Frugal Accomplishments

The Garden in Bloom and How We Saved Money the First Week of March

When I sit at the table to eat, this apricot tree in bloom is what I can see out the window. It’s been a long time since I’ve shared some images of the garden behind my house, and right now it is absolutely incredible, so I’ve filled this post with them.

Here are the ways we saved money this past week:

My husband taught my eldest son how to unclog the tub drain.

He also did some repair work to our house.

I harvested asparagus spears, rosemary, beet greens, green onions, and lemons from the garden.

I planted green onion seeds in the garden that I had collected from my own onions and Armenian cucumber seeds that I had also collected from my garden. I also sowed seeds for lettuce, spinach, and chives in the garden.

I went to Winco and purchased broccoli crowns for the unbelievably low price of $0.68 a pound. I had just been to Walmart before that to pick up a prescription and broccoli there was $1.77 a pound. The two stores are a block apart. I am grateful to live where there are enough stores close enough for competition. Winco doesn’t pay for sales flyers in order to keep their prices lower, and their sales might only be for a few days when they have an excess of something, so you never know what deals you might find, if any. I just keep my price points in mind and look for specials. This price is one I haven’t seen for years. If I had more time and energy this week, I would have bought more to blanch and freeze. I have a busy week and I’ve been ill, so I just bought three very large bags of broccoli.

While there, I compared the price of pinto beans with the price at Sam’s Club. The last time I checked, Sam’s Club had a lower price. Now, Winco is lower–by 19 cents a pound! Sam’s Club recently (in the last two months) quit carrying several items that made my membership there worth it. Every few years, I compare prices with Costco to see if I should switch. This year, I will reevaluate again and see if I should make the switch. I’m doing a lot more of my grocery shopping at Winco. I do a bit on loss leaders at Smith’s and Albertson’s. I’m also reevaluating what items we purchase and eat in order to keep the grocery budget low.

I made all meals at home except one, including frittata; homemade pizza; rosemary pork roast with wedge potatoes, broccoli, and homemade steak sauce; cheese paninis with leftover pork; Dutch babies (puffed pancakes) with peaches from our freezer; black bean soup; oatmeal; several breakfasts of eggs; roast chicken thighs and broccoli; chicken soup with leftover chicken and the broth from roasting the chicken; bean burritos; and several salads.

The one meal out was a date night for my husband and I. We split a personal pizza at Blaze and both had water to drink. I love that you can pick all the toppings you want there, and you can even split the pizza toppings in half, so we each got what we wanted for less money and fewer calories. Our date night out cost us $9.75. We try to have one date out a month, but sometimes we go a couple of months before we get a chance to go out. Usually, we go out for lunch, and we also usually split a meal.

I polished a pair of shoes that I just had repaired.

What did you do to save money last week?

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156 Comments

  1. This has been a week of trying to see how many ways I can use what I already have at home. I made a giant batch of muffin mix. https://pin.it/3Lixd1c . Then I measured out 2-3/4 cups of mix into some quart size mason jars to make about 14 muffins from. Because the basic recipe uses powdered milk, when I make the batter up using the mix, I add water (not milk) to it! I decided to make a variety of muffin flavors. I used a quart jar of banana slices I had dehydrated and made banana walnut muffins just by diving up the dried bananas with my mini food processor! I also made carrot/raisin muffin mix by using some dehydrated carrot dices from the Family Home Storage Center. I made Chocolate Chip Chocolate muffin mix and also Lemon poppyseed muffin mix. I discovered I had 3 boxes of instant lemon pudding mix tucked away in my cupboard and this was a great way to use it up! https://pin.it/5F0bBnO.
    I also made 24 Breakfast Burritos using sausage I got about 2 months ago on sale along with eggs from our chickens! https://pin.it/pADIDkF market .
    Feeling inspired, and since we used a jar of our copycat Stovetop stuffing mix this week, I dried 3 more cookie sheets’ worth of leftover bread I cut into cubes to vacuum seal up more quart jars of the dried cubes to replenish my inventory! https://pin.it/2ClW0k7
    I got 2 three pound bags of already diced bell peppers, so I took a bit and added my home-canned tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeño and poblano peppers I had previously frozen from my garden and spices, put them in the blender and made a quart mason jar full of fresh salsa that is delicious! The rest of the 2 bags of diced bell peppers got loaded into my dehydrator! How I love seeing my pantry grow from these simple and cheap or free ingredients! https://pin.it/5NMVks3
    A friend I met 2 years ago online in a frugal group (and lives about 40 minutes from me) stopped over and brought me about 20 pounds of shredded coconut (in 7.5 ounce bags ) that she got in a local online auction for $1 total! When I heard she had won the bid, I congratulated her and, in passing, said that I was hoping to find a good deal because I had been out of coconut for about 6 months! She said that it was way more than she wanted but for a dollar, she couldn’t resist it! https://pin.it/1yTE5gj. She also got a 20 pound box of Noodle Seasoning that only has 4 ingredients so she filled a gallon ziploc and gave that to me. You can see it in the link above along with the coconut! My little Foodsaver has been busy this week!!
    In these “interesting” times nationally and globally, it is a source of comfort that we have that security of having a well-stocked pantry and that we haven’t had to panic trying to figure out what we would need to buy if we were not able to leave home or if our stores were depleted (ours aren’t at this point). So, our trips to stores are few and only to buy things that are on a great sale that we could use to replenish what we have (that we’ve been using). So, for us, it’s just a normal time. Hope none of you find yourselves in areas that are in crisis! I’ve worried about how LV is being affected- if tourism is noticeably down?
    By using my bank’s MC for my everyday purchases that are already budgeted- the “squishy” things (food, gas, gifts, etc)- I earned enough rewards points to transfer another $10 into my savings account and will pay the MC balance off before the next payday, of course, so I won’t have any interest to pay!
    We just had a total surprise from Hubs employer (he retired May 31st last year). He is getting a bonus for those 5 months of $1500!! After tithing, the balance will be divided and 50% will go into savings and 50% towards extra principal payments on mortgage!! WhooHoo! It comes to us this Thursday!!
    While I am still not done with my scrappy Sheet of stamps king size quilt top yet, I was asked if I would be willing to donate a queen size quilt for Pelatonia (a group that raises money for cancer research here locally at OSU that 100% of money goes directly there). I am honored to be able to donate a quilt for this charity. Cancer research is close to my heart , having my oldest son battling stage 3 colon cancer for a year now. (He’s going to have an ostomy reversal in a couple weeks and prognosis is good!❤️ Btw- he’s only 45 with no family history of colon cancer! Please get your routine colonoscopies! It’s important!)
    Well, a busy week for sure and it’s warm enough today to do some cold hardy Spring veggie planting in my raised beds. Hope everyone has had and will have a provident and frugal week!
    Gardenpat in Ohio
    HandmadeinOldeTowne.com

    1. Have you ever heard or had problems with old thread in your sewing machine? I sew for fun and never buy supplies. I am given supplies of thread, fabric, and notions often. My thread is between 50 to 70 years old. Lately, the thread breaks more often or doesn’t come out right on the back of what I am sewing. I have a rule that my hobbies should not cost money. Maybe it is human error. Any thoughts?

      1. Try pulling the thread between your hands. If it snaps easily, do not use it for seams that bear a lot of stress, and if it’s very fragile save it for hand sewing decorative stitches or topstitching. I get a lot of donated thread, and some old thread is fine and some is not. Test before using. If you are seeing issues on the back of your seams, that’s a tension issue. Start by rethreading your machine; most of the time that solves it. If that doesn’t solve it, change the needle and make sure it’s the right needle and thread for the material you are sewing. You may also need to adjust stitch length and tension depending on the material.

        1. Also, does it matter if the top thread and the bobbin thread are not the same, such as one cotton and one poly-blend?

          1. I think old workhorse sewing machines, like mine, are more forgiving than newer ones. I’ve used up so much old thread in my life that I’m sure I’ve mixed them up numerous times without knowing, and without any problems. I discard old cotton thread when it starts to lint. Also, I’ve discarded newer thread (Coats & Clark) because the thread repeatedly changed winding direction on the spool.

      2. I agree with Colleen and Brandi. The top and bottom threads definitely need to be the same. Unless you’ve recently readjusted the tension it doesn’t sound like human error. If rethreading the machine doesn’t solve it then it’s most likely due to the old thread. I find readjusting the tension mostly to do more harm than good unless you use radically different threads and fabrics on a regular basis.

      1. Most of the thread that I got after my Mom died had this problem. I threw it away. It’s too much work to sew and have the item fall apart later because the thread was bad. Brandy orders thread from Wawak. It’s much cheaper.

      2. Elizabeth H.- He just heard today from the surgeon that his ostomy reverse surgery will be this coming Monday! He will probably stay in the hospital for a full week while they monitor for infections, leaks, etc. We are all overjoyed that it is going so well! Of course, through it all he has kept his sense of humor! His favorite T-shirt to wear says “ Chemo- finally a weight loss program that works!” And please understand. I don’t mean to minimize the seriousness or pain that cancer and it’s treatments cause to any of you touched by this dread disease! This is just the way our family deals with something hard! Our question to anyone of our family after they have some devastating and often unexpected event is: “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play.” Irreverent? Yes. But, for us, in our family, it’s a way of acknowledging that something horrendous just happened that there’s no easy fix for and basically promising that person that whatever the challenge, it’s not insurmountable and that we are there to support them along the way. Hope that wasn’t too much information!

    2. Two great ideas for me here. I’m not fond of dried banana chips, but inherited a can of them from my Mom. I’d never thought of grinding them up for banana muffins or bread, so will do that. Do you rehydrate them first, or just add more moisture? The idea about the bread cubes for stuffing is one I will do as well. I’ve got enough bread crumbs made already, so will do this with the next round of bread ends. Thanks, Gardenpat!

      1. Laurie in Central NC- No, I didn’t rehydrate the banana chips before I ground them up in food processor. Neither did I add extra liquid to my batter. They seemed delicious to us! We pick up bread, bagels and pastries from a local shop once a week for our Church members in need. Often there are bits and pieces left over. Rather than have them go to waste, I try to find ways to turn them into something useful. Bread cubes seemed like a natural with odd already sliced pieces of bread!

  2. I cancelled a subscription to Weightwatchers online. Although I do like the resources and support, I find that I actually just follow an old Weightwatchers program when I am watching what I eat. This will save $25 Cdn a month.

    A small check that I was expecting last week didn’t arrive until too late to take advantage of the 10% customer appreciation day at a local grocery store. I waited until this morning to shop at the other store in town using a newer flyer. I only spent $38 Cdn (about $30 US). I bought enough to do me for a couple of weeks, with some excellent prices. No stocking up, but I should be able to avoid using what is already stocked up.

    So lovely to see your backyard, especially fruit tree blossoms and daffodils. I love spring flowers, even when we have a couple of months to go before we see them here.

    1. Elizabeth, I hope I am not over stepping but I adore Skinnytaste.com to do WW with (without belonging tomWW). It helps me stay accountable,

      1. Thanks, Jenifer! I think this will definitely help with meal planning. It looks like it has some great ideas for recipes that fit.

  3. We are boiling down maple sap to make syrup here. After a week of on-and-off collecting and boiling, we’ve already made three and a half gallons of syrup; over $200 worth! I feel like it was a great deal since we borrowed most of the equipment and both work from home (therefore, nobody missed work). We burned all scrap wood, so that didn’t cost anything either, plus we were able to clean up the front yard and grove of trees in the back of our property.

  4. Okay, when I read that you sit at your table and can see your apricot tree in bloom, I started singing “Popcorn Popping”!

    1. Sherri: I had to look up that song. That is fun!
      I also looked up the “Loveliest of Trees” poem by Housman, to remind myself to take my time looking around as spring seems to be coming early and wet where I am.

  5. My mother in law came over for dinner and brought Romain lettuce. Later that week, she went shopping with my husband and son. She purchased several fresh produce items for us that will last at least 10 days. She also bought a pirate ship kite there for my son, which he was delighted with! I bought a few things off of our neighborhood website, including practically new roller blades for my son for $5, a child’s size name brand wetsuit for $5 and two brand new boogie boards for $5 each. A trip to the thrift store resulted in a brand new large jar Yankee Candle for $7, which will be a Mother’s Day gift for my mother in law. We are also waiting for our refi mortgage to go through. They had initially told us that we had an appraisal waiver, but the loan company wants one. Because of the error, our broker is paying for it…which will save us $500.00! We are also being diligent about not letting food go to waste.

  6. Gorgeous photos, Brandy! And I didn’t realize you grew asparagus! Wow, your garden never fails to impress me!

    My frugal accomplishments this week:
    – I made Preservative-Free Shortcut “Everything” Bagels (http://approachingfood.com/preservative-free-shortcut-everything-bagels/), and served them when I hosted a playdate at my home. I used the leftover egg wash to make an omelette for my daughter
    – I spent less than $12 on the flash food app, and got two large tubs of roasted red pepper hummus (perfect for easy lunches for the week for my daughter and I) and a box of produce (containing 8 avocados, 5 red peppers, and a whole bunch of apples – definitely worth the $5!)
    – I baked several loaves of bread, as well as a large batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I sent the cookies into work with my husband for a meeting. I also made a crème caramel flan (http://approachingfood.com/tapas-party-caramel-toffee-flan/) for my husband, instead of a birthday cake.
    – I made guacamole using the avocados in my inexpensive produce box, and served it with burritos made with TVP and homemade taco spice mix.
    – I stocked up on cheese while it was on sale, grated and froze some, and froze the rest whole.
    – I created a new toy for my daughter to help her learn her colours (and eventually to help her sort her colours) by putting my saved vintage buttons into a Ziploc bag and sealing and reinforcing the corners with packing tape. Then I ask her to find a certain colour button. When she is a bit older, she can use it to sort the buttons into different colours.
    – I sprouted mung beans and made fried rice, using a $1 bag of coleslaw mix that was on sale.
    – I made Brandy’s black bean burgers (using homemade bread crumbs) and served them on homemade hamburger buns. I topped them with guacamole made from the inexpensive avocados I got this week in my flash food box.
    – There was an issue with one of the wheels on my daughter’s stroller, so I called the manufacturer, and had them send out a replacement wheel for free.
    – I submitted a receipt for a cereal promo, to get a $5 gc.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for $10 to my paypal account.

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

    1. We have a recipe that varies a little from the crème caramel flan. Condensed milk pudding. Easy and always a success. Does not use vanilla or table cream. And we use hot water in the syrup. I use 1 shallow spoon of cornstarch in the dough and half the sugar. I also make the pudding in the pan because my stove is gas. Politicians have almost doubled the price of gas, and using the oven means buying gas ahead of time. So I use the oven with prudence. Image of the pudding pot at https://http2.mlstatic.com/conjunto-forma-pudim-banho-maria-e-panela-de-aluminio-2-x-1-D_NQ_NP_996224-MLB31814551265_082019-O.webp
      If anyone wants to taste the recipe https://www.brazilianchef.co.uk/condensed-milk-pudding

  7. Tell me again why fences in Las Vegas are concrete blocks, Is it that wooden fences wouldn’t last in your weather? I’ve only lived in MS and Houston TX and have never seen fences like that. You told me once months ago and I just don’t remember.
    As to frugal shopping this week I bought jewelry at local liquidation store. They sell salvage/overruns/clearance from national chain with bullseye. Got $17 necklaces for 10 cents. 99,5% off retail. I paid 1/2 of 1%. Bought for myself and to give away. Will use for niece’s Easter Basket and friends’ upcoming birthdays and retirements.
    So wanted to go to Nashville a few weeks ago for Papyrus warehouse sale. $5-$12 greetings cards for only 10 cents. But I decided 4+ hours one way was too far. It’s the act of sending the card that friends/family appreciate so they don’t care if they are 50centers from Dolkar Tree. But I sure wanted to go.

    1. Wooden fences will disintegrate in the sun and heat here in just a couple of years. The home builders build housing tracts with cinderblock walls. They’re ugly and they house roaches, but they last well without any maintenance, which is great.

      1. In Florida they build houses & other structures out of concrete blocks. My condo is made like this. Not the most attractive building material but built to withstand hurricaines, floods, & heat. My inside walls are concrete too. I don’t see many wood fences here either.

          1. Most block walls are not stuccoed here, unless it’s a more expensive housing tract. Humidity is not an issue in the desert.

  8. My husband was gone all week, only getting home last night, so I never left the house and ate whatever I could cobble together from the fridge and freezer. I didn’t feel like expending the energy to cook, so two different nights I ate popcorn and a glass of milk! Not good on a regular basis, but every so often it is fine. Another night it was a fruit salad made from apples, oranges and some cherries I had canned last summer. All in all, between no gas used since I stayed home, and eating only stuff we already have, it was a pretty thrifty week!

    I have used Drop and Ibotta and Fetch, but never really kept tabs on what I had sitting in them in terms of points. I don’t buy a lot of name brands but still every little bit counts. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to cash out over $150. worth of gift cards total. Then I went to My Points account and had another $100 gift card I could cash out for, with a bit left over in the account since what was left was not enough to get another gift card. I also have a credit card that allows you to turn in your points for credit. It is the only card we use and we pay in full every month, and I was stunned to see that we could get cash back for $375! So I didn’t work a regular job this week, but I made $625! I purposely don’t look at the amounts every week because it depresses me, but done this way I feel pretty good about using the apps even if it “for only 10 cents.”

    When husband got home, he brought home all the soaps and left over containers of shampoo from his various hotels. The company he works for on a consulting basis always puts him up at the best hotels, ones where they have breakfasts plus in the evenings they have a counter full of different soups and cookies. He ate at the hotel twice a day and his meetings gave free lunches, so he had not spent a dime of the per diem they give him; whatever he doesn’t spend he gets to keep. So, besides being paid well for the job, he was gone for six days and for each day he got $125 for food that he didn’t spend. That is $750 extra I had not planned for and it is going directly into our sinking fund for next time we need a new vehicle.

    While he was gone, I made a bunch of crumpets and English muffins and froze them for the future. I also pulled out all the small packets of frozen fruits we had—some from last summer’s garden, and some from stuff I purchased at a good sale price. There was not a lot of each but they equaled quite a bit when mixed together, so I used it all to make a “freezer garbage fruit pie” that was delicious. Turns out you can mix cranberries, honeyberries, raspberries and strawberries together with a tasty result. My husband loves pie about all desserts but I rarely make it because if we have it around, we over eat. However, after a week of working I wanted to welcome him home with a pie.

    Thawed pumpkin pulp from last summer’s garden and made dog biscuits for the pound hound we got recently who did a nice job barking like a maniac when someone dared to come near the house, including a mama moose and her baby. They were not scared of him barking at them through the window and I got to go outside and get some nice pictures of them eating down my favorite lilac tree. It has been in the 30 below or more for several weeks and they must be desperate for something to eat; it warmed up yesterday and they were all over the neighborhood. (The backyards on our street border a river (now frozen solid, of course) and beyond that are federally protected woods, so the moose live there and walk across the river when they get bored or extra hungry. Bushes are a favorite.)

    It was a nice quiet week and I got a lot of reading done. I am afraid that one night I engaged in Binge Infidelity, watching a series all by myself instead of waiting for the husband to watch it with me. I told him and ended up laughing hysterically when he confessed that he streamed the very same program on two of the nights he did not have evening commitments!

    1. I’ve written a few things that may be of help to you:

      How to Eat for Less and Build Your Pantry
      http://theprudenthomemaker.com/live/eat-for-less-and-build-your-pantry/

      A Well-Stocked Pantry: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/a-well-stocked-pantry/

      Living On Our Food Storage: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/living-on-our-food-storage/

      Put Together a 72-Hour Kit for Less: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/put-together-a-72-hour-kit-for-less-1/

  9. I’ve had frittata on my mind, and made one for dinner tonight. Must be in the air. Several containers of my winter sown seeds are sprouting. I harvested broccoli and oregano last week, and found several sprigs of usnea to add to the tincture jar. I tried roasting carrots for the first time, and we really enjoyed them. Nice to have an inexpensive vegetable option, with something that is pretty much always in our fridge. I sprouted alfalfa, and made almond milk. I hope you are quickly back to good health. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2020/03/making-almond-milk-frugal.html

  10. Your garden pictures are beautiful! So many things are coming into bloom in my area, including the flowering trees and azaleas all over town. The no-chill daffodils that I planted in December when the ground temperature finally got cold enough have come up but I do not have one daffodil yet, not even buds. I’m losing confidence in my ability to grow them in this area and I have not seen them in anyone else’s yard so I’ll just have to wait and see. Maybe next year if they develop good roots this year.

    My biggest money saver, which actually cost money, was signing a contract for a wedding venue for my daughter. The wedding is not until November, 2021, but apparently all the good places go a year or more in advance and this one was already booked for several events that month but we got the day they wanted. It will be an afternoon wedding because they want to do things afterwards, including playing mini golf at their favorite course in their wedding finery. You can do that when you get married in Myrtle Beach! They went to college and worked in the area after they graduated so they are very familiar with the town. The venue, a renovated train station, is on the National Historic Buildings Registry and owned by the city; the total cost is under $1,000 for 5 hours plus one hour each for set up and clean up and the cost of a janitor (because there is no way I am cleaning the place after my daughter’s wedding!) Tables and chairs are included and will be set up by their staff according to whatever plan the bridal couple wants. I say this was a money saver because we looked online at other places and their costs were a minimum of 50% more for less time. They also need to provide their own caterer and we will likely be making most of the food and/or buying platters from Publix. I will be seeing her in mid-April and we’ll take an hour or two to discuss it and talk to his parents about their ideas (if they have any). Fortunately, we have a lot of time but both my daughter and I are planners.

    I switched from flannel sheets to cotton because it’s warming up now and the flannel was too hot at night. They definitely take less time to dry so I save electricity there. All other laundry was hung up when it was partially dry, also saving electricity.

    The other savings this week were the usual. Heat was turned off and windows opened several days when the weather was warm enough. I stayed at home several days. I listened to books through my ScribD subscription while I worked around the house and on the sampler quilt for my “Learn to Quilt” class. Most meals were eaten at home (Chicken Caprese, spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf meatballs with a stuffed potato that I had in the freezer, quiche, salads, and quesadillas. I didn’t buy many groceries, but did pick up a large container of local strawberries today and will be using them in overnight french toast, milkshakes, with shortcake, and in tossed salads; honestly, strawberries and goat cheese in my salad practically make it a dessert. I did grab a couple fast food meals but I can live with that.

    JoJo posted on last week’s frugal accomplishments and asked me what eyebrow product I bought because she is looking for one as well. It’s Wow Brow by Elf. I like it because it helps to fill in my thinning eyebrows but if anyone else has suggestions, feel free to leave them. I’m open to trying something else as well. This is the type that goes on with a mascara type wand and I do like it better than the powder I was using.

    Have a great, frugal week everyone.

    1. Are the daffodils marked for zones 8 and 9? That’s what you need. Also, you need to add bone meal at least if not more fertilizer to them three times a year. They make all the leaves before the daffodils finally pop up through the middle. In order for them to rebloom, you need to let the leaves die back completely, which takes several months.

      1. Thanks for the feedback. Yes, they are marked for zones 8 and 9 and said no chill needed. I added the bone meal when I planted them and the leaves are up so it’s possible the flowers will follow. I’ve grown them for decades in Maryland and know about letting them die back. I’m wondering if it’s just too wet because we got several inches of rain in one day several times over the winter. I just may have to concentrate on other flowers. As my sister keeps saying “It’s different here”.

    2. If your eyebrows are thinning have you had your thyroid checked? Thinning eyebrows is one sign of low thyroid. Just a thought!

      1. Yes — that is one of the first signs I had that my thyroid was malfunctioning — that and perpetually cold hands. Ice cold hands.

        1. Thanks to both of you. I will ask about that the next time I go to the doctor. Looking at symptoms listed for thyroid issues, that would be my only one so I tend to discount it but won’t know for sure until it is checked. Thanks again.

  11. We have arrived safely home from our vacation and without issues. The cruise was paid for with a chunk from swagbucks. But, travel expenses to and fro seem to add up. I bought discounted airport parking from Groupon after all my other alternatives fell through. Each time we needed a luggage cart from the vending machine , I carefully observed my surroundings. I located abandoned carts in the terminal 3 separate times instead of paying 5 to 7 dollars each time. I quickly downloaded the Uber app to my phone after seeing what taxi’s cost . That saved me $50.00. We boarded the ship first in line so we could eat instead of buying breakfast. We also disembarked last so we could enjoy a lovely free meal before we traveled to the airport. Sugar cookie had the greatest moment of her life swimming with the dolphins. I was offered a photo package of her adventure. I declined repeatedly before settling on a price and saving myself 75% over the asking price. While in Mexico , we walked down the street to the local Walmart. I bought 2 t-shirts for $7.00. They were much better quality than what the street vendors were selling. I stopped in a local pharmacy and bought a supply of various medications. That was quite an enlightening shopping trip. So now that we are home, I am back to our regular saving tactics. I found canned Salmon at Aldi’s for $2.29 . That’s almost half price . I bought 24 cans. I loved the 2024 expiration date. I was amazed to hear Henry had required a case of diapers. But , I took a gift card from swagbucks and sent him 4 cases from Amazon. It took awhile to configure my purchase but I received $20.00 off a 100.00 purchase and another $20.00 from the subscribe and save discount. I took the $40.00 I saved on the diapers and used it with a $15.00 coupon off a $50.00 household purchase and sent some household items to a friend. After struggling for the last 5 years, I have the greatest compassion for those who struggle so terribly. It is a great blessing to share my swagbucks with those who truly can use it. Both these families rely on food banks solely . Love makes the world go round.

    1. Lillianna,

      I love how you consistently help with Henry’s needs. Too often I find myself expecting others to make right choices without realizing there is help needed so those choices can be adhered to. Of course it was easier when I was working, but little ways can mean so much and provide such encouragement. You are a blessing.

      Trish

      1. My son and I had a long conversation about the diapers. I was shocked that he had none. My son reminded me of how poor they are. He suggested at some point that she may have sold them to cover a light bill. I love that he is so kind and caring. We agreed to just buy more and not worry about it. Perhaps I miscalculated with my wonky head injury. Either way out concern is just that he is taken care of. He’s teething something awful. Today I dropped off items to treat his diaper rash. ( teething ?) . He’s out of Tylenol so I’ll pick up some tomorrow. I’m grateful my salvage store carries it. At my age we really need so very little in life. I spend maybe $30 a month on him and he is well worth it. I picked him up a little tyke car for $5.00 she sent me a video of him pushing it. It’s just priceless. During my hardest times in life it has been the kindness of strangers that touched me often.

  12. It’s so nice to see your pictures of spring! We have had an unusually warm winter and are beginning to see shoots of spring plants coming up. Snowdrops are blooming, but nothing else so far.

    Personally, I spent the last couple weeks in the hospital because of a sudden onset of congestive heart failure, followed by transfer to another hospital where I received a coronary artery stent. (I have 4 other stents in arteries outside the heart.) I have a family history of heart disease on both sides of the family, and have been pretty compliant with my diet and medications. At 77, my body is showing the wear and tear of 50 years of high blood pressure. I am pleased to report everything is going well now, and I am recovering quickly.

    Today I even had enough energy to clean out a drawer in my husband’s dresser, removing some too-small clothing and putting some of the next size into the drawer. On his doctor’s recommendation, he has gained some weight. And, I must say, has enjoyed doing it! I have to watch myself so that I don’t eat as many snacks and desserts as he does.

    My daughter stayed with my husband while I was away, although she had the flu part of the time. She Lysoled my house all over and even wore a mask so her Dad didn’t get sick too. So far he is flu-free. He was looking for me around the house and it took him a couple days to remember where I was. She couldn’t go to visit me, and she was afraid he might be incubating the flu, so we make do with Skype. It helped him to be able to see me and talk to me, although his conversation is limited. He was very, very pleased to see me when I got back! And he is happily enjoying a cooked meal every night–my daughter just wasn’t feeling well enough to do much cooking, although she did her best.

    As for frugality, my insurance should cover all in-patient costs. I will owe $10 for phone and TV at the first hospital. I will probably have to fight with my insurance to pay for the ambulance between hospitals, but I know it is covered, so I will persist.

    Thanks for the wonderful flowers of spring. It will help me get through the last few weeks of winter here.

    1. Marcia, so glad you are fairing better. I’ve been thinking of you and what you have written as I try to help my mom who is caring for my dad. He gets to eat extra too and is also quite happy about this 🙂

  13. Beautiful pictures of your garden, Brandy! I was in Phoenix last week where they also build cinderblock fences. Our hostess–my husband’s cousin–has a narrow L shaped raised bed up against her fence and I planted tomatoes, annuals and seeds for her. She thought it was quite beautiful when I did this last year. What she thinks is a favor to her is actually a favor to me, because I get to hang around garden centers and get my hands dirty two months ahead of here!

    Vacations are always frugal when you stay with relatives, LOL. We paid for take-out twice over 9 days and also helped with cooking and clean-up. For entertainment, we swam twice in her HOA’s pool (no one else was in it) and went to a spring training baseball game. Mostly, we visited (we also saw an Oregon cousin who snowbirds in the area), played Texas Canasta and enjoyed the warm weather.

    Not many opportunities to save, but there’s this–
    We didn’t receive one big item we ordered last quarter through our Medicare Advantage OTC benefit. I wrote to the CEO of the supplier company and they called Wednesday to verify the address. When we got home Saturday night, the package was sitting on the front porch! This was a shower chair worth $55. It always pays to follow up, and to be nice about it.
    I also received this quarter’s supplies ordered through the same OTC benefit.
    I don’t recall getting a bill from Lowe’s last month, and I didn’t pay them. This month I got a bill with a penalty. I called and they waived the fee. Another reason to be nice…they didn’t have to do this! This saved $13.

    1. I have always wanted a garden. I took classes here locally 19 years ago. I still have things not come up, get eaten, die, etc. I just keep trying!

  14. -My oldest daughter went to help my mother in law with a catering job. She brought home large amounts of meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, corn, green beans, rolls, cookies, cupcakes, and applesauce. We ate our fill and have been repurposing the items into new meals.
    -I sorted through the children’s spring clothes and will only need to buy 3 pairs of jeans and 4 pairs of shorts. Considering I have 8 children, I’m pretty happy! And very thankful for so many generous people who have blessed us with hand me downs!

    -The grocery stores yielded several markdowns. I was able to purchase pork roasts, chicken breasts, Italian sausage, slivered almonds. Also, several types of soaps and deodorants which have us stocked up for many months!

    -I purchased next year’s homeschool curriculum and stayed under our budget of $400/year (approximately $50 per child).

    -I sewed new curtains for our kitchen and dining room. I also did most of my spring cleaning.

    -My husband cut a load of firewood to gift to his grandparents. He also purchased parts to fix a steering issue in our van. He called around for the best deal, saving half as well as saving any charge for labor by doing the work himself.

    -Found a winter coat for a child for next year and 6 pairs of needed shoes for the coming year on clearance.

    -This is to be a year of inexpensive home projects as well as one large purchase (we’re buying a school bus to convert into an rv to travel across the country next year). My husband has already built the boys a set of bunk beds as well as a wall of bookshelves in their room. He also built a family closet for us. Soon, we’ll give the kitchen a facelift. We pulled out the countertops and sink we purchased at auction over a decade ago (we paid about $100 total) and we’ll make everything else work around them. We have a budget of $500.

  15. Thank you for the reminder to constantly reevaluate price points and where I shop! Our frugal accomplishments for the week were:
    *Meals made were strombolis using homemade pizza dough (bacon and onion for hubby and spinach and mushroom for me), lemon parmesan salmon with garlic dill rice and green beans, pot roast with onions and potatoes, spaghetti with ground turkey and garlic bread, salads, fried eggs with sausage and biscuits, scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms, oatmeal, sage roasted pork with macaroni, pancakes with sausage and eggs, turkey sandwiches with chips, beef fajitas with nachos.
    *We finished the light renovation of our kitchen by having new vinyl flooring put down. We had purchased the flooring when my husband had a 20% reduction from his workplace. We hired a friend who is a flooring installer to put it down. We were expecting to pay $400-$500. He only charged us $150!!! We have been friends over 20 years. What a blessing!
    *My college son called and asked for a haircut. He had dinner with us when he came. Hubby grilled chicken and steaks and I added baked potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts. We sent him home with leftovers and all of the extra grilled chicken (he will use this to pack his lunches as he’s student teaching). I also pulled a pan of brownies from the freezer and we had those with vanilla ice cream for dessert. He took those leftovers, too. ?
    *I hosted a ladies bible study and one of my friends brought a veggie tray and a fruit tray. I graciously accepted the leftovers and they were used in salads and packed for lunches.
    *Stocked up on chicken thighs at $.79/lb, sugar at 4lb/$1.69, pork loin at $1.49/lb and salmon at $4.11/lb.
    *Used ammonia, vinegar and bleach as cleaners.
    *Used 2 blank cards in my stash for “thinking of you” cards.
    *Walked for free exercise.
    *Received a letter from our insurance company stating that they would not cover my husband’s overnight stay in the hospital. His employer has an advocate and we contacted them. They are working with the insurance company to try and get it covered.
    *Accepted 2 lbs of cheddar cheese from a coworker.
    *Took our daughter and son-in-law our old truck (extra vehicle) as both of their cars broke down on the same day. 🙁
    *Hosted a birthday dinner for my dad instead of going out to eat. We had grilled chicken and green beans and my brother brought pasta salad and rolls.
    *Shopped at a small, local thrift store and found clothing for $1.50/piece.

  16. Last week was expensive. The same morning the ramp was installed, the car had to be towed to the repair shop because I couldn’t be two places at once and the car had to be fixed that day. The ramp was $125 per linear foot and the car repair including towing was about $950. But I did have a coupon for a free alignment, which brought the total under $1000. The rear brakes were replaced and the right front inside tie rod had to be replaced too because of rust. (The joys of a 20-year-old car in a state that uses a lot of road salt.) Mom still likes her car. If mom was to roll out of the house under her own power, we’d need to spend another $1800-$2000 for a platform and a short ramp to get over the front door threshold. It isn’t so tall that I can’t get her over it by tilting and lifting the wheelchair. But the $175 or so for a short rubber threshold or curb ramp looks like a much better deal now than it did before I got mom over the threshold and into the house in the wheelchair Thursday. And I bought the most groceries at one time I ever had in my life Wednesday at Aldi while restocking the kitchen in preparation for being shut-ins until a physical therapist helps mom master car transfers with her bum hip. (I might have tied the total expense once when I bought 6 months of food when Auguson Farms was selling some long-term storage buckets for 75% off. I am glad to have that food in the basement just-in-case right now.) It is taking me a ridiculous amount of time to rearrange and eliminate furniture so that it is easier to navigate the main floor of the house (Thankfully, a ranch) in a wheelchair. Mom and I are both tired from learning new ways of doing things. But last evening and this evening, she has enjoyed the fire in the fireplace.

    1. Holly … I hope things get easier for you but I did a holy crap with the price of the ramp. Hubby just put in a 22 ft linear ramp off our deck. We know I will eventually be in a wheelchair so when we bought the house we made a lot of it ADA wheelchair . I am thankful that Hubby and our neighbors are able to put the ramps in as we have 2 more to do.

      1. We had a handicapped son in a wheelchair (he died 25 years ago) and I spent some time recovering from a drunk driver accident. Both those things make me look at every house as a potential wheelchair accessible house. Hence we have a home that is with wide doorways and lots of wide open spaces. The only area that is difficult is our guest bath and that was a real oversight on my part. However, the master bath IS accessible and can be used with ease…Next on my list is a walk in shower that is truly a walk in and accessible.

  17. I’m sorry you’ve been sick, Brandy. I hope you are feeling better now. Thank you for posting the pictures of your garden — so cheerful.
    I meal planned for two weeks, using things I had on hand, and made one trip to the grocery store – on a day when we had a number of errands to run in the area – to buy some fresh produce and a few pantry items that needed restocking.
    My seeds I planted last week have started to sprout under the grow light.
    I hemmed a pair of jeans that were too long.
    We had a string of days with highs in the 50s, so I sprayed my apple trees with dormant oil and my husband and I worked cleaning up the yard a little..
    We used passes from a friend to visit the local hot springs and took a picnic lunch. We stopped by the Humane Society thrift store on our way home, but didn’t see anything we needed.
    We went on a free guided full moon hike at the local state park.

  18. Brandy, I am so happy for you that you were able to purchase pinto beans and broccoli for excellent prices.

    Here is what we did to save money last week:
    * I listened to an audiobook from the library.
    * I read two books using a free trial of Kindle Unlimited.
    * It was a blessing to purchase chickens and beef from a farmer–and save money.
    * I made my own buckwheat flour from buckwheat I had purchased on sale. The savings was significant!
    * I purchased fresh instead of frozen asparagus because the fresh was on sale for less than half the prize of the frozen.
    * It was a joy to exercise for free by taking a walk with a friend.
    * I changed my “work” spot from the kitchen to a place with natural light to save money on electricity.
    * I used a free coupon from getting our oil changed to wash my car.
    * I learned some financial wisdom from a library book.

  19. Your garden photos are beautiful!
    How we saved this week:
    My husband repaired our small chainsaw so we could continue cutting some branches we had taken off a large tree to haul them away.
    We burned a pile of garden refuse (sticks, twigs, small branches) and saved the cost of taking it to the transfer station (It’s around $10.00 for a pickup load). We live in the county so burning is allowed on non-windy days.
    Our local Kmart is closing. My husband has lost quite a bit of weight and needed a smaller size in pants. He found two pairs that he liked for around $11.00 each.
    I am still working to keep our grocery budget as low as it needs to be. I talked with my family and we agreed that we will now make one meatless dinner recipe per week. We usually have meat with most meals, so this will be a switch. I also cook enough for leftovers the next day, so there will be two meals per week that are meatless.
    For the meat we will be eating, our local grocery store had another good sale. Beef roasts were $3.29 per pound, ground turkey was $1.29 per pound, and boneless skinless chicken breast was $1.49 per pound. I found a DIY sausage seasoning mix and plan to use it to make sausage with some of the ground turkey. I didn’t buy much chicken because once before I had bought chicken breasts from this store and we didn’t like the quality. We will try them this week and if we like them I will go buy more before the sale ends.
    I am promoting eggs as the breakfast item of choice at our house and will also be incorporating them in my new meatless dinner plans. My chickens have started laying again and yesterday I gathered 14 eggs!

  20. Summary of the last couple of weeks – I took my daughter to a theater piece put on by a traveling troupe. I saved money by purchasing our tickets at the door. It would have been a $5.35 fee to buy tickets on-line. I took a chance that it wouldn’t be sold out and just waited until we arrived at the box office.
    A big money saver for me has just been staying out of the stores ! I have a goal for the month of March to pay off a certain debt and have actually enjoyed “finding” a few dollars here and there to put towards it and bring the balance down.
    I have also been picking up a few extra shifts at one of my jobs – I am literally too tired to shop (even on-line) after working extra…………
    Have a frugal week everyone !

  21. I love your garden pictures. I have a few daffodils blooming in pots on my patio. So thankful for signs of spring.

    I’m in the Seattle area, pretty much ground zero for the coronavirus in the US. My husband works for a large IT firm, and they sent all their workers home last Wednesday and told them to work from home for three weeks. Our condo is not large, so this is an adjustment. We are figuring it out, but are having to rearrange our schedules and some furniture to make it work. I had already been adding to my emergency supplies (food, health and other items) for the several weeks. I bought several months worth of vitamins to have on hand, along with some homeopathic remedies. The stores are cleared out of many basic supplies (toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, etc.). That may be the case all over the US, but I’m not sure. I am continuing to work for now (small PT/OT medical clinic), and will do this as long as I can. We had symphony tickets for last Saturday and decided to go. The audience was about one third of what it normally is. Since many large companies here (Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks HQ, Boeing, etc.) have told their employees to work from home (according to the county recommendation), there is hardly any traffic. Most of the universities (and a few schools) have shut down in person classes and are doing distance/online learning only. It’s so weird.

    Frugal accomplishments for the past few weeks:
    – Finished the two year trial period of cable internet, and selected a lower level service because the price had gone up. It is still sufficient for our needs.
    – Using fabric I had on hand, sewed cloth bags for my gym bag, that I can use to put my gym clothes and towels in.
    – Started sewing a denim skirt using fabric and a pattern I had on hand.
    – Used two coupons ($10 off each) at a drugstore to get discounted vitamins. Pointed out this deal to another customer (the coupons were available in store). The following week, I had two 15% off coupons for the same store, so I shared one with another customer.
    – Read library books, and newspapers from my mom. Watched streaming services and DVDs.
    – Shared food with my mom. She made a corned beef and shared some with me. Yum!
    – Visited an art museum with my mom. We are members so the tickets were free. She took me out to lunch afterwards using a gift card.
    – Ate at home, made water kefir and kombucha, emailed with friends, attempted to Skype with another friend (it didn’t work for some reason), and read blogs and listened to podcasts.

    Stay safe and healthy everyone. I so look forward to this post every week.

  22. Hi Brandy,
    I love your garden pictures. I am looking forward to picking our asparagus. I think I will put back whatever we don’t eat right away. Then I can make soup with it. We may also try pickling it this year. I love pickled asparagus.
    We have been trying to eat leftovers so not to waste money on uneaten food. I made a large pot of soup this week that we ate for several days. Also made an Indian Catfish curry from some cheap catfish that we bought. We had breakfast for dinner one night. Enjoyed an evening talking to friends over coffee with my husband.
    Got movies for my son at the library.
    Brandy, I hope you feel better soon. It is no fun being sick.
    Tammy

  23. I love all of the garden photos. I hope you are feeling better! Our little fig tree cuttings have leaves, as do the pomegranate tree, blackberry canes and grape vines. The thornless raspberry canes that I got from a friend a couple of weeks ago are just about to leaf out. They have made the transition extremely well.
    I made dinner at home several times when I absolutely didn’t feel like it.
    I picked up several items of food, some cards, some pottery tools (for daughter-in-law), 2 books and a soap drainer from my mother.
    I sold an item on Amazon.
    We have hardly used our heat in the last few weeks and our bill was down $70. I was really pleased with that.
    I found the receipt for our car battery, purchased last year and already bad. It had a 84 month warranty, so back to the dealership it goes!
    I altered a full sized mattress pad to fit a twin sized bed. We no longer have a full sized mattress. I re-used the full size bed bug/dust mite proof cover on a twin mattress, simply by folding the excess under.
    I replaced the buttons on a coat I found at the thrift store. It was missing one button when I bought it (part wool pea-coat for $6). I couldn’t find a match so I replaced all of the buttons. It looks very nice.
    I received an email with $5 Kohls cash, even though I haven’t bought anything at Kohls (except a $5 item with the Kohls cash I received for returning an Amazon item at Kohls). I had bought a chocolate Easter bunny with the first Kohls cash and I bought another one with the second $5. If I keep going at this rate I can have free chocolate for all of the family.
    I used a $10 birthday reward on an item at LOFT that was 40% off. Tall pants are very hard to find.
    We attended a retirement seminar for teachers. We came home with 3 post-it pads, 7 individual cheeses, 3 satsumas, 3 bottles of water, 11 muffins and 12 packets for candy. We also learned a lot!

  24. I hope you’re feeling better, Brandy! Though I don’t comment regularly, I read your blog all the time — for the lovely photos, for inspiration, and to soak up the lovely community. My favorite way to save money is by taking good care of things so they don’t need to be replaced. (That’s what my blog is about.) Last week I focused on caring for towels and succulents. Now I’m researching the best way to store salad greens so they last (next Thursday’s post). Thanks for your terrific work! PS: My hubby and I enjoy Blaze pizza, too, though we need to learn to share one! 🙂

  25. Hi Brandy,

    Saw and loved the photo you took of the wedding people from Canada in the vintage car. Superb! People and portrait photos are really your forte!

    I hope you are feeling better. I’ve just read of the total lockdown of Italy. My friend went to Superstore here on the weekend. The shelves were bare! she did succeed in getting me almost everything on my list. I now almost everything in my emergency pantry that I might need.
    The updated list is as follows (provided to give an indication of a basic pantry — not huge quantities):
    antihistamines (spring is coming)
    uhf milk (2 bottles)
    powdered milk,
    evaporated milk (just a couple of cans)
    flour
    sugar
    yeast (small amount)
    3 L canola/soy oil
    one bottle of my favourite Saskatchewan cold pressed canola oil ( reg $10, on sale forv 47)
    soup (5 cans only — I’m about to make my own)
    baked beans (0.87 per can) 10 cans
    canned lentil beans 15 cans
    canned canallini beans
    canned fruit 17 cans
    canned veggies 12 cans
    5 packages of pasta 2 kg each for $2.79 each (store was totally sold out — I acquired mine over 2 months)
    bottled water (only 24 bottles)
    toilet paper (a large package bought by accident some months ago by my friend but told her that I’d keep it)
    3 packages dried split peas (from before)
    8 litre of apple juice
    soap (I inherited a lot from my sibling)
    pasta sauce 6 jars — some at bargain price of $1.87 each
    canned tomatoes 3 large ones and 2 smaller ones Italian style
    a large tub of margarine

    I may give some of my pantry to my friend who in spite of my cautions did not stock up.

    I am desperately trying to finish my photo album assembly project (which combines the photos with genealogy about each) as the archives
    may get quarantined and I don’t want my stuff to be trapped. I want to get the 4 albums mailed asap. Almost done. and I’m desperately trying to finish up research on the book before it closes.

    I am out of money except for $10 which I will spend on canned meat of some kind. Or cheese.

      1. Hi Mari,

        Thanks! I did see it but I think the exchange rate and shipping would be prohibitively expensive. I think we may be able to source it in Canada. I really appreciate your. taking the time to let me know.

  26. What a beautiful garden Brandy! We have some crocuses popping up, Spring is on the way here too!
    I went through my closet & found a number of items that are too big. I dropped them off at the consignment store, hoping to make some money from them eventually. I also made a drop off at the Salvation Army & ran into take a quick look. I found a bedskirt and pillowcase I had been needing for a total of $4.99. Also found a dress for $7.99, wore it to work & received many compliments! I love wearing thrifted outfits and hearing how nice I look, especially when it comes from my colleagues who shop at high end stores. Goes to show you do not need to spend big bucks to look look dressy and professional. Our biggest accomplishment this past week was paying off a credit card! We are applying the Dave Ramsey “snowball method” & will take the money budgeted for that card and put it on the next.

  27. Brandy I am sorry to hear you weren’t well and hope you are feeling better 🙂 .

    What a good deal you got on the broccoli and that is a really low price and well worth buying. Love all the produce you picked from the gardens and good you are planting more to make you gardens far more productive. The gardens look wonderful in bloom and it would be lovely to sit out there with a cup of hot chocolate to relax and read a book I think. Lovely that your husband works together with your son can pass on valuable home maintenance skills that will come in handy later.

    We too are constantly reevaluating where we can shop that gives us the most value and products for our money as well and also look for lots of specials and markdowns and pick those up where we can to save money in the grocery budget.

    Our Vicky Challenge added up to $184.55 in savings last week :).

    Finances/Internet listings and earnings –
    – Paid and extra part payment off our home mortgage saving bank interest and time on our loan. Yay we are getting another .25% reduction on interest rates on the 13th of this month :).
    – Through being under budget in a lot of categories I was able to put $700 back into the home cash emergency kitty that we spent on storm water pipes and fittings and house bug spraying.
    – Listed 25 items on a free eBay listing promotion saving $41.25 on usual listin prices.
    – DH earned $120 from a gardening job.
    – I earned $11 from the sale of an eye mask I made on eBay.
    – We earned $5 from the sale of cucumbers we grew in our gardens.

    In the kitchen/pantry –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.
    – Did a stocktake of the food storage room as so many things are out of stock in the shops to make sure we had enough of everything. I am pleased to say we mostly do but need to stock up some more on some tinned fruit.

    Purchases –
    – Saved $11.10 or 5% by ordering a Wish e-gift card from RACQ for fuel.
    – Bought on specials/markdowns from IGA a 6 pk of wholemeal jumbo buns for $1.50, 2 red capsicum for $1.17, 6.138 kg of rump steak for $8.95 kg and bananas at $3.49 kg saving $55.60 on usual prices in other stores.

    In the gardens –
    – Harvested 6 bunches of silverbeet, and 14 cucumbers or 6 kg saving $76.20 over buying them in the shops.
    – Yesterday we picked another 3 cucumbers from the gardens saving $10.50 on buying them in the shops.
    – We were able to clean up/weed around the vegetable garden beds and mow and spray fence lines and around buildings for weeds and termites before more rain is about to hit.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna)

  28. We are having a beautiful start to what looks like may be an early spring. I was ready for more sunshine although this week is a bit rainy. I hope to get a few seeds planted outside tomorrow for greens so we’ll see how the week rolls out!

    Cleaned out 3 drawers in furniture in the living room while watching one of the Murder, She Wrote movies I had gotten through the library loan. Slowly I will eventually get to the next level of decluttering, organizing and deep cleaning our home.

    Lately, I have been trying to use less trash bags and paper towels. I have also been on a mission to use less disposable kitchen helpers including freezer & storage bags, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil.

    I recently gave up coffee after an endless hunt for an additive to replace half-and-half. After trying many non-dairy concoctions, both store bought and homemade, I finally decided I’d rather give up coffee than settle for a taste I didn’t like, let alone love. So I have been on a quest to find a replacement morning drink ritual and am testing out a few tea drinks. So far nothing is better than just a plain cup of Earl Grey tea.

    The tip I’ve read many times to use tea bags more than once came back to mind so I have been practicing that. I do find that I like the second cup just fine when reusing the bag.

    Received rebates from Ibotta including $0.75 for anything at Walmart two different times. This put me over the amount to cash out, which is $20, so I transferred that to our savings account.

    I have been doing well using up foods before anything goes bad. The waste is almost to nothing especially as some scraps will go to the pig and other stuff to the compost bin. I have made a few more soups than I normally have in the menu plan because it just seemed the best way to use up some bits and pieces.

    Decluttering and getting rid of stuff literally makes me happy. Like euphoric. Funny that accumulating stuff doesn’t quite make me feel as giddy. There’s probably a lesson there… I was able to get rid of a pet gate that we no longer needed and three glass salad dressing bottles I had gotten from yard sales years ago. I now make salad dressing in mason jars because they’re so much easier to clean.

    Our electric cooperative recently released a new app, which I put on my phone after a friend told me how cool it was. It shows the daily usage and compares it to the same day last year. I have found our lowest usage month in the last year which was October and have set that usage as my goal. I will be less likely to turn on the electric fan on the wood stove now! Lol
    *More on my blog! https://www.cozyhomemaking.com/frugal-fun-homemaking-for-february-23-march-7-2020/

    1. Such a good lesson about feeling better decluttering than accumulating! I love that!

      I love lemon verbena herbal tea. I am now growing it after learning what it was called in English (in French it is vervain, but vervain in English is a different plant which is bitter!) I covered my plants in winter to keep them from freezing. I had to try again after having a plant die, but now I have two that are doing well. I don’t add any sweetener, and it has no caffeine. I start my day with a large glass of water, but sometimes in the winter I like something warm, so I make herbal tea.

      1. Beandy, do you add anything to your lemon verbena when making tea? I love lemon zinger tea and pretty much anything else lemon so this might be something for me to try. Thanks.

        1. Jenny, if you can grow lemongrass in your area, fresh lemongrass steeped with a stick of cinnamon is fantastic. I add a little honey to my cup.

  29. We had a few frugal wins this past week:
    1. I happened upon information about how you could redeem you SW Air points for gift cards and after wandering around their website for a while I have $100 in Amazon cards coming our way.
    2. Our washing machine was sending an error code saying the water intake filter was probably clogged. My husband figured out how to get the filter out, we cleaned it and now the washer works well again. No service call.
    3. While doing my regular grocery shopping I was able to take advantage of great sales on items we use regularly. Our freezer and pantry are pretty full at a good discount.
    4. We have never had to take care of a highly infectious person at home beyond the usual colds so I read up on how to do that and have a plan. My plan included stocking up on paper plates and towels, disposable silverware, soups, bar soap, over the counter fever and cough medications, etc. No hand sanitizer available but I did find some disinfecting wipes. Feeling as prepared for moderate illness as we can be right now.
    5. Utilizing the library and books shared by friends, paying bills online if possible, mostly cooking at home, etc.
    Hope everyone stays healthy!

    1. Thank you so much for posting about the SW Airlines rapid rewards points for gift cards. My husband is required to use this airline for work and we have had lots of points we couldn’t use in the past because we didn’t have their credit card. I just went online and cashed in points for $550.00 worth of gift cards. This is a great start on Christmas, a home repair we have been trying to save for, and almost all the groceries I need to buy next month, plus I can save the cash I would have spent instead.

      1. How exciting!
        Another reason to check the points periodically is that with some companies’ programs, the points expire if there is no activity on your account. You might or might not get a notification about that. Getting a gift card is “activity,” which resets the timer.

  30. Living Frugally in Portland OR:

    I love all the signs of spring at your house, Brandy! We are starting to see a few signs as well, although the mornings and nights still feel like winter.

    *I started riding my bike to work again full time (Jan & Feb I was only riding a couple days a week and taking the bus the rest of the time. Bus is $5 a day, better than putting the miles on my car, but it still adds up!)

    *Now 3/4 of us have free bus/light rail passes that can be used anywhere in our city so we are starting to look for ways to utilize public transportation more often and leave our car at home. We are trying to avoid buying a new car as long as possible!

    *My 15 yo made a friend homemade cookies for her birthday and wrapped them up and took them to her party. I’m sure he was the only one who brought a homemade gift, but he is really careful with his money, which I appreciate! There are so many things that he does that drive me crazy right now, but I’m proud of his frugal streak and know it will serve him well through life.

    *We reevaluated some of our expenses. We switched banks to avoid a monthly fee that suddenly started kicking in. We’d been at that bank our entire marriage, so it was a huge job to redirect payments, etc. We are now at Schwab and so far so good. No monthly fees, better interest rate and they reimburse all ATM fees, since they don’t have a network of ATMs. We also cancelled Netflix and Disneyplus (we were using iTunes gift cards for the Disneyplus that we wouldn’t otherwise of used so it didn’t really affect our finances, but still….) The weather will just get better and better and we won’t need to entertain ourselves inside. We will decide whether or not to re-up the Netflix next winter.

    *I’m on the hunt to get my kids working this summer. It doesn’t seem like anyone hires under 16 (I was bussing tables at a local restaurant at 14 and it taught me so much!) We are lucky to live in an affluent area so I feel like there should be some opportunities for housesitting, pet walking etc. I am also looking at having him help me with a side hustle of recharging electric scooters that a couple of companies have around town and you pay as you use. They pay individuals to recharge and restock them. My 15 yo made some money busking (drums and outside pianos around town) last summer, but I really want him to get some “real” work experience this summer!

    *A Buy Nothing friend gave me some indoor plant starts. I’d been eyeing the fancy plants in neighborhood shops and this gave me my green fix without overspending. Thankful for that gift!

    1. I worked at 15 and my brother at 14, but my children have had that same issue of places not hiring until 16, and many not until 18! Thankfully the younger teens have found a few odd jobs from people we know, including house sitting, pet sitting, and babysitting, as well as some manual labor landscaping work.

    2. Our state has laws limiting working hours for under 16. When my daughter started teaching swimming lessons at 15 we had to get permission from the school district even though we homeschool, and she could only work so many hours per week and at certain times of day. Once she turned 16 there were no restrictions. When my son started looking last summer after he turned 16, no one was interested, at least not locally, they never even responded to his online applications. The park district where my daughter worked was hiring more instructors so he applied and got hired because of my daughter and because they were desperate at the time. It’s a hard job to fill because the shifts are short and hard times to work around if you have other commitments. A few months later they offered free training to potential lifeguard new hires. My son passed the training and now he works 16-18 hours a week lifequarding for the park district, mostly daytime hours when college kids are not available. We feel lucky to have found this opportunity for him. In my area a lot of adults have the jobs that used to go to teenagers when I was young.

    3. When my daughter turned 15, she had a small pool party. A girl she met in kindergarten who was basically her siamese twin until 7th grade when they started going to different schools gave her (my daughter) a small photo album (the grandma brags book size) with pictures of the two of them. Some of the pictures included other friends, too, and two of them were also at the party. The party attendees spent at least 30 minutes looking at the 15-20 pictures in that book and hearing the associated stories. I think the album cost $1 from Dollar Tree and she already had the photos to put in it. My daughter still loves that album and says it was one of the most thoughtful gifts she ever received.

    4. Jen: Ally bank also refunds atm fees and sometimes has better savings rates/ cd rates than the other banks.-Sheeba m p.s. not saying now is the best time to put ur cash in cds/ savings until this country is done away with the corona virus

    5. My grandson works at Kroger bagging and gathering shopping carts. He’s 15, but he started his job when he was 14. This is in Virginia.
      His younger brother, 11, made some money last summer helping at neighborhood yard sales.

  31. Brandy, I hope you’re well soon and back to your normal energetic self. I’m enjoying your back yard pictures and hope mine will soon start blooming.

    The chickens took a brief break, but are laying well again, well enough to share eggs with neighbors. My granddaughter has a favorite chicken and she takes it on the swing quite regularly. Patient chicken!

    I had to take my truck to a repair shop, a first in 34 years. My husband was a mechanic and always kept our vehicles running well. I didn’t have any idea about the local repair shops so I called a friend and got a referral. I had planned to rent a car while my truck is being repaired; however, the shop had a loaner car available at no charge. I bought the truck in 2008 and this is the first major repair. It’s been a great truck. Just a little stressed that the repairs were above my son’s abilities.

    I found unbleached flour on sale so bought 50 pounds. I also bought 25 pounds of rolled oats to replace what we had used. I bought another package of SAF yeast to replace what we had used. My store is getting ready for inventory so there have been lots of markdowns for clothing. I bought winter coats for next season for $5 each. Winter pajamas were $3 a pair. Grateful I had the extra money so I could do that.

    One of my goals for this year is to make all new baby gifts for friends and family. So far I am 4 for 4! I bought lots of yarn and fabric on clearance over the last 10 or so years and I am using it to make blankets for these new little ones. I find crocheting is relaxing and calming for me so extra benefits in keeping to this goal.

    We have utilized the library for movies, books, activities, and games. My granddaughter enjoys the music and movement class on Wednesday mornings. She likes building with the magnetic blocks after her class and is learning to share.

    I purchased 3 cases of prepackaged oats from the Home Storage Center to give as wedding gifts. I also give the couples a binder with recipes using oats so hopefully it will be useful to them and maybe spark interest in food storage. I’ve had mixed reactions to this particular choice of gift, but I feel strongly that it’s something I should share so I will keep on giving it.

    My oldest son replaced the plug on my vacuum cleaner. I baked him a pan of rolls in exchange for the repair. He’s happy; I’m thrilled I didn’t have to take the vacuum somewhere, leave it for days, and pay someone.

    I’m making a conscientious effort to leave the television off because I use it as “background noise”. I’ve been listening to music instead and I think I’m calmer and I know I’m happier. I also find that I don’t get as easily distracted when it’s the radio or cd’s. Maybe I’ll accomplish a few more things on my to-do list!

    Have a wonderful week!

    1. I love it that you are giving oats for wedding presents, and the results were mixed. Twenty years ago, my standard graduation gift was a dictionary, which also met with mixed results. I figured if the kid was going to college, they’d need a dictionary, and if they weren’t going, they would need it even more!

  32. This past week I tried the Walmart grocery pick up for the first time. I had a $10 off first $50 order coupon. As I was making a “big” shop I was able to get my $51 of groceries for $41. I did not buy anything extra to make the required $50 purchase. I have to say I will use the pick up option again when I can get it for free. It made my errand day so much smoother and the person who brought out my order was very friendly. They had to substitute my whole wheat tortillas for a name brand, which are normally a much higher price. They gave the name brand tortillas to me for the Walmart brand price.
    *I stayed at home more this past week, saving gas. When I did go out I grouped errands and found I needed gas and was able to fill up the car at a very low price.
    *I cooked from scratch using what I had on hand.
    *We were gifted a free Italian dinner from a local Italian restaurant. This was from my daughter in law who works there. She gave us the dinner, which fed both myself and my husband 2 meals apiece, because I kept my granddaughter all day Monday when she was sick and could not attend school. Spending time with my granddaughter is always a pleasure no matter the reason.
    *I shopped smart buying sales and loss leaders only to add to the pantry or freezer.
    *Hung laundry on the line outside. With this weather being so warm so early here in the Virginia mountains it has really helped with the low heating and electric bill.
    *I was gifted 24 spinach seedlings which I will plant in the garden tomorrow. This was given tome from our tenant who works for the extension service and our land grant university. When we built this house 11 years ago we put in a small apartment with the idea that our parents could move in if needed. So far neither parent has needed to so we have been renting it out to this extension professor who works here only 2 days a week. Her regular home is 2 hours away. We charge a small monthly rent and she has a reasonably priced place for her days in town. This extra income pays all our utility bills plus a tiny extra for paying down the mortgage.She has also been a huge resource when it comes to the garden.
    *Last week I was able to buy $15 of meat on mark down from our local Food Lion. I saved about %50 on the meat. They have a promotion where I earned $2 off my next purchase. This week all I needed was a gallon of milk so I bought it there, used my $2 off and paid $.55 for a gallon of milk! Is it sad that little things like this thrill me???
    *We have a wedding to go to this summer out west which we have been saving for. We have made and paid deposits for several hotels and have bought our plane tickets and reserved a rental car. We were able to save some money by using our military, senior and insurance discounts. We shopped around on line before booking anything. We also went through Rakuten to get a little cash back. We put our deposits on the credit card which is already paid in full. We earn points on this card so we will cash in our points with gift cards to pay for food on the trip. We are very excited as we have never been to Montana or Yellowstone. If anyone has suggestions when visiting either place I would love to hear them.
    Here is wishing everyone a blessed and frugal, healthy week.

    1. I worked as a park ranger in Yellowstone last summer. Here are some suggestions for visiting Yellowstone:

      1. go to the nps.gov website and look at the Planning a Visit section of the Yellowstone National Park section. The park is as large as two eastern states, so people often underestimate it’s size and the time it takes to travel the Grand Loop in the park. Figure out what you want to see and do most – such as see thermal features (geysers, hotsprings, mudpots), see wildlife and if there is any species you especially want to see because certain parts of the park are better to see wolves, grizzlies, moose, swans, etc, , how much do you want to hike?, do you want to see the historic or architecturally distinguished buildings, do you want to camp?, do you want to fish or go boating or horseback riding?
      2.If you will spend the night in or near the park in a hotel, cabin or campground, MAKE A RESERVATION!!! July and August often are filled up far in advance and visitors are shocked that they may have to drive 4 hours in this sparsely populated country to find a place to stay. You cannot just camp somewhere in the park, including sleeping in your car. You must have a campsite. (There are places surrounding the park that permit more of these things, but you will have to drive some distance.) The park lodges are fun and historical but mostly very pricey.
      3. Be prepared for quickly changing weather. It can snow any day of the year in Yellowstone and in the summer it can also be rather hot.
      4. In July and August there are pretty big crowds so go early or late in the day to the places that parking is limited – Grand Prismatic Spring, Norris Geyser Basin, swimming in the Firehole river or Boiling River, for example.
      5. Yes the rangers in the visitor center may know where grizzlies or wolves or harlequin ducks (0r whatever you are looking for) have been seen recently and also what trails are closed because grizzlies have been hanging out there. Stop by and ask them nicely. They can help you have a memorable visit.

  33. The garden photos are a very welcome sight. It must be so nice to see that tree out of your window when you eat. I hope you are feeling much better.
    We are seeing more spring blossoms here. Too soon, it will be summer “swamp” heat.
    I got another grandchild’s present mostly with a Swagbucks gift card.
    I package these gifts into reused gift bags. In my family we never write names on them, so that the recipients can reuse them. I fold and carefully store tissue paper, too. The birthday cards are free ones from charities that I get in the mail.
    I hung out five loads of laundry this past weekend, when the weather was that all-too-rare mix of warm, sunny, dry, and breezy.
    I went through a large paper sack of receipts and old paperwork, and whittled the papers down to one small stack that should be shredded, while the rest can be disposed of normally. That sack of paper has irritated me for over a year. A big “word” for me this year is de-clutter. I have a shredder that was a freebie cast off from my old job. I made sure to get permission to take it home.
    I am thawing out a bag of hearts and gizzards that my farm lady gave me at 1/3 the normal cost. They were accidentally left over from the previous year in her freezer, so she asked if I wanted them at a deep discount. I did! I froze them and now will use them in my meals this week.
    I did a non-Swagbucks survey and got $1 sent to my Paypal account. I picked up a penny. I made more lemonade from my own lemons. I signed up to get (and got) extra Swagbucks for my birthday.

  34. Love your photos! I get a bit homesick for the agricultural area I grew up in when I see them. Fond memories…more so as I age I find

    I’m glad we are all stocked up as I have returned to full on isolation as I just (yeah!) finished treatments for this blood cancer and am very susceptible to catching any virus and would probably end up hospitalized if I did. Fortunately I am able to stay home since my DH and DS are working. Guess I’ll finish those outstanding sewing projects, keep writing and organize the basement (when the weather warms up). Nixed all travel plans for the foreseeable future.

    My DD just returned to her life in Chicago and started her new job this week. It comes with health insurance which is a real blessing as she ages out of mine before the end of the month.

    Frugally…
    -found change for the change jar while tidying up
    -caught a mild cold of some sort and rested rather than medicate thus not using our OTC medications. We have since returned to the stringent sanitary measures from treatment as Covid19 heads our way…just in case. Locally, there has also been an increase of the flu reported recently. Avoid it all is my goal.
    -made more breakfast “grab and go” items for my husband
    -went to the expired table and waited until there was no one around to pick up two loaves of bread, cinnamon buns, 3 bell peppers, some flavored rice mixes, a head of lettuce and a cucumber that was half frozen. I wear gloves too.
    -continue to exercise at home for free
    -stopped baking treats as we all need to lose weight and we win doubly by saving on the baking supplies and getting us back to healthy!
    -continue to read books, listen to books and watch TV for free. I admit to piggybacking on my son’s amazon prime (student rate for him) and kindle unlimited for more variety. Our local library remains a godsend for free online audio books and movies
    -ordered an Amazon gift card using credit card points on a card that I am not using till I pay it off. I did get caught off guard not being able to work these past 8 months. Not my wisest move to have a balance to pay off, but it is what it is. I’d have used the points toward paying the balance down, but get double the value for buying the Amazon gift card which I’m sure will be used.
    -continue to keep up with the frugal habits we have always practiced.

    Blessings

  35. I do not shop at Costco, as I think they are so expensive compared to other stores. I just watch the adds. Only buy loss leaders and stock up. If I need something less exspensive at costco I call a freind who has a membership and go with them.

    1. Interesting because in looking at Costco’s flyers I got the same impression — that they can be more expensive than other stores.

      1. It really depends on what you buy. I don’t buy most of what is at Sam’s, nor even at the regular grocery store. With grocery store ads, I primarily look at the produce, dary, and meat prices.

    2. That’s a good point but there is a suggestion that if we were really hard hit there might be staffing problems at water treatment plants.
      Also, it’s part of a good emergency preparedness plan to have some bottled water on hand.

  36. I’m interested to hear more about your price research. I have recently done tons of research and math and notes etc (you know how it is lol) and WinCo keeps winning too! I have a Costco membership and the ONLY items that beat WinCo (Sacramento CA area) are some cheese and milk. The plain yogurt and cottage cheese are more at Costco and so I’ve switched to WinCo for those now. I grind wheat and make wheat bread and we buy blocks of cheese to slice and freeze sandwiches. I just found a turkey breast deli chub for 1.99lb and sliced it on my meat slicer to freeze in the sandwiches too. We also freeze on and j (homemade). The Costco block of Monterey Jack is the cheapest cheese for sandwiches and the shredded Mozzarella is by far the cheapest (use for pizzas and casseroles), even over WinCo mozzarella block that I would be willing to shred. I also buy the Mexican blend since it’s cheaper than the cheddar. We buy the huge 5 dozen egg bundle and that is even cheaper at WinCo. I buy 25 lb bulk bags if beans, wheat, oats, sugar etc from WinCo too. Love the bulk section. We have buckets with gamma lids in the garage. I check the app Flipp for the ads every Wed and check the loss leaders against my WinCo and Costco prices. I also like Grocery Outlet and check against my prices. And finally, we saved and just bought a used chest freezer! I’m so excited to fill it with bean burgers, homemade buns, pitas, biscuits, quiches, pancakes etc. Of course I can’t wait until Thanksgiving time for all of the sales. Having the from scratch things done ahead if time for when it gets crazy with kids and family life will be amazing!

    1. Cheese is definitely lower at Sam’s than at Winco and lower than any grocery store sale prices by a considerable amount.

      The gasoline prices at both Sam’s and Costco are a great reason to have a membership, even though we put less than 10,000 miles a year on our only vehicle.

      Balsamic vinegar and olive oil are cheaper at warehouse stores–but Sam’s is no longer carrying it (Costco is).

      Sam’s is no longer carrying bulk ketchup and bulk canned diced tomatoes and sauce. Costco has not carried these, but they have a restaurant supply store, so they might have those at that location. I have to find out.

      I also buy bulk almonds, dried cranberries, dried raisins, rice, olive oil, toilet paper, lotion and ziploc bags at Sam’s. I will be comparing items.

  37. I canned chili soup and beef broth, froze the extra cooked beef roast and potatoes for a meal later this month and pulled what we are eating this week out of the deep freezers to put in the kitchen freezer to keep me on track of eating from the freezer and not eating out.
    Hubby changed his hauling hobby to a LLC business… lots of i’s to dot and t’s to cross along with a bit more $$ than we thought. In the long run it will be better to be business, just the first couple years are really going to be tight.
    We don’t have anything blooming yet, but the tips of the rhubarb are showing, asparagus should be coming right behind. I was given a tip to freeze asparagus and it not be mushy. I want to try that this year.
    I have a pile of ironing and mending waiting but right now I am feeling like crud..
    We are ready for the corvid 19 if it comes in our area. There is a case north and one south of us. So it’s just a matter of time.
    Rest is here
    https://chefowings.blogspot.com/2020/03/when-you-think-you-werent-frugal-all.html
    Love checking back to read more comments here …
    Get well Brandy
    Blessed Be

  38. I spent a lot of time cleaning and doing laundry around my house. I had more time at home than I’ve had for over a month, for various reasons. I was able to get out into the yard for a couple of hours. I chose to prune until a yard debris bin was full. There are a lot of overgrown bushes in my yard that I have been tackling over the past 2 years–one weekly yard debris bin at a time.

    We work with my special needs niece and nephew. My nephew was away for the week with his much-older sister (lucky kid got to go to Disneyland!) and so we did some special things with our niece, since we had more time with her. One thing we did was take her to a museum. It was about an hour away from our house. We had a nice day for the drive, everyone loved the museum, and she felt special. (but still not quite happy about the fact that it wasn’t her turn for D-land!). Pictures are on my blog: http://beckyathome.com

    My sister and I did a thorough cleaning and disinfecting on a family member’s house. We had a cleaning party. Their health, while improving after 2 surgeries and complications, is fragile enough that they can’t afford to catch anything, so we did what we could to prevent that.

    We cooked a lot of meals at home, to eat and to share. We also froze a couple of things to make our lives easier–muffins and waffles.

    I worked on a quilt I started over a year ago and finished the top. Now, I need to figure out how to finish it. I pulled out a quilt I started over 18 years ago and worked on it. I’m really determined to finish some things up that have been around for way too long.

    We did an inexpensive, but productive, 4H meeting for our club.

  39. This post is for the last 2 weeks. I missed last week.

    Found beef reduced a lot at a tiny store that is part of a chain. I believe they don’t have a lot of storage space so if something is near a Use by date they reduce massively. Original prices for the mixture of mince, beef strips and topside roast was £51. I got it all for £21..

    I inadvertently forgot to renew insurance. Because I could not renew I had to get new quotes. Saved £100. This is a lesson to me.

    I always forget the usuals- children take in packed lunches, I take in meals when I can. This is a huge saving.

    I continued to use 5p off 1 L of fuel- everything helps.

    I’m not sure about this being a saving or not but will add it: Coronavirus is causing slight difficulties here. Not noticeable but still here. I occasionally go out with my 8 year old on Saturdays to buy the necessities for the week ( not much as I bulk buy). It gives us time together ( she usually negotiates a book- I love my kids reading so she wins- I budget for this treat, so much better than ice cream and not much more). Our last Saturday in London was at a huge supermarket I ( out of curiosity) looked at the TP aisle. I could not find it at first because it was empty. I stood there holding my tiny 8 year old’s hand and was just thinking about human nature. I’m afraid these were not good thoughts. I feel really fortunate to have found this blog a while ago (?2013/2012) during a really hard time in my life. As a result of this blog I bulk buy ( at fantastic prices) and as a result am stocked up for a long time. I am lucky.. So lucky. Just wanted to say this. Thanks Brandy.

    I also went out a few days ago and found paracetamol / children’s paracetamol in a local chemist.

    Have stocked up on food for rescue angel using cash back and discount codes, have 6 months of food for him.

    Sure I have forgotten something but can’t recall them.

    I hope you are feeling better Brandy and congratulations to Winter on her engagement.

  40. We recently switched from eating lowfat foods to eating keto foods. Its low car, high fat and moderate protein. I am not spending nearly as much as I was on groceries. I also found some scratch & dent stores that have really good prices on meats that we eat. They had boneless pork chops $.99lb, bacon ends $.99lb, gouda cheese $.79lb. We wer there this weekend and went over my budget by $25, but, its about a months worth of food, not just a week. Did the usual stuff for saving money.

  41. Greetings!
    I love seeing something green for a change. It gives me hope that we’ll have Spring some day! We still have a lot of snow on the ground, here.
    My husband went down state to see a friend who’s cancer has returned. He’s made a list of people he’d like to see and my husband was on that list. My husband met up with another friend, who was also on the list, and they went together. We have two sons in the area so my husband was able to stay with them. All monies came from our travel fund. You can’t put a price on friendship.
    All our meals were made at home except for the trip.
    I watered down the lotion and dish soap. I use a lot of lotion so it seems I’m always watering it down.
    I walked for exercise. Since I fell, I stopped any weights or yoga until yesterday. (5 looooooong weeks) Today was another painful day so I think every other day is wise until I fully heal.
    We face-timed with our daughter and her family. What a joy!
    I had gotten some used, but in new condition, Highlights magazines from a thrift store. I meant to mail them down state for the grandchildren. When the P.O. told me the price, I decided to wait until my husband made the trip. This saved nine dollars, for used magazines! Jeeeezzz….
    I also saved the egg boiling water for dishes and the shower water.
    My daughter went to six stores to find hand sanitizer. The shelves were bare. I bought five and mailed them to her. She’s a teacher and needs such things. At another store, I bought five more and put them aside until she needs them. I did not empty the shelves.
    Have a fabulous week out there!

  42. FRUGAL
    * Harvested tomatoes, jalapeños, artichokes, collards, chives, lemons and tangerines from the yard
    * Accepted two bags of bags of extra diapers from another preschool mom
    * Mend: Repaired our folding clothesline with my favorite glue E6000
    * Took my oldest son to visit the cats at a beautiful pet rescue charity near us; they have a cat playroom. (I’m allergic so I’m trying to offer him cat time without actually adopting one.)
    * Cloth pads and a menstrual cup
    * Line drying
    * Deposited a $10.40 payout from a class-action settlement directly into Vanguard for future investment
    * Did the “whole chicken” cycle: roasted veg in the pan, soup with the leftover meat, broth with the bones
    * Took the 3yo to toddler storytime at the library, which is amazing and free and one of the great blessings of the modern world
    * Found a penny
    * Re-dug small rainwater swales in our front yard to store this week’s storm water in the soil as much as possible
    * $5 coupon off frozen yogurt
    * Put out buckets to collect rainwater that collects on our shade sail
    * Fueled up the car at Arco and showed the boys how it’s as much as .70 cents cheaper per gallon there than at the Mobil station three blocks away

    1. Thank you Patricia. I am finished! Just rebuilding my immune system and muscles at this point. God’s grace and mercy at work.

      Blessings to you and yours,

      Trish

  43. Your garden looks lovely. I have a few crocuses up, but that is about it. It is still winter here in Eastern Washington.
    I have not spent much money the last couple of weeks – partially because I have had no time to go shopping. I am a CPA, so this is my busiest time of year. However, a few things over the last couple of weeks.
    My doctor’s office called regarding one my prescriptions that needed to be renewed, but I had to have a physical first. So, I had a physical, including a mammogram and bone density test. My Medicare supplement should cover almost all of it. I still need to get in to have my blood drawn.
    My Medicare supplement also gives me $50 of OTC products each quarter. This quarter I got allergy meds, ibuprofen, Epsom salts, and a couple of other things.
    Due to it being tax season, we are required to work Saturdays. However, our office provides lunch.
    I was able to get butter and sausage at Fred Meyer for $1.99/pound – limit of 5 each – so that is what I got.
    I brought breakfast and lunch to work all days except Saturdays when lunch is provided.
    My mother turned 97 on March 5th. I told her I would take her anywhere she wanted for dinner. She chose this little hole-in-the-wall diner in my tiny little town for fish & chips. She has done this the last 3 years – same place. They hand fillet and hand bread cod each day. It is a light crispy breading, and really is quite good. We know the owner, and when he heard my mother chose his place for her birthday dinner – he comped her meal. So nice of him. They also had a nice chat after dinner.
    I got free granola, crackers and a cauliflower crust pizza from Safeway.
    My sister took DH and I out for dinner the day after my Mom’s birthday, to thank us for letting her stay at our house.
    My DH made meatloaf for dinner one night along with mashed potatoes and gravy. (He is retired)
    Made lasagna with noodles, sauce and cheese from the pantry and onions from the garden. This was our Sunday dinner.
    Made 12 baked potatoes for lunches during the week. This was part of a 10 pound bag of potatoes I got for $1.29. Cooked some broccoli to have with it, for stuffed baked potatoes.
    One of our local stores had 8 oz. packages of shredded cheese for $1.00 each.
    This coming Friday a local store (Yoke’s for anyone in the greater Spokane area) is having yellow onions for 29¢ a pound on their one-day sale.
    I think that is about it. At least all I can think of.
    Hope everyone has a great, frugal and healthy week.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up on Yoke’s. If I happen to be in Post Falls, I’ll go. What is the name of the restaurant with the good fish and chips? We are not that far away, you know!

      1. Hi Maxine:
        The little restaurant is called Pryor’s. It is on Wellesley not too far from the border with Post Falls. If you come on Wellesley from Post Falls, it is right before you get to the first set of Railroad tracks. I know – small town directions.

        1. Have to disagree…small town is knowing when the train comes through each day and blocks the tracks…LOL

  44. I was getting pretty low on meat. I took advantage of a buy one get one free sale on chicken breasts this weekend to stock up. There is an organic market near me that offers boneless skinless breasts once a week on sale but it’s out of our usual shopping area. This store’s prices are same as the specialty markets special sale but it’s in our usual area so not necessary to make a special trip. I asked my son if he was willing to sell some of his venison to me. It’s so much leaner and fresher than any beef I can buy. He refused…said he’d only give it to me. He’s also supplying us with eggs from his chickens. I feel so blessed to get such good quality foods for free.
    I’ve spent today in my kitchen making up a few entrees for this week: a big pot of vegetable soup, a macaroni and cheese that used up dibs and dabs of various cheeses, rice and bean burritos for our lunch, and then I made salisbury steak for supper and used a portion of the packet of venison to also make meatballs which I cooked with the steaks then put in the freezer.
    I also chopped a head of cabbage that had seen better days. I’ll make homemade egg rolls with it tomorrow. I also plan to make bagels then as well.
    We don’t grow any of our food except a few herbs but this year I hope to try to plant a few tomatoes, squash and beans. I’d hoped to plant green peas but that window for us came and went with downpours and inches of rain which stood in my planting bed.

  45. Lovely to see the garden pictures since we still have some snow here in minnesota. I picked up half a pork loin for $1.58lb. I cut into pork chops and froze. I also found pink lady and honey crisp apples for $.99 lb. Continue to pick up the loss leaders to stock up our food supply. I was a little shocked to see the tp almost gone and the bottled water completely sold out at the local Aldi store. We are in good shape and feel we could survive a quarantine if one was needed. So far only 3 cases here.
    Stay healthy and safe.

  46. Love the pictures of your garden, Brandy! Hope you are feeling better.

    My accomplishments this week:

    • Used free tea and toiletries, washed ziplocks and foil and used ½ dryer sheets and ran only full loads the in washer and dishwasher during off peak times.
    • Ate in 7 times. We had steak, baked potato, spaghetti squash and salad; spaghetti & meatballs; crockpot mushroom pork chops with boiled potatoes and pea & carrots; ham, green beans and cheesy potatoes; vegan burgers with tater tots and corn; frozen pizza; and steak, baked potato and broccoli from the garden.
    • Harvested Napa cabbage from the garden.
    • Hung 2 out of 4 loads of laundry.
    • Ate leftovers from the freezer for lunches.
    • Hubby had his lunch paid for by a vendor this week.
    • I won a $10 gift certificate and $7 cash at my Trivia league this week.
    • Didn’t need many groceries, but the few I did need I got on the senior 10% off day.
    • Ibotta had a rebate for “free after purchase” for plant-based burgers, so I got a package of those. They were less than the rebate and combined with the aforementioned 10% off, I actually made 78c. We are Catholic and aren’t eating meat on Friday during Lent, so this was great for Friday night.
    • Hubby has been working on our car this past week. He remembered to use a bonus he’d gotten from his membership at AutoZone, as well as getting things on sale. He saved 50%.
    • Babysat my Granddaughter 2 days this week, so will get paid for one of those. My daughter and I have a deal that I will watch her one day a week for free, but if I do 2 days, she will pay me. This works out well for both of us, and with my contract work on hold for now, the money will come in handy.
    • Went to 4 different grocery stores in one trip to hit all the sales. I keep an ice pack (made from using an empty apple juice container) in my freezer so I can take a small cooler with me so I don’t have to stop back home to drop off refrigerated items. Grocery deals this week included 2 boxes of cereal at 25c each, a 10# bag of potatoes for $2, a free yogurt, and 2 packages of cocktail napkins for 25c each. The cocktail napkins are plain red, so I can use them for multiple occasions. I also found some neutral cloth napkins on clearance, which I needed.
    • My hairdresser gave me a box of tea to try.
    • I was supposed to fly to Los Angeles with my husband to pick up our car from our son, who had borrowed it until he found another car after he was in an accident in December. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold the day we were supposed to leave, so I didn’t go. The upside is that it saved us 50% of what we would have spent on meals out etc. if I had gone.
    • Found 2 chairs at Goodwill on a half price day for a dining room table I previously purchased there that only came with 2 chairs. They aren’t an exact match, but are the same style/shape, just have a different back. I paid $12.78 total for both of them.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  47. Hello again. Thank you for sharing the pictures of your garden. It is lovely, and you are so blessed to be harvesting goodies and what a deal on broccoli! This week has not been that money saving for us, although I did cook all of our meals and cut my husband’s hair, although I did cut it too short. He was very kind and said, “Oh, it will grow in a couple of weeks. You saved us $20 bucks.” Later he was looking for some hair jell in the bathroom to try to make it lay down. That tells you how too short it is. Yikes. The wild daffodils in our pasture are blooming. When we moved here, we had just one bunch, a variety that is almost white. It seems like they bloom rather later than the others. Every year I hold my breath (figuratively, of course) for fear the white daffodils are gone. This year we have four patches of yellow daffodils blooming. The field across the road from us has numerous bunches in bloom, more than used to be there. I am still hoping to see the white ones again. Pussy willows are out, and camellias, pale and hot pink, in people’s gardens have been blooming. Lenten roses and heather have been blooming. The last few days have been blue sky days (which means frost at night) (snow that didn’t stick last Sunday), and the ocean and the wonderful full moon have been gorgeous. My husband and I drive a few minutes from his work to the cove beach every day to eat the lunch I bring, and watch the surfers, and then walk the promenade a ways. At night I write down our blessings in a notebook I got at the Dollar Tree that has “Amazing Things Can Happen” printed among pink and red roses on a black and black and white background on the front. I forget about cancer, and life seems perfect.

    1. My husband always says, “The difference between a good haircut and a bad haircut is two weeks.” It took me a bit but I got better at cutting his hair after a few haircuts. You will, too!

      I grow several different daffodils, and each blooms at a different time. I’m sure you’ll see your white ones later in the season.

  48. My mother found 3 corned beefs for $1.99 lb at Aldi’s.
    Chickens are laying again so I’ll have to do lots of baking this spring.
    My mother went home after an extended visit. I’m left with lots of random leftovers and a fridge in desperate need of cleaning out.
    I restocked a year’s worth of powdered milk, bought insoles for several shoes (my puppy has a thing for my right show), added to my stocks of rubbing alcohol, Lysol and pine sol
    I shouldn’t need to go to the grocery store this week or any other store for that matter.
    This week my goal is to get my house (including my guest room) back together, clean out the fridge, find everything my mother put away, and get all the linens refolded and situated.

  49. Brandy, your garden is so wonderful. I hope you’ve recovered from your cold.
    You’ve inspired me to get my garden back in order. I haven’t been growing anything except self-reseeding holy basil, cuban oregano, tropical yams and passion fruit in my four raised front-yard beds. All those are perennial, so I haven’t been working on it and it’s a shame. I am in awe of how much you’re able to grow in hostile weather.
    To be fair, I have been concentrating on a permaculture food forest in my back yard (plantain trees, papaya, yams, canna, Gynura, and Piper lolot (all edible), but that front space needs to earn its keep.

    We went to the city’s free mulch depository and got 2 (small) truck loads of excellent mulch (sometimes it’s not good) loaded in large pots. I weeded each bed and covered it with my compost, then with several inches of mulch. We also mulched the small food-forest. It’s really too late to start cool season vegetables here, but I can plant more tropical yams, papayas, Pigeon peas and Moringa. I found Moringa seeds in pods near out pet-supply store. If you can grow moringa there, Brandy, it’s amazingly nutritious, and you can keep it as a hedge. Pigeon peas are also quite pretty small trees, and the green peas are excellent, as are the dried beans. Those trees are very easy to grow!

    We follow the Plant Paradox diet, as strict vegetarians (though you don’t have to do it as vegetarains) and feel great and lost the few pounds we needed to, and kept them off. The resistant carbs he promotes are readilyy available here in ethnic grocery stores, and are delicious. And, being in a sub-tropical climate, we can grow many of them from cuttings from the store.

    I also plan to use the fibreglass container Ihave to grow some edible water plants. I tried water chestnuts, but had no luck, so now will try water spinach and water mimosa.

    There have been 2 cases of covid19 in our county, but we’re just planning on keeping taking our supplements and relying on homeopathy and herbs if anything gets us. We have plenty of supplies and I got some extra canned and frozen food for the animals (we usually feed a raw diet). My partner has to fly for a living, so that means he’s exposed to lots of germs, so I have to keep reminding him to take his supplements!

    Thank you, as always, Brandy for this blog and all your work on it.

  50. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve primarily been working on making sure we’re stocked up at home on everything we need. Groceries, household, and pet supplies, lots of non-perishables, water, medicines. I finished shopping today and feel like I’m set if there were a situation where we needed to be at home for an extended period, or if there was a supply chain interruption we would be ok. It’s kind of shocking the price gouging that is going on in some places. I paid under $3 for a Lysol cleaner refill a few weeks ago. Now that same bottle is $17 (this is on Amazon). I work for a very large church in a large city, and now with Coronavirus cases in our area, so it’s a real concern that we may have to close for a while. I am salaried and have time off ,so financially it isn’t a big concern, but a lot of our congregation is in the high risk age group, so that makes me nervous. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!

    1. We had planned to stock up our storage with our tax return. We’ve received it, and have been working our way down the list over the past 2 weeks. So…my husband went into Costco and easily got the 1 case of toilet paper we wanted. Much to our surprise, 3 days later, the shelves were bare of both t.p. and water and quickly return to that state whenever they fill them up. I’m thankful for our stockpile, and for the fact that we had just re-filled many areas. He has still been gathering items from our list, and most are readily available here, still. We are almost done with our list now, with one more store tomorrow. They will have what we want, as it’s Bob’s Red Mill…..doubt there’s a run on sweet rice flour or gluten-free oats:)

      Now, tonight, I hear that the entire state of Oregon has cancelled school for the next 2 weeks. Our church is large, and they are still working through exactly what will happen there. At this time, they plan to broadcast a service to watch remotely on Sunday, hold smaller gatherings, and have the elderly greeters and such refrain from volunteering. Strange times.

  51. Hope you continue to feel better Brandy – it must be difficult when you are ill with so many people relying on you – hope you get the rest you need.
    Thank you for the photos of your garden – it is so lovely as we are just starting to struggle out of winter and have had many grey days.

    We’ve had a number of events and meetings at the office so either have attended and had lunch for free or I am the one organizing things and sometimes I’m able to take a bit home – although I always ensure that others at the office get a share first and/or ensure that larger amounts go to charitable distributors if possible.

    I am finished with filling the gaps in my pantry and only added some treats last week – chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. I am trying to use up fresh foods wisely and restock as needed. My freezer is packed so I am now eating things down a bit as there is no room left!

    Bills are paid for the month and I have some “fun” money left – but trying to avoid things that are too crowded. Two out of town friends had to be tested for the virus yesterday – they are in isolation and should get their results tomorrow. We’ve also cancelled or suspended a few programs at my church until things improve – its a real balancing act but a lot of our volunteers are seniors so we have to think about them as well as our clients. It’s tough.

    I’m continuing to keep laundry up to date and to keep garbage & recycling emptied on a regular basis. I also gave my apt. a good scrub last weekend and I do wipe down door handles, light switches and counter tops with Lysol wipes on a regular basis both at home and at the office!

    Hope everyone stays safe.

  52. I’ve read that there’s no point in getting water because this isn’t like a natural disaster where the water coming form your tap will be tainted, or nonexistent.
    Makes sense.

    1. I agree about the water! We are all depending on having electricity, so there is no reason to believe we won’t have water, too. But I saw lots of bottled water going out of Winco yesterday.

      1. I agree about the water. I typically keep 1-2 cases of bottles at home just as a regular part of my pantry, and that’s where I’m at now. I did not do any extra stocking up on water outside of what I normally buy. Last night I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work, and I couldn’t believe it – the poor stocker was trying to restock cases of water and there were 3 people with empty carts standing there waiting on him. I passed multiple customers with carts piled high with bottled water, toilet paper, paper towels. Stores here are wiped out of paper towels, dry beans, toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer. I’m in a major metro area with only a few confirmed cases so far. While I think it is prudent (haha!) to be prepared, I also think that if we are seeing Wuhan, China with their infrastructure and utilities still in place and functioning, we here in the US and most other areas do not need to worry about losing water or power.

  53. We are enjoying early Autumn days here with the last of the flowering Summer trees and shrubs so it is a treat to get a glimpse of your lovely garden Brandy. My sister was staying for a short visit with me and I coloured and cut her hair. The colour I mixed together and it worked out beautifully, I need a bit more practice with cutting so I’ll be looking at Youtube before her next visit.

    I have just started a free online course with the Wicking Dementia Centre at the University of Tasmania which is about understanding dementia. The next one which will start in May is all about preventing dementia. It is offered regularly and is open to anyone irrespective of where you live. I thought it could be handy job wise, and eventually health wise.

    I’m also looking around for new skills so that I can work when I “retire” from my present job so I am doing a weekend learn to teach swimming course soon and then need to get 20 hours of industry training before I can start. The CPR course I also need I will be able to do free of charge with an organisation I volunteer for which will save me $60.

    My weekly trawl of the local op shop rewarded my with a couple of lovely necklaces, a new glow in the dark collar for the cat and a couple of as new tops for my daughter – all 50 cents each.

  54. Is your husband satisfied eating 1/2 personal pizza for lunch? Just curious. I can eat an entire one and I am smaller than you, Brandi.

    1. They are plenty of calories. If you look at the listing, it’s still quite a large number of calories (more than anyone should have in a meal, even a man as tall as my husband).

  55. Brandy: So much enjoy the pretty spring pictures of your garden, Read your blog faithfully but don’t write anything very often, you do such a good job making do with little and no one suffers from it. Just a couple things I do to save a few pennies- some finely crumbed dry bread mixed in with scrambled eggs make them go a little farther, also a about 1/4 cup bread crumbs in hamburgers stretches it a bit, Had thought of cutting my garden down this year but the price of fresh veggies and fruits think I better plant more and plan to share with my daughter and three grand daughter, Have a happy season and keep well.

  56. Well, the good news today is that I was finally able to assemble some of the 6 sets of photos into the leather albums at the archives.
    Each album is so heavy that I could only carry two when I left because I had my briefcase. Due to my broken tendon I could only use my good arm. The bad news is that when I got home, I got an email saying the whole museum is closed as of today. My worst fear and what I was trying to avoid has come true — most of my research materials are still in the archives. Not sure how I’ll get them out.

    1. My materials, including the photo albums, have been boxed up and I can pick them up when the museum re-opens, no matter how
      long that may be.

      Marcia B. I think you’ve done great. Hopefully, the spread will be stopped or slowed down.

      To everyone, good luck and good health and God bless.

    2. So sorry to hear this Anne – things have certainly been happening very quickly. I was actually in The Royal Ontario Museum this afternoon – as we went to pick up our coats the staff told us that they’d just got the word that they were shutting down for the next 3 weeks. That’s now schools, all public venues, libraries, museums, galleries, the zoo, publicly funded daycare, the opera, music venues etc. etc. – it’s going to be tough on parents to keep the kids occupied.
      At least people paid attention to the warning not to travel outside of Canada (today is the start of March break and usually one of the busiest days at the airport) – instead – it was a ghost town!
      I spent 3 hours updating closures & suspensions on our website etc and sending out mass emails to keep people updated. Oh well – as long as everyone stays safe!

      1. Hi Margie from Toronto,

        Given everything, it’s a minor thing. The next day, the archivist, who apparently had spent the Friday in the archives or perhaps he did it all before he left on Thursday, boxed up all of my stuff and labelled it and put it on a cart. I will be able to pick it up once the museum re-opens. The book research is not a problem as I can continue online, except for two or three things. The personal photo albums and loose photos are worth a fortune. Had I had one more day I would have had everything home. Once I left the archives, I couldn’t get back in without the archivist but he was in the meeting that was closing the museum. So I thought they’d give a day warning but it was immediate. It is nice not to have to go out everyday — I was worried about being in a car in close proximity to fellow passengers who sneezed, coughed, etc. At the end, my driver sneezed and didn’t cover it. I am not too worried as although Alberta has cases, all or almost all are travel related.

        There may be community spread but I think it will be a question of a couple of weeks if it happens. I am staying home just to make sure I haven’t caught it and also to just hibernate. People who are young almost always recover but with increased age, the mortality rate goes way up. The statistics given till now have been based on the average of all age groups but I heard the stats by age group and it reveals the true mortality rate of the older cohorts. Margie, I agree that it’s great people are heeding the warning not to travel outside of Canada. I am worried, however, because one of my friends who is in her 90s, has company arriving from New York State to go skiing for three days. New York State has quite a few cases. Because I am super high risk, I will not be around that friend at all. She has a daughter who can help her. I am hoping the visitors cancelled their visit. I am relieved that I have a pantry — as you know, I built it up gradually over three months. I ought to have bought more laundry detergent and more vitamin C. A friend is delivering Vitamin C. It is Ester C with Quercetin — very expensive but I’ve wanted both. Interestingly, Montreal researchers have some evidence that a quercetin derivative might be effective against coronavirus but more studies are needed. Quercetin is found in several fruits but notably apples.

        1. I just photographed a couple from Alberta last week. When they arrived home, they were asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

          1. Yes, everyone coming into Canada is being asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Some of the travel-related cases in Canada were Canadians who had been to the U.S. The Government of Canada has told every Canadian who is out of Canada to return home immediately. It is concerned that many European countries are closing their borders and I would not be surprised if the Government closes our border in a few days (once Canadians abroad have made it home). The UK is talking about a long isolation for people over 70 (like about 120 days) but not to start immediately.

  57. I feel like haven’t done that great. I’ve been stocking up on some items on sale… rice, beans, pasta, canned veg, etc. No toilet paper because the stores are sold out. I’ve tried to order online. I’ll be fine until they cancel school for a month. I have boys but the rolls we have won’t last a month. I can always go to work. Only woman in my building. Also, I have a peri bottle.

    I haven’t kept a stocked pantry like I used to. We are set now though, for at least 1-2 months. I did save money when my husband traveled. Food lasts longer and I save on gas because I can’t get to the gym.

    1. Marcia,
      It sounds like you’ve done a great job. Just a suggestion but try a smaller store than a big box store. Here, in parts of Canada, cCostco and Superstore the big box stores, had empty shelves but the smaller stores seemed not to run out. Also, when your big box stores restock, they may start limiting quantities. Ann

  58. I haven’t commented here in awhile, but I’m feeling super discouraged lately. My husband and I are expecting a baby in May and are trying to do everything we can to prepare. This is our first baby so we need everything – although we aren’t really people that think babies need a lot of stuff. But it seems like every time we start to make progress, something sets us back. We were in the middle of remodeling our house when we found out we were pregnant. We had the money already saved up for the remodel, so it wasn’t a big deal. We just started saving for my maternity leave (I’m the breadwinner in our house by quite a bit, so me being off work will be tough). Anyway, we got a bit saved up and then found out the original heat/air system we had budgeted for wouldn’t work for our house. The one we ended up having to go with was $4000 more. There went our savings. Then we had an issue with our septic tank that wiped out our savings. Now something is wrong with my car and it will have to be towed and repaired. Not only have we made no progress towards saving for maternity leave, but we have actually had to dip into our emergency fund. On top of that, things are starting to shut down for Coronavirus. I’m terrified work is going to make us take mandatory PTO, which would use up the vacation time I had saved to help offset my income loss in maternity leave. I just feel so completely discouraged and unprepared.

    1. Jessica,

      Take heart. I’m sorry to hear of your financial woes and I certainly have been there. Your government may require employers to pay for isolation leave if necessary due to coronavirus. Ann

    2. Jessica,
      I’m sorry for all of the upheaval in your life.
      I, too, would like to encourage you. We had our first baby when money was more than tight. We lived super simply and without many things we needed, and we were still spending more than we earned.
      We bought a used crib for $15. A used stroller for $10. The county had a free car seat program. It was the ugliest car seat you’ve ever seen, but it was safe. Every stitch of clothing the baby had was a gift or bought used. I hand painted some animals on the wall of the baby’s room. My parents gave us an old rocking chair. Bare wood. Not a cushioned glider. We bought no toys, the few we had were gifts. My mother made baby blankets out of full size blankets that she had been given when she married. We used those blankets for all of our children. For our first baby’s 1st birthday we purchased one thing for her. A new book.
      Those were actually really sweet times. That baby is now 25. She often says what a happy childhood she had. She still buys used clothes, has graduated with a bachelors and masters degree debt free, and is grateful for simple pleasures.
      I hope that you can enjoy these times and be encouraged!

    3. Jessica: I am so sorry you are going through a frightening time, when you are already in a time of great changes!
      Brandy’s observations about what babies need are very thoughtfully written. (Especially: If someone throws a shower for you, push for very practical, larger sized clothing or a bigger item like an umbrella stroller or diapers of whatever kind you will use).
      And the baby won’t care if the remodeling is done as long as you three are all together.
      You are in a tough spot, but don’t sell yourself and your previous preparations short: You said you were making progress, you had savings, you have an emergency fund, you have plans. These very good and important things didn’t happen overnight, or maybe even in one year. and not everyone can do them. But you know what they are, so you can direct your attention to building up your security again. Best wishes to you!

  59. 1. I received a lot of freebies for my birthday. My favorites were popcorn from AMC, a burrito from Moe’s, and a coffee from Starbuck’s.
    2. Renewed library books before they had a fine and made sure to stock up on other books before we get quarantined!
    3. Spring cleaned our house and weeded out some of my children’s clothing they outgrew. Happy to find lots of clothes that still fit! It always helps me to save $$ if I organize our possessions periodically. Ask me about the year I bought a new pair of shoes for my son when I already had a pair waiting in his closet….that I bought on clearance the summer before….
    4. Found lots of marked downs at Walmart. Brownies $.50, fancy cheese dip $.75, and 1lb of mozzarella shreds for $1.
    5. Said yes to things my mom was getting rid of and somethings they just wanted to share with us: razors, pens, cereal, bread, eggs, homemade English muffins.. My parents are very generous:)
    https://thethriftyeducator.com/2020/03/14/frugal-things-26/

  60. Brandy,

    I found your blog via another blog many years ago. How grateful I am for that for your posts, especially your posts with meals plans, etc. are a great comfort in these times.

    God Bless all of you. I have never met any of you and it doesn’t matter. My prayers and hope go with each one of you and your loved ones.

    Becky-TN

  61. Brandy and friends,
    I wish you all well. I haven’t been very frugal other than cooking at home lately. The stores here are crazy. My husband videotaped them and showed them to me. Things are wiped out. They are closing stores early. I worry about people close to me. I worry that we might not be able to get medication for them.. I’m diabetic and have asthma as well as other close people to me. I have been a bit scared. But then I pray.
    I realize that all I can do is pray. I know that God does not want me to worry. That he knows the numbers of hair on my head, he knows my needs. So I pray. It is only then that I experience calm. I wish you that calm feeling.
    Tammy

  62. Let’s see I polished a pair of shoes, planted roma tomato seeds and arugula seeds (which sprouted in 2 days!), made homemade pizza dough. I’m also coloring my own hair today after having had it done professionally for years. I really don’t want to do this because my experience is that the color turns brassy but I just don’t want grey hair yet. Frivolous perhaps, but my truth.

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