I read an e-book from the library.

We started using IXL via the library accounts. This is a huge savings versus paying for the site. We’re still learning how much it covers and how it works, but as I was considering signing up for this site in a few months anyway, so I’m happy to have it available for free.

I spent several afternoons working in the garden. I brought in new dirt and filled in the low places in the garden. I planted seeds for lettuce, snow peas, and leeks. The leek seeds were seeds I had gathered from my own garden.

I picked up two flats of snapdragons on clearance at the nursery for $2 a flat ($0.125 a plant). The plants were done flowering but they will flower again.

I baked biscuits.

I cooked a crockpot full of beans, which we used over several meals.

I ground rolled oats in my grain grinder to make baby food.

I grouped close-by errands together. I needed to get some clothing and shoes for my soon to be 14-year-old son and my 12-year-old daughter. I have found it hard to find used clothing in good condition (if at all) for this age and have had to look for good sales and clearance deals. We were able to find a pair of shoes for my daughter at Old Navy that was in the clearance section but didn’t have a tag. They fit her well, and turned out to be $1.48! We found some other clothing on sale/clearance for them and a pair of shoes on clearance for my son. Knowing he is right at the growth spurt age, we bought both that pair of shoes and a pair of dress shoes for him just a little big, as the chance of him outgrowing them in three months might happen otherwise.

I found out that an acquaintance of mine is getting married in two weeks. She is planning an intimate wedding but has not planned anything: not a dress, flowers, photos, or a reception. The only thing she planned was to pick up a simple cake at Sam’s Club. Her eldest daughter is getting married in March, and she hadn’t really taken the time to plan anything for her own wedding. Her budget is limited, so she didn’t really think she could do much. My eldest and I were at her house when she told us. I offered to take her photos and make her a bouquet and boutonniere for her husband. My daughter gave her some hair suggestions after she asked her about her hair and is going to show her how to do them so that she can choose. I offered the loan of a cake stand and server and I made some phone calls about tablecloths and other simple decor to someone who I knew might have leftovers from her recently married daughter’s wedding (she did and offered several). I am excited to be able to help make her wedding beautiful and memorable!

What did you do to save money last week?

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  1. I am currently making chili in the crockpot and it smells so good I can hardly wait until dinner time! I will make french bread to go with it. It has been so good to have frugal habits and not have to run to the store frequently for groceries and other items. Our basement storage area is like a mini-grocery store. I take a bag down with me and “shop” for items I need for my menus. Thank you for all the ideas you have given your readers, Brandy!

    1. We refer to our basement food storage area as “The Merc!” Great idea about taking a bag downstairs when you go to “shop!” I am going to have to start doing that—will help avoid my dropping cans as I bring up more than my hands can hold!

  2. I spent the last few days feeding my nephew. He and his sister spent from Thursday-Sunday with us, as their parents were out of town. I’ve never seen him eat so many eggs. We were scrambling them one at a time, then went up to 2 at a time, and so forth! I’m delighted. This is a very tiny, special needs kid who rarely eats, so maybe he’s going to grow, and the food was WAY more healthy than he usually eats. Besides the eggs, he ate cereal (not healthy), bagels, and drank lots of apple juice after finishing off the last bit of grape juice I had. I was so thankful my aunt had gotten me 2 dozen eggs for 99c/dozen last weekend, and I had purchased 2 more.

    We took him to the library 3 times, because he wanted to see a room set up with pirate books and toys and it did not work out the first 2 times because the parking meter was almost out of money once, and the volunteer didn’t show up when we took him back at the next available opportunity. Even the 3rd time was a little disappointing, as the volunteer decided to leave after 20 minutes, but at least he finally got in. His sister and my daughter went along one time. Every time, books and movies and audible books were exchanged. We watched library movies some afternoons. I assigned chores to every one of them. We read a lot. On Sunday morning, we all went to church. Their parents were back at church, and took us all out to lunch afterwards for Rob’s birthday–such a treat for us, as we so rarely eat out now.

    My husband and I cooked chicken and pork ahead of the weekend, and we made tacos, and ate both kinds of meat with sides. I made another set of birthday cupcakes with the help of the children because it was my husband’s actual birthday on Saturday. (I froze most of them for another time, my husband has lost another 10 pounds, bringing it up to 77 lbs lost, and didn’t want to eat many). My nephew was all over it and helped light the candles, helped blow them out, and then declared that he and Uncle would be playing a game because it was Uncle’s birthday. How sweet! (They did, and had fun)

    I’ve been putting in some serious time correcting, recording, and otherwise organizing my niece’s homeschool work. It feels good to get a bunch of that done.

    We’ve had lots of birds and even a few squirrels come to our birdfeeder. My husband made me a new one for Christmas, and put it up. I’ve really enjoyed watching them.

    I’m still on my January “use-it-up” project. I’ve been super happy with how well we did. I made up the grocery money I overspent in December, I’ve used lots of items that were old, or I just wanted to target, I’ve bought some non-food items with the remaining grocery money that was not needed, and still got enough produce for my husband’s diet. (There’s no way he’s going to go without his salad right now! I’m so amazed at his progress.). I got all the specific foods my niece and nephew would eat. Their diets are very limited. I still have $20 left to last until Friday. (I do need more milk, which is on sale for 99c for a 1/2 gallon, so I need to buy some before that ad goes off. Tuesday is the last day for that.

    1. Congratulate your husband on his weight loss, Becky!!! I haven’t been reading blogs very much lately so I’ve missed out on this information. My husband is about your husband’s size (maybe a little shorter) and he’s lost about 25 lbs since September. I know what a challenge it is (I’m working on it myself.) Tell your husband to keep up the good work!

      1. Thank you, Krissy. I will let him know. I’m glad your husband is having results, as well. It is so hard! My husband is really seeing results all of a sudden, it seems. The 1 jacket he got for Christmas is already too big, and his pants are ridiculous! I’ve finally got him to agree to buy a new pair soon! We looked at the Salvation Army thrift store, but found nothing that would fit. Crazy! I think he’s going to have to break down and just buy a pair. For money. (He’s reluctant to put out any money since he hopes to lose more. I get that, but…..) I hope he can find some inexpensive ones.

    2. Becky add another congratulations to you husband on his weight loss too 🙂 . Tell him to keep up the great work and we know it isn’t easy either.

      My husband has also lost a lot of weight since we have been married being 35 kg in total, another 5 kg that he lost just recently. He is now back to the same weight he was in the military in his early 20’s and his back injuries from his accident are not playing up anywhere near as badly since he has lost all the weight either.

      1. Thank you, Lorna. I will let him know. I was really hoping that his hip would feel better with the weight loss, but so far, it does not. His cholesterol and other bloodwork just comes back better and better each time they take it, though. So, that’s a bonus!

    3. How wonderful You are helping your special needs nephew eat different foods and let his parents have some time away. As a special needs Mom myself it’s wonderful to read that you do this for them. I also have kids who are very good selective due to sensory issues so hearing he is eating eggs made me smile.

      1. I’m still cracking up that he ate so many eggs, as well. He’s always eaten an egg here and there, but this is just “WOW!” Since you are a special needs Mom, you understand why it’s so exciting. For a while there, it was white pasta, in certain shapes only, and just yesterday, I heard him carefully explaining to his mom that “I don’t EAT those hot dogs. I ONLY eat the ones from Costco. I need 100% beef. Those hot dogs are too big. I just can’t eat them.” And so on! At that point, there’s no point arguing. She made him….you guessed it…a scrambled egg. He’s also decided he likes risotto. Go figure.

        I’m just super happy he eats a few more foods than his sister does. She’d rather starve (and almost did) before she eats anything but her super short list. It took years of therapy to get her to even tolerate the foods she eats. So, I buy them when she comes. It’s nice when they are on sale, but I buy them regardless.

        These children greatly bless our lives. I feel very happy that they like to come over here. I’m glad to give my sister a break.

  3. That’s an amazing price for snapdragons! And how do you make your baby food?

    My week was nice and busy, as I like it. My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made Brownie Brittle Cookies! (www.approachingfood.com/brownie-brittle-cookies/) I started out trying to make a particular recipe but then realized I didn’t have all the ingredients – so I made those ingredients, and then added in a few things to improve the taste. The recipe made 100 cookies, so I made a dozen for my family and froze the rest to make and send into work with my husband at a later date. The ingredients I made were homemade condensed milk and self-raising flour. I didn’t know it was possible to make condensed milk until I read in these comments once that Lorna had made it. So thanks as always to my fellow commenters who (along with Brandy, obvs) teach me a lot!
    – I made a batch of homemade detergent.
    – I purchased 8 lbs of pasta at 50 cents/lb.
    – I used the almond flour that I made last week, plus a frozen banana languishing in my freezer, to make almond and banana pancakes. They weren’t the tastiest, but they were nutritious and we ate them.
    – I went to our local bulk store and purchased items on sale, used a $5 of $15 coupon, and submitted an online rebate. I went another time this week, with my mum, and together we purchased enough (on sale) items to use a $3 off $10 coupon, and I also submitted an item for rebate.
    – I used blueberries that I had frozen (from the fruit platter at my daughter’s baptismal celebration) plus some candied orange peel that I had made many months ago, to make blueberry and orange muffins. I also used homemade yoghurt in the muffins.
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a dozen chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, for a BNIB two-pack of black floating shelves. I plan to give them away as a gift. I used cupcake liners that I bought using Swagbucks a few years ago, flour, sugar, and butter purchased on sale. I actually ran out of flour, so I substituted a half cup of homemade oat flour (blended oats) for some flour. I didn’t want to purchase a cupcake box to deliver them in, so I took a large cereal box and cut out the side to make a sturdy carrier for the cupcakes. I also traded another dozen cupcakes for 2 vouchers for a free tea at David’s Tea, a package of 10 treat boxes, a package of 3 small treat boxes, and a paper gift bag. I plan to use the treat boxes when giving away baked goods to friends over the next few Christmases. In the last batch of cupcakes, I used half milk and half whey (leftover from homemade yoghurt) to stretch the milk.
    – I made salmon cakes using homemade breadcrumbs, and made enough to feed my husband, mother, and sister, and still have leftover for my husband’s lunch the next day.
    – I made a green pea casserole using homemade mushroom soup that I had in the freezer, plus some homemade breadcrumbs. We’re slowly eating down the freezer!
    – I returned some lovely gifts that didn’t fit my baby for store credit, and will save the store credit until my baby needs new clothes, in two months, I think.
    – I noted that Gymboree (the children’s clothing store) is going bankrupt, so made sure to use up a gift card that had been given to me (they expire at the end of January). I combined the gift card and sales and purchased clothing in the next size up, as my baby has enough clothes for now.
    – I made a batch of Apple Pie Oatmeal using some 7-grain cereal mix in my pantry. It’s not something I particularly love, but it’s nutritious and I needed to use the cereal up, so I ate it. It worked out well in terms of timing, as my husband had some dental surgery so he had a nice warm (and soft!) meal he could eat while recovering.
    – I boiled some white beans and used half in White Bean Enchilada Soup, and froze the rest of the beans. I made enchilada sauce instead of purchasing it for the meal. I served it with homemade cornbread.
    – I’ve been keeping our grocery bills lower since my MIL left and because I’m trying to work through our pantry and freezer, and my husband was able to purchase all needed groceries this week using his loyalty points, so no OOP costs!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else as usual!

    1. I just ground oats into flour and added water. It was like making super-instant oatmeal.

    2. Margaret,
      Would you be able to share your recipe for the white bean enchilada soup? I have a large amount of northern beans and am looking for frugal soup recipes to use them in. Thank you!

          1. Thanks for your recipes! They sound great! I am always glad to get egg-free cookie recipes!

    3. Margaret, if Gymboree is going into bankruptcy, could you use your store credit for larger clothes, and then just store them until your child is ready for them? It would be a shame if you had store credit and then you weren’t able to use it because of the bankruptcy.

      1. That’s a great idea, Cathy! It’s actually what I ended up doing. I’m so glad that I heard on the news that the business declared bankruptcy or else I wouldn’t have used the gc and it would have been wasted. And with sales the gc was stretched further which always makes me happy!

        1. Margaret, one of the tricks I used when my daughter was a baby was to buy clothes during seasonal sales for the next year. If your daughter is following the normal growth rates, you can pretty much estimate the size she will be wearing and when. For instance, I believe your daughter was born late fall, early winter. That means when she reaches the 12 months size, she will most likely be wearing warm weather clothing. If she is 9 months in the spring, she will most likely be wearing 18 month sizes when the weather is warm. You can pick up some great deals for clothing when the seasonal sales happen by following this estimation of size for the year ahead. It will save you a lot of money! I had 1 dresser drawer that I kept all the “next size up” clothing pieces and would pull things out as she outgrew her other clothing or as seasons changed.

          1. That’s a great idea, Rhonda. At this point, I’m trying not to buy too far ahead as I don’t know how fast she will grow (and I’m very tall, and was as a child too) so I don’t want to estimate her size each season just yet. Plus I don’t have much storage space. My sister has kindly offered to keep any clothes that the baby outgrows in her storage locker, until we know whether or not we’ll have a second child, but as we live in a condo and not a house, our storage options are limited. But, once I understand her growth pattern a bit more, I’ll definitely try putting your advice to use! Thanks!

    4. Most welcome Margaret for the condensed milk recipe and glad you were able to use it in your everyday cooking. It is so much cheaper to make your own rather than buy it.

  4. Brandy how wonderful you are able to use that computer program at the library for free and were able to find really cheap discounted items for your son and daughter. You are right how quickly teen boys grow out of things when they are having a growth spurt. We always consider it a good day if we can give service to someone as you and your daughter have done with your friend who is getting married.

    This week I was able to give service to some local ladies and let them know about discount supermarket e-vouchers you can buy online to save them a great deal on their grocery costs and gave them a hint to use the discount they already have and couple that with 50% off specials to save more.

    Last weeks savings added up to $162.77 :).

    Blessings –
    – We finally got around from our estimate around 5mm of much needed rain to partly fill our rain tanks and water the dry ground.
    – A friend who has too many eggs gave us 1.5 dozen which we will put to great use in our home.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made a 1.02kg batch of chocolate fudge from condensed milk made from our food storage and other items we had in our grocery stockpile saving $55.67 over buying it in the shops (fudge is running out at $3.50 per 60g to buy :O ).
    – Made a 2.2kg pie from meat from roast chickens we purchased on special on Christmas Eve and tinned mushrooms and corn saving us $36.15 over buying it from the supermarkets.

    Listings and finances –
    – Paid another extra small payment on our home loan to save interest and time on the loan.
    – Using a free listing promotion on Ebay I was able to list 43 items free of charge saving $70.95 on usual listing fees.

    Water Preservation –
    – During a recent storm where the rain came down heavily I put out rain barrels to catch the rainwater going over gutters and rain water tank sheds. We have been using this water to fill drink bottles, hand washing water buckets and water our potted fruit trees and herbs rather than using town water.
    – We saved grey water from our washing machine to water ornamental plant pot plants and used our grey water that was pumped from our grey water tank to water 2 mulberry trees rather than use town water.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead :).


  5. How kind of you to assist your acquaintance with her wedding. I’m sure it will be very much appreciated.

    This past week we cooked meals at home, including a batch of turkey & bean chili I made for my workweek lunches. I had some leftover pico de gallo & black beans from an at-home taco night last week, so I threw those into the chili as well to avoid waste. We spent the weekend reorganizing some of our furniture at home, and ended up selling a bistro table & chair set we didn’t need to a friend whose daughter is moving out on her own. Our garbage disposal stopped working, so I bought one off Amazon using gift cards I’d earned, and my husband installed it, so $0 cost! (My company has a wellness incentive program where you can lower your health insurance deductible & earn gift cards by meeting certain wellness goals.) I used the rest of the gift cards to stock up on some other household items and a couple of fun treats. Checked out a couple of new movies from the library to watch.

    1. Replying to my own comment because I remembered a couple of things! Our local Costco has been having a great sale on pork in January, with an extra $3 off per package. Their boneless chops & loin roasts are already very inexpensive, so after the discount we ended up paying around $3-$5 each for large packages (6+ lbs each) of boneless chops & multiple pork roasts. We divided the packages up into freezer bags & put them in our deep freeze. I also ran across several markdowns at Aldi – any of the remaining holiday foods are all on clearance – so we picked up a few items for the freezer.

      I picked up wrapping paper, bows, and tags on markdown at a few different stores. We haven’t purchased these items in a few years, but were due to stock up. I paid under $1 each for the bags of bows, tags, and wrapping paper. The paper ended up being around .40 cents/roll, so I bought 4.

      My office serves meals for events we host, and there are often leftovers that end up going to waste. Last week I was able to take home some prepared/wrapped breakfast sandwiches (my husband has enjoyed those for his workday breakfasts), yogurt, assorted cheeses, and some fruit. A coworker took a large tray of scones – that would have otherwise been thrown away – for her Sunday school class. Many of my coworkers do not like leftovers & won’t take them home, and often these items end up languishing in the office refrigerator until they are too far gone. I’ve started making sure that food goes home with someone after events so we stop wasting so much.

      I also found a surprise package of cream cheese in our refrigerator (left over from the holidays) to make a no-bake cheesecake. While reorganizing our deep freezer we discovered some steaks that needed to be used. I cooked them in my slow cooker with onions & gravy, and we had them for dinner with some mashed potatoes & green beans.

      1. Hi Pam,
        Could you share your no-bake cheesecake recipe? I also happened to find a package of cream cheese in the fridge, and that would be a great way to use it 🙂

        1. Of course! I only had 1 package of cream cheese, so it does come a little thin in a regular size pie plate, but you could use a smaller pan or do individual cheesecakes in muffin cups. 1 package of cream cheese at room temperature, 7 oz sweetened condensed milk (Dollar Tree sells the cans this size), 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 tsp vanilla. (You can also double this to make a “regular” size pie by using 2 packages of cream cheese, 14 oz condensed milk, 2 T lemon juice and 1 t vanilla.) First, make sure your cream cheese is room temperature or slightly warm. No “it’s close, the mixer will take care of it.” It won’t. You can even microwave it for 30 seconds if needed – slightly warm is ok. Add all ingredients to mixing bowl & cream at high speed for 2-3 minutes or until NO lumps remain. Pour into a graham cracker crust & let set in fridge for 2-3 hours. If you’re in a hurry, it takes about 30-45 minutes in the freezer. You can top with fruit or fruit pie filling (after it’s set) or serve plain.

  6. I traveled 13 miles up the road and back home again. I stopped at 5 grocery stores and several other shops. I utilized my new price book to stock up my pantry with food. The few hours spent compiling prices last week allowed me to maximize my shopping trip. I literally added hundreds of dollars extra to my haul by purchasing each item at its lowest price. As an example, I needed two cans of Rotel. It ranged from 50 cents to 1.69 from one store to the next. Grocery prices have not just doubled here but some are triple and quadrupled.
    I received 3.00 back on a purchase after the 99 cent item rang up for 3.00. I then used that 3.00 to purchase a bottle of Denorex shampoo and a jar of oil of olay facial cream at the salvage store where all items are 1.00. I bought a new in the box Sophie the giraffe for 1.21 at the thrift store for “baby Henry ”
    I have a raincheck to buy 50 pounds of Tyson chicken quarters for 50 cents a pound.
    I received multiple birthday free food coupons in my email. I used a free burrito coupon at Moes for a lovely lunch. I had them create it in a bowl sans tortilla . It was huge and was more than enough for two meals.
    I decided heating the whole house is such a huge waste of money. I moved my bed and tv into my son’s small bedroom and am sleeping there. A space heater turned on for about two hours keeps the room toasty all night long. I’m loving it.
    I’m working on a new list. I’m am thinking about everything I spend money on over the course of a year and how to reduce those expenditures. It occurred to me that the animal rabies vacines can be received for free from the humane society. I just need to follow their Facebook page to see their free events. No need to pay a ridiculous price for oil changes anymore. My dealership sends me 20.00 coupons frequently. I’m missing deals because I’m just not paying attention. The solution to gutter cleaning is to purchase a small ladder. I can do it myself but a small steady ladder will be much safer than the one I have been making do with . Preventing possible damage to my home is the greatest way to save money.
    College girl has been gone all week but will return tonight. I will be utilizing her help this week to save money in several areas. I find that just when I think I can’t save any more money, I can try to look at it in a different way and come up with something else. Stay warm everyone , I hear it’s going to get very cold for some of us.

  7. Wow – you got some amazing deals! Love the snapdragons – they are such cheery flowers.

    * I bathed my dogs myself. We all dislike it but it saves money and they smell so much better.
    *Made all meals at home except for the pizza that I bought for my dd birthday party (but I used a coupon). We had BBQ chicken, Chicken Tettrazini (used up the leftover BBQ chicken), Taco Salad, Fried Rice (used up leftover rice from BBQ Chicken dinner, cereal for dinner. I made a no-bake Oreo Cheesecake for my dd birthday with ingredients I already had in my pantry. I also made her birthday dinner with our family from our pantry. She wanted a Beefy Noodle Casserole. Turned out wonderful and it tasted yummy.
    *I returned a picture frame that was no longer needed. Unfortunately I slipped on some ice in the parking lot and banged up my knee. Hoping the knee heals on its own without needing a doctor visit.
    *We found a neighbor woman who makes flowers for the boys & girls dances for MUCH less than what we would pay at a floral shop.
    *My husband and I had a date night using a gift card.
    *I’ve been able to turn the heat off everyday this week after the kids head off to school. The house warms up to 70-72 all on its own because of the sunshine we have. Our temps have been in the 38-40 degrees. It is wonderful to have the house stay warm during the day and not use the heat.

    Thank you for the inspiration and ideas. Brandy – thank you for creating this blog. I so enjoy it.

  8. That was such a sweet thing for you and your daughter to do for the woman getting married. That should be a special day, and it sounds like it will be now, with your help. I got a garden bed cleaned up last week, on a rare day in the 60’s. It was really nice to be outdoors for more than a few minutes. Soon, I’ll make lists of what to plant when. I look forward to digging in the dirt again. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2019/01/frosty-morning-walks-frugal.html

  9. So thoughtful of you and your daughter to help make this day special for your friend! It doesn’t take huge gestures and lots of money to make happy memories for someone! Well done!!
    This week, I canned some of my dry pinto, kidney and black beans so that I can have the convenience of ready to use beans at the dry bean cost!! 90 minutes of Pressure Canning and I have a batch of 16 pints ready to cool down and then take their place on my basement shelves! Time and money saver!
    I bought a 50 pound bag of potatoes on Saturday so, I’ve dehydrated 8 pounds of shredded hash browns, made a double batch of funeral potatoes for us and to take to our son’s when we had dinner with them last night and I’ll be freezing seasoned French fries and dehydrating more hash browns and also potato cubes for dry dinner mixes I put into quart jars. A little time invested doing these things saves me so much time (and money!) later!!
    Our Microwave Soup Cozies- https://pin.it/uyzq6itknym45t and flannel Softies- https://pin.it/kmaltmeerbpuc6 keep selling. Probably because this weather is Soup and drippy nose time and these are practical and frugal. But I was surprised because after a few months of little activity with our Scrappy Bags, suddenly they have become popular again! I put them on Marketplace and within 1 day, there were 6 bags sold and more have been continuing. Here is our Violin Lady Scrappy Bag . https://pin.it/no2f2dypdrp5vf And https://pin.it/gzlearkasxuoml
    All of the things that I’ve been making and selling have been a way to use my enormous stash of fabric leftovers: https://pin.it/qfvpqfgqkefssj And https://pin.it/3jdprhavkyv2ok. So as, you can see (and those are only a tiny part of my stash), I have a lot to use and so this is why I’m anxious to get it whittled down!
    With payday in a couple more days, it looks like we’ll have a nice extra amount when we zero out our checking account as our new paycheck is deposited! It’s become a game to see how much extra we can have left over after all our bills are paid and then we divide that amount in half with one half going to savings and the other half to pay down Dave’s surgery bill! With luck, on Thursday morning, I’ll have over $300 to put into each of those accounts! Dave and I are having fun seeing how we can improvise when we think we “need” a new something or other!
    We’ve been greatly blessed this week and I wish only good things for all of you and your families!

    Gardenpat in Ohio

  10. What a great bargain on the snapdragons. Have you ever grown them from seed? I ask because I saved a bunch of seeds from my snapdragons last year and want to try growing them from seed, but have never done so before.
    I cleaned and organized my bathroom cabinets, kitchen cabinets and craft room. Everything is much neater now, and I have a good idea of my supplies. (And apparently, I will never need to order brown eye shadow again – I had tons!) While in the craft room, I made up some project bags, with the yarn and patterns I need for various projects I’d like to complete in the coming year.
    My husband was going to order replacement cleats for the ice tracks he sometimes wears on his winter boots. Upon closer examination, he figured out the cleats are really sheet metal screws. He had a lot of those already, and was able to redo all the cleats without spending money. He uses these every day to walk on the icy roads.
    My insurance doubled co-pays this year. I discovered that by signing up for Kroger’s prescription card ($35 a year) I can save $14 a month on my thyroid medication. I can save $17 a month on an asthma medication — but I just filled a 3-month supply of that, before I found out about the Rx card, so it will be a bit before I realize those savings.
    I planned my garden and ordered all the seeds and supplies I need. I ordered hardly anything last year, so this year I needed more. I’m trying some new varieties, still learning what does best here.
    Baked bread. Knit two dishcloths.
    I bought two books of Forever Stamps on eBay for 49 cents a stamp, shipped. With the price going up to 55 cents a stamp as of Monday, I wanted to stock up. I only use a few stamps a month, so these will last a while.

    1. I planted yellow and white snapdragons in 2000, and have not planted them since. At the end of the season I just let them go to seed on their own and drop the seeds wherever they happen to do so. I now have yellow white, pink, a peachy color and vibrant magenta snapdragons all over my flower bed. I live in Eastern Washington, so it does get hot in the summer and cold in the winter. they are not very pretty at the end of the season, as they are dying, but I let them go anyway, so I can continue to get free plant. I originally planted twelve plants and have dozens every year now.

      1. Brandy, you can delete this if you wish…it’s a message for Nancy. Three of us, who live in northern Idaho, went to NW Seed & Pet in Spokane today to look at the seeds! (More seeds than anyone here has ever seen before). We found their prices quite reasonable, although of course it’s months ahead of when we might be buying plants, and we don’t know what that will be like. Anyway, we discussed the fact that we don’t know of a comprehensive, reasonably priced nursery in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area. Just wondering if Nancy can recommend one.

        1. Maxine:

          You found the one I like. Nowthwest Seed & Pet. It has the best varieties, is constantly getting in new plants, even has all the potatoes, strawberries and other berry plants, etc. that are best for the climate here. Most of my tomatoes, peppers, and cruciferous vegetables, I grow by seed in my house. But I do like Northwest Seed & Pet. For corn though – Gurney’s “Gotta Have It” is the best sweet corn. I freeze a ton of it and it tastes like you just picked it in the middle of January.

          1. Thank you! I’ve never been there in the summer to see their plants. But I always go in January to look at and drool over the seeds! I’ll make sure to go over in May.

  11. Gosh I love biscuits and reading this right after I get up makes me want some.
    The week we went I’ve skating. As we have our own skates it saved us money. My friend gave my son a pair of hockey skates as he’s outgrown the others. And, he’s teaching my son how to skate with hockey skates. Previously he’d been using figure skates.
    We attended a hockey game and got 50% off with a residence card. It was also fan night so we got pictures and autographs of the players. It was fun for the kids.
    We had dinner at home with friends instead of going out.
    One afternoon some friends came over for coffee.
    I hung up most of the laundry instead of using the dryer.
    Zucchini and avocados were cheap af the market. I’ll plan meals using them. Cucumbers and tomatoes were too expensive and I decided not to buy any.
    I made a jarof salad desssing.
    We ate leftovers.
    I made beans and bread.

  12. Great deal on the shoes for your daughter, Brandy! And how nice of you to help out your friend for her wedding!

    I had a pretty good week last week. Here are my accomplishments:

    • 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.
    • Dad’s birthday was Monday, so we had him over Sunday night for one of his favorites, blackened catfish. Also made spicy tomatoey pasta and brownies to go with it. I don’t care for catfish, so I had chicken breast with my pasta. Served it with a bottle of wine I had gotten very inexpensively. I had my hubby grill 2 breasts so I would have leftovers. Cut up the 2nd chicken breast and put it in the leftover pasta (I made extra on purpose.) This I put into individual containers for lunches. Ate two this week and froze the other 1.
    • Used a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card we had received from our realtor when we bought our house to get a few things we needed. Also signed up for their emails and got $3 off one of the items. Purchased through my Ibotta app, so I will get 2% back on the purchase as well. Also got a couple of other Ibotta rebates this week.
    • Bought minimal groceries, but did get some angel hair pasta for 49c/lb. Can’t ever pass up that deal! Also got a large bottle of Pace Picante Sauce and bananas from the clearance rack. The bananas went right into the freezer for smoothies.
    • Ate in 6 times, including the catfish dinner. Also in utilizing items from the freezer we had a turkey pot pie made from scratch; chicken enchiladas; Top Ramen with a small bit of leftover steak and broccoli; grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes. Had my sister in law and brother in law over for dinner one night and served them steak (per Hubby’s direction. As I stated in my post from last week, he really loves serving people steak!), homemade ranch beans and salad. For an appetizer, I just served some cheese, salami and crackers. The cheese and salami were from gift baskets we received during the holidays. I also had some coconut in the freezer and coconut milk in the pantry, so I made a coconut bundt cake for dessert. The 7th night we had dinner at my daughter & son in law’s house. We brought a pasta salad made with pasta and Italian dressing that I had in the pantry. I also brought the rest of the coconut cake. Brought home the leftover pasta salad and will have that this week for lunches.
    • Put broken crackers and crumbs in a jar to use when I eat soup or make meatloaf.
    • Combined errands so I didn’t have to drive every day.
    • Decorated for Valentine’s day using what I already had. At Christmas, when I got Hershey’s kisses on sale for my Christmas cookies, I intentionally used just the silver ones out of the bag. That way I still had the red and green ones, which I froze. The red ones are now in a candy dish and the green ones will come out for St. Patrick’s Day.
    • I have a collection of teapots and teacups, but currently don’t have anywhere to display them. I decided to use one of each at a time as the centerpiece on my kitchen table. I pick the teapot and teacup that most resembles the month/season we are in. This month it is pink roses for Valentine’s Day.
    • Since we live in Arizona, we have rarely been using our heater. We only turn it on when we are showering in the morning. Once we are dressed, we turn it off again. We have been using our gas fireplace in the evening to take the chill off the room, then turning off and using throw blankets while we watch TV.
    • Figured out how to use my Kindle so I can get library books. Also checked some out from the library. Also took Grandson to Preschool time. Signed up for the winter reading program.
    • When I cleaned out my pantry the first week of January, I found lots of snacks that were maybe 1 or 2 servings worth. I don’t snack on crackers and such, but Hubby does – a lot. He would tend to eat most of something then move on to the newest thing in the pantry. I finally convinced him to eat up the other before going for new. I am so happy to say that he is finally on board! I am very appreciative! He’s even pointing out to me each time he uses up something!
    • Have continued to keep up the freezer inventory spreadsheet and entering all spending in our budget.
    • Hubby brought his lunch to work 4 times. Got free lunch 1 day. I brought my lunch into work for one of the days I worked and got a free lunch from my boss on the 2nd day.
    • Filled out the survey on my grocery receipt for 50 gas points. We always use the gas points when we fill my Hubby’s truck for better savings, as his gas tank is bigger than mine.
    • Worked 11 hours contract work. Got more scratch printer paper from work.
    • The flyer that comes in the mail with the grocery coupons always has a crossword puzzle in it. I do that for free entertainment.
    • I like to drink wine but am not a connoisseur. I found a great deal on wine, $2.09/bottle after sale price then 30% off 6 or more bottles purchased. I bought 1, tried it and went back and bought enough for the next few months.
    • Daughter gave me 13 small bags of coffee (enough for 1 pot each) that she had received from work after a conference. She also has been decluttering her house and gave me 24 canning jars, as she doesn’t have time to can right now. Perfect timing too, as I was running low on pint jars.
    • Niece gave me a late Christmas present of a beautiful candle.
    • Got a box of children’s books from my brother in law. My grandson will love them!

    Have a wonderful, thrifty week, everyone!

  13. I finished a king size quilt top entirely out of scrap fabric. This is pretty amazing to me since I always buy fabric carefully, just enough for each project. These scraps were all from pieces under 4 inches square (I cut 3”squares) and it just goes to show what can be done with all the trimmings. I also pieced the batting, following an online tutorial.
    I attended a grapevine pruning training and the grape expert teaching it showed us which cuttings would root well. So I have 5 new grapevine starts.
    I brought home 5 donuts from a training and froze them. Also brought home raisins, cookies and blood oranges left over at a class I attended.

    1. Kara, I took cuttings from my grapevines before. Not all of them took (rooted), but enough took to cover a section of wall, and now I have many more grapes several years later. I have been pruning back my vines and I keep thinking about making more from my Thompson’s seedless vine. I just don’t know where I would grow them!

      1. I’m glad you have multiplied your vines! These were Thompson seedless too. We’ve rooted cuttings before and had the same experience as you, not all of them took. But I hope that out of the 5 I got, at least 2 will take.

        1. have you tried a hormone type root starter on your cuttings? Not sure but it might help to get more to take.

    2. Congratulations on the quilt top, Kara. That is a lot of work. I know because I did a similar project last year (only mine was queen-sized). I really love scrap quilts.

  14. Hello Everyone!
    -I purchased stamps prior to the price increase. We don’t use many, except at Christmas, so these will last us awhile. And I have leftover Christmas forever stamps that I’ll use 11 months from now.
    -Local discount store offered a 20% off purchase coupon this past Saturday. I went for coffee & was fortunate to find some health & beauty items on clearance that we use. Was able to use 20% off the clearance price of face wash, body wash, toothpaste & deodorant.
    -Used Lillianna’s idea of a price book & started to compile my own. I too had 1 years ago, but stopped updating it. When I really looked at some of the prices at Aldi’s I realized that some items I buy had increased in price to where they were no longer a good deal. Blocks of cheese, jarred sauce & spices for example. This Aldi location underwent a makeover and upgrade recently & I wonder if the price increase is due to that. There is another location near me that is the “old” version. I’m going to check out the prices there, if better pricing I’ll change location.
    -I received a bonus in my paycheck, putting it straight towards debt.
    -Expecting a snowstorm tonight & frigid temps the rest of the week so no plans to go out other than to work.

  15. Hello Everyone,

    Brandy I love that you use your talents to help a friend. That will be so meaningful to her. Recently, I was able to help a friend cremate her mom. She didn’t have any money to do this. I gave her a little over half of what she needed from my savings from gifts, Swagbucks, Earning Station and a bunch of other sites I do. I am not saying this to brag but to show what we all here already know.. that the little things add up. Sometimes we cannot fix everything for our friends but we can help with whatever talents, abilities and resources that we have.
    Here are my fugal accomplishments:
    – I organized a canned food drive with a church program that I lead. We collected a great amount of food for a local pantry.
    – Cashed out many websites that I do to help the friend listed above.
    – Used medicine from the free self care program that the Army gives us as we all have the flu.
    – Used coupons at Safeway to get 8 free boxes of Cherrios, 8 Free Candy Bars, and 20 .10 yogurts. I gave some away to my mother in law. I also posted about this on my Facebook account and helped others get these deals.
    – Signed up for several freebies which are listed on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2019/01/28/10-freebies-today-1-28-19/
    – I received free yarn and supplies to do a project in conjunction with my new blog: CrochetandCraftwithMe.com
    – We ate at home as much as possible.
    That’s about all I can think of!

    1. I am so glad you were able, and willing, to help your friend. Someone helping when you are in need stays with a person long after the need is past.

  16. *I found both a sweater as well as a skirt for my daughter at a thrift shop, and purchased them with a gift certificate.

    *I continued my use up stuff in the freezer challenge, and made a lentil soup as well as some sandwiches with foods that had been hanging out in the freezer for awhile.

    *I ordered some sweaters from the JCPenney’s TALL catalog–my daughter is growing tall just like me, and most “regular” sweaters are getting too short!

    *My daughter participated in a local music festival, which was opened up to both local schools as well as local homeschoolers! Yea!

    More details and pictures on my blog at: https://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2019/01/frugal-friday-week-of-january-20-26-2019.html

  17. Cooked dry black beans and made black bean burgers. Made potato, green bean , ham casserole from leftover frozen ham slices. Made homemade pizza. Had birthday party at my in-laws for my husband and ate lasagna there. My husband’s brother packed the rest up with some goodies for us to take home. Made a frittata with home made eggs. Had eggs most days. Oatmeal one day. Asparagus potato soup.
    Stayed home on day off and cleaned..
    Watched movie from Library.
    Didn’t shop.
    Bought gas for vehicles at cheapest location. Only drove when necessary.

  18. I found my son jeans at the thrift store and a new American Eagle belt for a dollar. I found some salad and soup bowls I really needed too. I read two books my library found for me through an inter-library loan. I’m also doing wellness challenges through my husband’s employer and should get a $200 Amazon cash card at the end of the year. I only wish I had done it sooner.

  19. The weather has been terrible up here, very cold and lots of snow so that has meant a few more days than usual homebound but that also means extra No Spend days.
    I continued to eat from the pantry and only purchased groceries on the weekend when I was completely out of milk, bread, fruit & veg – and even then I used Loyalty points for all but $14 worth of food. I haven’t bought any non-food items at all. I am still under my usual grocery spend amount for this month by quite a bit but hope to do even better in February now that I’m more confident about being able to substitute and make do.
    I used a mix that was about 7 months past it’s BB date to make mini cupcakes and they were just fine – froze half of them. Made a big pot of soup using up a few bits & pieces of veg that were past their best, plus a few lentils, rice & barley, plus a can of tomatoes – it tasted wonderful and was very easy.
    I had intended buying myself a cappuccino when at The Art Gallery (I have a membership so no cost to enter) but the coffee shop hadn’t opened as yet so I saved myself the money. I did meet friends for a pub lunch on Saturday but only had a breakfast & a coffee so it was very inexpensive and it was lovely to see them.
    I enjoyed a free coffee & treat while teaching an ESL class on Tuesday night and a free lunch at church this past Sunday – it was our budget meeting and lunch is always provided. We’ve provided lunches these past couple of weeks instead of just coffee & snacks so I’ve had to put in a few extra hours so that will be a few extra dollars this month.
    Around the house I washed only full loads of laundry and only used the dryer for a load of sheets. I washed ziplock bags to reuse, read books from the library and watched some wonderful documentaries on YouTube.
    You always find some wonderful bargains Brandy but I’m sure it’s the result of all your research and patience – and it was so thoughtful of you and your daughter to help your friend make her wedding a bit more special – you are truly a lovely person. Thank you for all that you do.
    As always I look forward to reading all the wonderful comments.

  20. The cold continued here in western Canada, so another frugal week just by staying home. I continued to declutter my craft supplies and I made some nice storage boxes with sturdy boxes covered in a nice black and white gift wrap that I already had. I made 2 cards and a book mark from my craft stash. I listed and sold a few items this week on FB group, this totaled $33. I made swag goals x 7 and redeemed for an Amazon giftcard. and used to purchase some household essentials, a Christmas gift, and a new car filter my husband will install in my vehicle. I received a free product sample and was paid $5 to complete a survey for same. My MIL gave me 2 boxes of her unwanted clothing and I sorted out a few items for myself and put the rest aside to donate. Thanks to Brandy and everyone who contributes, I started thinking about remaking or refashioning some of the clothing. You are all an inspiration so I say a big thank you to everyone! I spent some time on Pinterest to gather ideas and completed 2 sewing projects with the clothing for my teenage daughter. She has already worn the items so it was a success. I have several projects waiting by the sewing machine. I also took apart a cotton sweater for the wool. I never would have thought of this, so thank you to Brandy for this inspiring community and all the wonderful comments I read each week. Have a great week.

  21. Great deal on the snapdragons, Brandy! My frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Cut my son’s and my husband’s hair.
    *An Amish co-worker of mine lost all 4 fingers on one hand in a corn picker. We took up a collection for him at work and I took it by to him afterwards. It was spur of the moment and I wanted to take them dinner, so I looked online for pizza deals and found $5 medium pizzas when you buy 3. We gave them 2 and took 1 home for our dinner along with a free order of breadsticks that was on my account. My husband was having a bad day at work, but he said that quick visit with my injured co-worker really put things in perspective for him.
    *Packed mine and my husband’s lunches every day we needed them.
    *Worked on Duolingo every night. I have several co-workers who are Hispanic, so I am trying to learn Spanish.
    *Accepted a free lunch at work one day from my boss. Saved my packed lunch for the next day.
    *Ran out of bread and made a loaf in the breadmaker so I wouldn’t have to run by the store.
    *Sent a sympathy card from my stash (bought 6 in a box for $1) to a fellow church member who lost her mom.
    *DH had 2 free lunches at trainings this week.
    *Researched bible studies online for a ladies’ bible study that I lead at church. We may be able to rent the videos online instead of buying a dvd…much cheaper!
    *Meal planned for the next week. This is a lifesaver as I work full-time and things go South if I don’t have a plan.
    *Made peanut butter cookies for bible study and doubled the recipe to put half in the freezer for another time.
    *Earned $3 at Food Lion for spending $30 on produce this month (all on sale).
    *A friend wanted to get together, so we went for a walk. Good for the wallet and the figure. ?
    *Pulled chicken bones and veggie scraps from the freezer and made broth in the crockpot.
    *Cooked a turkey I got at Thanksgiving for $.37/lb. Portioned it out and froze it. Put bones in the freezer to make broth later.
    That’s all for now. Hope everyone has a great week!

  22. Brandy, I am having issues subscribing to your site. I tried with my main email address (that I use to post here) when you moved to the new platform, but did not receive any notifications. A few days ago, I subscribed with a different email address, and got the welcome message. But I did not get a notification about this post. Just wanted to let you know.

    I had Monday off from work last week due to the MLK day holiday, which was nice. We were able to see the lunar eclipse from our patio, which was pretty amazing. Free entertainment!

    Frugal accomplishments:
    – Spent a lot of time cooking and prepping food for future meals. Made a bulk batch of pinto beans, cooked up polenta in my Instant Pot (easy!) to fry in butter later, and made some broth. Cut up a large butternut squash to roast and froze some of the raw chunks for later. Defrosted ground lamb from the freezer and made herbed lamb patties. Defrosted ground beef and cooked it with onions and peppers for future meals (can be used for Mexican or Asian meals, depending on the spices used).
    – Blanched the whole butternut squash for a few minutes before using. This makes it so much easier to peel!
    – Picked mint and oregano from my patio garden for my lamb patties. So strange that these have overwintered here (Seattle area). Usually they die back and start growing again in the spring. Our winter has been rather mild.
    – Ordered 12lbs of beef soup bones from our health food co-op. Every time I go there to get beef bones, they are sold out. I broke the order down into smaller packages and froze them for future use.
    – Doing my best to eat down the other stuff in the freezers. Enjoyed some leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!
    – Cleaned clutter in 5 minute increments. I hate cleaning, but this is easy and makes a huge difference.
    – While cleaning, found an old Starbucks card of my husband’s that he didn’t want. It still had almost $15 on it.
    – Mended a ripped heating pad cover.
    – Received a notification that I will get $132 back in credit card rewards for the last few months of 2018. I had a CC that was cancelled because I never use it, so I signed up for a Costco CC and started using it and paying it off each month. This seems to be paying off, quite literally.

    Hope everyone has a great week!

  23. 1. Made what the husband and I call “Sad Soup” this weekend. Some sad looking romaine (a green is a green, as far as soup is concerned) finely chopped, three pieces of salami I brought home from a meeting that was catered, leftover dabs of chicken and turkey from the freezer, a dying jicama, a sad little head of lettuce, a half cup of carrots that had seen better days, and three scallions. Used some chicken stock cubes to help flavor it, and added the last few spoons of sour cream and a few of yogurt that were left in the container. All things I would have thrown away a few years ago, and instead we had really tasty soup for four nights running. I made a different bread or biscuit each day, though, to provide some variety.
    2. Unearthed raspberries and strawberries from July’s garden and made a compote that we used to flavor oatmeal for two days.
    3. I have two friends and we all get together once a month for lunch. One brings a salad, one brings a soup, and one brings sandwiches; we switch out who brings what. We always bring enough for each of us to take leftovers home for lunch the next day. This month we each made so much that all of us ended up with a full dinner for later in the week! Nothing fancy, so no one spent a lot of money, but it was a cheap way to socialize and to economize—cheaper than a restaurant. And I got to try shaved Brussels sprouts and gruyere cheese sandwiches with green goddess dressing instead of mayo…I would never have made that combination on my own. (And, truth be told, probably never will. It was okay but once was enough.)
    4. A colleague had buckwheat she didn’t want, so I accepted 10 pounds of it. It will take a while to go through that much, but I was raised with buckwheat so quite like it.
    5. Had a couple over for Sunday brunch and served buckwheat pancakes with three different kinds of jellies I canned last summer. I simply warmed them up, stirred in a bit of water and used them like syrup. Very tasty. The wife doesn’t eat gluten and it took me some time to convince her that buckwheat is related to rhubarb and not wheat, and that the rising agent in the pancakes was egg whites beaten stiff and gently stirred in. I guess people have tried to trick her to prove to her that gluten will not make her stomach ache by sneaking flour into things; they thought she was being “faddish.” I finally brought it up on Google to reassure her my pancakes were not going to hurt her. I wanted to give her a little lecture on getting rid of friends who would try to trick you and, worse, on something that can be medically dangerous for her. What will they do next—feed peanuts to a kid who says he is allergic to them? Honestly…but I kept my mouth shut.
    5. My husband is so handy that sometimes it makes me weep with thanks. This week he fixed a plumbing leak, the leg of the sofa, the router for our computer set-up and replaced a runner so that a drawer in our bathroom would quite sticking to the point where you had to yank it really hard (and then would sometimes over-estimate and end up with the contents on the floor). The money he saved just this week! I made him a cherry cake as thanks. I don’t care for it so I froze it in pieces so he can have one whenever he wants. I put a note in each bag, encased in plastic wrap to keep it dry, telling him how much I love him. It makes me feel good to visualize him opening his lunch and finding a note letting him know I really see him and don’t just take him for granted. I am not always very good at remembering to appreciate what is right in front of me.

    1. Mabel, your story about your friend whose friends tried to trick her into eating gluten, when she has Celiac Disease, reminded me of an “advice column” I read a year or so ago. A young man wrote in to say that his mother didn’t believe that his girlfriend was allergic to shellfish. “Mom” was convinced the girlfriend was being an attention-seeking prima dona, so she snuck some shrimp into the girlfriend’s food when they came over for dinner, to prove her point. The girlfriend wound up in the ER, and subsequently broke up with the young man (can’t imagine why…!). He was writing to ask advice on how to convince her to reconcile – the columnist replied, “Um, don’t try to reconcile. Let her move on, and by the way your mother should be glad she wasn’t arrested for assault.”

  24. What beautiful pictures! I’m inspired to go make biscuits now.

    This week I managed to:
    -bring crockpot monkey bread to church and used some marmalade that I made from free orange rinds. Note – if you do like marmalade and have a store near you that juices oranges, they may give you gallons of peels for free! The Brueggers Bagels in our neighborhood sells fresh orange juice and is happy to bag up the rinds for me to take. I got about a gallon of free rinds last time, so I only had to pay for the sugar to make marmalade. I also freeze rinds for zest.
    -baked a double batch of French bread that rose overnight.
    -received a candy mold and used some chocolate wafers from Christmas to make dinosaur chocolates for my sons and a couple of neighbors with birthdays.
    -proud of this one! Used leftover contact paper and Christmas tissue paper leftover to make sun catchers with my sons for a craft.
    -Ate from freezer
    -snagged chicken breasts for 1.65/lb, about as low as you can get in Boston, and bought 20 lbs. That should last us until 4th of July sales.
    -found chicken quarters for .78/lb, ok price but we were all out and had sniffly kids. I cooked the meat in the crockpot and froze portions. Froze the stock as well in 4cup portions for soup and some ice cube trays.
    -Made giant batch of marinara and pizza sauce.
    -Rotated toys
    -made party hats for my son’s 2 year birthday with dollar store poster board and stickers, some ribbon I already had, and some elastic that I got in bulk.
    -made the excellent choice of doing my son’s birthday lunch at grandma’s. Didn’t have to fuss over the house, only had to bring hats and show up. Saving sanity feels really nice right now with sons 3 and now 2 and baby due in April. Time to take shortcuts! The frugality comes in that I had more energy to cook afterwards rather than giving up.

    Here’s frugality gone a little too far though. I woke up this morning from a dream where I found ground beef for .30/lb – and bought three bushels of it! I woke up as I was trying to load it all into my cart. I do hope I’m not alone in having this kind of experience!

    1. Hi Sarah, I had to laugh about you trying to load the ground beef in your car!! I have had dreams of being at a garage sale buying wonderful things for cheap only to wake up and be frustrated that I didn’t get the bargain of the year! Also I had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful city last October. I absolutely fell in love with Boston.

    2. Hi Sarah,
      Would you share your marmalade recipe? It never occurred to me that the marmalade could be made from the rinds!
      Thank you!

  25. Hi Brandy! The wedding work must be so exciting! I hope it turns out well 🙂

    Our frugal accomplishments (and a few not-so-frugal life changes) from the last month or so:

    First: Our separate freezer somehow got shut off at one point, and we did not realize for several days. Unfortunately, it contained a fair amount of food, primarily meat, so we lost about $50 worth of food. This was highly upsetting for a few reasons- one, I hate wasting food, and that was an awful waste. Two, that was a fair amount of money wasted. Three: the freezer, despite my best efforts at cleaning and deodorizing over the past week, still reeks of rotting meat. Unfortunately, the smell has leached into the plastic pieces and rubber sealing ring, and I can’t get it out. So, the mini-freezer is also going to be a write-off, which I am also frustrated with. The only silver lining in this, is that we decided to purchase a replacement freezer, and found a much larger one that will fit in the same space for under $200. We’ll be able to fit much more in this new freezer than the old one, which means I can purchase more items on sale and prep more foods for us to eat, which should allow us to save some money.

    We recently made the decision, based on our finances, our desires, and the mental and physical health benefits, to adopt a cat. Adopting a pet is not necessarily a frugal option, but I felt like we went about it from a frugal perspective- we adopted a cat that had been at the rescue for a while (who we fell in love with) instead of a kitten, saving $50 and all of the wear, tear, and chaos that comes with a kitten. Additionally, the rescue we adopted from spays/neuters all their pets, gets them up to date on vaccines, and provides microchipping of the animals for free, so we did not have to pay anything additional for that. We also decided that, for her health’s sake, we would feed her primarily wet food, which is also pretty inexpensive (she likes the Aldi brand of canned cat food, which is only 35c per can). Since she’s a smaller cat, she only needs one can a day. Medium quality wet food is far better for a cat than premium dry food (which can be quite expensive), and helps them get adequate amounts of water. We also found out that she loves simple, cheap toys, like feather wands from the dollar store, tissue paper, and boxes, plus we are using dishes from the dollar tree and items from Ikea for her eating dishes and beds and such, instead of more expensive options. I also used a few gift cards from Christmas to purchase a few items from a couple stores for her, reducing my out of pocket cost.

    I read the book from the library- “An Everlasting Meal”- over Christmas/through New Year’s, and have been taking it to heart. I’ve started paying attention to things I would normally throw away- liquid squeezed from frozen spinach now gets saved for soup, and so does the cooking liquid from beans and lentils; the water used to rinse a can of tomatoes used to make salsa gets saved to add to a batch of pasta sauce; water used to boil vegetables gets saved for a future dish; oranges past their prime get juiced and the juice gets blended with hibiscus tea, the rinds placed in a pot and simmered on low to perfume the house. This has reduced my kitchen waste even further than where it was last year! I hope to continue the trend.

    I have started making lunches for my SO to take to work, as they started their new job this month. They get many comments from their coworkers about how delicious the lunches look and smell! My SO has been primarily taking vegetarian options to work, because of their own resolutions for the new year, and has been enjoying things such as bean burgers, tofu sliders, and barbeque baked beans.

    As with every year, January is our month to eat down the pantry, fridge, and freezer, and I am glad to report that we stuck to our plan and our $100 budget. There’s a bit more room in the freezer now, and several items have been used from the pantry, leaving more space for sale items if I come across them. I also took inventory of what all we have, to make sure that we continue to use up items that we have already before buying more.

    I bought a few items from the dollar store, including several Christmas-related gift wrapping items that I was out of that were 50% off.

    1. Congratulations of the adoption of your cat! I’m sure she will bring so much joy and laughter to you and your family. Always happy to hear stories of people who adopt an older cat.

      1. Thank you! Already, she’s become the queen of the household, and she hasn’t even been here a month! It’s funny how they manage to do that! And yes, I wish more people would adopt older cats as well. I know the rescue we adopted from has a couple programs to encourage people to consider older cats, one of which we took advantage of, but there are still many waiting for good homes. If we ever decide to get another cat in the future, it will definitely be an older cat.

    2. K, I have a wonderful, frugal vegetarian friendly lunch item your SO may want to try. Drain/rinse a can of chickpeas and dump it into a pot. Add your favourite BBQ sauce and a bit of water (you want a slightly liquidy BBQ sauce because the chickpeas absorb liquids while cooking), then simmer on the stove until chickpeas soften (about 15-20 minutes). Use the BBQ chickpeas to make a wrap or to top a salad. I like to make my wraps with greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.), ranch dressing, and a bit of grated cheese, along with the BBQ chickpeas. You can add other veggies to the wrap if desired (tomatoes, peppers, onion, cucumber, etc). I have made these for a potluck at work. Everyone, including the meat loving men, raved about how good they tasted and the vegetarians wondered how they had never heard of or tried BBQ chickpeas before! I highly encourage you to give these a try!!!

        1. They are definitely good! I’m sure your whole family would love them, Brandy! You can easily change up what you put in your wraps to suite individual tastes and what you have on hand, too.

      1. These sound delicious! And coincidentally, I have some chickpeas that are just hanging out in the pantry, so I’ll definitely put these on the meal plan 🙂

        1. Leftovers can be put in the fridge and used cold to make subsequent wraps for lunches throughout the week. They are so full of flavour, I’m sure they will become a favourite in your house!

    3. Just a note for others (as I know you already have one) – the store bought litter boxes are expensive and too small if you have a large cat. We use old storage boxes that no longer have lids or the lids are cracked. Much cheaper, deeper (so less litter thrown out….:/) and can be either used as is or you can cut a hole in a side for entry.

    4. K
      We took in a 10 year old cat 2 years ago. He is a hoot and snuggly. You’re right – we missed the crazy and the destructive and got a fun but laid back cat.

  26. What a blessing you will be to the bride-to-be. Now both she and her daughter will have lovely weddings.

    Our Frugal Efforts:

    * Ate mostly home-prepared meals. We did enjoy a yummy meal at the Eagle Court of Honor/reception for one of the young men in our troop on Sunday. Then on Wednesday Hubs, Son, and I went out to a local family-owned Mexican restaurant to celebrate the fact that Son passed his board of review for his Eagle. We’ll have his Court of Honor/reception later in the spring, but we wanted to celebrate as a family right away (he actually passed on Tuesday, but didn’t get home until nearly 10 p.m.).

    * Meals included Spicy Chickpea Pitas, Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry, Cheesy-Mexi Lentil Mac, Ham and Cheese Quiche, and Minestrone (and leftovers, of course).

    * Harvested spinach, radishes, cabbage, 5 pea pods, carrots, and beets.

    * Played Bananagrams with Son.

    * Watched Victoria on PBS.

    * Made 20 half pints of mixed berry and strawberry jams using berries that had been buried in the freezer. The jams are now taking up space in the pantry, but they will be used and not forgotten as we eat a LOT of PBJs. They will also be good mixed in with homemade yogurt. Yum!

    * Made bread.

    * Walked the dog for exercise and stress relief.

    * Hubs made Son a clock as a gift to celebrate Son’s Eagle. Son was thrilled.

    * We accepted some extra blank Eagle invitations from the family whose son just had his Court of Honor.

    * Hubs trimmed one of our trees and chipped up the trimmings for mulch.

    * Hubs fixed the doorknob on our front screen door. After it was fixed, I was able to open the door and enjoy the lovely fresh air (and warm the house up a bit) without worrying about the dog getting out.

    * When we were at Michaels getting some supplies for an event at Hubs’ work (and the supplies for Son’s clock), we noticed that they still had Christmas items on sale for 70% off. We picked up a bow to decorate a wreath we hang over our garage for 40 cents. That was the only post-holiday decor/supplies we purchased this year. We still have tons from the after-Christmas sales last year (2017).

    I’m sure there were other things, but that was what I remembered to write down this time.

    Have a wonderful week, everyone!

  27. Brandy, I have that measuring cup! Well, to be exact, yours looks to be copper, while mine is aluminum. It was my mom’s from the 1950s. I have the two-cup version, too. I use them almost every day.

    This was my week–
    *We had two no-drive, no-spend days last week. Didn’t have much of a choice on one of those days–we got 8 inches of snow the night before.

    *Used up some of the Thanksgiving turkey from the freezer. Continued New Year’s goal of making a big pot of homemade soup each weekend for weekday lunches. Last week’s was minestrone, made from Brandy’s recipe (and it’s good!). We cooked and ate all meals at home, except for the day we went to Red Lobster with a gift card and coupon,

    *I only spent $20 at the grocery store. We didn’t buy any meat and not too much produce (too expensive).

    *I made 4 more cloth napkins from fabric scraps ($0 OOP) and resolved not to buy paper napkins again. This aligns with one of my New Year’s goals, plus using paper napkins goes against my mantra of not buying stuff for the purpose of throwing it away.

    *Last week, I returned a pair of pajamas that didn’t fit and got a cash refund. This week, I found an even cuter pair (that fit!) on clearance at TJ Maxx for $16…about half of what the original gift cost (I gave the difference back to my daughter).

    I went to bookfinder dot com and bought used copies of Arthritis for Dummies and Arthritis–Exercises That Work. (Their postage is .50 cheaper than Amazon). I am having an MRI Wednesday to determine where, how much and how severe is my arthritis. Fortunately, I have good insurance.

    1. I found that measuring cup for $0.50 at a garage sale! It’s not my regularly used one, but I’ve been saving it for photos. It’s beautiful!

  28. Went thrift store shopping this week. Resisted the urge to buy many things that were wants & not needs. Redeemed swag bucks for amazon gift cards to purchase new shoes for hubs & I; that alone will save us $200! Made Valentine’s Day packagesfor family members using cards & wrapping already on hand. Made an inventory list of household items we use frequently; will earn more gift cards through swagbucks to purchase in bulk.

  29. What an excellent deal on shoes!

    * I used food we had on hand to cook a meal for a potluck.
    * I made cornbread from scratch.
    * I gladly hung up laundry to air dry.
    * We bundled up to get outside for some free exercise!
    * I switched phone plan to save money AND get more for my money.
    * I hand delivered two clients’ orders to the same location where they both were to save me much time and gas.

  30. Hi Brandy great post as always …my frugal accomplishments this past week were: saved .70 cents a gallon on gas using my Kroger gas points…saved $9 on the tank! Found some fabric at the thrift store for $6 there was a lot there and thought it was a lot of fabric for the price what I didn’t realize that there was 8 yards of fabric !! Score!! I have plans for it of course…a dress for my granddaughter, pillow cases…hmmm what else any ideas it’s white daisies on a blue background. Ate most meals at home a couple at my Moms, hung laundry to dry in front of the pellet stove, gave our cat a bath saving on grooming costs, stayed home to save on gas, sent lunches to work with my husband, mended a couple of my husband’s shirts, read books downloaded from Amazon for free …that’s all I can think of right now :0) have a wonderful week!!!

    1. 8 yards for $6? What a great bargain! One idea I had was to make little skirts with the leftovers and set them aside for Operation Christmas Child. I’ve found a simple elastic-waisted skirt for the shoeboxes is a great way to use up last bits of fabric and I’m sure the little girls who get them are happy. When we helped at a drop site last November for the first time, there was a large box for extra things which are collected and saved to put into shoeboxes that needed a little more in them. The extras were sent to the main warehouse–we did not put any in boxes. I was told they never take anything out of boxes no matter how stuffed they are, but do add in things if needed. So, if you got several little skirts from the leftovers you wouldn’t personally have to make up several boxes for them to be used, or you could go in together with friends to make boxes with whatever each of you rounded up.

      1. Great idea! Our church does the Christmas boxes so I could make a few with this and other fabrics to share LOVE it!

    2. Gaila, here is a sewing project I found on Pinterest for a jar opener: https://happiestcamper.com/jar-opener-easy-sewing-project/. I love this project as a gift idea. You could make some matching pot holders and maybe use a bit of leftover scrap to sew to an inexpensive tea towel to create a cute set to give…or keep for your own kitchen if you wish! You could even make a matching apron if you have enough fabric. The fabric print sounds like a lovely design that would look great in a kitchen.

      1. That’s really cute idea …Thank you !! Love this too lol…looks like my sewing machine will really be getting a workout!

  31. The idea of helping a friend with wedding preparations is so sweet.

    This last week we had several very cold nights here in Estonia, the temperature dropped down to -26’C (approx. -14’F, says Google). With this weather our water pump and pipes tend to freeze. To prevent that, at nights I got up at 3 a.m. and started the washing machine again – it is almost at the end of the water pipe and with this three-hour “eco” program it kept the pump nicely alive until morning. This saved us a lot of work and now I have many super clean things (I needed to wash those anyway)!
    We also celebrated our oldest boy’s birthday at home. He turned 14. It was a small party with some friends, but the leftover food lasted for the next day, too.
    My husband repaired my winter boots so that I can wear them for some time longer. I got these boots more than 10 years ago and they have extremely high quality, being very warm, comfortable and elegant, so I want them to last as long as possible.
    In our savings for the new-to-us car and the summer holiday trip (we hope to bring the car with us from Germany, where the used cars market is very good) we have approximately 1/4 of the money that we think we’ll need. As we have almost finished the building/decoratind the room for our oldest the need of buying apint etc is not there anymore, so we hope to save more and more during the next months. The holiday trip will happen in July, so we still have 5 months.
    This week and the next I’m trying to cook with what we have at home and to buy as little food as possible. This means milk products, bread and fruits/vegetables. There is enough meat in the freezer, enough homemade and store-bought jam plus canned fruit in the cellar and enough rice, pasta etc to last for a while.

    1. Reet, just have to compliment you on your English and your ability to write in English! Good luck finding a car!

      1. Yes, Reet, your English is superb! We are about to get some really cold weather here, too! I sometimes run my dishwasher at night if it’s really cold for the same reason as you ran your washing machine! Stay warm! Ann

  32. I loved how you and your daughter both are helping with the wedding. It will all come together and she will have a great memory because of you.
    It has become winter again here in Michigan. We got six inches of snow and are expecting extreme cold here tonight and tomorrow, -40 wind chills are expected. I’ve been winter sowing my vegetable seeds -it keeps down the cost at the greenhouse and keeps me busy. Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments:

  33. Libraries are such an awesome resource. I had never heard of IXL before but checked out their website. It looks very comprehensive – what a find for you! How fun to be helping make that wedding extra special.

    • Made a heart-shaped rag wreath using a metal coat hanger and $3.50 of fabric purchased at a Joann’s lost-lease sale. It is decorating my front door.
    • Combined Walgreens register rewards, balance rewards, coupons and sale pricing to purchase more vitamins and hair color.
    • Washed wool sweaters in machine using delicate cycle and hung them up to dry in the house.
    • Achieved daily swag goal x 1
    • Used the Amazon gift cards I earned through Swagbucks and purchased: 5 lbs Israeli couscous, 1 lb of wild rice, a kitchen scale, and a spice grinder.
    • Canceled my Amazon Prime membership after placing the order.
    • The mileage on my car turned 191919, which made me smile. I know it is silly but I stopped on the side of the road and took a photo!
    • Went into a job lot store to buy only one thing and made three impulse buys – grrr. The specials at this store really are carpe diem and one of my impulse buys was a pound of walnut halves for $3.99, which is an excellent price, but I am trying to have a no spend/low spend month.
    • Finished all the sewing repairs on $50 sofa & loveseat cushions.
    • Meals included: broccoli wild rice casserole, soup from the freezer, beef ramen bowl, and pad thai. Made cherry blueberry cobbler with an almond shortbread topping- yumm-o! Using fruit I had frozen during the summer. I also made a large pot of steel cut oats with peach slices to eat for breakfast every day this upcoming week.
    • Made a batch of double chocolate peppermint brownies as a gift. I used 75% off after Christmas candy canes for the peppermint.
    • Washed Ziplock bags to reuse. Since we are eating more from the freezer, we are “producing” more plastic bags to be washed.
    • Bought stamps before price increase.
    • Replaced cabin air filter in my car.
    • I asked my son to “supervise” me while I replaced furnace filter. He had shown me how at the end of last winter but I wasn’t sure I remembered and I have a healthy respect/fear of the large, noisy machine in the basement!

  34. We had a good frugal week!

    -Redeemed a $0.25 ibotta rebate. (I usually only qualify for the “any item” rebates, which are just a quarter so it’s taking me literally a year to get enough to cash out!)
    -Made soup for lunch on Sunday and had leftovers for my lunches for the week
    -Monday was a school holiday so no driving to school or to piano lessons after school, as those are canceled if no school (also saving the weekly $10 for the lesson fee). Ended up having Tuesday and Wednesday off school for weather so no driving on Tuesday. We did have an appointment on Wednesday so had 1 trip to town.
    -Tried to catch the dishwasher during its drying cycle and turned it off and opened the door to the let the moisture into the air
    -Paid 2 bills from same medical clinic in one envelope so I could use only 1 stamp
    -Downloaded free books from Amazon
    -Received a Kindle for my birthday from my boss, which was a complete surprise and so very lovely!
    -Washed and reused ziplock bags
    -Stayed under our weekly grocery budget. That was the last shopping trip for January and we came in about $80 below budget.

  35. How lovely for you and your daughter to be able to help with your friend’s wedding. I’m sure this means a great deal to her, and what fun for you.

    I pay my property tax with monthly installments. These were due to go down this month because of them been spread over 12 months instead of 8, but I hadn’t heard the new amount from the municipal office. I gave them a call, which was good because they had forgotten to make the change. I have also had cost of living increases to my two small pensions, which were higher than usual because of higher inflation. This all adds $85 a month to my pocket each month,

    My spending this month was very low, due to cash flow rather than restraint. My grocery spending was half its normal level, which was not a problem, because there was lots of food in the house. I would normally shop on the first Tuesday of the month for the month’s groceries, because I can get 10% off that day. This week, though, both local grocery stores have excellent sale prices on a number of items, so I am shopping early. Yesterday, I bought a pork loin half, cut into 16 large chops, four large cans of salmon, a package of frozen fish and a package of frozen peas. Today, I will buy a few odds and ends that I need and take advantage of the sales in another store.

    I have more earnings coming in over the next month, because of extra meetings. The forecast had been for somewhat cold but clear driving weather for three days this week when I drive to the next town over three days in a row for some of these meetings, but now some snow is forecast for each day. It doesn’t sound like too much, and I have winter tires, but I had hoped to get away with better driving weather. Oh, well. Glad to have January pretty well done with. We can see it is staying light much longer now — until 5:15 instead of 4:30!

    I have dropped out of my book club, which is in its ninth year. (I was in the founding group.) I just haven’t been enjoying it as much as I used to. This will save me about $12 in gas each month, but I expect to replace this with other activities, so this will go towards that. I have found a free aqua fitness class once a week at the next town over, so I would like to start that when weather allows.

  36. Brandy, how kind of you and your daughter to offer your help, knowledge and resources to your friend in need. I have been thinking a lot lately about how kindness has become so uncommon in our society. We seem to be programmed to compete with everyone around us, from school, to work, to doing better than the Jone’s. We, as a society have become extremely selfish and only focus on our own struggles. I just don’t understand why helping out my daughter’s friend is so surprising and unusual to others or why the people who work with my Autistic daughter can’t take a moment to understand the struggles she endures every single day, instead of only thinking of the struggles they have to endure while dealing with her. I really wish I could start a kindness movement, that encouraged people to break out of their own self centered minds to find small, simple gestures of kindness, or even just offering a bit of understanding and compassion for the difficulties others might be facing, whether they be family, friends, co-workers or people you don’t even know. Our world could really use a lot more kindness in it!
    Our frugal accomplishments this week for our family included:
    *Meals made at home included cheddar sausages with homemade potato pancakes and corn, pasta with choice of sauce (red, white or pesto), choice between breaded stuffed chicken or breaded chicken burger patty with white rice and broccoli with homemade cheese sauce, chicken shepherds pie (using leftover rotisserie chicken), and hamburger helper with corn.
    *When we had a late appointment with the PHIT team at the hospital, we decided to buy a rotisserie chicken meal deal at the grocery store for an easy dinner. I bought the larger deal that included 2 rotisserie chickens and 2 boxed of potato wedges for $25 to accomodate for the larger number of people in our house. We had 1 whole cooked chicken left, which I am working on incorporating into our meal plan. We always freeze the carcasses (as well as veggies scraps) to make stock when needed.
    *I made fried rice for lunch one day, to use up leftover rice. I threw in the 1 slice of roast beef (broken up into small bits) that was floating around in the fridge as well to avoid waste.
    *Made a batch of Double Chocolate Banana Applesauce Muffins (recipe link: https://www.momontimeout.com/double-chocolate-banana-applesauce-muffins-recipe/). These were so good, my hubby, who normally isn’t a fan of muffins, ate 3. They smell like brownies when cooking and hit the spot for a chocolate fix. Only, these are a much healthier choice! No oil, eggs or milk, only calls for 3/4 cup of sugar total and a lots of cheap fruit is added. Perfect for school and work lunches, too. They didn’t last long…next time I will make a double batch!
    *Went to my monthly Weaver’s & Spinners Guild meeting, despite being reluctant to go out in freezing temperatures. It was probably good for me to get out of the house and socialize a bit anyways.
    *Used my wellness centre membership 3 times this week. Finally took the girls swimming, so they now have their membership tags set up.
    *DD and 2 friends got together this week for a hang out session. I took them out to lunch at Costco, which only cost $20 for all 4 of us to eat. We then headed to the Wellness Centre for a swim (the extra friend paid $5 that she brought with her, but the rest of us were covered under my family membership). Afterwards, the girls hung out at our house for the afternoon. We bought pizza for dinner (hubby’s request), then the friends headed home shortly after dinner. All of these girls have struggled with friendships in the past, but have somehow found each other and are truly appreciating their newfound friends.
    *Our younger cat was zipping around the house this week, wanting to play. I grabbed a couple toy mice we already had, rubbed some dried catnip leaves onto them (from a free wild catnip plant someone kindly picked for me a while ago), and gave it to the cat to play with. He was elated with his frugal catnip spiked toys, was quickly joined by the other 2 older cats (can’t miss a chance for a catnip fix) and they all provided us with “free entertainment” for a while.

    Love reading everyone’s comments every week. Wishing you all a week full of frugal accomplishments and lots of kindness!

    1. I will be making the chocolate chip banana muffins today. Just took everything out of the cupboard and printed the recipe. I know how hard it can be dealing with people at school. I have 3 young adult children with special needs with the last one still in school until April. I found that concentrating on the people that are caring and helpful and praying for the ones that aren’t helped me. I know it can be discouraging. So happy that your daughter has found a group of friends. My kids have friends too that we meet once a week for dinner and during Special Olympics bowling it is bowling then dinner. Money well spent! I also have a group of mother’s that have children with special needs as my support team. We jokingly say it is our therapy group. I hope you have some friends like that too. You are doing a great job.

      1. Thank you, Susan. Not a lot of support from other parents, I’m afraid, but I have met some really lovely parents along our journey. I’ve been doing this battle for a while, and often end up being the person supporting the other parents. Just had a meeting at the school today. Still not confident about the EAs supporting DD right now, but I have expressed my concerns while the head of special education for our school board was present. We have another meeting set for end of February, to review how things are going. Hoping they realize their work (and subsequent behaviour) will be under heavy scrutiny as we see how the second semester goes. Definitely NOT going to allow them to take DD down the same rabbit hole as last year. As for the muffins, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! If the bananas hold out, I will definitely be making more.

    2. I had a kind moment the other day. When I came out from the mall, my car had a post it note on the drivers side window. Walking up I saw it and was thinking the worst. The note said to have a great day. I looked around and all of the cars had post it notes on them. It was cold and someone walked through the lot putting notes on cars. It made my day. We can all do little things to make the world a better place. Just smiling at someone can change their mood.

      Rhonda, keep being you and help that young lady. You may never know the difference you are making in her life but I promise you , you are making it better for her. She will always remember your kindness. I’m sorry that the people who are supposed to be helping your daughter are not. She is very lucky to have you.

      1. Your story makes me happy too. Such a simple concept yet has so much impact on the world. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I will definitely continue to help this young girl. She deserves to have someone in her life that helps guide her towards a better life. As for DD, I will never stop fighting for her. She deserves to receive dignity and respect from these people, even if they don’t fully understand her disability.

  37. This week my biggest accomplishment is that I have survived!

    My Mom has decided she is not happy living in another state and has decided to return to Tennessee. Two weeks ago I spent my time cleaning out her house (after it sold within a few hours) and shoving her things either into my basement, my brother’s living room or a rental storage unit. Now she wants to move into assisted living so I have spent this week researching facilities, comparing prices and doing on-site visits. My sister has changed all her insurance back to this state, is once again finding all new doctors, and will be driving her up this coming Saturday. My brother and I are needing to buy her new furniture (since her furniture went with the house) then we need to setup her new room this coming Friday. I am also working two days this week plus have doctor and dental appointments that I refuse to cancel again.

    Dustin (son # 2) called, quit his job in Iowa and is moving home tonight.

    What are my frugal accomplishments? I feel like I am trying to stop the money from flowing out like Niagara Falls!

    *My biggest accomplishment was doing the exhaustive research to find the best facility, at the best price for my Mom. Even though it is her money, I want to be a good steward.

    *I have tried to cook at home and pack lunches to eat while we are traveling all over the place.

    *We have eaten out of the pantry and that has been a time-saving blessing.

    *I do have coupons to purchase the supplies Mom will need when she gets here (Thanks to Lillianna for her help).

    *I signed up for coupons at Bath & Body and got a coupon for something free. I rewarded myself with bubble bath and took the longest, hottest bath ever. I filled the tub up, let the water out when it cooled and then filled it up again! It was my big splurge to help me keep my sanity.

    *The winter garden is still producing abundantly (a big surprise to me) so we have been able to eat many salads.



    1. Sorry you had such a crazy week. When I take a bath, I boil a pot of water before I go in. When the water starts to cool down in the tub, Hubby dumps the pot of water into the tub for me and I have a hot bath again with just a little water added.

      1. I have never thought of doing that. Hubby would certainly be willing to do bring me more hot water. We have a large hot water heater but I wish we had the type that only heats water as it comes out of the faucet. We looked at switching over but it was too expensive. They tease me about my long, forever baths because my guys are all shower only people.

    2. Jeannie—
      Praying for you! You have a LOT on your plate just now! Remember that you are helping the rest of your family in a very big way, so it is extra important that you take those moments to support and care for yourself. This, in turn, will allow you to continue to support and help your loved ones. I hope your hubby is continuing to heal each day. My friend went to two different doctors looking into stem cell therapy, and was told by both that her hip is too far gone for stem cell to help, and her only choice is a hip replacement surgery. She is trying to decide if she is ready to do that surgery yet, or if she wants to wait a while still. We have no wisdom for her, so I simply pray for God’s wisdom.

      1. Thank you so much for the prayers. Something is definitely changing with my husband. He is getting aches and pains in his hip, back, and leg. The doctor said his hip is regrowing and it is causing the bones, muscles, and tendons to all shift. The pain is good. My husband (the one feeling the pain, not the doctor) was not convinced the pain is good? The doctor has been right about everything else.

        I am sad to hear your friend cannot get stem cell treatments. A hip replacement is major surgery and that is a big decision. She has a good friend (you) praying for her and is blessed.

  38. Brandy I love the picture., I would love to have the “light ” hand with biscuits but I keep trying LOL. I’ve “gleaned” several tips from this post..like from Gardenpat to “clear” what is left in the account when the new funds come in.

    I’ve been down with a Crohn’s attack, went to the ER , got sent home and meds ordered as they felt with the hospital full (bug which is what triggered my attack, flu, broke bones and squad after squad of accident victims, there was no room at the end. Did tell me if it got worse to go to a local hospital ER and have them called… I am glad I was sent home or I will still be laying there waiting for the “check list” of you can go home now to happen.. I did find no broth in the pantry, stuff to make it with in freezer but wasn’t up to it and even if I was, hubby wasn’t up to canning the “extra” as he worked slit shifts plowing highways. We spent $70 total the month of Jan for food and $30 for non food.
    I am planning the gardens on paper, changing HOW we eat (more colors all the time and in season) and how much goes in the pantry. The move to this place took a hit on the pantry we did move as I am finding jars that the seals were loose. 🙁 . I have 51 shelves in that area of the pantry , I’ve cleaned 36, leaving 15 . Not sure if I can clean one a day at this point and time. Right now we are dealing with the polar vortex going through. chefowings.blogspot.com

    1. Juls- Happy to have given you an idea to help boost savings!
      In January alone, by doing this, plus taking 1/2 of any sales from my Soup Cozies, Flannel Softies and Scrappy Bags (after putting 20% of the profit into the business account and paying 10% tithing on the rest, I do the same 1/2 rule on the remainder no profit- 1/2 to savings and 1/2 to pay down debt) I have added $900 to savings and $900 to paying down surgery bill debt! That is a great reminder to me that just having this one habit can really make a major (at least to us!!) difference to our financial stability!

      Since we have just 9 paychecks from hub’s employer before he retires, I am on a mission to beef up our savings as much as possible!
      Even counting eating in the airport on our way home from CO to visit son’s family, plus a KFC and Papa Johns dinner for the 3 of us, and stopping at UDF for ice cream cones after a date night, our grocery budget for those things + groceries + fresh produce (including that 50 pound bag of potatoes!) came to $139 for the month! What a blessing a well stocked pantry has been ! Hubs and son and I have eaten well and had varied meals and we’ve even had company over for dinner who would have been surprised to know that we were eating exclusively from our food storage!! Lol!

      That’s one of the things I enjoy most as I read Brandy’s posts and the comments afterwards – all the tips and ideas I hadn’t thought of on my own!
      So, glad I could return the favor as it were for all the ideas and inspiration I glean here from everyone!!

  39. Perhaps the thought of trying to find a traditional wedding dress and plan a traditional wedding was too overwhelming for your friend. It probably was such a great relief to her when you gave her some ideas for ways she can look and feel like a bride without the expense. I would like to also suggest that a wedding dress does not really have to be a dress at all. A quick search for “tulle skirt” on Etsy revealed some lovely, inexpensive options that were either already pre made or could be made and shipped quickly. She could also search for “chiffon skirt” ” Ivory skirt” etc.. Ebay would also be another option. She could then just build a wedding ensemble from that one piece. Maybe with a scarf or a brooch. Or maybe she is a pants person? An Ivory Jacket with a great pair of dress pants could be made to look “weddingy”( I know that isn’t a real word 🙂 } with the right accessories. Also, if she does want an actual dress, she does not have to go to an overpriced wedding store. Many times I have seen dresses that would work for a non traditional informal wedding dress at stores like TJ Maxx, and The Rack. Thinking outside of the box by just looking for something that she loves and feels good in and can wear to a wedding, rather than an actual wedding dress might be freeing and helpful for her. How lovely that you and your daughter are helping someone to have a special wedding day!

    1. She mentioned to me that she is trying to not spend any money at all this year, so I think that the expense is a big part of it. In addition, this is not her first wedding. She is going to choose something from her closet to wear and from her daughters’ closets for her daughters to wear. Sadly, not all of her children will be attending. My daughter found several dresses on Amazon that she could use for $25-$40 if she wants to buy something, but I don’t think she does. She is going to spend about $25 on grocery store flowers that I will help her make into a bouquet. The hard part is that her wedding is less than a week before Valentine’s Day, and even grocery store flowers go way up that week. Still, I think we can do something for that amount. She is going to show me what she chose tonight when we go over what she would like for her photos.

      1. Oh of course that makes sense.I have no way of knowing if this is something she would like or not, but there are some very beautiful ideas for herbal bouquets online. You could put together an entire bouquet of herbs. She could choose the herbs that you have readily available in your garden and by their meaning for instance Rosemary for remembrance. You could use Thyme, basil, sage, eucalyptus whatever you have and tie it with a ribbon or fabric you already have. You can find out the meanings of the herbs online as well.In victorian times, people gave tussie mussies, small bouquets made up of flowers and herbs that had meanings . In this way lovers could express their feelings without words. Herbal bouquets are all the rage now but really it is a very old traditional idea that is suited for a wedding. You could also just add the herbs to the grocery store flowers in place of greenery to make the flowers stretch.I have been to two weddings where the bride carried only a large bouquet of baby’s breath with no other flowers. Even though it is usually thought of as filler, alone it was very striking. I am sure whatever you come up with will be amazing.

        1. We talked about what she wanted tonight. She wants something very simple, and we’ll see what grocery store flowers are available next week and buy some the day before her wedding. I do have rosemary (and I carried some in my own bouquet for remembrance). I don’t have basil this time of year. She told me what colors she likes and she wants a small bouquet, so we’ll see what we can do. Because this is not her first wedding nor his, they both just want it to be very simple and low-key.

          1. I just checked and you have 3 Trader Joe’s in Las Vegas. They have CHEAP flowers and you can find small bouquets for under $5 and large ones for under $10. Their prices do not go up before Valentines Day. They are my go to place for flowers never Kroger or what ever big grocery store is in your area. These stores def raise prices and are already too expensive when it isn’t a holiday. Trader Joe’s all the way. Take pictures of the wedding bouquet you make. We all want to see it.

            1. My mom said they have a dozen roses for $5.99 there, which is less than the grocery store price of $10-$14 (normally) I didn’t know their prices don’t go up before Valentine’s. The grocery store flowers double in price the week before Valentine’s, which is when she has her wedding. She is going to give me some money towards some flowers (most likely roses) and I will put together something for her. I will be checking them out as well as Albertson’s, which always has great deals. We went over what she wants last night as far as color and style.

            2. Since I am photographing her wedding, I will be making sure to get a shot of the bouquet 🙂

            3. It looks like I won’t be doing the flowers after all. She is just going to use the faux flowers from the person who has tablecloths as her bouquet!

      2. The BJs by my house sells beautiful flowers very cheap. I bought red roses their as centerpieces for my daughter’s sweet 16. I bought 2 dozen and put 3 in each vase with a few scattered at other locations such as near the cake.

        For free flowers ask a funeral home. Most people only take a few arrangements to the cemetery. We used to get so many free flowers for Girl Scouts that way. It was an easy way to decorate for Father/ Daughter dance and Spring Fling. We would make centerpieces for the tables and the girls would get a loose flower when the came in. I’m sure you could work your magic. We then brought all of the centerpieces to a nursing home the next day. They were always so happy to get them. The girls loved giving them out.

        1. The bride has decided to just use the faux flowers for her bouquet that she is borrowing with the tablecloths (the previous owner used them in centerpieces). They were the color she was wanting and now she doesn’t have to buy any flowers. She’s happy about that.

      3. Brandy,
        What a lovely and gracious gift to photograph your friend’s wedding. That is a gift that will keep on giving. Having paid for two photographers for my daughters weddings I can vouch that is a wonderful gift. I hope they turn out lovely.

  40. Your help in your friend’s wedding reminds me of the many people who helped out with our daughter’s wedding, from loaning us a solid crystal (expensive!) punch bowl set to staying up till midnight ironing table covers with me for the reception. It still warms my heart, and it was 13 years ago. Your friend will always have this as a happy memory, Brandy, and one can’t put a price on that.
    This week I thought about some expenses I’ve taken for granted and which have crept into my budget. I had a subscription to an online grocery company which is a nice company, but I wasn’t using it that much. I cancelled, and although my renewal was back in November, they refunded my entire annual subscription fee to me, which was a nice bonus!
    I bought stew meat on sale last weekend, and the price on the sticker was the non-sale price, but the butcher assured me that the deduction would come off at the register. I was returning my cart to the store when I realized I forgot to watch as the meat rang up. Sure enough, no discount, so I walked back in and got it, about $3.00 per pound.
    Since I switched to a cash-back credit card, I’m thinking about using it for all my gas and grocery purchases, to see if I can do that without accidentally overspending, which is so easy to do with a card. I don’t want to have a balance to carry over. If my plan works, I’ll expand this to further purchases, to earn more cash back. My current plan is to immediately deduct from my checking and set the money aside in an existing, separate account, each time I use the card.
    I am de-cluttering, and the pantry is one place I need to do. I hope to have more room to store useful food items, since some items have had to go out of my diet. It does me no good to have a lot of wheat pasta in there, when I can no longer eat it. Then I want to re-stock it and have a list of contents, the way I do my freezer so I’m not over-buying some items. The good food I can no longer use will be donated.
    I hung several loads of laundry out this weekend.
    As usual, I pack all my work lunches, make my own kombucha – it’s cheap to make, expensive to buy — make my own detergent, cleaners and shampoo, and use cloth for napkins and cleaning.
    I hope everyone stays warm and safe!

  41. I cleaned out my small freezer so by the end of the month I had almost nothing left. There was almost no food anywhere but I survived! Last night, my friend who lives close to a store (Co-op) went shopping for herself and offered to pick up things for me. She was also going to No Frills. So she picked up the Co-op’s special 1.8 kg of frozen Bergen’s blueberries on sale for $10.99 until tomorrow at Calgary Co-op. The normal price can be as much as $19.99. I absolutely love Bergen’s blueberries from B.C. I had not frozen as much produce last summer due to my broken arm so was watching to see if Bergen’s blueberries would go on sale and they did! Co-op had 900 gram blocks of Armstrong cheese for about $8.90 (usually now about $12 or $14). I bought 2 and am going to put one in my freezer (if I have a shredder attachment for cheese for my Kitchen Aid I’ll shred it). She picked up 10 pounds of Canadian russet potatoes for $3.47 at No Frills for me. That is the lowest price I’ve seen. I had already picked up 5 pounds at Sunterra for $5.00 but they are American and not as nice looking (or as well-cleaned off). So obviously I’ll be eating a lot of baked potatoes. Co-op had organic beets on sale for $5 for 2 bunches. (I missed the really good Co-op special on 10 pound bags in the fall). That may or may not have been a good price but while I’m baking the potatoes, I may as well bake beets (I don’t have a microwave). I also got apples for a great price. My friend bought me a bag of spinach (it’s a huge bag) so I’ll have several salads and it was on sale. So the menus for the next month will be: oatmeal or toast for breakfast with a glass of milk, pasta for lunch with some cheese, or a spinach salad with apples in it, some Sunterra beef, a baked potato, an orange, broccoli, and blueberries for dinner. So every day, the cost will be $5.00 which for Canada is not bad especially as I’m trying to eat 5-7 fresh or frozen fruit or veggie servings per day. Sunterra roasted beef is on sale until the end of January for $2.18 per 100 grams (reg price is $2.49 at Sunterra, $2.99 at Co-op). I put the beef, ham, and turkey from Sunterra deli in the freezer in individual packets, then either put it into the pasta at the end with frozen peas and cook it for 2 more minutes for a one pot easy meal. $3.00 of the $5.00 is for meat. I spent $50 at Co-op and saved $26.00 and $36.00 at No Frills and $70.00 for meat for a month at Sunterra. Food is getting very expensive here and even on sale it really adds up.

    This is a message for Tammy. You were recently thinking of making jams and jellies. One thing I do is I get a case of Italian prune plums in the summer for a good price. Then I wash them, cut them in half, take pits out, and put them in clean jars or even freezer baggies in the freezer. No syrup or sugar. Unsweetened fruit may be frozen without syrup (“dry pack”) but if you use sugar you need a syrup (“wet pack”). In the winter, I partially thaw them, then put them on the stove and stew them. This apparently is a very German thing to do but I didn’t know that. You can add sugar to the stewed plums if you wish. I don’t. Easier than making jam. You can also freeze applesauce. I have a sauce mill tool (metal cone-shaped tool with holes and a wood pestle like thing to use). I found that I could not use it without great pain so instead just cut my crab apples and froze them for the time when the arm would be healed enough to make sauce. I read someone who said if you were making fruit jam with sugar you did not need to sterilize the jars. That may well be true but I do anyway. If it is a dark coloured jam it is sometimes hard to see a dark mold on it so to be safe I sterilize the jars. For frozen fruit or jam I use clean but not sterilized jars. It doesn’t take long to sterilize the jars and lids. You are not able to re-use the sterilized lids for later batches (the rings yes but not the lids). You could make all sorts of jams, jellies, pickled asparagus, pickled carrots.
    Spiced crabapples were also mentioned and make wonderful Christmas presents. I would definitely sterilize the jars. For proper methods on any of these, I would search Atco Blue Flame Kitchen and go to “how-to”. They talk about how to can, preserve, freeze, smoke various foods.

    1. Ann,
      Thank-you for the advice. Also, I am so glad you have food. Sounds like a nice menu. I do love jams and pickled veggies. I still have apples that I need to process and most likely will tomorrow.

      1. Wow my post was long! I would clarify that sterilized jar lids used to can jams or jellies cannot be re-used for canning but may be re-used, once cleaned of course, for frozen food. When the lids are boiled to sterilize, the rubber seals the lid to the jar. The lids can only be used once for canning. Jars in the freezer do not need to be sealed so lids can be re-used in freezer.

        Yesterday, after having tried for 5 days, I got a photo of the little brown creeper that visits daily. Not a perfect photo but it’s very nice. The weather is changing so I won’t be sitting outside for long! To those in the eastern states and elsewhere affected by the freezing weather, take care and stay warm!

        1. Ellie’s friend from Canada,
          Thank-you for the information. I was wondering. Do you send your pictures to magazines? Maybe you could sell some pictures.

          1. Hi Tammy,

            There is no market for selling photos. I had three framed ones in a gift store on consignment. They were beautiful rose photos. The problem is that because of cell phone photos, most people think that anyone can take photos so why should they buy them. As for photos for the wall, lots of people have no more room for them. I may make some into postcards. Most magazines do not accept unsolicited photos. I did ask one of the leading magazines here. The art editor wanted to know if I had a website but I don’t. I sent her 3 pages of contact sheets by email but never heard a word back from her. I entered one in a contest today… It is of a marmot. You could probably see it if you go to Experience Calgary Parks and Kananaskis. It is in the photo contest and the last entry. As one of my friends said (he’s a leading nature photographer) about selling photos, “Don’t give up your day job”. Of course, I don’t have a day job, either. Thanks for the suggestions, though. Knowing what talent it takes to make great photos, I appreciate Brandy’s lovely photos all the more!

        2. Ellie’s friend;I’ve re used canning lids 2 or 3 times with no problem.If the center doesn’t sink down I just put it in the fridge or freeze it but that has only happened to me twice and I’ve been doing this for years,I always sterilize my jars,rings & lids though.Another way of buying healthy veggies for you and your friend is through the hutterites.There are many colonies in Alberta,you can look them up in the phone book and phone the one nearest you to see what they have and go out to the colony to get it,they also sell eggs and chickens.Also the cities in Alberta have free fruit trees growing on a lot of boulevards that you can pick for free,just phone the city hall to see where they are and also watch kijij sometimes people give away free fruit & veg.

          1. Hi Peggy,

            Peggy — Great advice about the Hutterite colony. Unfortunately, I don’t drive. Sometimes a friend and I will go for a country drive and we could go then. I don’t think there are many fruit trees in our boulevards. Here there are some wild Saskatoon berries nearby but they catch the herbicide drift from city spraying in the park. It makes you sick (several neighbours have mentioned it
            t0 me). Here it is against the bylaw to pick berries and any other plants in parks and I support that bylaw in a big city. Fortunately, I have plum, pear, apple, sour cherry trees in the yard and friends’ yards. Most of my tree fruit is only good for jams and jellies and not all bear fruit in each year (luckily for me!) I had a new apricot tree which made it through the winter nicely only to have a third eaten by a deer recently. I will find an apricot tree I can use for scion wood to graft onto mine and restore its shape. There are very few apricot trees here but University of Minnesota, University of Saskatchewan and others have bred and developed Zone 3 hardy apricot trees. Peggy, and everyone, stay warm! Ann

    2. Ellie’s Friend: I too love those Bergen blueberries, they are grown mostly in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver island, like you I always wait until our Thrifty’s grocery store puts the big boxes on sale, then stock up my freezer! they are much larger and sweeter than any other brand I have tried.
      (You’ll be glad to know here on the Island we are going to have snow as well, and below O temps for a bit) so the berries I eat daily with oatmeal in the a.m. I reuse jars with rubber around the lids (not the ring type) and after sterilizing they have always sealed well for a second use. (like the lids found on store bought jams) saves many $$$.

      1. Sorry to hear you’re going to get snow over there! I wish I had a bigger freezer so I could have more boxes. Glad to hear you enjoy them, too.
        So healthy! Ann

  42. I postponed weekly grocery shopping for one day as a sneaky way to save a bit of money–six fewer shopping trips a year. But then the weather intervened and I now plan to postpone the trip six days. But I did order some things from Walmart including V-8 juice so I’m not saving as much on groceries as I had hoped. I made a kidney bean, corn, and tomato salad one day and instead of tossing the liquid drained from the cans, added beef bouillon and made two cups of broth which mom and I both enjoyed. We are eating our way through the kitchen while housebound by the weather, something we’ve been needing to do for a while.
    It is important to check up on older folks during bad weather. Our local Meals on Wheels does not deliver lunch when the schools are closed. They delivered three “Blizzard Boxes” in November and one this month so homebound seniors would have something to eat on snow days. But this week, our snow days for the season will exceed four. Mom won’t go hungry this Thursday, but I fear that some homebound seniors will.
    I have never had cable tv. We have had a Roku to supplement our over-the-air channels. But I signed up for a special $15 a month, paid in 3 month intervals of The Great Courses Plus this week after “drooling” over their catalog of courses for years-since they were only on cassette tapes. I needed more than reruns of Judge Judy and Hogan’s Heroes to keep my mind alive while mom-sitting. I am very happy with the courses even though learner.org, openculture.com, onlinedegree.com, and saylor.org are cheaper alternatives (but not available for viewing on our tv, given our hardware). Mom also has perked up and paid attention to some of the “lectures” I have been watching. Surprise, surprise. She has no interest at all in dusting off the cobwebs from her high school Latin from 80 years ago but wanted me to backup and replay part of the Spanish lesson we watched today. I also found a way to eventually get college credit for Medical Terminology without spending a fortune at Straighterline.com.

    1. Holly, double check and see if your library offers The Great Courses. I had bought one before but recently our library’s website mentioned something about it now being offered. Our library seems to be offering more and more digital content. They also offer some shows through Acorn TV and RBDigiital. You have to sign up through the library’s link in order to get them for free.

  43. What a positively lovely thing to do for your friend! Her wedding day will be so special and your photographs will preserve it for her forever. Bravo! I’m envious that you are in your garden but then I do try to remind myself of your heat and I settle down a bit. It’s the absolute opposite conditions for gardening here!
    I made almond milk and almond flour out of a bag of almonds that I had laying around that I knew we would never use because none of my family likes almonds cooked into things. It was easy and delicious and the whole thing was the cost of the tiny bag of almonds.
    I found seeds for 40% today at Ocean State Job Lot. Even though I normally buy from Fedco I just couldn’t pass up this savings and got 20 packets of seed and a bag of potting soil for the price of 16 packets or just seed from Fedco.
    I found out that they also sell a type of tinned mackerel that my husband loves for HALF the price I’ve been paying so that’s a yay!
    We’ve been combining almost all of our trips and keeping careful track of our fuel usage. It had gotten slightly ridiculous over the last twelve months.
    I’ve put up quilts and window quilts to cut down drafts and keep the house warmer and my heating bill is in fact less! We have a very seriously cold couple of days mixed with a snowstorm coming up and this will help enormously in keeping us cozy and comfortable.
    I made a pot of minestrone soup that we’ve eaten from for two days.
    I made three batches of banana chocolate chip bread from some old bananas that I threw in the freezer last summer and a bag of chocolate chips left over from Christmas. I froze two and we ate one. They turned out well.
    I am taking Brandy’s advice and shopping the monthly grocery store sales and really just using my grocery budget to fill the pantry and freezer with these sale items. I have three beautiful hams that I got for .89/lb and many pounds of chicken that I got at that same price. I know that February is canned food month so I’m looking forward to stocking up on the canned items that we eat.
    Thanks for all of your tips and encouragement, everyone!

    1. How do you use the canned mackerel? We were given a few cans of it from someone who was moving out of state and I don’t know how to fix it.

      1. I remember my mom substituting canned mackerel for canned salmon to make fish cakes. Sometimes she’d also mix either type of fish with leftover mashed potatoes, then combined with dried dill, salt, pepper and an egg, then formed into patties and coated in flour. She’d fry these in a pan with butter. The flour made them crispy. They were delicious.

        1. Thank you. I thought I could do something along these lines and I wondered how best to use them.

      2. Brandy Our Amish neighbor debones the canned mackerel and then mixes is with cream of mushroom soup and serves it over bread or noodles. She said just like I would tuna noodle casserole and laughed when I asked how she was going to use it. I had picked up a dozen cans for her right before they had church in their home (over 100 people attended)

  44. Lovely photo!

    We are getting yet another snow storm. I love working in a school as, for safety, we were released early today. As much as I love snow, I hate driving in it. I’ve been amazed at the progress that we are making financially. The expensive event that I’ve been saving for comes up in two months. The bills are starting to become due. And, we are still holding strong. It’s scary to spend money after so long not having any.

    This week I have stayed home as much as possible and resisted the urge to spend any money. It has not been easy. Here are my frugal accomplishments for the week that stand out above the every day efforts.

    *My glasses broke, but my son was able to fix them using super glue. They are as good as new.
    *I tore a nail and before it tore completely off and caused a lot of pain, I used our recently purchased super glue to glue my nail closed until it grows out long enough.
    *We accepted an invitation to lunch by my in-laws. I had purchased a used game of Bible themed Monopoly for 2$ for my MIL to play with the younger grandchildren. She loved it, and I’m sure my nieces and nephews will as well.
    *My MIL brought us items that we use that they bought us
    *I buy salad that I eat everyday for lunch in the winter and I was able to get my organic greens on deep discount this week
    *I have been diligent in trying to keep the electric bill lower. We were successful last month in lowering our bill by about 20$. It takes me a lot of time to heat with wood all the time so that we do not have to turn on the electric heat. I have the time.
    *Not eating as much has really reduced our food spending bill. It has also brought both my son and I closer to our goal weight. Today, I was able to wear my new size in a skirt that runs roomy. Still work to be done, but I am in/almost in my goal size. I will be very happy to unpack my smaller size clothing and give away the larger sized ones.
    *We finally have reached the end of our contract for WiFi and I called to be sure it will be discontinued. We are not going to replace our WiFi, but will use iPhone hot spots at no extra cost since we have unlimited data. We also are at school and work weekdays where there is internet for checking email and such. This change is going to require quite a bit of adjustment, but it will be worth it financially. We do not have any sort of TV, just computers that we use for school, work and fun.

    Happy frugeling friends.

  45. Hi Brandy-Thanks for your wonderful inspiration. Your opening post and picture make me smile.
    This week we…….
    -Had a nice overnight get away visiting sister. I took some baked goodies and appetizers. She gave me books, magazines and part of a cake. When driving home we ran several errands and made good use of the miles on our vehicle.
    -Cooked a ham bone and made red potato/green bean soup with paprika and onion. It cooked all day and then I thickened it slightly before eating. I froze what we didn’t eat.
    -Borrowed a tax program from a friend, so kind to lend it to us and appreciated the no cost.
    -Helped a friend pick up supplies for a home improvement project when we were already going to the store. We all rode together and loaded and unloaded boards and flooring.
    -Cancelled an appointment for Thursday when the wind chill will be -55. I rescheduled for next week. I have blankets covering all of our door bottoms,opened all cabinets that have any plumbing, and we are using extra sweaters, slippers,and cozy blankets. DH is wearing some down-filled slippers that he has had for 40 years that are thee warmest ever. Just had the natural gas tank filled so we are doing fine. I moved some of my furniture away from the exterior walls to be a little warmer.
    -Sewed up 2 decorative pillows using fabric that I had on hand.
    -Made a major project list so DH and I will stay focused and busy during this polar vortex.
    -Researched medicare, the sign up process, and the various parts and costs. We learned and reread materials to understand and try to make the best
    decisions possible.
    -Watched YouTube for small scrappy sewing projects. I was inspired .
    Have a good week. I really enjoy and look forward to reading these comments and the kindness of so many.

    1. Regarding the Medicare sign up – there are individuals who specialize in assisting with this sign up at no charge to you. the one I went to asked for a list of my medications and also assisted by calling my Doctor to find out which supplement she accepted. (I would not have thought of calling my doctor, but I sure don’t want to change). With the medication she input that into her computer system to find out which supplement or advantage plan had the best deals for my prescriptions. Also reminded me about the “Silver Sneakers” plan – there is a gym that participates less than 2 miles from my house, and also the non-prescription mail order benefits that can be obtained quarterly. The one we decided was best also has dental (My dentist isn’t on the plan, but my DH’s is – I am switching), vision and even assistance with a hearing aid if necessary. Anyway good luck. It can be confusing.

  46. Hope all of the rest of you in the “polar vortex” are staying warm (and no one’s pipes freeze). We are currently (1/29) at 6*F with a windchill of -20*F – it is really, really cold and have lots of blowing snow – many roads including expressways are closed in some areas of the state (Michigan). Most schools are closed as well as many businesses – our trash company made the right decision and will not being doing ANY pick-ups tomorrow and possibly even the next day. I sent my husband to Harbor Freight on Sunday to use the coupons for $2.99 tarps and then I wrapped my entire quail hutch, gave them a few more inches of bedding and loaded them up on “hot” foods and water – so far so good although all the eggs are freezing before I can get to them. While he was there he also used the coupon for a free moving blanket for use when we do move. Our dogs are really suffering when they have to go out to potty – their feet in particular – so I made up sets of “boots” using deer-hide I’ve had in my stash for years. Great Dane gear is expensive! so, those 2 are wearing old wool sweaters (also from my stash) and out beagle is wearing her coat even in the house. I’ve put draft blockers at our side door – the storm door obviously no longer seals at the bottom since snow was blowing in under the door :0 !! I also put up the “curtain” above the half door that leads to what we call the “girl cave” where my sewing/crafting area is. It has made a big difference in how comfortable the rest of the house feels. I am not looking forward to what the gas use will be for this month.
    *We’ve pretty much been eating from the pantry and freezer and staying out of the stores. Since our son moved out (our daughter has been out for awhile now) we have a serious over abundance of food that needs to be eaten! It’s been a very long time since we’ve cooked for 2 and are finding it challenging. At the moment, there is NO room in either freezer so we are being creative with leftovers as much as possible.
    *I finally found my price book during my huge purge in my sewing area and am updating it with current low prices.
    *Brought home leftover donuts, taco dip, bread (a whole loaf of seeded rye for us + all the ends for my quail), lots of cauliflower/kale salad (since I need to limit gluten I get the salad rather than a sandwich for free), “expired” milk (nothing wrong with it) ……all from my workplace.
    *Used a $5 off coupon at Michael’s to buy the chalk markers I wanted to be able to use at work – my manager said if I wanted to spend my own money that was fine but they weren’t going to supply anything more than the old box of side walk chalk – which was really, really hard on my hands to use when the menu boards need to be re-written. So it was worth it to me to spend a little bit – but I refuse to leave them at work due to the tendency for things to “walk off”! I also used a 40% coupon at the same time to buy some pretty scrap book paper to make my labels for my linen closet baskets, my fabric storage boxes and my file cabinet. I walked away from several other items I really wanted but even though they were on sale 50% off, I couldn’t justify the purchases since I can make do with what I have.
    *Made use of a case sale at the feed store to stock up on canned cat food for .45 cents a can. We also combined coupons + a grand opening sale on the dry food for both the cats and dogs and saved over $50!!
    *My husband and I both made use of our eye glass warranties which were about to expire – I thought it was just for the lenses (mine were a cloudy, scratched mess – there was even a chip in once lens) but we were given brand new frames AND lenses! Since I in particular am very, very hard on glasses it was well worth the few dollars extra for the warranty (Don’t try and clean sawdust, drywall dust etc off your glass with a t-shirt……)

    I think that’s it this week – hope you all have great weeks!

    1. Did you know you can download a free price book app? There are a few out there. That way, you always have it with you on your phone and can more easily update it.

      I don’t know how you are so much warmer than Minnesota . . . but I think it is smart that you are making something for your dogs to go outside. I can only imagine how much they would suffer otherwise. What a relief to have modern plumbing for the people in the house! Stay warm!

      1. Michigan is nearly always warmer than Minnesota. We are surrounded by very large bodies of water that moderate the temperature and create “lake effect” bands of snow until the Great Lakes are frozen over.

    2. Melissa,

      We always used heat lamps for our chickens in these freezing conditions. We also shoveled snow up against the outside wall (in your case tarp) for added insulation.


  47. Brandy – I don’t have a phone that can have apps downloaded onto it or even send photos. 🙂 It’s just for emergencies and is often dead in the bottom of my purse LOL I seem to do better with paper and pen – for whatever reason, it works better with how my brain functions.
    PJGT – My quail are in a raised hutch so there is no way to pile anything up around the outside. They also have a heat lamp with a 100 watt bulb in it for heat. The 250 watt bulbs are too much in a 2 ft x 9 ft hutch. All windows and the wire front have plexi-glass over them for the winter but the wind was still finding ways in which is why I added the tarps.

  48. We are getting ready to leave for a 19 day trip in the Southwest -Utah, Arizona, New Mexico. We will stay in motels for a lot of the time and tent camp for about 6 nights in the warmest parts of Arizona. We planned the trip months ago but were unsure what would be open due to the government shut down- so we know things will be open at the beginning of our trip, but after that, who knows. The plan includes more than 20 National Park sites. We decided to use the 2 free nights of lodging we had available through hotels.com. When dh went to make the changes, he found that two of the motel stays had gone down in price by $30 or more from the time he made the reservation, to now. So he cancelled the original reservations and rebooked. We are guessing the price change was because the hotels aren’t very full and they are trying to attract more customers.

    We will take a cooler and other snacks, food and drinks so that we mostly will eat out only one meal a day. I am not a fan of fast food so depending on where we are (lots of isolated, wilderness spots are planned), I may mostly eat food we bring or buy. I really enjoy visiting grocery stores when we travel because the produce often is interesting as well as local, popular products. And it is interesting to see how prices compare to home. I already have more tee shirts and decorative items than I need for the rest of my life, so I don’t buy souvenirs, other than temporary souvenirs like interesting jams or sauces from the grocery store.

    We also still buy and send postcards – though I know millennials really don’t do this. Interestingly, in South Korea they really don’t sell postcards. It is just not a “thing” there.

    This week I made taco soup using some of the frozen Thanksgiving turkey carcass soup as the base. I made my own taco seasoning mix this time, too. I tried a focaccia recipe and it was horrible. I’ll keep trying since I have eaten some homemade focaccia that is really good. I am working on the food in the refrigerator to eat before we leave on our trip.

    1. I smiled when you said you buy/send postcards – I do too. My daughter sends postcards, and when she’s traveling w/ her family, she likes to send a few to her children as mementos of their trip.

      If you use a smart phone (and are in an area where there’s service), an app called PostSnap lets you make postcards from the pictures on your phone, and send them straight from the phone.. My aunt introduced me to it and I’ve used it several times when traveling. The quality is good plus it’s just fun.

  49. We had a pretty good week last week, with frugal birthday celebration included. As a surprise, we ended up “adopting” a stray cat which was in our carport one afternoon. She hasn’t let us pet her yet, but seems very hungry and grateful for the home and food. We can’t do an indoor cat due to allergies, but the boys are over the moon about “kitty”, and it was cheaper than adopting from the humane society. If she sticks around, we’ll take care of the appropriate vet expenses. Here are the rest of our accomplishments! So glad to be seeing everyone’s frugal ways!


    1. Not only do we send post cards but we also seek out the local post office to mail them. We go up to the window and ask them to hand cancel the post card so it has the name of the town we are mailing from. Sometimes the postal employee even lets my adult kids with special needs cancel the cards themselves. This is so much fun and I love looking at the older PO architecture.

  50. I’m late to the party this week, but I loved reading everyone’s comments.

    We (in Minnesota) are at -30F actual temperature here today (wind chill is lower still) – everything is closed (even the post office is not delivering mail!), so the children, my husband and I are all home today. We will go out and start the cars just to make sure they run tomorrow at some point, but that will be it for outside adventures today. I opened all the curtains in the house to let the sunlight in and help warm the house so the furnace will not work so hard. Some areas, including ours, were actually asked to turn the heat down a bit to lighten the load on the gas service. I guess the perk is that we can’t go anywhere and spend money and that we have plenty of warm clothes and food in the house!

    Here is the link to my savings from last week – http://lea-intherefinersfire.blogspot.com/2019/01/frugal-friday-third-week-of-january-2019.html

    I spent a lot of time on food this week and we had some extra purchases – a new winter jacket for our daughter (on super clearance sale), sheet music for our children’s instruments (budgeted), and new glasses for our son (also budgeted). Now to see how little we can spend in February!

    Stay warm everyone! And thank you, Brandy, for the lovely photos – when I feel like winter is never ending, it is nice to see beautiful home and garden photos!

  51. Hello all. Just checked my light bill online and it went down five dollars from last month. Not a lot but every bit helps. Shopped sales and continue to eat out of the pantry and freezer. Made a trip to Texas but did everything I could to keep it as frugal as possible. Looking for ways to save on my electric bill even more. Taking lunch to work everyday. Stayed home as much as possible. Made coffee at work since it is provided for us. They have also installed a water cooler so we can have fresh filtered cold water… So I’m cutting back on the soda and drinking more water. We are looking at our young set son getting married the end of this year or beginning of next year to a girl from Texas so we are going to have extra expenses for that but we are going to save and do as much as we can ourselves. Fortunately, the girl he is dating is very simple and easy to please and does not want a big wedding.

    I think that’s all. Have a good week

  52. Brandy and Friends, each week I wait eagerly to read these posts and the comments. I’m not the queen of frugal but I’m working on it. I love the positive attitude you all have and the great ideas you share. I enjoy coming back every few days to see if there are new comments because you all motivate me! Keeping lists of frugal things you’ve done is so smart and encouraging. Keep the good ideas coming because you make a difference with those of us who are reforming our ways. 🙂

  53. Have you wanted to join Sam’s Club but couldn’t stomach the membership price? (Me!) Well now they are offering new members the chance to join for $45…but you get $45 back to spend at the store!

    Now that’s worth checking out!

  54. Phew what a week. I could have EASILY blown my eating out budget as I didn’t want to cook. However, I made 2 casserole type meals on Sunday, so I only had to warm things up all week. Ate at home every night, only ordered lunch 2 times from school this week. Cashed out my Ibotta earnings for the month. It was too cold to do much all week so saved gas by not going anywhere extra. Turned thermostat down 1-2 degrees at night. Found a “cooking for 1′ Facebook group. (meal planning and not wasting food help.).

  55. I have said this before, but I would like to thank Brandy and all the commenters here for the kind and gentle spirit that permeates this community. Suggestions here are given and received with such genuine thoughtfulness and concern for others, even when one may not fully agree. There is such a sweet level of respect here that is not found in other groups. What a blessing and a safe haven this community provides. Having been recently burned by another group, I am grateful to be a participant here.

  56. Tejas , it is so nice to have a place where friends and kindness are in abundance. There are so many like minded people here who are always so generous in their attempts to not only share but to quickly jump in and help. That is a priceless gift. In the last few years, I have made several friends from the blog and adore each of them. A few kind words, go a long way. In fact I miss one member who is no longer with us. Another hasn’t posted in a while and I wish I knew she was well. We may never cross paths but we are like a big family. I wish we could have Brandy on a you tube blog. I imagine it would be incredibly fruitful. ( Dear Brandy , I know, I know, there are just not enough hours in the day , but I can dream )

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