Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Our crazy wind has made it hard to get things done in the garden on time. January was beautiful and daytime highs were 65°, but February came in with cold and we are going to have freezing temperatures this week, after our last frost date. Normally, I put tomato plants in the ground on February 15th (our last frost date) but we had a tiny bit of snow last night (it was closer to slush, but being as it was the first time for snow for most of my children, they went outside to experience it). This week high winds and freezing temperatures are again expected. Saturday was beautiful, so I did what I could in the garden. It will start to warm back up soon and I want to make sure I have the garden planted before it gets too warm. I sowed seeds for flowers in the garden: larkspur, Bells of Ireland, Johnny jump-ups, and poppies. I sowed seeds for vegetables`in the garden: radishes, green onions, lettuce, snow peas. and beets. I covered more seedlings with jars to help them grow faster in the garden. I gave Octavius a haircut. My husband gave himself a haircut. My husband installed our new dishwasher, teaching two of our children as he went so that they could see how to do it. Teaching home repair skills are important ways that we teach our children how to save money. I am very grateful for the skills my parents taught me and that my husband’s parents taught him. They have saved us thousands of dollars over hiring other people to do things that we can do for ourselves. It rained. I collected 9 gallons of water in buckets from the roof, which I will use to water potted plants in the garden this week. I turned the drip irrigation off to the garden before the rain. I harvested Meyer lemons from the garden. I redeemed 2200 Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card. I used my crockpot to cook a couple large batches of beans (great northern beans and black beans) which I used in soups. We attended a small, private performance where my niece, an accomplished professional pianist, performed for extended family while she was in town. My husband and I took the time to discuss our financial goals together. We regularly have discussions about our finances and goals so that we can keep on track of where we’re at and what we’d like to accomplish. My husband and I had a date night at home.

This morning’s view out my door!

What did you do to save money last week?      

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Fun Games for Your Indoor Winter Amusement

This Post Has 123 Comments

  1. Susan M.

    *I used some brown rice from the freezer clean out to make Breakfast Rice pudding. The recipe is on my blog at: https://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2019/02/frugal-friday-week-of-february-10-16.html

    *I shopped the clearance rack at Kohl’s and found some great winter as well as summer clothes for my daughter and myself.

    *My husband gave me an Azalea plant for Valentines Day, and it is now planted out in the garden. My cat insisted on chewing on it, so it did not stay inside on the kitchen counter for very long!

    *I tried to start some of my older leftover seed packets. More of them sprouted than I expected!

    *I discovered once at home that I had mistakenly been charged for the organic raspberries at Aldis, when I had purchased the lesser expensive regular raspberries. I took my receipt back to Aldis and explained the problem. We had already eaten one of the raspberry containers, but the very polite clerk refunded me the entire purchase price of both containers, so in the end I received them for free. I appreciated the refund very much!

    Pictures and more details on my blog, linked above! Looking forward to reading everyone’s accomplishments!

  2. Wow, I expect the snow/slush was pretty exciting for your kids. I think it’s wonderful you and your husband are teaching your kids practical skills. It seems there’s very little of that any more. I was able to do a bit more pruning this evening… butterfly bushes, blueberry, plums, and a pear. There’s a slight chance we may have some wintry precip here tomorrow night. We need to be working towards getting onions and potatoes in the ground soon, but it’s stayed too wet to work the ground. Every year is different in a garden, and it’s always interesting! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/02/thrifted-treasures-frugal.html

  3. That is an incredible view from your house! Truly beautiful! I think my favourite thing about Vegas is the natural beauty. Some truly stunning sights.

    My frugal accomplishments for the week:
    – I made Brownie Madeleines (I first tried the recipe on my mom and sister and they liked it so I made it again and posted it on my blog). http://approachingfood.com/dairy-free-brownie-madeleines/ I borrowed the madeleine tray from my mother.
    – I downloaded a free app, Canva, to make graphics for Instagram posts, and then started an Instagram account.
    – When a friend and his father visited, I put together a cheese tray using a box of crackers leftover from my daughter’s baptism, and also served pistachios and olives leftover from the baptism (my husband over-bought). My husband and I ate cheese and crackers for lunch, and then I turned the leftover cheese into a cheese sauce for pasta for dinner.
    – I made blueberry muffins, using frozen blueberries leftover from my daughter’s baptism, some lemon zest I had frozen from months ago, and some homemade candied orange peel from last year. I didn’t have enough yoghurt that the recipe called for so I added in some whey.
    – I made banana nut bread using the now-flavoured sugar that the candied orange peel had been sitting in, and two flax eggs, as I had run out of eggs.
    – I made a faux sausage recipe: bean-based, stretched with breadcrumbs, and flavoured with poultry seasoning and sage. Tasted like schnitzel!
    – I blended up some freezer burned pita that had been in my freezer and added it to my bag of bread crumbs that I keep in my freezer. I’m still trying to keep our grocery bill extra low, and have been cooking as much as possible from the pantry and freezer, and am doing well!
    -I made blueberry jam for my parents using blueberries that my mother accidentally defrosted (an easy blueberry jam recipe: two parts blueberries to one part sugar. Boil until thick, but significantly looser than you think it should be. Let cool, and it will thicken up. Done!). I also made a batch of brown sugar and cinnamon waffles for them and put some in their freezer.
    – I bought a book for my husband for Valentine’s Day, used $5 in my paypal account from surveys to reduce the impact to my budget, and took advantage of a free shipping offer. I wrapped it in reused tissue paper and reused ribbon (and then saved the ribbon to use again another time). I also had my baby do some handprints on a poster I had printed out from the datingdivas website. I couldn’t find the ink pad that we have leftover from our wedding invites years ago, so I walked around the house trying to find something to use. I ended up using an old liquid eyeshadow in gold. I don’t wear it anymore, so it was perfect for an art project, plus I didn’t have to buy anything new!
    – I baked cornbread and used half whey (leftover from making yoghurt) and half milk to stretch my milk.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Gap Kids.
    – I sewed a chair cover for my husband’s home office chair which was starting to look worn but is perfect otherwise. And by home office, I mean a corner of our living room. He was summarily evicted from his man cave when we needed to turn it into a nursery. So the chair needs to look nice and match our living room décor. I used fabric given to me by a friend many years ago, and I used an old towel in between the fabric layers, to make it sturdier and easy to wash. I plan to make a matching quilt as a couch throw at some point, but that will likely be next year.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a vintage camera for my mother for a gift card worth almost $25 plus $25 cash. Mostly, my mother was just glad it was going to someone who will appreciate it.
    – I made a cream cheese spread (thanks for the idea, Pat!) using cream cheese, plus ground home-dehydrated red and green peppers, dried chives, and garlic powder. It. Was. Awesome!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I will have to check out Canva. Thanks!

      Your spread sounds wonderful!

      1. Dawnelle

        I use Canva ALL the time on my computer. It’s amazing.

      2. Pamela B.

        Canva is an incredible free resource! I’m a graphic designer and I even sometimes use it for new ideas if I’m stuck on something. I pay for the upgraded version, but you can honestly do quite a lot with the free version. Adobe Spark is another free graphic design app to look into. You can get very professional results with either of those!

    2. Betsy

      Margaret, I too make yogurt every week and I use it in place of milk or water in baking. So far, I have never had any issues at all

  4. Gardenpat

    Your winter weather sounds as crazy as ours has been! Warm temperatures one day and 35 degrees colder the next! Yikes!!
    What a busy week this has been! At my produce market, got 20 pounds of red delicious apples for $3, a 5 pound bag of spinach for my chickens for $1 and also two 3 pound bags of: chopped celery and chopped carrots for $1 each for the two bags!

    I tossed the last 4 slices of roast beef (from dinner a few days before)into my food processor for less than a minute to chop/shred it up. I added home canned BBQ sauce and turned it into BBQ beef to serve on buns as a dinner or lunch option!
    I made taco pasta in my instant pot to use up some precooked ground beef I had and homemade Taco seasoning mix, home canned tomatoes (remember the 28 quarts I canned from my 80 pounds of free tomatoes last week? ), dry pasta from my storage- Voila!! So simple and it made enough for a couple days’ worth of meals!
    We made reservations with only 4 days notice to fly to Denver and economized as much as possible! Found cheapest flights, son had hotel rewards points for the night we arrived (after midnight) in Denver and the night before we flew home from Denver so no cost for those nights. He picked us up and we stayed with them for 2 additional nights in Colorado Springs. Ate our meals at their home. Didn’t need a rental car. Carried snacks with us so we didn’t buy meals in airport! Definitely a wonderful trip!
    Came home to find that over the weekend, we had orders come in to our online store- HandmadeinOldeTowne.com Our Scrappy Bags and Soup Cozies are still selling well so I will need to build up inventory again! It’s been gratifying to get repeat orders and even thank you notes from customers! https://pin.it/77ztkb7cazbfk2
    But, that’s not a bad thing because I’m trying to use up some of my excess fabric stash and build our savings at the same time!
    I was able to use a quilt I made and had in my gift cupboard as a wedding present for our granddaughter! She was pleased because the main color was blue which is her favorite! I was pleased because it was a scrappy quilt so I was making use of fabrics I already had!
    Chickens are still giving us about 3 dozen eggs a week! I hard-boil a dozen eggs at a time in my instant pot for 2 minutes so we can have them ready for snacking in the fridge!
    I made bacon, egg and cheese breakfast pizzas with leftover Asiago cheese bread. I got a dozen made up so they were a grab and go breakfast option!

    We had about $475 leftover when we zero-ed out our excess as our new payday deposit came in so half was deposited into savings and half went to pay down hubby’s hospital bill. I do the same thing with any extra streams of income that come in- sales from our business, rebates of any sort (ebates, ibotta, etc), sales of things we are decluttering, etc. ANY income gets divided so that half will go into debt reduction and half goes into savings. Many people say you should pay down debt before building up savings, but our experience has been that unless we have savings built up at the same time as debt reduction, we will have some unexpected repair that would force us to add more debt if we didn’t have savings ready! So this plan is what works best for us!
    Life has been so good to us! Tomorrow we will celebrate our 48th anniversary! 11 children, 34 grandchildren! What a joy they are in our lives! Abundantly blessed!
    Grateful for all the great money saving ideas that you share that never leave us feeling “deprived” as we incorporate them into our life! Thanks so much!

    Pat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Marybeth

      Happy Anniversary. You are truly blessed.

    2. Cindy S.

      Happy anniversary to you!!!!!!

  5. Liz

    Hello,

    I am so glad you are able to teach your children skills at home for home repair. My husband and I are continually learning from You Tube!

    Here are my frugal accomplishments this week:
    – Continued tracking closely the budget for the month. I put the balance on one account on the fridge so we can see where we are at.
    – Worked on Earning Station, Fetch Rewards, Perk and Swagbucks to earn some gift cards for the month.
    – Met a couple of friends at a paper craft store to do a free make and take project to do something fun together.
    – Shopped at the commissary for meats and other items that are cheaper there.
    – Cooked 3 roasts that I picked up at the commissary for less than 5.00 each for my inlaws and their parents. I cooked them for about 10 hours in the crock pots and they turned out really well. I also cooked little potatoes, a brocolli casserole, a layered, rainbow jello, and corn muffins. I thought they enjoyed it and it was pretty frugal.
    – I signed up fro some free magazines and samples, which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2019/02/18/10-freebies-today-2-18-19/
    – We stayed in all day today and I am finishing work and housework, since the kids were off today.

    That’s about it!
    Blessings,
    Liz

    1. christine ficken

      Thank you for posting about the free cat food coupon last week. I was able to use it this week at Publix with a BOGO sale. My granddaughter got two bags of food for her cats. She was quite happy. I was happy it was free.

    2. Rachel Hughes

      Happy Anniversary!!

  6. Teresa in Alberta Canada

    Long time reader but first time poster. I love your blog , your recipes and all the comments. I can imagine how excited your children were at the sight of snow. I live in Alberta, Canada where we have been under an Extreme Cold Advisory for close to 3 weeks.
    This weeks frugalities include:
    Baking 2 dozen applesauce muffins using homemade sauce from the freezer
    Cooking a pot of Thai curry soup using homemade broth and pantry ingredients
    packing breakfast and lunch to work everyday
    Using a container of marked down mushrooms to make mushroom burgers
    Defrosted a bag of cherry juice concentrate made from a friends cherries, love adding this to my water
    Picked up a container of free coffee using a coupon and some coupon app savings
    Picked up 5lb bag of potatoes for $1 at a dollar day sale as well as pears, tomatoes for $1 lb
    Have a good week!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I think Thai soup needs to go on my menu this week!

      1. Tammy

        I love Thai soup!

      2. Allyson

        America’s test kitchen has a great recipe for the crock pot (from one of their slow cooker books). I’ll see if I can post it on my blog tonight to share. It has become one of our favorites and is really pretty easy since it’s a crock pot meal. I can prep the seasonings the night before, so it comes together in a flash, even on a school morning.

  7. Brandy,

    What a gorgeous view at your door! Have you ever considered selling your photography?

    Here is what we did:
    * Purchased whole chickens on sale.
    * Purchased avocados on sale.
    * Began treating two health concerns with natural remedies, with tangible results already!
    * Made a big batch of chili to eat for a few days in a row.
    * Read 2-3 free books using the Kindle app on my phone.
    * Had a client meeting over the phone by her request.
    * Made cornbread from scratch. My husband LOVED it!
    * Made all breakfasts and lunches for my husband from scratch.
    * Scheduled a walk with a friend for free exercise and excellent company.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Yes, Luba, I have. There’s a lot involved with the business side of it. I’m researching it.

  8. Alethea in Central VA

    The weather this year has been so unpredictable. Our five day forecast has a day each in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s…but not in that order! My frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *My husband began repainting our ceilings to freshen them up using paint we already had on hand.
    *My husband attended a training for work and received a free lunch.
    *We have decided to have Family Dinners once a month. We will each bring something so it doesn’t fall on the hosting family to make everything. I baked a honeybun cake with items from my pantry this time. This month was at my brother’s house, which is an hour away. We combined the trip by stopping at the Christian bookstore to pick up books for the new ladies bible study we are having at church. We also stopped by an Aldi in his town (we don’t have one) and Kroger (on the way there and I had a 10% off coupon) to purchase needed items at or below my price point.
    *Accepted leftover lasagna from my brother to take home for lunch the next day. I left him some honeybun cake, too.
    *Made breakfast for dinner (pancakes, eggs, bacon), soup using frozen bits from the freezer and grilled cheese sandwiches, spaghetti and breadsticks made using leftover pizza dough I had frozen, baked ham with corn on the cob (from the freezer) and macaroni.
    *Had Valentine’s dinner at home using chicken breasts bought on sale, baked potatoes, salad, sourdough bread and peanut butter blossom cookies.
    *Went through toiletry samples I have and used floss, toothpaste, deodorant, soap and lotion that I had collected.
    *The seat on the toilet in our guest bathroom cracked. Instead of having to run to the store, my husband found an extra toiletseat he had stored in the garage and installed it.
    *My husband also fixed our toilet paper holder (which was wobbly) in the guest bath. I thought we might need a new one, but he purchased a few anchors and now it’s steady and like-new.
    *Accepted a free Honey Baked Ham that my boss had been given before Christmas. He stuck it in the freezer at work and never took it home. He asked if I would like it and I gladly said yes.
    *Paid bills online saving stamps.
    *Sent several cards of encouragement using cards in my stash.
    *Received free Better Homes & Gardens magazine and $32 Ebates check in the mail.
    *Saved bacon grease to use for flavoring green beans.
    *Paid for annual visit with allergy doctor using Flexible Spending card.
    *Meal planned and stuck to it.
    *Doubled our automatic transfer to savings and IRA as we are having extra money in our checking account on a regular basis.
    That’s all for this week…on to the next!

  9. Lillianna

    1) The weather continues to twist and turn. One day cold and the next sunny. One day dry and the next day wet. I constantly stalk the weather reports to find that small window to dry my laundry outside. That was my great success this week.
    2) I found ground turkey marked at $ 1.00 a lb and bought 15 lbs. I also came across a flash sale for one day only and bought 6 lbs of Gabalni cheese for $1.00 a lb. It appears to be a higher dollar product that we have never had . But for that price I was delighted to have it . My freezer is stuffed and I cannot put even a sheet of paper in it.
    3) My sweet daughter sugar cookie returned home from her extended Christmas vacation. She is such a sweet thoughtful child. She brought me a zip lock baggie of coca cola caps to redeem for some goodies. She had a zip lock baggie of quarters she saved out of her spending money. Those were saved to dry an occasional load of laundry on a rainy day. Honestly, I was surprised she thought of that . My favorite present she brought back was a rock hard pizza crust she saved for over two months for the puppy. Puppy was delighted.
    4) I continue to enjoy You Tube. I found an antique store owner in Canada who bought a hoarder house. Curiosity incorporated. I’ve enjoyed his findings over several episodes. I love some of the museum’s you friends mentioned here, but am sad they don’t identify the actual artwork by name and I don’t know what famous pieces they are. I’m afraid many of the blogs I have looked at just don’t really seem frugal . Preaching but not leading by example just to make money makes me sad. I continue to read old posts here and wish all the comments from the very beginning were still there.
    5) I hope everyone is having a great week. I love this week’s photos. I have a similar or possibly the same tree. For the first time ever I have little baby trees in the yard to remove. I’ve never had my tree make baby trees and sadly there’s no where to transplant the babies. I’m a city girl and know nothing of these areas.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      My tree is a Katy apricot. It requires very few chilling hours and is therefore the first tree in my garden to bloom.

      Unfortunately, when I moved my blog from Blogspot to Joomla (the first blog move) only 25 comments per post came with, which was quite disheartening. I paid quite a lot this time to make sure it was all moved over. It will take me about 10 months to recoup that money here, and of course will come as a loss unless my earnings increase here. Unfortunately, I am making even less from the blog this year than last year. We’ll see how it goes.

      1. Cindi

        You have such a wonderful blog and I know you work hard at it. What can we do to help you earn more money from it? I know about the links to Amazon sales and I try to remember to go through them — but I don’t always remember. Are there other things we can do?

        1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

          The main way I make money is from Amazon affiliate purchases.

          1. Libby

            Brandy I went through your site a few weeks ago to add something (baker’s twine) to my Amazon cart. I had to hunt through older posts to find the item. Is there a way to replicate on this new platform the right hand column with your recommended Amazon items? Or maybe make a link to a list on Amazon i.e., “wish list” with your recommended items? Or make a link at the top of the blog to all your suggested items?

            You have great recommendations for products.

          2. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

            In the new layout I did away with the right-hand column, as so many readers are on a cell phone and never see that. I receive credit from ANY purchase made through my site to Amazon. You don’t need to purchase the items I have listed. I could include more links; I’ll have to think about how to do that.

          3. Maxine

            Brandy, I think you are too much of a shrinking violet about this. At the moment, you don’t have many items shown that clearly are from Amazon. Where you mention the Amazon commission, be a little more direct/blunt about it and add a button to “click here to place your Amazon order.” Don’t expect for us to figure it out without help! We won’t think any less of you! BTW, I bought a computer through Amazon last week and, yes, I went to Amazon from your site. I wasn’t sure those book or game titles would take me to Amazon, but I clicked on one and it did!

      2. Lea

        Brandy,

        A couple of other blogs that I read have your blog listed in their “blogroll”, but it links to your old address, which shows one of your Thankful posts from last fall as the current post. I’m not sure if this is effecting the amount of traffic to your site. If the traffic to your site is down, that may decrease your Amazon sales as well.

        Thought you might like to know,
        Lea

    2. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I saw something this past week about diapering assistance in Nevada. I thought about the young woman you are helping. Your state social services may have some diapering assistance resources in your area. Another thing to research is the Women’s Resource Center. There is one here; there are some in other states. The one here helps with clothing and diapers. I was really impressed with what they do here; I will donate baby items there in the future.

    3. Lisa Hebert

      Sugar cookie has a heart of gold!

    4. Mary

      I also have been watching Curiousity incorpated! Very interesting

  10. Jo

    I am using the second half of the bag of dog food, pulling it from the freezer. I always split the bag and freeze half when I first buy it. It keeps it from getting stale or attracting bugs.
    I pre- cooked three big meals this weekend so I’ll have plenty of leftovers to take for work lunches plus more time in the evening after work.
    I found about fifty cents in change this weekend.
    I just got enough Swagbucks to get another gift card.
    My husband is out of the hospital but in rehab. Even though it’s tempting I walk past the snack machine and drink machine when I go visit him after I get off work. I still have an hour to get home after seeing him so I always put water or a fruit from home in the car to tide me over.
    Brandy I think you are right about “handy” skills being unknown to so many these days. My dad could do so much that I never saw a repairman come to our house. My husband has a lot of skills but not as much as my dad. My sons-in-law don’t know one fifth of what my husband knows. We need to reverse the trend. I like what your husband is doing. And girls need to know, too! I’m the only woman in my circle who has changed out her own toilet.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      My girls are learning, too! And my eldest son can do some sewing/mending as well.

      1. Mable

        My husband’s mother made sure all of her sons knew how to sew, in case they never married; before she died, I used to send her flowers on my husband’s birthday, thanking her for raising such a great husband for me. My husband sews so well that he has made our curtains and some dresses for me. One day he brought in new curtains for my work office and I over heard a co-worker say that my husband must be “a pansy” because real men did not sew. (I felt like I was in a time warp, not the 2000’s) I feel very, very fortunate that my husband can fix anything, sew anything, design anything we need; those talents have saved us thousands and thousands over the course of our marriage. Plus, since I failed out of my high school sewing class, it is obvious I don’t have the sewing gene!

        1. Marybeth

          My dad learned to sew in the Navy. He had 5 daughters and taught us all how to sew. He also taught me how to garden. So grateful for him.

        2. Sheena

          What a horrible sexist co-worker. You are extremely lucky to have such an able husband,

      2. Ellie's friend from Canada

        Brandy, I have been wondering if your older children take turns cooking dinner?

        1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

          We don’t have it on a designated list of chores, but they do help sometimes. The older ones often have other things going on where they are not home at that time or are studying at that time.

        2. Becky Pratt

          Mable, the thought that some people still think that way amazes me. There is no explaining ignorance sometimes.
          I also taught my son sewing basics along with how to cook and care for his home and clothing.
          My daughters learned how to care for their cars and basic repairs for their homes.
          We are teaching our grandchildren as many skills from the “olden times” as we can. *laughing*
          I hope you didn’t let what that person said hurt you.
          My thoughts are with you and your wonderful husband.
          Becky

    2. So CO Mary

      My parents taught us all (three girls and two boys) how to generally do anything they knew how to do – sew, garden, basic carpentry, etc. Both of my brothers (on since passed) were/are amazing cooks. My youngest brother made slip covers for a “sidewalk” sofa – i.e. one he found on a street when he was in grad school. I am actually quite good at basic carpentry and putting things together – in addition to sewing and cooking and gardening. These are life skills and in addition to providing a way to save money and resources but also are so life enhancing and fulfilling. And even fun!

  11. Maxine

    What a view! It looks a lot like what I’m seeing here in northern Idaho.

    As for teaching your children practical skills, I had to smile. My son always thought he’d hire everything done and, therefore, had no need to learn. He and his wife are buying their first home and closing on March 26. Is he ever in for a surprise! (Interestingly, he once changed out a toilet for a girlfriend…but not for his mother, LOL).

    We were up to our armpits in snow last week (still are). The weather record here goes back to 1895, and we blasted the record for February halfway through the month with over 40 inches of snow. Frugal fail: the snow in our driveway got away from us and we had to pay someone to come and dig us out. It was 18 inches deep!

    I sewed 3 cloth napkins with heart-printed fabric for our valentine’s dinner at home. I have 3 more to finish. I got the fabric for 50% off at JoAnn’s.

    I didn’t make homemade soup last weekend, but I have frozen a lot from previous weeks. I made a jar of homemade shrimp cocktail sauce…now all I have to do is get some shrimp, LOL.

    We picked up some litter in a parking lot that turned out to be a discarded scratch-off ticket. Won $5!

    I finished our federal income taxes last week and e-filed. I did the state taxes by hand because the software was $40. Idaho adopted the new standard deduction, and as a result we did not owe ANY state income tax (we paid $3,200 last year). Not only that, but because we are both over 65, we could file for a $240 refund of grocery sales taxes, which I did. This was the biggie for the week, and probably for the whole year!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Wow! That’s a great savings!

  12. Angela

    Just found your blog and I am enjoying it!
    I’m currently searching for a job, have lost 50 lbs and need clothes that fit. I found 4 blouses at our local thrift shop, they look brand new! I also got a skirt, $12 total. I have been cooking meals with items from my pantry; food I canned, non perishables that I bought on sale months ago and Dollar Tree items (my favorite is the shredded mozzarella).

    1. Marybeth

      Great job on losing 50 pounds. Good luck with the job search.

    2. Anne

      Congratulations, Angela, on your weight loss! That is an awesome accomplishment! May God provide all that you need, and continue to bless you with success!

  13. Lisa Wallace

    Lisa in NC

    This past week my husband changed the oil and cleaned the permanent air filter in his truck, saving us about $70. He made a small greenhouse for seed starts using salvaged plexiglass and wood.

    I purchased 15lbs of chicken breast at 1/2 price, cooked and packaged it in individual packages for freezing. I bought cabbages on sale at 1/2 price and will make marinated slaw to be frozen or canned for later use. I bought mushrooms and mangoes at 25% regular price for dehydrating, and dehydrated carrots and celery saved/received from helping a friend with prepping for a party. I also saved bread from the party sandwiches and made croutons, and made bread crumbs from some of my own bread before it went to waste. I purchased a needed piece of medical equipment at about 30% of regular price. I saved some bedsheets I could no longer use for reuse/recycling later, likely for reusable grocery bags. I made 6mos of laundry detergent for about 15% of the store price (using my existing stock of bulk supplies) of what my husband and I must use due to allergies. We researched and chose some free office templates for my husband’s business rather than purchase through the printing company. My husband repaired the vacuum cleaner and repaired two lamps. He has one more lamp to go—rather than buy new.
    Thanks to all who share here! You are an inspiration!

  14. Anna

    We have a free produce pop up tent on Saturdays here in our area, just learned about it this year. It is free no questions ask, take what you will use of what they have available.. it’s usually old almost past date produce or bread, sometimes milk. This week was very ugly carrots, they were huge around and had been cut wrong by the manufacturer along with some other things broccolli, sweet potatoes. I only take what I know we will use. I got quite a few of the carrots, they were dirty and banged up but still eatable. today I cleaned them real good with a steel scrubbing pad, blanched them and they are now dehydrating in my two dehydrators. I also was gifted 6 large oranges. I cut them up, they are in zip lock bags for eating, took the skins, grated them and put them on a dehydator tray to dry for Orange Zest. I recently found a sugar free keylime pie (no crust) and it can be changed out for lemon or orange it uses a package of sugar free gelatin. My husband and I are both diabetic so I get excited when I find a simple and inexpensive recipe that is a safe choice for us. I went to the thrift store 2 X this week.. we have four dogs that are inside dogs, they like to chew holes in my blankets.. I patch them up but sometimes it is just too far gone. Found blankets for less than $5 each, restocked. I found one of those grocery wheel carts $10 I had passed on it the first day because I was spending I felt too much. I also passed on 2 different dehydrators. I have two but one has been on loan to a young friend with a baby for several months but again I felt I was spending too much already and passed. Well Saturday I got to thinking about it and went back and got both the grocery cart thing and one of the dehydrators. The grocery cart will help me transport clothes from my house to way out in my yard where my clothesline is at. The dehydrator I really do need two for all the produce I am often gifted with or find really good bargains on. I also do canning and freezing and Praise God both my deep freezers are full. So that’s about it this week.

  15. Tina S.

    What beautiful photographs! The flowering branches have me dreaming of spring, and the snowy mountain is just gorgeous.

    I am glad this past week is over. We ended up having 15 inches of snow, plus a day long power outage at home because a large tree fell on a bunch of power lines just up the main road. A lot of the snow is gone now, but we still have several 4 foot mounds where it was plowed to the side here in our condo complex. Many sidewalks here are still snowy, making it hard to walk in places. I had parked my car about two blocks away, at the bottom of our hill, at a cinema/strip mall complex (I was not the only person to do this by far). I was able to walk down there and get my car, so at least I could get to work and run errands. It’s usually about a 7 minute walk to where I parked it, but it took about 25 minutes with the snow and ice. I managed to get around town and run errands (the main roads were plowed but most parking lots were a mess, and a lot of things were closed). Seattle does not fare well with snow, and we have not had a big storm like this since 2008.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – I prepared well for the snowstorm. I had a plastic shovel in my car and a bag of kitty litter (for traction) in case I got stuck. I had to use the shovel several times, and I helped rescue someone else with it too.
    – My office was open, and I managed to get to work. One day I also covered for my coworker who was unable to get our of her driveway.
    – During the power outage, I sat inside with my huge down coat on, and was plenty warm. Everything in our condo is electric, so no heat, hot water, stove/oven, etc. I used my small butane stove to make simple meals and heat hot water (yay for hot water bottles at night!). That night we did go out to have a hot meal, and it was well worth it.
    – Thankfully, refrigeration was not a problem during the power outage because it was about 35 degrees. So I put a few things outside my front door (juice, half and half) and used a big pan with a lid (secured with rubber bands) to store things the local animals might like to snack on. Worked great!
    – About 10 minutes before the power outage started, I had put a load of towels in the washer. There was nothing I could do until the power came back on. They ended up sitting in the washer for over 24 hours. Once the power came back, I drained the load and then washed them on the sanitize cycle. I was afraid they’d end up smelling funky, but they were fine.
    – My employer gave me a $15 Starbucks card for Valentines day. My husband and I didn’t feel like celebrating, so we didn’t so anything.
    – Used a link through my credit union to get a discount on Turbo Tax. Finished our taxes.
    – Patched two pairs of my husband’s jeans. Mended a pair of pants I wear around the house.
    – Made a big batch of split pea soup. Decided to make a quiche from refrigerator remnants, and it was delicious. Froze half of it for future lunches.
    – Used some flaked coconut that was past its best by date to make a grain free granola.
    – Visited my mom today and she made me lunch. I took two bags of books she no longer wanted to Half Price Books, and got a small amount of cash for them.
    – Enjoyed watching hummingbirds come to our feeder. I duct taped disposable handwarmers to the bottom of it on days it was below freezing. Also enjoyed listening to an owl that stops by occasionally.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  16. Kandace

    Brandy, that’s a beautiful shot of the snow outside your window!
    I had a lot of tortillas that needed using and some ham still in the freezer from Christmas, so I made 13 breakfast burritos with ham, eggs,, and cheese inside and wrapped them individually and put them back in the freezer. I hope they will be grab and go breakfasts for my husband.
    Made dinners primarily using what we had on hand, supplementing with some fresh vegetables .
    Sorted through lots of old linens and got rid of many older ones and tidied the linen closet.
    My husband generously uses our snowblower to keep most of the neighborhood’s walkways clean. Our snowblower was getting older (and so is my husband) and isn’t self-propelled. He found a new one on clearance and I was able to list and sell the old snowblower, covering about half the cost of a new one.

  17. Tammy

    It is nice that your husband and you teach your kids life skills. It is important. I Love your pictures Brandy!

    Made curry chicken, tuna thoran, tuna sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs, homemade pizza, fish filets, my son made chili, then we had taco salads. I tried to make broccoli potato soup but the broccoli was freezer burnt and made the soup stink! Yuck! Before I added the broccoli it smelled wonderful. Frugal fail. For breakfast , lots of eggs, oatmeal and homemade granola and fruit.
    Did my own taxes not long ago and got money back! yeah! We will pay our house taxes with that.
    Had to buy a new tire this week. It was unrepairable with a nail in it.
    Saved time and gas money when husband got off work he called me from Aldis and we shopped together via phone. Then he came home. bought chicken for 69 cents a lb. and other good deals and a few things we wanted.
    Didn’t do anything for valentines with hubby. Walked with son. But we did dance to our wedding song the day before. The day after my husband took me to a restaurant. I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money out. But it was nice. I enjoyed going out with my husband.
    Spent time with grandkids one day.
    We are back to saving and eating at home again.
    It has been nice having my son stay with us. His dog is nice and is learning his boundaries.
    Looking forward to planting seeds for our garden. I’m going to try and start some indoors this year.
    Staying out of all retail stores and off internet stores including thrift shops. I want to save for the things we will need. Propane is down so we will replace that soon. At least put 100 gallons in the tank.
    Water bill and electric bill was less this month. Yeah! I’ve made an effort to take short showers and turn off lights and not let water run.
    It will be interesting to see if it all goes up with a third person in the house.

  18. Mable

    1. Since the new year, I have only purchased milk, eggs, bananas and tomatoes. We have a lot of things in the freezer and cupboards that are aging so I want to use those and then bring in fresher supplies. It has meant a lot of soups, to use up small amounts of vegetables, meats, poultry and fish. Also lots of casseroles.
    2. Finally made myself list some books on Amazon and have sold all but two of them, bringing in $49 in cash.
    3. A friend’s mother died and I helped her clean the apartment out. As I was leaving, she handed me an envelope full of stamps, saying, “I know you still write letters and send cards so you can put these to good use. I would not.” When I got home, I found over $100 worth of stamps of all denominations, including A LOT of one cent stamps. I think it was my friend’s way of paying me for helping and I was thrilled!
    4. I like to read Guideposts every morning, as a way to have a devotional at the start of the day. This year I just could not afford to buy the 2019 volume so am reading the 2018 all over again. I figure I have forgotten many of them anyway, so for this year I will just re-live 2018.
    5. I have a friend who is quite ill so I am sending her a card every few days, with a cartoon or joke I have cut out of the paper or a magazine. My husband has tons of pictures of the various animals we have had over the years, so he made a bunch of cards on the computer for me to send. This will save a lot of money, plus now I have lots of stamps to mail them with!
    6. Have only been leaving the house once a week, to save gas and keep me from temptation. My husband and I have been turning it into a date day, using various gift cards we have received as gifts, to pay for a fancy coffee or a hamburger (shared so no money out of pocket) or a shared bagel form the bagel place, listening to an audio book in the car, and doing chores like taking things to the dump or the recycle station or Goodwill. We’ve been doing this since the new year and have come to look forward to spending four or five hours together on Saturday morning.
    7. Finally finished off some really strong cheese someone gave us as a Christmas gift. Really, it was so pungent that I used about a tablespoon in every omelet I made. Tasted fine but it did get tiresome going through a two pound loaf of the stuff. Still, it saved me buying cheese, so I was thankful for such a useful gift. I just wish the person liked something like fontina or cheddar!
    8. In December I volunteered full time for the month at a non-profit I used to work for. They could not afford to pay me what I usually am paid for writing grants and newsletters and they were so good to me when I did work there, that I was happy to donate some time. This week I received a $100 gift card to a local nursery, with a sweet note. They had not been able to fill an opening for several months, due to a lack of qualified applicants, so had a bit of money to spare. I can’t wait until it warms up enough to use it.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Mable, just an idea for future years and maybe this year. I bet there are several devotional apps out there that you would give you a daily devotional for free on your phone that you could read each day.

      1. Isitaneedorawant

        Hi Mable, Your Library might subscribe to RB digital ( formerly called Zinnio). It has the current issue and back issues digitally to December 2013.

    2. Melissa

      I have noticed that library book sales or even yard sales often have yearly devotionals at very low prices- usually a quarter or one sale I go to lets you fill a bag for $1. I figure it really doesn’t matter what year is on the book if you want to read one each day just go by the date!

    3. Diane

      Mabel, I work for an associate pastor and help run our middle and high school groups. We go online to Our Daily Bread to print free daily devotional for the kids. You might like it!

    4. Tammy

      I love Guideposts! I used to read them at my grandma’s house.

  19. Margie from Toronto

    I can’t believe that even Las Vegas has snow! That scenery is amazing.
    I worked 20 hours at the church office last week (I’ll have another week or two after this) so that is generating some much needed income.
    We had a Lunar New Year celebration for Sunday Fellowship last Sunday so there was a lovely lunch for everyone to share. I saved some money by not leaving the house on Tuesday (terrible ice storm & half the city shut down) – so no transit fares spent – Combined errands to save more transit fares over the week.
    Continued keeping my grocery shopping to the bare minimum – I’m actually seeing a dent in both the freezer and the pantry at last. I will continue to use up as much as possible until about mid-April. I receive some extra funds that month so will do a major restock then – but at least I will have ensured that nothing has expired while languishing in the back of the cupboard!
    Did a few loads of laundry – but washed full loads and hung everything up to dry.
    Gave myself a pedicure and since my hairdresser is away for a few weeks I am stretching my cut and colour to the extreme (some rollers have come in handy)!
    Still using the library, Netflix & YouTube for my entertainment.
    Really just trying to get through the winter and trying to get back on track with my diet to lose some more weight before the summer!
    Hope everyone has had a good week.

  20. Myra

    Hello all from Sunny One Day, Freezing the Next South Mississippi! Yesterday was sunny and 76 degrees. Today, I don’t think it got out of the 50s and the wind had quite a bite to it! Tomorrow, HELLO RAIN!!! We have a saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes”.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    1. Purchased a new cardigan for less than five dollars in my new size. It’s bright sunny yellow with pink and white daisies, perfect for spring.
    2. Spent less than a hundred dollars on groceries this week. Large freezer in the laundry room cannot hold more. I’ve either got to use it all up or give some of it away.
    3. My youngest son is starting to purchase furniture for his house, as he is getting married the end of this year. We have an auction that happens every Saturday night that we attend frequently. He got a sectional that looks to be nearly new for sixty dollars! We have taught him well LOL. He also got a decent tax refund this year. He is saving for a house and so he just had it deposited straight into a savings account so he wouldn’t be tempted to spend it.
    4. Accepted a lunch date from my daughter in law on Saturday. We had sushi and a lovely time of fellowship.

    I think that’s all this week!

  21. Tina

    Continue to make meals from our freezer and pantry except for fresh goods. I am stocking up as I see good sales. Tortillas were $1/bag so I picked 10 and froze them. There were several nice freebies– a large bag of chips, candy. These are put up to distribute at Easter in baskets. My husband found out that his new job is not all suits so will not have to purchase a lot of chores. He needs some things, like a good pair of comfortable shoes but glad to purchase those. A sad thing for us was that my sister in law passed away. The funeral is this weekend and my husband was able to cash in some flier points from years ago he didn’t realize he had. Our oop for the airline ticket was $11. We are thankful because without the points, it would have cost $450. I’m glad he can go to the funeral. Sad he has to do it. For Valentine’s, I gave my family a box of chocolate, a Whitman Sampler. I had purchased it for$3 during Christmas. All I had to do was unwrap the Christmas paper from it. It was delicious. Enjoyed playing ganes and spending time with my family. Experiencing a death of someone you love makes you feel extra thankful for the time we have together.

    1. Tammy

      I am sorry about your sister-in-law. We just found out that my aunt has Leukemia last month. She is already going into hospice care. I’m sad but I really feel sorry for my mom. So many people have died lately that it really does make me appreciate the time I have with the people I love. I too am extra thankful for moments together.

      1. Ellie's friend

        Sorry Tina about your sister in law and Tammy I’m also sorry about your aunt.
        It is hard losing those we love. Ann

        1. Tammy

          Thank-you Ann. My aunt died this morning.

          1. Sheena

            My sympathies to you and your family.

            Regards

            Sheena

          2. Marybeth

            Tina and Tammy, I am sorry for both of you.

          3. Ellie's friend from Canada

            Sorry to hear that Tammy. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Ann

  22. PJGT

    What beautiful spring photos. We have so much snow. I’ve come home for the week and spent hours shoveling out the old snowmobile – the one I can start on my own. I was hesitant to spend the money on a ticket for 9 days home, but went ahead because I really miss my husband and house. The ticket I found had the extra benefit of having 14 and 15 hour layovers in Chicago where my daughter and niece both have moved to. We had a girls sleep over and so much fun. I laughed at the TSA agent’s face as she sorted my bag of pounds of rice, a thrifted vase and some black heels that I took to my daughter. My daughter is delighted even if her boyfriend rolled his eyes. He will realize what a gem he has – someday!

    There was not a seat for me on the connecting flight to my destination so I volunteered to be bumped and ended up with a 1,000.00 voucher for another flight. I really didn’t have a choice as I had not been assigned a seat, and am thankful that the airline compensated me so nicely. These flights are very expensive even for economy, so I’ll be able to use this next year. Hopefully, however, I can move back now as my son is doing so much better. I’ve found a couple jobs to apply to, so please join me in prayer that I will get the job that starts in August and will be able come home! It’s been a long few years and I’m so excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Just using up everything that we can without spending money as our huge expensive event looms. It’s going to be great and worth the cost.

    Happy frugal – ing friends!

  23. Cindi

    The flowering trees are so beautiful. It will be three more months before we see that here.
    I made a batch of apple butter with the last of the apples we purchased back in the fall.
    I made a heart-shaped wreath out of fabric scraps and hung it in my kitchen for Valentine’s.
    A friend gave me cuttings from a lipstick plant and I am rooting them in a pot I already own.
    My husband helped a friend and he gave us two free passes to the local hot springs. We went on Valentine’s Day.
    I made chicken broth from a chicken carcass and vegetable scraps. I also made homemade pancake syrup and ranch dressing.
    We attended the theatre with friends – we had free tickets. It was a wonderful night out.
    All meals at home, laundry done with homemade soap and hung to dry, washed out zipper baggies, read library and free Kindle books – the usual frugal stuff. My husband and I also discussed our finances this week and made some adjustments.

  24. Reet

    Wow. I am sure that your children enjoyed the snow. Ours do, too… in October or November. In February we have had so much of it that nobody is really happy about snow anymore. But since the snow has started to melt, our children enjoyed playing on our icy yard. They cannot ice-skate, but slipping on ice and trying to keep the balance was fun.
    I continued to cook from the pantry/freezer.
    The zippers of my good boots were broken, so I had them replaced. It did cost me 35 Euros, but new boots (and these are not easy to find) would cost approximately 200 Euros or even more. I try to get as many years as possible out of this really high-quality footwear, I think I have used them for 10 or 12 years now.
    I bought clothes for my older sons. It turned out there was a sale, so I got 20% off. For the youngest, I “shopped” in the box under our bed. I hardly ever need to buy new clothes for him because there are always enough things that his older brothers have grown out from.
    We continued to eat from the pantry/freezer.
    I sowed leek seeds in the planting pot. Hopefully, the plants will be big enough in May when the weather is warm enough to plant them outside.
    We brought in some lilac branches from a bush that needs to be cut back anyway. The leafbuds were unusually big for February and now they look like they will open anytime. So we will have green branches instead of flowers (that are expensive to buy and die quickly) on the table.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Have you a place to grow forsythia? You could have yellow flowers in February. I have seen them bloom that early in France and in Utah.

      1. reet

        Thank you for the idea! I think we could have forsythia blooming indoors, when we cut away the branches, but outdoors not before April. France is waaaaaay warmer than Estonia, honestly. We have sort of Alaska climate here, maybe just a bit milder.
        But yes, we have plenty of space for anything we want to plant. I think we can get a piece of my mother’s forsythia plant. Her garden looks south, but even there the forsythia starts blooming in April, never sooner.

        When the lilac branches die, I will bring in some wild cherry branches, they will usually open the blossoms when brought in. The first flowers that start to bloom naturally – mostly in March – are snowdrops, but they are so small and delicate that we usually admire them outside.

        Oops, now I see that I said twice about eating from the pantry. Sorry about that, I was at work and needed to make a break (to do real work, the sort that I get paid for).

  25. Debbie Fodor

    Brandy, your photos of your fruit blossoms are absolutely beautiful! Not to mention the view outside your door.

  26. Kirsti

    Brandy, I always enjoy your blog and all the wonderful comments that your readers make. I haven’t commented for quite a while and would like to share my frugal accomplishments too,
    – A few years ago I bought a couple of Roman shades on clearance at Lowes for only $3 a piece. At the time I shortened one for a bedroom window and then procrastinated doing the other until last week! It looks great and I wish I had done it sooner, so much better than the broken blind and blanket situation we had going in that room.
    – Found some good deals at the thrift store in piano music and also some lovely plant pots that looked brand new. I enjoy green plants indoors and nice pots make them look a bit more architectural,
    – Found great deals at the Kohls clearance last week, bought one pair of jeans, a vest, two sweaters, and a belt for $21.
    – Using items I had on hand I embroidered heart shaped sachets as Valentine gifts for a couple of friends and also my daughters-in-law.
    – At my husband’s work they replaced all the computer monitors and allowed the employees to take home the old monitors if they desired. My husband brought home a nice large monitor to use in his home office. He told me he needed a different cord to hook up this monitor and while I was cleaning I found some surplus cords and, sure enough, we had the right cord and didn’t need to buy a new one. Happy dance for us all!
    – We enjoyed driving to Farmington Bay for the bald eagle viewing the other week. Park rangers had set up telescopes that all could use to look at the eagles and other birds. It was educational and fun, perfect date for us!
    – Brandy, last fall you made a comment about learning to how to use the Bluetooth in your vehicle to play your Pandora station while running errands. Our vehicles are older and don’t have that feature. My husband ordered some add on devices that work with the radio on the car so we have that same ability to use Bluetooth in our cars. It has worked really well for us. I thought there may be other readers like us with older low mileage cars that would like to have that feature too.

    Thanks for all you do! I feel like I learn something new every time I read your blog!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Our car is old too! We replaced the radio (which wasn’t working) in our car with one that has Bluetooth.

      1. Kirsti

        How clever! You and your family are so resourceful.

    2. mmckms

      Kirsti, if you don’t mind what was the add on device for your vehicle? I have an older car would love to be able to listen to my books thru the radio when I am driving. Thanks Marymac

  27. Megan Z.

    The mountains look so beautiful. How much fun your children must have had. I grew up in Florida so each snow I see is always viewed with excitement. Unfortunately we’re expected to get up to 6 inches of rain over the next week in Atlanta. Our yard is already saturated and muddy- I’m not sure how much more we can take.
    I showed some seeds (indoors) for tomatoes, eggplant, pepper, basil and parsley.
    I cut more daffodils to bring inside.
    I forgot to post last week- we ate at a restaurant that had their appetizers for $5 if ordered before 6pm. We were at the restaurant with about 10 minutes to spare. I ordered 2 appetizers as my main meal and had leftovers. My husband did the same thing. The normal price of each appetizer ranged from $12-16.
    Continue to cook from the freezer and pantry. With all this rain I doubt I will go to the store unless they have amazing deals this week.

  28. Diana

    It seems so different to me to see a picture with a palm tree and mountains. Our weather has been a roller coaster of rain and sun and cold and warm days. I do hope your fruit trees aren’t yet budding with the frost coming.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Those are my fruit trees in bloom.

  29. Sarah in Maryland

    I completely forgot about Valentine’s day until the evening before. We usually celebrate with our children, so I knew they would be disappointed if we didn’t do something. I ended up decorating with things I had on hand (scrapbook paper and our regular linens) and managed something special at every meal. I took meals I’d already planned and changed something to make it festive. For breakfast we had chocolate yogurt muffins filled with strawberry jam and strawberry milk using Nesquick my mom gave me. Lunch was sandwiches cut into hearts (hubby and I made scrappy wraps with the meat and cheese that had been cut away and the bread crusts became bread crumbs) and a yummy popcorn treat I made up with home popped corn, peanuts, and dried cherries drizzled with 2 different kinds of melted chocolate chips that had been given to us. Dinner was pizza and wings, but I made the pizzas mini and heart shaped. I actually made a cheesecake and strawberry topping with berries from the freezer, but we had to save it for the next day because no one wanted dessert at the end of that day! We also gave our children coupon books for things like “30 minutes of alone time”, “date night with mom and dad”, etc.

    A friend of my mother in law offered us a week at a time share because she has more weeks than she can use. It’s through RCI and they allow their members to have guests use part of their time. We paid $354 to the resort for a week in a townhouse…definitely a good deal for our family of 10! So in a month we’ll take a frugal vacation in colonial williamsburg (we haven’t gone on any kind of vacation since 2014). We’re all looking forward to it and I’m already working on getting things together so that I have time to find things we need as cheaply as possible. I know I need to find a swimsuit for my 3 year old and another pool towel. Of course we’ll prep food before we go.

    Hubby and I were able to have a date away from the house because my mother in law came to the house to watch the children. We spent $20 on dinner, but enjoyed the time together ❤.

    I “cooked” pasta in cold water while we were at church. When we came home, it just needed heated.

    Accepted free firewood. Such a blessing!

    Used leftover items I had made at Christmas (lip balm, homemade vanilla, bath salts, and soap) as a last minute birthday gift for a friend.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      What a wonderful vacation you will have! I’ve always wanted to go there.

      You did so well with Valentine’s Day!

    2. Marybeth

      We use my sister’s RCI time share. Let me know how you like it. We have been talking about going there. My oldest lives in Maryland and would come too. The kitchens are usually fully stocked so no problem cooking in the units. I always ask for more paper towels, garbage bags and soaps. I think most people don’t cook on their vacations. Most have free laundry rooms to use also so you can do laundry before going home. We always use all of the free amenities. Have a wonderful time.

  30. Libby

    The view out your door is stunning…..and how unusual! You are so in tune to the natural world in your yard.

    • I can’t begin to tell you how badly I wanted to throw out the cat litter boxes and buy replacements….but I didn’t. I washed the litter boxes (yuck, yuck, yuck).
    • Checked cookbooks out of the library.
    • Listened to an audiobook from library using Overdrive.
    • Shoveled snow off driveway by hand
    • Started a batch of sprouts and a separate batch of microgreens,
    • Found two produce items on the markdown shelf: cauliflower ($.98) and a bag of jalapeno peppers ($.85). Other than these two “impulse” buys, I stuck to my list.
    • Made roasted cauliflower snowflakes a la Ina, spinach ricotta white pizza, broccoli, cheddar, wild rice casserole, a pot of Zuppa Toscana – I didn’t have any Italian sausage so I substituted ground pork and added sage and cayenne pepper to the pot.
    • Streamed HGTV for free on YouTube,
    • Added a little bit of water to dishwasher detergent, shook, and stored the bottle upside down in order to get the dregs out
    • Hung laundry out to dry x 2

  31. Allyson

    Your views are stunning! They remind me of our mountains after a snow, but yours are much more dramatic!

    We had a great week of meals at home, including a large crock pot of soup, for which we’re grateful since we were both sick. (Thankful the boys seem to be staying healthy. We will continue with sauerkraut juice for them in addition to their vitamin and regular healthy fruits and veggies.) I was glad to be able to cope with the illness without a prescription.

    We also continued with our new house plans, and had a potential break through in the design that should really help us to be efficient with the space. I also continued planning our garden, focusing on edible ornamentals, like sage and blueberries (for fall color). Does anyone know of an online landscape design tool that’s free? I’m thinking something like that might be helpful for us, since we’re approaching this from scratch.

    Here are the rest of our accomplishments: https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2019/02/frugal-accomplishments-3rd-week-of.html?_sm_au_=isVtVqsqRsQHkfv7

    Please stop by! I love seeing you all visit and your comments!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I’m fairly old-fashioned; I planned my garden with graph paper.

      1. Heidi Rahe

        Brandy, it seems you must keep a pretty extensive garden journal, whether paper or electronic, of planting, sprouting, harvesting, etc., dates. Yet I don’t recall you mentioning it. Do you have one, or do you just have an astounding memory for all things growing, (plant and child)?

        1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

          I don’t have a gardening journal. Sometimes I think I should 🙂 I do tend to remember a lot of things.

    2. Margie from Toronto

      Glad to read that your biopsy was all clear.

  32. mmckms

    Brandy love your site, it is my “go to” every week for inspiration from you and everyone.

    Used a left over piece of “black out” fabric from lining some draperies, painted it with craft paint I had on hand and sewed it around a dowl I had to make a happy 18th bday banner for my sons door for his bday next month. Have been collecting free friday candies and snacks from Kroger to include in a gift box for his birthday. Recieved a free gillette razor (thanks Liz!) and will add that to his box.
    Went to a local dept store with a friend and the cosmetic counter in the mens section was giving away samples of cologne to try. Collected 5 free ones, will add a few to his bday box and save some for his easter basket. There was a Ulta store next door so we walked in (and I signed up to receive their “reward card” (the prices of everything was so high I figured I will never use it.) However, they asked if I wanted offer’s emailed or “snail mail” I get enough emails so I said snail mail. Within the week they had sent me a new sale catalog and inside were 4 free different perfume and mens cologne sample cards. I am saving those cards for my son and daughters Easter baskets. (0$!)
    Had a baby shower gift to give, the mother registered at Target. I went to a discount Gift card site and purchased a 30 GC for 22. Then went thru ebates which was offering 1% back, then used my Target red card (debted thru my bank account) for another 5% off and free shipping. The item was on sale for 30% off as well. I printed out the item, and put it with a free baby book I received and instead of a card and will present that to her at the actual baby shower. The bride lives 5 states away from where the shower is and they are flying in to be with her family.
    Started all seeds collected from last years harvest in saved plastic mini pots from years ago. Found an old under the counter light we had in my husbands shop and purchased a grow light bulb on amazon with the points I have collected and linked thru my Am Exp cc so it was free. Have place the flats under the grow light. We are approximately 4 weeks away from being able to plant in the ground, if farmers almanac is correct.
    While on Amazon I noticed 15 lb bags of natures choice dog food for $10 & free shipping. So I purchased 2 bags, we mix in scraps of meat and potatos and veggies from meals for the dog so this should last us atleast 4 months with the scraps mixed in. We do save all the extra veggies and stock etc from left over food for soup bases etc. However if there is fat on a chicken or skin that we don’t eat then I usually will add water and boil it on the stove as well as scraping down bottoms of canned veggies etc to use for the dog.
    I was at the Wal-mart gas pump and there was a sign that said 3 cents off but didn’t say how. I went inside and asked the manager before I pumped my gas, and she told me it was thru their cc which I don’t want….however she told me a trick, she said if you purchase a wal-mart gift card inside the store and use it for gas they automatically take the 3 cents off at the pump, so if my gas app shows them to be the cheapest gas in town then i will go in the store purchase the gc with cash for the amount of my gas then come out to the gas area and get the additional 3 cents off with my gas with money already was going to spend.
    Was watching a youtube video about laying out your vegetable garden and learned that if I save the seeds from my cilantro, then I will have coriander seeds to use in cooking! didn’t know that at all and have been pinching them off to keep from going to seed!
    Son in college came home and told me his sunbeam elec blanket stopped working wanted me to buy a new one. I emailed sunbeam since I didn’t know if there was a warranty left and honestly couldn’t remember when I purchased it (had been awhile) they replied quickly to send it to them, I did and within a week they replaced the blanket and mentioned that I had purchased it 4 years ago! Love a company that stands behind its product. Told Son to always check before you purchase a replacement item!!
    My daughter had a horrible week last week and so I went “scrounging” my yard for flowers and greenery found a few daffadils under a tree that had buds, some boxwood hedging and picked up a small branch that I attached a red cardinal (from cristmas too) and put them on her night stand with a note. I didn’t say anything, she came home on Friday after 4 test and her BFF that has been very difficult lately….and went to her room, she came down a few minutes later and was so appreciative said it made going into the weekend much better! (my mom lesson, was that it is always the small acts of kindness that mean the most, I need to be better at remembering those things with my kids:)!
    Thanks to everyone who post each week, I can’t always post or possibly read every comment on Mondays when Brandy post BUT love everyones comments!

  33. Tejas

    I can just imagine how excited your kids were to see the winter precipitation! Hopefully, your garden can still yield the produce you need.
    Here is what I have done to save money over the past few weeks:
    Food: Made veggie broth from veggie scraps to use in soup. Made two cups of organic ketchup from a .59 can of tomato paste, spices, vinegar, and water. Dried orange peels. Continuing to freeze apple peels until I get enough to make apple butter. Used frozen cornbread (scraped off freezer-tasting ice) to make a Chicken Dressing Bake. Rinsed and used freezer-burned chickpeas to make hummus—no need to add oil or tahini. The garlic and spices hid the slight freezer taste. Rinsed freezer ice from old strawberries to make a strawberries purée for French toast. Used the last bag of frozen sweet potatoes from last year’s garden to make a cottage pie. Bought dollar baskets of day old veggies from our local semi-open market. For $6 I got 2 large butternut squash, 2 large spaghetti squash, 6 yellow squash, 2 lbs. deep purple grapes, 3 acorn squash, and a fresh cabbage! I shop at this produce market weekly, planning meals around the bargains I find. I regularly get 5 meals from one chicken, making chicken noodle soup or chicken and dumplings, chicken pot pie, chicken spaghetti, and chicken Impossible Pie. Often these dishes yield leftovers, so I get a lot of mileage out of one chicken for 4 adults. Instead of hamburger buns for homemade burgers, I grilled toast, and my family said they tasted like gourmet burgers from a restaurant. I happened to be in a Dollar General in late January when every Christmas item was reduced to .25. I bought 25 cans of pumpkin (most were small cans, but 8 were 29 oz. cans.) I also bought three boxes of $5 Russell Stover candy at .25 each. I made chocolate peanut candy with supplies I had in my pantry. Both homemade and bought candy were repackaged into cute little Valentine bags for grandkids and family members. For our upcoming weeklong, out-of-state trip in March to youngest daughter’s figure skating competition , I am planning crockpot and microwave foods that we can prepare in our hotel room.
    Garden: I planted white potatoes, 100 bulbing onions, and 50 red onions. I bought a large tub to use as a compost bin. Hubby drilled holes in the bottom of it, and I have been filling it with veggie scraps that are no longer useable.
    Life: I got approved as a Medicaid Transportation Driver to get a little reimbursement for my grandson’s many medical appointments. I am also applying to be a Respite Provider under MHMR to get a little money for providing services that I already provide to him. I am eligible because we don’t share the same household. We added to our never-ending medical bills last week with a necessary ambulance ride and ER visit for my husband. I usually drive some family member to the ER once a month, but when hubby turned gray and passed out, I didn’t hesitate to call 911. The $680 ride was essential. I scheduled my cataract surgeries for June. An additional endocrine surgery will be at the end of summer. (I am not looking forward to Surgery Summer!) I just hope we can continue to keep all other living expenses low.
    Thank you to everyone who contributes each week here. Knowing I am not alone keeps me inspired to stay frugal!

    1. Patricia Koernig

      Sending you love, Tejas.
      Patricia/Fl

      1. Tejas

        Thank you so much, Patricia! That is so sweet of you! I hope you and yours are blessed .

  34. Pamela B.

    Your photos are stunning! I am admittedly envious of that view!

    I’m in Texas and our weather has been crazy. One day it’s 80 degrees and the next it’s 35 and raining. We’ve had to keep the heat on most days, but there have been a few nice ones where we can open the windows for some fresh air. I love cold weather, so I take what I can get, and I’m thankful for working central heat. Our central air/heat system is quite old, so I’m thankful for every year we get out of it with no issues. Last night my husband repaired the door latch on the master bath shower. We ordered the part on Amazon quite inexpensively, and he installed it himself, saving us a costly repair. I’m thankful for a handy husband. We cooked most meals at home. On Sunday I made a loaf of homemade bread in my gifted bread machine. I had some buttermilk left over that I did not want to waste, so I subbed it for the sour cream in the recipe. It came out wonderful! (For anyone wondering, it is the “pseudo sourdough for the bread machine” bread recipe on Allrecipes site.) I also used up some mushrooms & baby carrots I found in the produce drawer, along with some stew meat from the chest freezer, for boeuf bourguignon. I was glad to not waste those veggies, and we enjoyed a delicious meal. This morning I started a batch of chili in my slow cooker for tonight’s dinner, since it is cold and rainy day. That will most likely provide 2 dinners for us. On Saturday night, my husband and I went on a free date night to an art show & jazz concert at church. We are attending an outdoor event this coming weekend, and have already planned to take our own snacks & drinks with us from home. We bought some items on sale & set them aside for Christmas gifts. My husband went for his annual eye exam and bought glasses with his new prescription. This was a significant savings for us over last year, since my vision insurance now covers eyewear as well as the exam. We are extremely fortunate as my employer pays 100% of our health insurance for employee & family. I am so very thankful for working in such a wonderfully generous place. He donated 2 pairs of old reader glasses to a collection for the homeless. For Valentine’s Day we had dinner at home & watched a movie from the library. My husband did buy me some lovely roses, which I now have drying in a dark closet. Signed up for a few free magazines on Recyclebank. I have a huge amount of points there because I earned for years & never spent them, and now our city no longer supports it. We worked on our taxes, which was not fun (it never is, we always owe), but at least we know how much we need to budget & plan for in April. I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I have to stand out in the driveway to see the mountains and they don’t usually look like that 🙂 They are brown all year round. The snow is very, very rare!

  35. Pat J.

    I’m continuing to cook from our pantry and freezers to save money and to rotate stock. I am looking forward to canning again this year to replenish my stores. But for this week I continued to stretch the budget by:
    * deboning 8 on-sale chicken breasts. As I was putting the bones in my soup bag, I noticed that the butcher seemed to leave quite a bit of meat on the ribs and breast bone. I decided to save these little pieces. By doing this, I got 1 3/4 cups of “extra” chicken that I minced finely and used to make chicken potstickers. I got 50 dumplings for my efforts. We ate some that night along with a vegetable stir fry and rice and then I froze 20 dumplings for another meal.
    * while deboning the breast, I saved the “tenderloins” to use in another meal.
    * so I basically got 4 uses from the chicken breasts: bones for soup, minced chicken for the potstickers, tenderloins for stirfrys or chicken fingers, and the breast pieces.
    * froze fresh, unpeeled ginger in 1 inch chunks so I can grate each frozen piece directly into my stirfrys.
    * purchased on-sale pork chops: froze them individually in sandwich bags so I can just take out the amount I need.
    * purchased on-sale ground pork: froze in 1 lb portions.
    * I had almost 1/2 lb of pork left over and I stretched the meat by adding bread crumbs, ground frozen peppers, celery, onions and garlic and some ground leftover black beans. Turned these into meatball-sized patties. I got 33 and froze half for another meal. These “beany” patties were surprisingly very good. I’ll making these again with any leftover beans to stretch my ground meat!
    * served these pork patties in previously frozen mini tortillas with leftover garlic dip that I turned into tzatziki sauce. Topped with lettuce, onion, black olives and tomatoes.
    * made mocha saucy pudding for dessert substituting leftover coffee for the water called for in the recipe.
    * used egg substitute in the pudding to save the egg for eating.
    * made egg-free black bean brownies for our second weekly dessert.
    * to stretch our milk for drinking, I made homemade almond milk. My kids pour this over homemade granola and to use in smoothies.
    * made apricot almond muffins for breakfast using the leftover almond meal from the almond milk.
    * made homemade yeast pretzels and toasting bread. Froze half.
    * made “stretcher” butter.
    * to decrease our use of paper towels as napkins, I just purchased facecloths for our daily use ( instead of sewing some napkins). They’re colour coded for each family member: pink for younger daughter, blue for hubby etc so each knows which “napkin” belongs to whom. I got a 6-pack for $1.00, and I bought 5 packs. We’ll use “proper” napkins for company.
    * baked, did laundry, and ran the vacuum during off-peak hours – swept the floors during the day (on-peak hours), to save the cost of electricity.
    * did all the usual cost-cutting measures.

  36. Candy

    Went fabric shopping with my daughter to get supplies for her upcoming wedding and stopped by Plato’s Closet to look for a dress for me. I have a plan B dress in the closet so I wasn’t too stressed about finding one. Plato’s was having a “buy everything you can stuff in the bag that’s on clearance for $15 sale”. Found a dress and the tag said $25, I thought that was pretty good, but wait-it’s on clearance. But it isn’t included in the sale. I thought $25 for a mother of the bride dress was still a bargain. Waited in the store long line and discovered at the register that it was 70% off so with tax it was an amazing $7.95! All my other frugal saves for the week pale in comparison.

  37. Emily

    Brandy, I would love to see a post on your financial goals. How are you and your husband planning for the future- college and retirement mostly.

  38. Kim-Pacific Northwest

    Brandy,
    Love the photo of the snow covered hills/mountain!
    So glad to hear your kids are learning valuable DIY skills. My husband knew nothing but has learned a lot over the years. My adult son is very interested in such things and has saved thousands of dollars using his DIY skills on his home.

    We had 18 inches of snow! It is slow to leave as we still have almost 4 inches on the ground. I am happy to say we were prepared and ate well while being snowed in. We were blessed that we did not experience any power outages. We did enjoy the heat from our wood stove and so thankful we have a good supply of wood.

    I knitted several dish cloths and one scarf while snowed in.

    I am under-going several medical tests and the adhesive they used on my skin has left a terrible rash. I have one more test tomorrow and once again they will use adhesive on my skin. I am so thankful my husband has over the years harvested and traded our lemon balm for some homemade healing salve which has really helped my skin heal from the adhesive. Another week and my skin should be fully healed.

    Our grandson wanted to see the latest Lego movie at the theater so we took him to the early morning show (10:20am) which was far cheaper and worked better for him because it wasn’t in the middle of nap time. It was so early, no expensive snacks were needed. This made for a very economical treat. We all enjoyed the movie.

    Thanks to Brandy for keeping the great ideas coming.

  39. Lorna

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy you are so right about going over finances together as couples so that you can both be on the same page and quite often we find that one or the other spouse comes up with great ideas on how to further trim the budget too. I hope that your vegetable and flower gardens flourish and the price and availability of water is a huge issue everywhere in the world. Brandy can you put in bores over there ? . I know they are expensive to put in but over time they would lower your water bill substantially for the garden. We plan to save and put one in here.

    Our savings last week added up to $348 in savings last week –

    Blessings –

    – We were gifted 3 dozen eggs from a friend who had to many.
    – Another friend gave me quite a few figs from her tree as she had to many. They have been my fruit for most of the week.

    In the kitchen –

    – Made a cheesecake with cream cheese purchased on special and lemon juice we froze from gifted lemons saving us $69.48 over purchasing one of equivalent quality in the shops.

    Water Preservation and savings –

    – We saved grey water from our washing machine,hand washing bucket water and water pumped from our grey water tanks to water the fruit trees and ornamental flowers in pots. Also saved shower warm up water and dish rinsing water to water potted fruit trees and herbs.

    House organisation and maintenance –

    – DH replaced flyscreen in a door and window and removed chicken wire from a garden bed we are removing saving $125 over hiring a tradesman to do it for us.
    – I cleaned half of the homes glass windows and doors inside and out.

    Sewing –

    – I made 4 bread bags which I listed in my eBay store for sale.

    Earnings and finances –

    – I earned $34.38 from the sale of 2 bread bags in my eBay store.
    – DH earned $50 from a paid mowing job he got.
    – We paid off another extra part payment off our home mortgage.
    – Listed 28 homemade items on eBay on a free listing and final auction value fee promotion saving $46.20 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases –

    – Purchased 50 disposable lighters for use around the home and some for storage saving us $61.60 over buying them in the local stores singularly.
    – Purchased needed fabrics for the sewing room and enough curtain fabric to make 2 rooms of curtains to replace blinds that don’t work. These were all on a 40% off sale saving in total $45.72 on usual prices.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      The water district claimed ownership over almost all of the water, and took over wells. My sister-in-law was on a communal well and they had to get city water. We live in a tract home, which was originally built with city water. A few horse properties can still have wells, but the water district often comes to tell them they have to switch over. I know two people on horse property (one of which has horses) who have been able to keep off city water and keep their wells, but they have had to constantly battle the water district.

      1. Lorna

        Thank you Brandy for clarifying the water situation in your area.

        I have heard and read that in some states they are allowing or looking into allowing people to set up rain water tanks. I don’t know how far or whether any of that legislation has gone through though, which would be advantageous to many to lower water bills and allow more water self sufficiency for people.

        Here in Australia they lower your land rates or give certain subsidies to land owners if you do install water tanks and some councils give them away free water tanks to rate payers to lessen the impact on the water used from the dams. The home we purchased has 3 large rainwater tanks and the house operates on that rain water. The only things that run off town water in the home is the toilet, one vanity and the cold water for the shower and in the yard all of the taps are linked to town water. We also have a large bath and vanity in another bathroom that run off tank water. As we back onto a creek here we are also by law owners of half of the creek and can pump water for personal use for our properties. Our town water here being rural is treated bore water and being rural we pay substantially less per KL of water than our town counterparts.

        I am hoping the legislation in the States changes and evolves to give people and families more options than they have now for water sustainability.

        Hope your gardens and produce are amazingly successful and plentiful this year.

        Sewingcreations15.

  40. K

    Our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    * I put a few servings of soup and rice in the freezer so that I can pull them out for an easy meal at a later date.

    * I continued to save veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer for stock.

    * I got another Sam’s Club membership using a deal they offered- the membership for $45, and you got $45 off your order when you used their scan and go app. I bought more bread flour, rice, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, and a few other things that had instant savings on them. I saved over $70 on my purchase, which the cart checker commented on as it was much higher than she had seen yet!

    * My SO took our car in to get an oil change and a recall item replaced. Regular maintenance helps the safety and longevity of our car 🙂

    * I made more homemade bread, and once again made french toast with what was left of last week’s bread.

    * Our treat for Valentine’s day was to order take out from our favorite Chinese restaurant. We ordered two entrees to share for about $25, and managed to get 4 servings out of it, which reduced the cost per serving to something a bit more reasonable.

  41. Mariellen G

    I baked my grandsons birthday cake and it didn’t come out of the pan easily and was sending my husband to buy a replacement I could decorate – realized that was silly, I put the piece of cake back together – decorated it and all was well. Saved at least $20.
    Found several bargains at the thrift store, including minnie mouse sheets for my granddaughter for just 2.50 as good as new, and 2 vintage muslin pillowcases (like new) with embroidered hearts for just 1.49.
    Read several e books from the library – my favorite indulgence.
    Found several free crochet patterns online I plan to use to make a poncho for my granddaughters for Easter.

  42. Becky

    I had my niece and nephew at our house from Friday until Monday night. I am just now coming up for air and reading all the wonderful comments everyone has left.

    I love it that you guys got snow! Those hills are beautiful with their dusting of white. We get snow more often than you do, but infrequently enough that it was a treat when we had a few snowy days a couple of weeks ago. Your photography is stunning. Those blossoms are so pretty. We are quite a ways away from fruit tree blossoms around here. We do have a few brave crocus, though, and I noticed a few of the tiny daffodils are starting to bloom.

    My week just plugged along with many ordinary money-saving activities. I shopped for a little produce, but did not need to do a big shop. I had to buy quite a bit at the beginning of February, but I was able to use storage this week for the most part. Thank goodness. I sent my husband out for eggs today, as it was the last day of the 18-count for $1.50 (limit 2) sale. My nephew is very hungry for eggs lately, so was eating them 3-4 at a meal. I’m beyond thrilled, as his eating habits leave something to be desired, and eggs are healthy as well as inexpensive. Right before he came, I made a big pot of turkey-rice soup and another one using ham bones I boiled. I called that one green bean soup because that’s what the main ingredient was, along with some other veggies. It actually tasted delicious. My nephew was in a mood for the turkey-rice soup, and ate that several times, so I was glad I made that one.

    It was our turn to prepare a meal for the college-age group at church. We did a taco salad/tacos/nacho bar, with all the components for them to pick and choose from. I made a huge pot of refried beans from some of the 50-lb. bag of pinto beans my husband got for so inexpensively last fall. I am given a budget for food for this meal, but of course, I’m not going to charge them for those super-cheap beans. I’m just happy that we have been able to stay way under budget with the meals we make for them by shopping sales, using things we have, and today, using up some food my sister had left over from her weekend, where she was cooking for a high school-age church retreat. Win-win!

    I got some free quilt block kits from a shop hop I partially completed. I am on the 3rd one. The directions were very, very wrong for that one, and I was struggling, but finally got it all ready to piece together. I hope I get that done tomorrow. I finished the baby quilt I was working on.

    I had an out-of-town, seldom-seen friend come in for one night. We hooked the camper up, and turned it into a guesthouse for her and her daughter. It saved them quite a bit of money and kept them very close so we could visit for every possible moment of the way-too-short visit. One of the first things my husband had done when we first moved into this house was to put in a full sewer/water/electric hook-up for the camper, right in the side yard where we park it. It’s so nice for us to be able to have people come and stay. The house is too small to put many extras in here, so it’s a nice option. I love how much we use the camper. I’ve heard of people who lament the fact that they have one and it’s seldom used. That’s not a problem here:). Thank goodness
    Today, I finally got my seeds sorted and organized. I do need to buy a few packets, but I do have a lot left over, as I suspected. Last year, I spent a lot of money, but only used 1/2 of lots of things, such as tomatoes, peppers, and other things that you only need a few plants. This year I will start the other 1/2 of those packets. I need to get right on it. On a “big” year, it’s not unheard of for me to spend over $200 on garden seeds and starts.
    This year, the total will be way lower.

    We ate jar after jar and freezer carton after freezer carton of food this past week from last year’s garden.

    I cleaned for hours one day. It looks dirty again. That’s life!

  43. Ellie's friend from Canada

    It is no longer”extreme cold” just cold outside. My friend brought over my groceries from No Frills. Alas they were sold out of the canned peaches but I am so glad she got me a lot of pineapple and mandarin oranges. I usually don’t like eating canned fruit but this replenishes my emergency supply pantry.
    The $1 for 5 pound bag of russet potatoes although the potatoes are small but I prefer small potatoes.

    I sat out and waited for her and captured two lovely bird photos. The mountain chickadees are still here. I got a great photo. I was getting really cold so was glad she pulled up just at that point. I loved the photo of your tree Brandy. Do you ever pollinate with a paint brush? If it’s too cold for the insects, I sometimes do that.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      I don’t pollinate apricot trees by hand; the bees have been out. High winds and several mornings below freezing may destroy any hope of a crop this year, but we’ll see how they do!

  44. Susan from Cincinnati

    As always lovely, inspiring pictures. How far do you live from the hustle and bustle of the Vegas strip? Trying to imagine what it must be like to live in Las Vegas. Found out I need a root canal and crown………….! Shopped around and got root canal for $200 less than most places. I have a discount dental plan, not to be confused with dental insurance, and my crown will be $400 less than normal price. Still both together are pricey but being frugal let’s us handle emergencies like these. More dental fun, on Valentine’s Day my husband went to the dentist bc a filling came out. Yep a crown for him too. I started physical therapy for shoulder and neck problem but opted for only one session a week. Each session is $40 out of pocket. Faithfully doing all the exercises recommended. Made small batch strawberry jelly with $1.20 a quart berries from Aldi. Made all meals at home including white chicken chili twice, enchiladas, chili, roasted marinated chicken thighs for 69cents a pound, pancakes and eggs, breakfast burritos. Every week I am taking scrap paper and planning my meals for the week and then posting on fridge for everyone to see. I have 2 weddings and a bridal shower coming up. I need inexpensive ideas for presents especially for the bridal shower.

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Susan, we live 45 minutes from the strip. It’s a big city.

    2. Rhonda A.

      Susan, do you sew? If you do, one of the best wedding presents I received was a hand quilted Christmas tree skirt and 2 matching Christmas stockings. I loved this gift because I was reminded of our wedding day every year when I pulled it out at Christmas!

  45. Marcia R.

    I finally got to see my cardiologist last week on the third try–first two appts were postponed due to weather. It was snowing a little but easy driving. She is working on my blood pressure which has been wonky for about a year and a half since my last stent surgery. I am taking more pills but the blood pressure is much better. I FEEL better too–swelling in my legs doesn’t allow me to be on my feet long enough, and that is going away on the new pill schedule. I’m quite happy because it means I can get more cleaning done, although I have a lot of catching up to do.
    The cooking goes on despite everything else. Last week I made some good meals, if I say so myself! We had a pork roast, pizza at husband’s request, roasted half a large chicken, and made a second meal from each of those, although not the SAME meal. We waited until Friday for our Valentine’s treat–which was a fish fry at a favorite restaurant. Delicious and worth waiting the extra day for it. Less crowded, although still plenty busy.
    No one was feeling well for Valentine’s Day, so I put money in three cards and put them on the dining room table. My daughter had a sinus infection but turned up a few days later and picked up hers and her husband’s—each contained a $10 bill so they were able to go one night to the same restaurant we had gone to and have a “pick your own treat”—it covered the meal plus the restaurant has a bakery so they spent a little more for bakery treats to take home for dessert later. My granddaughter had a girlfriend visit for the weekend from NYC, but she will pick hers up next week when she comes to celecbrate her Mom’s birthday. Her card will still be here waiting for her then. We get all the immediate family birthdays over with by mid-April, but it keeps us busy the first few months of the year. I’ll be making DD’s cake next week…if I remember to check how much baking chocolate is in the house!
    I’m quite jealous of those who are planting seeds and seeing spring flowers already–we hit the 100 inches mark for snow already this year–earlier than most years. We’re not finished yet, though, as it can snow here right up until May, although April is usually spring like. I need a long, slow spring because there is a lot to be done in our yard before we can have a decent garden again. Last year was full of spring doctor appointments and we never did plant a proper garden.
    I have been quite careful with sales and am managing to keep the freezer and pantry full on little money. This week the spending went up, but it was for NON-FOOD items such as beer for DH, rechargable batteries, and a large pack of toilet paper. Necessities except the beer, but beer bought in winter tends to last a lot longer than beer bought in summer, anyhow. He just likes to have it available and doesn’t drink it every day.

    1. Heidi Louise

      Marcia R:
      A substitute for baking chocolate can be made from butter/shortening/oil and cocoa powder. (Google search). You might be able to mix that with some regular chocolate squares, which seem to have zoomed up in price in the past years.

      1. I’m pretty sure it’s 3 tbsp. cocoa and 1 tbsp. fat (ex. butter or shortening) to equal one square of baking chocolate. I used to substitute cocoa and butter for baking chocolate in brownies all the time. Super-easy!

  46. Ellie's friend

    Sometimes here, we have a cold snap just as the fruit trees are coming into bloom.
    With pears and maybe plums, there is about a three day window when they can be pollinated. Even though they remain in bloom, they can no longer be pollinated. That is why if a sudden cold snap means there are no insects I pollinate by hand with a soft paintbrush. Great that your bees are out and about.

  47. Ellie's friend

    P.S. I envy you your apricot tree. I bought one at half price because it looked sickly. We took it out of its pot and totally washed the soil away. ––
    the “soil” was dense heavy clay — like concrete! (That’s why the apricot trees wren’t thriving). We planted it in good soil and it thrived. It is a zone 3 hardy one. Alas, a deer ate its main branch
    so we will be finding some scion wood to graft onto it in March and restore its shape!

    Your mountain view is lovely as are the apricot blossoms!

  48. Kara

    I have a chronic illness and sometimes am just too tired to do anything. But then I have some good days and get a few things done. I made soup and coleslaw today, using up the last of the veggies in the fridge. I like to use them all up before I buy more.
    We sold an old roof antenna on Craigslist, which more than covered the cost of a new digital antenna that is much easier to hook up and doesn’t need a cable out to the roof like the old antenna did. This means we get free over-the-air channels like NBC, PBS, and CBS.
    I asked for (and received) rain boots for my birthday. I did not have any. So it feels like a treat!
    We braved buying glasses frames online and it was a great success. The one pair my daughter ordered worked perfectly. She’s into fashion and is very picky, so I was thrilled.
    I am reknitting some yarn that had been scarves or cowls that I didn’t care for. It feels like a new item, and didn’t require me to buy any new materials.
    Thank you all for the inspiration you share. It does help me when I get tired, to know that you all are out there working hard too!

  49. Maria

    Hello from Cyprus!
    I am very inspired by your garden and your family. I am a working mom of 4 and have a small garden. We also get scorching temperatures in the summer here. I was wondering how you plant your seeds. Do you transplant them, or do they just grow where the hole of the drip lines are?
    Thank you.
    Maria

    1. Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      Hi Maria!

      My drip lines have holes every 6 inches (15 centimeters) apart. I plant seeds at each hole on both sides of the line. I direct seed my seeds in the garden; I do not have a place to grow seeds indoors. If several seeds come up in one place, I will gently loosen them with a trowel and transplant them along new drip lines. I did that last week with lettuce seedlings. I prefer to do that over just thinning and throwing away extra seedlings.

  50. Rhonda A.

    What a beautiful picture you took out your front door, Brandy. I’m sure a snow covered mountain is a very rare site in your area! It’s wonderful your children were able to experience snow. I wish we had a little less of it here.

    I’m really late posting this week. It’s been a bit crazy around our house lately. I’ll have more to post this with next week’s comments. I’ve barely had time to read Brandy’s post so far this week, let alone any of the comments. Hoping things settle down enough that I can read them all soon, though! This past week our families frugal accomplishments included:
    *Meals made at home included spaghetti with meat sauce, French toast casserole (see below) with breakfast sausages, breaded chicken fingers/burgers with corn and choice of onion rings or potato wedges, chicken low mien stir-fry with veggie spring rolls, and garlic butter steak bites (I used stewing meat from the freezer, recipe link: https://www.instantrecipes.us/2018/07/steak-bites-with-garlic-butter.html) with white rice and carrots.
    *Was inspired by one of the commenters who mentioned using leftover bread crusts to make a french toast casserole (I wanted to give you credit by name, but couldn’t find the comment when I looked). I’ve never made this, but it sounded really yummy. So I looked up recipes on Pinterest and gave it a try (recipe link: https://adventuresofmel.com/french-toast-casserole/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=555168220_20445854_267507 ), using pantry ingredients and saved bread ends in the freezer. I used a cookie sheet instead of aluminum foil to cover the bake dish.
    *We picked up pizza one night when we had a late afternoon appointment, then had to go out that evening to a teen group. The pizza place screwed up our order twice. First they charged us and made a large cheese pizza we did not order. They corrected it, and refunded us the money. However, when we got home, we realized they forgot to give us the dipping sauce we ordered and paid for. Hubby called and they are sending us a coupon for a free large pizza and 2 free dipping sauces in the mail. We also picked up some doughnuts, as hubby has been requesting them for a couple weeks. I used a gift card, so only paid $1.80 OOP for 1 dozen doughnuts!
    *Huge stock up deals this week at the grocery store. I bought Campbell’s soup @ $0.50/can (tomato & chicken noodle), fresh pineapples @ $1 each (bought 6 total, 1 for fresh eating, 5 for canning), pineapple juice @ $1/carton (for canning pineapple), apples and pears for $1/lb, onions @ $1/2lb bag, bagels @ $1/half-dozen, margarine @ $1/tub, pasta @ $0.50/750g (1.6lb), sugar @ $1/2kg bag (4.4lb), gherkins pickles @ $1/jar, large cheddar sausages @ $1 each, tortilla wraps @ $1/10 pk and more. Thankful hubby went with me this time, as he was able to help with bagging and carrying everything.
    *Took our new puppy for a “free” vet check up which came with the humane society adoption. The vaccination booster, stool check and heartworm check where not free, however ($166 later…). The heartworm check was necessary because she came from the Bahamas. We don’t have a huge problem with heartworm here in Canada, in comparison to those who live in warmer climates. The mosquitoes get killed off with our winters, which helps keep the problem in check. Eevee received a toy as a new client gift, though, which she really likes playing with.
    *DD had 2 more snow days this week. We saved money by choosing to stay home when the weather created difficult road conditions for traveling.
    *Used my Wellness Centre 2 times this week. I also walked the dog. The multiple winter storms we’ve experienced in the last 2 weeks has inhibited my venturing out. Hoping to go a bit more frequently, as long as the weather holds out!
    *Filled my car just before the price took a huge jump.
    *Hubby booked our tickets to see the Anne Frank House museum this week. There are 2 types of tickets they offer, 1 includes watching a documentary and the other is just to go through the museum in the actual building her and her family lived in hiding, before they were discovered. He was going to try for the tickets that included watching a documentary. FYI for anyone thinking of going, forget getting those tickets. The overwhelming demand for them is insane!!! He got up at 3 am, waited for around an hour as hundreds of people logged in trying to get them, all at the same time. He finally gave up and just booked tickets to go through the museum only. We’ve watched documentaries on Anne Frank before and can watch them again before we go on the trip if need be. We are both really looking forward to going!
    *Because DD is autistic, and we are considered “low income” (at least on paper), we receive special government funding that we can use towards respite services, camp fees, etc. for DD. The funds run for 1 year from April to March. We lost our previous respite worker over a year ago, but gained a new one when DD started at her new High School (she is an EA at the school, that works with another student). Because we didn’t have a worker for a while, and the new worker was only doing a couple hours a week, I realized this week we have almost $2,000 worth of funding to use up before the end of March. I’m always concerned that if we don’t use the funding, we may not get as much the following cycle. I let the new respite worker know, and she was thrilled for the opportunity to earn more money. She’s currently saving to take her ailing parents on a special trip. DD will benefit, too, by getting out into the community to practice social and life skills. Best of all, they both love spending time together. I love win win opportunities.

    Hope you are all having a better week than I am. Happy frugaling everyone!

  51. Cindy in the South

    I am recovering from the three day sewer line saga last week. I took a financial hit on that one, but I am so happy to have my toilet and tub working again. I made lima beans in the crockpot, mashed potatoes, and some more refrigerator mulberry jam from my free mulberries I froze. My paper shredder broke a year ago. I bought a $30 one from Walmart and shredded five bags of paper. I am so glad to have that out of my house. I spent the holiday ocleaning and organizing my house. That made me enormously happy! I love a clean and organized house!

  52. Jean

    Last week, we went to a restaurant that had BOGOF for Valentine’s Day. We ate for $8 and took home enough for lunch. I wrote my hubby a card listing the little things that mean so much, we both had some good laughs over it.

    I am piecing together three part time jobs and actually enjoying the variety, I was home with my 7 kids and homeschooled and only worked for 10 months after we got married as we had a baby. I have done lots of childcare for folks over the years and took care of two of my grandkids for a few years. This is new for me leaving the house , packing my lunch and making sure I have the appropriate clothes for that days job. We are trying to accelerate paying down the house as we have been in ministry our whole marriage and not had the margin to really knock it down. I am thankful for good health to do all sorts of jobs and bless others.

    I am working hard to not waste any food, cook from scratch, line dry the laundry, hold the grocery budget at the best I can, and
    streamline my errrands as I work in three different directions for my jobs. This site is such a wealth of knowledge and community and you each inspire my weekly.

  53. So CO Mary

    We’ve finally had some regular snow storms. It means so much to see snow on Pike’s Peak and the Wet Mountains. Last year we had almost no snow on the mts as part of our long ongoing drought.

    Found Super Bowl Taco kits for $3.99 each. In each box were 3 pkts of taco seasoning, 2 pkts of guacamole seasoning, 8 taco shells, 6 flour tortillas and 6 flour “bowls”. The flour products are sealed well so can be stored or frozen. This was timely as when I went to make tacos one night I discovered that my taco shells had gone rancid. Each one. Not sure why and haven’t seen that before. I bought e kits. We have tacos about once per week so something I try to keep on hand. Also found Oikos yogurt – 4 packs of vanilla for .49 and 4 packs of berry for .75. I also found Wright’s silver polish for $2.99 – being closed out. This is my favorite silver polish – I have some family silver and a few pieces I’ve thrifted. I bought 3 which see me for some long time. Lastly I found Christmas wreath pics for .50 each – with silver beads and pine cones.

    Stopped at WalMart for a few things they carry and no one else does (SO’s favorite coffee creamer in a large size for the same price as other stores smaller size). Also found their roasted chickens for $3.74 and bought three. I will take the meat off and package it and then put the carcasses in the crock pot to make broth. That is really cheap for a whole chicken and I didn’t have to spend my time or utilities to cook them!

    I want to redo the guest room. It has been about 8 years since I last decorated it and it feels drab and dated. I bought some blue toile fabric deeply discounted (Waverly!) for curtains. When I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond for soda stream charger refills I quickly went through the clearance and found two regular shams (striped) for $3.60 each, one Euro Sham for $8 (was marked $45 originally) and a twin sold sheet in a complimentary blue for $1.00. Yes a buck! That is mighty cheap fabric – I can make curtains for the one window.

    Last week was my birthday and since it falls the day before Valentine’s Day I like to not go out for a meal as it get’s crazy. So we had a lovely meal at home – combining my bday and V day – we had salmon (me) and steak (SO) dinner. Even bought a nice bottle of bubbly to add to it – all for so much less than for going out. I do love fresh flowers and found bunches for $1.00 each at King Soopers and then splurged on a bunch of Star Gazer lilies for $10.00 – a present for myself. They are my favorite flower and can last for weeks if taken care of. My birthday present to myself was to restock my tea selection. I love good tea and find that Tuesday morning has a great selection of British teas. Found a box of 120 bags of Typhoo for $3.99 and a lovely tin of English breakfast tea bags for $1.99! I didn’t find my favorite black tea – Yorkshire Gold but these will be a nice treat.

    We stopped to drop off our taxes (long story as to why we don’t do our own – lots of complexity and this years is especially challenging. While we waited I walked around the corner to Save-a-lot. They just redid the store and wow – was I impressed. The produce quality was very good and so much cheaper than the grocery stores, lots of great deals. Will definitely be going there first when grocery shopping.

    Dropped off a pickup load of stuff at a local thrift store run by members of our local Mennonite community. They had posted on FB that they were running low on donations so the timing was right. They do so much work with foster children and families in our community that I am always glad to donate there. Didn’t go in to look for anything!

    Did one of my least favorite tasks – we gave our three little dogs baths. Trying to extend the time between grooming appointments which is easier to do in the winter when their coats can be longer. We have to do a little trimming in some areas on two of them so they look mighty “funky” right now but they don’t know that!

    Continued to read books I already have. I’ve been in a bit of a down space recently so I brought out the first Miss Read book – Village School. I find her books so soothing and grounding – rather like Jan Karon and Alexander McCall Smith’s books. Found the latest AMS book for $1.00 at Dollar Tree and thoroughly enjoyed it. Hope everyone has a great week! This community is so helpful in keeping me motivated and bringing me up when I’m a bit low.

  54. Jen A.

    * Went on a movie date with my son, we went to the “early bird” show so saved $9 a ticket compared to an evening showing.
    * Got a $0.10 cup discount at Starbucks for bringing my own mug; paid with a gift card from a friend in thanks for helping her w an online project
    * Ate homemade bean soup my mom brought over–it was delicious but my dad has dietary restrictions so they couldn’t finish it.
    * Selected the artichokes at the garden center that had two plants per pot, so got more value for our dollar; separated them and planted them in different parts of the yard.

  55. Beth Bertsch

    I love that you are teaching your children home repairs! What a wonderful advantage they will have when they start their families! The extra time your husband takes to show them is so invaluable.
    And congratulations to your daughter who has worked so hard toward her school goals and music goals. Well done. People that are self motivated like that always succeed in their journeys.
    The dishwasher story made me chuckle. I am a party of one, so I run the dishwasher once a week, whether it’s full or not!??

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