I harvested asparagus, Meyer lemons, lettuce, arugula, parsley, green onions, garlic chives, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I planted seeds in the garden for poppies, Chinese Houses, and cilantro.

I turned off the drip irrigation for a scheduled day when it rained the night before. I also reprogrammed the irrigation system to water the lawn only two days a week. We are allowed three days a week at this point, but it is not needed yet as the temperatures are cooler than usual and we keep getting rain. The last time I saw a spring with this much rain was 14 years ago.

I used shower warm-up water and rainwater that I collected to water potted plants in the garden.

I read all six books in the School of Manners Regency-era books from M.C. Beaton that I checked out as e-books from the library.

I made vinaigrette for our salads.

Winter made herself a white graduation dress using a pattern she created. She used fabric I already had to make it and the self-lining: an inexpensive poly/cotton broadcloth that I bought on a Black Friday sale a long time ago (about $11 worth of fabric). She purchased a zipper for the dress at 40% off at Hobby Lobby. She also modified a wool thrift store skirt (that we had bought previously) to fit her.

What did you do to save money the past week?



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  1. Beautiful photos and beautiful dress! Reading your post makes it feel like spring is here. I’m itching to do some gardening!

    My frugal week:
    – I made 15-Minute Ramen Soup with Ginger Garlic Broccoli (http://approachingfood.com/ginger-garlic-veg-ramen-soup/) . Quite frugal at about 75 cents/serving. I used the egg yolks as a soup topping, and then used the egg whites to make flourless double chocolate cookies.
    – I purchased cereal on sale, and used the offer on the boxes to get 2 x $5 in gas cards, which I’ll give to my mother as a thank you for giving us rides.
    – Using money from my paypal account (from Swagbucks) I was able to contribute to a charity in honour of a friend’s birthday.
    – I signed up to receive texts from Shoppers Drug Mart (the most common drugstore chain in Canada) and received a coupon to get $10 worth of loyalty points when I spend $40. I needed some items, and they were all on sale, so I was able to purchase $40.19 worth of items to get the $10 worth of loyalty points back.
    – I made several loaves of no-knead bread, and sliced them using my meat slicer, a la Brandy. It worked really well!
    – I roasted the ham that I gave my DH for his birthday, and froze several ham steaks from it. I also froze some chunks to use to top pizzas with. So far I’ve served him a ham steak, shaved ham several times, a ham and cheese grilled sandwich, and macaroni and cheese with ham. I saved the ham broth (I baked the ham in an inch of water) to make soup with or boil rice in.
    – I made a batch of laundry detergent.
    – I mixed up a batch of cookie dough, and froze some. I baked some and gave some to my mother, my sister, and someone begging outside of a drugstore. (I didn’t have spare change but I did have spare cookies!)
    – I made a large batch of potato salad, using up some pickles. It turned out rather spicy, but it’s an inexpensive side dish, and I was able to give some to my sister as well.
    – My mother gave me some cheese that she found too spicy – I’ll enjoy it for snacks!
    – I redeemed Pinecone Research points for $5 to my paypal account and redeemed Swagbucks for $25 cash to my paypal account.
    – I used a 50% off one item coupon twice at my local bulk store, and bought $20 worth of almonds for $10 and $4 worth of popping corn for $2.
    – I brought dinner over to my sister’s place, a white bean and salsa rice casserole topped with cheese. Very inexpensive and well-received.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded two baby blankets that had been gifted to me (I had enough) for a package of eye shadows that I will gift to some family friends.
    – I made seasoned sweet potato fries, using seasoning given to me by a friend.
    – I made breakfast burritos for dinner using eggs I bought with digital currency, ham from my husband’s birthday gift, cheese bought on sale, grated, and frozen, and tortillas bought on sale and frozen.
    – I baked buns and made meatball subs (veggie ones for me) and sent a meal over to my sister.
    – I redeemed loyalty points for $30 of groceries to offset a large stock-up this week.
    – I used a 25% off coupon to stock up on quinoa, pecans, and more almonds.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone, as always!

    1. I bet the person you gave the cookies to was thrilled. I occasionally encounter someone begging outside my local shoppers so not having change I have gone back inside and bought a few grocery items they need (bread, milk, etc.). My shoppers sometimes clears its overripe bananas for $0.25 a bunch It is nice to know where the money is going towards.

      1. What a caring thing to do. After having completed ur own shopping took the time to go back n & thoughtfully picked out items to feed this person who who no doubt was very thankful.

        1. Well, I was right there, and I only had plastic. For very little that day, I got milk, bread, bananas and meat. She was very surprised.

  2. Nicely done, Winter!
    This week, I spent $80 on groceries but that amount was 77% less than their regular prices after using sales and coupons. I added more to my food storage and pantry. I bought 5 extra strength acetaminophen (regular price $2.19 but on sale for $1.19 each but then I had coupons for $1 off each one, so my 5 bottles (120 count) cost me 19 cents each. I cannot take ibuprofen so this is the best I can do for pain relief!

    I made apple zucchini muffins to use up some frozen shredded zucchini! Quite tasty! I made more cookies using my DIY Cookie Mix so afterwards I made up a new batch of the mix. The convenience is so terrific!

    I was given a bunch of baguettes so I used 4 to make Taco Stuffed Baguettes (16 individual serves) and another 4 to make Ranch chicken Stuffed baguettes (16 serves ). So good for an easy grab and go meal!

    I made all of our meals at home and from scratch! Our chickens gave us 34 eggs this week! Oh, how we love having our city chickens!! Every morning, I make cranberry walnut toast and a sunny side up egg for me and scrambled for hubby!

    I got our taxes files. We pay federal but get a refund from state so we just have a net cost of about $400. Better than it could have been! I keep socking away any excess we have leftover in our savings since we only have 5 paydays left until retirement! And then, there is a one month gap before Social Security, our pension and any 401K can start coming to us! So glad we found that out now because we assumed that by getting it all filed for retirement the 29th of May that we would have a June 1st check set up! But you have to be retired for 1 month before they start sending you anything! I think we have all our ducks in a row with budget, etc, but I am still worried until I actually see how it all falls out even though the financial consultant from work went over it more than once and said we are just fine! Anxious for it to come, terrified for it to come!!! Crazy, right?!

    Daughter and fam are flying in tomorrow to move into the house they bought on 13 acres about an hour from us. I’ve been doing some grocery shopping so there will be food in the house when they arrive. I will camp out at their house for the next few days until our son in law drives over with one of their cars and moving truck arrives a few days later. Kids will start school here for the last couple days of the week and then be off on a Spring Break for next week!

    Finished a new Scrappy Bag with Sewing Ladies this week – http://handmadeinoldetowne.com/item/cl-scrappy-bag-sewing-ladies. My fabric stash still does not seem to be decreasing, even with all the Soup Cozies, flannel Softies, Scrappy Bags and Quilts that I’ve sold! I am hoping that in light of my worries about our lag time before retirement kicks I that I’ll be able to keep selling to beef up my savings cushion!

    My son and wife are going to have a baby in about 10 days so I made this scrappy quilt for my new granddaughter! Here’s a photo of it: https://pin.it/34argtnj57wm7e

    All in all a good week!

    Pat in Ohio

    1. Gardenpat,
      I love the quilt! Do you quilt it yourself with your machine? I’m just getting back into quilting after quite a few years, and would love tips on how you do that, if that’s what you do.

      1. I quilted it on my regular sewing machine. I have done even queen size quilts on it. I spread it out on my design wall (a big piece of foam insulation covered in cotton batting and mounted on my wall). I use 505 Spray Baste from Joann’s to adhere each layer back, batting and top and it keeps it smooth and in place without using pins! Really makes it easier. I also wear quilt gloves. Got those at Joann’s ( about $7) . Don’t know why it makes a difference but it does.
        I often use a stencil and mark my quilt with Crayola Washable Markers. When I finish quilting and binding it, I toss it in the washer- cold water/ cold rinse and toss a Shout Color Catcher in the washer and all the marker color as well as any fabric color bleeding all goes into the color catcher!
        Easy – peas!!

        1. Pat, has SS given you an exact date? My husband’s birthday was October 31. He had to wait all the way through November to get his first payment in December…on the 4th Wednesday of the month. I was surprised how long it took, and blessedly we were OK financially. My check comes on the third Wednesday of the month. I used to think all SS hit on the 3rd of the month, but that’s not the case. The actual date depends on the day of the month your birthday falls.

          1. Maxine, all SS used to come on the third (I used to work in a bank and the rush on the third was something else). Now they come by birthday, as you said. My husband’s birthday is the 20th of the month, and we had to wait over a month to get his as well, even though we applied early for him. His birthday is in February, and I want to say it was late April before we saw his check. It also means there is quite the swing between check deposits. Some months we wait 28 days between checks, some months 35 days.

          2. He retires May 29 on his 70th birthday. SS told him his checks would begin one month later- so we assumed beginning of July. Yikes!! Guess I better power up my sewing machine and hope that someone will be in the market for Scrappy Bags, Microwave Soup Cozies or flannel Softies or my quilts! Already looking around the house to see what I might be able to sell off to beef up my savings! Nothing is safe at my house when I feel this urgency! Lol!!
            Thanks for the insight! We opted for the best health coverage our company offered to supplement Medicare. It’s not COBRA and our company will give us $100/month credit to pay the premium for at least the first 3 years of retirement. That will at least help uscacclimate!

    2. GardenPat, not crazy but those emotions will roll a bit through the first year and when medical hits harder that expected/ planned. Heading into year 2 and it seems to be a little be more stable. In laws said year 3 it’s calm. We went 3 months without income, don’t get SS yet… bounce about when to start it

      1. We are still in the first year of retirement and it has gone well. I also have not chosen to take social security income, though my husband, who is older, has been taking for a few years. For me the biggest challenge was getting health insurance resolved. I selected COBRA then federal insurance through my seasonal Park Service Job and then finally transitioned to Medicare when I first became eligible this year. The logistics of getting in and out of each coverage were nerve wracking. I am glad I build up my Health Savings Account before I retired because we have used that for out of pocket medical expenses. Also we had no debt as we entered retirement so that made monthly expenses much easier.

        Usually once you are 59.5 years old, you can take IRA distributions as you choose. I don’t understand why you would have to wait for a certain period. Perhaps you converted to an annuity?

    3. I love sewing, but i am a rough and ready sewer. The job gets done but don’t look too closely. When i see a quilt sewed as beautifully as that i am in awe. It is magnificent and should be kept in the family for generations. Congratulations. Xx

      1. Thanks for your kind comments! Sewing quilts is something I love to do! I have no skill when it comes to other things like knitting, paper crafts of any kind, basically any other art-type skill!

  3. Winter’s latest creation is sublime, as always. She is remarkably talented for a person of any age, but being as young as she is, she is truly gifted. She certainly picked the right college major.

  4. Oh, I’m looking forward to asparagus. It will be a few more weeks before we can harvest ours. I finished a library e-book last night, and started on a free e-book I “bought” through amazon. I managed to get my first seeds in the ground over the weekend, a mix of bachelor buttons, which are some of my favorite colors. Our St. Patrick’s Day dinner was a hit. Everyone brought food, so it was also frugal. I provided colcannon, rutabagas, Irish soda bread and beverages, including homemade herb tea. That’s another beautiful dress Winter has sewn. I’m curious if the “Chinese houses” you planted are something I’ve not heard of, or a typo/auto correct. I’m heading now to see what I can find out. Looking forward to reading everyone’s comments. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/03/st-patricks-day-shenanigans-frugal.html

      1. I’ve never heard of these before but they are absolutely gorgeous! I’ll have to add these to my list of “if I become a better gardener I should buy these”.

        1. They are new to me, too! I bought them there but then, afterwards, found them at Outside Pride for even less: https://www.outsidepride.com/seed/flower-seed/chinese-houses.html (more money but more seeds). I wouldn’t have ordered them based on the photos from Outside Pride. The photos from Eden Brothers made them really impressive. I have ordered from both places before, so in the future, if they grow for me and I like them, I may order from Outside Pride instead. However, they are a wildflower, so perhaps they will go to seed and I can collect seeds for another year!

  5. Winter is so talented!
    I made wheat bread twice, homemade vanilla oat milk, corned beef with potatoes and carrots, rice pasta with a garlic sauce and veggies, Brandy’s chocolate pudding popsicles, banana bread, ate some random frozen foods from the freezer to make some room, fruit smoothies twice, popcorn, Turkey sandwiches using Hawaiian bread then froze for future lunches. My daughter had hot lunch two days and I took all my food, snacks, and coffee to work from home. My husband brought home free pizza from work (he is an assistant manager at a restaurant) for supper one night.

    I made a vinegar all purpose spray for general cleaning

    I started another batch of citrus vinegar

    I used Messenger video chat to talk to my dad and step mother in Alaska for free. I am in Illinois.

    I mailed my dad a birthday card I had on hand

    I used free yoga videos on YouTube for exercise

    I had my blood pressure checked for free at Walgreens

    Got a new audiobook for work for 1.99 instead of $25.00. I purchased the ebook from Amazon for 2.99 and got the audio for 1.99, too!

    Exchanged books and movies at the library when my daughter went to her children’s yoga class at the library. It’s called Backbends and Bookends ?
    Have a great week!

  6. I love your post. Winter made a beautiful dress! Love your garden n flowers. I read up on your weight loss on a budget and have added these things to my eating plan. Thank you.
    Unexpected bills have come our way….so tightening things for Spring Summer.
    Purchased .50 cards n stickers to send out West to grands
    Purchased cookies to send out for $10 including shipping for Easter.
    Decorated Spring with what I have.
    Cleaned out and reorganized rooms to freshen
    Made Soup from scratch.
    Made cinnamon rolls from scratch
    Made things from pantry
    Made lunches for my husband n I to go

  7. We are vacationing in Arizona for 10 days, and as you all know, there is nothing cheap about a vacation! But we have managed to save some $$$ here and there–
    *The three of us used frequent flyer miles to fly RT to Phoenix for under $34 total (taxes).
    *We checked our bags. Alaska Airlines charges $30 for first checked bag, $40 for second and $100 for each additional. One of the benefits of our Alaska Airlines/Bank of America CC is free checked bags…which saved us $170. Realistically, if we had to pay, we would have carried them on.
    *My husband has a cousin living here and another cousin who winters here across the street. We are staying with the relatives for the first half of the trip and moving to a resort with a big pool for the last half. We have entertained ourselves playing Texas Canasta and swimming in the HOA pool. The only entertainment we have/will pay for was a Mecum classic car auction for my husband and a spring training MLB game for the 3 of us. We took our cousins out to lunch the day we went to Montezuma’s Castle and Sedona.
    *We used our National Park senior pass, bought for $20 about 6 years ago (now they are $80), for free admission for the whole gang at Montezuma Castle National Monument. This was to see the cliff dwellings native Americans lived in 700 years ago. We bought the pass at Crater Lake NP and have used it several times at Grand Teton and Yellowstone NPs, so it has really paid for itself.
    *Cousin had already picked her orange tree, which grows in bush form, but I braved the stickers to pick the last half-bushel on the inside of the tree. She has an electric juicer, so we are going to make homemade OJ!
    *Before we left, I bought an Amazon GC for my daughter-in-law’s birthday at Fred Meyer using a coupon for 4X fuel points. Today, I shopped at Fry’s (also Kroger) and got more fuel points. I use my son’s phone number so that he gets the credit.

  8. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Brandy your garden looks divine and so happy, colourful and cheerful and it would be a pleasure to walk around. I am glad you have had rain so you don’t have to water so much. Winter’s dress is beautiful and a credit to her sewing skills and your teaching and she is growing up into a pretty young lady who looks so elegant.

    I just thought I would mention that we also have had rain, glorious rain, and 70mm of it a couple of days which will go a long way to filling up the household rain tanks and watering the parched grass and native shrubs and fruit and berry trees :). I ran around in the rain and put water catching buckets everywhere to catch rain coming off the tank stand roof for watering plants too and DH ran around in it too to move the grey water hose to water a lot of the back lawns and native shrubs in the yard too. Drought does funny things to even adults and turns us into children once again 🙂 .

    Our savings last week added up to $1175.04.

    Internet listings –

    – Listed 13 free listings on eBay on a free listing and final auction value fee saving $21.45 on usual listing fees.

    In the kitchen –

    – Made 3 loaves of homemade bread in the bread making machine saving $10.47 over purchasing them in our local shops.
    – Made 2lts of MOO yoghurt and flavoured it with homemade strawberry jam saving $5.62 over purchasing it in the shops.

    House and garden maintenance –

    – Cleaned out our grey water tank that had vines growing through the top of it from a bogainvillea bush we cut down and excess sludge in the bottom saving $1000 over hiring someone to come in and pump it out. Yes I was inside it as I don’t think DH’s shoulders would have got in there and he probably would have got stuck having back injuries. He lowered buckets in and I filled them up with sludge and vines and he disposed of it. While I was there I also inspected the inside of the tanks for breaches and there were none, adjusted the pump further away from the edge as the float was getting stuck and now it pumps perfectly without us having to set it off manually :).
    – Pulled out 2 more upright posts from the vineyard when the weather wasn’t stinking hot first thing in the morning.

    Purchases –

    – On a 50% off frozen goods promotion online in Woolworths we purchased 3 x 500g frozen blueberries, 1 x frozen passionfruit, 2 x 4lt Peters ice cream, 4 x 500g country harvest peas, corn and capsicum and 2 x pkts coctail spring rolls, and saw 2 x 3kg packets of Valencia oranges on sale too saving $34.50 on usual prices.
    – We went into our favourite op shop while we were in town for DH’s doctor’s appointment and purchased a near new complete easiyo yoghurt maker for $1, 2 music cd’s for $1 for both, and 2 gardening books for $1 saving around $100 over buying them new.
    – Found Steggles chicken drumsticks on clearance for $1.99 kg and purchased 4kg saving $8 on usual prices.

    It has been a fantastic week for us here to stock up our freezer with absolutely low price freezer items and some secondhand good condition items too.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead.

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

      1. Thank you Susan and I hope you and the family are well too 🙂 .

        Lots of work to pull down rebuild run down garden beds and chicken runs but we are getting there. The house is in really good condition for being a 1910 -40 California bungalow style so little work to do inside the home and it is very spacious with enough room for food storage and has a large kitchen so we consider ourselves truly blessed for the low price we paid for it.

        Have a great week 🙂 .

        Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  9. Winter looks so lovely! I dried my clothes in the living room by draping them over my furniture. I made a mulberry milkshake (from free mulberries) in my mom’s blender. It has to be at least 20 yrs old. I use an alarm clock that is 35 yrs old. I eat on my mom’s every day dishes that are about 40 yrs old. I cut my hair. I did my nails. I have not done anything special except the same eating at home, bringing my lunch to work etc. I think it is the day in and day out little things that add up.

  10. Hello,

    I love to see your plants already! We are making our new garden boxes next week over Spring Break!
    Here are my frugal accomplishments:
    – Last week we had a “blizzard” in Colorado! We stayed in for 2 days and ate at home, etc… I worked on some crochet projects.
    – We were supposed to have a baby shower with my mom’s group. It was cancelled because of the snow. I have made 4 baby blankets with materials on hand. I am so excited to give them out!
    – I did childcare for my church event, for pay, since they were short of workers.
    – We stayed under budget on groceries for this pay period. I put the extra in savings.
    – I signed up for freebies, which are on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2019/03/18/10-freebies-today-3-18-19/?preview=true&_thumbnail_id=1074 There are some cool things like free seeds, an Arbor Day tree if you qualify, and spices.
    – I picked up extra green peppers to give to my in laws since they were .52 cents each at Walmart.
    – I worked at a consignment shop so that I can consign my items for free.
    That’s about it!

  11. Hi Brandy, your flowers are gorgeous!
    Thank you for all the great suggestions for using my applesauce!
    This week’s frugalities include|
    Cooking up a big pot of spaghetti sauce using roasted garden tomatoes from the freezer as well as frozen herbs.
    I was gifted a bag of sugar packets, opened them and filled my sugar bowl
    Received a journal and pen from a friend that wasn’t using it
    Submitted a $25 rebate for Finish Quantum dishwasher tabs
    redeemed $20 in store reward points
    Did a presentation for a group of students and received a free dinner
    Made lentil soup using homemade broth
    Volunteered at a St Patrick’s day race and received a free tshirt,hot cross bun, bottle of ginger ale and water as well as a pierogi/sausage lunch
    Looking forward to reading everyone’s replies!

    1. Hi Teresa,

      How did you receive a $25 rebate for Finish Quantum Dishwasher tabs? that’s impressive and I use them all the time. Ann

      1. Ellie, I belong to a Canadian Savings group on FB. It was posted there with a link to the Finish FB page.

      2. Ellie’s Friend,

        I found the rebate form on the websaver pages. I just searched Finish Rebate 2019. Thanks to Teresa for mentioning it, such a great savings!

        1. Hi Kitty,

          Thanks for tip.
          I searched for Finish Rebate 2019. I found it but it wanted me to download Adobe Acrobat Reader (I don’t keep this on my computer as it was the only virus-infected source). Anyway, I did download it and then it wanted me to instal Java Script which I tried but it didn’t work. Sigh. great deal, though. apparently some packages have a different coupon on them, too. Ann

          Isn’t our weather splendid?

  12. Your daughter, Winter has so much talent. I am sure she is going to go far in the world of fashion. Best of luck to her in her studies. I know you are so very proud.

  13. Your garden is just lovely! And I wish I could sew even half as well as Winter. 😉

    I’ve not been good about writing things down, but here are some things I remember:

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals. Used gift cards otherwise.

    * Made chicken stock, bread, energy bars, and chocolate-applesauce-banana muffins.

    * Harvested lettuce and peas from the garden.

    * Collected eggs from our hens.

    * Kept the sprinklers off, as we’ve been having above-average rainfall this year. Our rain barrels are full, but every now and then I still saved rinse water to water the potted plants on the patios.

    * Embroidered some new dishtowels using towels I bought several months ago at Sam’s and floss I already had. (Some of the floss was purchased 30 years ago when I was doing lots of counted cross-stitch. Some of it I inherited from my mom when she passed away, and I think some of her stash may have originally belonged to my grandmother. I think I may have floss that’s older than I am! Anyway, I had lots of fond memories of both my mom and grandma as I was embroidering.)

    * Took our own snacks to son’s swim meets.

    * Opened the windows on lovely warm days.

    * Chose to not go to the grocery stores, even though there were some pretty good sales.

    * Hubs brought home several items that were left over from a scouting campout.

    That’s all that I can think of at the moment. Have a great week, everyone!

  14. Those are beautiful photos – I am very envious of all the green and the flowers – although it looks as though Toronto may finally be close to Spring – it’s actually supposed to stay above freezing for every day this week! Winter’s dress is lovely – she is very talented.

    Last week was an up and down sort of week – very frugal in some ways but more spending in other ways!

    I have today off after working 8 days in a row so that will be a nice paycheque! I also had supper at the church during my volunteer session on Tuesday as we had leftovers from the night before. I had lunch after the Lenten noon talk on Wednesday – we offer it for free but most people donate $5 – it was certainly worth it! I packed up all the leftovers from this lunch for a Thursday evening event first and then brought home some sandwiches for lunches and some fruit for 3 days worth of fruit salad with my morning yogurt. I always leave food for staff if it’s left over but I get frustrated when it’s left to dry out when people unwrap it to take what they want and then don’t bother to rewrap – it’s such a waste!

    I used up all the fresh produce in the fridge, found good deals on frozen fruit & veg, and found excellent deals on frozen fish and seafood. It meant that I spent more on groceries than planned for this past week but the deals were too good to pass up – (this was at Loblaws at 396 St. Clair West for Toronto readers). I’d also bought a BBQ chicken, used it for 4 meals and then froze the rest for future meals. I made sure to take snacks and lunches to work and only bought coffee twice – I can often make tea in the kitchen at work but it was in use two days this week for Out of the Cold meal prep and I don’t like to get in their way.

    Did full loads of laundry, hung clothes to dry and washed ziplock bags but did eat out twice this week and that was not frugal. But, I did enjoy catching up with friends, especially after such a busy work week. I just need to get through the next 3 or 4 weeks and then things should settle down financially and I will have a bit of a cushion going forward.

    Hope everyone had a good week.

  15. This week my husband and I were able to go out for date night, something we haven’t done in a long time. My dad was able to watch our children and we split a dinner entree so it ended up being a frugal date out for us.
    I cooked the rest of our meals at home and had no food waste this week.
    I caught the intruder in the garden and my new seedlings are thriving! With the mild weather we’ve been having I’ve been able to spend a lot of time in the garden, I’m hopeful that we might get an actual harvest this year.
    I’ve been able to join a survey that will pay monthly and plan to use the money to restock my pantry. I did a lot of baking during our cold winter and am very low on flour and sugar and powdered milk.

    Happy Frugaling!

  16. What a beautiful day to find a new post and see all the lovely photos. They always make me smile . Gasoline continues to rise quite steadily here . I’m doing my best to refuel with the lowest prices. I’ve been needed much more frequently by my mother this week so the travels back and forth add up. My mother requested a new electric skillet and I was pleased to find a lovely deal . Macy’s had an assortment of small appliances for $10.00 after a $10.00 rebate. I bought 4 and promptly printed off the rebate forms and got them in the mail. I had budgeted 45.00 for a new crockpot and this sale got me a crockpot , an electric griddle and a blender plus moms skillet. I was pleasantly surprised to find the items to be good quality. Sugar cookie is excited about her new kitchen toys. She loves to cook. I see pancakes in our future. I had quite a bit of free money to spend this week. A $90.00 promotional credit from Sam’s club and $250.00 in gift cards from various survey rewards. I made a list of wanted items and immediately crossed off anything that wasn’t practical. This whole early retirement means choices need to be practical and realistic. I stocked up on the best load count of laundry detergent and trash bags. I also bought pet pee pads and a jumbo box of baby wipes. These are two items we don’t use many of but I do like on occasion. With two of us in the house, cooking has become an issue. Everything in the freezer is in large packs. I never bought a food saver because I never had much money. Now it will be necessary to buy the cheaper large packs of meat like always but everything must be separated into smaller packs. I researched vacuum sealers and chose one. It had great ratings and with a discount it came to $55.00. I found food saver brand bags on sale buy 3 get 3 free. I paid $30.00 for 6 bags. Now I hope to learn to use it well. I’ve been using the LDS genealogy site to research some family issues for my father. There is no charge unlike Ancestry .com . I have found new information and made the old man smile. My out of pocket this week was around 10.00. We are experimenting with a sour dough starter and looking for kefir grains. These items are expensive here. 6.00 bread and a qt of kefir is 4.00. I feel like a mad scientist. I’m trying to adjust our diet as cheaply as possible to try and help sugar cookies medical.problems. Everything is green and blooming. I am miserable with allergies and hoping a netti pot will help as I am having severe reactions to allergy medicine. I did get my son’s FAFSA submitted and he will be able to finish college with quite a few grants. He called tonight and said the Army should have him home in a few weeks. After 7 months I miss him but the discharge breaks my heart. He will live at home, work part time and attend college. As usual nothing goes as planned but I remind myself that their path has changed for a reason and it may very well be for a better destination.

      1. Will get on laptop and try to send you. I was able to go to Macy’s .com and search rebates and it pulled up the form instantly yesterday. It had a list of all items that qualified.

    1. I recently learned that there is a library version of Ancestry.com. Check with your local library to see if they offer it. At my library, I have to go into the library to use it and can’t access it through the library’s online services.

  17. The neckline on Winter’s dress is very flattering on her! She’s beautiful.

    This week I made bread, rolls, cookies, muffins, and pancakes from scratch. I bought 125 pounds of white wheat to place in buckets for intermediate storage. That’s close to what I used in my first year of retirement. I’ll monitor to see if I use more or less this second year. I also bought 6 #10 cans of rolled oats for my long term storage. I used my Dymo LetraTag label maker to help organize the storage items. My family is continuing to purge the outgrown baby items and we are finding them new homes. Grateful for Facebook to be able to put it out there for free. I made treats from my storage for co-workers who put up with me so nicely. I made a pan of rolls and had some homemade peach and homemade grape jam to go with them. I think the co-workers were kind of surprised that I would think of them. I’m fortunate to work with such a good crew; sure makes the shifts go by quickly. My son had vehicle issues this weekend, but was able to diagnose it and fix it himself thanks to some internet research and perseverance on his part. I was able to tow him home (about 4 blocks total) so no tow truck fees. Amazing that one blown fuse will kill an engine. I’m grateful that my husband worked with all the kids to teach them a few basic mechanical skills. I cleaned out an old purse to donate and found $4.00 in it. It’s warmer here this week so I’m hoping to get out in the yard and clean up a bit. My vehicle could also use a bit of attention, especially the windows. The littles like to leave their fingerprints and it appears a crayon was used also. At least it’s on the glass and not the fabric.

  18. I took another load to the thrift store, combining that with a stop at Walmart. I enjoyed the pink blossom on the fruit trees as I drove through the orchards that are all around us.
    We have had our sprinklers turned off for over a month. Our water usage this month was 1/4 what it is in the summer, so we paid the lowest tier price for water.
    I altered a vest that was given to me, so now it fits.
    I am making a gift for my cousin (denim tote bag, from jeans bought at thrift store for 25 cents each)
    Entertaining myself in the evenings won’t knitting or sewing. I also just remade a fair-trade bead bracelet that had broken.

  19. Winter’s dress is lovely. The style definitely seems to suit her.
    This week I made:
    * usual 3 loaves of toasting bread. Froze 2.
    * made large dinner rolls. Used for chicken cutlet on-a-bun meal with coleslaw.
    * made applesauce cake with butterscotch icing.
    * made a large pot of chicken broth using frozen bones and frozen vegetable scraps. Froze most of it.
    * used some of the broth to make potato chowder for dinner.
    * cooked hominy corn in the slow cooker overnight. Used in chicken and hominy stew.
    * made several pitchers of iced coffee for guests at brunch.
    * made several pitchers of homemade iced tea for guests at brunch.
    * made 2 types of scones for brunch: blueberry-lemon drizzled with lemon glaze, and oatmeal cranberry-orange.
    * made whipped butter to serve with the scones. This not only stretches the butter, but also makes it easier to spread on the delicate biscuits.
    * made homemade english muffins to serve at brunch: Eggs, bacon and cheese on toasted english muffins.
    * I was unable to use all the containers of mixed spring salad greens I purchased before the greens were beginning to wilt, so I just steamed them and froze as I would spinach leaves. Used some, mixed with ricotta cheese, for stuffed jumbo pasta shells in marinara sauce. The remainder I’ll use as a substitute for spinach in a soup meal.
    * I made all our meals except one – daughter made mac’n cheese for dinner one night.
    * did all the usual frugal measures, although with company over so much it did raise the food costs this past week.
    * went shopping with my eldest daughter to purchase her wedding dress. That was a frugal savings! She managed to find a $749 dress on clearance for $99 with a 10% discount on top of that. Shoes were marked down from $95 to $24. Undergarments marked down from $90 to $21. The only item she paid full price for was her veil. The total for dress, shoes, undergarments and veil was $418 including tax. She was elated! One more wedding necessity marked off the list.
    * we managed to add another $165 to the wedding jar savings.
    Wishing everyone a blessed week.

    1. Homemade scones with whipped butter, homemade English muffin breakfast sandwiches…wow, your Brunch fare sounds so delicious, Pat J.! Drooling just thinking about it. I certainly hope everyone enjoyed the get together!

  20. We ate exclusively from the pantry this week (plus mom’s Meals on Wheels deliveries and one pizza and Howie Cinnamon Bread run) because I thought we needed to shrink our short-term food storage to fit into our kitchen cabinets. No grocery shopping. Tomorrow we’ll be running errands and stocking up on butter when we buy a gallon of milk, hamburger, some bananas, and either oranges or orange juice.

    I turned very stale Hungry Howie Cinnamon bread into yummy bread pudding with the addition of two eggs and two cups of milk to half an order of diced bread. The leftover icing stirred into the mix made the pudding sweet enough. A handful of dried cranberries added some visual interest.

    Mom had not eaten the corned beef lunch that was delivered one day last week. The next day, I added the corned beef and vegetables, finely diced, to a quart of chicken broth with a generous handful of quick cooking barley and called it dinner. We both enjoyed it. I was glad the lunch was not wasted.

    Today, I intended to serve cod baked in salsa to the both of us for dinner. Mom had other ideas so I made her instant mashed potatoes and used mom’s Meals on Wheels beef stew (lunch had arruved too close to beeakfast today) to top the potatoes. I made fish nachoes (in the spirit of fish tacoes) for myself from both pieces of the baked cod and pretended I was back in San Diego while I ate.

    The dress and the flowers are pretty. Thank you for sharing your photographs.

  21. –During this past week, many, many hours were again spent with my niece and nephew. The kids had more medical issues. My nephew’s oral surgery (7 teeth out) got infected. His sister developed an ear infection. We divided and conquered with their parents and between us all we got them to all the necessary appointments, got their parents to work most days, kept both houses running, and made lots of shared meals. (My sister was up almost all night several nights, my brother-in-law got the flu on top of everything, Since we were wanting to rack up hours for when they go on vacation, it all worked out nicely. But, boy are we tired, but so happy that we will still get our normal paycheck, since we have now worked enough extra hours for that to happen!

    –When we did get some time off towards the end of the week, we worked in the yard. There was a very tall apple tree in the back yard. We pruned it severely. Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com. Since my husband is ailing from a very bad left hip, he is unable to do things like this easily any more. So, teamwork was again the key. He took his little saw on a long pole and chopped off branches. I dragged them into the garden. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It wasn’t, but we got it done, and that felt good. I have no idea how much we would have had to pay to get that done.

    –Rob scored the deal of the century on Tysen frozen chicken. He bought 60 pounds. We are going to can some, as we used a ;lot of what we had canned last summer. We bought a lot of groceries using the ads from 2 stores.

    –I tried lentil tacos for the first time tonight. They were WAY better than I thought they would be. We all loved them. I’m making some vegetarian meals because my daughter is coming for a visit and she eats that way. I’m freezing a few items for when she comes. Trying this recipe, and finding that we loved it, also saved us money as we ate some of it for our dinner tonight. The recipe made a lot.

    –I used some items from the camper freezer

    I love your daffodils. We have a lot of them blooming now, as well. My daughter planted a few “new” ones this past fall and they are going to bloom soon. Her crocus are blooming strong.

    It’s also nice to see your daughter’s dress. I used to sew like that when I was her age. She will be glad she knows how.


  22. I was confined to bed for a few days due to sudden knee problems. I’m now able to walk again. I spent very little money except for $11.00 for two big packages of tp from Co-op. A great deal and my friend picked them up as she wanted some too.

    A friend/neighbour is having her basement (including bookshelves) painted so was clearing out books. She gave me a beautiful Audubon encyclopedia of birds worth $100. I really do not have room for more books (I have already given so many away) but they were too good to turn down. One she lent me (Berndt Heinrich’s Summer Tales) as I had given her another of his books this past Christmas.

    The snow is melting and some first prairie crocuses have been seen on south-facing slopes (Bowmont Park). It will be two or three weeks before all the snow here is gone, even though the temperature is a balmy plus 33ºF tonight and the temperature all week is lovely and climbs up to an even hot 68º F
    (hot for this time of year) by the end of this week. This is typical weather –– below zero and then a sudden break in the cold. It is hard to believe that, if ponds are no longer frozen, in two weeks time the trumpeter swans will be here on migration. The first bluebirds may be here (usually around April 1). I entered a wildlife photography contest. It was so beautiful outside today that I sat outside and watched the birds in action. I was finally able to get a brown creeper photo. It has turned out this little bird is very hard to photograph as it is almost always moving.

    I am getting ready for the grandmothers (Ujaamma) fabric sale (Woodcliff Church in April). The proceeds go to support grandmothers in Africa who are raising their orphaned grandchildren (usually orphaned by Aids). I have two bolts of fabric that I want to donate. I bought them
    (inexpensively) to recover a sofa but plans changed. I personally avoid the sale because I have too much fabric stockpiled from the past and am rigorous about not acquiring more. I have given them many donations. A friend clears out her fabric supply to them but then goes and buys as much if not more from the sale. They accept fabric and yarn (and I think some sewing notions, too). Fabric as beautiful as at this
    sale (and great bargains at the sale) is extremely expensive if it’s even available in stores. It really is no longer made. (things like Liberty London cotton, Irish tweed, Moygashel linen, etc. that many of us bought and then stashed thinking we’d get things made). I have kept my very favourite pieces and plan to have a few things made by a tailor. I may trade an extra sewing machine for a few things sewn.

    I talked to the charity with whom I sponsor a child (instead of going out or spending on luxuries I do this). The lady on the lady on the phone said that many people are having problems keeping their pledges because of the oil/economic situation. It is something we don’t always realize — that charities suffer when the economy is bad and people don’t know where or when they will get a new job. One of my friends is lucky because her husband did just get a new job but it is unusual and in the meantime between being laid off and now he took a job with a lot of difficult travelling and such. They are lucky as am I –– I may have real struggles with respect to money but at least I have some. My small monthly pledge to my child in need overseas comes first. There are months I look at that small amount and wish I had it for groceries but it is number one priority that my sponsored child receives it. I am very fortunate.

      1. Hi Brandy,

        Thanks so much for the link. The instructor, Frans Lanting is a famous bird photographer. I am tempted to upload a photo for comments.

        I meant to mention how impressed I am by Winter’s blanket coat and now her grad dress. Like all of your kids, she is so talented and lovely!

      2. I did upload a photo but others have added even more photos so you would have to scroll back about 10 photos to see a Pine Grosbeak photo, if you’re interested.

        1. Ellie’s friend, I came across the most beautiful bird photos on Instagram the other day: google ostdrossel and Instagram and you’ll find the most beautiful photos! She uses a bird photo booth and it’s amazing!

          1. Thanks Margaret. I will have a look! I am presently greatly enjoying Brandy’s link to Franz Lanting. Ann

          2. Hi Margaret, I got a chance to look at Ostdrossel’s photos at the bird photo booth. Very interesting and a neat set-up. Thanks for telling us about it. Ann

      3. Brandy,

        I’ve watched the whole CreativeLove lesson. Frans Lanting was wonderful. Thank you so much for telling us about it.

  23. As I continue to heal from my car accident, I’m a little slower than usual, but family teamwork with daily tasks and chores maintains our frugal lifestyle. We continue to eat primarily from our stores, pulling all of last night’s dinner from our second freezer. I hope to make bread and yogurt today.
    We sold a vehicle which was in storage (for a rainy day/right time) here at home and will add the settlement from our wrecked car to purchase a replacement car outright, thereby maintaining our “no car payment” status. After much research on safety and value, we are purchasing an older car with very low mileage, and a very high “lifetime” and safety projection. This should save us hundreds, if not several thousands of dollars in interest. My “car guy” husband has a lot of peace about out choice, as do I.
    The rain and cold are easing here, so I will begin harvesting some perennials and cold hardy herbs and veggies this week. I will also begin prepping my garden beds for new plantings. I have a friend who will be helping, as I am a little slow yet, and my husband needs to remain free to tend his growing customer base. We plan to add as many customers as possible before the slow holiday season at the end of 2019.
    Winter’s dress is stunning, and her seamstress skills are impressive. It is always a joy for me to see a succesful seamstress. It is near and dear to me, as I taught my own daughter from a very young age. The dollars saved from this skill are truly countless across a lifespan.
    Thanks to all here for your frugal inspirations! You truly keep my frugal gears turning for opportunities to save!
    Blessings to all in your lives and endeavors this week.

  24. Brandy, your garden looks so lush and Winter did a great job on her dress.

    I went thrift store shopping for the first time in many months on Saturday. I found some books that I will keep for myself or after reading them pass on to my daughters or co-workers. I found small mason jars with lids that I will get lots of use from. I also went in a new-to-me thrift shop that was having a BOGO free sale. I found a small table that has been on my list for a long time and I got a coffee maker for free. I am usually a little wary about buying electrical appliances even though they say it’s been tested because there is usually a no-return policy. But, this particular shop has the policy of a one-week guarantee. I could bring it back within a week if it doesn’t work, get my money back and a $1 credit for the store. Thankfully, it works! I also found a high-quality sheet set, several standard and King-size pillowcases, and a large glass pitcher with a lid for keeping drinking water in the refrigerator.

    My husband and I took all lunches to work and ate all our other meals at home. We pulled a turkey from the freezer that we bought at Thanksgiving for very little. We got lots of meals from it: roast turkey dinner, turkey salad, turkey vegetable rice soup, and the rest went into the freezer for future meals.

    On the weekends I have been preparing our fresh produce for the week for quick meals. This week I cut up some sweet potatoes, cabbage and onions, celery and carrot sticks. It saves us so much time during the week.

    Have a great week!

  25. I love all the pictures of flowers that remind us of spring! Here in Canada we’re getting there. I saw some snow drops coming up when my son and I were out for a walk yesterday and I was pretty excited. I got our income taxes done and mailed in. We are due a large refund so that will go straight to savings for now. We ate all meals here at home and my husband took his lunch every day. My mom gifted us with a large package of ground beef, some dried cherries and some English muffins. I am so thankful she is so generous as it really helps with our food budget and savings. I hope everyone has a lovely, frugal week!

  26. What a beautiful dress!
    – have been a little “lazy” about using cloth diapers the last couple weeks so we’ve gone through more disposables lately. Bought on sale but still! Will try better this week.
    – the baby hasn’t been feeling great so I’ve been up a lot nursing him. I think my supply had gone down so hey, the upside is boosted supply and less formula!
    – starting to get into the swing of cooking more again. With a husband who travels, my FT work, and 3 under 4 I’m sticking with simple things like tacos and pasta. But im doing it at least!
    – in that vein, just bought a dozen slightly off bananas. My son loves making banana bread so we’ll make a bunch of loaves tonight.
    – getting better at keeping our house tidy. Makes it look warm and inviting!
    – took books and DVDs out of the library
    – used credit card rewards, a coupon code, and ebates to “buy” myself a swim suit for free
    – paid extra on our mortgage this month again!
    – got the kids Easter basket stuff at the dollar store abd a local thrift shop and hid it upstairs

    The next week I’ll be trying to be even neater at home, eating the food in our stock pile and not shopping, turning down the heat when we aren’t here, and decluttering our house even more!

  27. You are all so inspiring and I’m so grateful 🙂 That dress is gorgeous as is the model [and designer :)] – and the garden looks so inviting. This week I have gotten my seeds started, cooked at home and toted drinks/lunches everywhere for whoever is needing [I have had college kids in and out this week on top of the usual residents]. As the weather warms I’m researching how to replace our torn porch screens myself with animal proof screen [my squirrels love my porch!] instead of taking the latest destroyed one [a giant hole really too big for the ‘screen tape’ I have on hand] I have a few screens remaining that we haven’t replaced so I think it will be worthwhile to learn and get the small tool [or two] needed. Not to mention window screen repairs at some future point. I researched and asked around and found a very good plumber for a lot less than I’ve paid in the past to replace a faucet [I am trying to learn to DIY things but plumbing is just more than I feel up to LOL]. I explored outside my usual sources and bought some needed online items at better than my best price – and lucked upon a St. Patrick’s Day sale where it was a further 17% less!

    1. Hi Cherie,

      I’ve replaced window screens at my house and it isn’t hard. The special tool to force the screening into the frame helped a lot. My only frustration was getting the screen in straight but patience paid off.

      Good Luck!

  28. I envy the flowers and garden. I love Winter’s dress especially the shoes as they are my favorite style that is not available any more around me. Would love to see the skirt she made over.

    Spent part of last week in the hospital …took my personal items with me. Asked for itemized bill and immediately caught they charged me $4 for soap that I didn’t get. I had the nurses mark on my file what I brought so that helped get those back off the bill. Hubby ate from home. I told him to not come down to see me everyday, just call. It’s a total of 5 hrs on the road back and forth so saved on gas that way.

    We ate odds and ends out of the freezers when I got home. I baked bread and rolls. Have combined errands and appts as much as possible. Picked up a taxi job when Amish neighbor’s Dad had to have emergency surgery at a hospital over an hr away. I took 3 of the children (HAHA mid 20s to early 30s) over to see him and their mother who was staying at the hospital with him. Which means I have a bit extra to put on the hospital bill myself.

    Rest is here. https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2019/03/frugal-frugal-frugal.html

      1. Thank you Brandy, ordered 4 pairs and they came in today and fit. Won’t have to buy dress shoes probably for at least 15 yrs if they last as long as the ones I just tossed Thanks again

  29. I just saw that you purchased some of your seeds from Eden Brothers. I love their slogan, “Seediest place on Earth.” Funny, they are located about 5 minutes from my house in North Carolina

  30. Brandy, the dress your daughter made is so beautiful! Her talent for clothing design is definitely developing without any formal education. I’m very impressed she is able to create her own designs already! I enjoyed seeing the pictures of the “car show” and the lovely flowers from your garden last week. I tried to post a comment, but just couldn’t get enough time to do so.

    Between DD off for March break, preparing for our month long trip, various appointments, commitments, and dealing with lifes curve balls, I have not had much time for other activities. Sadly that included reading and posting frugal accomplishments. So here they are finally…our frugal accomplishments, and crazy life in a nutshell, for the last couple weeks included:
    *Meals made at home included crock pot meatballs in gravy with mashed potatoes and carrots, cheese tortellini pasta with choice of red or white sauce, BBQ hamburgers & hotdogs (temps over the freezing mark..yeah!) with potato chips, breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, potato wedges and corn, roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots, breaded chicken fingers/patties with choice between onion rings or sweet potato fries with homemade garlic sriracha dip, BBQ chicken breasts on a bun (above freezing again, whoohoo!) with mashed potatoes, homemade beef barley vegetable soup (used up leftover roast beef & veggies in the fridge) with homemade garlic bread (used up some hamburger buns in the freezer) and homemade peach pie (from the freezer), BBQ cheddar sausages (temp in double digits, welcome back spring!!!) with Caesar salad and potato chips, chicken low mien stir-fry (mom forgot to make spring rolls…so sad), and pasta with pasta sauce.
    *Following sales, I stocked up on several items. Trying to ensure there are plenty of options for those remaining here, while hubby & I are away in April. We will be leaving grocery money for perishables, anything they run low on, or if they wish to buy anything special during the month. But my mom is not a frugal shopper, so I would rather make sure the pantry and freezers are well stocked with frugal options.
    *Made a mistake and bought more oatmeal at Costco (it was on sale) on Friday, then realized I wasn’t as low as I originally thought. In an effort to use some of it up, I made a double batch of oatmeal cookies with peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and seasoned roasted peanuts added. After I made then, I realized I forgot to add the milk the recipe called for. Not only did they tasted just fine, Hubby gave his approval! Good to know the milk wasn’t necessary. The family enjoyed them as DD started her school March break.
    *Made 2 boxes of chocolate mousse from the pantry for school lunches this coming week.
    *Used a coupon for a free large pizza and 2 dipping sauce for dinner one night. We had received this due to a mistake the pizza place had previously made.
    *Speaking of pizza, I found a massive package of pepperoni slices for $10 while picking up a roasted chicken dinner (froze the carcass to make broth later, as usual) at the grocery store another night. The normal packages I buy are $5 with maybe a quarter of the amount of meat. Definitely a good deal! I repackaged the pepperoni into usable portions and froze it for the next time we have “make your own pizza”.
    *When our day temperatures made it above the freezing mark, I decided to BBQ dinner a few days! I even made extra hotdogs,which where eaten as snack or lunch options for a few days after. For us, BBQ at this time of year is a huge treat!
    *Personally used my Wellness membership 6 times over the past 2 weeks. Took DD & Friend swimming one night, plus DD went swimming with her respite worker twice, all using our Wellness membership (support workers get in free). I also walked the dog for extra exercise.
    *Attended a “Seedy Sunday” event, hosted by a local group called Seeds of Change. They brought together various local seed producers (I think within 100 mile radius, mostly offering heritage/open pollinated seeds), and gardening related vendors. There were a few demos and free talks that you could attend. But the best part was an area where you could “trade” your own seeds for other seeds, or if you didn’t have seeds, you could pay a donation of $1 per package of seeds (again mostly heritage/open pollinated seeds). I was able to pick up more heritage/open pollinated seeds to use in my garden and spent $13.25 total. My hope is that I can collect the seeds each year to use the next year, thus minimizing the cost of purchasing seeds for the garden!
    *My brother needed an outfit for an interview. He already had dress pants and shoes, but needed a nice dress shirt and sports coat (he wears suspenders and wanted a jacket to hide them). He is a large man who takes a difficult size to find. We took him to the “big and tall” store where he picked out a sports jacket and shirt for a ridiculous price, but necessary due to sizing and timing (he needed it for the next day). When it was suggested the tie he currently has would not work with the outfit, I suggested we check the thrift store for one (they are universal in size). After checking at 2 stores, we found a very good quality tie at Value Village that looks like it had never been worn. Even better, they happened to be having a 50% off sale. While there, I scoped out some shirts in my brother’s size and after some convincing, he ended up buying 2. The most expensive of the 2 used shirts was a Tommy Hilfiger priced at $11.99, so 50% off made it about $6. In comparison, the new shirt from the Big & Tall store (which came with a plain white T-shirt/undershirt) was $70. What a difference in cost! Unfortunately he wasn’t able to find a sports jacket at the thrift store in his size. Otherwise, he would have quickly returned the $275 jacket! Sadly, he did not get the job, but at least he has an outfit for the next interview.
    *Thankful the puppy did not need to have surgery to remove her spay line sutures. The antibiotics did the trick. I’m grateful for both the less invasive medical treatment working as well as the saving for not having to pay for the surgical procedure.
    *In stead of paying for a surgery, we paid to have the exhaust system on my vehicle fixed. It developed a hole near the engine. Instead of paying for the entire exhaust fixed, they offered a cheaper option of welding a patch over the hole. We went with the cheaper option and paid just over $200 for the repair.
    *DD’s friend stayed for a sleep over this week. While she was here, I taught her how to make Bannock. She is currently taking a “home economics” type course at school, but many of the recipes are not helpful for her right now due to food insecurities. Bannock is a very basic “bread” that tastes similar to a tea biscuit. It requires very few ingredients, much of which they often have in the home, even when there is nothing else…flour, salt, baking powder, butter/marg/shortening/oil, and water…that’s it! She was so appreciative for the lesson and LOVED how they tasted. Hoping this recipe will help her out during times when food is scarce.
    *Went to the dentist, as I have been experiencing some mouth discomfort. I felt the need to deal with the issues, before I had a huge problem while traveling. It’s going to be costly to get everything fixed, but a necessary evil unfortunately. I will be having work done on 3 teeth before the trip, then will book for more work to be done after we return. Hubby said we can use some of our tax refund to pay for it.
    *Speaking of tax returns, we have ours completed and it had been filed. We now await our nice return of over $5,000!
    *Hubby & I went for our pre-trip hair cuts this week, on his day off. His was over half the cost of mine. I’m just happy to have my hair all trimmed up in a nice style for traveling.
    *Helped with my Weaver’s & Spinners guild’s Fibre Arts Festival and Sale. This event is our big yearly fundraiser, which has developed over the years into a HUGELY POPULAR event! People come from all over Ontario to attend. Vendors sell everything from spinning, weaving, and felting supplies to handcrafted items. Avid knitters often come to purchase unique hand-spun, hand dyed wool. Others come for the amazing, one-of-a-kind, handmade artisan pieces up for sale. For the past 2 years, I have organized and run the admissions area. The crowds of eager attendees still blows me away. It’s fun, though and this year all volunteers received a free lunch as well as free admission. I spent some of my b-day/Christmas “gift” money I had tucked away, to purchase a new weaving shuttle and some weaving supplies as a little gift to myself. So amazing to be involved with this event!

    It is taking me nearly the whole week to read everyone’s comments right now, due to a very busy schedule. However, I do enjoy learning from you all!

  31. The garden is beautiful! It makes me feel spring will come here too, even if it is a couple of months before it starts to get green. Winter’s dress is lovely. .
    I had half a serving of mushroom soup left from lunch. I added it to the pasta sauce when I was making dinner. This will stretch the jar of pasta sauce an extra meal for me, and it was very tasty.

    I went to a potluck supper. I brought a container of spring greens, and added carrot shavings and broccoli florets and dressing. All came from items on hand, so no extra cost for this event other than gas, which I already had in the tank now that I think about it.

    I received a small check unexpectedly of some money that was owed me a year ago. I had given up on it a long time ago. I’ll put it into my emergency fund.

    I received the extended health insurance cards that start the month after I turn 65, without having to do any paperwork. This is no-premium insurance for seniors. This will save 70% on the cost of prescriptions starting in a few months’ time. The government knows I am turning 65 and so benefits are turning up automatically. (This is in Canada.) There are two small pensions that I do have to apply for. I am getting the paperwork ready.

    I have found I can deduct some home-based business expenses, which will reduce my taxes owing by a bit. Every little bit helps.

    I am working on my spring cleaning. The snow has started to melt, though it will take a few weeks for all of it to go. My hope is that the cleaning is done and the snow is melted by Easter!

    1. Elizabeth: can you send me a reply showing where I can get information on this extended health for seniors in Canada? for no premium?? I have not heard of this, and at 76 can sure use it! thanks for your help, ann lee s Vancouver Island, BC

      1. Hi, Ann,

        This is an Alberta program, I’m afraid, with Blue Cross. It looks like BC has a Seniors Guide which goes through all the available programs, though I imagine you are aware of most of them. I’m sorry I got your hopes up.


        1. oh lovely Alberta, of course! they have good programs! I thought I should know of it if it was available here, was hoping it was Federal. Yes thanks I do know the BC Guide … no problem Elizabeth thanks for quick reply! good luck with your election, whichever way you wish it to go ….. ann lee s

        2. Thank you Elizabeth, lovely Alberta, great programs and you didn’t even have to apply!! We should all take a page from that book. Yes I do know of our BC Guide but nothing there for me except pharmacare of course … good luck in your election whichever way you wish it to go .. interesting times! ann lee

  32. Winter’s dress is beautiful!
    After searching for a year for the particular model we wanted, we were able to purchase a new-to-us, used RV. We will clean up our old one (a 1996 model) and sell it. Meanwhile, the bill we received for insurance on the new one was $61 more than I was originally quoted. It took two days and a couple of phone calls, but I finally learned the increase was because of something wrong in the description of the RV. The company removed the charge. So it pays to check these things!
    We are furnishing the new RV mostly with items from the old one, but we did want a few new things. Most of these I have either made or purchased using gift cards I have been saving.
    I’m taking the temperature in the greenhouse. Both air and soil temps are rising and I think in about 10 days I’ll be able to plant out there.
    I began a batch of sourdough starter.
    We spent an afternoon at the local hot springs, using free passes gifted to us by a friend who works there. She was there when we visited and on the way out gifted us with four more passes!
    I made the last payment on my hospital bill from last March – so great to have that out of the way.

  33. Found Meyer lemons at the store for a good price, so I bought six and made four half pints of lemon curd for the freezer. I had butter that I purchased for $1.99 a pound during the holidays. Lemon curd is a treat for me so I am happy to have it on hand. I zested all the lemons and dried it to use in other items.
    We had a neighborhood potluck St. Patrick’s day party and I brought chocolate zucchini bread that I made last summer and was stored in the freezer.
    I had a gift card for a local bakery and got a loaf of bread. With it I made grilled cheese sandwiches (we seem to have a lot of cheese right now) and homemade tomato soup and took the meal to my mom and aunt.
    I cleaned out two closets and have a stash of antique pens that I am going to list.
    Started a beginning watercolor class and had just about all the supplies I needed. I bought a set of old watercolors at an art sale about 5 years ago for $10.
    Last month my credit union was offering a 6-11 month CD at 3%. I figured out much of our savings I could comfortably transfer into an account. I got the dividend notice and was surprised how much it earned in a short time! My current savings rate is .15% which doesn’t net much.
    Spring is arriving, so it’s time to spend more time in the garden. I checked and the garlic that I planted last fall has some nice green shoots! I need to check my seed supply, as I would like to plant lettuce, radishes, and peas in the next week.

    1. Kandace – may I ask whether you do anything special when freezing your lemon curd? I’ve never tried this because I worried about the texture changing. I love lemon curd though and would love to freeze it to have on hand!

  34. Winter looks lovely — she is so talented.
    I looked at the Chinese Houses flowers and I’ve never seen those flowers before, either. They are pretty, and so unusual.
    My latest frugal accomplishments are:
    I made a five-gallon bucket of laundry detergent again.
    I keep using my phone to find lowest gas prices near my work and make sure not to let my tank get less than 1/2 full. Surprisingly, Costco is not always the best gas price, although, often times, it is.
    Since I’m using the Flylady method to clean, which includes very quickly “swishing” the two toilet bowls every day with soapy water, I haven’t had to buy toilet bowl cleaner in months. In fact, I’ve needed less household cleaners all around.
    I bought corned beef and cabbage on sale and cooked it in the crockpot this weekend. It was yummy.
    I have signed up for a survey that should end up giving me $14.00, and another that, if I am selected, would give me $100. I have $25+ in my Swagbucks account now, mostly from surveys and searching online. When I place another office supply order, which I’ll do soon, I’ll go through Swagbucks and should get credit for that order in the form of SB’s.
    I am still going through my pantry and getting rid of some things. After I’m done, I’ll start re-stocking it with things I can eat and that we actually will eat.
    I cook from scratch, buy used, pack lunches and make do with what we have as best I can. We have a lot of medically related expenses coming up, so I’ll need to watch our pennies.

  35. Asparagus! Daffodils! Your spring looks lovely. The dress Winter made is beautiful. The neckline is fantastic.

    • When I first purchased this house, I had the same overhead light installed in both the kitchen and master bedroom. The one in the kitchen stopped working a few months ago and since a new ballast was needed, it was less expensive to replace the entire fixture. The light in the bedroom stopped working last week so I assumed a new fixture was needed and purchased one. My son tried replacing the light bulb first and it worked! So I returned the second light fixture.
    • I did some work for a non-profit and was able to upload the documents to Staples copy center, saving me a trip. I still had to drive to pick them up.
    • My dishwasher hasn’t been doing a great job cleaning. I wash the filter on a regular basis but I’ve still been dissatisfied with the cleanliness level. I watched some videos on YouTube and learned how to clean the spray arms. Between the upper and lower spray arms, four holes were clogged!
    • Made a new recipe from Budget Bytes – beef cabbage stir fry but I made it with ground pork that I had in the freezer. Very delicious! Also made large pot of oatmeal to eat with frozen fruit, a large batch of pork and peanut noodles and used up stray bits of veggies kicking around my refrigerator: broccoli, zucchini, carrots, and onion, and veggie & cheese omelets for dinner one night.

    1. Libby, if you liked the beef cabbage stir fry, try making Beirocks. I had never heard of them until moving here to Kansas, but they’re now one of my favorites. I fry ground beef, drain it, & add a little water and chopped cabbage. I cook it until the cabbage is soft. Then I put a scoop into a flattened dough. Pinch the sides and bake until golden brown. I’ve used Whack Em Biscuits in a pinch. They can be frozen, they reheat great for lunch, etc. In fact, I’m making some this week. I think they’re the German version of a pocket sandwich. My older friends tell me they were popular because they were cheap to make and could be done with just a little ground beef for flavor.

      1. I make something similar but they’re called Irish Hand Pies (from Martha Stewart). It’s a mixture of browned ground beef, cabbage and potatoes put into squares of pie crust. I make them smaller than the recipe calls for, and add extra cabbage for frugality’s sake (I also skip the tomato paste in the recipe). They freeze beautifully so I like to make quite a few for those lazy nights when I don’t feel like cooking. They’re delicious!

  36. We had a pretty good week. I was able to do some contract work in addition to my full time teaching, so that was good. I really enjoy this work for a local museum, so I hope it continues into the future with other exhibits they have. We cooked all meals at home and were able to make use of a can of salmon that had been rolling around the pantry for date night dinner, salmon patties over large salads. It was delicious! And nice to be able to cook together too. Enjoyed our weekly yoga class at the Children’s Council and the friendships that have formed there. On the down side, there’s an undiagnosed issue with one of our cars that almost left Benny and baby stranded. I’m grateful for having savings to spend on the repair, but it does set us back a bit on our goals.

    I’m loving your spring photos! I’m looking forward to a little gardening this spring, though it will be different doing it mostly in pots (since we’re in a rental and don’t want to invest too much in the yard/garden).

    Here are the rest of our accomplishments: https://liveandsave.blogspot.com/2019/03/frugal-accomplishments-3rd-week-of-march.html?_sm_au_=isVnWVFPWtF7tVtQ

  37. Brandy, your yard looks so beautiful! Our daffodils are just coming up so it’ll be a couple of weeks yet before I can make my first bouquet. I love the smell. I have several colors & sizes that all bloom a little bit apart. We had a lot of rain and some sun last week and our grass is finally greening up a bit. It won’t be long until the lawn mower is back at work.

    Winter’s dress is lovely and I keep saying it, SO feminine! She has a wonderful style and looks like such a lady. I hope you’ll share pics of her skirt and any other creations of hers or yours. That gift of sewing and thrift is going to be so handy as a college student. I had a friend in my first year of college that was a master seamstress. Her clothes were so beautiful! She was always seam ripping something from the thrift store and refashioning it into something else. She always looked so nice.

  38. First time posting although I have been following along since before Octavius was born. I have decided that I would like to go from working more than full-time down to working only part-time. This will require more frugality on my part and a much harder look at the budget. I find that my habits need to improve and this blog is an inspiration!
    My big frugal win for last week was styling my daughter’s hair at home for a dance performance. The first time she performed, I paid a stylist to achieve the look. This time I was determined to do it myself. I got supplies at the dollar store for $4.50 (which will be able to be used again for the next performance) watched a youtube video and practiced a few times before her performance. It turned out great and I was so pleased with the cost!
    Thank you Brandy for the wonderful pictures of your garden. Everything is still buried under snow and ice here.

  39. I love Winter’s dress! And she’s beautiful! Also love the pictures of your garden. Can’t wait to see the beautiful flowers!

    My accomplishments last week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads in the washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 5 times. Eating up food out of the freezer and pantry again. Had steak, baked potato and asparagus; Mexican bean soup with tortillas; pulled pork on buns w/ BBQ sauce, cheesy potatoes and corn; leftover bean soup with the rest of the pulled pork mixed in; and grilled chicken I marinated with the last of some Italian dressing I had in the fridge with pasta and green beans.
    • Had Dad over for lunch while I did his laundry instead of taking him out.
    • Had a tree removed from our front yard. Cost us $750, but it was a tree that just dumped and dumped debris all year long. My husband spent an enormous amount time keeping the yard clean. The time saved will enable him to get to other projects that will save us money, such as planting a vegetable garden.
    • Got a couple of Ibotta rebates.
    • Kept the heater off except to take the chill off in the morning while we shower.
    • Hubby brought lunch to work 4 times, I brought mine the 1 day full day I was in the office. Was able to work from home 1 of the days. Company brought in bagels one of the days, so free breakfast too.
    • Worked 14 ½ contract hours.
    • Reused a gift bag for a hostess gift for my niece, where we stayed when we went to Portland this weekend. We used airline points and a companion pass for our flight there, so only $23 out of pocket. As we stayed with our niece, we had free housing too. Just had to pay for our St. Patrick’s Day festivities and for groceries at her house. Probably would have spent as much as if we had stayed home. Hubby was able to save her over $450 on car repairs that her dealership said she needed too. She called him when they told her what “needed” to be done. Smart girl! 90% of the things they said were critical weren’t even needed. Her own father passed away last May, so we are happy to help her. We’ve asked her to make a list of things Hubby can fix/look at for her whenever we go up there. Win/win!
    • Before our trip to Italy, I downloaded books onto my Kindle from the library for free. This also saved because I didn’t have the weight and bulk of the books to carry.
    • Mended a couple of shirts.
    • Had an epiphany (well, to me!) regarding some Marionberry syrup I’d been gifted that I’ve had in the pantry for a couple of years. I don’t eat pancakes or waffles very often and when I do, I prefer maple syrup. Realized that I can use it on my oatmeal. Kind of a “duh” thing really, but I think all of us have had something that we all of a sudden realize a use for!
    • Filled out a survey from our travel agency and received a $25 credit towards our next trip. This is good, as we plan on using them again next year.
    • Paid extra on our mortgage and took 3 months off the back end.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  40. I LOVE Winter’s dress…so classy! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were bbq chicken thighs with salad and corn on the cob, hamburgers, beef fajitas from the freezer, vegetable beef soup from the freezer with grilled cheese sandwiches, eggs with bacon and toast, popped popcorn for snacks.
    *My son broke both of his front teeth when he was young and has basically had fillings since then. As he is now 22, we needed to do something more permanent. Our dentist kindly ran a quote through our insurance company so we would know how much our out-of-pocket would be. It came in at $599 for both. Not a bad deal, so we went ahead with it. Paid with credit card to earn points. Will pay off this month.
    *Finished our taxes and went through Ebates to receive 10% back.
    *Used dirt we dug up when transplanting daffodils to fill in several containers. Hoping to grow herbs and veggies in those this spring.
    *Sent a thank you card from my stash to our church’s choir director to let her know we appreciate her hard work.
    *Paid at chiropractor using tax-free FSA card. Combined this trip with a trip to the doctor to save on gas.
    *Went to visit friends who just built a house at the shore. Left after work on Friday and shared a $5.99 pizza from Little Caesar’s on the way there. We planned meals while there and another friend shopped at Costco and we split the bill. Ate lunch before leaving on Sunday, so no meal out that day. Took free soap and shampoo samples along to use. While there, we went thrifting. I found a silverware tray for $.25 and a set of sheets for $3.75. Both will be used in my son’s new apartment.

  41. Brandy,
    Love the photos of your garden.
    Congrats to Winter- the dress looks wonderful on her!

    I rearranged furniture in my living room giving it a new look with things I already own. I cleaned out two of my kitchen cupboards-sending lots of mis-matched dishes to charity shops. Now we have more space and can easily get to the things we use everyday. It is so nice.

    We transplanted two hydrangeas to areas that get a little more shade- last year they got sunburned.

    I am working on reducing my stress as the doctor says it is a must to improve my health. I am attending a free yoga class a couple days a week.
    We went to the beach and took grandson. It was a beautiful day full of sun shine. The grandson and dog played on the beach and we got a good walk in- only cost was gas to get there and back.

    Husband is away on a business trip this week so I plan to eat mostly salads for dinner which will help keep the grocery budget in check.
    I am almost done knitting another scarf for charity.

    Most importantly, I am enjoying the very warm spring weather we are having. It is so nice after all the snow this winter.

  42. Hello all, so lovely to see beautiful spring pictures!
    I planted some more seeds indoors in leftover clear salad containers;
    I listed and sold $95 on my local Facebook buy & sell site;
    I made 2 greeting cards;
    I colored my own hair;
    I worked 4 hours at my occasional office job;
    I was able to redeem through a survey site for a cheque for $20;
    I combined all errands into the one day I worked and did not drive for the other 6 days. Fuel prices keep rising here!
    Mostly just stayed home, ate all food at home, used up what I have around the house; watched Netflix and read some free books. Wishing all a lovely frugal week.

      1. There was a lot next to the man’s house that they just purchased. We took 40 and there were 10 times as many left. He wasn’t done either. He emailed me the next day to ask if I wanted more. I mentioned it to several people but no one wanted to do the work. I’m willing to work for free raspberries. My kids love them. Hoping most of the canes make the transplant.

  43. Thanks for the vote of confidence Libby! I am sure I can do it with a little help holding things – I stopped at Home Depot today and they have the screen and the little tool – I just need to pull out that strip stuff to see what size to get 🙂

    1. Cherie, the “strip stuff” is called spline, and we have always just reused it. The only reason I can think of to replace it is if it rotted and came off in pieces.

  44. What beautiful Spring pictures! We’re far away from daffodil season here in Boston, but we’ve got 5 snowdrops up, 1 winter aconite, and a lovely tree full of witch hazel blossoms. And Winter’s dress is beautiful and suits her so well.

    *Frugal delight – my husband made me two sturdy cold frames so that I can plant more easily than I used to with milk jugs for greenhouses (difficult to keep watered sometimes).
    *Frugal ugh – two different ER copays for my toddler’s cut lip, two different hospitals to visit, but I’m grateful he didn’t need stitches and is feeling so peppy now. General anesthesia for a two year old’s tiny cosmetic cut on the lip? No, thank you, for many reasons!
    *made double batch of French bread
    *soaked and washed special baby clothes for baby on the way so that special things stay nice. This takes conscious effort on my part to take good care of special things.
    *Scored a whole bunch of corned beef roasts for the future at $1.47/lb, and found out that my family really likes this dish and would like it every couple of weeks. Hooray for easy meals with absurdly cheap beef!
    *made a triple batch of biscuits for the freezer.
    *Celebrated my four year old son’s birthday simply with cake at home and some new wooden train cars that my husband made for him. He painted them with the old Boston & Maine train logo, a train that great-grandparents loved and rode often.
    *Showed up to the swim classes that we signed up for. It’s always a difficult morning to juggle and isn’t easier being heavily pregnant, but I really want to get the good out of the classes and respect the money we paid for them. We’ll do it as long as we can:)

    Thanks, Brandy, for the lovely inspiration! I find myself looking forward to these Monday posts and looking forward greatly to the comments. I get lots of ideas from them and find myself making frugal choices more often because I feel like I have good company around me, also trying to manage these things. Thank you all!

    Brandy – as Winter looks at on-campus jobs, she may want to check out proctoring for exams. Those were definitely the best paying jobs that I’ve found on campus. One day, I proctored a CPA exam for 7 hours and earned about $500, and that was back in the 90s! Checking in with the registrars’ office is the best way to get lined up with that sort of thing. Tutoring at a writing center or being a research assistant – something that requires high levels of writing and gumption – can also be worthwhile things to snag. Best wishes with her search!

  45. It’s been busy here. I made grits pie last week which is a great frugal treat. This week I made a sugar cream pie to use up the rest of the milk that was past date after making potato soup to use a bunch of it. For just the two of us, it’s difficult to get through a gallon of milk in a week and often that’s the farthest expiration date we can get on milk. It means that we’ve come up with a lot of ways to use it up and we do freeze it if we need to.
    For upcoming gifts: I purchased a set of hankies from a local store for $4 and embroidered them by hand with initials and “Dad” for my Dad’s birthday. For my mom, I made one with an Easter design. I also made her a bunny pin with felt and embroidery. For my aunt and my mom, I cut out simple animal patterns (moose and bunny) in scrap fabric in Easter colors, fused them onto fabric napkins that I got for 60% off from Joanns, and finished them with a blanket stitch.
    I’ve put in more time than usual on Swagbucks because I know I won’t prioritize that for this summer. I’ll be outside hammering nails and planting plants. I can’t wait.
    I requested the latest Darling Dahlia book from the library – the Poinsettia Puzzle- I’m thrilled that it came in and can’t wait to read it this weekend. I use the library a lot. We can borrow books from any library in the state and I use that feature frequently to get the books that our library doesn’t have.
    My final accomplishment was remembering to post to pinterest my inspirations for my week. It’s great to look back at what I’ve done and to find the directions when I need a reminder, again, how to do the blanket stitch! https://www.pinterest.com/heidiberryman5/my-frugal-week/

  46. I have been doing a lot of planned (and unplanned) home improvements over the past week and have fo7nd ways to save money on all of them!
    1. Repurposed a China cabinet by splitting it into two parts. The bottom part turned into a beverage/coffee station for my dining room and the top part became a storage unit in my living room. The only things I needed to buy were the feet for the storage unit and a small board to cover its top. Luckily I had screws, nails, and the stain already.
    2. I moved a small bookcase (that I already owned) into my bathroom to use for storage after one to many things fell in the commode from our over the toilet rack. We have no closet or underneath the sink storage thanks to our pedestal sink! I also moved a painting from my bedroom into the bathroom to jazz it up a bit.
    3. My father replaced my entire kitchen faucet for me after I spent 7 hrs trying/failing to replace the faucet’s cartridge. Apparently the simpler repair would never have worked because all the sinks parts were severely corroded.
    4. Got new tennis shoes, yoga pants, and a shirt at Academy Sports for $6 after I combined a coupon with a great sale and a gift card I received for my birthday.
    5. I signed a two year contract with a local gym in order to get a couples rate of $30 a month for me and my daughter. We bought a cheap deal at the Black Friday sale in order to try it out first and we ended up loving be able to use the classes/pool/equipment at our whim.

  47. Beautiful photos as always, Brandy! I love Winter’s style and admire her talent!
    It’s so lovely to see flowers in bloom! I’m curious about your daffodils: did they multiply like that or did you plant a lot of bulbs close to each other to achieve this look?

    1. I planted them fairly close to start in double rows, but they have also multiplied over the years.

  48. I love Winter’s white graduation dress she created. She looks so confident and ready to move to her next season of life! Is there a graduation ceremony (the active homeschool groups in my community have their own ) or is the dress for a special celebration?
    We enjoyed our trip out of state to our youngest daughter’s figure skating competition.We kept it as frugal as possible by driving two full days each way. We used our loyalty points for 6 nights in a hotel. Even considering the cost of gas and hotel costs, it was still cheaper than flying. We packed our own snacks and lunches. We ate out only 3 times by taking our George Forman grill and crockpot. We had mistakenly expected a microwave in our room but there was none included, and unfortunately, the refrigerator did not work well enough to trust it. Thankfully, we had our ice chest which we filled with ice from the hotel ice machine. For lunches we enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas. Without a microwave we couldn’t have hot canned soup with our sandwiches, but I did use the soups in our dinners in the crockpot.We did bring some food with us in the car, but we needed to purchase some from the grocery store. None of the stores I am familiar with were in the hotel vicinity.I was pleasantly surprised when King Sooper turned out to be Kroger. The prices in Colorado Springers were comparable to my store in Texas. Our dinners in the hotel room were Chicken and Rice, green bagged salad, French bread, strawberries, Chilli dogs, carrots and dip, chips, Beef Potato Stew, French Bread, salad, strawberries. Soft tacos, grapes, half-price marked down , cookie cake to celebrate daughter’s first and second place results. What a blessing it was to return to a hot meal in our hotel room after many hours in the freezing skating rink or being outside in the much colder weather than we are used to! By making our own meals, instead of eating out, we saved at least $250 and were able to use that money for a visit to the zoo and several museums. On our return trip home, we used a gift card hubby had received from work to eat at Texas Roadhouse and only had to pay for the tip. Our family of four adults was able to have a six-day vacation by using our hotel points and eating in. More to come…

  49. Hi Brandy!

    I’m curious about the M.C. Beaton books you are reading. I have read some of the Hamish MacBeth and Agatha Raisin books by her but I was unaware of this series. Is it classified as “young adult”? Thank you!

    1. I would not classify them as young adult books at all. She wrote several other series. When I look up her name on the library’s website, I get her other series as well. She wrote several other series, all set in Regency-era England.

  50. We managed to not get too heavily impacted by the “bomb” cyclone that came through CO. My family in E. NE are not so fortunate. I am ready for spring but know that here in S. CO it can be spring one moment and winter the next!

    Big frugal fail but okay in the end: I decided to trim our little rescue doxie’s nails – on Sunday night, St. Patrick’s Day. All went well until I cut the quick on one toe. It bled and bled and bled. I couldn’t get it stopped with a styptic pencil, corn starch – nothing. So we made a flying trip to the Emergency Vet. They are quite clear that it is $95.00 just to look at your pet. Our little doxie has a rare auto-immune disease that causes her soft tissues in her legs to deteriorate. She is on an autoimmune medication and can’t be around other dogs so we’re always worried about any exposure. The people at the ER Vet were wonderful and when they brought her back our to us we were charged only $67.00! The vet tech told us that she was able to take care of it and since the vet wasn’t needed we weren’t going to be charged the full price. Wonderful! Lesson to self – taking her to the vet once every two months is well worth the $14.00.

    Thanks to someone who mentioned Chewy. We have a medication and heartworm meds and were able to get them at less than half the cost of our vet.

    My SO has been on a special inhaler for a couple of years. Every year there were trips to the ER and/or doctor for bronchitis attacks. With the medication no trips! It has been $360 for a three month supply. While ordering an inhaler for one of our rescues I asked about ordering “people” drugs. This is a Canadian company and the dog inhaler is a “people” medication. That medication alone costs us 1/6 of what it would be here in the US. And yes, they do fill “people” Rx. The cost for a three month supply – $52.00. Wow!!! Hardest part was getting the doctor’s office to give a written Rx versus just calling it in to either the three month mail order company or to a local pharmacy. That $300 saving per three months is a big deal for us on a fixed income and means we can put more into emergency saving along with covering ever increasing costs.

    I had my semi-annual teeth cleaning and while out there – it is about 30 miles from here – I stopped at the Dollar Tree out there. Each Dollar Tree has different stock – I think based on the demographics. I found packs of bagels, 4 for $1.00. These are fantastic bagels and much like the bagels my family would get when they lived in D.C. I bought three packages and we’ve eaten one already and I am vacu sealing the others individually. They are so big that we can split one and with a yogurt and piece of fruit it is a lovely change for breakfast. I also found a few other things my local Dollar Tree doesn’t have – pretzels, a non-gluten/non-salt gourmet seasoning and cans of Campbell’s high end soup (bean with ham and beef with barley). I will take the seasoning and soup with us when we are in our RV. There isn’t enough room in the freezer for anything other than the meat we will bring from home.

    While out that way I stopped at Safeway and found pork loin roast for $1.87 a pound. I will cut it up to make a small roast and then cut chops and seal in the vacu seal. I anticipate that there will be roast left over so will make green chile stew with that. They also had corned beef brisket for $1.67 a pound. I only bought a small one as we aren’t big on it. I made it in the instant pot and wow – it was so good! I had enough left over for Reuben’s one day and then made corned beef hash with leftover potatoes. I will definitely do this in the future as the meat was so tender and seemed much more flavorful (and not just salty).

    Continuing on our deep cleaning of all the sheds and garages. Have found an amazing number of very useful tools and “stuff” This is the accumulation of my SO’s late father’s big barn, stuff we’ve collected and things a friend just dropped off when she decided to live full time in an RV. We’re donating a lot, giving some to a family member and keeping what we can use. The main shed looks like a hardware store now! LOL. I did a deep dive in a couple of kitchen cabinets. Found some spices and herbs that were very, very old and obviously not useful any longer. I have decided that with just two of us to cook for I am not going to be buying the big Sam’s containers any longer. They seem “cheap” at the time but aren’t cheap if they get old and cant’t be used. In fact, we did not renew our Sam’s membership this year. Instead focusing on finding the least expensive source. Soon we will be on the road with our RV and we won’t be able to store much in that and don’t need to have it just sitting around here at the homeplace.

    This seems like the inbetween time for what to cook. Not a lot of new fresh produce and while we love ‘winter’ meals – stews, roasts, soups, etc. we also feel like we need a change. Looking at pinterest and online recipe sources for inspiration.

    1. Mary, take your spice bottles with you when you hit the road and fill them at the first Winco you pass. You can buy as little or as much as you want, usually for pennies. Even if you have to buy spice jars (they are underneath the bulk spice display), you will still save a ton. Fred Meyer–should you get to Utah, Idaho, Oregon or Washington–also sells bulk spices in the natural foods department.

      1. You can buy bulk spices and put them in the small bags that Winco provides. You don’t have to take bottles with you or purchase bottles to buy bulk spices.

        1. Great idea! I found small spice bottles at Tuesday A.M. – 12 for less than $3.00. I think they were “favor” bottles. Perfect size for the RV. I have a list of places to go that we don’t have here – Aldi, Winco, etc. I just realized today that I am out of oregano so will look for something to tide me over. I can get the little bags and calculate how much in each on would go into the bottles. I enjoy cooking and plan to cook a lot while we are traveling. Just going to look for local places that have something unique and are cheap! I like the idea of the Thai stirfry – I have a lot of basil to use.

    2. We did our corned beef in the Instant Pot this year too and we loved it. Will never cook it any other way again!

  51. Winter, I’m always so impressed with your sewing! Fantastic job!
    I had a massive frugal fail last week. Please extend mercy and grace when you read it and take it as a loving reminder for yourself. I got a speeding ticket. I admit that I like to drive fast and therefore many times I will put on my cruise-control so that I’m not speeding. Unfortunately, I wasn’t concentrating and I was picked up for doing 41 in a 25 zone. YIKES. I was so mad at myself. The fine was $32, the court cost was $150. And 6 points taken off my license. So now….. I get to go to traffic school. So once again.. a loving reminder from your friend to SLOW DOWN on the roads. Another frugal fail is a birthday party. We live near a large city which has lots of party places and my extended family like to celebrate their kid’s birthdays there. So along with a birthday present, the meal cost us $55 dollars. And then because it’s flu season out of the 25 people that attended, one got the flu, one got strep throat, baby got pink eye and 3 came down with the stomach bug. It hasn’t been a good week. LOL But I’m thankful to be alive and kicking. Gardenpat is not the only one with a hubby retiring. After keeping it a secret for so long my dh finally told his boss that he will be retiring in two weeks. April 1st is his last day. At last I’m allowed to talk about it. LOL. He wanted to get his ducks in a row and honestly, neither of us realized just how many ducks there were. So all the time GardenPat has been talking about their retirement plans, I’m over here nodding my head in understanding . Getting SS for himself, SSI for the two remaining children and insurance/medicare for all of us has been somewhat nerve-wracking. So while this couple of weeks, months have been up and down, I know that God is good and he takes care of his children. I love having that peace.

  52. I am heading back West in June having finished my work here with my son and the cabin. 2019 is the year of paying off as much debt and building an emergency fund as possible. I struggle daily with this, but am very relieved to see the light at then of the tunnel.

  53. This is for all those retiring or ready to retire. Yes, there is a lot to research, plan for, look into. All that said I have found that anyone who has already been living a frugal lifestyle is already a big way to make this transition successful. I’ve found that there is a different balance in this retirement life – such as doing a lot more thoughtful cooking and planning – instead of doing the weekend scramble. Time to sew. Time to look in depth at ads and determine what is what is really needed. The big “gotcha” is that with more time there is also the “more time to shop”. I’ve learned that the leisurely “trolling” in shops is dangerous. Keeping to a list and keeping focused is so important.

    1. Mary, you are 100% right about being frugal to start with makes retirement much easier. We retired 13 years ago with about half the assets that “they” said we would need. Of course, our house was paid for, and we had no debt. Makes a huge difference! Also, I don’t enjoy shopping at all…so we don’t buy much besides groceries. We replace things when they wear out. My husband doesn’t have the expense of working. We haven’t changed our lifestyle at all and we have bought two new cars for cash, built a vacation home for cash and take at least one major trip every year (usually overseas, although not this year). We also sold our house, downsized to another that we paid cash for, and socked away $100K from the sale. Despite a lifetime of high medical bills, we are worth more now than we were at the time we retired, not even counting the $100K. When “they” say you need X number of dollars to retire and maintain the same lifestyle, “they” assume you have a mortgage and possibly other debt, trade cars every 2-3 years, travel a lot (and first class) and like to buy stuff and generally live the high life. (I never thought I was a lowlife until I wrote this, LOL!

  54. In the weeks before our trip, I planted potatoes and onions. They were just coming up before we left, but by the time we returned they had grown quite a bit! This year I am not planting much in the ground, as last year I planted 4 kinds of squash that grew 15 ft. vines, but never produced squash and 4 watermelon plants I planted last March, but never produced until late October, so they never ripened before freezing. This year I planted herb seeds in pots, potted a small rosemary plant, and bought 6 tomato plants to pot. I will plant pepper plants in a couple weeks, as I have the time. When my potato and onions are harvested, I will plant sweet potatoes. One year from a 6×6 plot, I harvested 65 lbs. of delicious sweet potatoes!
    My most exciting news is that I received my first payment as my grandson’s medical transportation driver. For one in-town appt. and one out-of-town appt. I was paid over $99. The paperwork is a pain, but well-worth the inconvenience to get paid for something I have to do anyway. Brandy, Winter’s dress will look lovely on her for that all-important party!

  55. Hi, everyone,

    Today I spent $55.00 on groceries split evenly between Co-op and No Frills. At Co-op, it is a two for one day. I bought shredded cheese as it is still hard for me to slice cheese from a block. I bought Prego pasta sauce for slightly more than $1 per jar (I am stocking up my pantry with some). I now am wealthy in yogourt. And No Frills once again had the ten pound bag of russet potatoes for $3.97. The same kind of pasta at No frills (No name Pasta) is $1.14 and at Shoppers $2.49 reg. I just wanted to point out that Co-op is a BGO (two for one) sale.

    My friend had a tragic unexpected death in her family so she and I talked for a long time last night. It is a hard thing to understand and words sometimes fail.

    Today I am glad that it is spring. I went out and put sand and gravel on the ice (with one hand, the ultimate balancing act) so my other friend would not slip when she came with the groceries.

    I hope spring is beginning for everyone. I can finally see my backyard although there is still a lot of snow left in the front. It is amazing that thefirst spring plants (in my yard usually hepatica) may be up within a week.

    P.S. I watched the free Frans Lanting bird photography video three times! It was so good

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