We’re having the most beautiful spring weather. I opened the windows to air out the house.

I planted seeds in the garden for New Zealand Spinach, Swiss chard, bok choy, carrots, lettuce, celery, and green onions. The green onion seeds are one I had collected from my garden last year. The other seeds were purchased last year or before that, except the bok choy seeds, which I got for free.

I transplanted lettuce and parsley seedlings to new spots in the garden. Rather than thinning seedlings, I transplant them to another spot in the garden so that they don’t go to waste.

I made a couple of repairs to the drip irrigation lines.

I divided an aloe that had produced babies and potted two of the babies in pots I already had. Winter will take one aloe plant with her to college.

I started new succulents with leaves from a broken succulent. Unfortunately, UPS broke my large succulent in January by putting a package on top of the plant. Hopefully, I will be able to grow several new succulents from the broken ones.

About a year ago, I gave a houseplant to my mom that had been mine. She divided it into two plants. I asked, and she gave me a cutting of the plant to start a new one back at my house.

I decided, “Not this year” for several purchases that I would like to make. I can do without those items this year. Even though I would like to make those purchases, between the repairs and replacements we’ve done lately, our oldest headed off to college, and no income so far this year (save for the little I made in Amazon credit from my website), these purchases need to wait. I’m really grateful that last year we were able to put aside money for the first four months of the year, plus enough for my daughter’s first trimester of college and books. This time of year is not a busy one for home sales, and this year has been very quiet for our company, as none of our 20+ agents have been having any sales this year. Having a well-stocked pantry and a garden have been essential in keeping us fed. As the weather warms, the garden will produce more, and sales will start to pick up. I’ll be able to restock my pantry with food, toiletries, laundry, and cleaning supplies once that happens. If you’re used to receiving a regular paycheck, the thought of 3-4 months without income is scary, but many people have seasonal work that stops during winter, and small business owners are never guaranteed a paycheck of any kind. Being prepared for slow times is essential.

I began packing toiletries and cleaning supplies for my daughter headed off to college from our stock.

My husband repaired our van. He bought the part needed and did it himself, saving over $500 in quoted labor charges.

We had a simple birthday celebration at home for a child with lemon meringue pie made from Meyer lemons from our trees.

I harvested lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard, chives, green onions, and Meyer lemons from the garden. (Yes, those are lemons! They are very dark colored). I dried the lemon zest before juicing the lemons to use in lemonade.

I purchased smaller tomato plants at the nursery than I would have liked to have purchased, saving $12. I hope they’ll grow quickly. The garden is a month behind normal because of our unusual weather; normally the nursery has tomato plants in mid-February. I chose some that had flowers on them already, despite being small.

I resisted the temptation to purchase some herbs at the nursery to get a jump-start on them in the garden. Unfortunately, the herbs went up another $1 each this spring from last year, and two years ago they also went up $1 in price. Growing from seed has become even more economical, and I already have seeds for herbs I want to grow. I just have to be patient for the soil to warm up a bit more before they can be directly seeded in the garden.

I tried some new recipes using ingredients I had on hand.

I downloaded a free learn to read app that was free this week only.

I read three e-books from the library from the Poor Relations series.

My eldest applied for several scholarships that are available to college freshmen. She also received about 20 emails from apartments. Most were around $1400 a trimester and some were more. We are very grateful she was able to find a place last week for around $1000 a trimester (utilities are included and the building has washers and dryers that are free to use).  In addition, her apartment charges monthly, rather than up front for the entire trimester as most do. That makes it easier to pay each month, rather than having to come up with the money all up front next month. Winter has been on the campus jobs board already, checking out the posted jobs, so that she can work while she is at school.

My water bill came in at $35 less than I had estimated. I was very careful to turn off the water to the garden when we had rain and snow recently. It’s rare to get this much rain and snow seems to be a once a decade thing, but it was such a blessing to have! I continued to do many things to save water, including saving warm-up shower water and using it to water potted plants in the garden. I also turned off the drip irrigation when it rained this week on one of our assigned watering days.

We used up some hotel samples of toiletries that my mom had shared with us from her trips.

My eldest put together school supplies to take with her to college from the stock I had on hand, purchased at back to school sales over the last few years.

My parents held a breakfast for the Model T club to which they are a part. Ten Model Ts, one Model A (shown above), and a Studebaker were all on the street for us to see. It was like having a car show come to us!

What did you do to save money last week?



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  1. I love the beautiful pictures of your children having fun! I made popsicles out of free mulberries I had frozen, evaporated milk and sugar. I am trying to use up my frozen mulberries before the tree blooms this year. My purse straps were worn through and I still mooy attached chains from another purse that was too small. I am having to do major electrical repairs to my house but it cannot be put off any longer. I bought a laptop for my son in college from SAM’S website. I am trying to repair, replace, and pay off debts as I prepare to retire, hopefully, in a few years but I am not sure if my health will hold up, so I am trying to prepare for the possibility that I may have to take early retirement at a greatly reduced salary.

    1. Take courage Cindy – I found myself retiring early because of circumstance and was worried about managing on a greatly reduced income. My husband had reduced his work to part time so it all came at once. I am getting into the right mindset now and using blogs like Brandy’s for inspiration and encouragement – Im sure it seems scary to you at the moment but you can do it! There are benefits to not working too – my health is better and I am less stressed. Good luck with whatever your future holds.

    2. I also had to take early retirement due to health issues and very concerned about money and finances. I am now 9 months in and could not be happier. My mental health is much better, I have found I have fewer needs other than paying the bills, yet I am very happy and content. My health and piece of mind are more than worth the stress I was under in my 42 years with my organization. You too can do this if you need to and will be very happy and relieved.

      1. Cindy, I too had to take an early medical retirement at the age of 42. I went from bringing home around 4500.00 a month to 1875.00 a month. We also have numerous medical bills and ongoing medical treatments that have caused us to have to accumulate debt, that we did not have. We are trying to pay down our debt, even though there are constant medical bills to steal any extra. We are going on my 8th year of not working. The stress from my job nearly killed me. I was a complete disaster health wise, as well. Now, I still have chronic health problems;but I love being home and find contentment being there. My stress levels stay low. I find life is so much better.

  2. Your posts are always so inspirational, Brandy! And I love the photos of the cars!

    My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made a Chocolate & Strawberry Trifle with Almond Sherry Whipped Cream (http://approachingfood.com/chocolate-strawberry-trifle-with-almond-sherry-whipped-cream/) , to use up a few leftovers (frozen cakes, a bit of strawberry jam, etc.). The flavoured whipped cream was amazingly delicious and would be great to top almost any dessert with.
    – I purchased 10 kg of flour for $8.97.
    – I used a $4 off $10 coupon, and combined that with 15% each off of sunflower seeds, psyllium husk, and oatmeal from my local bulk store.
    – I made almond milk and dried the almond meal in the oven and put it back in my pantry.
    – I made more LSA (Linseeds, Sunflower seeds, and Almonds ground up together). I added in the almond meal leftover from the almond milk I made. I use this as a nutty topping for my morning cereal. It gives me an extra boost of protein and omega fatty acids, and helps keep me full and losing the baby weight.
    – I contacted Swagbucks about 2080 sb that they hadn’t credited to my account and received it. I redeemed Swagbucks for a $3 gc to Amazon.ca.
    – I used the last of the Christmas nuts in the shell to make a loaf of nut bread. I froze it, and will use it for snacks. Instead of milk, I used homemade nut milk in it.
    – I made Brandy’s Rosemary White Bean soup and gave a container of it to my sister along with two other soups I had frozen, as she has broken her ankle and can’t stand in the kitchen for long.
    – I’ve cut our food budget significantly for the last two months to help with some large extra expenses we have. I’ve managed to spend only $50 Cdn/week for two adults (a large man and a nursing mom), which I’m pretty pleased with.
    – I’ve been going through the condo and scrubbing down everything with a homemade concoction of hot water, a few drops of dish detergent, some baking soda, and a splash of vinegar. I do a bit each day and am slowly getting a deep clean done.
    – I did some caulking in both of our bathrooms of the floor and wall seams using some caulking that we already had. It’s so satisfying to do such a quick fix.
    – I bought bags of fancy flavoured popcorn, to serve to guests later this month. The bags were $3.99 each but I managed to get them for 75 cents each, by combining a sale (buy 4 save a certain amount), using manufacturer’s coupons (buy two save $1), and then claiming a rebate via the Checkout51 app. This way even if the baby is demanding and I’m not able to bake or cook as I plan when hosting, I’ll still have something to offer. I used air miles to purchase them so technically, I actually made money on them.
    – I also redeemed air miles to purchase some soy meat in bulk, and some real meat for my husband’s birthday. (I bought a large pork loin roast, which will make many meals for my husband. I plan to also slice some for sandwiches using my meat slicer.)
    – I threw a meat-themed birthday party for my husband. For gifts, my family gave him meat for the freezer. This was the best possible gift for him, because as a vegetarian I rarely buy or cook meat (plus it will stretch our food budget).
    – I made an eggless cake for his birthday cake, and used leftover buttercream frosting from the freezer. I topped it with macerated strawberries (which were on sale). I served tea (gifted to me) and pop (leftover from my daughter’s baptism). I reused birthday decorations and put them away again for the next party. In total, I think I spent $10 OOP on the party, including gifts, cake, and decorations. I send some cake home with my parents.
    – I redeemed some of the digital currency that my trading app uses, for two cartons of eggs. This should last hopefully for two months as I only use them for baking.
    – I made a spinach and split pea dal to use up some split peas from my pantry. I served it over rice that I had previously traded for. I didn’t have some of the spices called for, so I left them out and added others in, added in onion, didn’t have lemon juice so used frozen lemon zest, and didn’t measure most of the ingredients. Still turned out great, and that’s one more meal from pantry ingredients (I only had to buy frozen spinach).
    – I made a loaf of no-knead bread. It turned out really well despite the fact that I didn’t have a cast-iron or enameled pot to bake it in (I just used a ceramic oven dish with a lid). My husband likes to eat a sandwich in the evening, so making my own very hearty bread will fill him up and help keep our grocery costs down.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded some paper plates for some paper bags. I’m more likely to use the paper bags (for baking or gifts) than the paper plates which were just sitting in my cupboard.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as always!

    1. great accomplishments and how nice of you to make an effort and throw a party for your husbands birthday though you had good excuses not to like costs or a baby!

      1. Aww, thanks so much, Reader with a baby! Mum life is tiring, isn’t it? (Awesome, but tiring.) No idea how Brandy does it with a large family. In regards to the party, not being a meat-eater, I froze a fresh ham that my husband would have preferred fresh and he teased me about it and found it hilarious. I think that was the best gift for him, fresh fodder to tease me with. Now that’s a frugal gift! 🙂

  3. How fun to see such old cars! The kids must’ve had a blast.
    I was able to host a community swap again after several months of hiatus. We lost the location we were using. Luckily a friend was able to arrange use of their church. In the past we were growing but never had more than 20-30 participants. This time there was nearly 100! I was able to bring home:
    2 skeins of yarn
    3 pairs of pants for my son
    2 shirts for my son
    a pair of croc sandals for my son
    a tunic for myself
    a pair of new boots for myself
    My son found 6 snow globes and several little toys
    He also scored a Millenium Falcon and other Star Wars toys. We checked the retail price and it valued at about US$1000
    I also got a bottle of shampoo
    several rolls of wrapping paper

    In the past we have always had a member who could hold the leftovers and arrange for a charity to pick them up. This time we weren’t able to do that and I had decided to bring everything home. Because we had soooo many people join this time it was TWO CAR LOADS! I had to do something with all the bags and boxes. In the end the clothes were boxed by size and gender, baby things put in a box, and miscellaneous in a box. In the end I posted everything on facebook pages for free and it was taken within in a few hours. I had a delivery service pick up 15 boxes on Monday. The receivers will pay for the postage. I’m happy to pass on all the items.

    In the end we had a great time socializing and swapping all our unwanted, unneeded items.

  4. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy you have done so well and living without income for 3 months is a credit to you, your organisation, food storage and cooking skills, your way of doing finances and being frugal 🙂 . I am glad that Winter was able to find accomodation for college at a so much cheaper price and with free facilities to use too is fantastic and that you had prepared ahead for all the stationary in your home for her to take along with other items.

    Our savings added up to $213.79 last week :).

    Blessings –
    – A few different friends gave us a watermelon, rockmelon, flake, nectarines and 2 dozen eggs.
    – Our neighbour who doesn’t use her grey water said we could use her’s to water our paddock fruit and mulberry trees with. We connected our spare grey water hose to it to reach the trees. Being in drought here this is a huge help to us so we don’t have to use more expensive town water to water them.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made all meals from scratch.
    – Made 3 loaves of bread in the bread making machine saving $10.47 on buying it at local small country town prices.

    Finances and eBay listings –

    – Listed 67 items on eBay on a free listing promotion saving $110.55 on usual listing fees.
    – DH and I had a few catch up meetings on our finances to better fine tune things and keep each other abreast of what is going on.

    Purchases –
    – On special from 2 country supermarkets we purchased on special a 1kg bega cheese, 1.07kg of champagne leg ham, 4 x 500g butter blend, 6 burrito kits, 2 x samboy chips & 2 x french fries, 2 x clix biscuits & 6 kg of beef sausages and 2 x 1kg of yoghurt saving $51.54 over buying them in our larger supermarket in town.
    – Bought a pair of heavy duty side cutters for $9.50 on eBay saving $40.45 over buying them in our local hardware store.
    – Purchased 2 rolls of thread tape and a sprinkler connection from the irrigation store saving $3.78 over purchasing them at the hardware store.

    In the gardens –
    – Did more work on the grapeyard vineyard enclosure we are taking down due to termite damage in the upright posts and whipper snipped and removed the remaining tie wire.

    Water Preservation –
    – Used grey water from our washing machine and grey water pumped from both our’s and the neighbour’s grey water tank to water paddock fruit trees, ornamental potted flowers and household lawns.
    – Used dish rinsing and shower warm up water to water potted fruit trees and herbs.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  5. The Modem A and T are my favorite vehicles! I’m glad you have had nice weather.

    My grandmother passed away a week ago. She had been extremely ill and in great pain for a couple of years but it was still sudden. My father lives in Alaska but was able to afford the very expensive plane ticket by using airline miles offered by one of my step sisters and has stayed with family. I am the oldest of 6 children and for the first time we were all in the same room at the same time ( there are 4 different mothers) at one of my brother’s home for a meal. Not my frugality but wanted to share.

    I made whole wheat bread, roasted vegetables several times, oatmeal every morning, several meatless meals. I am hoping not to grocery shop for 2 weeks.

    I purchased a new pair of dress shoes. My.old ones fell apart lol They will last several years.

    I continue to do my daily things. Save shower warm up water, turn off lights, wash and reuse baggies and jars.

    Have a good week all!

  6. Brandy, I am always inspired by your money-saving efforts! Your flowers look beautiful.

    I was able to get seeds from Walmart, some for 50 cents a pack and some for 25 cents a pack. I got nasturtiums, spinach, lettuce, radishes, and marigold seeds. I also bought garlic to plant and a bleeding heart. I plan on growing more herbs this year, as well as tomatoes, green beans, and zucchini. It is slowly getting warmer here in the northern U.S. and hopefully in another month we can plant the early spring seeds.

    I found organic blackberries on sale for 99 cents a packet. When I got to the cash register they rang up at the regular price of $3.99. I informed the young cashier of the wrong price and he had a hard time correcting it. He had to get the help of his supervisor a couple of times. I felt bad for him and it took some time which made the customers behind me a little impatient, I’m sure. So what could have cost me $11.97 if I hadn’t been watching the prices as they rang up (I bought 3 packets) cost me $2.97.

    I made chicken broth from bones I had in the freezer. I also made a white bean dip that was very tasty.

    We ate all our meals at home and took our lunches to work. I washed baggies and cleaned with homemade cleaning solution.

    I, too, look forward to everyone’s comments!

  7. I love the pictures of the cars. We used to go to car shows but they started charging quite a bit so we don’t, We might if the VFW our son belongs to has one as their proceeds go to help vets in need.

    I too put off purchases for this year due to large out flow of money and little flow in. I’ve been self employed most of my life and Hubby used to farm so we have adjusted well to the changes even with the stress..

    At least another month before I will be able to plant in the gardens.

  8. Brandy, I hope that your family income will resume soon and I am glad to hear you were able to save for the early part of this year and your daughter’s start at college. Also great that you have your pantry and garden and your very frugal ways. Hopefully your daughter will qualify for some student aid and bursaries-not sure about there, but here the size of the family and the family income are big factors in determining eligibility for student loans, grants and some bursaries-there is even a section on our application to indicate if the parents anticipate a significantly lower income this year-otherwise everything will be based on last years taxable income.
    As for me it was not the most frugal week as we drove 1,000 km each way to visit our dear daughter at university-totally worth it though. We took packed food and stayed with her so really the only out of pocket was for gas. But we did stock her fridge while we were there and help her out with some funds-glad we were able to.
    DH and I have been grocery shopping quite economically since we are both trying to lose weight. I was able to buy some makeup remover pads-which I don’t use, but gave to my daughter-the drugstore had a points offer where I was getting more points back for free groceries than it was costing me to buy them so basically the store paid me $3.70 for every 2 packs I brought home-which I used to buy milk, fruit etc.

    My mum turns 87 today-unfortunately she has had a couple of falls in the last couple of days- is bruised and has a broken arm. She is 3,000 km away and so I anticipate that might be my next expense-flying out to help her out for awhile. We do have savings and income and live economically day to day so it will be possible. I am hoping perhaps she can fly here with my sister next week instead to convalesce, so I can keep working part time. For now my 2 sisters are caring for her-there are 5 kids so hopefully we can each take a turn in helping her recover as she still lives alone. Fortunately the CT scan of her head did not show any cause for the falls but further investigation will likely be needed to pinpoint a cause. Thankful for our free health care and the ambulance ride yesterday.

    1. We are too late for student aid for the term starting in just 5 weeks (we applied but they only offered loans), but we are happy they reopened admissions and that we are able to send her, and without going into debt! The deadline for student aid for next year was the first of March, so we have applied for that.

  9. This week I finished the T-shirt quilt quilting and binding and client was over the moon! Made me so happy plus I got paid the remaining 50% of the price I gave her so that went into the bank! Will be adding more Soup Cozies and Scrappy Bags to our Website because they just keep selling almost completely out! A couple customers suggested that I design a couple sizes of plate Cozies and that they would be my first orders, so I’ll try that tonight! It’s been gratifying to have previous customers suggest new things that they would like me to make and that they would definitely buy when I did! It’s a pretty nice world out there!!

    I saw that BLSL chicken breasts were on sale at Fresh Thyme for $1.67/pound which is a good price these days and may chicken supply is getting lower since we have been eating from our storage and going to the store as little as possible in preparation for retirement in 79 days!
    But they had sent me a coupon on my Fresh Thyme app for $10 off of a $50 spend on anything in their store! So I got out my trusty calculator and found that if I bought 30 pounds of chicken that it would come to $50.10! That brought the price of chicken down to $1.33/ pound which these days is a stellar price so I went over and got the 30 pounds!
    Came home and put 5 pounds into crockpot to shred afterwards in Kitchenaid mixer. Cut up 7 pounds into chunks and filled 8 pint mason jars and pressure canned those to add to my basement shelf because I was down to only 4 pints left. We were amazed when we first, nervously opened the first jar we had canned to find that no one in the family noticed any difference in the taste of the chicken over fresh in anything we made! Win!! So now, we regularly can boneless chicken, beef and pork chunks to diversify our food storage as well as to have additional convenience when making a dish at the last minute! And you know me – lazy and cheap and love convenience!! Lol!!!

    I got 5 more jars of PB- 99 cents each with the Kroger sale to replenish my supply at home using their sale and digital coupon. Even though it was only 5 jars allowed with the coupon, that amount on a regular basis, every few months, keeps my PB supply at the level I need to never run out!

    Got a surprise this week that there is a lag time between day hubster retires and day first pension/annuity and SS checks arrive of 30 days even though we have notified both of when the last day will be! We will have 1 regular paycheck about a week after he retires which will be a normal 2 week one, but I’m grateful we know now so we can be careful with any spending between now and then to beef up our savings even more!!

    Our daughter and their 3 kiddos are flying in next week to move into their new house on 13 acres about an hour from us so until our son-in-law arrives a few days later with one of their cars, I will be staying out there with her so she can use my car to get kids to school the first day and not be stranded there. She is making a meal schedule complete with snacks and turning it into a grocery list for me to pick up so they will have plenty of food when they arrive that her kids like. The moving truck won’t arrive for a few days after they get here so we will be camping out on air mattresses in the house! Their 8 free check in bags will be filled with things they will need before the truck arrives! Their carry on bags will hold their important papers- birth cert, insurance, etc that will never be out of their sight or hands on the move. The moving truck arrives for them to pack up today. Then it will be driven out here. Our son-in-law will drive 1 of their cars here, stay a few days, then fly back to CA until house is sold. We pray for a quick sale since that will relieve them of one of their house payments they’ve had since buying the OH house in Nov.
    Our youngest son got a job! He’s been out of work for a bit over a year. He had been working as a computer programmer for a small business for 4 years until it went bankrupt and closed suddenly. He has ASD and interviews are difficult for him. He is perceived as shy or disinterested and so he’s been passed over after many interviews at many places. This job is seasonal but could work into permanent at the zoo here. Not in his field of experience, but we are all excited at any opportunity right now. His $8K savings is almost totally depleted and he has been really feeling low. Life is looking up!!
    The usual frugal things- never ending supply of eggs from our chickens, recycling materials around the house into things that we can use/sell, organizing like crazy and decluttering!

    Life is very good to us and we are overwhelmed with gratitude! Hope everyone else has opportunities coming their way this week too!

    Pat in Ohio

    1. GardenPat – your son might check with the airline your his family is flying on to see if they will accept cardboard boxes in lieu of suitcases for checked luggage. A missionary friend regularly flies to new assignments and checks in boxes instead of suitcases as his checked in luggage for his family. He can pack more into a box but still has to watch the weight per box. And, the boxes are much cheaper to buy then a suitcase.

      1. I’ve checked non suitcase items on Southwest. I took apart an IKEA chair and packed it down, put it in a garbage bag and taped it all up. It was under the 50lb weight limit and I checked it for free ?

      2. Interesting that you should mention that! When Hubs and I moved from CA to OH 25 years ago, we found it was cheaper to fly with one way tickets (because 8 of our children were flying with us, we qualified for a group rate -10 or more people- as long as no one backed out of the trip! Lol!) In those days, none of the airlines charged for the first 3 check in bags per person with specific maximum sizes per bag. We made our own boxes from heavy duty boxes a friend gave us from the manufacturing plant he worked for. The total weight per person for check in bags was 190 pounds, so with 10 of us, we packed 1900 pounds into those boxes- just 100 pounds shy of 1 TON!! We also were allowed 2 carry on bags per person! My sewing machine was one of my carry on bags, Lol!!
        The tickets cost $125 per person! Much cheaper than driving for 3+ days with food and gas and hotel stays! Much better for this Mom’s sanity as well! Lol!!
        My,what an adventure that was!!

    2. GardenPat we must be kindred spirits. I did the same ting when I got the email from Fresh Time. Went and bought BLSL chicken breasts-$50 worth and used the $10 off! I too canned one canner of chunks in pints- I only have 2 pints of pheasant and 2 pints of turkey left. My hubby loves me to make meat gravy-I add broth or water to the jar I dump out. Thicken with cornstarch and serve with mashed potatoes. Rest went in the freezer, some with seasoning and marinade for summer grilling.

    3. Wow! I really like the way you were able to purchase and use/preserve the 30 lbs of chicken. I am certain your hard work will pay off when you start using the chicken. In my household, the primary protein consumption is chicken and fish (in addition to eggs and beans). You have provided some good thoughts on how to further reduce the sale price and preserve the good deal. I would say you are prudent and resourceful and not lazy and cheap 🙂 Many thanks!

  10. Love the photos of the cars Brandy. Here’s my frugal list for last week –

    * Made one kilo of yoghurt using two tablespoons of natural yoghurt as a starter. We’ve been having it with stewed rhubarb as a delicious dessert.

    * Gratefully received lots of little tomatoes from a friend.

    * Sold one dozen eggs.

    * Made a double batch of scones. Some were taken to church for morning tea and the rest were frozen for our own eating.

    * Made 6 jars of jam from the white peaches I was given 1 1/2 weeks ago. I had to wait until they were ripe enough to cook up.

    * Cleaned the dishwasher using bi carb and vinegar and ran it on a long hot cycle.

    * Stockpiled lots of choc bits for baking. They are 1/2 price in Coles at $1.97 this week until next Wednesday. Mostly I use the white choc bits when baking cranberry hootycreek biscuits. The milk choc bits are using for choc chip biscuit and muffins.

    * Made a batch of dried gravy mix using plain flour, beef stock powder and a few other seasonings.

    * Made dried seasoned bread crumbs from scratch.

    * Redeemed another $10 worth of points onto our Flybuys card. We use this money to buy groceries when we go on holidays.

    * Gratefully received some card making supplies and magnetic strips ( from an old fridge door ) from a friend.

    * Saved and recycled household water as per usual.

    * Picked up a pretty single bed doona cover at Savers for $6.99. I’m not sure what I’ll make from it. Maybe aprons, decorated hand towels, jam jar hats and produce bags.

    There are photos of some of these things on my blog http://myabundantlife07.blogspot.com/2019/03/this-weeks-frugal-tasks-saturday-9th.html

  11. Hello Everyone! Glad to hear you are enjoying spring Brandy, we are starting to see signs of it here-can’t wait!
    This week the local restaurant supply store (that is open to the public) had a 1 day pre-order sale of 40 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breast for $30.00. So this weekend when we pick it up I’ll spend time trimming, portioning & freezing it. This will last us for months. I found an simple recipe for making a latte at home using ingredients I already had. I long to buy fancy coffee drinks to try but never do. This way satisfied me & cost nothing extra. I needed some toiletry items from CVS that earned me Extrabucks. I turned those into freebies for Easter baskets. We had leftover chicken & bean mixture from our burrito bowls that I made into soup with previously frozen chicken broth & diced tomatoes. This will feed me lunch all week.
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s ideas!

  12. What cool cars! That is fantastic!

    Love the amount you got done on your planting. We hope to plant some food this year as well. Hopefully we will be able to get it done in time.

    I haven’t posted in a while, so these are accomplishments over the last month.

    Last week we took a dream trip to Italy, where I have been wanting to go my whole life! Not frugal in any way, but I do not feel badly about the money we spent, as I had saved for it. Things like that are one of the big reasons I am frugal the rest of the time.

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • I had 3 hambones and 2 pkgs of ham for soup in my freezer, so I decided to make soup for the pantry. The first day I boiled down the bones and ham to make broth and get the last bits of meat. I refrigerated it overnight, then skimmed the fat off. The 2nd day I spent canning. Using the ham broth and bits of ham, I canned 9 pts. of pinto bean and ham soup, 6 pts. of split pea soup and 9 pts. of 15 bean soup. The 15 bean soup mix came from my mother in law a few months ago and I already had carrots and celery in the freezer. I used dried onion I had instead of going to the store too. These will be handy for my husband to take to work and healthier than store bought.
    • Worked a lot of contract work.
    • Hubby brought his lunch to work most of the time. The days he didn’t, they had clients in so he didn’t have to pay for his lunches. He also had to take the clients to dinner a couple of times, so those were free too. I brought mine each time I went into the office except for the day they provided lunch.
    • Got a couple Ibotta rebates.
    • Ate in most nights. Will be eating in even more now that we are back from Italy.
    • Hubby finally had the time to install a sleeve in the ground for my umbrella clothesline! Unfortunately, the weather here has been nuts. Every day I’ve gone to do laundry, it has been raining! I’m happy to have my clothesline back. Since we live in the desert, hanging clothes is something I can do year round to save money (usually!).
    • Hubby’s coworker brought him a grocery bag full of oranges from his tree. I gratefully accepted! I peeled and froze them whole for smoothies.
    • I needed to buy meat for a party I am threw for my sisters’ birthday (2 of them are born on the same day, 5 years apart!) Instead of just going to the store and buying what I needed, I looked at the weekly ad that expired Tuesday and then at the ads that came in the mail for the sale that starts Wednesday. Turns out I could get the meat I needed on sale if I waited until after Wednesday. I got whole chickens for 88c/lb., pork shoulder for 99c/lb and ground beef for $2.79 for 90% lean. Also got taco shells for $1/box, lettuce for 88c/head, avocados for 77c each and tomatoes for 49c/lb. I did an enchilada casserole (most of the ingredients I already have) and a taco bar with chicken and carnitas with beans and corn. Froze some leftover carnitas and ate leftovers for the rest of the week.
    • I bought 4 chickens and cut them up, deboning the chicken breasts and freezing them. Also froze the bones and backs for soup, the wings for hot wings and the drumsticks for other meals. Used the thighs for the tacos.
    • Got some Hershey Kisses on sale after Valentine’s day ½ off, which I put in my freezer and will use for Christmas cookies.
    • Made Hubby’s Valentine card with some pink cardstock, stickers and heart shaped doilies I already had.
    • I had a bag of bread heels in the freezer to eventually use up. Decided to just start having them as toast in the morning with honey. Side note, whenever I have toast for breakfast it makes me think of my late Mother. Not sure why, but it is a nice feeling!
    • Made 9 – ½ pints of strawberry jam with strawberries I had in the freezer that I had gotten on sale last year for 77c/lb. Also had the pectin that I had bought on clearance last year. Used 1 as a hostess gift and gave one each to my sisters for their birthdays and kept some to eat.
    • My niece gave me 8 cloth napkins she didn’t want anymore. My everyday cloth napkins are completely worn out, so they are welcome.
    • Found exactly the plates I was looking for at Goodwill for $2/plate.
    • Heard that Payless ShoeSource is going out of business, which really bums me out, as I buy most of my shoes there. I wear a wide shoe and they tend to cost more elsewhere. I went on Saturday and bought 4 pair of shoes, as the stores were having a BOGO ½ off sale. I could’ve waited until they start to liquidate, but since I need wides, I felt like I’d better not risk missing out. Turns out our store is only 20% off right now anyway. I won’t need to buy sneakers for a couple of years.
    • Paid extra on our mortgage, eliminating 5 months of payments off the back end.
    • Increased amount Hubby is putting in his 401 (k) at work by 1%.
    • Won $5 plus a $30 gift certificate at our weekly trivia league. I will use the $30 next time we go and play.
    • Gave my Dad lunch at my house twice instead of taking him to a restaurant. He requested chicken or turkey noodle soup and luckily I had some in the freezer. Also had chicken enchiladas in the freezer for the other time. I’m finding that I think he prefers just going to my house and hanging out rather than going to a restaurant. I’ve been trying to think of things he would enjoy on TV that we can watch together after lunch. He also likes to watch old game shows, so we do that together. I know he misses interacting with someone on stuff like that. And it is actually a time saver for me in a way because I am able to do his laundry while we visit.
    • I was running low on pint sized canning jars. Found some at Goodwill ½ off. Got 6 for $2.04.
    • We are going to Portland, OR this weekend. We used airline points and I have a companion pass this year, so the cost for flights for both of us was under $23. We stay with family, so our only cost is food and whatever activity we do. I want to move up there, but it isn’t possible right now, so we take these quick trips when we can.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

    1. I think travel is the best reason to be frugal! My husband and I both love to travel, but we haven’t really been able to do that together. It’s been years for us, but we hope that our frugal ways will pay off later with the chance to travel.

      1. Maxine: We had company for supper who were appalled when my husband pointedly offered me the heels/crusts/ends of the French bread we were serving. They thought it was an insult. I love them best.

    2. Laurie, we are going to Italy in May for 2 weeks. I have been saving for this trip for a while. My husband received a bonus this year so we used it to buy our airline tickets and the rest went to my son’s college tuition. I spent days comparing tickets to get the best tickets for our money. We are also staying at monasteries and convents throughout Italy (do not have to be Catholic – we are) for so much cheaper than a hotel. They are clean, basic and safe plus they offer free breakfast. A lot of the places we will visit will be free or very low cost.

      1. Sabrina, I don’t know where in Italy you are traveling, but I highly suggest a visit to Pompeii if can swing it. My husband and I traveled to Rome and did a side trip there. Still one of the most amazing places I have ever had the priviledge to visit! In fact, it is number one for me and most places I visit are now measured and compared to our Rome/Pompeii trip.

  13. Brandy I love your photos using different angles of the cars – they are so captivating and the photo of Octavius and his brother is precious – the look on both their faces.

    How do you tell the temperature of the soil in your garden? Is there a thermometer?

    • Shoveled snow by hand to clear my driveway. I’m thinking this was the last snow storm of the year for my area.
    • Streamed HGTV for free watching older seasons. I’ve only had cable tv for one year and it was over a decade ago. What I’ve found is on the HGTV site many of the shows have at least one season that is free and it seems to rotate. I’m loving watching the Property Brothers and who cares if it is a season that is four years old? I’ve never seen them!
    • I planned out all meals for the entire month of March. Aldi is 30 minutes away so I planned a trip that would combine several other errands. My refrigerator is crammed full of produce! I do have money set aside to replenish produce in a few weeks.
    • The local grocery store has a $20 off a $100 grocery coupon only a few times a year. I took advantage of this offer and stocked up on several items that were low in my pantry & freezer such as olive oil, various cheeses, peanut butter, tea, some meat, molasses and more. I focused on items which were on sale and needed.
    • Made broccoli & ham quiche, risotto with greens, and several meals from leftovers (well planned-overs) that had been frozen.
    • My son was able to fix an overhead light and an electrical outlet that had pulled out from the wall.
    • My son has his first apartment and I have been doing his VERY SMELLY laundry in exchange for the work he helps me with around the house. I finally figured out how to get rid of the odors in his work clothes. I wash with perfume-free detergent but once the clothes are in the washer I generously sprinkle them with baking soda and then add white vinegar through the fabric softener opening. Voila! Fresh smelling and soft laundry.

    1. I use a thermometer. You can buy an expensive soil thermometer, but a meat thermometer that goes down to 0 degrees (not all do, so look for one) and has a probe that is 6 inches long is perfect. Walmart has one and it is not very pricey.

      1. Thank you! I just checked and my meat thermometer has a 6″ probe. I put it into the freezer between two frozen items and it went down to 5 degrees. I probably could have gone lower but I was tired of standing there letting all the cold into the room. As soon as the ground is thawed, I’ll start taking the temp.

        1. Some thermometers don’t even start lower than 100 degrees. As long as it has an option down to 40 or so, you should be okay. Lettuce germinates at 45 degrees. If you look at my fall garden info under the garden tab (also useful for spring!) I included soil temperatures. It’s made a difference for me in success.

    2. THANK YOU for the tip on how to neutralize smelly laundry odors!! I have been trying to find a cure for that for some time so tomorrow’s laundry will get the baking soda and vinegar treatment!

      1. My son is a welder and his clothes just stink. I realized after I posted that I am adding the vinegar into the “pre wash” section of detergent “shoot”. I haven’t measured but I bet I’m adding 1/2 to 3/4 cup.

        On The Frugal Girl’s site she boils her dishwashing clothes every once in a while. She has directions in a blog post. This is practical for six pairs of jeans, and upteen t-shirts so I was so grateful the baking soda and vinegar experiment worked.

  14. So many wonderful photos this post! I love the thought of sending an aloe plant with Winter to school. As self-employed small business owners, I can second the fact that you have to be prepared for down times. A well-stocked pantry has made a huge difference for us as well. I always loved my Mom’s lemon meringue pies, and haven’t had one in years. I’ve been reading an ebook from the library, and have gathered eggs, kale, collards, and herbs. A street full of Model T’s, etc. must have been quite a sight to see. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/03/nice-movies-frugal-accomplishments.html

  15. Brandy, I love seeing the photos of your garden! In our area of the world, we’re still under a foot of snow, so being able to see your garden lets me feel a little closer to spring!

    Our Frugal Accomplishments for the week:

    * I delayed shopping last week and will go this week instead, which forced myself to use what we had on hand rather than buying something new.

    * I baked two loaves of bread: one, with caraway seeds, and the other was “pizza bread,” where I used the juice from canned tomatoes as part of the water for the loaf, some garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and stuffed it with a few slices of pepperoni and some cheese that needed to get used up before it went moldy.

    * I made taco seasoning from spices I had on hand instead of buying it. Because the spices are fresher, I can use less and also adjust the salt content.

    * I used leftover salsa, some eggs, some green onions I had chopped earlier in the week, and the last few corn tortillas from a package to make us breakfast one morning, which prevented food waste.

    * I have been making a homemade version of “Top The Tater,” and I think I finally have the recipe down. (For those interested: 1 c of sour cream, 2 tbsp dehydrated onion flakes, 2 tbsp dehydrated chives, 1 tbsp dried parsley, and 1/4-1/3 tsp salt. Mix well and refrigerate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.) It costs ~80c to make a batch, compared to ~ $2 store bought for the same amount.

    * We took our cat to the vet for a suspected constipation issue, and based on the vet’s findings from the initial examination, we opted to not have them take an x-ray at the time. Instead, the vet suggested supplementing her food with a bit of canned pumpkin (which I coincidentally happened to have 2 cans of sitting in the pantry) and continue to watch her. She seems fine as of yesterday, so I am glad we did not expose her to high energy radiation or spend money on an x-ray for something that could be accomplished with a tablespoon of pumpkin puree a day.

    * Speaking of the cat, I have been working with her to let me clip her nails more easily, so that we don’t have to pay someone else to do it. Primarily, this has been mostly working on encouraging her to sit still while I hold her paws, and she’s shown significant improvement. We have also been doing the same thing with getting brushed (surprisingly, she really does not enjoy being brushed, despite being long haired and thus subjected to brushing weekly). I also made a little bed for her on my desk by cutting out the side of a box, so both a side and the top are open. She’s not fond of enclosed spaces, but when there’s more room to exit, she loves boxes!

    * I saved veggie scraps (green onion ends and roots, onion peelings, carrot peelings, asparagus ends, tomato seeds, and garlic root ends) to make stock. Then, this week for my SO’s lunches, I cooked up some chicken thighs to make bbq chicken sliders, and I reserved the bones, skin, and cooking liquid. I used these and the veggie scraps (plus some more water and a few peppercorns and bay leaves) to make chicken stock, that I then froze for a future soup.

    * I cut some herbs from my indoor herb garden and used them in dishes and dehydrated some. My Thai Basil plant is very prolific, so I will need to find a use for them! (I wonder if it would be good muddled into an iced tea?)

    * I sprouted broccoli seeds for the greens for my lunches last week. They are delicious and much cheaper than buying sprouts from the store.

    Those were our frugal accomplishments for the week! I hope everyone else had a great week.

  16. Brandy, your words are such an inspiration. I love the pictures of the seedlings popping up.
    The snow is finally melting for the sugar peas to be planted in a week.
    We had a tree fell (due to over saturated soil – rain/snow this year) it crashed on a few sections of the new fence we put up this past fall. We could file a claim or buckle down on the finances until the end of the year. We are leaning towards the latter.
    Finally (for the time being) reached the end of my mending pile. That feels great.
    I have been loaned a few books to read for free entertainment. One is a recent bestseller – it feels funny to be a little current in conversation – with “yes, I am reading that.”
    Declined a party invite simply due to what is expected to be given for gifts. It is out of my price range, and a homemade gift would not be well received.
    Have a wonderful week everyone.

    1. Jenifer, it was wise and I am sure difficult to decline the party invitation simply due to the expectations of providing an expensive gift. Standing against peer pressure is never easy. Good job.

  17. The last two weeks are a bit of a blur. I was involved in a car accident which was not my fault. I have lost a bit of income, but my husband’s business is keeping him m0derately busy after a dry spell during the holidays. We continue to eat from our stores, although we’ve bought a few meals due to my healing process. I was able to find a lower insurance rate for his business, which will save us a substantial amount yearly with no coverage loss. I continue to research cost savings gs in every area of our lives, as does he. I was gifted two garbage bags of unused yarn and some sewing supplies. They will go into the craft supplies for future needs. I continue to work on a “stash busting’ afghan for a gift later. I’ve reviewed our ‘subscribe and save” order on Amazon and cut out some conveniences/nonessentials, and will check my seed stores for needs for the spring-no planting as yet due to the inundation of rain of late. Thanks to all of you for sharing your accomplishments! You are an inspiration!

  18. Continuing to save for my daughter’s wedding in November. I managed to add $370 this past week to the “wedding jar” for wedding-related expenses. I injured my back by week’s end so meals became more simple because my youngest daughter did most of the cooking.
    * made Cream of Celery soup using frozen celery that I got on sale and in season last year. I never froze celery before as slices for stir fries because I thought they might be too soft, and I was right. I won’t freeze them this year for that purpose but they do work well for making soup and adding to soup stocks or for mincing in the food processor for meatloaf. This year I’ll dehydrate more than freeze.
    * baked 3 loaves of toasting bread.
    * made Everything Bagels (my husband’s favourite) by topping them with a mixture of onion flakes, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
    * made a batch of homemade yogurt. Instead of making a coulis from frozen fruit, we just used home-canned jam to sweeten to taste.
    * made rice pudding using new-to-me Arborio rice. It thickened without the use of eggs and didn’t harden up after a couple of days in the fridge like the long grain rice seems too. I’ll purposely buy this rice again especially for this application.
    * made banana oatmeal muffins and iced coffee for a 3 hour-long road trip – one way. Also packed bagel sandwiches, mason jars filled with water and fresh fruit for the road trip back home later that evening. (It was a long day.)
    * transformed leftover Greek pasta salad into a casserole by adding spaghetti sauce and topped with cheese. The tomato sauce masked the vinegar in the original pasta marinade.
    * by week’s end, because I injured my back at that point, the daughter made dinner by reheating already prepared frozen meals that I always make to have on had: homemade tourtiere (French Canadian meat pie), chicken pot pie and pierogies.
    * on the expensive side, we had to replace a grease gun (and some of the accessories) for my husband’s transport truck. By him doing the greasing himself, it saves us $300 every 3 weeks instead of taking it to the shop. We’ll recoup the savings by the third greasing.
    * saved $37 off the hydro/water bill this past month by diligently closing lights when no one was in the room; using natural lighting; not running water unnecessarily; saving start-up water; doing laundry and baking during off-peak hours.
    My back is better so I’ll have more frugal savings this upcoming week. Cheers!

  19. That photo of the Studebaker takes me back. As a child, I happily rode in the family’s old Studebaker Hawk. When my dad was a kid, he rode in his family’s model T. With seven children in the family, I wonder how they all fit!
    I also had to contact Swagbucks about not receiving credit due from a survey, and got it, 2000 SB. I have to do this every so often. I have a little over $20 saved up, and plan to get a discounted $25 gift card soon.
    I’ve been using my cash-back credit card on groceries and gas as planned, to get the cash back, which I use as a credit on my statement. This time I credited my account with $60.00 of cash back. Then I pay off the remaining balance every month.
    I mentioned to my daughter that I needed to replace a ceiling light fixture. She had a spare one from a pack of two, and gave it to me. It’s nice to have family that is happy to swap things around with each other.
    The weather and trees cooperated and let me dry clothes outdoors. Since the pine pollen season is finally ending, I can enjoy air drying again. There’s no point in hanging out clean damp clothes just to have them covered in a layer of yellow pollen.
    I paid my electric and internet bills through my bank, at no cost to me; no account maintenance fee, no check cost, no stamp, no convenience fee for using a card.
    I dehydrated some extra celery bought on sale before it went soft.
    Because I am consistent in using local farmers, I often get freebies from them. I got a 2-gallon bag of delicious organic lettuces and herbs, and a pint of creamy goat yogurt recently. I shared the lettuces with some family, as my husband and I can’t eat that much salad that quickly.
    Brandy I hope your garden goes well this year. You are so faithful to stay with it, may it reward you with a great bounty!

  20. Brandy, it was a blast seeing all those cars being treasured and not trashed. Although, I can’t imagine the repairs being very frugal…but then again, there isn’t much that can go wrong. Hmmm.

    * This week was spent working on inside projects so my main frugal focus was sewing. More mending than I could list was accomplished plus I cut buttons and hooks from things that were on the way to the rag pile. I made enough kitchen rags from recycled fabric to last quite a while.

    * I bought a brand new pair of jeans from a thrift store that fit perfectly but had a bad spot on the backside. I think it was a factory flaw so the pants were donated unworn. I plan on removing the pocket and sliding it over an inch to cover the spot.

    * Tried on all of my clothes in the closet to see what needed to be repaired. Last year I bought almost nothing new because walking was so difficult. Now that I feel better, replacing items is a necessity.

    * Made a bed pillow from one of the cushions on our couch. We have bought new recliners for the living room because it will be more comfortable for Bill’s hip. They won’t be arriving for a few more weeks. I don’t know what to do with my couch. There is no room for it so it must go. The fabric on the back area (which was sitting in front of the window) has rotted away. I have a hole about two feet wide which is why we have kept a blanket over the back. I hate to donate something so ratty so I am thinking about remaking the cushions into pillows for the porch swing…or not. I might pull all the stuffing out and do something else.

    * The burning of the felled trees in my front yard has stopped because it won’t stop raining. I made a precarious trip to the Amish to buy fresh milk ($2.00 per gallon) while it was storming and have shared the pictures.



    1. Model Ts drink oil like it’s going out of style. That’s the big regular expense for them. There are repairs as well; they usually can’t go far without breaking down. I don’t own one, though, but getting to enjoy seeing them for free IS frugal!

      1. When my Father was alive he loved them and tinkered on them when he was young. They were a big step up from riding and feeding a horse, so it was a big improvement back then. If I ever have the opportunity, I would love to ride in one…a Model T, not a horse.

        1. I read about your trip through the rain! Somewhat hazardous –– glad you made it back all right!

          1. Ellie’s Friend, I am also glad I made it back home. It has finally stopped raining for a few days and it’s wonderful to see the sun shining again. I am ready for spring!

        2. Jeannie—
          If you ever travel up to Michigan, there is a fantastic outdoor museum which was started by Henry Ford called “Greenfield Village.” They have real authentic Model T’s that you can take a rude in—they are a blast! Though I do not believe I would enjoy making the 650 mike trip TO Michigan from my house in one of them!

  21. You’ve been busy, Brandy! How exciting to have a car show right outside your front door! Those photos are enjoyable – thank you for sharing.

    Belated Congratulations to Winter on her upcoming University adventure! I am sure she will do very well and I’m hoping you will share more of her sewing creations with us. She has a lot of talent and creativity and I am so excited that she will be using it in her career. Does she know where or what type of work she would like to do with her degree (theater, industry, her own company, etc)? I’m just curious but don’t feel you or she must answer that!

    Our frugal week was pretty boring – we are working on cleaning out excess, outgrown, and unneeded items during Lent this year, so we spent some time doing that as well as organizing. A parishioner gifted us a whole box of homemade dessert bars – delicious! Our daughter and I used items we already owned to work on a couple of fun, creative projects. Here’s the full list for last week: http://lea-intherefinersfire.blogspot.com/2019/03/frugal-friday-first-full-week-of-march.html

    Wishing everyone a wonderful week, Lea

  22. Worked another 20 hours this past week so that will help get me up to date on a few bills at the end of this month. I made sure to bring snacks and lunches from home but did treat myself to a couple of coffees. Enjoyed a pancake supper at the ESL class I teach – we wanted the students to experience pancakes & real maple syrup! Also enjoyed lunch courtesy of my church this past Sunday as it was our Annual Meeting.
    Bought a lot of frozen fruit on at a good price this week and accumulated a lot of Loyalty Points into the bargain – then used $20 worth of Loyalty points to pay for a good bit of the grocery shopping. Still didn’t buy any meat but did buy some frozen cod and shrimp – I want to start eating more fish and seafood, along with lots of veggies. These items aren’t cheap but I am also cutting portion sizes in order to lose some weight so I will make them last. I’m a bit tired of cooking after this long winter so there will be lots of salads in my future. I’m also moving back to 2 meals a day with a snack of fruit & cheese, which actually suits me better these days.
    Enjoyed a lovely day out on Friday courtesy of a friend – she has a membership to the museum with guest privileges and a new exhibit opened so she took me. She then treated for a lunch of Indian food – which really hit the spot as it was a cold walk from the museum to the restaurant. She treats every now and again as she doesn’t like to entertain at home and I often invite her over for lunch or supper at my home.
    Honestly Brandy – your children could be models – they are so photogenic – the baby is just adorable with the lemons (is that Hamish?) and the cars are amazing – I love the old ones!
    I envy you the spring weather – we have had a tiny thaw here and the sun is shining but with the wind it is still about Minus 8 Celsius here this morning so I’ll be wearing my parka for yet another day!
    Looking forward to all of this week’s comments.

  23. We practice frugality in most aspects of our lives so that we can spend on what matters, which happens to be travel. We’re on a week long family vacation in the Caribbean with my parents and kids. Instead of buying more toys at Christmas, we spend on experiences. We have chosen lucrative businesses and don’t go into debt to pay for these vacations. I also feel it makes me more productive at work as we spend a lot of time planning and strategizing while away without life distractions. We keep it frugal by packing light so no money for checked bags, pack snacks for the plane, and order sandwiches from the free room service to take back on the plane. We do “sink laundry” so we don’t pay for laundry while traveling. If we buy a souvenir, it’s some sort of artwork to display or clothing that will get regular use, no knickknacks. Before we left, I forced myself to finish leftovers instead of getting takeout. I made spaghetti squash for myself, frozen ravioli purchased on clearance, and old frozen spaghetti sauce, vegan blueberry muffins with hemp seeds (Aldi) to add protein, rice and black beans with random veggies, bean tacos, leftover vegetable drawer soup with a few bits of frozen pork. As soon as we return, we are having a first birthday party. I purchased and prepared some of the food before we left so I won’t be tempted/rushed when we return and have to buy catered food. I’m borrowing tables, chairs, crockpots and plates from my parents to save on paper products and will make cooking easier. I’m using a free audible trial to listen to my book club books, as they weren’t available in the timeframe needed at our library. I started using Instacart, which delivers from Aldi and Kroger. It has a $99 annual fee and small tip, but saves me from impulse buys and a lot of time in the grocery store. So far I’ve been pleased with it, and will have groceries delivered the morning we return from vacation, so less temptation to eat out. Eating out is one of our biggest struggles, so we battle to limit it each week and make it special, and not just because were exhausted and hungry.

  24. You have such a pretty family!!! I am putting in onion sets this next weekend as well as potatoes. I have already planted spinach, lettuce, and radishes. I am sure they are too early, but we will see. I saved extra seed, so I can resow if needed. I sorted through my linens and weeded out what goes in the garage sale planned for later this spring. I am also researching how to replace the washer fluid reservoir in my car so I can do it myself. I have saved a ton in gas and car maintenance and by not eating out since I stopped working my side job. Once all the expenditures were added it, it made no sense to keep working a job which required me to be on the road incurring extra gas/car expenses when I could find something that is a better fit for me at this season of life. My cell phone Mophie case quit working, and Mophie is sending me another one for free. All I had to do is register it when I bought it so the warranty will cover it.

  25. The kids in the antique car are so cute!

    This week, after trying several recipes, I tried this wheat bread, which I really like, https://www.modernhoney.com/best-homemade-one-hour-whole-wheat-bread/.

    Winco opened a store in Billings, MT (our big city). We go to the big city 3 or 4 times a year for work on a car, to shop at one of the big home stores or craft stores or to go out to eat or to the mall. Winco moved into a building that held a large K-Mart, before it closed. They had lots of loss leaders for their grand opening – 10 lbs of potatoes for 99 cents, Cheerios for 99 cents, and lots of others. I really like their bulk food section so you can buy the quantity you want. The store was packed but the employees were really hustling to keep the store stocked and to get the customers through the check out. I bought the items that had excellent prices – such as dried beans for 28 cents a pound, potatoes, gala apples for 48 cents a pound, and so on.

  26. Loved all of your pictures!
    (1) I found an Alaskan art greeting card I bought 25 years ago and matted and framed it for DDIL’s birthday for a total of $16. (Her birthday isn’t until May, but I struck while the iron was hot…and before I lost it again). It’s a WOW! The frame was 40% off at Michael’s and I had a 40% off coupon for the matte. DDIL lived in Juneau for a few years and will love this…especially when I tape an Amazon GC to the glass, LOL
    (2) Paid my bills online, saving time and postage.
    (3) I used $23.99 in Amazon CC points toward an Amazon order placed through your site.
    (4) I mended a pair of sweat pants for my friend Heather. She is big on mending and making do, especially when she can farm out the mending, LOL. I also re-sewed the binding on a very old blanket. It looks awful. The next time I wash it, I’m going to cut it in half and donate it to the Humane Society for dog bedding. I had planned to mend two holes in an older flannel sheet (I patched it last year, too) and decided the time had come to just give it up. (I have a hard time doing that). I’m going to have some great flannel rags!
    (5) I started seeds indoors for pansies. I’m a little late for this. Brandy, I also transplant seedlings rather than discarding the thinnings. It is snowing again right now, so it’s anybody’s guess when I’ll be able to plant them out.

    Hope everyone here is having a great week!

  27. My youngest daughter decided on the college she will go to in the fall. She has received a very nice scholarship. She is working on local scholarships now. Her and I went to help at a church fundraiser. We had a great time and came home with lots of leftovers. I froze some and we have been eating them all week. It was so nice not having to cook several days. We also brought home cans of beer and iced tea. MY parents came over one day. They live in another state so they brought stuff from my sister that lives near them. I sent items back with them as well as leftovers. Hubby and I are still cleaning out the basement. He hung some brackets that we had to get some piping and wood off the floor. We rearranged his 2 work benches so he has more room. I shopped sales, used coupon and did Ibotta after. I also used a $25 GC to Walmart that I earned from Swagbucks for some of our groceries. My full list is here: https://mcoia.blogspot.com/2019/03/my-frugal-list-week-of-march-4-2019.html?showComment=1552395552384#c6629471509162929506

  28. Great photos! Lovely Post Brandy.
    Frugal accomplishments this week include baking banana bread, planting seeds indoors, I made 2 birthday cards, trimmed my bangs, ate all food at home, worked 6 hours at my office job,
    I hosted a dinner and knitting evening at my home. I have never learned how to knit so I asked several accomplished knitters to teach me. We had a simple meal of tacos/taco salad and everyone contributed to the meal. One friend gifted me with some leftover yarn and some needles for me to practice.
    I made swag goal x7.
    I was able to redeem loyalty point on an extra bonus day; I cashed in $65 and used it for TP, peanut butter, coffee, hair colour, milk, OOP was $3.94 !
    I listed and sold items on local FB buy and sell and earned $30.
    Thank you Brandy for your inspiration and all the readers who comment!

  29. Your kids are beautiful, as is your photography!

    We also had a low key birthday celebration in our family this week for our little one, who is 3 now. We invited a few neighbors over to my mom’s and had a play date with a snack platter (veggies, fruit, hummus) and cake. We purchased the food we needed, and Mom generously hosted. She sprung for a few party decorations, and we had a nice get together.

    It’s becoming tough to eat organically (for health reasons) on our regular food budget, but we’re fortunate to find things at the food pantry that fit the bill. We volunteered to help with the food pick up at a local grocery store, and came away with four family packs of organic chicken thighs and breasts, as well as some organic fruits and veggies. I’m making plans to grow our own at the new house as much as possible, and this spring and summer we’ll do what we can in pots at the rental. I think the owner of the rental won’t object if we put a few things in the ground too, so we might add some blackberries or raspberries if we can get them for free from a friend.

    Here’s the rest of our savings for last week: https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2019/03/frugal-accomplishments-2nd-week-of-march.html

  30. Good luck with the preparations for Winter leaving for college. Sounds like you got a good deal on her housing. I hope the entire process goes smoothly.

    This year, I decided not to participate in the community garden, like I have for the past six years. I ended up having to leave partway through the summer last year due to stressful life and work circumstances. Although this is the right decision for me this year, I am missing it a little. I enjoyed the ritual of planning the garden and digging in the dirt, and the community aspect of it. I do container gardening at our condo, so that will have to suffice for now.

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – First, my frugal fail. I got food poisoning last week, so I ended up having some food waste. Luckily, I had things on hand to make a simple bland broth and rice soup for myself, which is the only thing I could stomach for a couple days.
    – Our water heater had acted strangely one day, so I had a tech come out and check it. Everything was fine, although it will probably have to be replaced in the next five years. The service fee wasn’t cheap, but it was worth it for the peace of mind.
    – Used a rewards certificate from a store to purchase a nice stainless steel water bottle for $1.10. The original price was $30 (it was also on sale).
    – Received the dividend from our REI credit card. We can either use this in the store, or have it paid out in cash (after a certain date).
    – Made a birthday card for my best friend. We have known each other for 20 years. For her 29th birthday (which was the first one we spent together), I made her Japanese style rice balls, and I cut the number “29” out of a piece of nori seaweed and stuck it to one of the rice balls. The card I made featured a paper cut out of a rice ball with the number “49” on it, cut out of black construction paper. 🙂
    – Found mini snacking peppers at our health food co-op for $2.50 for a one pound package, which is very inexpensive around here. I bought two packages. My husband will eat these (I enjoy hot peppers but despise any kind of sweet pepper, which is so odd). I will slice and freeze any that don’t get eaten.
    – A few weeks ago in a post, someone suggested the book “Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression”. I checked this out from the library, and am really enjoying it.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  31. Things we’ve done between February and this month (so far) to save money:

    -My husband and I needed a larger business office space so we decided to turn our eldest sons room into just that. He is no longer living at home, so we sold his bedroom suite and used some of that money to purchase a gently used Mahogany executive office set. The office set was owned by one person who no longer needed it. He paid $4100 for it, we bought it for $400 (delivered). That’s a HUGE savings!

    -Since we have Amazon Prime and can download and read nearly all the books we want, I cancelled our Kindle Unlimited Subscription, saving us $10/mo.

    -I had a floor company come to my house and give me an estimate to clean the tile and carpet ($550). After doing my own research I found a company I could buy the cleaning products (for $100) from and opted to clean the floors myself. Their products work great and I saved money.

    -I’ve been good about turning off the lights and only washing large loads of laundry and only using the heat and AC as needed. We had a $26 drop in our electric bill.

    -I cancelled my Sirius XM subscription for a $19/mo savings.

    -We had a yard sale. We’re using that money to attend our youngest sons baseball games. No more visits to the ATM on the way to the games. We’re also using this money to purchase eggs from a local farm. The eggs are cheaper than store bought and they’re organic.

    -My husband cut his and our youngest sons hair for a total savings of $30.

    -I trimmed my own hair which saved us $25.

    -I took my car to the dealership for a tire balance and alignment. I got the tire balance and alignment, but I also got an oil change because they got my order confused with someone else who has a car similar to mine. They didn’t charge me for the oil change, saving me $45. The same dealership gives every 4th oil change for free, so my husbands car got a free oil change the very same day. Another $45 savings!

    -Our local grocery store had a great sale, so I was able to buy chicken for .49 cents per pound and ground beef for $1.59 per pound. A lot of their fresh produce was also on sale for less than .60 cents per pound. We scored big savings on stocking up!

  32. We had a large yard sale and made over $400. The items were accumulated over the years of child raising, now that our kids are off on their own, we are downsizing. It was quite nostalgic to go through a lot of it. Many things reminded me of times when finances were VERY tight. My kids teased me about how much I’d held onto. But part of the reason we could make it on a small budget was because I reused/repurposed everything. And they still know today not to buy something they need until they’ve checked what I have stored away!
    I donated what didn’t sell. I have sent some things on to my kids. I have asked if any of them wanted anything that had been theirs or that they had all used.
    My daughter (our youngest and the only one who still has stuff at home) and I packed her closet. She made a pile of clothes that need alterations, and passed 3 items to me. She didn’t want a knit dress that she had worn for band in jr high. I cut the skirt of it off and will make a maxi skirt for myself.
    I donated baby items and hand knit blankets to Pregnancy Care center. I sent an outgrown robe to my niece (after asking her) and gave alfalfa pellets for the garden to a friend. She is lending me her shredder.
    I’ve sold on eBay and Craigslist. It feels good to send the extra stuff out to someone who needed it.
    I’ve made a pile of things to take with me that I have specific plans for repurposing. And I have had enormous satisfaction in cleaning some long neglected items and restoring them to beauty and usefulness.

  33. I had a colonoscopy yesterday that I had postponed for over a decade after I had reached the recommended age because of making a Mt. Everest-sized mountain out of a molehill. The doctor also ordered an EGD so I was scoped from both ends. I was so, so very afraid I wouldn’t wake up from the sedation (my first) or that the doctor would make a huge mistake that would leave me hospitalised. I tried to make sure my mom would have care while my sister traveled from far out of state to take over if there were complications. I actually recorded a short video as an attempt to substitute for my non-existant last will and testament–and completed and witnessed an advance medical directive over the weekend. The GI doctor’s nurse had gifted me with a sample of SUPREP, something that would cost over $100 at the pharmacy. I didn’t mind its taste and made sure I had room in my stomach for 48 ounces of liquid before I started chugging it and the quart of water that needed to be downed within the same hour, twice. I have a huge gag reflex and feared the gizmo put into my mouth to keep my teeth and tongue out of the way of the camera. It turned out to be a tube just over one inch in diameter and less than an inch thick to bite on, no gagging at all, at least while I was conscious. I had a bit of a sore throat when I woke up, feeling clear-headed and very relieved. *** If you have been postponing this test because of your fears of it or the cleanse, try to get brave. Most likely, you’ll find it to be a far easier procedure than others you have routinely had.*** I had one not-at-all-big polyp removed yesterday that could have progressed into colon cancer. So now I’m on the five-year plan which I’m not dreading. And I so appreciate our neighbors, one accompanied me to and from the test and her daughter stopped by after she had dropped her own daughter off at school for a long visit with mom (my mom was her maid of honor years ago) so mom only had to granny-sit herself for 90 minutes.

    Spring has been a long time coming, but yesterday I saw two families of geese.heading north, one at a high altitude with a destination quite a bit north of here, and the other at an altitude where they obviously were looking for their favorite nesting site beside one of our many lakes. The crows are back too. And a bluebird was on our deck’s post surveying his or her domain.

    I was talking myself into buying herb plants but am now going back to plan one, attempting to start them from already.purchased seeds. I will be buying two small African violet plants at a nearby nursery, about the same cost as a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store. But.they should provide blooms on the table for years, not a week or ten days.

    I moved the buttons and buckles over on a kilt for my mom so she has another wool skirt to wear. If the overlap turns out to be too small to wear the.skirt out of the house, I will add a four-inch band of black lining material to the side of the skirt. We have another currently-too-small Pendleton wool skirt to modify for her but it involves cutting a new waistband from the hemline and then re-hem it and the lining. It is good she is short.

    1. Holly, I too was very scared to have surgery my first time around. But it was for good reason. My father had a surgery to remove a section of his esophagus where pre-cancerous cells were found. Something unexpected happened during surgery and he died on the table. It was supposed to be a preventative surgery, though much more complex than a scope. My grandfather also passed away from complications either during or shortly after a surgery, but from a pre-existing heart problem that was compounded by the stress of the surgery. My first kitten I adopted as an adult died from an asthma attach during her spay (she was 6 months old) and we lost an older dog who died suddenly after having anesthetic for a dental procedure. So when I was preparing for my gastric by-pass surgery, they sensed I was quite nervous. When I explained why, they totally understood my concerns. Having anesthesia and medical procedures done does not come without risk! I firmly believe it should not stop anyone from having a necessary medical procedures done. But I know every time I wake up from a surgery, I breath a huge sigh of relief, too!

  34. It was so lovely to see the pictures of your flowers, when we are still buried in snow. And your private car show looks like a lot of fun!
    We had another foot and a half of snow – heavy wet stuff. This will go a long way toward catching us up on our annual water needs and refilling the local lakes, which were way down due to the summer’s drought. The weather has induced us to stay home more, though we did attend a lovely wedding Friday evening and the reception on Saturday evening.
    My husband requested cookies so I made peanut-butter oatmeal cookies, plus homemade granola and sandwich bread.
    I planted some flower seeds under the grow lights in my spare room. The broccoli and chard I planted last month are doing well. I’m hoping in a few more weeks to move them into the greenhouse.
    One morning when it wasn’t snowing I was able to get enough compost from my pile to top off my greenhouse beds. I had to posthole through snow to get to the pile, and then hack through a couple of inches of frozen compost to get to the center, which was warm enough to stay thawed and had some lovely black compost. The greenhouse is getting warmer and in a couple of weeks I should be able to put my transplants in there, as well as plant peas, arugula and carrots in the beds. It felt so good to get out and do a little gardening. I also spread wildflower seeds all across the mushy snow atop our septic system. More snow covered it that afternoon, but once it melts it should give the flowers a good start.
    I made two potholders from scrap fabric. I made a new dog bed from a fabric remnant I purchased and other materials I had on hand.

  35. • After several weeks of failing health from late stage dementia, my sister passed away. I spent several days before and after making arrangements and contacting our few relatives all around the continent. She did not want a service, so there was no travel involved. It is very sad, of course, because she was quite young, though much less of a shock than when she was first deteriorating and hospitalized just before Christmas 2017 and going into long-term care.
    • I have been finding it comforting to keep to my regular routine.
    • On Tuesday I bought the month’s groceries at 10% off. (That’s available the first Tuesday of the month.) There weren’t too many specials, except a couple of whole chickens at their best price. I am focusing on healthy eating and less prep time at the moment, to give myself more time for other projects. There was lots of fresh produce at reasonable prices for this part of the world. There won’t be fresh local vegetables for several months yet, but it must be spring somewhere.
    • I got my hair cut at the next town over. I save by not getting this done very often! The price has gone down by $5. That town has been very hard hit by the financial downturn in the province I live in, so I guess they have made some changes to prices to keep people coming.
    • I have set a project for Lent to get the inside of my house thoroughly clean and organized, so I have been working at that. After Easter, I should be able to get going on work outside, so it will be nice to have inside taken care of.
    • I have done my taxes, which left me owing several hundred dollars less than my rough estimate in November. Less income than I expected, sadly.
    • This week temperatures have finally got above freezing so the snow we have had since the beginning of October will start to melt. That is a very big relief for everyone.

    1. I just lost my sweet sister to cancer a month ago. It still hurts so bad. Sisters are one of life’s greatest blessings and she has left a big hole in my life also. However, I am grateful she is out of pain.

      1. Thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts.

        Elaine, I am very sorry to hear about your sister. All my best for you.

  36. The husband and I took a look at our life and home overall. We decided to take inventory of all items in our house, mainly food, toiletries, cleaning supplies and gift closet. We made a commitment to use what we had and not be wasteful. This included eating out of our freezer and making do with what we had. I also started a list of things that we are almost out of that we will need. Took inventory of gift cards that we have and are trying to use. Made a birthday gift for a cousin’s daughter using items we had on hand. Accepted several leftovers of food from a dinner party my mom had. I also have started using public transportation to cut down on fuel costs from driving. I get a transit voucher from my job, so it is a big saver. I also order the amazon fire stick using amazon points that we have. Love it! Am going to call and cancel cable channels. This alone will save us several hundred dollars a month. Redeemed swaybacks for $75 worth of target gift cards. Also contact Amazon and asked for and was given a refund for a christmas present that I ordered and was never delivered.

    1. Peggy,
      I was wondering how you like the Amazon stick? I have a Roku and was getting Hulu Live. It just went up to $44.99 a month, so I canceled it. Do any channels come with it? Beside Prime?

  37. As usual , life continues to bring many unexpected situations . The only plans that seem to work for me are my backup plans. I guess it’s a good thing I always have time to reflect on life and have several alternatives in place . With blessings and patience Brandy inspires me each week. My son will eventually be returning home from the military due to an injury. His spirits are crushed but we don’t have time to be sad. I also am rushing to file the FAFSA and get his fall registration set up. To say the expenses weren’t planned for is an understatement. Mainly, I have few answers so I am planning as best as possible. He has benefits supposedly , but who knows what they are. He will need a car so I have requested help from a close childhood friend. He has contacts and I am hopeful to find something reliable and inexpensive . College girl leaves for medical school in the fall and has had a ton of issues. I find that her patience is remarkable and she appears well trained to find the least expensive options to these unexpected issues. I am a proud momma here. It’s odd to find this age of parenting so complicated. Meanwhile the couple of projects I had planned will be set aside while we make sure they resettle back into their college life. Being poor is just an everyday part of life . It’s not even noticeable anymore. I took sugar cookie and her friend to the movies with our free movie tickets from redeeming our scavaged coke caps. Those 3 free tickets and free concessions would have come to over a hundred dollars for the three of us had I paid cash out of pocket. That’s unbelievable. We used free sandwich coupons from Arby’s to have a cheap lunch out. Our drinks were $ 2.18 . While traveling out and about, I saw gas for 30 cents less and stopped and filled my car up. Prices are creeping up once again. I used an Amazon credit of 10.00 for downloading an app to buy baby Henry a case of size 4 diapers for $16.00 . The three month old should have enough to last him for his first year. I found him 12 summer outfits for roughly $10.00 . I started to buy a new purse but at the register, I asked the cashier to return it to stock. While at the thrift store, I found one and loved it . $2.59 was just perfect. I am still working on collecting my $125.00 in missing swagbucks. I have repeatedly sent them screenshots and they just keep asking for them over and over. It’s extremely frustrating. On the other hand , I spend maybe 5 minutes items a day on you.gov doing a survey and have just redeemed my first 50.00 giftcard. It took 8 weeks. In my settings there was a question asking me how frequently I wanted surveys, I checked daily. I recommend them, it is so little effort. My 45.00 promotion for Sam’s club didn’t go through. For my trouble they gave me 45.00 off my first order in the store. I was told when the offer loaded to my account in 72 hours I could use my card and I would be able to utilize the original 45.00 discount for a second order for all my inconvenience. We will see ! It’s lovely here. Sunny, pollen everywhere and runny noses. For anyone having a smooth life, I’m happy you’re blessed. For those struggling , please know you are not alone. Anyone remember the game at Chuck e cheese where you use a hammer to pound a groundhog(?) when he pops his head up. That’s me , trying to avoid the wacks. Wack a mole !!!

    1. Lillianna, what is the survey site you are using and recommend? It appeared to be you.gov but when I typed that in nothing came up. I like to do these surveys too for a little extra cash in my retirement. I am always inspired by your upbeat attitude. Blessings.

  38. The weather her is still in the 30s and low 40s, so I am putting off starting seeds. There hasn’t been much sun so I think they would just go leggy. We have the green house, but only a smaller heater. Holding off means I don’t have to run the heater and hopefully i will end up with healthier plants when they do come in. I am planning on kale, spinach and herbs to start, peas too. Peas will be a first so we’ll see.

    I canned asparagus at the lowest price of the year, .99 a pound. Seeing the filled jars motivated me to clean the pantry and organize my empty jars. To my surprise, I have 5 doz jars. I didn’t realize I had collected so many over the last couple of years. I shouldn’t have to buy any for the next few canning events. With the left over asparagus ends I made an asparagus casserole. Everyone liked it so it will be on the menu again. I also made a few scratch items – chocolate pudding, bread, and pizza dough.

    I did some bulk shopping so I can stay out of the store for a while. I am becoming more diligent and creative with what’s on hand. I am also okay with it if it’s not what everyone really had in mind for dinner.

    Looking forward to reading everyone’s posts this week.

  39. Thanks for your encouragement to say “Not this year”. We are redoing our roof and will need to say that quite a bit this year. Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were spaghetti with garlic bread, salad topped with leftover roasted chicken, soup made with leftover chicken, tomato paste, pasta, potatoes and green beans, fish tacos with lemon crema.
    *Our son-in-law came over and helped my husband finish painting our hallway and laundry room.
    *Left my foundation bottle upside down on the counter and between that and the help of a Q-tip, was able to use the bottle for an extra week!
    *Hubby changed our filters. We had bought a year’s supply on special, so no trip to the store.
    *Colored my hair using only half of the mixture since I was only doing the roots.
    *Saved over $600 on a new washer/dryer with sales and employee discount. Doing our best to make a big purchase as frugal as possible. Also paid with our credit card to earn points. We will pay it off as soon as the bill comes.
    *Made chicken stock in the crockpot using chicken bones, onions scraps and carrot ends.
    *Celebrated my birthday with family and received practical gifts that I asked for: a ceramic curling iron, a welcome mat, kitchen towels and dishcloths, picture frames, a Welcome flag, a cast-iron Dutch oven. I was able to take home leftover paper products and cake from the party. I am blessed!
    *Went apartment hunting with my son for his full-year of grad school. While in the town where his university is, we visited the Sharp Shopper (a discount grocery store) and stocked up on groceries at great prices.
    *My boss bought my lunch at work one day. He also brought in donuts another day and sent the leftovers home with me.
    *My hubby helped me transplant daffodils from the wooded area behind our house to our front flower bed. They look great!
    *Was able to give towards a food drive for a young family that is going though a hard time using food from our pantry.
    Hoping spring is here to stay !

    1. I love Sharp Shopper! Is your son going to graduate school at James Madison University in Harrisonburg? We lived in the Harrisonburg area just for the summer last year when we worked at Shenandoah National Park. I miss those great Sharp Shopper prices.

      1. Yes! He did his undergrad at JMU and then took a year off. His return will give me a good reason to visit the Sharp Shopper more often! And Harrisonburg is a beautiful area, too!

  40. The white snapdragons and snow drops (I think the cover photo is?) are truly lovely. They are forcing me to slow down and look at them, and direct my thoughts in a more positive direction on what has been a trying day.
    When we moved into this house, the front was planted with blue ajuga (bugleweed) groundcover, lavender blooming hostas, and white lily of the valley, too many plants for me to dig out. Thus, the white garden I want became a blue-and-purple-and-white-and-silver-and little bit of yellow garden, with lots of green of course. The squirrels rebelled by planting one solitary gorgeous pale peach tulip, which I left for contrast. This way, I can leave the purple and white violets that volunteer as well, and have added herbs that are usually blue or white in bloom, white bulbs, and purple irises. Other colors are in the back yard.
    It is time for the crocuses to be coming up in front, (appropriate yellow-purple-white-blue colors), as they have always appeared during spring break week. Perhaps they are a little bit confused and slow this season from all the snow and deeper cold.
    I had medical tests to be done at the hospital walk-in lab, and when I called to confirm it did the work, I asked if there was any time of day when it was less likely to be busy. The technician gave her best guess, (either right when they opened at six am, or after four, as the last hospital patient lab work was scheduled for three). I got in at four with almost no wait, which I appreciated. Unfortunately, my current reading is Tom Clancy/Jack Ryan novels, which are about the size of shoe boxes. I learned a bit about international affairs while reading my huge book in my short wait.
    Financial matters remain consistent with low-spending here. I made a chocolate cake mix from December of 2016 today and didn’t have any ill effects from licking the spatula, so I’ll consider that one safe, though I don’t think it rose as much as it should have.

    1. I had 4 cake mixes here from 2015…which I forgot about in all the hussle-bussle of life. The daughters made cupcakes out of 2 of them and they worked out just fine. I’m glad, as I hate to throw out food.

      1. When I have had an old cake mix that I am afraid won’t rise to use up, I mix it up and make it as individual cake/waffles on a waffle iron. Served warm they are a good dessert, but even better with whip cream or ice cream. (Who am I kidding, I would eat cardboard if it were topped with whip cream or ice cream. I was watching an interview with Al Roker, the NBC Today Show weather man. He is following some sort of low carb diet so when he wants dessert, he asks for a bowl of whip cream sweetened with something like Splenda. That would be me…)

  41. My dad always likes lemon meringue pie for his birthday, too. “Car show” looks like fun! This past week
    – I bought three pairs of shoes at the closeout prices at our local Payless Shoes.
    – Our living room wall clock quit working, even after replacing the batteries. I reminded DH that he had purchased a clock at a county fair type event, which we had no place to put at the time. He retrieved it from the storage room and put up the “new” clock.
    – All leftovers for the week got eaten! (Still working on the family for this one …) Included sloppy joes, shrimp pilau (for Mardi Gras day) that used a can of diced tomatoes from the pantry that needed using, and a hamburger and bean crockpot recipe from my dad.
    — Received an apple and a banana from a meeting at work. Otherwise, we’re still eating mostly fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) we picked last summer and froze.
    — Bought a Groupon for a scenic river cruise this summer, as DH had indicated last summer he’d be interested in something like this. Went through ebates for cash-back credit and used a sale code to further reduce the price.
    — Also placed online orders with a couple of catalogs for spring/summer clothing. I made a list of all my “wants,” then waited a few days to narrow down to “needs.” Also used online cash-back shopping portals (upromise.com) and coupon codes found on retailmenot.com to further reduce prices. I check evreward.com before placing an online order with a retailer; it usually tells you which sites are offering higher percentages of cash back or points. (Although it apparently hadn’t been updated on the percentage ebates was offering for one of the catalog sites; when I input that into ebates, it listed a percentage of three percent less — which is why I went with Upromise. Generally, though, I’ve found evreward.com to be pretty accurate.)

  42. My last week was a blur! My husband and I ended up working many, many paid hours with the kids, plus quite a few hours of “Auntie and Uncle” time as well (meaning non-paid hours which we are happy to do–it just takes time obviously). It was always planned for us to work extra as they were working extra, and had extra appointments. We want to build up extra hours, anyway, as they are leaving on a vacation later in the month. BUT, we did not anticipate my nephew having such a hard time with his dental surgery (7 teeth pulled, he ended up with an infection, needed lot and lots of care from everyone), my niece needing to be completely out of that picture for 3 days since her autism causes her to not handle him crying (we took her home), or several other little surprises that life sent our way.

    To stay frugal and just survive, we cooked and ate over there a few nights. We’ve been there early, and stayed late. I cleaned their fridges and made a plan for the food that was in there, and combined it with our food, saving money for everyone. I took my niece to the YMCA swimming pool to keep her occupied while she was staying with us. Rob took her out to lunch at Costco. She loves the hot dogs there. We watched a library movie she had chosen. He had the girls help him clean out the van and they took it to one of those places where you can vacuum cars out, and did that. It’s a stretch for her to be somewhere else than home. We did pretty good at distracting her, I think, and it cost very little. Rob also took the girls to the movies, and he got in free because the theaters let a personal support worker in for free with disabled kids. Our daughter had a gift card from Christmas, so she used that. I was thrilled to have 2 hours at home alone. Home was not a good place for her, since she can’t handle too much commotion, and my nephew was crying constantly for the entire weekend. No one got much sleep over there. He literally kept them up for the entire weekend, except for snatches of sleep now and then. He is on the mend now, on his second set of antibiotics.

    I have to say, I’ve been pretty busy. There are very few pictures on my blog this week, and none as lovely as those flowers, Brandy:). One thing I did do was put up the recipe for gluten-free deep dish pizza crust. I’ve been wanting to get to that for a few weeks. I also sewed a tiny bit on my quilt. At this rate, it won’t be finished any time soon, but every little bit helps. What I did document is here: http://beckyathome.com
    I really love snowdrops and snapdragons. Snowdrops and daffodils and crocus are blooming around here, but it will be quite a while before the snapdragons bloom.

    1. Snapdragons bloom in the winter here! The snowdrops are summer snowdrops; they bloom in June in colder climates.

    2. Becky, there isn’t anyplace here (that I know of) that gives free or even discounted admissions to folks that accompany people with disabilities to events. What’s more–and this one really chaps me–no one gives disabled folks a discount. So, if we take our daughter to a movie, she pays full adult price when we get the senior discount. Her income is a fraction of ours.. There are some places that we take her ONLY because we are going and can’t leave her, and she isn’t even interested in the event.

      Since I am on the topic, kudos to the US government for its Golden Access pass for people with disabilities. Not only does my daughter receive free admission to national parks, etc., but so does everyone else in the car. And, if we’re camping in a National Forest or BLM site, or launching a boat at federal facilities (such as Corps of Engineers) , there is a 50% discount on user fees. This is a such an impetus to take disabled folks to places that really enrich their lives.

      1. Maxine,
        We are really blessed in the things we can do with our niece for a low price. Along with the movie ticket for PSW’s, the YMCA has allowed us to put her on our membership and my husband takes her to the pool every Tuesday and Thursday. There is also a bowling alley near her home that gives reduced bowling for disabled people on Mondays, at least. She goes almost every Monday with a friend or two, depending on who is available. (They may offer the discount other times, I don’t know–Monday is when she goes.). Whoever goes with her usually just chats with the other ladies who brought their young adults, so it costs nothing for us.

        I will have to look in to the Golden Access Pass. Right now, we have the camping pass for the State Parks, because we still have one adopted-through-the-state child still at home. We often take our special-needs nephew with us when we camp, but our niece won’t go. She has a hard time with new things, and resists them, so we can’t get her to even try it. I do think she would do a picnic, or a day trip, so that’s when I would use the other pass if we could get one. Thanks for the tip!

      2. Maxine, I’m not sure if you have Easter Seals in the U.S., but I have an “Access 2 Entertainment” card through them here in Canada. It allows one support person to get in for free with the card to the places that are listed with them. For our area, that includes Cineplex movie theatres. Without this card, they will not give the free admission. Most museums/attractions here in Ontario offer free admission to support people, without needing this card. Attractions like Canada’s Wonderland don’t offer free admission, but do give special passes so we can enter rides through the exit line, avoiding having to wait in long line-ups (sometimes they may give you a time to come back at). I know most of you have not been to Canada’s Wonderland, but wait times there can be as long an hour or more! This is not widely advertised, most likely to avoid people abusing this accommodation. Whenever we travel, even in the U.S., we always ask if they offer special services for special needs. When we went to Universal Studios in California, they gave us a free pass to use the “fast line”, so we didn’t have to wait in long lines. Anyone visiting can get a pass for the “fast line”, but they have to pay an additional fee to get this privilege.
        In my experience, it is best to ask guest services to find out if they offer any accommodations for people with special needs. The front line workers don’t always know, or are hesitant to give free admission, because they may not have the authority to do so, or are cautious about people scamming them.

  43. This a about a month update…
    A suicidal deer rammed the side of my husband’s brand new to us truck. We haven’t even made a payment on it and this is the 2nd time this door will have to be replaced (the dealer damaged it and replaced it before delivery to us). Debating whether the truck is cursed.
    Husband bought me a new computer as mine was having major issues.
    The mortgage company finally caught up and “found” our 2 payments that went missing when the loan was sold. As a result, they returned the late charges for the last 5 months and are sending me an accounting of the credited account. I will be doing the math to ensure the amount was credited appropriately.
    Finished 2 play quilts for my new nephew. Did the mending. Sewed 4 more reversible aprons – 2 are for gifts. I will make some more out of my stash to fill up my hostess gift pile. Cut down some curtains to windowsill length so I can make a matching valence and/or café shade for the door
    Used a Christmas gift certificate for 2 massages and a facial.
    Have had a series of medical appointments with several more still to go. So far nothing catastrophic has been found. I do have to have a skin cancer removed next week though.
    My mother has gone back home so the electric and water bills should go back down to reasonable.
    After the massive pantry restock at the beginning of the month, I haven’t been back to the grocery store and probably won’t for at least another week.
    Tonight, I am attending a musical in the city with my colleagues. We bought season tickets with a teacher discount and an early bird discount and chose a weeknight to get a better rice. We will go out to dinner too, but several colleagues have coupons that we will share across the table.

  44. Lovely pictures, as always. It looks like your children really enjoyed the “car show.” I know I would have! So fun seeing those older vehicles being maintained & driven.

    We are going on vacation later this week. Like Susan mentioned above, we too tend to be frugal in many aspects of our lives so we can spend more in other areas on things we enjoy. This is relatively new for us – for many years, extreme frugality was a necessity. We have both been in our jobs 20+ years and worked our way up, so it is nice to see things finally paying off. We are working hard to pay off all of our debts and have our home paid off within 2 years. This past week we both brought all of our lunches & snacks to work with us. We cooked most meals at home our of our pantry & freezer stock. I felt like I needed a haircut, but instead opted only for a neck trim (I have an angled bob that comes up close to the nape in the back), which was a no-charge service (I did tip of course). That enables me to go another 4-6 weeks before another cut. We do have a vet expense coming up – we brought in an outdoor cat and she has a vet appointment tomorrow for vaccinations & tests before we can introduce her to our house cats. She’s been in “quarantine” in our dining room for several days now. I’ve been feeding her on our back patio for at least 2 years now, and we know she was someone’s indoor pet at some point – she had a collar at one point, and she’s litterbox trained & very well-mannered. She’s friendly but very, very cautious, and it’s taken me this long to get her to the point of letting me occasionally pet her. Last week we had some single digit wind chills, so while feeding her one morning she came up next to me, and I just picked her up & brought her inside. She’s very sweet and purrs like crazy, has adjusted very well to indoor life, so we’re hoping all goes well at the vet tomorrow.

  45. I love your blog and all the pictures you post of your family, garden, and now cars! You are an excellent photographer. It is 71 degrees here in Cincinnati today and my crocus popped up overnight. I took a picture to document since the deer will probably eat it tonight. Daffodils and tulips coming up too. The deer are already munching on the tulip leaves but leave the daffodils alone:)
    I came in $50 under budget for my groceries last week. Since I started reading your blog and others like it I set a grocery budget. I keep a running total in my head. I got chicken thighs for 77 cents a pound and bought 2 large packages that will give us 3 meals for the 5 of us and several lunches. I made turkey stock from thanksgiving carcass and used 3 chicken thighs and potatoes to make chicken soup. Froze the extra turkey stock. I wish I could freeze more but only have the freezer in my fridge. Received a $20 coupon from Burt’s Bees because their healing hand cream stung my hands and I couldn’t use it. It pays to call customer service. I needed one more gallon of paint for my daughter’s room and checked on line before I went to the store finding a 30% off saving over $9 for 2 minutes of internet work. I was gifted a dozen Amish donuts and froze most of them to use as needed for snacks. Used a coupon for a $5 meal at our local restaurant where we go every Monday with our young adults with special needs dinner club. Lots of cooking and baking at home. Happy frugaling

  46. I love snapdragons! We had a bountiful week where lots of things are coming together. Thankful for all. Blessings are sometimes hidden behind the clouds and this week I saw them peek through. It’s been a long journey and I am happy for encouragement.

    This week I received a bill for the disconnected wifi that we are able to switch due to being able to use our iPhone hot spots for internet now that we have unlimited data. I spoke with the representative and, after a lengthy conversation, she was able to have my account zeroed out by her manager. I so appreciated her efforts as I was settling in to solve this. Although I did not save any money since it was as a wrong charge and I didn’t owe any, it was good to get it cleared up to avoid future troubles.

    I suggested a pizza party for some students and offered to cover the cost of a pie, another teacher decided to pay for the entire party. We did something great and had yummy food at no cost to me. I was very grateful.

    Carefully made sure that nothing was wasted in our house this week. It is an effort, but is beginning to pay off. We are also Continuing to sort and donate anything too large as we lose weight. I just went through the clothing yet again this past weekend. Struggling with the last of the weight, but determined!

    I actually went food shopping for more than milk and a few items, and found several sales. Bananas were packaged for reduced sale and I bought them to freeze for smoothies. I also found unsweetened almond milk greatly reduced and bought all 6 containers for smoothies. Perfect!

    It has warmed up to reasonable (rather than arctic) winter temperatures, so I gave begun to burn the “bad” wood to heat the cabin. This wood doesn’t burn as hot and requires drying out before using (meaning it takes forethought and planning, but I have the time). It is plentiful as we clean the yard…and the yard gets cleaned up. We can mow it for the first time this summer. So excited!

    Every month gets a bit better. So thankful. Happy frugal-ing friends, Trish

  47. Thanks for weekly post!
    if you would care to share, what cleaning supplies etc you put together for your eldest, i would really appreciate that. i have daughter a bit younger than she is. also, about the coat – if she is 17 and made it 2 years ago – WOW!

    1. You can go back and see what she made a few years ago as well in other sewing posts.

      Here are the cleaning supplies I am putting/have put together for her: squeegee for Ikea for cleaning bathroom mirror and windows, cleaning rags from our supplies (Sam’s Club’s washcloths and bar towels), these spray bottles: https://amzn.to/2T2jVOh (one for vinegar for cleaning bathrooms and the other two for laundry spray, one being Oxi-Clean stain remover and the other for hydrogen peroxide), and an old ice cream bucket. I am also giving her dish soap. A drop or two of dish soap in a bucket with water will wash windows with a rag and the squeegee will have them clean, and soap, water, and a rag are perfect for counters. Vinegar and water for the toilet. I included one bottle of The Works shower cleaner and one of The Works toilet bowl cleaner (both from the Dollar Tree; those are what I use) and an inexpensive toilet bowl brush. I gave her some blue Scotch-Brite pads for washing pans; they also work well for cleaning the top of the stove with dish soap and water.

  48. I made quiche, “sub” sandwiches, cookies and prepped veggies for the week. I used up the last of plain yogurt to make smoothie-type homemade popsicles. I cooked at home every meal except one- the kids had friends over (10 teens total) and I got 3 take-and-bake pizzas (with coupons) for $37, cut up fruit and made a salad. We had leftovers for lunch the next day. Years ago, I would have ordered delivery (for between $60-80). I continue to find gently used items for my business (which opens next month), and have stayed under budget getting ready for this. My aunt said she would help me with business financials (for free!), she is an accomplished financial analyst. This is a huge relief to me and such a gift! I have stayed under budget, using no credit, for 1.5 full years now as a single mom on a much smaller income (while still in my large house from prior to my husband leaving). We live simply and I save wherever I can, allowing me to keep this house for 4-5 more years while all 7 kids are living at home still, which gives us ample space and enough room for kids to have spaces to study, etc- especially important now as my oldest just got accepted into a competitive nursing program nearby! Out of 540 applicants she was one of 52 spots!

  49. Brandy, I really like when you have lots of pictures on your blog. Is the Poor Relations series you are reading the one that is about the hotel? Have you finished off the Hamish Macbeth series? I just finished book 8 and am glad you recommended them. I discovered a new to me author, D. E. Stevenson. So far I have read the 4 books in the MISS BUNCLE series and CELIA’S HOUSE. Very very good, sweet books.

    We have had a lot going on here, too much sometimes. My nephew Caleb, who is my husband’s business partner, and his wife Katieanna had a son born early. This is their first, there were some complications but he is out of hospital. He remains on an apnea monitor. They named him Christian Ewald after the grandfathers. Ladies from the family and from church had been taking turns daily helping Katieanna with chores and taking care of herself (she had the Csection) and now helping with the baby. Just recently a single aunt of hers was able to rearrange her schedule and is now living with them for as long as they need. Everything seems to be going as the doctors hope.

    We did all the usual of cooking and eating at home, packing lunches and snacks for work, using up leftovers, composting, recycling, mending. Stopped at the thrift store and found 2 flannel shirts and 3 waffle weave long underwear tops. These are all for my husband. The long underwear was all still in wrappers…they had a whole bin full. He likes to wear the 2 together when he is working in the shop.

    We have had the empty nest since late August when my youngest moved away for her yearlong teaching position in that 2 room school. She is doing well with the older couple she is boarding with. She liked the family she lived with the year before but I think she prefers the more quiet life on her off hours with the grandparent-like couple. We have not had my husband’s brother living with us as with both of us working full time he wouldn’t get the attention he needs. But now that Susie, his youngest sister is married and has a house she has taken her turn and he is really enjoying his 3 months with them and their little boy Henry. But, good news, Olivia will be moving back home at the end of the school year. They want to keep her but a position has opened at our own church school and of course she was offered it. She will teach in the grade school and also German as she is doing now.

    We have had quite the winter with 3 days of the -45 F windchills. Schools and businesses were closed. We do not have to make up those days, but we do have a couple snow days to make up. We had a slow start to the snow, but when it started it just kept going and going. We ended up with a stranger family staying overnight at our house. They slid off the road into our country road ditch in one of the snowstorms and because there were so many accidents and the roads were so bad the tow trucks were not able to handle. They were from out of town so had no one to pick them up. It was a young couple with a baby and a grandfather so we had a nice night with unexpected company. It was very pleasant and in the morning they were pulled out of the ditch and they continued on their way. A week later we received a lovely thank you note from all with a $100 gift card to the Target store.

    To be continued…

    1. ****Thank you Brandy. We are OK.

      ****The maple sap is running here so syrup making season. My husband and both sons have been going over to husband’s family side to help on Saturdays. I send food along for the crew. The two younger girls have gone too. It’s a fun time and nice get together with their cousins. We get paid in shares of maple syrup which is a delicious way to be paid.

      ****Our middle girl is moving back to the area also. She has been about 1 1/2 hours away the last few years. The cousin she lives with, also an RN is getting married in April so she decided to put in an application at the hospital in the town here and she was hired in the labor and delivery. So she will move back home also. Those two sisters have always been very close so they are delighted. I mean, they like their older sister of course, but when they wanted to play dolls or school or cook and bake etc she was out in the barn or the fields “getting all dirty” as they complained. Well now they will all be back together what with Eliana and her family next door.

      ****Some of the things cooked and baked lately(I will just think back for the last few weeks) include white bread and rye bread, cinnamon rolls, banana bread, cranberry orange nut bread, frosted roll out cookies, cauliflower corn chowder, vegetable beef soup with wild rice, pea and ham soup, corn bread. We’ve had many fish meals due to all the fish husband caught…broiled, baked and pan fried. Took foods out of freezer…stuffed peppers and double baked potatoes to round out meals. Almost all fresh storage food used up from root cellar except onions and cabbages. Made vegetable stir fry. Picked up chickens from the egg farm and stewed them and made chicken stuffing casserole and chicken enchiladas with green sauce. Put the rest of the chicken in the freezer in pint freezer bags. Made a batch of spaghetti sauce with my canned tomatoes and 2 cups pepper/onion/eggplant/zucchini mix from the freezer. Used half of it to make 2 lasagna and served at a family birthday dinner with salad and garlic bread. Canned fourteen 12 oz jars of orange marmalade.

      ****At the grocer bought celery, dried cannelini beans, green split peas, cottage cheese, those little oranges 2.99 for 3 lbs. Don’t buy them often but they were 2.00 off and they are easier for the little children to eat it seems. Also bought oranges as still have not gotten around to making marmalade. And lemons. Bought 10 pounds cane sugar. Prefer cane sugar for canning. Bought rice wine vinegar. At the food coop bought vital wheat gluten for making bread, vegesal (a seasoning we like to sprinkle on buttered noodles) and Rumford non aluminum baking powder 2 large cans. At the store also bought 50 lb of russets, 5 head of cabbage and 20 lbs of carrots. They were all on sale due to the St Patrick Day sales. Bought cabbage even though I had some left as it will be months before our garden is producing. Went to Sam’s Club with cousin and bought Crisco, yeast, more cottage cheese, multi pack of romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese chunks, black olives, tortilla chips, tortillas and pretzels.

  50. We did all of the usual things this week, eating at home, driving to several errands at once, shopping the sales at grocery stores. I was able to give away 8 tomato plants to neighbors that we had started from seed in January. It was nice to meet other gardeners in the area and I still have 4 plants left. Next year I won’t be using as many seeds!
    Brandy your garden looks amazing. I love seeing all the sprouts in spring. Makes me hopeful for the year.

  51. Life here consists of a lot of time spent looking for things my husband misplaces. Right now he is down to one hearing aid. My DD was here to use the washer and we both looked in all the places we could think of. She did find the remote that works for the hearing aids but the other aid is still missing. I haven’t checked his coat pockets yet, but I did toss a lot of unneeded papers from various “piles” of stuff he leaves on any surface where he’s been sitting for a while. He must spend a lot of time wondering what is what and where it goes—I am always finding two old cell phones on the desk, and today made him find a “resting place” for electronic trash which we have to drop off somewhere when a site is available. My intention was to clean up some of MY piles of paperwork, but I had to work on his first. I did get a little of my own done, but not nearly enough. I did find the phone bill from last October, which I thought did not arrive. I use Bill Pay on the computer to pay most bills, so I just paid what I thought I owed, and paid the difference the next month. He SWORE he didn’t see it but it was in his “pile” of mail. I’m realizing he does not know what is bill and what is advertising these days, so I’m going to have to be more on top of it.
    Supper tonight needs to use up about half a pound of ground beef that I opened on Thursday–I’m thinking a big plate of nachos deluxe, with Tostitos chips on the bottom, as I have salsa, black beans, cheese and corn I can pile on top. Probably have some sour cream and lettuce that is still good also. It sounds good enough to me for a Saturday supper! Meals have been pretty good lately as I keep needing to use leftover bits and pieces and have to get creative! We did have a store-bought pie this week as there was a coupon to buy an 8 in pie for $3.14 on Pi Day. They only had pumpkin left by the time I got there but we like it and it turned out to be better quality than I was expecting. (Usually make pies from scratch.) We had spaghetti and sausage one night and had a fair amount of sauce left, so the next day I made meatballs into meatball subs, using the sauce and some melted mozzarella. Those were so big I didn’t quite finish mine! And I made half a roasted chicken one day and the next day turned the leftovers into chicken tortellini soup, which actually stretched to a third meal of soup on a night when we were tired and hungry and finished it up without a second thought about it being the third night in a row for chicken. When whole chickens go on sale I have them cut down the middle and roast the halves separately as most are 5-7 pounds and two people can get mighty tired of chicken if I cook a whole one!
    Have been purposely keeping grocery spending down—by buying on sale and using coupons. This week I only bought 4 items that were not on sale but needed anyhow!
    Almost all our snow melted this week and my early snowdrops blossomed–but more snow is expected over the next few days. No large amounts, however!! Finally seeing stirrings of pre-spring around here. Geese everywhere is a good sign as there is a flightway sanctuary not far from us and the geese stop for a rest there on the way north. They feed in the fields here during the day and at dusk can be seen flying back to the sanctuary in their v-formations! A few smaller birds are returning also. Everyone is so READY for warmer weather and getting outdoors again.

  52. We returned 192 cans and bottles to the grocery store to have $9.60 of deposits applied to the grocery bill.
    We saved $74.75 total on groceries.
    I carpooled to work with my daughter every day.
    We had a quote of $2700 for a major vehicle repair; this included parts that did not need repair. My husband found a different mechanic able to do it for around $1500 and leaving the still- working parts intact.
    My favorite Vera Bradley handbag has but the dust. I got it on clearance years ago for $19.99. Tag said sold for $75. Style was discontinued (not pattern but actual bag style) I found a new one on Poshmark for $23. Pattern is different but that will be a nice change.
    Brought lunch to work every day.
    Made coffee at home.
    Love your blog Brandy!

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