to feed my growing family, and over time as my knowledge increased, the savings multiplied. The doctor’s office automatically offered a payment plan when we first agreed to the services. The lady seemed stunned when we said we said we would pay cash (wrote a check). By paying it that way, we were able to get an additional discount and also avoided interest charges. The frugal lifestyle is natural now and wasting money feels uncomfortable.

    3. So glad that your health is improving!!! Yaaayyyyy! Am glad you had the land to timber to help you out.

      I also agree that you never know when frugal efforts will pay off. My husband and I currently have a very large monthly expense, and if we weren’t prudent with our money and resources, we wouldn’t be able to cover the cost. Frugal savings definitely add up and sometimes that can be life-saving!

      1. Oh Margaret, in this case, it has been life-saving. I wouldn’t have gone in search of alternate therapy’s if we were struggling financially. I hate to hear you are struggling under a large extra monthly expense. You are extremely creative in your frugal activities and I have learned much from you. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

    4. Doesn’t you Hashimoto’s require treatment with synthroid? I too have H’s disease but I also take synthroid. It took a long time for mine to be diagnosed. I am glad that you were finally diagnosed. I am not sure why it is so expensive…? Synthetic thyroid is very inexpensive. Or os it that you don’t take it and are trying alternative things?

      best wishes, Ann

      1. I’m not Jeannie…but treating Hashimoto’s and other thyroid issues with Synthroid (or even natural thyroid hormone) is not always that straightforward. It works great for some people, but not everyone. I had thyroid issues for several years (and was diagnosed with a low level of Hashimoto’s) and using Synthroid put me in this strange hypo/hyper thyroid seesaw, which was really challenging to deal with. There was no consistent dose that would work (I’d have to adjust up or down every three weeks or so) and I felt awful much of the time. Plus I was told I would be on thyroid medicine all my life. But strangely enough, a couple years later, I added in a certain supplement (working with my doctor, of course), and the whole thyroid problem went away completely. I was told this wasn’t possible, but it happened. And I am so thankful!

        1. Tiny, you are more than welcome to answer for me! Thank you. Hearing that your thyroid was healed has given me hope. I too am hoping my thyroid can be healed. Wow. I have thought that but seeing it in writing made the goal seem real. God made plants for healing so there must be some plant out there somewhere that can help me. I just have to find it. What I have learned is, if your thyroid doesn’t work properly, none of your other organs work properly.

          1. Good luck, Jeannie.
            A wise doctor once said to me, “All things can be healed, but that does not mean that all things will be healed.”
            I hope you find healing.

        2. Thanks for the explanation. Now I’m curious as to what the supplement it. I do have swings occasionally from hypo to hyper but usually not often.

          1. The supplement was selenomethionine (a version of selenium). However, I would not take this supplement without doctor approval, because selenium can be toxic if you take too much of it.

      2. Ann, I have been taking Synthroid for 20+ years but it is only treating the symptom, not the cause. It’s like taking an aspirin for the pain of a heart attack. My body has continued to deteriorate slowly resulting in me having constant untreatable problems. The list is long. The question to ask is, “why is my thyroid not working correctly and how do we heal it?” That is what my new doctor asked and the tests he ran came back with the answers.
        There are videos by Dr. John Bergman on youtube, and he says many of the things my doctor is saying.

        1. Jeannie,

          This is really intriguing both as to why your thyroid wasn’t working and the tests to show the answers. I’ll watch the
          videos by Dr. Bergman. I have been interested in selenium although I know it can be toxic. Many north American seniors are also deficient in folate and also magnesium. Ann

    5. I know you must be so glad to have a diagnosis, as well as someone to work with to begin healing. I see a naturopathic Dr. for my issues, and though I pay for it, for me, it’s a better alternative than conventional Western medicine.

  23. This past week has been amazing and filled with blessings!
    First, when I went to the Produce Market on Tuesday, for $11 total, I got 3 pounds of fresh ginger (I froze it), 6 huge pineapples ( I canned those into 13 pints of pineapple chunks), 3 pound bag of chopped lettuce (for salads for us ), 3 pound bag of spinach (for my chickens) AND they gave me 80 pounds of tomatoes – 3 twenty-five pound boxes plus a partial box – “for my chickens”! There were some bruised and weepy tomatoes, but when I got home, I started going through the boxes and separated the overripe tomatoes from any that were firm and still good and was able to can 28 quarts of tomatoes that I quartered plus 6 nice tomatoes for slicing and salads and am over the moon! If they have weeping tomatoes, they can’t sell them so rather than throw them out, they give them to me for my chickens! The thing is, often there are just some that have gone bad, but if I work with them as soon as I get home, there are usually a large percentage that are completely fine! I have many jars of jam, pickle relish, pineapple chunks, frozen berries, chopped onions, peppers ! It has been an overwhelming blessing! In planning my garden for this year, I think that instead of the 20 or so tomato plants I usually do, that I will plant 3! One for slicing, one cherry tomato (Sweet 100) and 1 yellow pear tomato. Because of the number of jars of canned tomatoes I have, there is no need to plant more than that- only enough to eat fresh! I can them into plain quartered tomatoes because later, as I need, I can make them into salsa, Rotel, Sweet and Sour Sauce, or as an ingredient in my canned chili!

    I quilted a lap size quilt for a friend and she was thrilled with the work! The price we had agreed on made a nice deposit into my accounts. She asked if I would quilt other quilt tops she and some of her friends have and so I told her I would give individual estimates on any that she wanted done. I took on another job to construct a quilt from a little boys baby blankets and onesies and the client came over and I was able to give her a written invoice and she gave me the 50% deposit to start. This is a nice variation from the sewing Scrappy Bags, Soup Cozies and flannel Softies every day!
    But speaking of those, this week I was able to sell 8 more sets of Soup Cozies, 2 bundles of flannel Softies and 4 more Scrappy Bags! Every time I think that they have reached the end, more orders come in! And yet, my fabric stash hasn’t noticeably diminished!! My lap quilt that I quilted for that friend had extra cotton batting that I trimmed away after I quilted it. The client didn’t want it back so I was able to recycle it into Bags! HandmadeinOldeTowne.com is doing well these days and we are getting a lot of repeat business and referrals so we are gratified by that! As a result, from Jan 1 until today, we have been able (after 20% to business account and 10% tithing) to add $376 to our savings account AND $376 to reduce our surgery bill! With the combination of business income and zeroing out our checking account balance on payday when the new direct deposit comes in, we have seen our debt reduced and savings increase in a major way!!

    We were given a gift card (unexpectedly) to Red Robin from a friend that we had done some helpful work for (out of friendship, not as a paying job) so we placed an online order on Friday night and paid only $2.88 for our date night dinner for 2 that we took home and ate while we watched a free movie online!

    I got $26 from Ebates and so I used $12 of it to buy an adorable digital quilt pattern that I plan to use several times! So $14 got divided in half- $7/savings, $7/debt reduction! Seems like puny amounts but it really adds up! Much better for us than trying to find huge amount at one time!

    Snow came back yesterday but our sturdy chickens are still giving us almost 3 dozen eggs a week! What a treasure! I am appreciating my $19 rubber boots (pink and purple paisley!) from Tractor Supply as I trudge out in the snow or rain to feed and water them!!

    At the end of this month we will notify work and SS about our final retirement date and get that all done for a smooth transition!

    What a wonderful life we have been blessed with! There are certainly heartbreaks and challenges along the way, but this week, hubby and I will celebrate our 48th anniversary and together we are willing to face whatever comes next!

    1. Happy Anniversary Pat and may there be many more years of happiness,, joy, togetherness and blessings for you both :).

      You are powering with paying off your husbands medical bills I am so happy for you and I know it is through hard work and diligence you are getting there so quickly.


    2. Happy anniversary, Pat! I enjoy hearing about your productivity and creativity. Your debt pay down is inspirational, as well! We bought a new work truck for my husband in December (he’s a self-employed carpenter so we use it as a tax deduction) and have an auto loan for the first time in years. The day after we brought it home, I called the bank it was financed through and asked if I could make extra payments at anytime in any amounts. They said yes, but I’m sure they weren’t expecting what we’re doing. Every time we have extra from things like using a coupon, coming in under budget in groceries, getting a surprise refund from something, we use that exact amount and pay on our loan. It’s very easy to do through our online account. I’m sure the bank people find it amusing when it’s a $1 here or there! lol But it’s bringing down the balance quickly, for which we are grateful.

  24. I’m sorry to hear about all those appliances breaking down but it sounds like you got some great deals on replacements. I guess it’s true that sometimes when it rains it pours.

    We have had quite a few winter storms and are expecting more tonight. We have gotten out a few times though and managed to make it to the store and Goodwill. We were able to find quite a bit at Goodwill. I think a lot of people are cleaning out their houses.
    Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments:

    1. Vicki, I think you are right about people cleaning out their homes!! I went to Salvation Army the other day with a garbage bag of donations and was astonished at all the donations. Literally just pile upon pile, taller than me. I was so shocked I took some pics to show my husband. I am wondering if people watching “Konmari” have been decluttering!

  25. I love reading everyone’s comments – thank you to all!
    I had been wanting to purchase a very small window greenhouse to put some of my more delicate plants in, try to overwinter some herbs and start seedlings in for the summer garden and I found one for half off the original price AND was given a $10 gift card to use on anything in the store at a later date, with no expiration, just for buying it today. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, it was a Crazy Deals day and that’s why the greenhouse was on sale and I got the card. This means that the metal, 5ft. tall x 3ft. wide, 4 shelf greenhouse with the little plastic, zippered coat that covers the entire thing cost me $10. I’ve already started some geranium and sage seed, all purchased for half price. I also started a tray of salad greens to use as micro-greens in salads using old seed and some half price salad greens seeds. Now, if I just find African Violets for half price or, better yet, free!
    My hens are laying gang busters so we’re eating lots of eggs which is good because I’ve cut our grocery budget in half on a trial basis for this month. I could not believe what our grocery expenditures had grown to over the last several months. It was astonishing. The fridge looks mighty empty but I know my freezer and pantries are full of good things and leftovers will fill that fridge.
    I’m on a no sugar or dairy plan right now because they have both been bothering my stomach and intestines and while I feel better just three days in, I’m also quite aware of the addictive properties of sugar now!! Yikes!!
    I’ve been combining all of our trips and not making any extras, not even to my exercise classes at the YMCA. I can do all of it right here at home using YouTube, a small set of handweights and the treadmill in the basement and save the gas. This also allows me to keep the woodstove going thereby keeping the house warm without turning on the heat. Which is electric…speaking of which…we did our taxes and it turns out that the rebates that our state was giving us when we installed the leased solar panels are still in effect and the refund paid for our entire electric/heat/panel lease for the entire year! WOW! I couldn’t believe it!! So, it turned out to be a good decision after all.
    We’ve taken our oldest off our auto insurance and she has picked up her own as well as her own car. This is good since we have another child who is about to start driving and will need to be put on the insurance…one off, one on.
    I found another fun frugal vlog and have been catching up with her videos while I knit my very first hat in the round (it’s not too bad, either!) using some old yarn that I’ve had laying around for over a year. I’m happy to use it up. The vlog is Coffee With Kate on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhlODa7BzcQ
    I mentioned your blog on her site a couple of days ago, Brandy, and she talked about you this morning on her vlog and linked to you! So, yay for frugal community connections!
    Have a great week everyone!

    1. Good luck with your dietary changes! I know now that I’ve made similar changes permanent, I feel lots better and am hopeful for more healing. The hardest has been parties and potlucks. I just try to eat beforehand or bring at least one dish I know I can have. It helps, and there are others with dietary restrictions who are grateful too.

  26. Hi, long time follower here, but I have never commented. Your post reminded that I got the idea for my growing glass jar collection from you. I had not heard of this trick of warming up the soil for seedlings. We will try it in early May and see what happens. Surely we will have a warm spring after this brutal winter! I am worried about my roses surviving especially my David Austins. Did you buy them from a garden shop or from David Austin’s directly? I don’t think we have one of his retail shops, but I will investigate further. The shop where we find them only has limited varieties. As to our frugal activities, the weather has mostly kept us indoors in the last few months. My DH and I are emptynesters in our seventies and avoid ice like the plague. As a consequence of our weather, our well stocked freezer has been a real treasure. DH has started our herb crop seedlings, and they are on the grow light stand for now. Most of our veg and flower seeds are in house, but I am still looking for Italian snapdragons. They came back for six years, but they didn’t appear last year. I really missed their gorgeous burgundy color in my bouquets. Other snaps were put in their place but still… Something that hasn’t been frugal lately, but is a result of our frugal ways, has been a rehab of the master bathroom. I have happily saved enough from my puny paraprofessional teacher’s pension to pay for a lovely and safe bathroom. At our age, a nice big shower with a bench, grab bar, and a separate hand held shower head will be much easier to use than a tub and separate shower. We dream of other rehabs, but re-doing the bath should keep us in our own home longer. I truly depend on you and your faithful followers for all the great tips and advice. The care that you show one another is lovely!

    1. I order directly from their site. Our local garden center does not carry them (they had a few choices about 15 years ago, but they don’t have them now). If you get the catalog sent to you, there has been a coupon code inside for a percentage off if you order by a certain date. This year the code is UCB if you order by March 8th for 15% off.

    2. Hi Chicago Gran,

      When I re-did the bathroom, I bought wall and floor tiles from the discount room of a tilc company. I spent $1 per tile (1 sq ft) for fine Spanish white tiles (the only white that did not look grey in the room). If you haven’t already finished your bathroom, you might consider seeing if your local tile store has such a room.

  27. Hi to all.
    I have not posted in awhile my frugal things –

    – have been cooking from scratch like usual.
    – I have just celebrated my birthday and received gift cards, cash and also received $50 off of $100 at Lands end. I placed an order on new shirts, socks and a bag. The gift cards are for Marshall’s, so I’ll make a list of things I need to look for.
    – eating up leftovers
    – ordered a book from the library and picked it up when I was out grocery shopping
    – I downloaded coupons to use before grocery shopping
    – I continue walking our dogs for exercise
    – we had our taxes done last week and decided to put the whole amount – thousands toward the principal of our house
    – decluttered my closet of things I never wear. Bag of things will be donated this week.
    – my mom is moving after 55 years and wants to send me things – I am only taking things I’ll use.

    That’s all i can think of. Have a good week all!

    Mary in AZ

  28. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy you are so right that food storage is wonderful in times when you have unexpected expenses. You always have food in your home no matter what and we call it an added insurance policy and emergency kitty too not to mention the money saved when you can buy items on good specials. Yes we earn interest on our food storage when items go up in price as an example we purchased butter on special and then it went up so we effectively earned 20 % interest on that purchase in one week.

    We are continuing to be good on our low/spend February and have almost caught up with our arrears from buying needed new clothing (we both lost weight) and a new fan to replace the one that died. We have used mostly additional earned funds from both gardening work DH did and funds from money I earned from selling my homemade goods on the internet as well as allocated budgeted fortnightly funds. Any purchases also came out of money earned too instead of our budget :). We are super happy with our progress so far.

    Our savings last week added up to $161.15 :).

    Blessings –

    – Our lovely neighbour gave us 350g of whiting fillets and around 500g of calamari as her family and boyfriend are avid fishermen.

    Earnings –

    – Made $44.39 from the sale of 2 5 layer luxury cotton eye masks in my eBay shop which I used to purchase a 30 m x 1 mt roll of flyscreen for the home and some fibre washers and o’rings for the inside house taps. We found we had run out of both tap washers and o’rings 😮 .
    – DH earned $60 from a mowing job and he used his earnings to purchase another 20 mt grey water/sullage hose for the home and put the rest away for our fortnightly splurge budget so we didn’t have to take that out of our normal pays.

    Finances –

    – We used money we were in advance on in our splurge budget to top up our home emergency kitty and buy a tin of tyre leak repair foam for the ride on lawnmower tyre. More money that didn’t come out of our usual pays that we can save.
    – I listed 10 items on eBay using a free listing and final auction value fee promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases –

    – Bought a 30 x 1 m roll of fibreglass flyscreen, 20 tap o’rings and 20 fibre tap washers on eBay saving $45.12 over buying these in the local hardware store. I paid for this out of money earned from sales in my eBay store.
    – DH purchased another 20 m roll of sullage/grey water hose from the irrigation store saving $27 over buying it in the local hardware stores from money he earned from a gardening job.

    Sewing –

    – I made 3 x plain coloured and 3 x patterned bread bags and another 3 dark coloured 5 layer cotton eye masks for my eBay store as I had sold out of them.

    In the kitchen –

    – Made a 1.02 kg batch of chocolate brownies from our homemade premix saving $55.67 over purchasing them in the local cafe’s.
    – Made a single batch of coconut chocolate chip biscuits saving $7.01 over buying them in the local supermarket.
    – Made a loaf of fruit bread in the bread making machine saving $2.87 over purchasing it in the shops. We had a few pieces and froze the rest in bags of 2 in the freezer for future meals.
    – Made 2 loaves of bread in the breadmaker saving $6.98 over buying it in the local shops here.

    Water preservation –

    – Used grey water from our washing machine and grey water from our sullage tank to water ornamental potted plants, star jasmine, mulberry and our mandarin ? tree in the yard.
    – Used saved shower warm up water and dish rinsing water to water potted fruit and herb plants with.

    Hope everyone had a wonderful week 🙂 .


    1. Oh how exciting about your new neighbor! You can give her produce from your garden at your new house and she can supply you with fish! That will be a huge savings!

      1. Hi Brandy and it is really exciting and great to have good neighbours 🙂 . We did swap honeycomb we get free from a friend who supplies us with 15 kg of honey per year for having his hives on our property though which our neighbour loved.

        Unfortunately we have not got our garden beds growing here in the new home yet as we are experiencing both drought and heat wave conditions here but are saving for timber and shadecloth to put in above ground garden beds. We will have to wait a few more months until the weather is cool enough to do that though. Our humidity has been up to 50% the last couple of days but fortunately gone down to 20% at the moment.

        Really looking forward to starting our brand new gardens in our new to us home though.

        Hoping you and your family have a great week ahead 🙂 .


        1. It is very hard to put in a garden in the heat of summer! I can only imagine how wonderful your garden will be come fall!

  29. Wow, You had to replace a lot this week.
    My disabled son has been with us a couple of weeks now. His company is nice. I cooked black beans and made black bean burgers. Cooked lots of potatoes in different ways. Homemade pizza again. Chili soup. Taco salad. tortilla sandwiches, Lots of eggs from our hens and fruits and veggies.
    Did our taxes myself. We are getting money back! yeah! It will cover our real estate taxes. I was so worried but we are making it! Barely, but we are. Now to save for propane which is running low. We might buy 100 gallons to start.
    My son wants to be a farmer. So I want to plant seeds and plant them in a garden. Maybe we can sell veggies. But at least we can grow them for us. We also talked about picking up things people are getting rid of and repurposing them. My husband and my dad are going to try and finish our house. In fact hubby to working on my son’s bathroom now. Putting in his own shower. My son and I would like to save and buy animals to raise. Right now we have a dog and 8 chickens. But we would like goats. It is fun to dream a little. I hope to have a greenhouse eventually. I’m looking forward to a garden.
    I cut open a container an almost empty container of lotion and used the rest.
    Turned off lights we are not using.
    Ate at home.
    Started walking with my other son last week. It is so nice to see him. He works very long days but wanted to fit some time into his busy schedule for his mom. I love my boys. Missing grandchildren. I have been so busy. But I did talk on the phone with my grandson. My grandchildren are a joy.
    My son’s dog is learning his boundaries and becoming part of the family. Found that rawhides keep him from chewing other things.

    1. Brandy, I should have said, “I am sorry you had to replace a lot of things.” It is not fun when things break down and need replaced. We had to replace a tire on my car. It had a nail in it. We didn’t have road hazard. Expensive but necessary to get around from the country. Although we may be snowed in awhile. Or at least my son and I will be. I don’t have 4 wheel drive. But I must say. The snow is pretty.

  30. WOW! You had a rough week replacing major appliances!

    I received a free $20 Amazon gift card for being a Verizon Wireless member for 10 years. That was a nice surprise! I used it to buy some office supplies I needed for my upcoming new quarter of grad school that starts on 2/26

    I accepted a NWT LuLaRoe Carly Dress and one of their Classic Tees also NWT.

    My mother brought me some new clothing, a dressy shirt, a cardigan sweater, 4 pairs of leggings and a pair of black dress pants. These will be needed for Clinical as I must wear business casual clothing with my white lab coat.

    My mother also brought over a homemade pizza pie, which isn’t pizza but has ham, salami, turkey breast, hard boiled eggs, and two kinds of cheese baked in a bread crust in a pie dish. This was Sunday dinner.

    I received several free magazines through RecycleBank, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, The Food Network Magazine and Real Simple.

    I live in NE Ohio along Lake Erie and the weather here has been crazy! Two days last week it was in the low 60s. Saturday night it was 10 degrees. Now we are going back to freezing rain. I hope the Groundhog is right and spring is on the way!

  31. We have a stove that will likely need replacing this year. It is the only major appliance we haven’t replaced since purchasing the house 17 years ago, and there are signs … I am hoping we won’t have Brandy’s issue of all the appliances going at once, though.
    Here are my frugal accomplishments from the past week:
    – Although I am still working with a smaller grocery budget and trying to use up pantry/freezer items that have been around for a while, I did need to do some grocery/household shopping in the past week. I remembered to clip electronic coupons onto my Walgreens account and saved over $25 through those and Balance Rewards offers, and also used the RedCard discount at Target. (Unfortunately, however, I forgot to check Cartwheel for additional Target discounts.)
    – Deep cleaned the kitchen and found some forgotten food items to use up.
    – Daughter received some leftover pancakes for free following a church youth fundraiser breakfast; she will eat these for breakfast and/or afterschool snacks.
    That’s it for the past week, but a few things I forgot to list from January are:
    – Received $2 cash in a birthday card from insurance agent (even though my birthday is not in January. I think someone wrote something down wrong once, and I keep forgetting to correct them).
    – Used $7 in Hallmark rewards points to purchase a box of sympathy cards (unfortunately, the part of my stash that gets used up most frequently) and a Valentine’s card for husband.
    — A living room lamp was not working; moved a lamp from the guest room into that spot and so far, it is working fine.
    – During the linen closet portion of this winter’s deep cleaning, I found new dishcloths that I have put into the rotation.

  32. I’m sorry to hear you’re appliances broke. They seem to all bite the dust at the same time.
    *i took my son skating and save on rental by taking out own skates.
    *i visited with friends over the Lunar New Year holiday and didn’t go out.
    *im air drying laundry. The humidity inside is 25% lately and not only does it dry super quickly it also helps increase the humidity in the room.
    *ive read a free ebook.
    *i stay at home.
    *ive arranged a community swap in the coming weeks to benefit everyone. With Mari Kondo craze we might score needed items.
    *my son is making his own valentines cards this year.
    *ny son is hitting a growth spurt but thankfully I’ve got boxes of handmedownsI’m the closet.
    *im trying to use up what I’ve got in my pantry and freezer instead of shopping.

    1. I smiled at your humidity comment. When it gets up to 25% here, people start complaining about how humid it is! 10-16% is the norm here.

  33. Hello Frugal Friends,

    I am glad that the frugal wedding went well! Here are my frugal accomplishments:

    – I was able to get a free Dominoes 5 dollar gift card by checking if my vehicle had a recall. I found it on a site. I used the $5.00 to order some Parmesan bread bites and we made a homemade pizza with it for Friday Night.
    – I used a free Redbox code to also use on the pizza night to watch a movie.
    – We have been more strict about purchases and put on the fridge where we are in the checking.
    – We made a gift of dinner for my father in law since he has everything already and likes home cooking.
    – I worked on Swagbucks, Perk, Earning Station and Ibotta to add up to savings for the month.
    – I sent away for freebies, which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2019/02/11/10-freebies-today-2-11-19/
    – We ate at home: homemade pizza, shrimp spaghetti, taco casserole, beans and rice.
    – I went and got 10 Arm and Hammer Laundry soaps at Walgreens for .99 each with sale and coupons.
    – Said no to eating out on the weekend.
    – Did a mystery shop through the company Shopper Market Force.
    – Wrote some more free patterns on my other blog: https://crochetandcraftwithme.com/
    That’s about all I can think of!

  34. Lilianna God blessed you by the refrigerator repair video coming on right after the video you were watching! Don’t you just love it when things like that happen?

  35. My frugal accomplishments last week:
    I made a couple of loaves of Branyi’s French bread. I made homemade apple fruit leather.
    I made homemade poptarts. I love the ones I make with homemade strawberry jam but I made special ones for my husband that were cinnamon and brown sugar. I don’t frost them because they are so good they don’t need the frosting.
    My husband pressure canned a case of navy beans. We use them for homemade baked beans, and bean and bacon soup.
    I used safeway rewards off my groceries because our local gas station is always cheaper than the gas station that accepts rewards.
    I downloaded the ibotta rebates for the generic products that are on my shopping list anyway.
    I joined swagbucks. I completed some surveys and got picked to test a product at home.
    I started a bunch of seeds for herbs, peppers, lettuce, green onions, a few flowers for hanging baskets, and things that I either will grow indoors or don’t have to go into the garden until much later. I used seeds that I already had – either from seed saving or packets of seeds that I hadn’t use all the seeds from yet. I used containers and flats that I wash out and disinfect each year.
    I watched some free videos from https://www.growveg.com. They have really good information for free and are UK based. I live in a cooler maritime environment in Alaska and I find lots of really good information from them.
    I made up a large batch of 3-ingredient laundry detergent. I hung all loads of laundry to dry except for two pairs of sweatpants that hadn’t been washed or dried before.
    We used homemade cloth napkins, cleaning rags, and kitchen towels all made from old sheets that were worn out. I used the best pieces of the sheets for napkins and kitchen towels and the most worn for the cleaning rags. I used my serger to finish them neatly.
    My husband used the snowblower on our driveway rather than having to pay someone to plow our it.
    I remembered to post recipes and inspirations I used this week on my pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/heidiberryman5/my-frugal-week/

  36. Hello everyone!

    Here are 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.
    • Still eating out of the freezer and pantry. Ate in 5 times, including: steak, spaghetti squash (both from freezer) and baked potato; chicken noodle soup made with bones and some leftovers from the freezer and biscuits from a mix I had; chicken & rice stir fry made with leftover chicken & pilaf and veggies from the freezer; spaghetti & sauce (both pantry items) w/cooked hamburger from the freezer; Ate out twice, but one time used a gift card for part of it. The 2nd time was dinner with our best friends. We were at the restaurant at happy hour and got our food ½ price and drinks discounted.
    • I won $7 at our weekly trivia night.
    • Hubby took lunch to work 3 times. The other 2 days he ate very cheaply.
    • Instead of me taking my Dad out to lunch this week, he treated me. I ordered a hot tea and it came with 2 honey packets. I don’t drink my tea with honey, but I took them home to use with toast. They also gave me 2 tea bags. I took one of them home also.
    • Did minimal grocery shopping but did find a good deal on dish soap for 60c/bottle. Plus got 10% off senior discount. Got 10 bottles. Took my grandson with me and he got a free banana to eat in the store. Also got 5 # of butter for $1.49/lb. Got a free candy with the Friday Freebie.
    • Only used the heater one night (temps were around 32 degrees).
    • Worked 17 1/2 hours contract work.
    • Got some Ibotta rebates.
    • Filled out a survey from the grocery store receipt and got 50 gas points.
    • Got more free scratch printer paper from work. All in all over the last few weeks I was able to bring home about 4 reams worth.
    • Downloaded a free book from Amazon for my Kindle.
    • Used the library.
    • Went to Goodwill on Saturday. It was ½ price off everything. I bought 9 books and a picture frame. Spent only $14.50. Also went to an antique mall and found a mug to match my daily dishes and a teacup and saucer for my collection. Only spent $12.39 on those.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  37. Finally made broth from the Christmas turkey. Needed the room in the freezer because I was able to get 5 turkey breasts and 5 pounds of butter for about $31.00 after discounts.
    Made homemade pizza. I do splurge on King Arthur Bread flour for the crust, but it keeps us from buying pizza from Round Table.

    Did my Mom’s laundry at the same time as I did ours. while that may not sound like a big deal, The assisted living facility she lives in charges $25 per load to do laundry. I drive by twice a day on my way to and from work, so not a problem to pick up or drop off when I am going to visit anyway.

    Did not leave the house, other than to go to the freezer in our shop all weekend. Pulled out pork chops (They were discounted to a little over $4.00 for over 3 pounds. Really nice ones too). Cooked them in my grill, then chopped them up for fired rice. Made a bunch of brown rice. Will use most in the fired rice. Pulled out home frozen corn and mixed vegetables to have with the turkey breast I cooked in the crockpot on Sunday.

    Pulled out 13 pounds of hamburger from the freezer. Browned it all and put 2 cups in a bag and re-froze. I sometimes do 15 – 20 pounds at a time. Then the meat is all ready when I get home from work, and makes meal making easy.

    Brought lunches to work everyday.

    Pulled sausage from the freezer and made 8 sausage and cheese biscuits for breakfasts during the week.

    Began my taxes. This was my DH’s first full year of retirement. We did okay in estimating the amount that needed to be paid in. Just missing a couple of things, but should not effect the amount too much.

    Had popcorn for snacks a couple of times. Read free books on my Kindle. Used cloth napkins instead of paper. I started using cloth napkins almost 30 years ago. It doesn’t increase my laundry in any measureable way, and some of these napkins I have had for over 20 years and we are still using them.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

    1. My Dad is in assisted living too, and I do his laundry too. The way they charge for the services he needs, it would have taken him up to the next level of care, so another $600/month! It is only 1 – 2 loads a week and I see him every week anyway, so well worth the savings.

      I have been using cloth napkins for years too. We are still using some that we received as a wedding present 36 years ago, even though they have holes in them, I use them and chuckle at the frugality of it! LOL! And I’m proud to say my daughter has used them since moving out on her own 12 years ago too.

  38. Hello to all,
    Frugal wins this week included mending my husbands winter work gloves, altering a top for my daughter, made a pair of shorts for myself from a pair of pants, I watched a youtube sewing video and made an infinity style scarf for myself. All supplies were items that I had. I made a card and a gift bag, and I used my iron to smooth out tissue paper. (worked great, looked new again).
    I put all items to be eaten and used up in the front area of pantry to encourage family to eat those item first. I baked a small cake in my toaster oven.
    I made Swagbucks goals x7.
    I used gas buddy app to find cheapest gas in my area.
    I only left the house 2 days for work. I combined errands on those 2 days.
    I worked 12.75 hours at my occasional office job.
    I listed and sold items on Facebook buy\sell; earnings were $27.50
    Made shower cleaner (equal parts vinegar/Dawn dish soap) and put in a spray bottle.
    I coloured my hair at home.
    I decided against buying some craft supplies, I have enough.
    And all the “usual stuff” …and appreciate what we have.
    Thank you to Brandy for hosting this wonderful blog, I enjoy reading it every week. Thank you to everyone who comments, it makes for such an inspiring week ahead.

  39. Brandy do you have a scrap metal place in your town? If the appliance has some metal they can use they will pay you for it.

    I read ebooks from the library
    Borrowed movies from the library
    Found hams for 1/2 off and made a ham dinner Sunday with homemade mac and cheese and green beans. Packed up 3 days worth of lunches for my husband and I and still have some ham left I can freeze.
    We are still in the middle of winter here but winter clothes are on clearance. Bought some warm shirts my child needed for cheap.

  40. We got snow here, and since it’s quite rare in this part of Oregon, we thoroughly enjoyed it. We looked at it, fed the birds because of it then watched them, and some even ate it with juice over the top like a snow cone.

    I was amazed last Friday, when I was doing my regular weekly shopping for groceries, at how bare the shelves were. People were really stocking up. It was surprising because they weren’t predicting a long-lasting snow storm, or even a very big snow storm. I had to buy quite a few things to restock my shelves from last month’s low-spend grocery month, but if I could not have done that, we would have been absolutely fine for quite a while eating what we had. It just sobered me to think of how quickly a problem would arise for people if they were cut off from the stores for long, and if the stores couldn’t get food in, how quickly they would run out.

    Rob winterized everything around the place.

    I’m working on a baby quilt. That’s what I did for hours and hours over the weekend. I have a lot of fabric from years ago. I am using a bunch of that along with a few pieces I purchased to finish the blocks. I also stumbled upon a Quilt Shop Hop while getting things to finish the quilt. I was given a free 6″ block kit and a list of other shops to go and get free blocks from as well. We went to 3 in all, since they were close to home and now I have some other projects to work on after this one. I hope to go to some other shops for the other block kits, but time will tell if we can fit that in. It would be pure recreation, and I don’t know if I have enough discretionary time to make that happen this week. It’s a pretty busy one.

    There are pictures on my blog: http://beckyathome.com/2019/02/11/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-february-10-2019/

  41. I checked the grocery receipt at home and found two items priced differently than what I expected. I called the store. One was due to an out-of-date sign which they pulled and the other was because they hadn’t updated the data for their registers with this week’s price for that brand of bread. I will be getting a refund the next time I go shopping.

    I had been wanting green onions for a while but balked at the price. I even tried to regrow two regular onions with a 50% failure rate. I have two wimpy stems to show for my efforts. I thought about buying three bunches of green onions and planting them in a pot so that I would not need to buy more green onions for months. Today, some bunches were on clearance for 25 cents each. I bought three. I unwrapped them, cut off the very few wilty parts, trimmed them, and stuffed them all into one glass. When I showed the glass to my mom, she first went “What’s that?” and then “Oh, they smell good, like spring.” The onion greens were pretty. I was wishing I had an edible flower or two in the glass to accent them. After a day or two in the glass to regrow their roots, they’ll be planted in dirt in a pot.

    I had been negligent about paring and cooking half a bag of apples in a timely fashion. They were getting shriveled. Until I pared the first one, I, thought I’d wasted them. But they were fine under their peels. I stewed a potful with a generous amount of ground cinammon, no sugar. They were a variety known for being sweet so I thought I might be able to get away with omitting sugar. Mom enjoyed the apples with ice cream for her afternoon treat and I look forward to eating them with my morning oatmeal. I am so glad I didn’t just toss them with trying to peel them first. Only one apple in the bag was too far gone.

    Some seniors might be able to avoid the cost of replacing their tub with a shower or a walk-in tub by simply buying the right shower bench. For mom, I selected one large enough to fit two legs in and two legs out of the tub, with a back, and with an “armrest” handle on the side against the tub wall. So mom can sit on the bench outside of the tub, grab onto the handle, have no fear of tumbling off the bench backwards, and then get her legs into the tub. We only needed to replace the circa-1967-era showerhead with a new one with an attached sprayer. I soon realised (duh!) that if I made the outside-the-tub legs a bit longer than the inside ones, any water that lands on the bench will drain into the tub and not onto the bathroom floor. Spending a bit more for this wider shower bench made for a much more convenient and safer bathing location for mom. It sure beats the cost of a tub conversion. I can easily lift the bench out of the tub when I want a regular bath.

    During a break in the weather on Sunday, I ventured out to recycle papers in the collection bin by the school, and donate some clothes and household soft goods to Goodwill. Since that is the day Goodwill discounts one color 70% for non-clothes items and $1 each for clothing, I quickly scanned the store for items tagged with that color. It was late in the afternoon and there were no clothes left for mom or me that I liked for $1, but I got a cute little covered basket for less than forty cents. It will hold scissors, a pincushion, pins and needles, and a few spools of thread for mending in the living room next to my recliner.

    I hope you all stay safe and warm during the coming week. I especially like reading of your garden, Brandy, while ours is under a blanket of snow.

  42. After reading Brandy’s post and some comments, I dreamed last night that our appliances stopped working! lol But thankfully they all are still going strong this morning when I got up early to work. Except our fireplace-style space heater we use in the main living area. I think that thing is at the end of its life, but I’m not sure we’ll replace it.

    Our frugal stuff from last week:
    -Borrowed ebooks on my newly gifted Kindle so no trips to the library this week. I also cleaned out all of my bookshelves and will donate them.
    -Have been more careful with use of throwaway products, such as trashbags, plastic wrap, and foil. Reusing the foil, filling up the trashbags before changing, and using washable containers & covers in place of plastic wrap when possible.
    -Minimal grocery shopping to get sale items and replenish pantry and had meals out of what we have on hand, using the Crock-Pot and InstantPot as well as cooking multiple items in the oven at same time.
    -I had a work meeting at same time of our daughter’s piano lesson this week so we skipped the week. This saved $10 plus an extra trip to town as my daughter was able to ride the bus home from school.
    -We had a family dinner on Sunday to celebrate a bunch of family birthdays that happen in January. I made a huge lasagna, mom brought a big salad, and I had found clearance Italian bread at Walmart so we had a wonderful meal for a low cost per person. I made a coconut cake from scratch, but since I bought a can of coconut milk it wasn’t super frugal. But it tasted amazing!

    Thanks for the tip on using jars in the garden, Brandy. We don’t have recycling here and it makes me sad every time I throw away a glass jar, but I could only keep so many since I couldn’t reuse all of them. Now I will start keeping them all as I plan to start a garden this spring. And I’ll share this tip with my in-laws who are my neighbors for their garden.

  43. Hello All! Enjoyed a few days of warmer temps here, turned down the heat & opened the windows for some fresh air. So looking forward to spring! Needed a blanket for our bed, found a lightweight cotton blanket for $1.99 at the Salvation Army thrift store. It even matches the other bedding. Stopped at a grocery store for milk for the office coffee & found coupons on meat. I bought 1.5 lb sausage, 1.5 lb ground beef & 5 thin steaks for braciole all for $13.00. My son mentioned braciole the other day so this was a perfect find! Was offered garbage bags from an office I manage, because they were “too big for the cans”. Redistributed to another office that is not so picky! I’m known at work for being the manager that is the “dumpster diver” because prior to disposing of something I check if someone else can use or repurpose. The upside personally is that often times I can keep the items for personal use if no one else wants them. I’ve scored a garbage can, step stool, filing cabinet & more this way.

  44. Not a lot on the go at the moment aside from some extra office work which is nice and will take care of some March bills. I’ve also been doing extras for Sunday Fellowship hour (i.e.. Lunar NY this past Sunday) so that has added some extra hours of work as well. Enjoyed a potluck supper at the ESL class I volunteer at last Tuesday (brought some Spring Rolls that I had in the freezer).
    Cooked a batch of chicken thighs that have been in the freezer for a few months – cooked them two different ways and then refroze as HM meals for later in the month. Continuing to use up the freezer items and I have now used up enough that I will need to buy a few proteins towards the end of this month. I’ll wait until then and then start to look for those 50% off stickers in the meat department. I’ll also watch out for some good buys on frozen fish & shrimp as I’d like to add more seafood to my diet.
    I had one social engagement last week – met some friends from church for breakfast one morning at a new cafe – the food was wonderful, very reasonably priced and they gave you a ton! I will definitely plan for leftovers the next time I go. We then walked back to the church for the free noontime Friday concert. We are known for our music program and each Friday professional musicians or graduate level students perform for 45 minutes – I used to walk over from my office on my lunch hour when I worked downtown. They do accept donations so I try to give $5 – although there is no obligation. After that I walked over to my former office to meet up with my old boss for coffee – my treat as I had a Starbucks GC – it was a very nice and relatively low cost day out.
    Continued to use the library, Netflix and YouTube for entertainment at home.
    Love all the comments from your readers from all around the world – can’t believe the number of comments each week!

  45. I thought I was the only one!
    Both central AC’s, the roof, the car, the chain saw, the vacuum cleaner, and the lawn mower… that was in about 6 weeks.
    Only ate out twice – no fast food at all – MAJOR accomplishments for me.
    A ton of extra groceries as my mother and her friend are visiting, but I did a lot of baking to soothe their sweet-tooths rather than buy pre-packaged things.
    Bought quilting supplies and general notions used several coupons and my military discount. Combined military discount with sales to get cat litter.
    Removed dripped paint from my laminate floor with nail polish – no damage to the floor!

      1. Pet Supplies Plus. I live in a town with a base, so it might just be a local thing. On Wednesdays, they give 15% off your total bill (even with sales and coupons) with a military ID.

  46. Today marks the 12th day of school my kids have missed this year from school. Today we woke up to ice everywhere. We have lots of branches and sticks to pick up.
    * Last week we were invited to a surprise party for my brother-in-law. I asked my sister what she would like me to bring and she said a fruit platter. After thinking about how I would have to majorly break my grocery budget to buy all that fresh fruit she wanted, I decided I just was not going to do it. I ended up making a pineapple cheesecake that I had all the ingredients for. It was so good!!
    * I found a book at my library called “Mama’s Bank Account” by Kathryn Forbes. I am loving it!
    * We got our power bill which included the days of the polar vortex, $338! I think thats the biggest one we have ever had but we had pipes freeze 2 days and had to run space heaters so I can’t say I am to surprised.
    * I watched a video on youtube on the channel “Homestead Tessie”. It was about food waste, and dumpster diving at a Trader Joes. It made me sick to see all that perfectly good food just being thrown away. Please watch the episode if you have time.
    I look forward to reading what everyone has been up to!

    1. Jenn,

      Trader Joe’s is pretty involved in donating to food banks and non-profits. Each store (for any chain) is going to be different, but my sister-in-law is involved with a non-profit that gets donations from stores to help those in need; we have helped her with it and Trader Joe’s is quite generous with things the day they are expiring. Individual store managers and corporate policies come into play, but not everything is wasted everywhere. Still, there is more that could be saved at many grocery stores to give to those in need.

      1. Yes, Trader Joe’s is excellent at donating food here in South Florida, also. I am very grateful for that.

  47. Brandy, I am so sorry that I didn’t commiserate with you over your appliances giving out. It’s likely that I was suppressing our financial blows in 2017. We replaced 2 windows and our roof. 2 months later our furnace went out, and we replaced our dryer at Christmas. Luckily, I had 3 racks to use for drying because no one would come out at the holidays plus bad weather! Thank you for the info about the roses. You’re terrific!

    1. Oh no! A roof and windows are huge expenses. Mine were minor. Don’t feel bad! I hope you can get some great roses!

  48. Wow, so many things to replace all at once. Good thing for frugal living all the time.

    Snow day! I’m really excited to have the day off since I decided two days ago to go home for winter break. Tickets are expensive, but I found a great deal that just happens to have a 14 hr layover on the way out in Chicago where my daughter lives and also on the way back. This flight also gives me the longest time back home. I’m just so excited that my son feels up to taking on a week on his own. He’s better, so much better! And he’s home today as college let out early. I’m so blessed.

    I made scones using up some stale cranberries. Dehydrated a pint jar of free corn. Helped my son make Chinese food from the pantry rather than buy it from the store. Am realizing that we will be OK without internet at home when it ends next week. Final payment this week…yahoo!!!!

    I’ve been working extra to pay for all these bills…flight, upcoming family event, dental work. It’s great to be given the opportunity to do so. I’ve also decided to put all of my shopping on a credit card with a low available balance and pay it off each month to build airline miles for traveling home! I’m going to have to be diligent at the planning with our tight budget so that it work for me and not against me. I anticipate having to purchase two expensive tickets for next year. Maybe I can get that down to one.

    Finally, I’ve found most everything on my thrift store list, so I’m going to stop going weekly to shop. I’m sort of in my size (some clothing yes, some still tight) so am set on clothing. Low spend spring will make a huge difference this summer!

    Happy frugal-ing friends

  49. I ordered most of next year’s homeschool curriculum. I spent $200 less than I’d budgeted by comparing prices across 3 websites. I used some of that savings to purchase some replacements for cloth diapers that had worn out.
    Cooked all meals at home.
    Accepted peanut butter, grape juice, and pancake mix from my aunt’s mother-in-law.
    I’m working on planning my daughter’s third birthday. She asked for the theme to be “pink and purple”. I enjoy making birthdays special for my children. Her gifts were picked up used or by using gift cards. I made her a dress from a sheet that was given to me. (There’s a picture of it on my Instagram…MountainMamaSarah) I also realized that we were in need of new cloth napkins, so I sewed some up from the same sheet. We’ll use them for her birthday then continue using them afterward. I have purple melamine dishes in our camper that we’ll use as well. I’m still thinking about decorations.
    Our vacuum keeps acting up but my dad showed me where things were getting stuck inside it and how to clean it out using the shop vac. We’ll keep it going a bit longer.

  50. Well, it’s been interesting in our region the last week. I’m just North of Grand Rapids, Michigan – we had a really beautiful ice storm hit mid week. We rarely lose power and if we do, it’s back on very quickly because we live in front of a retirement trailer park (people are on oxygen etc there). The power went out Thursday morning and didn’t come back on til Saturday night. We saved money on electricity but I am sure more was spent on the gas for the generator. We tried to go w/o starting up the generator but I woke up Friday morning with 4 of the 5 cats on me AND the 2 Great Danes!! I was obviously quite toasty – they thought otherwise LOL It had only dropped to 58* so it really wasn’t that cold but we decided to get it running so we didn’t lose the food in the frig. My husband was bored out of his mind – I however was very content to make out my seed orders and read. We did find out where the weak spots are in our prepping and will remedy that when we can (more batteries, more pet food – stores had no power, more compressed wood bricks) We did not buy more bricks this year due to my inhalant allergies – we had some but I figured we could burn up all the brush I have cut up. Mistake! As soon as we started burning “real wood” my nose started running, the tickle in my throat started and I got a soar throat. (that was the other reason we started the generator). We were so much more prepared than most people though that we really just breezed thru it. The worst part was listening the to generator all night for it to run out of gas – or worse – some one trying to steal it :/ At the moment, I am watching the snow fall again – we are in for another round of storms over the next few days – hopefully the ice will miss us this time around.
    Frugal wins:
    *Made chicken soup using the carcass from a whole chicken and the rest of the meat pulled off it.
    *Used a very old jar of coconut oil I found in my daughters things for a dry hair treatment. It doesn’t smell rancid but I didn’t want to use it for cooking and my hair really, really needs some help.
    *Used a coupon for a free bag of cat food to pad out our preps.
    *Bought a box of banana’s (24 singles) for $1 and have made up 3 dozen flourless banana chocolate chip muffins. I am making more into regular banana bread to bring to our son when we see him this weekend.
    *In-laws took us our to lunch one day and we ate the leftovers for dinner.
    *Only needed to purchase milk and some fruit/veggies. We have stayed out of the big grocery store – it is far too easy to pick up items that are a really good deal but we don’t need the items (and won’t anytime soon either!)
    *Found all of my seed starting supplies – I don’t need anything but soil this year. Thanks for the reminder about the jars! I have juice bottles saved that I cut the bottom off from to use as cloches – it allows for a taller seedling. I will have to dig those out to use in the greenhouse as a secondary layer of protection.

    I can’t think of anything else right now 🙂 Have a good week everyone!

    1. Two reasons I also like the compressed sawdust bricks is because they don’t affect my breathing like real wood and they produce a warmer fire than the almost-as-clean-burning cardboard logs. Bonus: They are also less expensive than the cardboard logs.This weekend, I was dismayed when I learned my supplier of the sawdust logs was out of stock. We had (and have) a three-day supply stacked by the door and now they are off-limits unless our power goes out. Next fall, I hope to purchase a full cord and bring them home in about three trips using the car so that we can keep a fire burning in the fireplace during an extended outage.

      Besides the beauty of an ice storm, one “advantage” of it is that usually it is cool enough following one to safely keep refrigerated goods in a box outside, perhaps in the truck of a car, safe from animals.

  51. Brandy, (and others) my sympathies for all the items you had to replace! I remember how I had to buy a new furnace and then within another year had to buy a new furnace to replace the second furnace. (the house has two furnaces). There was a year when the two monthly payments overlapped. It was brutal! Had the second older furnace lasted for one more year, I would have only had one monthly payment.

    We thought we had escaped the polar vortex but no such luck. I cringe when I think of the natural gas bill! I am looking at some fine old coats and thinking what a wonderful quilt the material would make… tempting! One just doesn’t find such beautiful material anymore.

    I am looking at seed catalogs and dreaming. I don’t plan to grow much from seed but some hollyhocks would be nice. And some veggies!

  52. It sounds like you had a busy, productive week as usual. 😉

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Hubs replaced the water temperature switch on our washer. (Apparently it was the week for appliance repair/replacement.)

    * Made popcorn and homemade guacamole and had that with chips while watching the Super Bowl. We’re not big football fans, but we do watch the SB.

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals including LO ham and lentil soup; turkey roast (bought before Thanksgiving and stashed in the freezer) w/ roasted root veggies (carrots and beets from the garden; sweet potato and russet potato from the pantry); LO turkey w/ mashed potatoes and gravy; Creamy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (chicken breast, black beans, corn, and cream cheese from the freezer; homemade enchilada sauce).

    * Hubs patched a hole that formed around our fireplace and was causing a leak during our recent rains. (The ceiling in our dining room bubbled, but fortunately we caught the problem before it started dripping. After the storms have passed, Hubs will go back up on the roof to ensure the patch is permanent and will fix the ceiling.)

    * Colored my own hair. It was way overdue.

    * Made Trail Mix Energy Balls, applesauce cake (using home-canned applesauce and home-dried raisins), and a loaf of bread.

    * Hubs fixed two (!) backed-up drains on two different days.

    * Read books from the library.

    * Harvested peas and collected eggs.

    * Picked up a quarter while walking our dog for exercise.

    I am so very thankful to have a husband who is able to fix things around the house. If he weren’t able to do these things we would have spent a bundle on washer repair, roof repair, and plumbing issues this past week. We tell our son that it’s important to learn these types of skills so that we have a choice. We can do it ourselves or pay someone else to do it, but it is our decision. Currently, we’re choosing to do it ourselves. 😉

    Have a great week, everyone!

  53. It has been a while since I published. I have been faithfully reading though and always enjoy everyone’s updates. I’ve learn new things too…like snipping the ends off the toothpaste to gather a few more days of toothpaste. Don’t know why I’ve not done that before.
    *One of the best frugal activities has been re-doing our budget and reducing in even more areas. In accordance with this, my DH agreed to give up the gym membership. I understand his desire to have it but he finally agreed that there were other places to use the money each month. We can walk, etc. We have an elliptical in our basement that he used to enjoy using so I have cleaned it up and re-arranged part of the basement to make it more workout friendly.
    *I earned magazines through Recyclebank and gave them as gifts
    *I have been reading through “The Complete Tightwad Gazette”—a Christmas present. I learn new things there too. One thing she suggests is using water+soy flour in place of eggs in baked goods. Has anyone done this? Does it work? The soy flour is expensive and I don’t want to buy it without some assurances :-).
    **I’ve stopped purchasing deoderant and now use rubbing alcohol instead. My husband sprays it from a bottle but I find that too cold! I’ve cut down old make-up clothes and put them in a cleaned out powder container. I feel the container with rubbing alcohol and simply squeeze out the cloth and apply it to my underarms. It has made such a difference for me. With the store-bought products, I was getting stains plus it just didn’t seem to work.
    I feel (and I hope smell) 😉 quite fresher now! I throw away the cloth as I empty out the container. A refill=fresh cloth. Once I’m out of these free-to-me clothes, I plan to use old tshirts.
    *A friend of mine was downsizing her house and gifted me with a rattan chair, a large electric skillet and a bench.
    *I rearranged my office area in my home (that also serves as a guest room). It has so much more room now. A good cleaning and the extra space and moving some decorative items around has made this space so much nicer…it’s a little haven for me!
    *We have been faithfully using up items from the pantry and freezer. This is good, in part because March/April tend to be very busy work months for me. I can use the extra space now for what I call “freezer cooking”. I’ll soon have a major cooking weekend and fill it up with meals that freeze well. It will be very nice to reach into the freezer and pull out easy meals when the hectic next month arrives.
    *I have a celebration—my DH will start a job in a couple of weeks! It has a nice salary and benefits. This is a major life adjustment but a good one as he has been without steady work for a while. Having the revised budget in place for the year and being on the same page has already served us well. One thing that (naturally) happens when you have extra income is you sometimes have a tendency to move from austerity to spend-mode! With the promise of this new job, we both started thinking of ways to spend that new money! We dreamed…and then I pulled in all those dreams into the budget spreadsheet, attaching a cost to them! Of course, there was more dream than money :-). We realized that buying all those nice and fun things would not help us meet our longer term saving goals…and we would be no better off than now (though we would have some nice new toys). Once we “saw” it in black and white, it was easy to scale back. It was easier to have a conversation about our priorities. That doesn’t mean that some of the fun items are forever out of our grasp, it just means we will delay our gratification and, for now, work toward our priorities. I’m glad my DH and I are on the same page with this.
    *My grocery store must have ordered too many roses because they were giving them away one day when I was there (at checkout). I took home a beautiful white rose!
    Thank you Brandy for this wonderful community. How nice to feel support each week others who are committed to living in a frugal way.

    1. Tina, I have never tried the soy flour substitute, but have successfully used the ground flax seed and water mixture for about 5 years. I buy the organic ground golden flax ( it is less visible in white flour baked goods) and store it in a jar in the fridge. It lasts for years, so not at all expensive in the long run. One egg equals 1 Tbsp. ground flax stirred into 3 Tbsp. water. Let set about 5 min. until it gets gelatinous.

    2. I have used the soy flour substitute many times and it works beautifully. I keep it in the freezer so it stays fresh.

  54. Forgot to add, I also would not use this on granite because of the vinegar. I have quartz countertops and have no issues. Very good on bathtubs and showers, especially on soap scum.

    1. Hi Tina…just wanted to share that we often use a tablespoon of soaked chia seeds in lieu of one egg in baking recipes and it works quite well. FYI. You will notice the seeds in the final product but they don’t seem to affect the texture or flavor of the batter and look a lot like little poppy seeds. You can’t see them much in chocolate batters but they are visible in lighter ones. They are great for muffins, banana bread and the like. They are also high in fiber and I think they make recipes more filling. I even add them to our Chile and meatloaf recipes to add thickness and because they contain lots of things that are really good for us…some even call them a “superfood”. Haha. They expand when soaked…the longer they sit the fuller they get. I use a pint jar and put in three tablespoons of chia to about a cup-and-a half of water. I put the lid on and set them in the refrigerator where they last for about a week or more. You can also freeze them (soaked or unsoaked). I have used the soy and water combination you mentioned, but didn’t care for the taste at all. It imparted a bitter taste to whatever I added it to. Plus, there is new information out that soy isn’t near as healthy for us as originally thought. A pound of chia lasts us a very long time but, because we use it so much (we add it to our morning smoothies) I buy it in five pound bags and store it in the freezer. They have it on amazon for a fair price and lately I’ve been getting a little better bulk-price on a site called Chia Seeds Direct. I also use store bought egg whites for recipes in which I don’t want to use the chia seeds. We buy a three pack from Costco in pint size cartons and freeze them until we need them. I’ve even opened a carton and poured them into an ice tray (from 99 cent store) to freeze in egg size portions so as to not have to thaw an entire carton for one recipe. I also use egg whites to stretch scrambled eggs if we are low on fresh eggs. I don’t care for egg whites alone, but they are great to have for these purposes. Hope this helps!

  55. We are still in the midst of winter—I have postponed one doctor appt twice already and the forecast looks like I might actually make it in to the office this week! First we had a two day blizzard, so I opted to stay home, and on the day it was rescheduled, we had an ice storm. While scraping ice off the car, I noticed that it needed to be inspected by 1/31st and wasn’t, so I got an appointment for the next day—cold though it was–and got that taken care of! I left my gloves on the whole time I was in the service station waiting for the car to be done. We’re about tired of winter. Yesterday and today we had snow, sleet, freezing rain and then it changed back to snow overnight. It is very windy today but we have been in the house for two days and plan to stay here until tomorrow. I roasted half a chicken yesterday (at least 3 lbs for the half) so today we will be having chicken noodle soup from the leftovers. It’s a good day for soup!
    I have been cooking every night because it’s too cold to think of going out. We had pork loin roast, goulash two nights, and why can’t I remember back any farther—oh, it was a big roast beef because we had it 3 nights–but not in a row!
    We did have to get our humidifiers running. I was so cold one afternoon and looked to find out the humidity was 18% in the house—40% is reommended. It’s been much better since–when it isn’t as dry it feels much warmer. My husband is getting a bit bored without his usual winter projects to do but I’ve been trying to take him for a ride at least one day a week. There really isn’t much of anywhere to go but we have driven around some less familiar neighborhoods. I have to remember that since he isn’t allowed to drive anymore, he has no way of getting out unless I take him!!
    My decluttering is not progressing very quickly but I have been steadfastly working on it a bit each day, at least. Still feels like it will never be done but I know that isn’t true. But stuff comes in the house as quickly as it goes out!! Too many newspapers and magazines.

    1. Normal humidity here is 10-16%. If it gets between 16-25% people start complaining about how humid it is!

  56. I have not written in a while either. I had a day cut out of my two day a week job, and let my boss and Bible study friends know I was in need of more hours. Well, the next week I got a babysitting job for a day and another friend said she needed someone to clean house three hours weekly. Then last week, my boss said she knew someone who needed a drive for outpatient procedures every two weeks, so I am doing that now and really enjoy the way to help someone out. So things are piece meal and I need another few hours a week, but I am so thankful for how quickly my prayers were answered!

    Last week my husband taught a marriage seminar in northern Virginia and I got to go with him and we stayed in a lodge on a beautiful site. It was snowy and a very historical area rich in colonial history, so it made for fun driving. The meals up and back were covered and we enjoyed them as dates. I got to do some family genealogy along the way which was a real treat!

    My neighbor is helping me with my genealogy too, and she is much better at it than I am, so I need to think of a way to bless her for her work! Our ancestors were in the same county and neighbors and that is just so amazing to me!

    We have been eating out of the frig, freezer and pantry for the last six weeks and making headway and saving a ton too!

    I have been running the thermostat at 64 all winter and enjoying a decent bill! We got a notice that if we do not install a smart meter, we will be billed significantly for that. I am very hesitant to have one installed and wonder if anyone has fought to not have it installed successfully?

    Hoping everyone has some warmer, sunny weather this week!

    1. I didn’t want a smart meter, but it has turned out okay. I have NOT agreed to allow the electric company to turn off my a/c in the middle of the day in summer for a few hours, so I have not agreed to thermostat control, and I won’t–we’re home during the day! I did sign up for weekly notices of amounts, which I really like, and that wasn’t possible without the smart meter. I can see how much each day is costing me in electric.

  57. For our Canadian readers, they may want to check out the No Frills flyer. Starting in a day or so, No Frills has a 5 pound bag of russet potatoes for $1.00. There are several other $1.00 items such as Beatrice yogourt, Ragu pasta sauce, apples or oranges at $1 per pound. Many items of interest. Ann

      1. Yup, me too! I’m going to stock my pantry up with their $1 per can of peaches or pineapple. It’s too bad the sale is not a week later –– i.e., payday week. My stash of canned fruit from co-op about a year ago is almost gone so I’ll stock up. I need to figure out some way to freeze potatoes. I have invited my snow shoveller fellow over for Monday. I think there’ll be too much snow for me to do one-handedly so I’m caving in. At least the birds are happy! They recognize me and wait till I fill the feeder. Also, I’ve given up for the day and have crawled under the blankets. It’s so toasty. Stay warm, Margie (and everyone).

        1. Ann, potatoes don’t freeze. An Idaho potato farmer named Bill Simplot made million$ and million$ when he figured out how to commercially freeze French fries. His company was Ore-Ida Foods.

          That said, I have successfully frozen mashed potatoes for short periods of time, and the potatoes in stews that I’ve frozen have been OK when thawed, possibly because they were cooked first and frozen in liquid. My advice would be to eat up as many potatoes as you can, keep them in a cool dark place and pick off the sprouts every few days to a week.

    1. I’ve been trying to stay out of the stores, so I didn’t even bother looking at the flyers this week. Alas, that deal on russet potatoes is for the West, and I live in Ontario. Chicken legs are on for $1.00/lb here though so that is a tempting price to stock up. Thanks for the heads up!

      1. Pat, although not advertised, Russet potatoes were $2/ 10lb bag. I live in Southern Ontario. I’d check your store while you are there to see what the price is. Sugar is only $1/ 2kg bag, which normal sale price is usually around $1.50. It doen’t go bad, so if you can, I’d stock up on some of that. I sealed the bags with my food saver, to help keep moisture out. A ziplock bag with most of the air sucked out would also work. Packages of tortilla wraps are $1/10 pk and freeze well.
        If you know how to can, fresh pineapples are on for $1 and cartons of pineapple juice are also $1. Fresh pineapple canned up tastes WAY BETTER than factory canned, and adds some nice variety to your pantry stores. I dilute the pineapple juice down to use for the canning liquid, which helps keep a really nice pineapple flavour. When we open a jar, the liquids are perfect for adding to smoothies or making homemade Popcicles. While you have the canning supplies out, apples and pears are also on sale for $1/lb. You could do up some pears and applesauce as well. Keeping canned fruit on hand is always a good idea, especially if you are living on a tight budget. If you are unable to buy groceries at some point, these staples will help provide your family with a more balanced diet in the intrim.

  58. In the UK all the energy companies are trying to roll out smart meters and we are getting lots of phone calls and emails trying to persuade us to have one. If there isn’t enough take up I imagine they will also make it mandatory as you are finding in the US. I’m not actually that worried about having a smart meter – I just don’t like being told what to do by big organisations!

    1. Smart meters cause lots of problems. They cost much-needed jobs, emit EMFs that can affect your health, they are another way to track your activities, and, I don’t believe they can’t be fiddled with by the power companies. Just think if they upped everyone’s meter reading by a dollar or two; no one would notice and it would mean bigger profits.
      Here, we have the ability to opt-out, but we have to pay for that.

      Why you mightn’t want a smart meter: http://smartmeterdangers.org

  59. It’s been a crazy week here.
    We had a major medical event, which meant an evening spent in the ER and 3 nights in hospital.
    I am so grateful that I had just made a big batch of hamburger soup as that kept me feed between hospital trips.
    I am also grateful that we keep the truck full of gas and the wood box full of wood. I didn’t even think to look at the gas guage driving back and forth. I lucky I didn’t run out of gas, on the highway , in the middle of this week’s snow storm!
    Anyways, the hubby is on the mend and as an additional frugal benefit, he has not smoked since just before this incident. He is doing really well.
    Have a great week every on.

  60. Hi, frugal friends!
    This was another good week. I got to attend a local high school garage sale in a well-to-do area. The space they used was an empty Sports Authority store, and I paid $20 to shop the presale. It was definitely worth it to be able to get first dibs on things. No bags or strollers were allowed, but I bought a red wagon ($5) at the sale, which I used to haul things around, then listed on fb marketplace and sold the next day for $20. My daughter doesn’t need a Kate Spade dress, but for $2, it was cheaper than anything I could buy new at Walmart. I’ve almost recouped what I spent, plus about half of the items my family is keeping.
    The weather is mild and we’ve kept the heat and A/C mostly off.
    One son vomited on a large comforter. It’s really too big for my washing machine, but I scrubbed it in the bathtub and hung it outside to dry.
    I made the kids hang up to re-wear some clothes they had on for a very short time and didn’t get dirty.
    I continued to buy loss leaders and markdowns, as usual.
    I picked up some free size 2 diapers being given away for a friend who’s expecting.
    We ate breakfast for dinner when I didn’t have anything ready for dinner and were short on time due to basketball practice.
    Used a gift we bought after Christmas on clearance for daughter’s friend’s birthday. Having a stockpile is so easy.
    I cut open the toothpaste tube, shook water in the empty vanilla bottle, and shook water in the almost empty dish soap bottle. There is always a little more in there after opening it up.

  61. Hello Brandy and Friends!
    Greetings from Virginia! Sorry to hear about everyone’s appliance breakdowns, what a pain! Recently, I attended a 3D printing class held at our local library and learned that members can 3D print for free. I asked the representative what he got requests to print most often and surprisingly he said “parts.” Parts to vacuum cleaners, parts to dishwashers (think those pesky, little clips and wheels that are always breaking), etc. Our library received a grant from Dremel that enabled them to get 5 or 6 printers—and we residents benefit! If your library offers this service, they will be able to direct you to several free “blueprint” sites to search out your item. Our rep seemed to like a challenge and didn’t mind tweaking plans to make something work. Maybe others have libraries that do the same-might be worth checking into.
    Made homemade taco seasoning this week (husband is allergic to MSG found in most store-bought mixes). While traveling up North, I convinced my water-guzzler of a husband to stop at Aldi and grab a case of water (2.19) instead of stopping at convenience stores and paying who knows how much! Accepted 10 dozen farm eggs from my FIL. He is the best! And stayed out of the fast good lines (oh how I miss them) and grocery stores.
    Thank you to the reader who mentioned using drug store mineral oil rather than the big buck versions in kitchen stores. Who knew? And to the readers who mentioned the Rhoda Stone, Glenda Sulley, and Coffee with Kate YouTube channels. I enjoyed watching a couple.
    Does anyone else have to take notes as they read Brandy’s blog and everyone’s wonderful comments? Lol, I sure do!
    Have a great week, friends! -Susan from VA

  62. Hi all. I haven’t posted in a while but still read through the comments regularly because everyone has such great ideas. Thank you Tina S for mentioning my blog on your list of ‘good ones’. I have been busy this week with various things. I made an apple pie from some apples my husband hadn’t wanted to eat. He seems to like them in pie just fine, so the apples couldn’t have been bad, lol. I shopped at Aldi this week and picked up two packages of boneless skinless organic chicken breasts with a $3/off coupon on top. They cost per pound came out to about $2.79 which is far cheaper than driving to the fancy pants market I adore going into but have little resistance to the higher priced goods! Spent most all of today working on a slipcover that I’ve been very unhappy with. It just didn’t fit my chair well. I’m not quite done, but have called the weekend here and will continue the work on Monday. I’m down to the fronts of the arms and connecting up the lower back piece. I’m pretty pleased with it, but it does demand a high degree of attention to detail which is tiring.

  63. This week I made English muffins from a money saving blog someone mentioned here and they came out pretty good but small. I was concerned since the recipe did not have vinegar or baking soda and they were cooked on a stovetop grill instead of the oven but they are not bad. My husband enjoyed them being small so they look like mini muffins. We will finish them but when I remake them I will make them a bit bigger and with the vinegar and baking soda, it was a nice change from homemade bread which is lovely too but I didn’t want to make another loaf this week because it was warm.
    I had all ingredients in my pantry.
    I made yogurt and ranch dressing and picked greens from my vertical garden.
    I ordered some different varieties of lettuce from seed savers exchange since I have a hydroponic garden and I love to try different varieties..
    I listed some items on Facebook and no sales yet.
    I was listing and selling a few items on eBay until they refunded a buyer even though I had a tracking number as proof of shipment. The item was in the buyers home state but not delivered so instead of eBay going after the postal service they refunded her and now my PayPal account is delinquent so I can’t sell on eBay until my PayPal accounts is cleared and right now I don’t have the cash to do that.

    But we continue to eat at home all days except once on the weekend.
    Last week I experimented with growing garlic and all mine pieces have sprouted. I make my own minced garlic so it will be nice if I get some nice bulbs. I picked up a 40 pound bag of soil at Walmart for $1.88 so I’m going to plant some more and prep my beds. My inground pepper seeds have sprouted and I will need to divide the plants soon.
    Lately I have been cooking 2 meals at once giving me a day of free time to catch up on other projects. Thanks to this learning community I have done surveys for gift cards and received free samples in the mail. Thank you Brandy for this great community.

  64. Brandy you inspire; because your were prepared you can handle the moments that don’t allow you to be prepared.
    Here in the Midwest we have been enjoying the wonderment of winter. Our electricity was out and the generator kicked in so we could run the furnance. We installed the generator with the help of a friend about a year ago, purchasing the equipment and doing the labor. It has been used several times and well worth our investment.
    -Purchased Valentines Day candy 1/2 price for our adult children/families.
    -Repaired a pair of work out pants with a zig-zag stitch that is hardly noticeable.
    -Enjoyed catching up with friends-hosted them for continental breakfast with bagels,. spreads, fresh pineapple, cuties, grapes, and coffee. This is much less costly than having people for dinner. We had so much fun, my DH said it was a great idea.
    -Washing slippers to keep them fresh and in good shape.
    -Taxes are done.
    -Thankful for cast-offs that my DD no longer wanted. I got a new makeup bag (which I really wanted), 3 great seasonal hand towels, and a paper back book. DD gave me blooming plant for Valentine’s Day that continues to bloom and smells great.
    -Watched some YouTube video’s regarding a sewing project.
    Have a good week everyone.

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