Frugal Accomplishments

Pictures of Our Easter Table and Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

Easter Table Detail The Prudent Homemaker

Winter made these baskets from cardstock for our table. They are lined with a muffin liner. I put candy in the bottom of each one and a homemade chocolate rabbit on top. These were the children’s Easter baskets this year. I liked that they were small and fit on their plates, and that no filler was needed at the bottom.

We did an Easter egg hunt later with more candy in plastic eggs. We treid a suggestion I had read about, of having everyone have their own color of eggs to find. This made it fair–everyone received the same number of eggs. Because it was extremely windy on Sunday, I hid the eggs indoors in two rooms, and since I knew who had each color, I hid them with more difficulty and up higher for the older children. The children said they preferred the indoor egg hunt and liked having their own color of eggs, so I think we’ll do that again next year.

Easter Flowers The Prudent Homemaker

I cut flowers from the garden for our table.

I picked snow peas and lettuce from the garden. I cut green onions, dill, and parsley from the garden.

I spent some time going through the boxes I have for larger clothes for the boys. This helped me know more about what I needed for clothing before going to the neighborhood garage sale later this month. 

I sold a few things via Facebook garage sales. I added this money to my garage sale envelope for the upcoming community garage sale.

I enjoyed reading a book from the library, and one that I bought at the library book sale a while back. I renewed library books online to avoid a late fee.

I made some more insecticidal soap and sprayed the aphids and thrips again on the roses.

I continued to collect water from the shower and from rinsing pots and pans to water the potted plants in my garden.

I went to three stores on one trip (they’re all within a mile and a half drive) and picked up cream cheese for .99 (thank you Corinne!), whipping cream for $2.98 a quart (thank you Eyrn!), strawberries for .97 a pound, and some inexpensive Easter candy by combining sales and stacking coupons. I ordered and picked up a free 8 x 10 photo for Ezrom’s room, using a free coupon code.

Ivory spilled blue Easter egg dye on the hem of her dress when we were dying eggs. I ended up using the Easter egg dye to dye her entire dress, since it wouldn’t wash out. Her dress is now pale blue, and still looks fine to wear. I’ll wash it by hand a few times just to make certain the color won’t run, even though nothing faded after she initially spilled the dye. I’m glad I was able to save the dress.

Easter Table The Prudent Homemaker

I didn’t buy new clothing for Easter. I don’t normally buy new clothing for Easter; instead, we wear what we already have.

What did you do to save money last week?

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175 Comments

  1. I ordered 80 lbs of chicken from Zaycon this week. I got 66 meal portions from these boxes. I froze and canned it all. Some are plain, I brined some for.grilling, I ground some to use in place of hamburger, I cooked and shredded some for now sandwiches and canned some.in.small chunks. We use this in place of tuna fish. It took a whole day but having that many options is worth it.
    I used all of the scraps I trimmed off and made a large batch of.stock (also canned) and the veggies and trimmings I packaged as treats for my.dog.
    Each meal portion is $2.42.
    I cleaned up leaves from the back yard and used feed bags to throw some.of.them in the trash. The rest went in the compost, and.some.went in by the chickens. They love.to.dig through them.
    We have decided to remove our tiny koi pond this year. The upkeep and electricity usage is just.too high. I reused some.of the flat stones from around the pond and added a stone walkway to get to the front of the chicken coop. When it.rains its a very muddy spot and the stones should help.

  2. Last night as we prepared to hide eggs for our children for Easter Monday, we also wondered how to make it fair for the differences in ages. We, too, realized that there were two eggs in each colour for each child, and hid them in the way you described. interesting how a similar idea occurred to both of us. We made our own Peeps from a simple gelatine and sugar recipe. My daughter coloured table sugar with yellow food colouring and dried it in the oven while I made the marmallows and spread it in a pan. We cut out the shapes with cookie cutters and decorated them with the yellow sugar and cocoa powder for eyes. I love the little cardstock Easter basket idea. You have a beautiful Easter table.

  3. I love that you used the dye to just dye the dress blue! So resourceful! I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning and it always inspires me, but this is my first time commenting.

    I shopped for a hotel room on hotels.com (woohoo! Vacation soon!) and still wasn’t happy with the prices. Made a phone call to the hotel I liked and asked for the state rate since I’m a teacher. This saved me $60 a night!

    I received a bill for a no-call no-show from a doctor who no longer takes my insurance. Since I didn’t get a confirmation call and made the appointment over a year ago I called and asked them to waive the bill. Saved $25.

    I’ve started ordering all my non-perishables on Amazon. Sometimes they cost slightly more, but overall I’m saving a lot of money not having to walk up and down the aisles with the kids begging for stuff. I am also ordering school supplies, and will save the receipts to deduct from my taxes as a teacher.

    Ordered a vest I needed for a specific outfit on thredup. Used my $10 credit and got it for just the cost of shipping. I don’t normally buy clothes online, but since a vest doesn’t have to fit perfectly, it was worth a shot.

    Ordered a pair of shoes I needed using a coupon.

    Started using the retailmenot app for clothing purchases. I don’t usually buy a lot of clothing, but it seems like this month a lot of things came up that we needed. I’m glad I had been saving every month for our clothing needs.

  4. Oh Brandy, your entire table arrangement is so lovely. The flowers look awesome and the baskets are delightful. You must be so proud of Winter for stepping up and taking on tasks as she gets older.

    I took a close-up cell phone picture of my white crocuses and saved it as my phone’s home screen wallpaper. They are so pretty and a reminder of why I garden and that spring is finally here. Major league baseball has started its season, so that’s another sign that we really have spring now. Play Ball!

    I was FINALLY able to get out and start gardening, mostly pulling weeds and trimming growth along the sidewalks. I finished one very small flower bed and mulched it so I accomplished at least one thing.

    Frugality this past week included:

    • Turning off the pilot light to the gas fireplace after checking the weather forecast for the next 10 days and realizing I probably won’t need to use it. There is no sense burning that gas if I don’t think I’m going to be using the fireplace again until the fall.
    • Keeping the central heat off and turning the oil-fueled furnace/hot water heater on only to wash the dishes and get showers (usually one after the other to take advantage of the hot water all at one time). I’m so happy this unit has a simple on/off switch. I also adjusted the water temperature down because it was too hot now that winter has ended.
    • Hanging nearly all laundry on the clothesline to take advantage of the combination of sun and wind. I used the dryer for less than 30 minutes to dry items that would be wrinkled otherwise. I’d rather do that than iron!
    • Prepping veggies for the week so they are handy for my lunch and snacking. I am also packing my entire lunch box at one time and putting it in the refrigerator to just grab in the morning. It saves me about 10 minutes in the morning and I know everything is in the bag.
    • Assembling a few more items for a yard sale that my neighbors and I are planning for the end of April. This will be an ongoing process, I’m sure.

    I may be joining a community garden. The cost is $40 for a 12×12 plot, but it’s organic, fenced, irrigated, and they make compost on site for the gardeners to use. I submitted an application but haven’t heard back yet if there are plots available. It seems a little expensive, but I have a small yard with lots of shade, so a plot will let me grow more and hopefully meet some other gardeners. Any thoughts?

  5. Brandy.. Long time lurker.. love youir site.. !!!! I cannot tell you how helpful you are with your “real” tips !

    But I have a quesiton.. and I am trying not to sound “goofy ” but being an east coaster.. I am always amazed at your saving of water.. I guess cause water here is really not even a blip on our monthly expenses.. but seems to be a real costly item for you.. What would a normal water bill out there be???you do not have to reveal your bill..i am just wondering.. what having that many people in the house with showers , laundry,, etc.. what it would run.. my family of 4 we pay quaterly.. about… 120.00.. and we have public water.. most people around here have wells.. so they do not pay for water..

    Love your site..

    Sue in NJ

  6. Looks and sounds wonderful! I love the simplicity of it all; less stress for parents and kids and they truly appreciate it all.
    May I ask what you table napkins are made from? I have been searching high and low for the perfect fabric for napkins and looking at yours they are it. Approx. what size and are they double layered or single layers. Thanks again for everything that you share each week.

  7. Those Easter baskets that Winter made are very pretty. We use the same Easter baskets every year; they were originally purchased at Deseret Industries for very little over 30 years ago. I used a homemade pattern to cut out egg shapes from some pastel color paint chips, & wrote our names on them. Used a paper punch to put 2 holes in the top, & a short piece of pastel wrapping ribbon to tie it loosely to the handle of each Easter basket. The baskets really don’t need to be labeled, since everyone knows which one is theirs, but it looked pretty & cost nothing. Our youngest daughter came home for the holiday, so we were three.

    Cut fresh daffodils from the back yard to fill a bud vase in the library. The daffodils in the front yard are spent, but those in the back are still blooming. Refilled the white hobnail vase with fresh grape hyacinths as well.

    Bought a large package of ground beef from the bargain basket at Fresh Market. Made a meatloaf from some of it, froze 8 beef patties, then fried the rest before freezing it in packages to use for spaghetti, chili, etc.

    Finished digging out the grass & roots from the top tier of the garden & started along the back perimeter edges. Accepted free grass clippings from one of the neighbors, & used them to mulch on the garden tiers as well as on the areas of the back perimeter where I had cleaned out the grass & weeds.

    Took some Swiss chard that volunteered & a few of our smallest butternut squashes to one of our neighbors who is 92. She loves greens – she ate a lot of them growing up.

    Stocked up on sugar at the case lot sale.

    Gathered a few more gallons of rain/snow water after a brief snowstorm as the snow melted & ran down the gutters. I was able to put 2 more gallons in jugs & used the rest on some of the shrubs that needed watered well.

    Wednesday night we had snow, but Thursday night the temps got down to 27 degrees. When I woke on Friday & looked outside, all the daffodils were on their faces & I knew. All the blossoms on the fruit trees froze, & all but 5 of my 15 trees were in bloom. The ones that were not are various apples, so we may have apples this year. Even the rhubarb was frozen solid, so I quickly harvested all of it, even tho the stems her about half the length they should have been. Rinsed & sliced it until the temp in the house thawed the stalks to the point where they were too mushy to slice thinly. I cut the rest in ½-1” lengths & stewed them. I have two trays of cooled, stewed rhubarb drying in the dehydrator, along with four trays of sliced rhubarb. Normally, I would need to steam the rhubarb slices, but I am counting freezing solid as their “pre-treatment”.

    Harvested the larger of the two dandelions that are allowed to grow in a garden bed for their greens. Dug up the root of another dandelion trying to grow too close to the rhubarb to allow it to remain & added those leaves to the others in the bag of greens. Saved the root from that dandelion to be dehydrated, ground & roasted for dandelion tea. Dandelion roots are sweeter when dug in the fall after the first frost or two, but this one needed to come out, & I saw no reason to waste it. I also repurposed the water I used to wash the dandelion greens for the garden & the fruit trees.

  8. Your Easter table and baskets look just lovely Brandy. You really make every occasion special and beautiful.
    I had a really good week. It is raining just now. This is our first real autumn rain. We even had hailstones. Our climate is quite hot and very dry and it has been ages since we had rain. So this is wonderful. I could stay awake all night happily listening to this rain!
    I washed my windows (yes just before the rain, oh well) and did lots of cleaning. I transplanted lots of parsley seedlings that self sowed. Also planted some succulent cuttings.
    My aunt gave me three bags of clean nice jars for use in my pantry and for jam making. I love to get jars!
    I have been going through my wardrobe or shopping my own wardrobe as I like to call it. I really don’t need very much at all just to make up outfits for the cooler weather with what I have. I change handbags in the cooler months and accessories, it is just swapping with what I have, not buying. But it feels fresh and new to do that.
    My Mum gave us a leg of lamb to roast and also some milk and cheese.
    My husband got some extra work which was very handy.
    I post my frugal things on my blog on Feather your Nest Friday’s. I am working hard on building up my pantry and I made some progress this week. It all adds up! http://thebluebirdsarenesting.blogspot.com.au/

  9. Brandy, your pictures are lovely. We had Easter dinner over at my mom’s with several family members, which was nice. We all contributed and split the leftovers to bring home.

    As for frugal accomplishments, I started some seeds indoors (several types of flowers, jalapenos, squash and lettuce) awhile back, and everything sprouted and is doing well. The squash plants are already about 6 inches tall, but it’s still too early to plant them outdoors. I’m going to have to find an interim solution, maybe planting them in small pots and hardening them off slowly. This is the first year I have grown squash from seed.

    Two friends and I drove up to the tulip fields north of here last week. This is a big tourist attraction during April. Everything bloomed early this year, so the display gardens opened in advance of April 1 (which is the normal start date). We brought food in the car, so the main expense was gas and the $5 entry fee to the venue. We had a great time. My husband and I had gone up the week before, when he was able to get a day off from work. We normally visit the fields for my birthday (mid April), but since everything bloomed so early, the flowers will probably be done by then. This is one of my favorite things to do all year.

    I look forward to hearing about everyone else’s week.

  10. Giving each child a color coded egg is genius. We will be adopting that next year!
    We do not allow much candy, so I bought each child one good quality chocolate bar, and two peanut butter cups and some pastel mints. These fit in baskets that are similar in size to yours. They were delighted. We went to church and then a family dinner. I brought dessert, an orange chiffon cake. I already had the ingredients for it, leftover from another family party. I am going to bring this cake every time since the absence of butter makes it very economical. I only had to buy two oranges. If I used lemon it would cost even less.

    I made refried beans, pizza dough, muffins, cookies, brownies( we had company),and an apple pie. For Good Friday I made made hedgehog meatballs and carrots and we had some of all the desserts I had made. We are doing well on our big push to pay off the car and made 850 dollars on ebay last week.
    We joined BJs, oddly the day after I was thinking of joining we got a coupon for it in the mail. We saved enough there to make back the membership cost. We are experimenting with shopping twice a month. I had really enjoyed weekly shopping since my three year old loves to go with me and be my helper. But he can help me do something at home. We bought three times the food that would keep and my husband will stop on the way home next week for more fresh fruit and milk. We were both shocked at how much we saved at BJs. We did not need new Easter clothes and everyone’s hair was still fine from their birthday hair cuts.

    I read free books on my kindle. We were careful to turn off the lights and use as much natural light as possible. We are in the market for a drying rack. We want to use the dryer less but live too close to the highway to hang clothes outside. We set up an account on mint.com after seeing it raved about. We do really like it, and it was free. We have a ticker on it for paying our car off. We were able to make a triple payment this month which saved us 240 dollars in interest and are hopeful if ebay goes well to make a 5x payment in the next few weeks, that would save us 400 dollars.

  11. Water is a big deal here in the desert. Prices are tiered; I hit the third tier even in winter (there are 4 tiers). I have low-flow shower heads, a front-loading washer (these use less water), low-flow toilets, and drip irrigation in the garden. My front yard change is much more green and provides food and flowers for significantly less water than that little bit of grass that I had there before.

    Watering here is only allowed on certain days and times. Water that hits the sidewalk or street, or is on a day other than your alloted days will result in a fine, as will using water to wash your driveway. To wash your car, you must not leave water running from the hose (you need to have a nozzle that shuts off).

    Las Vegas gets water from Lake Mead, and the lake continues to drop lower. The water district is making a lower tunnel to get water for people, but if the lake drops 5 feet this year, more rationing rules will come. Though we have had several thousand new residents in the last few years, people have also lowered their water usage by over 25%.

    Still, the drought is a problem. The water district has announced higher base amounts to cover the pipe they are drilling; each year will have a newer amount. Three years from now it will be $15 more per month per residential customer.

    The city has taken over private wells, claiming they own all the water, and forced people to go on city water (my sister-in-law had this happen to her). There are a few exceptions for those with horse property–and even those who have property zoned for horses and don’t have grass have had the city harassing them to go off their wells. The water district is looking at taking away water from ranchers (they want to tap into the ranchers water source and leave the ranchers with nothing; there is a lawsuit going) and taking the water from the Native American Reservation (so far they have not succeeded with this).

    Accordingly, our rates are higher here than yours. With 9 people, we do of course need more water indoors. Also, because it rarely rains and it gets quite hot, if I don’t water outdoors, plants will die. We have 5 months of above 90º temperatures. Water rates have increased over the last few years, too. What you pay quarterly is not unusual for a monthly bill in the late spring for me. Summer is when we see our highest water and electric bills, whereas you would see higher heating bills in winter.

  12. I made the decision last week to not shop for the remaining weeks in April. This was not one of my most frugal weeks, but my husband has an infectious love of holidays. Even though it’s just the two of us, we typically go overboard when creating our menu for the day. This year was no different, but nearly all of the special purchases were whole foods, and most were purchased to be used in future meals. I have to remind myself that even when we go a little bonkers, we’re usually being pretty frugal overall.

    We sat on our patio and enjoyed the birds and all of the colors of the flowers and leaves popping up in the woods. I made sun tea. We lit spring-green candles that we got for a song a while back. We ate delicious meals at home and enjoyed having very colorful plates with the addition of spring vegetables for snacks and at meals. It’s such a colorful time of year– such a delight for the eyes!

    We are making the switch from Costco to Sam’s Club. The former is an hour away from our new home, while the latter is in our town. We visited Sam’s to check prices on our usual purchases. It’s always interesting when moving to a new part of the country; you never know what items you will find your best prices on and where. It looks like our cheese and canned tomato purchases will still be best when bought at a membership-based store. It’s funny that just a few items at a good price point can warrant a membership. I am extremely well-stocked on my canned tomato products and a wide assortment of cheese (including some Costco splurges on feta and gorgonzola which will be reserved for spring and summer fun dishes). I am considering the one-day pass (http://help.samsclub.com/ci/fattach/get/33185/0/session/L2F2LzEvdGltZS8xNDI4MzIwODMxL3NpZC85ZE9nUGFqbQ==/filename/10955+-+Online+One+Day+Pass.pdf for those who are curious) as an alternative to a membership. It may work well for our small household. We’ll wait and see how our supply holds through the rest of the year.

    My husband changed our car’s oil and will drop the used oil off on Wednesday when he turns in our recyclables. He will also mail a package for me. Both stops are right along his normal route. We rode our bikes. We watched the deer, birds, squirrels, and rabbits in the yard. I air-dried laundry by placing my ironing board in a sunny room. I place the clothes on hangers and run them around the sides with the tips of the hanger hooks resting on the top of the board. Knits and linens are spread on top of the board to dry. It works well for me, and I don’t need to take clothes outside or spend money on drying racks.

  13. We’re in Central Texas with a private water district, and our water bills are also significantly higher than yours, Sue. We’re having some of the same water fights that Brandi reports. Our aquifer has water, but nearby larger cities are running out of water and we have had an extended drought, and they want us to share our water, and some landowners want the money they would get by granting those rights. It’s only understandable that there are various needs that must be sorted out. On top of that, our area experienced a horrible wildfire several years ago (due to the drought) that destroyed almost 1,700 homes and destroyed some of the infrastructure with our private water district, so rates continue to go higher. This winter, with diligent efforts–reusing water when we can, such as the warm-up shower water, the water used to rinse dishes, etc.–we managed to cut our water bill to its lowest ever, about $54.00 for the two of us plus one dog. That’s pretty much the base rate for us and everything had to combine to get it that low. It turned out, for example, that we had no overnight visits from grandkids and that sort of thing. I’d rather have the grandkids and pay the extra, of course! With the garden going in this month, I expect higher bills although we’ve tried reusing water and not using our drip irrigation whenever possible. Summertime rates are regularly in the $120-140 range per month.

  14. Your chocolate bunnies look beautiful!

    Last weeks frugal doings:

    * transfered $16 to my daughters 529 account that I earned via grocery rewards
    * made a cake from items in my pantry for dessert last night
    * free energy bar with coupon
    * my daughter needs to take a CPR class for a class at school. Was able to find a class offered for free (most were upwards of $75) so this is great!
    * picked up 40 pounds of chicken from zaycon which we packaged into meal size portions and froze
    * kids are on spring break this week so our driving should be way down

  15. Your Easter table setting is lovely! Love the baskets that Winter made.

    My frugal accomplishments for last week included deciding not to go grocery shopping! I looked in the freezer and decided I had everything I needed for the week’s meals. I also did the usual stuff like air drying laundry, packing breakfasts, lunches and snacks to take to the office with me, having all dinners at home, making good use of leftovers, etc. I also took some cuttings of succulents to root – will plant them instead of buying new plants.

  16. Hi Brandy and commenters! Happy Easter to you and your family! Beautiful table, you’re so inspiring and show how to be elegant on a budget. Did you see this month’s Martha Stewart Magazine? April 2015. There’s an article about a family that keeps a garden in the desert, and how they replaced their lawn with a set up similar to yours. They also have an armillary sphere in the center. We all say how your pictures could grace Martha Stewart magazine, and this month, they practically do. 🙂

  17. As a part-time librarian, I’m glad you mentioned library books! I don’t even have to renew mine because as an employee, I don’t accrue fines :-). (I do, of course, renew them anyway.) I keep trying to get my husband to cancel Netflix and just let me bring home DVDs from the library, but so far I have not succeeded.

    Last week, I
    –saved money by buying Big Brother’s new mattress at Big Lots
    –checked out the Make-Ahead Cookbook–hoping to eliminate expensive impulse eating my keeping up with the cooking
    –installed LED lightbulbs. Higher up-front cost, but we can afford it, and it should really keep our electric bill down. Our new house was full of incandescents.
    –saved a medical copay by waiting the recommended 2 weeks before seeing the doctor for a sinus infection. I was miserable for a few days, but it got better on its own without the visit or antibiotics.

  18. Celia, I’m not sure where you live, but if it’s anywhere near an IKEA store, check out their drying racks. I have two different styles from there, one of which is not listed online. The other one is “Frost” and it’s $14.99 plus tax. It folds flat when not in use. Unfortunately, they don’t sell them online, but if you are near a store, that’s a great rack. They also have shelves you can mount on the wall and then fold down when not needed. Good luck. I love my outdoor clothes lines but also value my indoor racks for times when the weather is not conducive to outside drying.

  19. My white napkins are from Sam’s Club! I sewed around the edges with a hemstitch. These are our special occasion napkins; for everyday, I have some poly/cotton blend napkins in dark colors. This saves me from having to use stain remover on them. The white ones are also poly/cotton blend. I like the blend; it keeps me from having to iron them all the time. I had some cotton napkins and I got rid of them because of this. They are single layered with a hem. I will have to measure and let you know what size.

  20. I saw something this weekend on the KLRU (public TV) about building clay pots to water tomato plants etc. in raised beds. I do not have a link to share with you, but if you google KLRU Central Texas Gardner, this week’s program will come up. It is called an Ouia (I understand it is Spanish for clay pot) It tells you how to make one and use it to water your tomatoes and other plants at the root zone for up to a week at a time. It is something my husband and I are going to do as we are going on a 4 day trip the end of this month.

    Got the first oil change on my car. It is FREE for life since I brought the car new. (first new care is 33 years of marriage) Also they rotated the tires. (again free for life)

    Getting the bills in for my husband’s emergency transport and stay in the hospital last month. I almost cried when I saw that a 3.1 mile ride to the hospital via EMS is $901.00 After insurance we still owe almost $500.00. We have our emergency fund and money to pay it, but boy it sure hurts to pull the money out of the bank. I am glad my husband is okay, it was not a 2nd stroke like we feared, but it sure is expensive. I praise God for it not being serious; he has diabetes and for some reason one of his regular medications stopped working for him and his blood sugars got super high. We are also looking at his 2nd hip replacement surgery soon too. So that will be another down time for him. He is not one to sit around and it makes him crazy not to be able to do his normal routine.

    Got the roses all planted, got mulch put on the new rose garden bed. Got the bird bath from the front of the house moved to the back in the NEW to me rose garden. I have a rain barrel close to the rose bed and will water my roses from the rain barrel and water from our kitchen. I did spend some money this weekend at Lowes. Had to order 50 more stones for our wall around our new tree. I had a coupon to save $50.00 if I spend $250.00. The rocks are $2.97 each and I brought some mulch and another rose bush so it did come to $250.00. We are redoing our back yard because for years it was a play ground area for my day care kids and my grand children. But now I do infant only care and my grandchildren are more interested in other things than a sandbox, swings, and slide, and play house. The back yard will finally be something for us to enjoy as a family. My roses will be close enough to the house and patio that we can smell them without going too far. I still have not got my white Lady Banks rose. It should be here this week. I will plant it on the garden shed. (the old play house)
    I did hang all our laundry to dry except my husband’s work clothes. We ate at home except for dinner with Bible study friends on Friday night. This is our standard Friday night date for my husband and I. We do the Bible study with the friends and then we have alone time to do something else. Sometimes it is just going to an area park to feed ducks, sometimes it is going to Dollar Tree to get something, sometimes it is coming home to watch a movie together.
    Hope everyone is well. Enjoy reading what everyone does to save money. Helps keep me motivated.

  21. I did a small thing to save money. I have wanted a stanley thermos for coffee when I traveled and when my job has me sitting for several hours away from home. I found one at a Field and Stream store that I had 10.00 off 25.00 coupon. I was able to purchase one for about 15.00. I made a trip to my sister’s over Easter vacation and didn’t stop to buy coffee during the trip. I will use it this summer too for ice water from home and will not have to buy bottled water.

  22. Thank you, we are not terribly far from one, we live in a Philly suburb. Maybe we can combine it with another trip!

  23. I LOVE those baskets! They are so elegant and pretty. Today we had a very un-frugal thing happen: our cat became very sick overnight and I had to rush him to the Veterinarian’s office. He had crystals completely blocking his urethra and he will be put under this afternoon to remove said crystals. Luckily I have a Care Card (a medical credit card) that can also be used for pets that I paid off last month from my husband’s dental surgery. I will have my furry baby’s costs charged to that and budget to pay it off as soon as possible. Thank goodness I now have extra money every month due to paying off our house.
    My husband paid for us to eat out to lunch one afternoon.
    We ate Easter dinner at home with food we already had. My mother came over and watched our daughter hunt for her eggs outside. We did the candy filled plastic eggs also. We reused the plastic eggs and basket. I purchased her candy, two books, and a couple of toys from Dollar Tree. I had an $8 credit I earned from Staples. I purchased a toy for her basket for $2 out of pocket using the credit.
    I took all my meals to work from home and drank free coffee or water.
    I made almond milk, chocolate chip banana bread, ate salad and smoothies all week, more lotion, chili topped baked potato. There was more but I don’ t remember. Everything was made using mostly ingredients we already had.
    I did go grocery shopping and came in under budget.
    We did not purchase new clothing for Easter for our daughter
    I used the water from boiling vegetables, once cooled, out in the garden. I have also been dumping my used coffee grounds into the area I will be planting our tomatoes. I have added to the compost pile several times this past week. I have also been rinsing and saving egg shells to use in the garden.
    I purchased some vegetable seeds on clearance for .25 a packet at Menards. My two blue berry bushes were eaten down to nubs by an animal so I purchased two new blueberry bushes for $7 each and a pink blueberry bush for $9. These were unmarked deals. I told the hubby we needed to cage in our fruit bushes to avoid this happening again.
    Several of my baby plants have died due to starting them to early. I did plant some outside last week, but all but one has died. They looked to be stepped on and ripped out, however “Nobody” knows who did it.
    I raked all the dog poo out of the yard from the very long winter. You’d think we had a herd of cattle instead of one golden retriever! Our yard now looks very nice and I got great exercise.
    I continue to use free you tube Yoga videos and my treadmill to exercise indoors.
    We are giving my son and daughter in law our daughter’s crib. It is in excellent shape, has a brand new condition mattress, and will never be used by us again 🙂 Its a gorgeous dark wood.
    Have a great week everyone!

  24. Everything you do always looks so lovely and elegant, Brandy. That was a good idea to dye the dress blue. I used to dye clothes a darker shade when the became stained. Haven’t dyed anything in years, but it was always fun to see how they would turn out.

    I made old fashioned fudge from pantry staples rather than buy Easter candy.
    We trimmed our grape vines and used the trimmings to make wreaths for the doors.
    Made a ham and egg pie with Easter leftovers and cheap eggs, which were the lost leaders this week.
    Combined a sale, a discounted item and a coupon to buy a pair of muck boots for 1/2 the price.
    Made a cupboard from some old headboards, wood scraps, and salvaged materials for our guest/storage cottage.
    As usual, heated the house with wood, dried our laundry on racks, ate out of the pantry, etc.

  25. Like you, our area, central Texas is in stage 4 drought. Our area lakes that give water to most of central and south TX are only 37% full right now. Our area is growing by leaps and bounds and everyone wants more water. Where it is going to come from I can not begin to guess. We do everything possible to save water. We even use grey water (not really legal here) to water in back. My husband fixed it so our washer (a front loader) sends the water out into the back yard via a hose instead of down the drain. That water is used to help water our garden. We have 7 rain barrels. Right now they are full, but by June I am sure they will be dry. We have little grass. It is a native grass that does not need a lot of water. We are even forced at times to water the foundation of our house. It gets so dry here it shifts and the foundation cracks and breaks leaving your home so not level that you can not open and close doors. One house in our neighborhood (for sale) looks like it is going to fall over because it is so out of level.
    It has been in the high 80’s here already. In May it will be in the 90’s. By July and August we will be in the 100’s most days. Last year we had more than 120 days of 100 degrees + weather. NO RAIN in sight.

  26. So happy to have refound this blog. The last time I commented we had just found out we were expecting #4, he’s now 6 months! I was an avid reader and this blog helped me to be accountable of how I was spending my husband’s(our) money. Just jotting things down is a great reminder of the savings. I don’t really have any frugal accomplishments this week other than my daughter and I are signed up for a canning class. If you complete 6 weeks having not missed any, you will receive $25001 of free canning supplies. Jars, dehydrator, and cannot that I know of. Im so excited!

  27. I live in a city near Phoenix and use city water. I just got our water bill for March – $178.85. We have a desert landscaped yard and only water our trees. The few potted plants we have outside I water with warm-up water. We have three adults in our household. I just moved here (although have lived here before) so I have no idea what our mid-summer bill will be like, but I’m dreading it.

  28. Brandy, I’m so sorry for spelling your name wrong. I don’t know where I got that spelling! I was apparently having a senior moment. I also couldn’t find any periods to use to put those run-on sentences out of their misery!

  29. What cute Easter baskets! Card stock is so awesome and versatile :).

    We were up to a lot this last week. I even embroidered special napkins for Easter (the picture is on the blog post I’m linking to). Honestly this is the first time I’ve actually embroidered something for my family…I’ve done gifts for people, but nothing really for us, so it was a fun project.

    Anyway, here’s what we did around here…

    http://makedohomemaker.blogspot.com/2015/04/frugal-friersunday-money-saving-weekly.html

    I’ve also got plans to redo our laundry room and put in a drying rack repurposing things we have around here. My husband, who is in construction and picky about what goes into the house, even thought it was a good idea, so hopefully we’ll get that done this week. I’m so excited at the prospect to have a fully functional laundry room!

  30. You Easter table looks so pretty! Can you come to my house and decorate next Easter?
    It was a slow and quiet week here for frugal accomplishments. I feel like I didn’t do much other than the everyday things I always do. Here’s my list anyway.
    – Everything from our Easter dinner came from our freezer or pantry. I used your honey glazed ham recipe and it was hit. This is the second time I’ve used it. It is now my go-to recipe for ham.
    – We attended a BBQ. I took a pasta salad made with pasta, black olives, and salad dressing I bought on sale months ago. I did buy some cucumbers and tomatoes to go in the salad but they did not cost much.
    – We are turning our heat off during the day. We still need it at night as it is still pretty chilly, but the day temperatures are really nice. I’ve been able to open the windows to let fresh air in. It is so nice now that spring is here!

  31. Wow! That class sounds like fun! And the pay off is awesome! Good for you! I hope you enjoy it! I am a self taught canner (thank goodness for Ball’s Home Preservation books) and really enjoy it!

  32. I have had withdrawals. I arrived home Saturday afternoon after being gone 14 days. I love going camping; I just wish the campground offered WiFi. I can only do so much with my phone and not go over my data package. We are normally there 10 days, but the way the dates fell for the campground opening versus the dates of our school spring break, I was there extra days. It did allow a mini just me vacation because my husband had to return home and work 3 days and our daughter is in nursing school and doing clinicals. This is an annual family trip. Me, husband, daughter; his parents; his younger brother, wife, and daughter; his uncle, wife (her mom and dad joined us this year), and granddaughter; also had a friend and another nephew join us part of the time. This was 5 campsites and campers.
    This is really an inexpensive vacation. We do all our cooking and because I am disabled, I have a discount card that allows me to camp there for $12.50 a night. We also celebrated our anniversary while there (March 30, 1991), by watching a free Redbox movie.
    I love to fish, but I can only sit for a short amount of time in the boat, so I normally just stay at the camper while they all fish. I feel bad if we get out there and are catching fish and I have to make him take me in because my legs are hurting. So, we also get fish for our freezer while getting a vacation.
    I mostly just enjoyed the peace and quiet and watching the wildlife around me.
    When I returned home, my garden had exploded. The broccoli heads were the size of a quarter when I left and now are softball sized and about to turn to seed. The lettuce is huge and I am having to share because I can not eat it all.
    Oh, and we saved on electricity and water by not being here to use it. I just started following our daily electrical usage a few months ago. Normally we have been using $4-5 a day since December when I started watching it. When no one was here, it was $1 per day and $2 per day when just my daughter was here.
    I know this was a long ramble, but I have missed y’all so much.

  33. Right now in Phoenix the weather is lovely. So we have been spending mornings and evenings on the patio, including eating dinners on the patio (seems to make home made dinners taste even better). Have recently retired and am enjoying being at home and learning new homemaking skills. Each month I have a goal of finding a $10 a month savings ($120 per year item), and so far in the first three months, have met my goal. Baby steps but it works. Finding $1000 to save seems out of reach, but $120 is possible.

    Brandy, your table looks fantastic, and Winter did an extraordinary job on the Easter baskets-really look professionally done! Thank you for sharing the photos.

  34. Well, I’m in the process of moving out & setting up a whole nother household. It’s not cheap but necessary. I got a free table & chairs set from my parents that was in our garage and also a couch/sofa that was in my old house. Had to purchase a microwave, new bed, stove, tv and have a washer/dryer coming eventually. still gotta pack up a whole bunch of stuff.

    I did however get a good deal on the TV, it’s a 48 in Vizio LED TV that was the Display model at my local Walmart–they took off another 30% so that’s a pretty good deal I thought.

  35. We’re back from our holiday. The plane was late leaving Fiji; so we landed at 1 AM Easter morning and got home shortly before 3. Because I knew we’d be getting home on Easter I’d prepacked the kids’ Easter baskets using items I already had on-hand. As soon as we got home, they went to bed, and I grabbed the baskets and scattered a few chocolate eggs (bought for 50 cents/kilo after last Easter) around the house. Easter felt rushed; but I think the kids still liked their baskets and felt like it was a celebration.

    Generally, we go on cheap holidays to Asia, so when we get back we’ve saved money. This time we went to the US and Fiji and definitely did not save money, but we pretty much broke even. We were able to bundle the Disney tickets with our hotel so that we can claim those on salary sacrifice. The only souvenirs we bought at Disneyland were pressed pennies (and my sister bought them – although we went back to California Adventure a week later and bought a couple more for the kids there). Initially I’d planned to buy whatever I want and not really worry about the cost. There’s an assumption here that everything in the US is cheaper. Nope. We bought very little, because (with the exception of the Dollar Tree and frozen meals) your prices are no better than ours – in fact many of the basics are more expensive. So, we saved some money there.

    As it turned out I didn’t have room in the bag anyway. My parents spoiled me with some antiques and different types of baking chips (chocolate chips, cherry chips, cinnamon chips, butterscotch chips, etc.); they bought a couple of toys for the kids, and sent me home with their birthday and Christmas presents for the year, saving them postage. I saved postage too by taking over the family Christmas presents for the year. (With the price of a stamp soon to rise to $1 in Australia – for domestic delivery! – I’ll save postage any way I can! They went up from 60 cents to 70 cents just last year!) I met up with a friend of mine and she spoiled the kids too. There went the extra bag I’d packed for my own goodies!

    We saved more money by driving instead of flying (we saved about $800 that way) which had the added benefit of us being able to see a lot of stuff we couldn’t have seen if we flew. We drove up as far as Multnomah Falls (on the Columbia River, which is the border with Washington state) so our kids got to see a big chunk of the west coast. We also took them to Crater Lake (we were delighted there was still snow there, since my kids have never really had the chance to play in show, so we had a little snowball fight and built a snowman) and to the Redwoods, where we drove through a tree. We had a wonderful time in the US.

    We also saved money by doing absolutely nothing in Fiji. Initially we’d planned on taking the kids to another island for a day. But this turned out to be mega-expensive, about $200 per person; and by the time we got back to Fiji we were so exhausted from wearing ourselves out in the US that we just wanted to lounge by the pool for a few days.

    Now we have to build back up the bank account. No, no because we overspent, but because a very odd thing happened when we bought petrol in Oregon. In Oregon you’re not allowed to pump your own gas. My husband was so amused by this he asked if he could take a picture of the gas station attendant, who agreed. When we checked our bank balance that day, instead of a $50 charge at the petrol station, there was a $200 charge, and all we could think was that the gas station attendant was stupid enough to pose for a picture and then help himself to a generous tip. We moved almost all the money out of that account into another, and called the bank, which cancelled my husband’s charge and gave us the fraud number to call to fight the charge once it went through. (At the time it was pending.) We checked a couple more times in the US and the $200 charge was still pending. We didn’t have internet in Fiji, but when we got back home we checked – and it ended up going through for the right amount. So that entire time we were laughing about who would be stupid enough to pose for a picture and then steal from us, and thinking we had him dead to rights and could cost him his job for that, when that wasn’t the situation at all. I’m still not sure why it was pending as a $200 charge before being processed for the right amount; but now we have very little in the bank account, and since it’ll cost us in interest to move the money back, we’re thinking we’ll just be very frugal for a while until our paychecks build it back up.

    Meanwhile, we got home to a fridge that had decided to turn itself off (so we lost a few condiments – it was empty other than that) so I guess we’re in the market for a new fridge now. We’ve had the problem with the freezer turning itself off for about 8 years now and a friend who repairs them professionally told us how to turn it back on, so we can keep it going until we find a good bargain; but with the freezer it’s gone from being something that happens every 6 months to happening once or twice a week; so it’s definitely on its last legs . . . . Oh well . . . We’ll keep it limping along for a while longer.

  36. Brandy, your Easter sounds and looks like it was lovely! Just to confirm, did you use the Easter egg dye to dye the dress, or did you happen to have blue clothing dye on hand? Brilliant way to fix the stained dress, regardless of what you used.

    Despite going away this weekend, I was pretty frugal this week. Here are my frugal accomplishments:

    *Made a package of Hillshire Farm little Cheddar Smokies sausages from the freezer stretch over two meals (piggies in a blanket and a baked pasta dish), plus leftovers which stretched into another two meals. These pricy little sausages are only available around Christmas in our local grocery stores, but I love the taste of them. So I had bought up a few packages @ $4/pack and froze them to use throughout the year for adding a bit of variety to our meals.

    *I shop every other week and this was normally the week to shop. However, I decided to hold off in getting groceries as we were going to Ottawa for two nights/three days and we had plenty on hand to tide us over. I did buy a few small items to take with us as “snack items” and for Easter dinner. Last minute, I received a flyer that had a sale on snack crackers for two days only (Thursday and Saturday), only $0.97/box. The best sale price is normally $1.25 on sale, so I decided to stock up big on these and bought $35 worth. We can use these for lunches, snacks, for cheese and cracker platters at special gathering and to take on day outings this summer.

    *I made a shepherds pie for my husband, at his request, for him to eat while we were away (he had to work and couldn’t come). This saved money as he didn’t go out to eat a all while we were away.

    *I made sure we ate up most of the leftovers on Thursday night so they wouldn’t go to waste while we were away.

    *We took ham steaks, a jar of prepared homemade honey mustard glaze mix for the ham, potatoes, a bag of mini carrots, and a frozen apple crisp to make for our Easter meal with my brother on Saturday night. I also made lemon raspberry muffins for our breakfast meals. We also took a loaf of bread, a container of margarine, a jar of peanut butter, and some snack items as well.

    *We stayed at a very high end hotel in Ottawa, where my brother’s step daughter works. They were able to get a great deal for our stay. It cost $207 for 2 nights, which was a bit more expensive than we would normally pay, but about half the normal cost to stay at this hotel. The room was beautiful! It was located near the Parliament buildings. We walked over on Friday night and saw the war memorial where a soldier was shot recently during a one man attack on our parliament, the Eternal Flame of Confederation out front of the Parliament, several monument statues around the Parliament grounds, and a beautiful view of the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa river, all free. (Note: there are free tours of the Parliament buildings, but they are not available on Good Friday or other Statutory Holidays)

    *My daughter came down with the stomach flu on Friday night. We had planned to visit the Diefenbunker on Saturday morning, as they were hosting an “egg hunt” (find the paper eggs hidden throughout the bunker to get an Easter treat) that day only for the children. My daughter insisted she was good to go in the morning. I used my Attractions Ontario Reciprocating Card (I receive this for working/volunteering at one of the Attractions Ontario places) which gave us a buy one ticket, get one free. Since my daughter is on the Autism Spectrum, a “support person” also gets in free. We therefore paid for only one adult and one child admission for all four of us to go through. Unfortunately, my daughter was still feeling under the weather, so we had to cut the visit short. She was still able to get her chocolate treats from the egg hunt before going, which was nice. I stayed at the hotel that afternoon while my daughter slept, and my mother and brother did some shopping. I made a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and saved more money by not shopping.

    *We cooked our Easter meal at my brother’s apartment on Saturday night. It was delicious! My brother also made us a pancake brunch on Easter Sunday before we proceeded home. We were his first visitors to eat at his new apartment. We left most of the left over food (including the bread, margarine, peanut butter and muffins) for my brother to enjoy, as he is still getting his finances in order after separating from his wife. I also gave him three of the boxes of snack crackers I bought on Thursday to help add to his food supply. My brother gifted me with the left over bottle of maple syrup he had picked up in the local market for the pancakes. I plan to use it sparingly in baked goods or other recipes (like baked beans maybe?). Yum!!!

    *Today I had to get a few supplies (especially milk which we were almost out of). I found boxes of Chocolates, wrapped in pretty spring coloured paper and ribbon, on sale after Easter for 50% off. I decided to buy 4 @ $3.50/box to give as end of year thank you gifts to my daughter’s EAs, teacher and principal. I also combined coupon and sale to buy 6 blocks of mozzarella cheese for $3.15/500g block.

    While we were staying at the hotel, we had the privilege of talking briefly with the maid. She told us she was originally from the Ukraine. Her husband and her had decided to move away due to all the problems with the Russians. Originally they moved to Las Vegas, but then moved to Canada. She said she liked Canada better as they constantly lived in fear of medical bills while living in the U.S. She said hospitals could even refuse treatment if you did not have medical coverage…is this true!?! It made me curious…do many Americans feel the same way? I am grateful for the healthcare system we have in Canada. Although there is certainly room for improvement, I do not live with worry about financial ruins if I become ill. I would love to hear your comments on this topic.

  37. Didn’t have as productive of a week as I had hoped. While pruning our grapefruit tree, I managed to swallow some sort of branch or seed or something (maybe I had my mouth open, and something just flew in…haha), and this just destroyed my throat for several days. I also had more trouble than usual with my eyes this week. I have an optical disorder that makes them extra dry and hurt-y, among other things, and they were more painful this week than they have been in a while. Still, keep on keepin’ on, right?
    -Read one library book
    -Completed all Swagbucks daily goals for the month, woooo!
    -Husband and I had a date night at Noodles & Company and used a BOGO coupon I was emailed and the last of a gift card.
    -Got 25c back from Checkout 51 app for buying tomatoes and entered receipts into Receipt Hog.
    Best to everyone this week and always.

  38. I live in Oregon and you are right, no pumping your own gas here. There was a recession more then 20 years ago. The recession hit just about the time gas stations were going to selve serve. Oregon passed a law that you couldn’t have self serve – the idea was that it would save some jobs. It is still that way. When Oregonians do drive over the border and need gas, we look like idiots. Can’t remember how to pump gas !

    I think the charge was to ensure that you would have enough in your account to pay for your gas. I have noticed a charge like that on my account before. It is usually credited back in less then 24 hours. I hope you liked your stay in Oregon!

  39. I have been very pleased with the current selection of DVD’s at our library, although sometimes the wait is long and I have usually forgotten about it when it is ready for me so it’s like a surprise 🙂

  40. My teenager got some pink on her white shirt via the laundry (whoops) and is planning to dye it with kool aid. She is going to try it this week so we will see how it goes 🙂

  41. Thank you so much for your reply. I will have to look at some fabrics and hope for a sale when I am ready to order/buy some in the fall. I am in Canada so my options are the very expensive Fabricland or my 2x a year order to Joann’s (just did one last week with a 20% off total and sales on lots of fabric things I had been saving for. 2nd order is black Friday).

  42. “Refilled the white hobnail vase with fresh grape hyacinths as well.” That’s just the sort of statement I love to read. It pleases my visual nature and what a lovely image it created…

  43. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve recommended that book to someone, I would be rich today. I live in a rural area, and a lot of canning goes on here. Still, there are constantly younger women who haven’t a clue. What I usually do is give them my current Ball Blue book and buy myself an updated one, –how’s that for frugal?? I grew up watching my mother can, I’ve been married 53 years myself and have done my share of it, and there is always more to learn. I don’t always “plan” to can anymore, as at 72 I kind of enjoy the freezer as being less work, but when I’m given fruit or things in season, I WILL preserve whatever we can’t eat right away. And I cannot force myself to eat certain things, like tin cars of beets, or jarred applesauce—home grown and home made are SO much better.

  44. I forgot to log in under my normal name – Whoops.

    I grew up in Oregon before moving to Australia. It was my first time back in 18 years, and it felt in every way like a homecoming. I had my Oregon bucket list all planned out (it was short, because I knew time was limited) and managed to do everything on the list. The last thing on my list was Tillamook cheese – and it was so expensive in the grocery stores I thought, Oh well, I’ll give that one a miss – but then on the flight back they served it on the plane!

  45. Just a note on the topic of dye for clothes. Rit Dye also makes a color remover. This is great for getting stains out if the color is affected, such as on Ivory’s dress. It costs the same amount as dye but can save the item. My grandaughter used bleach at work and splashed some on a tan sweater. She asked me to dye it pink, so I used the color remover on it first. It came out a lovely soft yellow, with just the thread on the buttonholes remaining a darker tan. I liked it so much I showed it to her before dying it pink, and she liked the color also. Never did bother to dye it. Of course, you never know what color will result, but if you’re not fussy, it can be kind of fun. Sometimes a package of dye can save a really faded pair of jeans that aren’t too worn also. i did that last summer on a favorite pair of capris which were looking pretty pitiful but had no hole. I already got one summer out of them and will be getting them out again soon.
    I’m hard to fit, so when I find a “favorite” item I’m willing to keep it going for as long as possible.

  46. If you are talking about the ones near Woodburn, OR (I see you are from the NW), I haven’t been for a few years, but I’ve always loved them when I have been. I was just thinking about going again this year, since it’s not that far from here. Thanks for jogging my memory before it’s too late to see them:)

  47. So, confession time. I live in Oregon, too, and have NEVER once pumped my own gas and would have no idea of how to do it. On the rare occasions we are out of state, my husband does it because he worked at a gas station while in college and is very good at it (I just keep telling him:) )

  48. I’ve lived in both the US and Canada. One common misconception is that hospital emergency rooms will refuse treatment if you don’t have insurance. That is not true- in fact it is illegal. If you talk to any nurse or doctor (we have multiples of both in my family) you will find that many reoccuring patients in the ER are homeless with no insurance. Hospitals are obligated to treat everyone. Doesn’t mean there won’t be a bill, and that is all over the map as far as cost.

  49. We weren’t very frugal this past week. My husband was/still is sick and when half of our team is down, it makes a big difference in all areas! I am also still coughing after 8 weeks, so was able to get into the doctor and get some meds that we will try. I was able to combine 3 different matters at the doctor, though, and will save on the co=pay vs. going 3 seperate times.

    We had a wonderful Easter weekend, between church and having the family over for dinner. We were able to have 5 of our 8 children there, both of our moms, along with other extended family, so that was great. We made lots of home-made foods-corn, beans, ham, twice-baked potatoes, and more. People brought salads, rolls, etc. and helped out. My aunt brought all the candy, in eggs, to hide for the kids. Her method has been the same for years. They find them, she cracks them open and divides them in ziplocks equally and sends each kid home with their share. Then the kids hide the eggs for the grown-ups to find. Although the cousins are getting older, I noticed that even the college-aged ones were happy to receive their little baggie of candy:)

    We had a lot of appointments that I had to do because my husband was sick. I went shopping and just threw things into the cart because I was in a hurry. Don’t do that! I know better after all these years, but did not practice what I preach. I do have a lot of stuff now, and will not have to go again for a while-and some was for Easter. We had one daughter’s birthday as well, and I bought things like ice cream bars to serve instead of making a cake, a big bag to tator tots, strawberries to dip into white chocolate I already had, etc. to make her day special, but not time-conuming to prepare. It’s a rare day when I feel that I have more money than time, but this was one of these times:) So, we can just call this “how not to shop in a frugal way!”–and I expect this week to be better. Serously, I was very thankful that I have been frugal enough in the past that when I needed to “blow the budget” I was able to do that without causing hardship, which is a good feeling.

  50. Just wanted to suggest something as far as kitties and crystals. One of my boys had this happen a couple of years ago on Mother’s Day, no less. At the emergency vet we were told they could help him to the tune of over $1200. I told them that we would have to put him to sleep as I could not afford that. Ultimately, they were able to empty his bladder and offer some advice, for just over $500. Often times it’ll help to make sure your cat gets enough water. This particular cat doesn’t drink water very often. (We have two. The other drinks all the time and thankfully has had no issues.) It was suggested that we feed him wet food. Which is more expensive. However, the vet said that the canned wet food is the same as if we were to let the dry food sit in some water to soften and absorb. We do this each evening, canned food or soaked kibble, and have been okay for the past two years now. (Knocking on wood.) May help you some, too?

  51. My frugal accomplishments…
    Free in the mail – Real Simple and Self magazines.

    I had a mystery shopping assignment at a grocery store and bought things I need for Easter and for the weekend while my daughter and her boyfriend are here. I spent more than I will get reimbursed, but it will help defray the cost of the holiday weekend.

    I ate the lunch provided in my office 5 days and brought home leftovers all 5 days. Ironically, one of the days, some of the younger girls were talking about how expensive food is and how they hate spending so much at the grocery store, and yet none of them take any of the leftovers home with them. We were also treated to Starbucks one afternoon.

    I cashed in Swagbucks for $25 Paypal.

    I signed up for autopay for my internet and got points to order a $10 giftcard (I chose Dunkin Donuts).

    I spent some time each day cleaning, decluttering and freshening up the house. Just doing that makes the house seem so much nicer and no money spent! I used up all the toilet cleaner that my FIL gave us when he downsized, so I just used a little bit of bleach instead.

    My SO was able to finish cooking Passover dinner while I was at work which I had prepped and froze. I cut back on the number of side dishes as well as desserts I made and no one noticed or complained. There was plenty for dinner and leftovers for a second night.

    I also cut back on how much food I made at Easter to eliminate waste and simplified the meal. No one seemed to notice -There was still plenty with some leftover for my daughter and her boyfriend to take home plates to have for dinner during the week.

    Have a great frugal week ladies!

  52. Ha! Me, too!
    Our water bill runs about 70.00 a month in the U.P. of Michigan. We’re on city water, two adults, and we’re three blocks from Lake Superior. We still have snow; a lot! I should bottle that for later! We save one bucket a day from the shower for the toilet, use a low flow shower head and have a small rain barrel for Summer watering. Our base amount is about 59.00. I’m sure we could be better, but it would be a struggle with the Mr. He’s not a fan of the ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow’. He does it for me; i’ve already picked my battle.

  53. Keep an eye out at garage sales for napkins. I’ve been collecting for years; at our house they don’t have to match. Most people don’t use them so they tend to go for little money.

  54. I live literally within walking distance of Lake Erie where all the water around here comes from. My water bill is still around $80.00 a month because the city’s sewer system is so old that flooding (sewer backups) was terrible and they had to replace it all (of course passing along the cost to the consumers). We have NO restrictions on water so it is all a matter of personal responsibility. i do small things like using the water from the dehumidifier to fill the aquarium and then I use water from the aquarium to water my houseplants. We water the garden with the hose in the summer evenings. I have a family of 5 with an 18 yr old who stays in the shower way too long, so if we could get that under control we would be okay.

  55. Hedgehog Meatballs?? Scared me for a minute until I realized you were probably talking about what I call Porcupine Meatballs. Made me laugh.

  56. I worked at Sam’s Club back in the 90’s and we were always told that if you just bought one gallon of milk a week alone, you would save the cost of the membership. Or if you purchased on big ticket item like a TV the savings would be more than the membership fee. That being said, now that I don’t work there anymore, I don’t have a membership-I just give my small list to my mom and she picks it up for me when she goes!

  57. Your table is so lovely and springy! Just what it should be.

    This week I used up a ton of stuff from my freezer including a lonely chicken breast and a pork chop; some spaghetti sauce; a single slice of chocolate chip banana bread I made last month; some sausage and a ham bone. My freezer is now free of frozen meat and I need to start working on the frozen fruit and veggies before the are freezer burned to the point of no return.

    Despite using up the freezer stuff, I went way over budget on grocery shopping. When I was reconciling my bank register, I realized I had budgeted money for twice for bills that only had to be paid once and this covered my overspending almost exactly. Not that this is an “accomplishment” – just dumb luck based on a mistake I made. But yay for mistakes that work out in your favor!

    I went to a movie paid for with a gift card I got for Christmas. I spent $2.50 on snacks for two people at the grocery store and brought them to the theater. My friend brought bottled water for us. Cheap night out.

    I froze the nut and candy crumbs from the bottom of a tub of toffee to use later as sundae toppings.

    I watched movies and read books borrowed from friends and the library.

    I limited my driving as much as possible to save on gas.

  58. You may already know but you can negotiate your bill. Call the billing department and ask if they offer a discount for immediate payment. We saved between 20-50 % on hospital bills this way.

  59. It’s basically dish soap and water (1 tsp soap to 1 gallon water). I tried this last time with hot pepper sauce (some recommend that and some say garlic) and i broke two spray bottles with it 🙁 so next time I’m sticking to the dish soap and water again.

  60. Hi, Brandy! Love the Easter baskets! Simple and beautiful!
    *The past few weeks i’ve shopped the sales for our area. I started a price book since my memory isn’t what it used to be.
    *I’ve also been buying up discounted gift cards. We’re going to be doing several projects around the house, so any savings is helpful. Also, we hope to head South in the Fall for a trip, so i’ve started ordering different food gift cards and gas gift cards, as well. (And, even a few Christmas gift cards. Winter can be tough, financially, so i’m always trying to buy ahead when the funds are better.)
    *I racked the last of my homemade wine; wild rose-hip. I now have 16 bottles of wine in the wine rack. I didn’t pay for any of the fruit; it was all foraged. I did pay for some supplies; some were bought several years ago or re-used.
    *I’m starting to walk or ride the bike to my jobs now that it’s getting a bit warmer. (Above 30*) Not every day, but it’s coming!
    *I shoveled a path to the clothesline pole hole this week. If it ever gets above 40* i’ll put the umbrella line in and hang clothes. I can’t wait! That act alone saves quite a bit. (I feel like i’m always getting away with something!!)
    *And, the usual; save shower water, cook most meals at home, wash baggies etc.
    Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!

  61. I believe the $200 pending charge is something I have heard about. Gas stations sometimes do a $200 hold on funds if you are buying gas using a debit card so they can be assured there are funds to cover the purchase. Within days, the real value goes through. I do not believe all gas stations here do that, but since I can’t figure out who might, I changed to using a credit card for gas, and debit for all else.

  62. Becky–try draining and rinsing the canned green beans. Then add some water back and use Goya ham flavoring. I get this at Wal-mart. It comes in a box with individual packets. It makes the beans taste more like homemade.

    The Goya ham flavoring is great in many veggies and adds zero calories.

  63. We do that throughout the day for hot drinks. We boil the kettle, fill the thermos, and then use the water from the thermos for hot drinks until it needs to be reboiled. This saves us on having to boil the kettle every time we want a hot drink. Then when the thermos is no longer hot we put the water in our countertop water filter and it becomes drinking water.

  64. My husband lived in Oregon for a year – that’s where we met – but he must’ve forgotten about this because he thought it was really very odd. As for me, it’s one of the things I miss about the state!

  65. Thanks for the LED reminder– our new home’s lousy with inefficient bulbs, as well. I need to price them out– I remember whenever I’m at store, but it’s been so long since I’ve bought bulbs that I don’t know what is a fair price. This is going on my list to accomplish this week.

  66. I’m in Baltimore County, Maryland, and my usual quarterly water bill is $14.55. Sewage and water distribution charges are included on our property tax statements and were $284 for me on the most recent statement. That works out to a quarterly cost for water, sewage, and water distribution fees of about $85. It helps to be the only person living in the home full time but even before my daughter went to college I don’t think I had a quarterly bill that was over $20. It was announced today that our rates will rise by 15% starting July 1 to pay for very much needed infrastructure updates; some of the pipes are 70 years old. Other counties have different costs; my boss lives in Harford County, Maryland, and said his bill is around $120 per quarter for two adults and the occasional overnight stay by his college daughter and/or adult son.

    The big difference for us is that the three reservoirs that serve Baltimore City and Baltimore County were at 99.41% of capacity at the end of February and I expect that didn’t change much in March. This is according to the U.S. Geological Survey. I know we (at least me) whined about all the snow we had in February and March, but there are benefits to it and I wish we could send you all some of our water.

    I am very concerned about the drought conditions in California, where so much of our food is grown. If nothing else, this is a reason to garden; who knows what they will be able to produce this year with their horrific drought conditions and what the prices for those food products will be.

  67. It would’ve gone through as a credit card charge, so maybe they do the same thing for credit cards, I don’t know. It just freaked us out a bit, because US banks are bit slack about security compared to banks in other parts of the world. This came hot on the heels of an incident at Target where our card was frozen after we tried to use it because of all their problems with fraud, so we were already a bit on-edge about banking security. (Plus, it wouldn’t be a holiday for me if I didn’t freak out about something.) Next time I’m just not checking the account until we get home!

  68. I make sure never to travel to the US without travel insurance, for precisely that reason. I don’t worry about it so much in many other parts of the world – in Asia hospitals are cheap; Australia has reciprical agreements in place for many countries – but it’s just not worth the risk in the US.

    BTW as an alternative to using Easter egg dye kits, you can also use food colouring and vinegar. Since we can’t buy Easter egg dye kits here I’ve done that for the past several years; it’s very effective, sometimes you just have to leave them to soak for a bit longer. Food colouring and vinegar are both cheap.

  69. My sister saw it in our local paper and signed us up! You have to take the class with a child who is in the school district. So my 11 year old daughter and her 7 year old qualify. 🙂

  70. So sorry about your poor fur baby. As a former veterinary technician (and I did work at a veterinary emergency clinic for a while), I know how bad urinary blockages can be. Unfortunately, now that he has had one, he is more susceptible to this happening again. This is one of two illnesses that I live in fear of happening to my cats (the other is a saddle thrombus). I truly hope he is on the road to recovery and you are able to avoid another blockage in the future.

  71. I cant wait! I hope my hubby will watch the baby so I dont have to miss any. I have my mom’s Ball’s Preservation Book but I still want to attend.

  72. My brother is going through this currently as well. Be patient, make due the best you can with what you have and get the word out if you are in need of something. You would be amazed at how many people have things hanging around they don’t need and are willing to give it away free to someone who can use it! Even if they are not perfect or are old, at least you will have something to start out with and can slowly replace as funds allow.

  73. I think it’s a VERY good reason to garden!

    What a blessing you have in water and sewer bills! Our lowest monthly water bill (in the winter) is usually at least $45, it will be $70 in three years with rate increases and the $15 per household charge. Summer months where I water 6 days instead of 1 day a week (plus for a longer amount of time) are considerably more. Sewer goes up every year, and this year it is $60.33 a quarter.

    That’s great that you are getting so much rain. I hope you have a wonderful garden!

  74. I buy my napkins (table) at thrift stores too. Have found them as low as 15 cents each. I love them. A friend bought those cheap wash cloths at Family Dollar something like 30 pack for $5 that she uses for her large family.. different color than what they use for actual wash cloths. When it’s just family they are a very frugal alternative to using paper napkins. I’ve used my cloth napkins for years. Just be sure to look for cotton blends, some of the fancy think shiny type fabric, while pretty they do not do a good job of wiping food off.

  75. Hello all!! Sounds like everyone had a lovely weekend. After my miserable frugal fail with the slider recipe last week, I was determined to get back on track this week with frugal accomplishments. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions on how to make the recipe more frugal. I will be trying some of them out.

    1. Bought a ham for $1.28 a pound and had it sliced for free. I got six meals out of the ham.
    2. Stocked up on bread that was on sale for .69 a loaf at our local grocery store’s weekly Friday only sales.
    3. Had a garage sale Saturday. Made enough to pay for a field trip that I attended with my son today, since I was off work and was able to go. Had a wonderful time. The money covered gas since I had to take my own car, my ticket, and lunch.
    4. Brought leftovers home from our church’s annual Men’s Prayer Breakfast. I used the sausage for lunch on Sunday by dipping it in b-b-q sauce and then reheating it in the oven. The pancakes are being reheated for breakfast each morning.
    5. Bought groceries and stayed within budget.

    Have a great week!

  76. What if I was diagnosed with an illness that required treatment by a specialist (e.g. cancer). If I was a low income earner and had no health coverage, could and would specialists refuse to do treatment or even book an appointment if refered?

  77. Brandy, I realize this is a really hot and heated topic in the U.S. right now. I know the system is very different. I’m just trying to understand how it works. We hear things here in Canada through the media and from people talking about it. However, we don’t live it. Therefore, it is hard for us to understand the real truth versus misconceptions about the truth. That’s why I thought I would ask those who actually use the system…so maybe I could understand it a bit better.

  78. Hi everyone- I haven’t posted in awhile and since we recently went on vacation to Seattle for a week, I don’t feel like we have been very frugal of late. Last week we made homemade pizza on Friday night instead of our usual Friday night take out pizza. My Mom, daughter and I went shopping at a consignment store owned by a friend and I found a designer blouse and designer scarf for my work wardrobe for a very good price. I purchased a small spiral cut ham for Easter dinner and was able to use a coupon to reduce the price. I am alternating ham leftovers with other main dishes this week so that my family isn’t bored to death and I will probably freeze the bone and use it later to make soup. I am trying to get back on track making our meals and staying within a budget- it is hard for our family to get back on schedule after a vacation. I am also knitting and embroidering nearly every evening as we watch television- I am trying to get a start on Christmas gifts. I turned in Shopkick credit for 2 $5 Starbucks cards and also got a $25 Amazon giftcard from Swagbucks. Our weather has been very mild lately which helps reduce our heating bill. I also purchased small potted herb gardens at Trader Joe’s for my Mom and Mother-in-law for Easter gifts instead of Easter Lilies- they were a better price and are more useful as well. That is all I can think of for now- I hope everyone has a great week!

  79. The clay pots are called Ollas and they are apparently the new garden craze this year. I have been seeing them all over Pinterest.

  80. A friend of mine is going through this right now. She has cancer. Her husband has been unemployed for 4 years. She cannot afford the treatment. She has already had other health problems requiring major surgeries and cannot afford more health bills.

  81. Hospitals legally have to provide stabilizing treatment for emergency situations, but they do not have to give any thing extra, nor do they have to treat for non-emergencies, such as an earache or mild illness. It is a federal law for all hospitals that participate in Medicare.

    The general feeling seems to be that without medical insurance, most Americans are one serious illness away from bankruptcy due to our poor savings rates and high debt loads.

  82. There is some coverage for the homeless. Our property tax has two separate items that are for medical bills for the homeless. One of them is over $150 a year (that I pay for in property taxes), and our property taxes are low here; they are capped at 3%. I know other states have higher taxes; some people pay 14% a year in property taxes.

    In the past, I know they would treat you, but before you even do anything they want you to fill out paperwork–not so easy when it is an emergency. The paperwork asks who will be paying.

    If you don’t pay, they can put a lien on your home if you own a house, and they can certainly (and will) send collections after you.

    Since the law has changed, I don’t know if hospitals can now refuse treatment if you don’t have insurance. In the past they have always treated people whether or not you have insurance, but I don’t know now.

    I do know there are doctors who won’t take certain insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare (a doctor who is a friend of ours says that those don’t pay him as much as other companies, which would explain the change for so many doctors.) I see people posting on local Facebook garage sale pages all the time in search of a doctor who will take their particular insurance. Since the insurance change, people can’t always see the doctor they used to, because their new insurance doesn’t cover it or the hospital they prefer.

    Even if you have great insurance, you could still worry about financial problems if you have something major, because insurance doesn’t cover everything. You still have to pay.

    With the new system, the lowest cost coverage first has you pay a premium per person (which varies by state, county, and company, but can be around $250 or more per person per month on the lowest plan), and then you have to reach a certain threshold in bills (on top of the $250 per month per person) before they will start paying you back. For a family on the lowest cost plan in my state and county, that amount is $12,600. It’s coming in slowly in the news that some people have bought insurance, but cannot afford the minimum amount before they are paid from the insurance company, and so are delaying treatments. When the average American family makes somewhere between $40,000 to $55,000 a year, that is a huge percentage of their income.

  83. You would likely receive care at a publicly-funded hospital. Many uninsured people do not receive adequate preventative and diagnostic care. Because most uninsured can’t afford annual check-ups and diagnostics, they do not seek care until they are already very ill.

  84. Just left a comment on your blog. Those are the cutest Peter Rabbit napkins. I thought at first they were store bought, until I read that you had made them yourself. Such a great embroidery job you did on them!

  85. I go into the gas station and specifically tell them how much to put on my debit card, to avoid the hold. In other words, I do not inset the card in at the pump. I have only had a hard time at one station about this and I refuse to go there anymore. I do not keep more than one hundred dollars in the account that has the debit card and it is specifically for gas. That is because I am paranoid about fraud, since I am always having to prosecute folks for committing it and I know how easy it is for criminals to get ahold of your personal information. I also have started taking twenty dollars in cash for gas and just not fooling with the card. That would be all the cash I carry because I do not want to get robbed either. However, I do not usually travel long distances so I understand, Mae, you could not do this on a long trip….lol. I had no idea that Oregon would not let you pump gas…wow!

  86. I have insurance and it is good insurance by U.S. standards. My copays and medical bills on my children, who are still covered, have almost bankrupted me in the sense that I cannot save a dime because of it. Every cent after taxes that is discretionary, goes to medical bills/copays. I live frugally. I live in a $25,000 small house, drive a basic little old ford ranger truck, no cable tv or tv period, no eating out., etc. I do all the frugal things on this site, but still the medical bills, AFTER insurance, are financially killing me. It has been this way for fifteen years though. No better no worse than before…..

  87. Thank you, everyone (especially Brandy and Andrea Q) for explaining the American medical system a bit more to me. It literally made my stomach turn…I can’t imagine living like that. I had two co-workers at the museum I work at who have just successfully came through cancer treatment and I know of a little boy from my daughter’s school who is currently being treated for leukemia. When a major illness happens here, the biggest concern is how they will cope with paying their normal bills while being off work for an extended period of time. I now have a better appreciation when there are comments about someone needing medical care.

    We are highly taxed here in Canada. In Ontario, we pay 13% tax (it was 15% until recently) on nearly everything we buy (there are exceptions). Some is federal sales tax (which all Canadians pay) and some is provincial (which varies in percentage between provinces). We also pay land taxes, which varies according to where you live. The taxes are used for a number of government supported infrastructure. Most medical treatments/doctor fees are covered by our provincial health coverage (fees are standardized by the government and doctors are paid according to the fee chart), but medications are not. Many employers offer benefits which covers a large portion of medication costs and often dental coverage, which is not paid for by our provincial health coverage. However, not everyone has a benefit plan and therefore must pay for medicine and dental treatments out of pocket. There are services which do offer help to those on low incomes to pay for needed medications, so there is always some way to ensure everyone is given the right to good health care. They are just not always easy to access. Overall, I think I prefer to be taxed to death, but have the peace of mind knowing my family will always receive the care they need when they are sick.

  88. Hospital discounts depend on the hospital chain & the location. When we lived in Idaho Falls, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (Hospital Corp of America) would give a 20% discount if you paid “your part” between hospital discharge & about 10 days. In Utah, HCA will give a 10% discount if your portion of the bill is paid withing 2 weeks of discharge. We have to be careful doing this, tho, because our “Benny Card” specifies that the money held out for medical use in that account can ONLY be used AFTER the insurance has paid in full. Our daughter gets 10% off at the University of Utah if she pays the bill within a few days of it being posted. Most of the time, the discount is due to the hospital not having to send the billing paperwork. It never hurts to ask, & 10% is still a lot of money.

    Something else that we do, is set aside the money for the bill, but pay the bill over the phone, during the discount time, with our Discover Card. We already have the cash to pay when the bill comes, but running it through the card gives us an increased cash back reward, that helps reduce the bill a little further when we apply it to the Discover card balance. We did this when I had the knee replacements done. It only works if the bill is paid in full every month.

  89. I live in Manchester, Md and just paid my quarterly water bill this morning for 2 people in the house, it was $211.50. That is down from almost $300 and sometimes $330 when 4 people were living in the house. We conserve water, have all low flow shower, toilet, sinks faucets and I try to follow all of your water saving advice. We grow a small garden, about 20 feet by 15 feet. The water department is continuously adding new fees and raising rates. We only have one bathroom and one tub/shower, but take 100% showers and are not allowed to water our lawns or fill pools. We do not have a pool anyways. We live in an 800 square foot house. I have even had the water department come out and check and make sure there are no leaks, but most people’s bills are this high anyways. Our water comes from community wells and we have a community water and sewer treatment plant.Each community has their own and the residents have to pay for upkeep on their water bills. Building is restricted because of water shortage. We are almost always on draught rations. This is the way it is for most of Carroll County, Maryland.

  90. Love the cute little baskets and bunnies! And your flowers are beautiful! They reminded me that our daffodils are finally open so I think I will pick a bunch for my desk at work!

    This is what we did:
    -The weather finally cooperated this weekend and I was able to get out into the garden! I got the lettuce (black seeded simpson), Swiss chard, green onions, carrots, beets, turnips, cauliflower and red and yellow onion sets planted. I also took the covering off of the strawberry bed and spread straw on it and I cleaned up the herb garden. We are praying for a great harvest this year and a huge savings in our grocery budget!

    -I had read something about using old 100% cotton T-shirts as weed block in the garden. I had a stack of old shirts that I cut so that they laid open into one large piece and laid them in one of the beds. I then cut holes in the shirts and planted my cauliflower plants then laid some straw on top of the shirts to hide them. We will see how it works. I may have myself some new, free, weed blocker if it does!

    -found an online sale on Tattler canning lids. It was 60 regular and 60 wide mouth at 25% off and free shipping. They should arrive any day now.

    -Stocked up on cat litter. Tractor supply had the 40 lb bags for $5 ea. That’s a few dollars less than we get it at the local grocery store.

    -Did all the regular things we do each week as well: hanging laundry to dry (now that the weather is nice I can hang it outside!:)), eating most meals at home or if we have to eat out doing it as cheaply as possible, taking lunches to work along with our own drinks, and several other things that I can’t remember specifically. Some things have gotten to be such a routine for us that I don’t even think of them as being frugal. It’s just how we live.

  91. Mari – I have a plot at a community garden and I love it (I live in a condo, so I only have limited container garden space at home). I pay $60 a year for a 10×20 plot. The other gardeners there are wonderful and I have learned a lot from them. We often share produce during the summer too.

    You can grow a lot of food in a small space. I grew 30 lbs of yellow pole beans (the variety was Golden Gate) in a 4×4 foot square. I also had three patty pan squash plants, and they produced like crazy (I’m sure I ended up with at least 60 lbs of squash). Other gardeners have shared peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, soy beans, zucchini, kale, and herbs with me.

    It’s been a great experience, and this is the fourth year I’ve had a plot there. To save money, you can start plants from seed instead of buying starts. For me, it’s an enjoyable frugal pastime, even with having to pay for the plot. And I’ve made some wonderful friends. Good luck!

  92. I use the backs of my husbands dress shirts that are way too worn (backs are in excellent shape!). Took a few years, but I now have a collection of 20 white (cotton with poly blend) and for our everyday napkins, they are all different colors but coordinate well. Someday the remainder of the good parts of the shirts will become a simple quilt. Someday.

  93. The ones I visited are in Mount Vernon, WA. (I live outside of Seattle). I’m sure the ones near you are just as beautiful. 🙂

  94. How is Noodles & Company? I just saw one yesterday in a town we visit a few times a year (Hagerstown, MD) and wondered about it.

  95. Kim, you all really have drought conditions just one county over? I’m stunned by that given how full our reservoirs are, including Liberty, right at the Baltimore/Carroll county line.

  96. Marcia, I did that too with my husbands shorts. They were tan, well loved, dyed navy and 6 years later are now a soft navy. I think he’ll get another 3 years out of these yet all thanks to RIT dye.

  97. Went over what I would liked to have spent on groceries last week because of cheap ham and turkey. I’ll even that out in the rest of the month.

    I bought myself a “new” dress for Resurrection Sunday and altered it to make it nursing-friendly. Spent $10 on it.

    Family members sent home lots of leftovers after the big meals on Sunday. We’ll probably finish a lot of it this evening. It was such a blessing as several of my children have been sick recently and I’m feeling pretty tired.

    My husband and I were planning to go away with only the baby for our tenth anniversary. We decided instead to send the older 5 children to stay with family that weekend (weekend after next) and then just come back home. We don’t need to spend a lot of money to make memories and reconnect. We’re planning to visit a couple of thrift stores, go out for lunch, then finish the day with a walk and fishing. I can’t wait!

  98. Every thing looks so lovely. This year was my in-laws year for Easter and they do not decorate, so I lived vicariously through your pictures – Thank you!
    This past week was a very good week for my Ebay sales. I was able to apply that money to a credit card bill.
    I traded extra onion sets with a friend for her extra seed potatoes.
    Planted more spring/early vegetables. I made a 2 foot by 1 foot space the front flower bed for swiss chard. Previously Siberian Irises had taken that space. I transplanted those in another area that gets less sun. I planted beets and radishes along the bed wall also in the front.
    I transplanted my sage and chives from containers to the garden, I am hoping for a larger yield by doing so.
    Last year, I needed 10 large bags of potting soil – this year I needed only 2 thanks to composting everything we use that was able to be composted. That saved me $70!
    I hope everyone has a great week!

  99. Hi Brandy,
    I loved that you dyed Ivory’s dress to fix it and your table does look beautiful.
    Last week I made most meals at home including some bread and homemade pizza. I get paid once a month and the budget didn’t make it to the end of the month due to an extra school fee. So everyone inspired me to live out of our pantry and I skipped the regular grocery shopping the weekend before. Then I found that even when I did go shopping on Wed. there was not that much I needed. I stocked up on seasonal sales — like butter at aldi. I also found 2 deals on things I needed at Target that came with $5 gift cards. I got a free sample of coffee and made two meals out of leftovers that the family thought were just as good as the first time around.
    Our not so frugal purchase was my son’s new tennis shoes. He is between a boys size 7 and a man’s size 8 and the selection was smaller and more expensive than I wanted — I did have a coupon though. His previous pair had been worn to death and then finished off by slipping in a mud puddle.
    My mom gave my daughter and I shirts she no longer wears. One for me and one for my daughter. We also got ham and other leftovers from my mother-in-law after Easter dinner. I didn’t buy any new Easter outfits and I found Easter baskets and plastic eggs from last year that I reused.

  100. I’m surprised to hear that too, Mari! We are just one county over on the opposite side and we have no restrictions whatsoever. I have a cousin in Hampstead that I will be seeing on Thursday and I’ll have to ask if Hampstead is under restrictions too. And they have a pool. You never know what the Summer will bring so I harvest rainwater to use in the garden anyway.:)

  101. Brandy whenever you have something you don’t want to run or bleed soak it in vinegar just like dying Easter eggs and it helps set the color so it doesn’t run as much. I used to do this in my washing machine if my boys got a lot of red clothes when they were younger. It helped the clothes not bleed as much during the next washings.

  102. Thanks Vicky. I know vinegar sets colors and prevents running (I’ve used it on clothing before) which is why I knew the Easter egg dye, having vinegar in it, was going to set in her dress immediately, which it did. I don’t think it will run but I want to hand wash it separately, just in case, before I put it in a load with other clothes.

  103. I have an American friend who just moved from Canada back to Australia. (She’s a gypsy, what can I say.) She loves the Canadian dental system and thinks it’s much better than the Australian dental system. You know that stereotype about English people and their teeth? It’s also true in Australia – Not everyone has bad teeth; but I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met who would rather get a tooth pulled than fill a cavity. So the dentists seem to take this into their practice too. I was terrified to see a dentist for the first 6 years after I moved here because I was afraid they’d just start pulling teeth, because I have met that many people who are missing teeth just because they had a cavity.

    Australia has a weird two-tier system of private/socialised health. It drives the political scientist in me crazy because it’s just so untenable and nonsensical. Our family sticks with Medicare (the socialised health system) because we only have your normal run of general complaints – a few earaches a year, etc. That means when we go to see a specialist we have to pay out of pocket; but a $50 gap fee once a year is still less than private health insurance. And – much as I distrust Australian dentistry – now Medicare also covers kid’s dental, which means our bills there have decreased from about $500 a year (for two kids, for general check-ups and cleanings and a couple of cavities) to about $50 a year (for the same – two kids, general check-ups and cleanings and a couple of cavities). I love that!

  104. You know, I was just thinking about the fact that you used the Easter Egg dye to colour the whole dress. I bought a whole set of egg dying colours for only a $1. I’ve always wanted to try tie dying t-shirts, but the kits are really expensive to buy. I wonder if the egg kit could be used for tie dying? Hmmm….sounds like a fun frugal experiment might be in the works for this summer!

  105. Hi Mandy! Hope your fur baby continues to feel better. One thing I’ve discovered is that cats like running water. Several of mine would jump up on the bathroom sink when I was brushing my teeth and want to drink from the tap. I bought a waterer that has a reservoir and uses a small electric pump to circulate the water. Nor for them w all of my cats love it. There are replaceable filters as well in this model. This also keeps ‘fresh’ water for them all the time. Touch wood – haven’t had any kitties with UTIs for years. They eat dry kibble and five (yes five – when you live in the country everyone assumes if you have cats you want more. At least we don’t have a problem with mice or other critters!). At night they share one of the small (not the tiny ones) of canned cat food. That is the one way I can get them all in one place at one time to make sure everyone is accounted for! Coyotes here are a problem for cat and small dog owners…

  106. That is great advice Rhonda! A friend of a friend was going through a nasty situation and had to move out with her children and wasn’t able to get many of her things out when she moved out. The friend put a notice on facebook and asked if people could help out with certain things. She received an amazing response. Many people had been in that situation before and wanted to pay it forward! When the mom was able to get her things out after several months she then posted that she would be happy to return things or would be donating them to someone else who might need them.

  107. Rhonda,

    Hospitals can’t refuse you if you need emergency care or are going to deliver a baby when you are in the ER. Now after that can be a different story and so much depends on the state you live in, what local medical care is available, etc. In my county – one of the highest rates of poverty in my state are in this county and neighboring counties, there is a great community health care system for those who can’t pay for health care. Health care for expecting women, for children (including dental care) and for critical care (diabetes, heart conditions, cancer). The community health foundation raises money and local the two local hospitals (one formerly run by the Catholic church and staffed by nuns until 15 years ago) coordinate a lot of care and provide a lot of indigent care. Now with the Affordable Care Act there is a way to obtain health insurance on a sliding scale. Again this is based on the state you live in and whether or not they have a state program or participate in the federal program. Colorado elected to have its own health care marketplace. This was heaven sent for us as we both have health issues and pre-existing conditions and when COBRA (which is the law that states that any person who leaves an employer and loses their health insurance has access to the employers plan for 18 months after they are no longer employed). While that sounds great you end up paying the entire premium – what was your portion and what the employer paid. When I was searching for health coverage to start after COBRA ended I found that we couldn’t get insurance due to pre-existing conditions or would have a long waiting period for any coverage related to the pre-existing condition or pay over $1,000 per month per person in premiums. With the Affordable Care Act we were each able to get health insurance with reasonable deductibles and due to our incomes we had lower premiums. For those whose incomes are below a certain threshold there is Medicaid which is a federal program that provides coverage. As Brandy said many physicians won’t accept medicaid. In my county there are so many people on medicaid and medicare that most physicians and both hospitals do take it. As another commenter said there are still medical bills that have to be paid – until the deductible is met and for some amount of the costs after the deductible is met (20% for example) that is my responsibility to pay. So even with insurance there are significant financial hardships that can occur. This is especially true for those who have a chronic health condition, significant health issues for multiple family members and where there are high expenses related to a serious health issue (such as someone needing an organ transplant or a premature baby that requires a lot of hospitalization and ongoing care). Many years ago I was an HR Director for a medium sized company that was headquartered in Europe but most of the employees were in the US. I ‘bought’ employee benefits and would spend hours on the phone and in teleconferences explaining how the US system worked to the German CFO. He couldn’t believe that there wasn’t mandatory health insurance for everyone in the US!

  108. You are so right Rhonda. And if you have something that can be taken to pay the bills – such as a house or savings or retirement then they will go after that. That is why one of the leading reasons people have to declare bankruptcy is due to health bills they can’t afford to pay and that is the only way to protect at least some of their assets. A dear friend had to do that when her husband developed cancer and she couldn’t pay the bills after he passed away. She was then able to keep her car for example. But that is hard to recover from. BTW – public health care varies significantly from state to state and area to area.

  109. You can also use empty egg cartons for egg hunts. Once each kid has 12, (or you can cut them down to 4, or six), they’re done hunting.

  110. – My mother-in-law found 14 half-pint jars in her father’s basement. No one else in the family but me uses half-pint jars so she gave them to me!
    – I wanted cloth napkins for Easter, and I remembered seeing some at World Market on clearance when I was there about a month back. I decided to check if they were still there when I was out running errands – they were, and were even less than before! I paid $3.73 for a set of 6 spring green cotton napkins. I know I could make them, but I don’t have the time for that right now
    – A huge thanks to Marivene who mentioned making marshmallow eggs. I thought it was a great idea. I used a slightly different recipe since I didn’t have any jello on hand (so mine were plain marshmallow flavor) but they turned out really well and my husband loved them. I had made marshmallows only once before but the recipe hadn’t been the greatest. This recipe made what my husband called “real marshmallows”. Thanks for the inspiration! I saved her recipe since I do want to try the flavored ones in the future
    – I also made cream eggs (like Cadbury ones) which were also cost-friendly and delicious. Both of these were great additions to our Easter table and cost way less than buying candy (and I love that I can read and pronounce all the ingredients)
    – I hosted brunch for Easter. It was just my parents and us, so it was very low key, but lots of good food and conversation. We went to my in-laws for dinner, and she sent us home with more food, so now we’ve got leftovers up to our eyeballs (no cooking for me, I’m not complaining)
    – I had coupons for berries so I bought some strawberries for $1/lb
    – Every year I can peaches with vanilla beans in them. After we eat the peaches, I save the “syrup” and freeze it in ice cube trays. (I can’t bear to throw away the vanilla-bean flecked syrup!) Up to now I had been saving it without knowing what I would do with it. I recently came up with a smoothie recipe that needed a bit of sweetener, so I started blending two of these “ice cubes” with my other ingredients and it was just what the smoothie needed!
    – To save on time later on, I froze in ziplock bags all the ingredients I need for my smoothie for individual portions. I had orange juice in the freezer from 10lb of oranges I juiced back in November (that I got for free), so I portioned out the orange juice, peach-vanilla syrup, and mangos needed for each smoothie and put them in bags. Now if I want a smoothie I just put some milk in the blender, add the frozen ingredients, and blend!
    – Our one frugal fail was we had to buy bread this week. I usually make bread, but right now we’re out and I didn’t have a chance to make any (I was gone half the week on a business trip). You win some, you lose some I guess. (although my husband keeps reminding me that my homemade bread is better, so I know there’s no risk of ending up buying bread forever!)

  111. your flower arrangement was so beautiful! Much prettier than anything I have seen in a florist shop, and I love the simple baskets and homemade chocolate bunnies. LOVELY!!!! thank you for the inspiration!

  112. I’m not going to get into the politics and pros and cons of ACA. Everyone has different opinions, and we hear a lot of stories here in the U.S., too. However, I can answer from a relative’s and a close friend’s experiences about how it works now. Brandy, feel free not to include this post if you feel that it’s venturing into too political of a discussion. Here’s how it worked for a member of my extended family. Before ACA went into effect, this mid-50’s man did not have insurance. He was working but not making enough to afford the unsupplemented payments for private insurance. He could not find a company that would take him due to his active Crohn’s disease, anyway. He could not afford regular doctor visits, so his blood pressure, blood sugars, Crohn’s disease and other problems went untreated in the days before the ACA went into effect. When he endured days of severe shoulder pain, he went to the “charity” hospital in Dallas and waited more than 30 hours before even getting to a treatment room. I’m not criticizing the hospital. They were swamped. They told him that they thought he had sustained severe damage to a shoulder and that he needed an MRI. That was not done. There was an extension outpatient clinic associated with the hospital for indigent people. Despite signing up and waiting his admission call, after three months, he had not yet received treatment. Meanwhile, he’d been back to the ER twice because he was losing function in that arm. They told him each time that he needed further care or he risked permanent nerve damage. When he finally qualified for ACA, he did have enough of a salary to qualify and a low enough salary to receive supplements to make it affordable. He was able to schedule doctor visits and get his blood pressure and blood pressures under control. He was able to get diagnosis and treatment for his arm. He still pays copays. In our family, with two men having sustained nearly fatal heart attacks by his age, he was a walking time bomb without access to a doctor. However, my friend who was let go from the job she’d held for decades when her company was bought by another when she was 62, makes no salary, of course. Because she doesn’t make enough to qualify for the subsidy and our state doesn’t participate in the expansion, she can’t afford insurance. Although she makes no salary, she would pay more than my relative who makes some salary but a small one. She lives with her daughter, who supports her. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer about four months ago. Her daughter negotiated the cost of the surgery down, but she had to pay for her mother’s surgery out of her savings for her first home and her mother’s social security.

  113. I love this idea of finding $10/ month to cut back!!! That’s brilliant. If you can find one $10 thing each month that will really add up!

  114. I hang all my clothes indoors to dry. I have several wooden drying racks that I got from Lehman’s. This is an Amish store in Ohio. You can check them online. I have had them for years and they are still sturdy. Also, I don’t watch HSN alot but tuned in last year and they had a really nice fold up drying rack for sale. It is on wheels and is really useful. You may want to check their website also. Good luck on getting the car paid off. I have not had a car payment in years. Driving my 10 year old Subaru suits me just fine.

  115. Ellis, I’m glad you liked the marshmallow egg recipe. I got that recipe back when we were in married student housing at BYU. We had some neighbors who “swapped” flavors of the gelatin: one opened a package of lemon, and kept out enough for a batch with lemon flavoring, then she traded “portions” of the lemon gelatin for orange, lime, etc. with other neighbors. All our budgets were so tight they squeaked, but most of us had young children, & we wanted them to have nice Easter memories. With the trading, no one bought more than one box of gelatin, but we all had more than one flavor.

  116. I did it- I made jam! And canned it! Thanks everyone for the encouragement to try! But there was a slight problem. I followed the recipe for 6 jars and I only got 5 1/2. It turned out ok because I was able to use the 1/2 jar right away but in the future I want all whole jars! Help????

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    – I made yogurt and used the whey for waffles
    – harvested quite a few snow peas and actually brought some in the house 🙂 my 3 year old loves to eat snow peas from the garden and eats a lot- usually as I’m picking she’s eating! This year I planted even more plants to compensate for little hands in the garden.
    – harvested more parsley, green onions, lettuce
    – planted berry bushes
    – reused Easter eggs, baskets, grass from last year
    – we went out for Easter dinner (planned expense) and my aunt generously paid for our dinners
    – used a freezer dinner I made last week when I was too tired to cook earlier this week
    – after stocking up on sales the last 2 weeks I am on track to stay under $75 for groceries for 2 weeks, but this includes more stocking up. I could have groceries for under $50 if I just bought the essentials
    – did the usual money-saving things

    Have a good week everyone!

  117. Some gas stations in Ontario, Canada put a $200 hold on gas purchases as well and then you are charged the correct amount when the transaction goes through. We pump our own gas and pay at the pumps using our gas credit card (for points). The pump always asks “authorize for full up to $200” and you select yes or no. I always select “no” and then pick a lower amount to fill to. I don’t want a $200 hold on my card as I’d never pump that much but I’m sure a lot of people select that without thinking.

    I’ve also found similar pending charges when making hotel reservations (a security deposit perhaps) that never actually go through.

  118. The area that I live in has a heavy population of seniors. What we find is when seniors pass away, the family is left with an entire household of items. There is nothing wrong with these items but most of it the family already has in their own home. The families are then left to figure out what to do with it all in a very short period of time. Often they are thrilled to find someone who would appreciate the items and will happily give it away for free just to get rid of it.

    My brother separated from his wife at Christmas. He is currently sleeping on a blowup mattress, until he can afford to buy a real bed. People (especially us) have given him furniture, and most of his kitchenware. He has bought very few things to start because he doesn’t have the money. My mother just bought him some curtains for his apartment last weekend as he had none on the window/balcony door and a flag covering his bedroom window. He is perfectly fine with waiting to buy what he needs or watching for free stuff on the Kijiji website. He also has no internet or cable, but lives in Ottawa which has a great library system and lots of walking trails to keep him busy. Things are slowly improving with his finances, but until then he makes do.

  119. The recipe never makes as much as it says it will for me when I make jam (I made strawberry yesterday and it never makes what the recipe says for me). I always have some half-pint jars and sometimes 4 ounce jars, too, ready for filling and canning. Then you can can them too if you don’t want to just refrigerate it.

    Congratulations on making jam!

  120. We were invited to friends for Easter dessert. We were sent home with three plates of food as they had made far more food than they could consume even with leftovers. Nice treat to not have to cook for a couple of meals.

    Had our trees trimmed. If we don’t have it done the county comes by and butchers the ones closest to the power lines so some look awful. These are globe (or Navajo) willows and another willow variety that has been on the farm for at least 75 years. I asked the tree trimmers to leave me branches that were 5′ and under as I want to make a ‘coyote’ fence. These are common in NM – essentially a fence woven of branches – you use wire to weave the branches together. I am going to make some to use for climbing flowers and plants and in one area that we could use a little privacy on (has chain link and we don’t want to use the plastic strips that are sold to make chain link into privacy).

    Found that two of the globe willows have a disease that is particular to this variety. There is some research into how to deal with it but not much is known. A couple of years ago one of the trees had it and I researched online for a treatment. And ‘old standby’ treatment is to wash the infected areas and then spray daily with a water/bleach solution. That worked last time so I am going to try it again.

    I baked a ham I bought last fall when they were 99cents a pound. Instead of planning on cooking and cleaning up on Easter I cooked it mid-week, cooled it, sliced it and froze most into sandwich packets and ham ‘pieces’ for casseroles. I love my vacu-sealer as the meat stays much fresher longer.

    I’d bought some reduced produce red peppers and roasted them on the gas stove. I froze three halves and used the other three to make hummus – along with a few kalamata olives and some green chiles frozen last year. I much prefer homemade hummus now – and make my own pita chips from discounted pitas. It was a nice treat for our snacks we had during dying eggs. While we love dying eggs I have to say I am mighty tired of deviled eggs and egg salad right now!

    Did ‘mega’ laundry – washed every blanket/throw/dog and cat pillow or blanket/rug we had. Hung all of them on the line and put away a majority as our weather is much nicer now.

    We made a big decision to change veterinarians. I know that might sound like a crazy statement but we’ve kept our vet that is 3 hours away for several reasons: we have two rescued purebreds that have both had health issues related to being purebreds and this vet has seen them since we adopted them. The 6 hours of drive time, the fact that this vet is in a very expensive area (Boulder CO suburb) and charges accordingly and the stress on the dogs prompted us to find a vet much closer to us. The vets in our town are good for most things and many are ‘Dr. Doolittle’ vets who do large and small animals and either hard to get into or automatically refer to a specialist for anything other than annual visits. So we found a clinic less than an hour away. This decision will save money and not compromise care.

    It felt like Spring here for a few days and now we are in the windy weather period. When the farming season starts and the wind blows it seems like we’re dusting daily!

  121. Thank you everyone for the suggestions! I was treated horribly at this Vet’s office. They forced me to purchase unnecessary products (flea products when have NO fleas, etc) or they wouldn’t let me have him. I was accused by the Vet of trying to kill my cat. The assistant that I was dealing with said that Wet food is bad for cats (UM NO its’ not!). I hope and pray my baby gets better! I purchased the dry special food and was given to cans of crap wet food. I am going to a local/small pet store right by our house that sells high end food to see what they have. He hasn’t eaten yet either.:(

  122. Try shopping amazon.com for shoes. My husband has been able to find good quality name brand shoes Nike and Reebok a lot cheaper and more variety than local.

  123. That is why I am no longer working in the veterinary industry. The people who choose to work in this industry like animals, but not necessarily people. There were only a few vets I met who were actually nice…they were a rarity in this field. Money isn’t everything…my sanity and happiness is worth more.

  124. Congrats on your first successful jam session!
    I usually do a bunch of batches at a time. If the jar isn’t full from one batch, I just set it aside and top up with the next batch, then water process the jar afterwards. I don’t know if your supposed to do this, but it seemed to work fine for me.
    Also, the instructions state that you are supposed to skim off the foam before pouring into canning jars. I read somewhere that the foam is edible, it just isn’t recommended to put into the jars as the air can cause spoilage (or something like that). So I use a small, clean/sterilized glass jar (doesn’t have to be a canning jar) and pour the scooped foam into it, then put it in the fridge to enjoy afterwards. My family and I always like to “sample” what I just made anyways and this way there is no waste either. If you have a little bit of jam left over, you can add it to the “foam” jar as well.

  125. Oh I’m glad to know that’s normal! Although the jam thickened well and tasted good I was afraid I mis-measured or cooked it too long or something. Thanks for the help!

  126. I shopped at the 99c only store and found some great deals:
    bananas at 0.33 a pound
    10 lb bag of potatoes for 0.99
    1 lb box of strawberries for 0.99 (though they aren’t quite as tasty as local)
    1 head cauliflower for 0.99
    2 lb carrots for 0.99

    I also noticed that their regular egg prices are 1.99 for a dozen, which is the cheapest I’ve found. Only slightly cheaper than Costco though.

    It’s going to be a regular part of my repertoire.

    We had friends over for dinner on Easter (last minute) and our fridge is BARE, so we are winging it with meals this week.

    We continue to save water. Our rates are going up this summer (I am in California). So right now we use 4HCF a month. We have low flow showerheads, low flow toilet (we do not flush every time we urinate), the adults take “Navy showers” with a bucket in the shower. Or at least I do, not sure my husband does. We skip showering at least once a week, and I shower at the gym on my swim days. The boys get bathed 2x a week and we save some of their bathwater. I wash my veggies in a bowl and save that water too.

    We don’t have a garden really or grass, so the saved water goes to water our tangerine tree and our avocado tree (which hasn’t borne fruit yet). I do plan on putting tomatoes in pots this year, so it will go there too. I’m at a bit of a loss on how to further reduce water usage. I can “re-use” water on our plants, but we don’t really HAVE plants outdoors. But we’ve reduce our usage of “new” water quite a bit already. Aside from showering less? I work out daily though, so that’s not a major option.

  127. The LED bulbs have been going on sale around here for about $10 recently—I try to invest in one when I see a sale, if I have and extra $10 that week. They are slowly going down in price. I only have a few so far, but want to get more.

  128. Marcia,

    You can use the saved water to clean. I sometimes use it to clean my shower. Some people who have top loaders use it in their washing machine. I have a front loader for many reasons, and big one being that it uses much less water. Our ways of savings are like yours (even the 2 days a week for the children).

    If you don’t have landscaping, you are already saving quite a bit of water. If you did have some, using grey water from the washing machine (still illegal, but something more and more people are doing, especially in California) to water that would be another option.

    I don’t know what HCF is for measurements. Is that 4000 gallons? If so, that is pretty low for indoor water use for a family your size. I’ve been talking to families today who have no landscaping here (family of 4) and another (family of 2) who has cactus on drip irrigation (one day a week). They both use about 8000 to 9000 gallons a month. Both have top-loading washing machine, and low flow toilets, and showers (those are the law here).

  129. Mandy,

    I hope things have improved by the time you read this. My older cat had this issue in November to the tune of much more money than I care to admit (nearly $2,000). He hasn’t had any problems since (fingers crossed and prayers said). He eats only Hill’s c/d Oceanfish dry kibble. He won’t touch any wet food and you better not soak his kibble in water if you want him to eat it, but he’s fine with this particular flavor of kibble. You would think a 19 pound cat would not be particular about what he eats, but you would be wrong. Call Hill’s and ask for samples of their various flavors and/or coupons. Try the other companies as well. If you can’t get a sample of this particular flavor, leave a post with your e-mail address and I’ll e-mail you to get your street address to send you a few cups so you can try it on your cat. The important thing is that you keep him on the prescription food for his condition; buying a higher end food that is not formulated for this will not solve any problems and could result in future issues.

    Some vets think the wet food is bad for their teeth, others think the water content helps pets. It’s kind of like all the different diets recommended for humans!

    I also hope you can find a vet you like. I LOVE our current vets, a husband and wife team (with one additional part-time vet) who opened their practice about 4 or 5 years ago. They are good at their jobs, but empathetic and understanding if you can’t afford to spend every dollar you have on your pets, maybe because they have 2 children as well as their pets. We had been at our old practice for 20 years and multiple cats and it was great at first when the practice was smaller and the owner was one of the vets that saw patients. Over the years they have grown in size, the owner is there only one day a week, and none of the other vets have kids. They seemed to be of the mindset that if you are not going to extreme and costly measures to save your pet no matter what, you are a rotten, rotten person. I just couldn’t deal with that anymore and I’m so happy we changed.

    Again, good luck with your cat and do what you can to get him to drink (try a different bowl, maybe porcelain if you don’t have one now). My cats like the bubbly water fountain and anything spilled on the floor. Go figure.

  130. This past wk:
    -we had Easter dinner at home. Our daughters each invited friends who did not have Easter dinner at their homes. We went from 4 to 7. I made some chicken drumsticks in addition to our ham jic.
    -I found 12¢ and I returned bottles/cans for $3.20.
    -our oldest turned 20. We wanted to make it memorable so we sent her on a scavenger hunt w clues, puzzles , text and even a periodic table clue to lead her around our town. She picked up cupcakes(8 frozen themed cuz she’s still loves Disney), 2 books, flowers, scratch cards and plastic eggs. It all finished w eating lunch at a local bbq place.
    We used gift bags and tissue paper that I got on clearance to wrap her gift.
    -I used plastic eggs, fake grass,egg dye, and baskets that I’ve had for yrs and bought very cheaply for decor and Easter treats.
    -went local grocery store and bought $50 worth of stuff. Using in-store sales, electronic coupons added to my store card, coupons, military disc and ibotta I paid $13.
    -my biggest “accomplishment” is that I’ve convinced my hubby to do a one week trial of no cable. Being in a triple bundle and reducing to Internet would save us about $70. We have Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Don’t really use them fully so that’s wasted money. We are planning it for the 3rd wk of April when we will all be home.
    -I’m taking our daughters to visit my parents. Not frugal but necessary for me cuz I need the emotional support and some warmer weather. (CT to VA).
    Brandy..did you decide to make a chicken after all or find a reasonable price on ham?

    Ps. Your flower arrangements are beautiful!

  131. I have heard so many stories that scare me about socialized medicine – not having choices, long waits, etc. I don’t know how many of those things are true, but I personally feel much safer and in control of my health with our health care system. My husband just had both his hips replaced by the doctor he chose in the hospital he chose, in the time frame he selected. Our cost is $3000 total, because that is our maximum annual out of pocket cost. His insurance premiums are free. He works at a community college. I realize that people have different experiences, but we have had wonderful, affordable health care in the U.S, My husband had cancer a few years ago, and we paid $3,000 out of pocket that year also.

  132. I decided to cook a chicken, but as it turned out, we were all so full from lunch (we had a big meal with my parents and a late breakfast, too) that no one was really hungry for dinner! (I waited to cook the chicken until today instead). A few children said they wouldn’t mind a small bite , and I had a few small pieces of leftover homemade pizza from Friday, so I warmed them up and those who were hungry ate them!

    Sometimes simple is good enough!

    We ended up hosting for lunch (though we were invited for lunch) because it was super windy, and my mom had planned for us to eat outside (not so good in 35 mph winds). She has the same floor plan as I do but a smaller table, so I knew I would end up hosting–so I cut the flowers in the morning before I called her to see if she needed to do it at my house. I made salad and she made spaghetti! It was completely non-traditional. (Then again, my parents have a thing for not having traditional meals on holidays, so it kind of kept with their tradition of a nice but unusual meal for a holiday!)

  133. I am a Registered Nurse and I can say that with certainty that a hospital cannot refuse to treat you. That would be a violation of EMTALA laws for which there are very stiff penalties. A hospital that refuses to treat a patient can also have Medicare pull out and that would essentially close the hospital as most hospitals rely heavily on Medicare reimbursement.
    A hospital will elect to transfer you to another hospital if they don’t offer a service that is needed such as Open Heart Surgery but they have to stabilize the patient to the best of their ability prior to transfer.

  134. Mary, do you ever try pickling eggs? I use them in potato, macaroni or tuna salads and they keep a long time. You can also put some beet juice in the brine to make them a pretty pink.

  135. We pickle eggs all the time. Every time we finish a jar of pickled beets we put hard boiled eggs in. They turn a lovely pink. I also have a brine recipe that uses malt vinegar.

  136. Oh my goodness.. I just choked when I read that 178.00 a month.. ! I wish I could send you our water.. my back yard is like a swamp right now.. I have to wear wellies outside.. and I want to drain my pool cover, but my hose is not long enough to get it to the street so it will just flood the front yard!

    Sue in NJ

  137. Susan,

    Do you know how many gallons you used? Phoenix gets more than 4 times the rain that we do here, and I thought you had rain there in March? I watered the grass a couple of days a week in the month of March and my bill wasn’t nearly that high. In March we averaged 55 gallons per person per day, and that included my outdoor watering. For desert landscaping on a drip system, it shouldn’t be that high unless your rate is much, much higher than ours. That is more of a summer bill for me, and we have grass and more drip irrigation, plus 9 people in the house. I would be seriously looking for a leak. Drip irrigation uses very little water. Ask your neighbors what is normal for a bill in your area.

    For trees only, you should be able to water just 2 days a week right now. How long will depend on the type of drippers. Ask at the local nursery. The water district likes to tell people here to water for over an hour at a time on drip, but it depends on what KIND of drip. I am only watering the front yard for 2 minutes at time, a couple of times a day, three days a week. In winter I water only 4 minutes total a week in the front yard (it’s full shade all winter). In the backyard I go a little longer in the sunnier areas.; I’ll do 5 minutes a watering in the spring on the drip. The ground around your trees should not be soaking. It could be that the previous owners have it set to every day (a summer setting) and you can just change your sprinkler clock to fewer days and shorter times for the spring weather.

  138. Mandy,
    Look for a new vet. The one we have is beyond awesome! When we had to put a pet down last year, they sent us a sympathy card that each member of the team signed with a memory of our dog. Brought us to tears they were so sweet. Best of luck to your fur baby.

  139. I love making jam. I remember the first time I made it, I looked at the jars lined up in the pantry, and I thought it looked like a stained glass window in a jar.

  140. You can also use your saved water to flush the toilet.

    When we were in drought conditions and lost our water tank (we’re completely self-sufficient for our water and can use only the water we capture, so when we lost our water tank that meant no water) we got very good at using every bit of water at least twice before it went down the drain. It can be done. How much you want to do it will depend on how squeamish you are!

  141. So sweet of you to include your daughters’ friends for Easter. I’m sure they appreciated it. Good luck on your trial week of no cable!

  142. well that worked out great! Kept your tradition of nontraditional meals, used up leftovers and were able to keep your chicken for a diff nights meal! Way to go!:D

  143. Thanks debby! It’s a blessing to share holidays w/ others.
    Can’t wait to do the trial. Nervous but excited. It’s always just been something we’ve had.

  144. We were out of town for a few days, so I did not do a Frugal Accomplishments post this week. What a pleasure it’s been catching up on what everyone else has been up to. I love that your creative thinking saved Ivory’s stained dress… a perfect example of frugal ingenuity!

  145. Darlene, our Stanley thermos is one of the few things my husband had even before we met (and we’ve been together nearly 30 years!). He used to have a job with the state where he had to travel from one end to the other, which was a lot of driving. He always had hot coffee. Not only do we still do this for road trips, but we use our Stanley every day. We are low-tech for making coffee (use a Chemex). After the water boils, we put some in the thermos to heat it up, while we make the coffee. Then we transfer the coffee to the thermos, which keeps it hot all day. Enjoy your Stanley!

  146. Brandy,
    Your table looks beautiful! Did Winter use a specific type of hole punch to create the lacy effect on the baskets? Also, what variety roses are the yellow and peach ones? They look a little like David Austin roses, but a bit smaller.
    Thanks as always for the inspiration!

  147. She used one of those Martha Stewart lace punches. There are a whole bunch of different ones. This is an older one but I think they still make this one–plus prettier ones, too.

    The yellow and pink roses are David Austin roses. The yellow ones are Graham Thomas and the pink ones are The Shepherdess. At my last house I had Abraham Darby. I would love to have those again, but the nurseries don’t have them anymore, so I have to order bareroots, and those can only be planted here in January because it is too warm for bareroots here. They don’t do well here; I have had most of them die. I wish I could get potted plants here; I would have more of them!

    The white ones are floribundas–they are Iceberg. These repeat flower so well all year long.

  148. No, they would not refuse. Doctors and hospitals here treat the uninsured all the time at a loss to them. They work out payment plans along with giving discounts. Oft times a bill will be written off completely. This happened with my oldest when he was in school and uninsured…he had appendicitis and had surgery and no bills from doctors or hospital. Hospitals have charitable foundations set up for that reason.

    Also, as re’ a cancer diagnosis ( or other major illness) question, the hospital will work with the state to get coverage from Medical Assistance for the duration of the illness/treatment. We just saw this at church with a man diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer (non-smoker, his only complaint was he felt tired) and he was immediately started on treatment and the state worker had his coverage back dated.

    I did a search on the internet and there are many, many sites devoted to how Canadians (by Canadians) can get into the US and have the care and surgery done that they are not able to in their own country due to long waits. There were many sites also for medical tourism from Canada to other (non US) countries.

    We have all been able to get insurance now due to the ACA, which we never were able to up until it went into effect. It covers my husband and the youngest 3. The older two are employed and insured/insured through a spouse. My insurance is separate due to the RA but it is not a family coverage type policy.

    No country is perfect in every way.

  149. How clever to swap flavors to help each other out. When my hubby an I first got married things were tight. We had some good friends going through some financial struggles too. The four of us would get together for fun and it was always frugal. Cards or other games like horse shoes in the back yard. We would take turns cooking dinner for each other too. Nothing fancy but it was great to have someone who understands why you can’t afford to go out to eat…

  150. If my family lived in the US, my father would never have received a diagnosis of pre-cancerous cells (cells that could turn into cancer if left untreated) in his esophagus, my father-in-law would not have been able to afford kidney dialysis to treat his kidney failure (and if he had, my MIL would be in severe debt right now), and my daughter would not be seeing a psychiatrist on a regular basis to help treat her numerous issues with her ADHD and Asperger’s. I would never have been able to afford having a gastric bypass, which helped me loose ~100lbs. Because of this surgery, I no longer need to take several medications plus insulin to control my diabetes as well as meds for high blood pressure, which cost over $400 each month. I have maintained my weight loss for over 2 years now. I am much healthier because of this surgery, and I only take a daily regime of vitamins as a result of it (way cheaper than the prescription!).

    Yes, there are wait times, according to the services needed. Our hospital emergencies see patients according to their seriousness, not first come first serve. If I came in with a heart attack, I would be seem before the person with a broken leg, regardless of how long they were waiting. A person with a broken leg has a lower risk of dying than a heart attack patient. I wouldn’t be surprised this is how your hospitals treat as well. When I go to the emergency with a non-life threatening illness, I expect to wait upwards of 4 hours. But I don’t walk out with a panic attack wondering how I will pay a whopping medical bill either.

    Because we don’t have to pay to see a Dr., many serious illnesses are often caught earlier, therefore increasing our chances of surviving the illness. For example, many of the people who commented stated they knew someone with stage 4 cancer. The likelihood is that this would have been caught earlier had they went to the Dr.’s when the symptoms first started. Because you have to pay, people tend to sit on a problem until it is too unbearable to deal with anymore (completely understandable). However, by then, there may be little that Dr.’s can do to treat. In Canada, we tend to go to the Dr.’s more quickly (and if we don’t, we only have ourselves to blame). As a result, there is a higher number of patients being diagnosed in earlier stages of serious illnesses. This creates a longer line of people needing the service of specialists. The specialists can only handle so many cases, so sometimes there are wait times or delays in receiving these needed services due to high demands for them.

    Is our system perfect? Absolutely NOT! Any Canadian can give you a long list of problems with our healthcare system. But in comparison, I have to stand by my original comment…I am really, truly grateful for the healthcare system we do have in Canada, despite its many flaws. No one in my family will die or suffer from illness unnecessarily because of lack of finances or good healthcare coverage. I will not die and leave my family in financial ruins because we chose to treat a serious illness. I honestly never knew how much of a blessing this was until I read the comments that everyone posted. No words can express how humbled I am by your stories. Thank you to all of you for enlightening me on this issue.

  151. HCF stands for hundred cubic feet, equal to 748 gallons (at least according to Wikipedia).
    On this basis, 4 HCF would equal around 3000 gallons.

  152. Brandy, I’m jealous you can have those roses at all! I’ve given up on most roses for my garden because they usually get black spot on the leaf (if I recall correctly, it’s a fungus). There is a type of rose I can buy and I have two dark pink plants in my yard – don’t remember the name, but they are very resistant to most diseases that take hold in our humid summers, something with which you don’t contend.

    I’m curious about the difference in planting the bareroot plants in January and the potted plants, why there is a difference, and when you can plant the potted plants versus the bareroot. That’s something with which we don’t contend here since we actually have a cold winter and the ground would either be frozen or snow covered. I hope you can explain that. Thanks.

  153. Thanks both for the idea of pickling the eggs. I have some pickle brine I can use for the remaining eggs. I hadn’t thought about pickled eggs in years – my grandfather loved them!

  154. I learned about the bareroot problem in the classes I took here from the extension office. The ground does not freeze here and it is not very cold in winter; we usualy get about 2 freezes where plants freeze (lows around 28º, but a couple of years we had them at 22º). I actually prune my roses in December/January and then take off all of the remaining leaves to force the plant to go dormant for a couple of weeks (something else I learned in my classes). That helps with disease, too. It isn’t cold enough for them to go dormant on their own.

    Bareroots need to be planted when it is cold, and it is usually too warm for them here. I learned that in classes but have also learned by experience–sometimes, even in January, they don’t take, and February is a big risk. Our last frost date is February 15th; I can put out tomatoes then.

  155. I am in north central Texas, Roxie, and we are in the same situation as you guys with water & drought. It’s ridiculous! We’ve had a lot of rain lately, but so many lakes are low. I’m thankful that we personally (where we live) are not as bad off as some areas. I see headlines about Wichita Falls & Mineral Wells only having a year’s supply of water left before they run out. 🙁

  156. Hi Brandy, I’m catching up on all your blogs and find your Easter basket set up for the children to be stunning. It’s still a treat while but not overboard. In the future I’d like to a do a little ‘less is more’ with holidays where Hallmark seems to be the main star instead of Religion. This past week I went on a trip to LA for work, it was the first time I had traveled in quite a while and I was happy that my company picked up most of the expenses. It made it affordable along with educational and fun. I’ve come back with some perspective on things about being more grateful for the things I have,and how I’ve grown where planted. I think for the rest of this month I’ll be focusing on enjoying our space and yard more. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!
    -Ashley

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