Winter is wearing her latest creation, a dress she designed herself.

So . . . the whole reason Winter took the Hi-SET last week (a little bit earlier than she had planned to take it) was because her university school of choice had reopened their admissions for both spring and fall terms.

If you missed the announcement at the end of my last post, here it is again:

Monday night, Winter applied to the university.

Tuesday afternoon, Winter received her acceptance! She will leave for school in April!!!

She will be attending Brigham Young University-Idaho and will be studying apparel entrepreneurship.

Wednesday night, we filled out the FAFSA forms (student aid). We don’t expect anything for April as it is so late, but we filled everything out for both school years (Spring and Fall Terms, which use two different tax years) just in case. Our goal for each of our children who choose to attend college is to graduate without student debt. Attending low-cost universities is a big part of that. Tuition for her is currently $2059 a semester.

Thursday we researched and compared apartments online. By pulling up the university on Google Maps, we could easily see the names of the apartment complexes surrounding the school and check out their websites. We found a place that was considerably less than several other apartments–and it’s still real close to campus.

We went shopping for several things for her apartment, comparing prices and ending up with some great deals. I had been comparing prices at several places over the last several months, and we were able to get the things she needs to be able to cook on her own at low prices. Cooking on her own will save her so much money over the meal plan (which averages $6.50 a meal!). We’ll set her up with some containers of bulk items (we bought containers that will fit in a shared apartment) including rice, pinto beans, flour, sugar, oats, and grits when she starts school in a month and a half. We discussed meals she plans to make and I made a pantry list for her to be able to make those meals as well as a list of fresh items that we will buy locally for her when we drop her off. The pantry items will come from our pantry. I will need to buy a couple of things that we are low on, but most items we already have.

Winter hemmed some pajama pants for my husband.

I ordered a new pair of glasses for my daughter through Zenni Optical, going through Ebates first to receive 2% cash back.

I read two e-books from the library.

It warmed up here, so I turned off the heat in the house and even opened the windows for a few hours a couple of days.

My eldest son found a new to him motorcycle helmet at the thrift store for $6. He also found a suit in his size for $16. He has been wanting a suit for a long time and had not found one before. This one needs new elastic in the pants waistband, but since he has suspenders, he was able to wear the pants without a problem.

The WWPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) Convention was held here. It was $400 to attend, but I found out about a local way to attend just the expo floor for free, so I signed up for that and attended a few hours one day. Next year I hope to attend the expo floor for longer, as several free presentations were going on that I didn’t have time to attend this year.

I harvested lemons, Swiss chard, and green onions from the garden.

What did you do to save money this past week?



Disclosure: As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through my links. This means that I earn a small percentage from any items you place in your cart and purchase within 24 hours after going to Amazon from one of my links (i.e., it doesn’t have to be an item I have linked here). If you’re going to be making a purchase from Amazon, I thank you for using my links to support this site!

Similar Posts


  1. Congrats to Winter and to your family for her schooling! What wonderful news 🙂

    Our week was the usual frugal stuff – combining errands, meals made at home, saying no to stuff not in the budget, turning the heat off or lowering it.

    I so enjoyed some beautiful days with fluffy clouds and blue skies. I bundled up and sat on some chairs on my back deck for about 30 minutes several times during the day. The sunsets were amazing with the clouds.

    Thank you for your beautiful blog.

  2. Lovely pic of Winter in her green dress! Wishing her all the best with her schooling and to you as you launch your first young adult. I know she will do well. Is she 18 now?

      1. Make sure you have things covered if she should need medical care. I had to sign papers for my kids so they could get medical care w/o a parent being present. Our daughter graduated and started college at 17 as well.

        1. Thanks for the reminder about signing paperwork. We are taking care of the medical part but I hadn’t thought about her age with that. I will make sure.

          1. As a University Faculty member in a different state, you may want to check with BYU-I for any other legal issues involved with her being 17. Since she is not legally an adult, you may have to give written permission for her to participate in field trips, lab classes, etc. as well as anything medical. Winter will certainly not be the first person to attend University at the age of 17, so they should have a procedure in place and it should be fairly straight forward.


  3. Congratulations again to Winter! Cooking her own meals will save her so much money and is such a useful skill in general. You had a very busy week and got so much accomplished.
    We had a foot of snow. My husband got his truck stuck in the driveway while trying to move a trailer, but a neighbor with a backhoe came by and helped him get out. It is wonderful to live in a neighborhood with good neighbors who pitch in to help each other out.
    I volunteered to make five “busy bags” for children at church and was able to do so using fabric I had on hand.
    I used a canvas I already owned, a frame I had in storage and some paint I already had to create a message to hang in a blank spot in one of our rooms. I had started to order a print of the same saying, then realized I could make it with material I already had.
    I roasted a turkey I bought on sale at Thanksgiving. We had it for dinner two nights, froze four zipper bags of leftovers for later, and made 7 pints turkey broth.
    I cashed in Ibotta earnings for an Amazon gift card and used it to purchase some camping supplies. (And I went through the link in this blog to do so — I hope it worked!)
    We had a lot of extra expenses this week, but I keep reminding myself that even though we spent a lot, doing what I can to save is still important.

  4. Congratulations to Winter!
    Can anyone lead me to websites to learn how to grow plants from seeds? We live in KY and this year with my kids I want to try and grow some herbs and tomato plants. I don’t know anything on this subject. Thank you!

    1. Renee, Terroir Seeds, also known as Underwood Gardens, had some pamphlets on starting from seed that you can order online. Your local extension agent can give you information and websites, and you can go online to KY universities with agricultural/horticultural programs. You can look at sites such as Johnny’s, Baker Creek Rare Seeds, and others, to find out more information. One thing to know is that you don’t have to buy a bunch of supplies! Start with what you have. I will suggest that you might want to look into a grow light bulb or two, but we put our bulbs in standard cheap shop lights from Walmart. LED, CFL, whatever, they all work in those shop lights. Good luck!

    2. Renee, I also live in KY and the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension has a great publication called Home Vegetable Gardening (or something similar). That’s what I use when looking at timing of starting seeds. The data and timing they use is for the Bluegrass area but I believe everywhere in KY is Zone 6 unless maybe you are high in the mountains.

    3. Renee, I don’t know where in Kentucky but I am in Lexington. Chcck with your county Extension Agent for classes or even booklets and pamphlets on this. Another resource is your local library. I know mine has seminars on this. You can also check with Southern States if you have one in your town and see what classes they may be having. Good luck.

  5. What a wonderful time for Winter.
    You all must be so proud.
    I remember my oldest leaving home. Such bittersweet memories.
    God bless you all for this new time in your lives.
    I have 2 of my grandbabies with me this week. Their mom and dad have gone to New Orleans.
    I was given $200.00 for their care for 6 days.
    We are eating out of my pantry so I have no out of pocket expenses with them being here.
    I made $85.00 selling Mardi Gras tutus.
    I brought home half a dozen muffins for free.
    I was given 15 charms relating to the OUTLANDER series and hadn’t done anything with them. My oldest daughter took them home last week and has put them on a beautiful pearl bracelet for me. I love charm bracelets. *laughing*
    My daughter, Lyric, gave me a Backgammon game set that she found used. Everything was there…even the rule book. I am now teaching my 11 year old grandson to play. In fact…he beat me last night.
    This is a frugal fail of sorts…We are still cold here (I live in north Texas). It is unusually cold here for this time of year. My outside faucet froze (it was wrapped so I have no idea why it froze) and burst in the wall of the shower. Outside of the fact that my water bill was out of site…I now have a bathroom that is unusuable. Everything is torn open while they searched for the leak. I won’t go into the nightmare it has been. *smile* Needless to say I am looking at lots of outgoing money even with Jake (my husband) doing the work.
    I have made arrangements for my oldest daughter and her son to come once a month to help me purge my house. I am in a wheelchair and have lots of trouble moving around. My daughter’s husband had to take a paycut (everyone in the business did) and they have a $400.00 shortfall every month right now. They will stay here for a few days eating with me and will leave with a little cash too. This is less expensive than what I would have to pay strangers to come in and help me…plus I get to enjoy them while they are here.
    There is more I’m sure, but this is all I remember at this time.

  6. Your daughter looks very pretty in her picture. I have a son who drives a motorcycle so I know that insurance companies and law enforcement tell people not to wear a used helmet if it looks like it’s been scraped or scratched because it may have been in an accident before. They say the same thing about used car seats.

    1. Thank Julie. A helmet is not required for his moped (by law) and insurance is also not required for the moped. He was using my husband’s helmet before this just because he would like to wear a helmet. His moped doesn’t go faster than 30 mph.

      1. Brandy, your son is very wise to wear a helmet, even if the law says it is not necessary. He may only be travelling at 30 mph but the vehicles around him are going much faster. That is why even bicycle users in our area must wear helmets (I don’t want to assume this is the case everywhere, but I would hope it is). It doesn’t take much to sustain a serious head injury, should any kind of accident occur! Your son is one smart young man.

      2. Hi,

        My classmate was wearing a borrowed helmet going 15 mph and ended up with a life changing brain injury when the helmet broke. Mopeds are great and you can’t always tell if a helmet has been damaged by looking at it.

  7. You must be so proud of Winter! But you should also be proud of the job you did in helping her reach her goals. And you are such a great mother to show her the home economics of life, I think it is missing in so many households now. I know you will miss her!

  8. Congrats to her!!! She will do well. We lived in Rexburg about 1 block east of the campus for the past 36 years. Moved 20 miles away only 2 years ago. I still work in the ER there in town. Not sure if I can be of help in anyway, but let me know. I know a lot of the complexes. This last week of cold and snow you guys have had will be a good “warm up” of things she has to look forward to. It is still fairly cold in April and doesn’t really get nice until about June.

    1. Thanks Tauna! She signed a contract online at one of the less expensive places.

      1. Is her appartment a shared accomodation with other students or will Winter be living on her own?

        1. It is shared with 5 other girls. Students must live in approved housing, which is generally shared with others.

        1. Student housing is usually with 5 roommates, but the numbers can vary. Some apartments have 4 and some have 8 people in them.

  9. How perfect for you with the WWPI conference. Glad you were able to figure out a way to attend for free. Congrats again to Winter. She looks stunning in the green dress photo

    • Frugal fail – hung laundry outside to dry using my drying racks and it was so windy a sock blew away….a good wool sock too – grrr. Here’s hoping I find it when the snow melts.
    • Hung laundry up to dry several times – mostly in the house due to either high winds or snow
    • Read library books
    • Washed Ziplock plastic bags to reuse
    • An elderly neighbor suggested that I spread grass seed now in advance of the last few snow storms. He said between the snow and the freeze/warming upheaval, the seed will be worked into the ground and be ready to sprout as soon as it is warm enough. So I did!
    • Roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, made chicken stock with carcass in the slow cooker, made chicken pot pie, a large pot of oatmeal and flax seeds, and zucchini parmesan chips
    • We’ve woken up to snow four out of the past five mornings so I’ve done a lot of shoveling the driveway by hand
    • Watched videos on youtube – thank you to whoever suggested watching Curiosity Inc and the story of the hoarder house they purchased. The videos are entertaining and compassionate.

    1. Libby: I’m glad you mentioned the grass seed, because I meant to do that this winter and had forgotten. I once read that when the snow melts, the seeds tip and go point-down, which makes them germinate faster. It sounds good, even if not precisely true.

      1. I’ve never heard of this planting grass seed before the ground is thawed, but I’m very curious to see if it works! Interesting about the possible point-down position. We just got 10″ of snow on Sunday night/Monday morning so those seeds are well covered right now 😉

  10. Congratulations to Winter, what an exciting chapter in her life!!!
    After almost 6 weeks under an extreme cold advisory there is warmer weather coming our way.
    The usual packing all meals from home, combining errands, getting free exercise shoveling snow lo l and cooking all meals at home.
    I also organized my freezer and found a lot applesauce. Besides muffins and cake I am not sure what else to make, any ideas???
    I took bottles/cans to the depot and received almost $10 . Also completed my taxes and will receive a refund which will be placed in my RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) account.
    I am also planning my garden, I have raised beds and want to make the best use of my space.

    1. I haven’t tried applesauce, but enjoyed using up some apple butter in oatmeal. If you don’t like it with the applesauce, perhaps you could cook it down a bit and add some spices, and try it that way.

    2. Teresa, we serve it as a topping for potato pancakes. Also, just as a side dish with a meal, especially a meal with pork chops or pork roast.

    3. There are soooo many baking recipes on the web that use applesauce in them, Teresa! Just search applesauce baking recipes (I used Pinterest, but google would also give you a bunch). I found recipes using applesauce for brownies, pancakes, sweet breads (which freeze really well if you make a few), muffins, cookie, cornbread, cakes/snack cakes, doughnuts and more! Some are just “applesauce” ( like oatmeal applesauce muffins or applesauce loaf) while other recipes pare it with other fruits or even chocolate. What I love most is that the applesauce often replaces some ingredients like oil, egg and/or sugar, which makes the baked good a bit more healthy. Here are a few of my favourite recipes that my family has approved of to start you out:
      In the past, I have made applesauce fruit leather (I have a dehydrator, but you can do this in an oven, too). I mixed it with other fruit purees to make different flavoured fruit leather. Use it to add flavour to yogurt, oatmeal or even rice pudding. As Athanasia mentioned, applesauce also pairs well with pork. Really, there is no end to what you can use it for. Just do a bit of research and you will find so many wonderful recipes to try.

  11. Congratulations to your daughter. I hope she has a wonderful time at school.

    I really need to be better about writing down what I do each day/week as I blank every time I go on your site.

    My husband bought me some flowers. I took daffodils from the yard to add to the bouquet. I made meals from the pantry. I also organized the pantry to see what I’m missing or have an abundance on. Checked out books from the library and also put on hold some new movies coming out.

    Frugal fail- this weekend was very expensive between going to dinner for friends moving away, Trader Joe’s stock up, and buying a birthday present. Hoping this week will be a no spend!

  12. You are so wise to plan for your children to attend university with no debt. That is a huge gift! Our four children attended outstanding universities with zero or very little debt. (Max debt of $5,000 total but these were Ivy League schools). They paid those off within a year. I know you are busy, but investigate all the local scholarships you can. You would be surprised at what is out there. It might be just a few hundred dollars, but it all adds up. You are teaching Winter to make some sacrifices and to be independent. This will pay off. I am always so glad that our children do not live under the cloud of student loans.

  13. Wow! How exciting!!! Congratulations to Winter and you!!! She was certainly raised right and with an amazing worth ethic! I know she will go far!

  14. Congratulations to Winter!! I’m sure she will do well. She looks lovely in the green dress, also.

    We’ve been extremely cold here, especially for our area. This morning we were in the low 20s with wind chills in the single digits. No freezing precip, though. Our central heat has been working overtime! I’m thankful we have a warm house and a garage to park our vehicles in. This weekend it will be back in the 70s. All aboard the rollercoaster! We cooked most meals at home – chicken & dumplings are started in the slow cooker for tonight’s dinner. We took all of our lunches, breakfast, snacks & coffee to work, so no eating out. We picked up some additional drawer storage units (one for $8 at an estate sale, and one a neighbor was giving away) and were able to use those to reorganize a couple of messy closet areas this past weekend. Cleaned out my closet and donated a large bag of shoes & clothing. I received a few free grocery items (cheese, box of cereal, large jug of apple juice) through the grocery store apps. I had a doctor’s appointment and the copay ended up being $20 less than I anticipated, so that was a nice surprise.

    At work, my job description was revised and I was given a raise, which went into effect last Friday. I’m very excited about the extra money coming in, which of course will help our budget. The new job description also allows for more of the work I really enjoy, so am looking forward to that.

    I hope everyone has a good week!

  15. We were in the path of the severe thunderstorms and tornado watches in the south, but were spared the destruction and death that others received. My heart goes out to them.
    I finally finished pruning my grapes and have my fingers crossed that we will get some this year. Last year’s weather ruined our crop. After weeks of unusually warm weather, the storms heralded in a cold front, so my fingers are also crossed that we don’t lose all the blooms and buds on our fruiting plants.
    I signed up for a free sub from Firehouse for my birthday, actually to give to my husband, who was released to come home from his hospital/rehab stay, on my birthday. I don’t usually eat bread, so I got the free sandwich and happily gave it to him to eat on our ride home, which he loved, after all the hospital food. I do eat at Firehouse on occasion, but I always get their salads.
    I hung a couple loads of laundry out to dry in the sun and wind this Saturday.
    I went to a thrift store looking for a particular item, didn’t find it, and left without buying anything else.
    I continue to cook from scratch, which saves us so much.
    Winter will be getting some invaluable aid from you and your husband, Brandy. She’ll has and will learn how to be thrifty, resourceful, competent, and, hopefully, debt-free! She looks so lovely in that dress. It really suits her.

  16. You have had an exciting week! Congrats to Winter, and how nice that you were able to attend part of the photography convention.

    After our big snow (still have a few piles of it around), we have been having gorgeous cold sunny weather here in the Seattle area. That’s my favorite weather, so I have really been enjoying it.

    And I am happy to report that I am finally fully recovering from the post-dental work issues that arose last summer. The combination of detox (sauna and herbs), a different probiotic to reduce histamines in my body, plus a “Retrain the Brain” program ( – to enable me to calm down the fight or flight response in my brain) are what made the difference. After several months during which I wondered if this was ever going to improve, I am so grateful that I am feeling better and like myself again. Yay!

    Frugal accomplishments for the last two weeks:
    – Continued my “use it up” project, using things from fridge, pantry and freezer. Reorganized the freezer to see exactly what I had. Found some frozen green beans from 2016 (oops), but I put them in a stew and they tasted fine.
    – Made some quick pickled onions for a recipe that called for canned pickled onions. Worked great.
    – Used up some baking mix and made some cheese biscuits. Yummy.
    – Saved radish greens and used them in a soup later.
    – Made two batches of chicken stock in my Instant Pot from chicken bones my mom saved for me.
    – Made two gallons of soup for my lunches, one gallon of asparagus soup (asparagus is currently on sale for $1.99/lb at QFC, our upscale Kroger), and one gallon of tomato soup. Froze them in lunch-size portions. Shared some soup with my mom.
    – Sewed a potato storage bag from a dishcloth someone gave me. I store potatoes in my entryway, in two wooden storage crates, and I needed something to protect the potatoes from light.
    – Recycled magazines, taking some to work, and bringing some to my gym.
    – Helped a coworker with her new laptop. Previously, I had helped her with a lot of paperwork after her car was stolen. She brought me a gorgeous lily plant and a bar of chocolate as a thank you.
    – Have been rereading the Tightwad Gazette. I do this every few years and really enjoy it.
    – Had my car serviced. It needs some repairs (which are being done today), but it’s a 2004 Honda Civic with 85,000 miles on it, and it runs great. I figure it’s better to maintain a well-running, paid off car, than get a new one.
    – Did all the stuff I normally do: cooked from home, made water kefir, read books I had on hand, watched DVDs and streaming shows for entertainment, etc.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

      1. I’m glad you’re starting to feel better! I’m on a similar detox routine for glyphosate (Roundup), which has been causing some serious gut issues for me, and I suspect baby since I nursed him while I was so sick and he now has similar symptoms. We’re beginning to switch to organic foods and fewer grains and things are improving. It’s a long road and difficult to get to the root cause, but good to finally begin feeling like myself again.

        I saw your note about using radish greens for soup. I’ve also found they make a wonderful pesto, which can be a great sauce for potatoes, pasta, pizza, or even used in salad dressings.

        1. Good luck with your dietary changes. While a lot of work, they can make a big difference. I did the GAPS diet for two years starting in 2011, after having major gut issues for more than 25 years. It was a major commitment, but it really helped.

        2. Allyson,
          A huge medical study was just completed in France, involving 68,000 people comparing the cancer rates between those who ate organic and those who didn’t. Huge differences were seen. After I had cancer 2 1/2 years ago we switched to an all organic diet at my husband’s insistence. Just in the hopes that it would keep the cancer from coming back. So far so good. Yes, it is more expensive but how we make it frugal is by concentrating on no food waste, rarely eating out, buying by bulk, and fitting sale organic items into our menu plans. And of course, cooking from scratch.
          It does take a commitment but gets easier over time. Good luck!

  17. You are doing an excellent job of getting Winter ready for college! How excited she must be! Congratulations on her acceptance.

    Last week I mentioned that the ability to play the organ could be a good side hustle, even if she volunteers at church. This week’s tip: Mending and alterations are good side hustles, too. Have her put up a sign in the apartment building. Or contact dry cleaners, which normally farm out alterations. This can pay very well (unlike sewing clothing for people).

    Last week wasn’t particularly frugal, although we stayed home and didn’t spend anything for a couple of days. But I had ordered a new laptop from Amazon the week before, and it came. We went through your site. Big spend! I told the fam I didn’t expect any birthday presents since I was getting the computer, so there was some saving there…I think!

    My husband is an amputee and uses a specific type of bandage pad when he has a wound on his stump. The regular price for 5 pads is $32.26, but when he ordered from Amazon (your site again), they were $12.98. Better yet, I had about $35 worth of credit card points to apply, mostly from buying the computer, so they were FREE. Hopefully, the wound will heal before he needs more.

    I didn’t buy any meat for the third week in a row…too expensive, and we are eating from the freezer. However, I bought 12-14 lbs. of fresh asparagus for $1.38 lb. and my project today is making pickled asparagus! It has to be blanched first, so when I run out of brine, I’ll freeze whatever asparagus is left.

    I mended my daughter’s favorite cotton knit shirt, which had developed a few pin holes. I used tiny pieces of iron-on interfacing on the back to stabilize the fabric, then machine-darned on the right side. The mends are so small that you really have to look for them to find them. We wear out most of our clothes (the ones we like, anyway!) and this 5-minute fix probably extended the life of the shirt by another year.

    We had 58 inches of snow in February. The previous record was 39. I am so ready for spring! It’s so cold here that I wonder if the snow will ever melt.

    1. Maxine, this may sound very strange but I used to work in a nursing home and we dealt with wound management all the time. The best results were when we put honey on the wounds, and put the wound in front of a fan or a cool hair dryer. The honey would crystalize, we would leave it on for the daytime and wipe it off at night anything that would be oozing and do it again each day. The wounds would usually heal within a week and I mean there were some really really awful ones. I hate to mention this part, but we have done the same treatment with a dog who would not quit licking his foot and ended up with a huge open wound. It worked on him also. Just thought I would mention it if you haven’t already tried it.

      1. We haven’t tried honey! His wounds have been so slow to heal that he has gone to hospital wound clinics for about the last 10 years. These bandages are meant to be left on 3 to 5 days each. In case others are wondering, the residual stump tends to shrink and then the prosthesis insert becomes too loose and rubs a wound. Don’t apologize for telling me honey worked on the dog…we would see that as a recommendation, LOL. And I’m sure the dog liked it.

        1. Maxine, there is a kind of honey called Manukah honey from New Zealand. They make dressings with it. It would be good to try.
          There is a site which has useful information. Don’t use ordinary honey as Manukah honey has stronger antibacterial properties. The article at advanced as well as other sites on wound care give interestiing and valuable information, including photos of what types of skin infections look like and what to do.

          I came across Manukah honey several years ago just as it was first being marketed in Canada. My doctor hd a terrible cough that lingered for months and I gave him some Manukah honey which worked like a charm. I myself have used manukah either as honey or as honey candy cough drops and it works!

  18. It sounds like so many good and exciting things are happening in your household. Winter heading to college, figuring ways to do it frugally, attending the photography conference. I’d never thought about it before, but I guess Las Vegas would be a very good place to be a wedding photographer! I envy your open windows. It’s back to rainy and raw feeling here. But, signs of spring are everywhere, so I know it will change before long. I look forward to reading what everyone is up to.

    1. The chapels generally have their own photographers, but yes, there are a lot of weddings here! The conference is an international one that is held every year for both wedding and portrait photographers.

      1. Las Vegas is the largest convention center in the USA and Orlando is #2 so most national (and sometimes international trade shows) are held in these two locations. Both convention centers have websites with calendars of booked shows. Most conferences offer free demos or classes on the exhibition floor. Also many trade show booths run give-aways during a conference. I mention this in case other people have any interest in figuring out free local access to the exhibition floor. I used to organize trade shows for a former employer 🙂

  19. Congratulations and many blessings to your daughter! God is definitely providing for her needs, as things seem to be falling into place. This past week was spent preparing for a weeklong trip out of state. Our youngest daughter is competing in figure skating in the adult sectionals in Colorado. We will drive two days to get there, packing sandwiches and snacks for the car ride. Once there, we will use the George Forman grill I just purchased to make hot sandwiches and microwaved soup for hot lunches. I am packing my crockpot to make baked potatoes, and some simple casseroles for our evening meals. This should save us quite a bit, which is good since we have to board our dog. Also, as we hope to do a few things on our trip besides just the figure skating competition. We have never been to Colorado before. Our daughter works, attends college, and pays for all her skating expenses. She even made her own beautiful dress (costume) for the competition. Like Winter, my daughter did her own modifications to the basic pattern and bejeweled it with hundreds of crystals. It is so fun watching our kids being creative and using their own thrifty ideas they have learned from us!

    1. We have been talking about cooking baked potatoes in the crockpot. Can you please tell me how you do them? Thank you!

      1. Brandy, it is so simple. I got my first crockpot as a wedding gift in 1976 and still have the original booklet. “For Baked Idaho Potatoes…Budget Stretching…Fills that hollow leg.” ?
        “Place a dozen (or fewer) cleaned and well-greased potatoes in the crockery cook-pot. Cover and cook 8-10 hours on low. “

        1. That is so cool! I have used my crock pot for years and had no idea you could bake potatoes in there. Thank to you and Nancy in Eastern Washington for sharing! (I get so many awesome tips from this comment section every week.)

          1. You can also put them in the crock pot with meatloaf or some other meat and have them both cook together. I always add a couple more potatoes to make hash browns with the next mornings

      2. I am not Tejas – but I make baked potatoes in the crockpot all the time. Just scrub the potatoes as you would for normal baked potatoes. I use a little butter and salt of the skin after I have pricked the skin with either a sharp knife or a fork several time. Then just load them in the crockpot and turn to low. Depending on the size of the potato, they will need to cook anywhere from 4-8 hours. Makes a great dinner with steamed broccoli, some cheese and sour cream when I get home from work.

        1. Thank you to Tejas and Nancy…I use my crock pot often but did not realize I could also use it to make baked potatoes. I am graeful for the sharing that occurs on Brandy’s site. Always learning something new!

    2. Tejas,
      I do a similar thing. All of my kids have traveled for basketball, dance and baseball. I almost always bring food. I bought an electric skillet, so I can heat up curry, veggie meat balls, make grilled cheese, etc. Not only do we save money on food but time, these weekends can be really busy and the last thing I want to do is wait in line for mediocre food at a restaurant…lol

  20. Wonderful news for Winter and your family. Wonderful you got in to part of the conference.
    I spent the weekend rereading a lot of your blog as we had a major financial failure due to a mistake Hubby made. By Sunday he was better after I showed him the new budget and a menu based off yours. He’s still trying to salvage things but I am just planning for the worse.

    SO it was really WONDERFUL to read good news today from you and yours

    Blessed Be
    Juls Owings

    1. I’m so glad! I find that soups and homegrown salads for lunch and bean-based or potato-based meals for dinners are our least expensive options, with inexpensive meat only once in a while. That’s what we’re doing right now, using the meat from the freezer only on occasion. So far it’s been an expensive year without income except for my blog, which isn’t much. This is the slow time of year and I hope it picks up soon!

      1. I recently pulled out a cookbook from my shelves published in 1996 called “Twelve Months of Monastery Soups – International Favorites” by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette. The author is/was a monk, head cook and gardener. Most of the ingredients are grown in the monastery’s gardens near Millbrook, NY. It has many, many soups that I had never heard of before and most that I’ve tried over the years have been delicious.

        1. I was doing a demo at work one day (I work at a Living History Pioneer Village Museum) at our “First Settlers” cabin, making soup. We had a group of students from the same course I took (museum conservator course) visiting that day. One of the students asked what I soup I was making. I said “It’s called ‘whatever I can find’ soup”. I literally used turkey stock (wild turkey was quite prevalent in the area in the 1800s), then hunted through the gardens for whatever was ripe at the time, then threw it in the pot to make a soup! Later, the senior staff that was giving the students the tour told me the students commented on how much they enjoyed my interpretation.
          If you think about it, you can really make any kind of soup you want, using whatever combinations of soup stock, veggies and protein you have on hand, then season with you favourite herbs/spices. So don’t be afraid to be creative with trying your own soup creations!

  21. Congratulations! Your daughter’s dress is lovely! And college at 17!

    My daughter also graduated college with no loans and what a blessing it is. She worked summers to pay for the tuition that her scholarships didn’t cover and lived at home to save the cost of housing and food. She is now an Registered Nurse. Hospitals in our area give new hires a generous signing bonus which most nurses use to pay off their student loans. My daughter is using hers to pay for her wedding!

    Our son has also gotten through most of college debt-free using scholarships, going to a junior college for 2 years, and living at home until he had to go to university to finish up his engineering degree. He has worked high-paying engineering internships in the summers to supplement what we could pay for living expenses and tuition. He cooks at home and has two roommates with whom he shares an apartment. His student loans will be about $3000 total.

    Now, I do have to tell you that I hid in the bathroom to shed tears of sadness for months before my children left for college or moved out on their own. I didn’t want to dampen their excitement, but I was heartbroken. It does get better, and hubby and I are starting to remember what life before kids was like!

  22. Congratulations to Winter for being accepted into college. How long does she expect her schooling to take since she has already been taking classes online?

    Last week, here is what we did to save money:
    * We ate mostly at home.
    * I packed my husband’s lunches each morning for him to eat healthy at work!
    * I used by multi-purpose cleaner to clean my kitchen, bathroom, and appliances (beginning of spring cleaning).
    * I used what I had on hand to make food for a potluck, and used those leftovers as lunch for my husband one day.
    * I made triple batch cornbread from scratch.
    * I used a gift card to purchase some groceries.
    * I listened to an a free audio book while I cleaned.

  23. Winter looks so grown up and ready for college! You’ve trained her well!
    This week has again run the gamut of weather possibilities with yesterday ending in another snowfall leaving us with about 2” on the ground but a layer of ice underneath from when it warmed up and then refroze!!

    I’ve found that save no money is much easier when I stay home! Lol! I did, however, go to our local Kroger’s with coupons and making use of their sales plus ibotta and restocked some things that would have cost $44 but instead were only $9! Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant were among the things I bought that will replenish our stock and are used regularly. I try to limit my grocery spending to things that we regularly rotate through. I noticed that milk has gone up to $1.59/gallon at my Kroger’s and think that my normal $1.29/gallon may not come back! But, I also realize that many people in other places are paying way more than that! So I am grateful for that price!

    This was the week to replenish my dry mixes. I started with Copycat Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix, Taco seasoning mix, chili seasoning mix and cookie mix. A friend’s husband saw me post that on Facebook and messaged me to find out how to make the mixes! I gave him the recipes and he tried the Italian dressing mix recipe and stopped me at Church yesterday to tell me how excited he was because he tried the mix and it was just like the Good Seasons mix that he buys and he realized how much he could be saving just by making that one mix!! It kind of made me giggle to think how excited he is! He now wants to try more of “my” mixes that I have gathered over the years and routinely make! He was astounded that it took so little time to make a big batch and it was using herbs/spice he already had in his kitchen and that he had been paying so much more for the convenience of the store packets! I told him how I label my jars of mixes with the name of mix, equivalency to commercial packet (for example: 3 Tablespoons = 1 packet) and on the other side of the jar, I use a Dollar Tree label that I list the recipe so I don’t have to search when I’m running low and need to make a new batch!

    Made a batch of peanut butter cookies to use up the remainder of the cookie mix before I made the new batch. Oh, how I love the convenience!! And that’s what really helps my savings! A little investment in time (and it really is just a little bit of time) rewards me in convenience and not being tempted to buy either the mix or the finished product from the store! Big win!! Plus, hubby and I used this as a date night activity! Usually I make the mixes alone, but this time I invited him to help. It was kind of an eye opener to him (not unlike my friend’s husband’s reaction!) and he was rewarded afterwards with a warm peanut butter cookie (actually, I saw him sneak a second one! ) and a glass of cold milk! We watched an episode of Brokenwood on tv as the remainder of our date night! We thoroughly enjoyed it!

    More eggs from our chickens this week-still getting almost 3 dozen/week! What a blessing for us right here in the heart of downtown in our capital city!!

    Each week retirement gets a little closer and our ideal retirement is staying here on our very urban little homestead with our chickens and our fruit trees and our gardens and recycled materials and supplies that will provide us with new projects to build and make for a long time! Boring for some, I imagine, but we are so looking forward to this!!

    I finished the T-shirt, baby blanket quilt top for a client. I’ve cut the batting and this morning I will buy the backing for it! I wanted to wait to see the top finished before I picked out backing. I’m hoping to have the quilt finished and ready for her to pick up on Saturday! This client is local but not sure who referred us to her. We are grateful for all the customers we have met both locally and online! They have all been gracious and kind! It’s not uncommon with our local customers who come over to pick up their Soup Cozies, Scrappy Bags or flannel Softies to give me a big hug and thank you as they leave with their purchases! Surprised the first time but I feel like I’ve made some new friends and, indeed, many of them keep in contact with me afterwards and have also become repeat customers! That has been gratifying! That being said, I’m on my way to post the next orders that are going out today!

    I hope everyone has been finding enjoyment and satisfaction in being prudent and frugal this week! We certainly have!

    Pat in Ohio

      1. It’s so funny the range of prices for a gallon of milk within my city! My Kroger’s regular price for milk (Kroger brand- skim through whole Vitamin D varieties) was $1.29/gallon for well over a year but a few months ago it jumped to $1.79/gallon one week but has leveled off for the last few months at $1.59. Funny thing is, my daughter lives 15 minutes away (still same City) and her Kroger’s price is $1.79 all the time!
        Crazy!! Other stores, like Target can be around $2.99/ gallon! Glad we have so many options close by!

    1. I would also love your recipe for the Copycat Good seasons Italian dressing. It is my DH’s favorite.

      1. Here is the link to my Pinterest board where I keep mix recipes. I also have the Make-A-Mix, More Make A Mix, Make your own Groceries and More Make your own Groceries books that have several mixes in them as well.

        I do love the convenience and money savings that come from making my own mixes and having them ready to use immediately when I need them!!

        1. I just googled the cookbooks — never heard of them before but I love that they are almost entirely preservative-free! Plus, I was able to read a lot of the recipes for the mixes just by reading the preview in Google books. 🙂 I can see how handy the cookbooks would be for large families!

  24. Congratulations to Winter and to your entire family, as it really is a family accomplishment! That’s an exciting new chapter 🙂

    Frugal Accomplishments 2/24-3/2:
    -Worked out a tight but doable budget for March with our lower income predicted. Wet weather is hard for my husband to get some of his construction jobs in when it’s an outside project so we’re dependent on weather except for one inside project, which we are very thankful to have this time of year!
    -Worked out a reduced rate for March’s music lessons as our daughter will be at school functions during 2 of the 4 planned dates this month.
    -Not frugal but ended up with a $755 car repair bill on our getting-old Equinox. It’s paid for and we hope to be able to get a few more years out of it. It’s driving much better now and my husband thinks we’ll get better gas mileage. Hoping for no more repair bills this year! My husband did do part of the repair that he could do so we did save around $150-200 by not having the repair shop do that part.
    -My husband did the oil change in his work truck himself so we saved a bit over taking it to a shop.
    -Limited the electric heater use and tried to bundle up more and keep the wood stove going during the day when my husband was gone. This is usually our 2nd highest month for electric use for the year (the other being our August bill from air conditioning use) and I’m trying to help keep it at least a bit lower.
    -Washed and reused foil and plastic bags.
    -Made cupcakes into a wedding dress for a dear friend’s son’s wedding shower. She insisted I not bring a gift in addition so it saved me the cost of a gift. We had covered a large board with wedding wrapping paper we had to display the cake on. It didn’t have any mess on it so I cut off the tape that held it to the board and saved it to reuse for the next wedding gift.
    -Combined errands so we made only a few trips, including sharing a trip with my mom for both of our errands.

    Wishing everyone a lovely week!

  25. Congrats to Winter! Seriously impressive! So nice that you are able to help her get started in her college life while still on a budget. 🙂 I think she’ll really enjoy the experience.

    I was pretty busy this week. I don’t know how you blog and still get everything else done, Brandy! I can only fit in a little bit of blogging when (if) the baby naps, otherwise I have to stay up after she’s gone to bed and that’s the only time I get to sleep so I try to avoid that! But, also got some frugal things done:
    – Took advantage of some free blogging training and access to a pro blogger, which enabled me to both niche down on my avatar and figure out how to do pillar posts for a food blog. This will make a big difference to my blog, and it was free! I decided to focus both on preservative-free recipes and on kitchen encouragement ( Essentially, encouraging people to make real food from scratch.
    – I made Alphabet Soup (
    – Using my local trading app, I traded $5 worth of digital currency for a Rae Dunn mug that says Aunt on it. I’ll try to sell it online, and if it doesn’t sell, I’ll gift it to one of my sisters for her birthday. Either way, it was a great deal! I also traded a cookbook for a package of rice and a package of napkins. I didn’t want the cookbook, and now I have an easy meal of flavoured rice for a busy day, and I did need napkins for when company comes over.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to the Gap/Old Navy, plus a $3 gc to, plus a $5 gc to
    – I made shortbread ( for my mother instead of a birthday cake (her request).
    – I started a parenting bookclub with some fellow new mums and made sure to choose a book available from the public library.
    – Frugal Fail: Mr. Squirrel, who razed my balcony garden in the fall, came back to finish the job. He ate my cedar tree (!) and also ate my thorny (!) black raspberry plant. Technically he didn’t eat them, but gnawed them into sticks to try and build a nest on my balcony again. I feel bad for him, but I still got rid of the nest. Can’t believe he ate my tree down to the roots! He also chewed one of the flip-flops that I use as gardening clogs, to help insulate his nest. He’s very smart, I have to say!
    – I made a batch of Apple Pie Hot Cereal (grain/seed mix, apple sauce, cinnamon, and brown sugar, in the slow cooker with water until done). This should last most of the week for me.
    – I wrote an online review for my dentist and received a Starbucks gift card as a thank you. I added it to my registered gift card so that I will get reward points from it.
    – I purchased a case of water for $1 only for emergency storage. I have reusable bottles that I use if I want to take a bottle of water with me, and I usually use my sodastream anyway.
    – I redeemed $10 in loyalty points to stock up on souvlaki sticks on sale (I bought 20 for $10). My husband will enjoy it. I also bought several packages of tortillas on sale for a $1, and froze them.
    – I made taco spice, and then some enchilada sauce, and then used it to make White Bean Enchilada Soup. I’ll lunch on this for the week.
    – I made lemon curd and meringue kisses, gave some to my mother, and took the rest to brunch at a friend’s. I had run out of flour and am waiting for a sale on it to stock up, so looked around my kitchen to see what I could make and thought of Brandy. I used the egg whites for the meringues and the egg yolks for the lemon curd.
    – I made a batch of Greek Yoghurt, and saved the whey to use in smoothies.
    – I cooked an entire bag of white beans and froze most of them to have ready for meals instead of having to buy canned or boiling small batches at a time.
    – I gave my mum a container of split peas that I wasn’t using. My dad and my sister made Dutch-style pea soup ( for my mum’s birthday dinner (her choice) using the peas.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

    1. Margaret, I may be wrong, but I’m going to go out on a limb (pun intended) and suggest that Mr. Squirrel may actually be Mrs. Squirrel who’s trying to prepare for her next batch of little ones. Spring is not that far away, after all!

      1. Ha! It’s entirely possible! I was sorry to evict her (him?) but I don’t want the only gardening space I have to be taken over by squirrels, however cute and clever they might be. I still can’t believe s/he felled my TREE!

        1. I watched as the Bambi twins feasted on my garden last year, that cost hundreds to create! They literally climbed in and went at it like it was a salad bar at a buffet. Didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. I so sympathies your pain and dilemma Margaret.

          1. Margaret@Approaching Food and Rhonda A. I’ve had plenty of squirrel problems over the years but the worst problem I heard was when squirrels got into an attic and chewed the electrical wiring. Big bucks to fix! One got in through the trunk of one of our cars and proceeded to demolish the upholstery. I now have a very cheeky little red squirrel that doesn’t even leave if I’m 2 inches from him.
            I saw a coyote chase one of the big black squirrels the other day. hard to know whom I was cheering for. The coyote didn’t get his meal!

  26. Brandy, sending you congratulations. You must be so proud of your daughter! She’s very talented. Sewing is NOT my forte. My sister is a seamstress/tailor, and I can barely sew simple pj’s or shorts for my kids. I did not inherit the “sewing gene” and I’m always in awe of people who can “picture” a dress or coat from an otherwise flat piece of cloth and make it materialize. It’s a gift to be sure.
    This past week was expensive:
    -I hosted my daughter’s get together for asking her friends/sisters to be the bridesmaids and maid of honour at her upcoming wedding. (Her fiance’s mother hosted a get together for the groomsmen/best man.) Despite purposely creating a menu using much of the food I hand on hand, there was inevitably a few things I had to pick up which increased the cost.
    -Although my daughter and her fiance are paying for their wedding themselves, as parents we feel obligated to buy some of the items they’ll need, so with that in mind, we bought their wedding favours for the guests and the extras needed for presenting them like wrapping paper, ribbons, tags etc.
    -Paid for driving glasses for my middle daughter. Although insurance will cover a portion of the bill, we had to pay up front then send in for the reimbursement.
    -Husband needed dental work and we paid for the portion insurance didn’t cover.
    -On the frugal side, I still prepared all meals at home with a conscious effort to making them very frugal: bean dishes, soups, meatless meals.
    -Made crockpot pulled pork, using an inexpensive cut, which made a generous 20 servings. Served on homemade buns.
    -Made all snacks, desserts, sandwich bread/buns/flatbread, specialty drinks (iced teas, spiced teas, iced coffees, spiced ginger coffee w, cool whip on top, mulled cider, smoothies).
    -Turned off the lights when no one was in the room; reminded the younger daughter to not run the water unnecessarily; washed dishes by hand; did laundry during off-peak hours and hung some to dry indoors; baked during off-peak hours.
    -My husband and I started a Wedding Savings Jar where we’ve tossed in our 5 dollar bills as well as the change. We also decided that whenever we are tempted to eat out but don’t actually do so, we’ll add what we would have spent on the purchase to the jar. It’s incentive to not actually spend it on ourselves. So far the hubby has added $10.00 to the jar because he was craving a sub…but resisted and ate when he got home instead.
    -My husband prefers Tim’s coffee over home brewed (this is the only food item he likes better than homemade), but to save more money we purchased a bag of Tim’s ground coffee to brew at home. We added what it would have cost to buy his monthly coffee to the jar: $48.00.
    That’s it folks. I hope you’ve had a more frugal week than I!

  27. What a whirlwind of a week you’ve had, Brandy! So exciting to read about you preparing your daughter for starting the next chapter of her life. That green velvet dress is stunning on Winter. I didn’t realize she had sewn it herself until I noticed the caption under the picture. What a great job! I guess your eldest son is next for college prep. Does he know what he’d like to pursue for a career yet? While we are on the topic, I’ve always been curious what your major was in college. You have never mentioned it before. Would you be willing to tell us what career path your educational training was for? I’m guessing photography or something creative in nature. I’m not sure if your photography is a hobby that you’ve really developed on your own, over time, but your photography skills are very impressive. I bet the photography convention was really cool to go through!

    This week, our frugal accomplishments at our house included:
    *Meals made at home included hot chicken sandwiches with corn, beef tacos, popcorn chicken with white rice and green/yellow bean mix, chicken bacon ranch pasta, waffles topped with strawberries (from the freezer), maple syrup and whipped cream, homemade cream of broccoli & cheese soup with homemade bannock biscuits and apple crisp (from the freezer) for dessert, and breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, potato wedges, mixed veggies and brownies (see below).
    *Baked bannock biscuits and apple crisp at the same time, saving on time and hydro costs.
    *Baked up a brownie mix to use for school lunches this coming week. I cut the brownies and wrapped the amount we needed for lunches individually. Leftover brownies were enjoyed as dessert Sunday night.
    *I shopped at both Costco and the grocery store this week. My Costco total was quite high, as I needed to stock up on some meat (BLSL chicken breasts, ground beef and breaded fish) and a few other basic essentials. Hubby was complaining about how much I spent. I took the opportunity to point out the cost of the meat, and reminded him that lately he has been insisting I make more meat with dinners. If he wants me to make more, he will have to anticipate paying more money out for groceries! Hoping this reminder will curb complaints about how much meat I serve with his dinner.
    *Used my wellness centre membership 2 times this week.
    *Helped an organization connected to the Weaver’s and Spinner’s Guild with packing and unpacking for a move to a new location this week. Free exercise moving around boxed and socialized with some really great people.
    *DD actually went to school every day this week! Whoohooo!!!!!! Not one snow day or sick day…miracles do happen.
    *Not so frugal – Our new puppy’s spay incision line has not healed properly (it’s been about a month since the surgery). It started to become infected. Poor little girl had a sore little tummy! I took her to the vets on Tuesday and the vet confirmed my suspicion, she is having an allergic reacting to the stitches. She is just finishing up a round of antibiotics, and we need to take her back fasted on Wednesday morning. If the incision is not clearing up to their satisfaction by then, Eevee will need to be sedated, the sutures removed and the tissue cleaned up so it can finally heal properly.

    I will continue to read through all the comments. This is one of my favourite things to do each week. I learn so much from all of you! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week!!!

    1. Rhonda, I was accepted into the advertising major, but decided later that I would rather not help people part with their money, so I changed my major and minor around and received a degree in English with a minor in communications.

      1. How interesting. I would not have guessed that at all. Although, your blog posts are beautifully written, so I can see the English and communications degree thorough them. Art and/or design would have been more my guess, as you obviously have quite a bit of talent in those areas!

        1. It was a hard choice. I did take some art classes and seriously considered interior design and photography. The term before I graduated, I would have liked to change to horticulture, but it was too late then!

          1. It’s very hard to decide what you want to do with your life when you are 17 years old. I thought I wanted to dedicate my life to working with animals. But it never was what I thought it would be. I stuck it out for over 10 years in the business, but my morels and heart strings took too much of a beating. I finally went back to school and retrained to work in a career that I dismissed as a viable option when I was deciding on a career path. I literally thought it was not possible for me to have a career related to history, because I thought the only thing you could do with a history degree was become a teacher. Formal teaching was and stil is bsolutely not of interest to me at all. I still ended up teaching with my job in a way. However, I like the informality of it and that I can have conversations with people about history in a setting that helps people visually understand all the stuff they learned from those history books. Maturity certainly shows you where your true passions lie, doesn’t it?

  28. Congratulations Winter! How exciting!

    Last week:
    I took all my food for the work day and coffee and tea bag with me to work from home. I made sure to eat leftovers when available

    I made power balls(protein balls), banana bread, lemon chia seed muffins, hamburger soup, baked chicken breasts, roasted potatoes, hot cocoa pancakes. We used a gift card for a local restaurant we got for Christmas for dinner one night last week. I was off last Monday and heated up leftover spaghetti and put it into my daughter’s thermos for her lunch that day.

    I worked lots of overtime at work

    I used up a bottle of laundry soap, homemade fabric softener, and shampoo that’s been in my house for awhile

    I utilized the library for books and movies

    I used my drying racks for most of my laundry.

    I did not renew my Amazon membership because I do not need it

    I contacted my internet provider and received a $10 per month discount for 12 months because I asked for a better price.

    I worked a lot of overtime and used the money to pay off half of my Care Credit Card (for Vision,dental, and Veterinarian charges only). We use it to cover our out of pocket expenses then pay off during the no interest period.

    I purchased strawberries for .99 cents per large clam shell.

    I found a tutorial to make my own oat milk to use when my last carton of soy milk is gone

    I updated my budget, calendar and checkbook
    Have a great week everyone!

  29. Just love the dress that Winter is wearing. The coat is absolutely beautiful too. She has a real eye for style.

    This week I made chicken lo mein from part of a chicken and some angel hair pasta, then took the rest of the meat off the bones and made a nice rich stock. Made chicken noodle soup with the rest of the chicken, onion, carrots and corn from our garden and some celery. The onions and carrots are still okay in the root cellar, and the corn was frozen in September. Used about a 1/2 pound of fettuccine noodles broken into smaller pieces, as my DH wanted thicker noodles this time with his soup. These were some of those 50¢ a pound pasta from a sale a couple of weeks ago. Took the lo mein to work every day last week.

    Listened to books on tape while commuting to work. (I am a CPA, so this is the busiest time of year for me).

    Made a batch of sausage and cheese biscuits and packaged them individually. This is great for breakfast on the run.

    Checked out some cookbooks from the library. Want to review them and see if there is anything I want to make. I like to try new things every now and then.

    We have had a lot of snow and cold weather. Has not been above freezing at my house for about 3 weeks. Makes it so our garage is like an extra refrigerator, but also makes it hard to do anything outside. Impossible really, as there is snow on the ground. I go from my house to the car and try not to slip on the ice. A neighbor up the road from us came with his small tractor three times in the last 3 weeks and plowed our driveway, in front of our house and mail box. We don’t have sidewalks, as I am rural. My DH found out he had lost his job, and was just going around the neighborhood to be helpful. We are in our mid to late 60s so shoveling snow, while not impossible, is not our favorite task. My DH gave him $20. I think it saved that much in sore and aching backs.

    We order my DH’s $50 per quarter in over the counter items from his Medicare Advantage plan. We got aloe vera gel, Epsom salts, band aids, toothpaste, flossers, vitamins, reusable ice packs, gauze bandages and a few other things. This is the first time we have done this. I become eligible for Medicare in April, (like I said mi to late 60s) and we will be able to order $100 per quarter. That should really help with first aid supplies.

    That is all for now. I know there was more, but can’t recall at the moment. I really need to start writing things down.

    1. Nancy, I think we live close enough to each other that we shop at the same grocery chains. Where did you get pasta for .50 lb.? I have NEVER seen it that cheap and feel I must be missing something.

      1. Maxine it was at fred meyer a few weeks ago. Part of the $5.00 off 10 items. It seems to go at that price a couple times a year.

        1. Thank you! I’ve been looking at advertised and posted prices and never thought to apply the $5 off/10 to pasta. 🙁 Duh! I learn something new here every week.

  30. Hi Brandy. Please post this only if you feel appropriate. I understand if you don’t – but I wanted to comment based on comments on your facebook feed.

    First of all – Congratulations on Winter’s acceptance to her chosen program. I am not a LDS Church member but I learned a lot when I mentored a young woman who had graduated from BYU. Her father worked in the company where I was HR Director and asked if I could mentor her as she had graduated with a degree in HR. One thing I asked her was why were BYU schools so inexpensive and also such excellent schools. The larger company we had all worked for before being spun off had many engineers (it is a high tech company) who had graduated from BYU. As part of the hiring team I interviewed a lot of new grad candidates and those from BYU were consistently ahead of other new grads – maturity, communications skills and “world view” were some areas I remember. It was a huge company. based in the US. but with a large presence all over the world. What I learned from Deanna was that many students come to BYU, even at a young age, with a full portfolio. Many were in Scouting, many had already had leadership roles in their local wards, most had done a mission trip either before/during/directly after college. And a non LDS member who also went to BYU told me he chose it for two reasons – the quality of its programs and fact that many of the idiotic (in my view) distractions weren’t as prevalent. So while BYU – all of its campuses – seem inexpensive that doesn’t mean that the quality of education suffers – far from it. BYU is open to non-LDS members as well (a common misconception) and getting in in highly competitive but well worth a look at for those not wanting to go into heavy debt for school. So again – congrats to Winter and to you and Steve. As the oldest child of five I can tell you that she will miss you as much as you will miss her!

    1. Thank you Brandy. Meant to add that the LDS Church does heavily support BYU as part of its commitment to education in general. That does not mean that BYU is “only” LDS in viewpoint or thinking. The business, science, medicine, engineering disciplines are all world class and graduates compete with the best of non-LDS university graduates. And of course the language programs! I did my fact checking because a colleague once made a negative comment about ‘group think” of graduates from BYU – nothing based on fact but on his own bias. So again – congrats to Winter on her accomplishment.

  31. Winter’s green dress is beautiful and she looks fantastic in it. Congrats on your extremely speedy college acceptance; you’ll do spectacularly well in the program.

  32. Hello,
    What a beautiful girl! Best wishes as she starts college!
    Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    – Earned some money for a crochet item on consignment.
    – Received a payment from Market Force for a mystery shop job.
    – Did a couple of Field Agent jobs on the Filed Agent App.
    – Stayed under budget at the grocery store on Saturday.
    – Spent the last couple of days inside since we have a lot of snow.
    – Checked out movies and books from the library.
    – Working on my budget for this month and being very meticulous about everything.
    – Had a free lunch on post at the USO.
    – Used 3 coupons for free ice cream today for the kids.
    – Lots of free samples, which are on my blog at:
    – Lots of meals at home.
    – Lots of apps working to earn money. This is on my blog as well!
    That’s it!

  33. It snowed again this weekend. For many years we’ve been in a drought and it seemed that snow was becoming rare. So glad to have moisture, here and in the mountains. Irrigation water for the farms here was “rationed” last year due to low snow fall amounts in the mountains so many farmers didn’t plant as much. This year the snow pack is already good and we have a fair amount of snow in March and April.

    Made chicken stock with the three baked chickens I bought at WalMart last week. Made a huge amount and in all the years of cooking something happened that I’d not experienced. The liquid, which I put out in the cold to chill, became really gelatinous! I brought it in and watered it down by doubling the water to “gel” ratio. It made six quarts of the best broth I’ve ever made along with more to use for soups I was making! I froze the six and used what was left to make clam chowder – trying to use down the pantry and had a couple cans of clams (Dollar Tree – canned in the U.S.!) and a bottle of clam juice. Have to say it was outstanding. SO isn’t as fond of soup as I am so when soup is suggested I run with it. I also made a batch of minestrone with what I had on hand – froze two quarts of that.

    We had a couple of long days in town to do errands and picked up Chinese food one night. SO loves hot and sour soup and I just can’t seem to get it right. We bought two quarts of that along with a couple of entrees. They didn’t put one of the entrees in the box (it was crazy busy there with a big group of Chinese university visitors at a banquet). I called and we picked it up the next day we had to be in town – it was a HUGE container so we ate that for a couple of days. I used those soup containers, along with a couple I’d saved from previous take out orders, to freeze my stock. One of the entrees came with crisp chow mien noodles. We don’t care for them so I remembered making chocolate peanut butter clusters years ago with those noodles. I added some peanuts we had – a cup of leftover choc chips and peanut butter and some rather cheap candy/cookies!

    I also baked a batch of gluten free banana bread from a great recipe found online. I had everything but didn’t add all the oil – just added more applesauce. Made one loaf and 12 muffins and they are good. Froze the loaf. Also made it sugar free as SO is on notice by the Doctor for the need to lower blood sugar.

    While at Walmart this week I found cooked 3 pound turkey breasts for $9 instead of $20! SO prefers a sandwich at lunch and while I do bake a turkey and a ham a couple of times a year I have to resort to lunch meat in between. These turned out to be lovely turkey breasts – froze one and baked the other. Sliced for sandwiches and left some whole to make chunks for adding to salads or in recipes. I am trying to use meat as part of one meal a day. I come from the mid-west where it seemed that EVERY meal needed meat and always as the main part. We did eat plenty of vegetables (homed canned for the most part) and lots of potatoes and noodles. But now I am using meat as more of a flavoring. Years ago I had high cholesterol (in my mid 30s!) and the doctor sent me to a dietitian before putting me on med. Wow! A serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards. WHAT??? And we don’t need nearly as much protein as we think we do – that is a carryover from days when people did a lot of hard physical work. Sitting at a desk certainly wasn’t that. So I cut back on meat and cheese (serving is a 1″ cube – WHAT??) I managed to cut my cholesterol to acceptable levels.

    Felt a need to run to town for more books. Instead I went through my stash and found a new to me mystery series by Margaret Frazer – set in medieval England. Also remembered that I’d bought the Norton Anthology of English Literature set (minus one) for $5.oo at the used bookstore so while reading them also read about the period and the literature. It made both really more enjoyable – I did like the mysteries and will look for more at the used bookstore.

    SO graduated from the local high school and the alumni received a notice that the school was putting on Mama Mia!. We both love it so bought tickets for opening night. I then got a notice on FB that On the Hook fish and chip truck was going to be here that same day. I’ve read about them – they do only fish and chips – fresh fish and go around to town in NE, CO, WY, UT, AZ, MT. We stopped for two servings – a bit expensive for us – but my, oh my was it good! Ate it in the truck with our own water. Went to the performance and it was great! Some really top performers and the young man, a senior, sung far better than Pierce Brosnan (for those that have seen the movie…). The staging, music, dancing and acting were all very good – hard to believe they were all high school students. There were a couple of off notes but overall great. Of course it is also fun to say “that dark haired kid in the middle is Joe’s son – he’s really grown”. Made me feel very optimistic about our young people. As your children do, Brandy.

    One frugal fail – went out to the sunroom where we keep the freezers and one of them had a door slightly open. Had to toss out a few things that were totally thawed and I didn’t think safe to cook, cooked up what I thought was okay and did a sort out at the same time. This is the second time it has happened – so need to check to see what might be going on. I am thinking that since that is where the cats sleep at night (have an oil heater there along with heated pet beds) that somehow one them might have done somethng to jar it open. So going to put a piece of duct tape on the door to make sure it doesn’t come open.

  34. Winter is beautiful and so is her dress. I paid off my house, my car, the IRS, and a loan. I am now officially broke…lol. I still have medical debt to work on.

      1. Thank you. My house only cost $25,000. I live in a small town in the boonies. I did not want anyone to think I paid off a million dollar house. My car is a Yaris so it is not expensive either. Still, it feels good to be able to work on paying medical debt.

  35. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy how wonderful you were able to find accomodation and all the things that Winter needs for her university course and you were able to help organise a low cost meal plan for her and buy items she needs for her new to be home. Congratulations Winter you are a very talented young lady and your sewing skills are wonderful and the coat and dress are divine : ) .

    This weeks savings were all about what we saved to recyle and use in the gardens for other garden enclosures and some for pantry stocking.

    Our savings added up to $447.37 in savings last week 🙂 .

    Finances and listings –

    – Paid an additional little over an extra fortnightly mortgage payment saving time and interest on our home loan. We are really pleased with our progress here and have paid near on $3500 off the capital off our home mortgage as well as the normal minimum payments since December last year and am concentrating on paying off our home mortgage in about 10 years instead of 20.
    – Listed 7 items free on a fee listing promotion on eBay saving $11.55 on usual listing fees.

    Sewing –

    – Made curtains for the food storage room and bedroom from fabric purchased on special for $4 per metre saving $52.35 over purchasing them in the shops.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Made 3 loaves of homemade bread for the week saving $10.47 over buying them locally.

    In the gardens –

    – Dismantled 1 1/2 large wire enclosed garden beds as the uprights were termite damaged.
    – We saved so far about 150 mts of 90 cm heavy duty chicken wire, 50 metres of 25mm galvanised threaded pipe, 40 galvanised pipe fittings, and 6 x 3 m fence posts saving $1579.10 in buying them again.
    We will reuse most of this to build a fence to keep kangaroos out and shadecoth structure over our vegetable gardens when we rebuild them closer to our home and town water taps. What we don’t use we will sell.

    Water preservation –
    – Used grey water from the washing machine and pumped from the grey water tank to water fruit and berry trees in our paddock and ornamental potted flowers instead of town water saving water costs.
    – Used saved shower warm up water and dish rinsing water to water potted herbs and fruit trees.

    I hope everyone had a great week 🙂 .


    1. It made me laugh that you have to keep kangaroos out….I’m sure they can be very destructive in a garden and are pests….but they are such exotic animals for us in the USA – like magical thinking that a kangaroo or unicorn would come jumping through my backyard 🙂

      1. That’s funny, Libby, I was thinking the very same thing! I’m sure they are like the deer that show up in our back yard and completely destroy the gardens. But the idea of a cute kangaroo handing out in my back yard is just so appealing! I think it would make my day to see that.

        1. Rhonda A you are right that kangaroos are like deer and look cute but eat everything in sight including vegetables.

          Ironic you should mention deer as we have them here too so it is a vegetable and berry eating conspiracy we think 🙂 . They will also as you know eat down a vegetable patch in no time as well. Yet to see any deer but heard from locals we have a few around here too.


        2. Oh I wish we had deer and kangaroo, sounds a lot cuter than my current pest. We just have a very determined mouse that has decimated my spring garden twice this month while leaving a generous helping of peanut butter untouched, I’m at my wits end with this thieving!

          1. So sorry about the mouse!
            They like artificial cheese cracker sandwiches, like Ritz Bitz or Combos. I choose not to reveal how I know that.
            I have heard they also like gumdrops.

          2. Hi Vegas Jenn and pumpkin seeds work well in the traps and they like them and have to work really hard to get them out and get caught rather quickly.

            Good luck with the pesky little critter.


      2. Libby the kangaroos are beautiful creatures indeed and we have them come right up to our back door crouching under the trees just to the side of the patio. We also quite often see them in the yard as we are in drought here and the poor things are looking for anything that is green, particularly grass to eat but unfortunately will eat vegetables and small fruit trees too. They are herbivores so anything green is fair game for them.

        My husband also used to be a wildlife carer for orphaned and injured kangaroos and I previously for possums. We have pretty faced or agile wallabies, swamp wallabies, red necked wallabies, wallaroos (dangerous) and grey and red kangaroos (the large red male kangaroo bucks being agressive during breeding seasons) all jumping around our property.

        We love our wildlife here but like our vegetables to remain intact and end up in our meals and freezer for stocking rather than the roos eating it all :). They are welcome to the areas of the green grass we have created for them though. I took a photo of a red necked wallaby just the other day in our yard and was able to get quite close to it but I give them space so as not to cause them to stress or get frightened. We rounded a kangaroo up the other day at a distance in the paddock, and let it out of our back gate as it couldn’t get out due to us fixing the back gate and was jumping and getting caught up in the fencing wire.


  36. Congratulations to Winter! She’s so talented and beautiful! I haven’t seen her hair down that I can remember. It’s beautiful! I know she’ll have a wonderful time at school. I went there 30 some years ago. I’m sure it’s emotional to let her go. Enjoy the journey and have fun!

  37. I am so excited for your daughter, and for you and your husband. I do hope you will be able to follow your dream for your children to attend college without excessive expense. I had plans and really worked at it to only watch everything dissolve . That said, my daughter graduated last May despite everything and my son has just over 2 years to go. Way too much debt and I’m floored after all the effort and planning.

    Planning to return home when this school year ends as my son is doing so well. I’m happy and just a bit overwhelmed at all that I need to do as I was sure I’d have to tough it out for another two years. Like Winter, sometimes life changes in a blink of the eye. I’m sure you are glad for all the planning already done.

    Lots if frugalness going on here. I’m still buying as little as possible and keeping warm with the woodstove. Ye old farm truck needed repairs and I set aside six hundred dollars in hopes that our work truck and backup transportation would be able to be fixed in that amount. The repair bill was 600.35! And that included a new battery even though the other one was recently replaced. I will see if I can get that cost refunded from the store I bought it at.

    Sorted through a box of sewing supplies from thrift stores and garage sales to put together a supply box to leave in the cabin. No (new) cost to me. Am still eating left over pot roast in my lunch salad. We are reducing the amount of food we eat and for one of our dogs. We are all looking a bit plump still. Skipped doing laundry this week. Hung bath towels to dry between showers. My friend colored my hair and fed me dinner unexpectedly. We chatted away over delicious spaghetti with homemade sauce.

    I did get out on my cross country skiis finally. I need to do this more! Good exercise for me and the dogs, and a much needed clearing of the head.

    Happy frugal-ing friends!

    1. PJGT, may I ask why you had to support your son by going with him to college? You’ve mentioned he is doing better. Made me curious what he is doing better from. If this is too personal, I would quite respect your choice not to share. I ask because my daughter is Autistic. I often wonder if she ever were to get to the point that she was considering college, would we need to go with her to help support her needs.

      1. He developed a health condition in his first year of college that had been hidden up until than. After a couple disastrous years, he said he needed help and would I come and support him. So, I am here. With blessings from my parents, he and I have been able to build a place to live and get him moving along. He’s in ROTC so has a built in support system. The saddest part for me is that he is very bright and was accepted to a number of top engineering schools. The more difficult part has been the difficulty my husband has had handling all that has happened to our family and the children (our daughter suffered 2 major head injuries in her first 2 years of college). But we have persevered and will make it through with faith. We’ve been married 26 years and expect to get to 50!

        As for your daughter, I suggest starting to look at options now as there are so many and finding the right place for post HS can take a lot of research. Summer programs are a great way to preview a program and the place I’ve found.

        1. I’m glad your sons medical issues are improving and that he had extremely supportive parents willing to make sacrifices with their own lives to help him out when he asked. I’m sure it has not been easy for you or your family. You are one amazing mom!
          I’m not quite ready to do the research. She’s in grade 10, but only has 3 credits total so far (most students in her grade should have 12 credits, unless they failed some classes). It’s going to take a while for her to finish HS. Once we get a little further along with her credits, and I get a better sense of what we think she might be able to handle when is comes to post secondary, I will definitely be doing LOTS of research. But for now, she’s limping along trying to getting her high school deploma or certificate, while the school figures out how to handle her issues.

        2. PJGT, I frequently read Brandy’s blog but don’t comment often. What you said about your husband and daughter made my heart skip a beat. We too are going through the grieving process and trying to cope with the change a serious head injury has brought on our 18 yo son and our family. It happened 2-1/2 years ago when he was 16, because of football. It seems like our family (we have 4 boys) was happy also so close before, but it has been so difficult since and I am just heartbroken at the changes. It has also been very isolating as our son happens to look perfectly healthy (his pain has never stopped since the injury, but praise God after 14 months of severe, constant pain, it was cut in half and now at this point is a 3/10). I just wanted to say something as most people have no idea what it’s like, even when you open up and tell them. Hugs from one TBI mom to another.

          1. Karen,
            My son had a traumatic Brain injury playing football at 16 also. He used to have daily seizures and his pain is terrible. He is 29 now. It does change things, dramatically. My son looks healthy too, but he is not. His personality changed. I grieved for a long time. My son had to relearn to walk and talk again. I’m glad he is able to do what he can do. He had been in a coma and only had 10 percent chance of living. but he is alive! I sometimes feel bad that he has taken so much of my attention had my other son has had to fend for himself. But I realize that it has made my other son very independent and he is a hard worker and doing well. He also helped me with his brother. He used to shave him everyday when they were both at home. I was a single mom when it happened. I’m blessed to have parents that helped. I’ve had help through the years. But always got calls at work. I was a teacher. Then I would have to come home or rush to the hospital. It has been exhausting. But I am so glad he is alive. Now I will take care of him with my husband. My wonderful husband of 8 and 1/2 years is truly a blessing. He knew when we were dating what to expect. He used to have daily seizures or psuedoseizures when we met. I know it can seem isolating to have a child with a TBI. I love my child. But is can be all consuming. But I want him safe and able to do as much as possible.

          2. Karen,

            You are so correct…no one really knows. After her injury on the soccer field, the neurologist wanted her to come home and not go to college. We did insist she transfer to a sister school back in the mainland, but what would coming home and doing nothing have accomplished? She graduated after 5 years…many students take 5 years without severe health issues.

            I was determined that I would not be in the majority and lose my family. Praying for you and your family as you walk this difficult path. Hugs! Trish

          3. Tammy,

            Hugs to you as well. It is a life time job. I’ve actually had a colleague ask me why I am coddling my children. Probably because I haven’t spoken openly about their illnesses after someone assumed that since they both look “normal”, it must be mental illness.

            You have a treasure in your husband. Dealing with injury and illness is a very lonely walk. Thankful for blogs such as this that allow me to struggle with a change in finances with a like minded frugal group. This, Brandy, has been a lifesaver. Thank you! Trish

  38. Way to go, Winter! Best of luck to her in this new adventure. I lived on campus my first two years and I’m grateful I did. I learned a lot about myself, living with non-relatives, etc. I then moved off campus and realized that was what I should have done all along! One of my roommates had a dehydrator, a juicer, a wheat grinder/bread mixer, which she gladly shared with me, which made my food bills even lower! Those were happy times of great growth.

    We are in cleaning mode here at our house. My son called me while I was at work and asked if I was okay with giving stuff away rather than attempting to sell it. I told him I’m fine with giving it away so long as it’s going to someone who needs it and will use it. He’s been in the best mood since Saturday when he took some baby things to a family who was really in need. Like I told him, if it’s sitting in our home not being used it’s blessing no one. Being able to let go has been a blessing for all of us. We now need to thoroughly clean the areas vacated by stuff! It will come.

    I made bread and cinnamon rolls this week as well as cooked most meals at home. I do go to dinner with my former work friends once every two or three weeks. I feel good about spending on those dinners because we almost always have a good coupon or go somewhere that we enjoy that isn’t high cost. Sometimes we choose dessert rather than dinner! Once in a rare while I’ll cook for all of us. Those friendships are precious to me and this is our opportunity to set our cares aside and enjoy one another’s company. I think it’s an important part of staying mentally healthy in our retirements (we range in age from 78 to 56 and are all recent retirees). What’s interesting is that we all have chosen to work part time to stay busy. One learned to drive bus for a local school district, one does telemarketing, one does hosting at an upscale restaurant, one does retail.

    Looking forward to reading more comments!

  39. That green dress is gorgeous – and Winter looks fabulous in it – the colour is perfect for her!
    And I’m glad that you were able to attend some of the photography sessions so it was a good week for mom as well! 🙂

    I worked 16 hours last week at the church office so that money will come in handy. I’m also enjoying learning some new things and getting out and about even though our weather is still terrible. I did stay home last Wednesday and I was glad as it snowed ALL DAY! It snowed almost all day on Saturday as well – I am longing for Spring! At least the weather has ensured that I stayed home a few days and therefore didn’t spend any money!

    I only bought fresh produce and a bit of dairy last week over two trips to the grocery store – and on both occasions my Loyalty points were not recorded – I always check carefully now so emailed in and got everything updated – earned another $5 in points by paying close attention!

    Took my lunch to work each time and enjoyed free tea there. I also had coffee and treats while teaching English on Tuesday night and enjoyed some lovely cake and coffee yesterday as part of Fellowship hour. It was our congregation’s 189th anniversary so I ordered a special cake filled with strawberries and cream – the bakery did a terrific job with the decorating and there was hardly a crumb left – always a good sign. 🙂

    I did buy a ticket to the church’s annual Mardi Gras concert but it is a fundraiser for our refugee programme and the musicians are professionals and put on a great show. We had around 400 in attendance. I did go for pizza with friends afterwards but we split it 3 ways and that was my supper so it was a nice treat.

    I can’t believe how many comments each week’s post gets now – and I love reading each and every one of them.

  40. Well done to Winter, and to you as homeschool teacher/mentor. It’s an exciting time! It was a bit hard for me as a mother to send mine off, but it’s a joy to see them thriving and growing.
    I have been selling on Craigslist and Ebay, in preparation for a move.
    My husband had to drive 4 hours north for work. I sent outdoor plants in pots with him to drop at my parents (3 hours north). Some are cuttings that I hope will take. They are favorites from our old house. We will be between houses for a while and so not having to cart around these 12 pots is a great help. And they will be a good start for my new garden, wherever that will be.
    I am re-using/remaking/sprucing up things as I sort and pack. It has been very fun.
    Plant cuttings that my college daughter brought home for me at Christmas are finally starting to grow roots. I’m so pleased.
    Accepted free blood oranges and I gallon of organic milk.
    Attended the local Home and Garden show for free. Each of the Master Gardeners takes a shift in our booth, and as a trainee, I was required to sign up. It was fun the meet more Master Gardeners and to see the show for free.

  41. Congrats to Winter. What an exciting time for her! This week was quiet, but we still found the following ways to save:
    *Meals made were breakfast for dinner (eggs, bacon, biscuits), hamburgers with peas and mac & cheese, bbq chicken with roasted broccoli & potatoes, roast chicken with potatoes, brussel sprouts and broccoli, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
    *Ordered a pair of Nikes at 60% off.
    *Earned $5 in rewards at FL for buying $40 in dairy products this month.
    *Used a blank card that I already had to mail to my brother for his birthday instead of buying a card.
    *Accessed one of our free credit reports to make sure everything was correct. There are 3 different reports you can access, so I check a different one every 4 months to make sure there’s no suspicious activity.
    *Paid extra on our mortgage. Any small amount saves on interest.
    *Enjoyed dinner at my parents’ house to celebrate my dad’s birthday.

  42. Wow! I think Winter was 11 when I started reading your blog! Time has flown and congratulations on your accomplishments, Winter! You will do well in your next chapter in life.

    Frugal accomplishments this week: stayed in budget on groceries, purchased LED candles for half off for my dining room table. (I have a grandson that for some strange reason cannot stand a lit candle and will blow them out if I light one, LOL. I have no idea what the issue is, but he really has a thing about them.) Took lunch to work everyday. Accepted an invitation for a dinner out at a new sushi place. The person we went with knows the owners through her job, and they gave us three free appetizers because they recognized her. Brought the leftover sushi home and had it for lunch the next day. We love sushi but don’t eat it often because it can be very expensive. My husband and I have not been able to have some alone time for a while due to circumstances. Saturday night, on the spur of the moment, we decided to drive to the beach and sit for a while. (We live about an hour away from the beach). Didn’t cost anything but gas but it was worth it. I think that’s all. Have a blessed week!

  43. I love your daughter’s dress. It is beautiful!
    My favorite frugal thing for the week is a pink stocking cap my husband bought me for 45 cents at Dollar General. It has been cold here.
    Filled the propane tank.
    Hubby bought me flowers from Aldi! Pink flowers. Just because. They were inexpensive which made me like them even more.
    I’m getting 40 hours a week with my son every week now. I’m actually with him much much more. But we are enjoying his company and we are able to survive because of the added income. He likes to be helpful when he is feeling well enough. His dog keeps us all company. I am teaching him to cook some more things. Smoke alarm has gone off a couple times this month. I prefer to cook with him rather than let him do it himself. But I am trying to step back and only watch sometimes. It makes him very happy to be doing things for himself. He even loaded the dishes for me one day! I loved that!
    He is happy he is helping us survive as well as just being with us. I have the sweetest sons! My other one has a family.
    My husband and I are finding joy in simple things, like grocery shopping together or vegging on the computer and sharing what we read.
    My son is planning to do things on the farm when it warms. He is excited!
    Lots of cooking at home, trying to use up everything and not let anything go to waste.
    It has been nice to go to the grocery store and buy a few things we wanted because of the added income. We still need to save for tags, taxes are coming and we will need new tires and a battery for my husbands old truck. But I am optimistic.
    Enjoyed a puppet show with my other son, his wife and my grandkids.

    1. Tammy, if your son lives on a farm, would he let you create a large garden on his property? If everyone helped maintain it, you could all share in the bounty! You could even work together to can and preserve as much as possible, so you can use the food during the winter. It could save all of you quite a bit of money, in the long run. Also a good way to exercise!

      1. We have about 6 acres. I actually sold produce one year.. Didn’t make much money from it. Then I was sickly the next couple years. This is the first year we have lived here. My son had a traumatic brain injury playing football as a teenager. He has a lot of medical issues and needs help. My mom has helped me care for him through the years because she is a nurse. But we are going to takeover entirely at the end of the month.
        You are so right Rhonda, the garden could help us. I definitely would like a large garden. And it is a great way to exercise. We planted about 1000 asparagus roots about 5 years ago. I may sell asparagus this year. Certainly I’d like to preserve it for us. I froze some for us last year. I’d like to plant our own seeds and not spend a lot buying plants. I also really wanted to sell flowers. Honestly, I’ve been overwhelmed just taking care of my son lately. But I hope to garden, as I really enjoy it. I have been trying to remain optimistic.

        1. Tammy, would your son help in the garden? I’m not sure if it is possible, with his medical issues. But if he could help and is willing to, it could be a nice way for your son to help contribute to the household. I understand if this is just not possible, though. If you do start a garden, I would start small. Prepare and plant a little section this year (I direct plant seeds for most of my garden, and I’m in Canada) using cheap seeds from the dollar store, then maybe expand each year, if you feel you can handle a larger space. Each year maybe invest in one type of heritage/ open pollination seeds that you can collect to reuse the next year. If you know people who garden, they may have seeds they can give you to help get you started. That way it won’t be so overwhelming cost wise and physically. It’s OK to build up a garden slowly over time. Anything you can harvest and put away for winter will be a huge help to your household!

  44. Congratulations to Winter! Best wishes for the next exciting stage of life.

    A few frugal efforts from recent weeks-

    – Packed lunches for work and ate leftovers at home
    – Shopped groceries sales and salvage stores. Cooked and ate at home
    – Kept my car in my driveway 1-2 days during the week
    – Enjoyed preparing craft items for autumn shows using primarily inexpensive/free materials
    – Hosted family for our grandson’s birthday and enjoyed home cooking and baking, played with the children, made memories together
    – Since we don’t have internet in our home, did online research one day and our taxes another day at a dear friend’s house, using her wifi and our laptop
    – Also, this week my husband completed his masters degree (online courses) – also without internet in our home. In May, we will be internet-free, except for 1 smartphone, for 6 years, saving $5400 over that time
    – Read/listened to library ebooks and downloaded podcasts
    – Walked with and worked out at the gym with my friend (the 3-month gym membership was a Christmas gift from her)

    I very much appreciate the encouragement and creative stimulation I gain from reading each week. Thanks to everyone who participates. Have a terrific week!

  45. That’s a terrific color for Winter. It really accentuates her beautiful eyes.

    We had a pretty uneventful week, which was good as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t write much down; mostly we just did the normal frugal things we do all the time. That said, here is what I did write down.

    Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals.

    * Made chocolate nut pudding and banana bread.

    * Harvested peas and lettuce; collected eggs from our hens.

    * Took our own coffee and snacks to son’s swim meet.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  46. Congrats to Winter on her acceptance to BYU-I! I was also a 17 yo freshman at BYU (but Provo). I feel like the church schools make it easier to enter college a bit younger than most.

    I’ve almost doubled my paid work hours (from 25-30 to 40-45 a week), so life is a lot more hectic. It is harder to remain frugal when you have less time, and it’s especially tempting to buy prepared foods or order out, but so far so good.

    *I made three meals and tons of amazing bone broth from a $5 costco chicken.
    *The weather has been below freezing (super unusual for this time of year), so I’ve been putting towels around windows and doors to help keep the house warm.
    *From my Buy Nothing group, I received several bags of taco seasoning and sea salt. I gave away some promotional Trail Blazer posters to neighbors in the group.
    *I rode my bike to work every day, despite the cold.
    *I mended one of my bike gloves when the seam ripped, highly incentivized by the cold bike ride.
    *I made my bowtie and soccer-loving newphew a Portland Timbers bowtie for his birthday, using this tutorial: . I bought a quarter yard of Portland Timbers fabric on sale for $2. There is still enough fabric to make a second bowtie, which I’ll probably make for my son.
    *I received a $10 Starbucks gift card for downloading a Geico app and took my 14 year old out for a math date so I could help him study for an upcoming test in a fun environment with treats.
    *I maxed out my IRA for the year, still working on my husband’s.
    *Our local library was giving out new copies of a book for a reading promotion, so I was able to pick up a copy of a great book (Americanah) on my way to picking up some movies to get us through a cold weekend. I will likely pass along the copy of the book once I’m done by offering it to my Buy Nothing Group or sticking it in one of our neighborhood “Little Free Libraries.”
    *I did free workouts using my Seven app (Seven minute workout).

  47. Congratulations to Winter, and to you and your husband! What a good feeling that must be to see doors open for her like that – accepted the next day! Having worked in it, I can tell you, admissions doesn’t often get that efficient. Wishing you all a special time as you prepare.

    My frugal week:
    *I fixed my bobbin on my sewing machine! It had been driving me nuts and keeping me from sewing. I knocked out a bunch of small projects that made our lives easier – zipper pouches, mending my coat and snowpants, etc. What a nice thing to be able to repair it at home for free!
    *Our friendly vacuum repairman not only sold me a lovely canister Electrolux for $40, but repaired my old vacuum with duct tape so I could have a back up. He’d given me some wonderful old horsehair dusting brushes that went with the old one, but didn’t think I could use them with the new. Surprise! With a little creativity, I can still use them. I’m delighted. Quick cleaning methods really help me out a lot.
    *Used up some ingredients in time – sliced ham turned into croque monsieur, ripening pineapples caught in time, etc.
    *I’m making a concerted effort not to store things in disposable bags when possible, but to use Mason jars or rigid containers instead. We’re using fewer bags and spending a few pennies less.
    *Received a used but pristine photo mat from my father-in-law as a replacement for one that got water damage. Mats are so expensive new!
    *Going through stuff for our new baby, due in 5 weeks. I think I just need to buy some replacement seals for my pump and that’s it! Resisting temptation to shop.
    *Found some used snow boots for my 2 year old that fit and also fit in his tiny little cross country skis. Now he can really use them without the boots falling off – and it’s amazing how well a coordinated two year old can ski! Such fun, and such good naps afterward.

    We got a foot of snow yesterday, so I tried out the snow lanterns. It was perfect snow for them…until it warmed up a bit and the hole in the middle melted! It was still great fun to stick a tea light on top and watch them from inside for a few minutes. I think I’ll try these ice mold ideas next – they look beautiful. Thanks to everyone for the great ideas!

  48. Hi Brandy,
    Oh my goodness, emerald green is definitely Winter’s colour. What a simply stunning dress.
    I love your frugal list as always, my Frugal Things this week include-
    Drying the washing on the line
    Composed all of the fruit and veg scraps
    Packed my lunch for work everyday
    Captured the warm up water in the shower to water pot plants
    Cooked veggies to add to the little woofs dinners, I used to buy a bag of frozen veg but I now want to avoid as much plastic as I can
    Rode to work when it was a bit cooler
    Ate fish and prawns from the freezer
    Watered the garden late in the afternoon to prevent moisture loss
    I make my tea at work from loose tea leaves I bring in from home, it must save me $7.00 a day=$1680.00 per year saving (most herbal teas sell for $3.50 a cup)
    Ran the fans instead of the aircon when it got hot in the afternoons
    Used homemade cleaning products to clean my home
    Went to the library to read a couple of books when I need some down time last weeekend, it’s free and aircondtioned
    Combined errands on Monday afternoon to make the most of the petrol used
    Took back some fruit that was not right (fresh or free guarantee) fruit is very expensive here and when I had a red paw paw that was still rock hard but going off at the same time, I took it back. It must have been on cold storage for a long time. Money back, no question.
    Planted out the bottoms of spring onions I have used, I cut the roots at about 1 inch and pop them straight in the soil, they re-shoot and then I have another spring onion to harvest, in time.
    Used up all leftovers in a timely manner, all left overs are put front and centre in the fridge in glasss containers so we can see what needs to be used
    Donated a small quilt to Hosptial Auxiliary, it was a “test” Quilt to learn a new to me pattern

    And that is all I can think of at the mo,
    Have a lovely day, Fi

  49. Congratulations to Winter! I wish for great success in her studies.

    A co-worker gave me a very large bag of frozen wild blueberries. They will come in handy for smoothies and for topping our yogurt.

    We were given a queen size down alternative comforter and a duvet to go over it by a family member. They are high quality items and I have been wanting both for some time but not wanting so spend the money for them.

    I have been making a pot of soup once a week for the last several weeks. It’s a great way to always have something to eat in these cold months. The soups I have made lately are: black bean, Tuscan rosemary white bean, chicken vegetable wild rice, tomato, and lentil.

    I continue to save money by washing baggies that we use for our lunches, conserving electricity by turning off lights (or not turning them on unless we have to!), keeping the heat down, taking our lunches to work everyday, and making all our meals at home. We also try to take advantage of deals when they become available on items we always buy and use.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  50. Congratulations to Winter as well as to you and your husband-it seems you have raised a wonderful daughter! My oldest child turned 14 today and thoughts of college (or not) have been on my mind and his recently. Time flies so quickly. It’s odd to be holding my youngest little baby boy and talking with my firstborn boy about such grown up things!

    Frugal things this week…
    ~Used up 3 spice packets that had been languishing in my pantry for far too long.
    ~Refrained from purchasing several things that I thought might be nice but that we don’t need.
    ~Found out that the item I wanted to purchase for my mom’s birthday (a single cup electric coffee maker) was going to be available at an auction that my aunt attends weekly. I had her bid on it for me and she was able to get it BNIB for only $5.
    ~In an effort to reduce our grocery spending, we went to a couple of discount stores on Saturday. I got 6 loaves of nice bread and 3 packages of everything bagels at the bread outlet for $11. Then we went to the bent and dent store and I was able to get Philly style beef (sliced steaks, not ground meat pressed into a sheet) for $2 per pound in a 10 lb box. It was very good and I think we’ll go back for mote. They also had chicken tenders for $1.50 per pound…it will be nice for this week when we have revival every evening. At Save-A-Lot I got pork picnic roast for $1 per pound. I also picked up ground beef for $2.49 per pound. I was quite happy with my finds, as meat is always a significant part of our grocery spending.
    ~I bought some soaps and things for vacation at Dollar Tree since I only needed a small amount.
    ~My mom was going to a discount grocery store that isn’t near me and I had her pick up some things for me there that were a better deal than I can find here.
    ~We were snowed in on Sunday again and weren’t able to attend church, so the only time the children and I left the house since the Sunday before was on Saturday.
    ~While we were out, my oldest wanted to go to a store that we don’t usually go to in order to pick up something he needed for a programming project he’s working on and I found the beach towel we were needing for vacation for only $1.99.
    ~I decided to sew colonial costumes for all of us for our Williamsburg vacation. Some things will be modern clothes just altered while I’ll sew others from scratch. It won’t be completely accurate, but the children will have fun wearing them I’m sure. I had all fabric and only had to purchase some notions from Wawak, along with 2 patterns. Now I just need to get them finished!

    1. Sarah in Maryland, I love Colonial Williamsburg. I use to go every year but have not been able to for a while. My husband was a reenactor with the American Mountain Men. This period covers colonial up to 1840. We went with fellow members one year and dressed in our colonial costumes. It was great fun. The employees loved that we had joined into the historic period and other tourists kept stopping us asking us directions and questions thinking we worked there. Your children will love to do that.

  51. I always love the updates on your children and pictures. Winter is an amazing young lady and reminds me of my daughter. She knew by age 14 that she wanted to be a speech pathologist. I also homeschooled my children and the 2 oldest started taking college classes at age 14, unheard of 22 years ago. She had almost 2 years of credits under her belt by the time she graduated from high school. We moved to Florida where she was accepted into the Univ. of Florida in their Speech/Language program. We did have to pay out of state tuition for 6 months and the received in-state prices. She lived at home and commuted using her bike. After graduation went back to MD for grad school. We paid for all of her schooling with no student debts. She got married her last year of grad school and paid for that year. We put 3 kids through college debt free. Best thing we could ever do for them.
    We have a neighborhood Facebook page. My one son needed baseball cleats for the one softball game he plays a year. Let it be known on FB group and had the cleats on Friday night, he played Saturday, and I cleaned and returned cleats on Sunday with a thank you note from him and 5 boxed Hershey kisses from me that I got for 70% off. The family that loaned us the cleats have 5 family members. Took boys out for gluten free pizza and a salad for my husband and used a coupon. My daughter bought her own pizza with her employee discount and I had a couple of pieces of that. I actually think I will be $50 under my grocery budget this week by using some things from freezer and pantry. Making a huge pot of broth from Thanksgiving turkey to use for soups this week. Had to cancel vacation back East to see my son and his family and husband’s family because husband back has really been getting worse. Too long of a trip for him to sit in the car even with many stops. Surgery in the near future. He has already had 2 surgeries on his back. We will take a short, weekend vacation instead saving money. Of course I cooked 95% of meals at home, packed lunches, and saved money many other ways by following the tips on your website. Thank you Brandy!

  52. Brandy – something Winter might enjoy: There is a young independent designer on You Tube named Justine Leconte. She is french but lives and works in Berlin. She recently made a series of videos that documents her newest line of clothing, beginning with the inspiration and creative process right through the production and marketing. She definitely has her own style and “viewpoint.” Congratulations and best wishes to Winter!

  53. Brandy such exciting news! Congratulations to the whole family!
    Frugal accomplishments are just “the usual” this week as it is still cold and full on winter in my area. I mainly stayed home and used what I had for food & fun. I made swag goal x 5 and redeemed for Amazon gift card. I will be purchasing furnace filters and a few other household items. I like to send my university daughter “snail mail” so I made some fun envelopes out of an old atlas that I was given. I listed and sold a few items on my FB buy/sell site and earned $30, I also returned deposit cans/bottles for $20. Thank you as always for your beautiful blog and wonderful community of frugal sharing!

  54. Congratulations again to Winter and, as others have also said, the green dress looks lovely on her!
    Someone (sorry, I don’t remember who) was looking for ideas for wedding gifts in the last couple of weeks. While I think she was looking for lower cost items, I do know that I feel gratitude for the practical kitchen tool wedding gifts (from 20 years ago!), like a crockpot and an electric skillet, every time I pull them out and use them.
    Here are my frugal accomplishments for the past week:
    — Registered daughter for spring soccer during early bird registration timeframe for $15 off registration fee. We also have her play the lower cost association version, rather than travel, at least until and unless she wants to try out for the local high school team. She’ll also get a soccer jersey, team photo credit and possibly a pair of soccer socks for the registration price.
    — Used some of the leftover Christmas ham in corn chowder made in the crockpot.
    — More leftover Christmas ham went into creamed ham (with peas) over cornbread. Used some of the remaining cornbread for a breakfast option.
    — Some leftover slices of bread had been accumulating in various bread bags. I tore them up, mixed with melted butter and garlic powder, and baked in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes to turn them into croutons.
    — Used some graham crackers and a can of sweetened condensed milk, both of which needed to be used from the pantry, along with raspberries from the freezer, to make a raspberry cheesecake with a graham cracker crust.
    — Used a Shutterfly credit/promotion to order the second half of photo Christmas cards for 2019.
    — Picked up a free card during Free Card Friday promotion at Hallmark
    — Ordered groceries online for home delivery, including 6 pounds of hamburger on sale. Spent part of the weekend browning all of the hamburger and freezing most of it — about 8 containers’ worth, I think, as I really don’t need an entire pound of hamburger in the recipes I’ll use it for (chili, beefy baked beans, etc.: things that will stretch the meat).

    1. Six pounds of hamburger in our house would have been split into 12 containers. I find 1/2 a pound of meat is plenty for most recipes. Then, again, I’m not a huge ground beef fan. So maybe I’m bias a bit. Thanks for the creamed ham and corn chowder meal ideas. Might have to try both at some point!

  55. Congrats to Winter! What an exciting time for you all! Also, great job on her dress and coat! Both are beautiful.

    Frugal things for last week
    -I finished reading The Lightless Sky, which I borrowed from the library. This book made me appreciate being an American and for all that I have.
    -I needed frames for some pictures I received – found 4 matching at JoAnns which is closing her. I also got some Mason jars there. Then was able to receive $ back thru ibotta
    Stayed in all week except for Sunday for church, Thursday for an appt and Friday did errands.
    – one of my errands was to Sams Club 1 item was out of stock but was able to order online and have shipped to house.
    – dinner was homemade minestrone soup for most of the week.
    – thru several apps I was able to cash out amazon credit to be used for my daughter’s college books next semester. She is possibly graduating a yr early next year and then wants to get her Masters which is only in NY So she’s doing research on that.
    – I received a small ebates check, which I finally deposited into my savings along with about $15 in coins.
    – I continue to walk our dogs for free exercise, wash out baggies and use up what we have.
    As usual, I enjoy reading all the comments and learning from others. Have s good week!

  56. Brandy,
    Congrats to Winter! I love the dress and the color looks great on her. She is so very talented.

    I went to the thrift store and discovered it was .99 cent day on certain items. I managed to get 2 button down shirts for my son to wear to work. I found one button down shirt for my husband to wear to work. I was in need of a few items for my own wardrobe so I purchased a skirt, a blouse, a sweater and a pair of dress pants- most of these were high end brands. My total for all this was $30 which is far less than the price of one blouse retail! I am still in need of a winter puffy vest but I will keep looking. I wore my thrifted one so much this last winter that after about 5 winters I literally wore it out- not bad for the $3 dollars I paid for the Gap vest.

    Unfortunately, I have had to have several expensive medical tests done. Thus far, I have had to pay $420 out of pocket with insurance paying most of it. I am sure I have more bills coming but so happy to have insurance.

    I live in a very small town with little to no tax revenue for our town to operate on. I have decided to beautify the town for everyone’s enjoyment. I have no budget for this goal so I have to get creative. I have been searching high and low for inexpensive flower bulbs. Finally, I found 65 glad bulbs for $10 at Walmart. This I can take from my grocery budget easily. I bought one box but hope to buy another . Mostly, I will be giving my sweat equity by pruning the shrubs and trees in the city park and putting in a couple flower beds for color. (our town has no budget for gardeners but we do have money to pay for mowing and they said they would water the flower beds) I am hoping this will inspire others to take good care of our town and not trash the area. I am also hoping to impart some pride in our townspeople. Our town has been struggling for years but recently, we have had 2 new businesses open which is a huge deal for us so I thought the time was right. I have a few ideas using things I already have. I plan to make a large ball or circle with chicken wire and fill with compost and straw and then add grass seed so it will look like a grass ball which will be placed near the playground in the park- just for something fun to look at. I have no idea if it will work but just some ideas.

    I took my grandson swimming at the community pool for free.

    1. If you have any young men that need a Boy Scout Eagle project they could make a bench or build a flower bed for the park. Lots of Eagle projects by me do these types of things. They usually leave a plaque with their name saying it was an Eagle project. Maybe contact your local boy scouts unit.

    2. If you have, or know people who have, perennials in their garden, you might be able to get some plants from them for free, if they are in need of splitting. Hostas are quite popular right now, but certainly the classics, like lilies, Purple cone flowers, black eyed Susan, etc. would make for some great town gardens as well! If your town has any type of history to it, there are most likely classic perennials planted in gardens around town that grow well in your area. Wouldn’t hurt to put out a call for plants, even if it is just to the neighbours you know.

  57. I’m excited for your daughter’s new adventure. Some kids are so ready at her age! I’m glad she can pursue her dream.

    We are in the midst of working hours and hours with the kids we work with. Their parents are busy with extra work and appointments, and so extra hours are needed. This is perfect, since they will go on vacation at the end of the month, and we are racking up hours for that time. One of the things I decided to do with some of the extra time I was spending over at their house was to clean their refrigerators. I was able to organize things really well and now I know what’s in there, since we are just eating over there several times this week. We will cook while we are there, then eat their food, mixed with what I take over there. (Of course, I let her tell me what she wanted and what she didn’t, what was old, etc. when she had a few minutes. I actually have a pretty good handle on it anyway since we are there so much). I also cleaned mine. Now, the food will get used up before they go on vacation, and many meals can be made between my fridge and hers, benefitting both families.

    We took a long drive on Saturday, with our daughter and nephew. We happened upon a railroad museum and let my nephew climb all over the boxcars and throw sticks into the little creek, and throw snow. We also enjoyed seeing the aftermath of a large snow storm in that area–fields of white, but the roads were perfectly clear.

    My husband did some car maintenance on my car.

    I cooked, cleaned, and worked on my quilt in-between homeschooling my niece, work, and a medical appointment for my husband that took a large part of a day.

    Pictures are here:

  58. Our good news is that we know about our employment as seasonal interpretive park rangers in a National Park. My DH and I will work in an area of Yellowstone National Park that we wanted to work in. We are excited to work from mid May to the end of September.

    I joined a gym as a part of Silver and Fit. This is a program for Medicare supplement insurance. (I have CIGNA coverage, but I think other carriers offer this as well.) For $25 you receive a year long membership at a participating gym.

    I volunteer at a clothing thrift store run by my church, with paid staff. I volunteer one morning a week. My experience there has caused me to think differently about reusing and recycling clothes. I definitely still think it is very important, but this thrift store gets so many donations that they cannot use all of them. They do have a free bin, sort items that don’t go on the sales floor for rags and other types of recycling, as well as selling the “less good” stuff to an outside party who ships to Africa. But I also see a lot of stuff go in the trash. The items that sell best at this store are jeans and tee shirts. Dressier men and women’s clothes, some made of beautiful fabric, don’t always make it to the sales floor because they sell slowly and there isn’t enough space. If a garment has been mended or has a tiny stain it goes in the free bin. I used to feel so virtuous when I donated clothes, but now I see that not everything is reused. This is making me try to find my own additional use for items. The best thing I can do is to buy almost no new garments, except for my 11 year old grandson, because boy’s used clothes in good condition are much harder to find.

    1. Our thrift store sells dressy items all the time! Anything not in good enough shape to be sold is donated to places in need in other countries. Sheets, blankets, and towels are shredded to make emergency blankets that are given to people worldwide after natural disasters. I know a woman who works there and she gave me a tour. It was quite amazing!

  59. Congratulations to Winter! It’s exciting that she will get to study something she’s clearly so passionate about. And kudos to you for helping her navigate that transition while considering budget.

    We had a pretty good week last week budget wise. We continue to eat from our pantry and freezer, while trying to stick to my new diet. Here are the details:

    Thanks for this supportive and uplifting community!

  60. Winter and her parents, Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off. Additionally, her new green dress is so flattering.

    I went to a local dentist because I had lost a filling and learned, to my great dismay, that I definitely need it crowned and, given the x-ray, probably a root canal too. My dental coverage doesn’t cover those two procedures. He told me the price. Work needed on one tooth will cost more than what my social security check will be when I am old enough to collect social security, still many months away. I then called up the business office of the dental school who once saved a tooth (over 50 miles one-way) and asked about their price. With students doing the work, it would cost just $40 less (no deals available), and an additional 300 miles minimum on the old sedan, than what the local dentist charges. So much for saving money by getting work done at a school. By at least one ranking, it is the best dental school in the world so they have plenty of patients without discounting their prices very much at all. I kept researching and learned that there is a clinic in the county seat that, drumroll, does do crown and root canals, and double-drumroll, has a sliding scale for prices. Since I take care of mom 24/7, I expect the out-of-my-pocket cost will not increase my debt dramatically. Their first opening for a crown is not until this summer, but I will be going to the clinic for a cleaning and examination Friday.

  61. Congratulations to Winter! Please let her know that she has inspired me! I do not have any sewing skills but after seeing what she has accomplished already ( I clicked all the links you had to her other creations) I’ve decided to learn basic sewing skills. Going to start this weekend with clothes with missing buttons & move on from there. My money saving tasks this past week included making bathroom cleaning wipes to do a daily wipe down. I used free cloths that my husband picked up for me at Harbor Freight. Did a large grocery shop going to 3 different stores for the best deals/prices keeping us on track with our budget. Removed the pump from a bottle of lotion that was “empty” & turned it upside down into a small jar. Got 4 more days from an “empty” bottle.

  62. Beautiful dress on your daughter! She did a great job.

    Around here:
    I found diapers in my daughter’s size at Goodwill, plus got 30% off with my teacher discount. They were much cheaper than Aldi diapers. I gave up on cloth diapers after my third child, when I couldn’t keep up with the laundry.
    We ate food that we had: a discounted ham from after Christmas gave us several meals, plus soup. I cooked beans in the crockpot and we ate them even after we were tired of them.
    I found strawberries at our .99 store, and they were actually fresh. I bought as many as we can probably eat before they spoil.
    I cooked some clearance cookie mix cookies and the kids made a homemade card for my aunt’s birthday. We don’t usually follow birthdays so closely, but this aunt is particularly generous with my kids, letting them swim in her pool, keeps ice cream in the freezer for them, and always seems happy to see them.
    I bought marked down ground beef at Kroger, 3#/1.99. I bought 15# for the freezer.
    I took the kids to a Chickfila family night, where kids in rodeo/western attire got a free chicken sandwich.
    Our rodeo is going on, and I bought a discounted parking pass for next week from someone on facebook. It will be cheaper than paying to park when we get there.
    I picked up some free diapers that someone’s child had outgrown, to save for a friend who is having a baby.
    For a teacher appreciation brunch, I signed up to bring muffins to my son’s school. I made a triple batch of copycat Costco double chocolate muffins. Some for us, some for the brunch, and some to go with a meal we took to my son’s classmate’s family, whose daughter has cancer. The meal was made mostly with ingredients we already had, and was no extra trouble since I already cook for us pretty often.
    My parents treated the extended family to pizza. I took fruit on sale from Aldi to share and the kids got to play with their cousins.
    Saw a neat idea I’m going to try: a lady made a roux from flour and bacon grease, then stored it in her refrigerator. I already keep bacon grease in my fridge, which I sometimes use to make a roux, but never thought of premaking larger amounts of the roux for gravy, to thicken soups, etc.
    Frugal fail: somehow a crayon went through the washer and dryer, and stained a lot of our clothes yellow. I’m researching home remedies now, as I have yellow specks on my favorite jeans.

    1. I would try using blue Dawn on the crayon spots (and then maybe pour some hot water over that). We had a chapstick go through the dryer once, and Dawn rescued everything that was spotted. Since crayons are basically wax, I think it might work. Good luck!

    2. You might try contacting the Crayola Company for suggestions for getting the yellow specks off of your jeans. They would probably know if there is a way to “get it done”! Good luck. Penny S.

    3. Take an old towel/rag and iron it on the jeans where the crayon is. It will transfer the crayon to the towel. I had this happen to a favorite shirt of mine. I rewashed the shirt with some tide scrubbed on the spot and it was fine after. It was a blue crayon and was all over the dryer. Make sure you clean out the dryer too or it will get on the next load.

  63. Frugalness is a state of mind so inbedded in me that I am not able to be anything but frugal. I remember the jokes about my great grandmother when I was a small child and have decided that my skills are genetic. After 4 years of living on $700.00 a month, I can happily say that our hardship has passed. I spent the last two weeks fighting like a crazed mad woman for an insurance settlement. Sugar cookie and I will no longer struggle , especially when unexpected emergencies arise. I spent a good bit of time shopping this week. ( 99 % of money was put away for savings) Our stove went out a few weeks back so this was my main purchase. I got it on sale , bought it online through swagbucks and paid for it with giftcards. Those extra steps earned me $20.00 in swagbucks and 75.00 in free gas from Kroger. My daughter laughed at how hard I plotted to find the best bonuses on this purchase. The gas rewards don’t really do much for me as my car only holds about 10 gallons of gas. My young nephew has a truck that holds 30 gallons of gas so I have gifted him my points to get his gas. That should help him out as he works and attends college. I bought the 45.00 Sams club membership that had the promotion where you get 45.00 back for free in purchases. I ordered my son an item he requested using his credit card. I used ebates for a 20.00 bonus. I used a 40 % off coupon at auto zone to buy brakes for my car. My diesel truck mechanic neighbor is going to install them. ( I cut their grass while they are away for the summer , they avoid being ticketed by the city for having grass over 2 inches tall . Being kind paid off for me ). My mother’s chemotherapy is obviously hard on her body. I recently watched her pay $22.00 for a bag of Poise pads at the drug store. I purchased 10 identical packages of these at the salvage store for her at the lovely price of $5.00 a package. The family was all in snickers when I carried them in to her. Mom was delighted and the joke is on them. Mom and I are debt free while the others struggle. I am so blessed to have been taught how to manage what I have and how to get by during the rough times. I did splurge this week. I bought a can opener. I paid $10.00. It is bright orange and I hope if sugar cookie hides it from me , I can find it quickly. Just when I think there is nothing left to learn , I find a new way to save money. I have entertained myself lately by reading all of Juls old posts and am amazed I can still learn new tricks. No matter how trivial someone’s post may seem, I try to glean any and everything I can from them. I hope everything is good and well .

    1. I am so happy to hear that your financial circumstances have improved! I always enjoy reading your posts because you are always so upbeat & positive as well as have great money saving ideas!

    2. Congratulations! We have gone through financial rough times, but did end up with credit card balances and student loan debt. You are an inspiration!

    3. Congratulations on the insurance settlement, Lillianna. I’m sure your frual ways won’t stop with the extra income, as you probably have a list of things that need doing. However, the extra income is definitely a blessing to you and your family!

  64. A huge congratulations to you and your daughter on her college acceptance! As a homeschooling mom with kids in college I *know* what this feels like!! It’s victorious, terrifying, sad and joyful…on to new adventures for all of you! I have one more homeschooler in the nest and then off to college, if he chooses, as well. And then…retirement?? Not even sure what that will look like.
    Frugal Fail out of the way first: huge shopping bill due to shopping at different stores, not paying attention to prices really, and buying “I wanna try this” foods. I do this about once a year or so and apparently this was the time. I had the money but I still grind my teeth when I think about spending it on whims.
    The *rest* of the week was spent on doing what we do: hanging laundry next to the woodstove, baking our own bread, making our meals from scratch, reducing our meat intake to weekends only, which people seem to be adjusting to, mending, fixing and repairing most of our things including cars. My dh repaired two of the twenty year old 250k+ mile vehicles that we have in our possession this week but needed to buy a wrench for one repair and take it to the repair shop for a final “tweaking” on the other repair. Still, doing most of the work himself saved us hundreds of dollars and because of that he was able to pay cash for the “tweak” at the repair shop.
    My hours have been cut at my extremely part-time position so there goes my extra gas money! Back to austerity gas budgeting but that’s okay. I’d rather stay home anyway. 🙂
    Have a great weekend everyone.

  65. Winter is absolutely lovely, as are the clothes that she makes. Very well done. Congratulations to her on her school program. How lovely that you can provide from your pantry to start her out. I have a very modest pantry but the past 12 months has seen it feed us and family members several times over. I really don’t know how people manage without one!

  66. I’m in a bit of a different situation than a lot of your readers. We are retired, and after a lifetime of living frugally and an unexpected pension, we are doing fine in our seventies. But old habits die hard. We are still quite careful, but use our resources in a different way. We no longer hold yard sales or sell anything on Craigs List (but we do buy there). Hubby hates the hassle of waiting for buyers to show.

    I have a 63 year woman who works for me twice a month and she is the recipient of most of my trading “up” activities. I have wanted a new dining set for some time and finally found well made used chairs on Craigs List and paid to have them refinished. I asked for a price on refinishing my very small dining table and was quoted an astonishing $550. I found a new table instead, on line, for $150. It’s beautiful. I gave the old dining set to my friend/employee. She was absolutely ecstatic.

    When I clean out my closet, my clothes are divided into piles. Warm, practical things go to a local shelter. Anything that might fit my employee is given to her. She then divides that pile into three parts. Things that are small enough that she can wear she keeps, larger things she gives to her sister-in-law and many things she takes to family in Columbia on her once a year trip. I love the idea of my stuff being used internationally.

    I keep open bags in the spare room that are slowly filled with no longer needed items, then delivered. Books are divided into two bags also. A batch for the local veterans hospital for their patients and the rest to the Friends of the Library bookstore to be sold at their regular book events.

    I now have some monies that can be spread around to charities. I contribute to a sponsorship for a 14 girl in India, and there is a monthly donation to a no-kill animal shelter. I also budget $25 each month to be used in some manner locally. This month the county firemen were raising funds in their “Fill The Boot” drive and the Girl Scouts were selling cookies. I split the money between them and had the GS keep the cookies for themselves, although we longed to keep and dive into the Thin Mints.

    Also, since we live so carefully I am able to help the oldest grandson with some college expenses. We paid his first six months of car insurance on the very old car he was able to save for, and gave him money for this semester’s books. We are so happy to be able to do this. There are four more grandchildren after him and we hope to be able to help them with practical assistance also.

    We have never made more than VERY average salaries, but it is such a blessing to be able to give back some excess that we don’t really need. It’s really a nice place to be, sharing some of the gold at the end of the rainbow.

    1. Old habits that have served you both well and now allow you to be so generous (in very practical ways) to so many. You show us that we don’t have to have thousands and thousands of dollars but rather to be generous of spirit and to always look for small practical ways to help others. Thank you.

    2. Anne, you are proof that a frugal lifestyle can lead to being quite comfortable with time. I’m glad you are sharing your extra wealth with other who need the help. If everyone did this, our society would be so much better for it! I hope you will continue to share some of your frugal ways with us, so we may glean new ideas of how to save or better use our money from your lifetime of knowledge.

  67. Congratulations Winter! Congratulations to the parents too 🙂
    I’ve just moved to a small apartment and we made our own new curtains from scratch. They look so nice that nobody says it’s not a fancy purchased one.
    Those curtains cost us 80% less than the ones we were looking for purchasing. I think this was a very frugal accomplishment!
    Blessings to all from Brazil!

  68. Brandy,
    Winter looks just beautiful and the dress is masterfully designed and built. You are doing such a wonderful thing keeping your daughter out of debt. That is one of the biggest gifts you can give your children.

    After working in mortgage lending, I have seen first hand how student loans have shackled many. I have drilled it into my kids heads, no student loans. My oldest daughter cash flows college with her job. Both of my 17 year old are dual enrolled. One will graduate with Freshmen year completed, the other will graduate with 2/3 of Freshman year completed.

    This week we had a lot of frugal wins:
    -My son was offered 3/4 scholarship for basketball. Which we happily took.
    -We signed up for a basketball camp that is $100 for 7 weeks of the summer
    -My daughter was offer 65% scholarship(plus guaranteed work study to cover all of it, including books) to play basketball at a local college. She was offered 6 full scholarships, but 3 were colleges that she would have to resides in the dorms. We chose the coach she liked that most the happens to be at the school where she will be able to live at home the first two years.
    -My in-laws took me to breakfast two days this week and offered gas money as I took them to several doctors appointments. My sweet FIL has two months to live and my MIL has Alzheimer’s and cannot remember that he is dying. So heartbreaking. So thankful my job allows for me to take time for them.
    -Cooked many meals this week. Shopped very little because I was too busy. So grateful I set up a pantry modeled after Brandy’s.

    1. Marisa Stone: I am so sorry to hear of your in-law’s situation, and so glad for you that you can take time for them! The stress on your FIL must be immense, and I hope he finds comfort knowing you and your family are close by. And joy that he has grandchildren to be proud of.

  69. Congratulations to Winter! I love her sense of style! I know she will do well at University! She should start her own blog. It’s a way to get recognized by major labels and could lead to something big!!

    I am doing clinical practicum rotations at primary health care clinics in my area. I am currently doing my Women’s Health rotation with a certified nurse midwife. Most days we get free lunches provided by drug reps. That saves me about $15-20/week. Considering, I am spending that much more in gas driving to the one clinic where my preceptor practices 4 days a week.

    I got some free magazines in the mail via my ReCycleBank account! I used to spend a LOT of money on magazines. This is one of the biggest money savers I’ve found and gleaned from this site! And I do read them all. Then I donate them to the local hospitals and nursing homes who cannot afford subscriptions.

  70. Brandy can you do a post on winters hair? Was it braided overnight? Or maybe rag buns overnight? Looks great!

    1. I don’t know what she did for this. She usually wears her hair up. I will ask her; there is probably a tutorial online that she followed.

  71. Late congrars! Our two youngest kids graduated from BYU-I! We were fortunate enough to have them graduate without debt. I semeser our son worked with his BIL and made enough to pay his fall tuition. , the other was awarded a grant paying her books one semester for a weather-related catstrophe in our state.(we were fine). Love that school, I love the Spirit there, and the standards. That January Track was harsh with snow and winds!! Grateful for the affordable education.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *