Frugal Accomplishments

This Past Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I’ve been taking a couple of online photography classes (purchased on sale at 30% off each in the last couple of months). One of the students from one of the classes who lives in another state was visiting our city and looking for couples to photograph for a sunrise session. I spoke up quickly. My husband and I had our pictures taken at dawn one morning at no cost to us. I wore the dress I purchased a couple of years ago at a major discount (79% off) at the Dillard’s outlet. I will display our photos in some frames I purchased at garage sales several years ago.

I harvested Meyer lemons from the garden.

December is a great month to stock up on meat for the freezer at super low prices. I purchased several large packages of chicken thighs for $0.78 a pound. I bought two spiral sliced hams for $1.39 a pound and boneless pork roast for $1.29 a pound.

I made a spray bottle of leave-in conditioner with a mall amount of regular conditioner and water in a spray bottle. This is so much less expensive than buying a leave-in conditioner/detangler/anti-static spray, and it works just as well.

I downloaded a free one-month trial of a program I have been wanting to try.

I took a free online live one-hour French conversation class. To my surprise, I only learned a couple of terms, because my French has improved enough that the other words covered were things I already knew. The terms I did learn were words I need to add to my vocabulary, so I will memorize them.

I read an e-book from the library.

I finished decorating for Christmas using decorations we already have.

I wrapped Christmas gifts using boxes and ribbon I purchased last year on sale.

What did you do to save money last week?

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117 Comments

  1. I don’t feel that I achieve much in the frugal stakes. Shopping in Australia can be expensive. I seem to spend my time trying to use up what we have and make the most of the resources available to me. I only read freebies on my kindle and borrow form the library. Magazines and newspapers are vary rarely purchased. Most meals are eaten at home. I buy on sale. I am on a limited income and things are so expensive here. For instance chicken thigh fillets were $11+ a kilo (2.2lbs) so even that meat is beyond my budget.

    Sorry for the whine.

    I look forward to seeing your photos.

    1. Suzan, Meat prices are very high in many areas. If they have sales that are within your budget on occasion near you perhaps you can stock up then. I don’t find the low price I found on chicken all the time. When I find a super low sale, then I buy what my budget permits and put it in the freezer. Normally chicken is much higher here. I might find that price just a few times a year, so I buy what I can and I stretch it out over the year in between meals of beans and rice and soups. When I lived in France and Switzerland I did not buy meat except for lardons (chopped up bacon) that I used on occasion in things. My main sources of protein were eggs, yogurt, and lentils.

      I have many Australian readers who comment here; perhaps you can find out some other great sales from them.

      I’m not sure if you live in a place where you can garden, but laws in Australia seem to be a bit more open about keeping chickens in a garden than they are in other places. I don’t know what individual city laws and zoning rules are, but if you can have them, that is something to consider, as well as planting a garden.

      All of the things you are doing to save money are wonderful. Many readers (and myself!) have a limited income, and we’re always looking for new ways to be more creative with what we have. I’m glad you’re here; we are right there with you when it comes to the budget!

      1. Meat prices differ vastly here in South Africa too. But we pay far less for dairy and fresh produce.
        I followed Brandy’s advice today and purchased 4 gammons (called hams in the US). Typically it is not a very expensive meat per kilogram to start with, but by applying discounts only available today in the run-up to Christmas, I was able to buy them at 35% less than marked price, making the price per kilogram (of quality, boneless meat) around the same as whole chickens. I’ve kept one in the fridge for Christmas dinner and the others are stashed in my freezer to use in January and February. I’m hoping to find turkeys marked down after Christmas and do the same thing.
        I’ve also accepted food family have cleared out of their kitchens before leaving on holiday, and been picking tomatoes and herbs from my garden.
        I’ve made many small Christmas gifts and creatively gifted eggs and baked goods from my kitchen to family and friends.
        While frugal living can at times become tiring, with the right mindset it can be a fun, personal challenge. Thanks Brandy for so often reminding us of that!

    2. Suzan, I found your comments quite interesting. I live in Canada, where our prices are also much more expensive that those found in the U.S. While looking on Pinterest, I came across a poverty challenge that was presented a few years ago, where people were challenged to feed themselves for 5 days on the amount that those living in poverty would commonly have (around $1.75 per person per day). It was interesting to read what some people ate with their money. Of course, the challenge was a few years back and our cost of living has increased since then. Also, I felt the challenge was a bit unfair, because in reality, most people buy a weeks worth of groceries, not 5 days worth. I was curious if it was possible to eat and stockpile a pantry completely from scratch (i.e. no basic ingredients at all, like seasoning, flour, baking powder etc.) on $20 a week for 1 person in our area. So, in late October, I started to type up a grocery list and create a meal plan each week, using what was on sale and noted prices of things I saw while doing my own grocery shopping (like clearance items, in-store specials, etc). Three meals were accounted for each day, most of the meals were meat based, and I tried to make sure they were healthy options (no cheap frozen entrees or stuff like that). I made sure not to include an overabundance of pasta meals, but ramen noodles were incorperated with veggies and meat added to make a cheap, balanced, nutritious soup. I did focus heavily on ensuring the meals included a protein source, veggies and a starch (potatoes where on sale a lot during this time, so lots of potatoes were used). Any food left over, would roll over into the next week, to see if I could actually stockpile a pantry with time. I did not include personal hygene items, cleaning supplies, etc. in the $20, just food.

      I am happy to report that only 2 months after starting this project, I have quite a bit of food stockpiled. In reality, many of the meals I used are not meals I would eat, simply because I am a very picky eater. However, those who are less picky would have enjoyed wonderful delicious meals, like stuffed peppers, chili con carne, roasted pork, fried rice with lots of veggies, roasted beets & root veggies and sauteed mushroom. The first couple weeks were admittedly repedative, basic and strict in the amount eaten. However, as the food stockpiled over the weeks, the variety of food widened and meals became even more healthy and interesting to eat. Hardest thing I found was getting a bag of flour, since a half decent sized bag cost almost half my budget. Biggest surprise, I was not able to buy fruit until about a month in, because I needed to buy meat, veggies and other meal ingredients (like rice and simple spices) were more of a priority.

      What I discovered is that even a very limited budget and living in an area with higher prices, it is possible to enjoy delicious, healthy meals. You just have to follow a strick meal plan and really think about what you want to buy until you can stockpile a bit. Everyone frugal path will look different. That’s ok. The fact you are tring to find ways to be frugal that work for you is way ahead of most people in society today. You should be proud of any and all efforts you do to be thrifty with your budget. Suzan, you are doing a great job!

      1. Rhonda, I just wanted to say what an interesting challenge you planned and took up! I would love to know more details bout your experience in stockpiling from scratch and how you planned your meals.

        1. Carol, the whole challenge was just theoretical. I did not actually buy the food and cook with it. I just created the meal plan and grocery list, guessing at how many servings/portions certain things would make and rolling those over into other meals. For instance, one week there was a pork roast on sale for an extremely good price. While grocery shopping, I looked at the prices and sizes of the roasts. If I were single, that would make a lot of servings. So I decided how many portions I would have divided it up into and assumed that I would freeze the extra cooked meat for future meals. If I “made” a soup, I would decide how many protions I would divide the soup into, to make it stretch, without actually making the soup.

          To do the challenge, I simply sat down with the weekly flyers, looked for the best deals and tried to create a meal plan using those items. I would also look around while I was actually grocery shopping and look for unadvertised deals or prices for other items I might need. I also used the shop on-line website for prices of items that were not on sale. I also looked for recipes that might fit with the sale items, and figured out if I could afford to buy any other ingredients I didn’t have yet. My grocery list had to be under $20, so there was a lot of changing things around until the meal plan would work within budget. I could not afford snack items, and therefore stuck with 3 meals only. Two months in, I may be able to add a snack to the meal plan now (remember I started with nothing). Often there were items I’d really want to buy because they were great prices, but I couldn’t fit it into the $20 budget. So, in reality, I would not have been about to purchase it or get extra that week. I also shop at multiple places to get the best prices normally. While doing this challenge, I assumed I would be able to do that. However, in reality, if I was on a super strict budget, that might not be possible, and my list would have to change to reflect that. The challenge isn’t perfect, but certainly helped me see how someone living on a very tight budget would struggle with meal planning and trying to build a pantry up. I can say that as the challenge progressed, it was much easier to meal plan, as I had things to work with and I could buy some more expensive items in larger bulk quantity. So if you are actually going to try this for real, you are probably already ahead of the game, because you already have basic ingredients on hand in your home (flour, sugar, seasonings, etc.)

    3. Oooh, that blue dress is just beautiful and how nice to get some pretty pictures. We haven’t had a nice photo done in ages. Thanks for putting that on my radar. We just celebrated our 25th anniversary and that seems like a nice year to do it! I hope you’ll share the portrait when you get it.

      My Christmas prep is all done, but for purchasing the last minute produce & milk. It’ll be just the two of us, as always. We have some home repairs to work on & possibly the weather to finish putting our yard to bed. Winter came in with a WHOOSH and we didn’t even have all the raking finished!!
      I’m planning to cook a ham, some sweet potatoes, & make some snack plates of cheese, crackers, veggies, etc. to nosh on all weekend. I also bought a bunch of onions on sale and want to make some French Onion soup, my favorite.

      I planned my Christmas all different this year to spread out the cost and busyness. I also have 3 birthdays to buy for in Dec. so things really get squeaky tight. I made Thanksgiving cards in Oct. & bought stamps. Mailed those in early November & also set aside cash for the Dec. bdays. I sent only one Christmas gift (my MIL) & the Dec. birthday stuff. I’m sending the niece and nephew Christmas gifts to arrive with the Magi in early January, bought after Christmas. And my friend gifts will be moved to arrive for Valentine’s Day. This was an experimental year and thus far, it looks to be the permanent new plan. It has worked GREAT! My husband and I do a very low key Christmas and exchange one gift (of 4). The other 3 are on Epiphany. The one gift signifies the ultimate gift from God and the other 3 represent the gifts from the Magi. This also happens to work well with a little rhyme we learned several years ago . I’m guessing an overwhelmed mom came up with it to stop the spending & overgifting madness! Something you want, something you need, something to wear, & something to read. These are the only gifts my husband & I receive so it’s great for us. It’s fun to look for gifts that fit, too.

  2. What a beautiful dress! I’m still getting used to having 3 kids so not a ton of frugal things except:
    – bought candy for a gingerbread decorating party and when there was too much, returned the extra
    – exchanged some of the size 1 diapers I had stocked up on because this baby is too big for them!
    – started using our cloth diapers for him. We use cloths during the day and disposables at night.
    – lined up an in home sitter for two days a week and daycare for two days a week for all 3. I will be home one day and the weekend. This isn’t frugal but I love my job and having people we love and trust taking care of our kids makes it easier for me to go to work.
    – started cooking again at home! We’ve been surviving on frozen meals
    – bought a few gift cards on sale to use for things we normally buy
    – used some offers online for free shipping and went through Ebates! My mother in law bought a generator and we helped her order it. It made us 40 dollars on ebates!
    – used a 55% off coupon at AC Moore to get an art kit for my niece for Christmas
    – have started using our compost bin again. It’s envoronmentally friendly and also saves us from having to throw out as many bags of trash which can be costly.
    – I’m trying to be more organized. I find my house so much more lovely when it’s clean and neat but it’s hard to change my messy habits! Any tips on this would be appreciated!

      1. I like the flylady “Diane in Denmark” on youtube. She posts a short encouraging video almost every day and even has cheerleader pom poms she shakes as she cheers you on.
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    1. Please, please, please check out Flylady. . I have been a follower of Flylady for several months, and I usually use the holiday and school vacations to clean my house because I get so far behind when I’m working (I’m a school teacher), but by creating simple routines, my home has stayed neat and clean since we bought it in August, and for the first time I actually get to enjoy my Christmas break.

    2. I love watching “How Jen Does It” on youtube. I prefer her older videos but really all of them on routines are very helpful, as well as her clutter challenges. Good luck!

  3. Great to see you back Brandy, I’ve missed your posts. I love the way you say yes to everything that comes your way helping your frugality – sunrise photos; leftovers etc – I’m going to make that one of my aims for 2019. I’ve just returned from our local mall and I’m pleased to report all holiday gifts have been purchased, within budget, just a few bits and bobs to wrap up.

    I’ve got baking to do – mince pies, 2 x Christmas cakes to ice and cakes for my son’s bake sale but as I have all the ingredients already and I love baking that’s not a stressful thing for me to do. I just need decorating ideas for oblong Christmas cakes – I bake them in loaf tins, 1 for us, 1 for my parents. Any ideas frugal friends or is a Pinterest session needed??

    1. Joanne, You could decorate them Buche de Noel style, as logs with meringue mushrooms. They are about that size. If you want a simple Christmas looking cake, I really have seen beautiful ones on Pinterest. I don’t make Christmas cakes but there are so many there that it makes me want to! Cake is not our family’s traditional dessert on Christmas, though. Come to think of it, my own family doesn’t have a traditional dessert. We often will have a main course of ham, but we are also open to anything for Christmas. My mom likes to change it up and I like that she does. She just makes something more lavish than normal if she cooks for Christmas.

    2. Joanne, I’ve made loaf pound cakes as gifts before — the kind that bake with a domed top like a loaf of bread — and did these different options with them:
      Pour a buttermilk, orange or lemon glaze, with chopped nuts or citrus zest mixed in, over the cakes. If the glaze is lemon or orange, I sometimes tint it pastel yellow or orange.
      On a cooled cake, sprinkle powdered sugar over it until it is white on top. For Christmas, wrap the end of a sprig of real or faux holly in plastic (for cleanliness) and insert it in the cake too.
      Wrap the cakes in clear plastic wrap then tie them up with ribbons tied in a fancy bow on top.
      A chocolate ganache coating is good for a cake that goes well with chocolate.
      Any regular cake frosting can be used on a cake that doesn’t bake into a domed top, and decorated the same as a layer or sheet cake.
      A (white) vanilla glaze topped with crushed bits of peppermint candy goes well with a chocolate flavored loaf cake.
      I hope these help!

  4. Brandy… sounds like you had another awesome week. I was in the hospital for 3 days nothing frugal about that. Still recovering…but gas is less expensive and I am not running around like I usually do. We are wrapping Christmas gifts…just like you stuff bought on sale last year. Still have a package here for you…I will try to send it this week. Until next week take care sweet lady!

  5. I’ve lost 25 lbs eating low carb. I’ve mostly started eating this way because in the last year I’ve developed severe eczema on my face of all places. I had an allergy test done and pretty much everything I ate was a major allergen for me! Anyway, My clothes are starting to fit weirdly. I turned one pair of pants into a pencil skirt and tightened the waistband. Another pair I was able to take in due to the design. 3 inches in waist and hips!

    I purchased a beautiful wool coat for my son for Christmas at a thrift store, it still had tags on it! I got it for 50% off and only paid $5.

    We have simplified our holidays and it feels so much nicer this year. Less stressful.

  6. What a great opportunity for photos of you and your husband. That dress is gorgeous.
    I made a French toast casserole from a loaf of bread that got smashed in the freezer. It was delicious and lasted for a couple of breakfasts.
    My husband is getting a mostly handmade Christmas. I made him a pair of pajama pants, a shirt, some monogrammed handkerchiefs, cord keepers to keep his phone and tablet cords organized, and some pocket hand warmers. He is going to buy fishing waders, which is his big gift, but he has to try those on, so we will go shopping for them, probably after Christmas. I will purchase some candy and nuts and a couple of fishing lures for his stocking.
    I wanted a new Christmas table runner, and was able to make one with fabric from my stash. I’m still quilting it, but it should be completed soon.
    I, too, made homemade spray-in conditioner this week, using your ‘recipe.’
    I have been listening to free library books while baking cookies and working on my quilt.

  7. Brandy that’s such a fabulous suggestion especially as my youngest son Noah and I make a Buche Noel each Christmas Eve for one of the three Christmas desserts I offer for Christmas lunch. The others are Christmas pudding with brandy cream or simple good quality vanilla ice cream with melted Nutella as a sauce. Christmas cake is offered later in the day to the family with a cup of tea or coffee! Thank you Brandy. Xx

  8. Brandy,
    How do you store your meat in the freezer? I use freezer bags but still get freezer burn on meat after a couple months.

  9. Good to see you’re up and running again!
    I got free tickets to a hockey game and shared one with a friend.
    Some clients bought us dinner one night and another night a friend picked up the tab.
    I used up some frozen cranberries and made cranberry orange bread for a work function.
    I was given a free lunch coupon at work.
    I hung up my laundry to dry.
    I got some much needed boots on sale.
    I found pjs and swimwear at a shop going out of business and I used a coupon I had from them.
    I bought a couple things through Facebook.
    I read a free ebook.
    I hung up laundry to dry.
    I found a bottle of conditioner in my cabinet that I forgot about. I used it instead of buying more.
    I sorted through my closet and found a bunch of clothes I no longer wear. I’ll use them in my trading group.
    I used the free gym at my housing complex.
    My son went to the playground with his friends instead of an indoor arcade.
    I made arrangements for a language exchange that I’ll start soon.
    I drank tea at the office instead of Starbucks.
    I’m making a sweater for my son with yarn I found on sale.

  10. This week has gone by in a blur! Friday night I officially stopped sewing new items (Soup Cozies and flannel Softies(Kleenex alternatives)) for our side business, http://handmadeinoldetowne.com/ But not before 32 sets of Soup Cozies were sold on Thursday and Friday!! This has probably been one of our best frugal accomplishments over the last 7 weeks and this week really was mind-boggling!! I started out in mid October with the goal of decluttering my sewing room by using up some of my overflowing fabric stash. I thought that if I could make something useful, we could use it at home, gift it to family members and maybe even sell a few! It has surpassed our imagination! We have added almost $2000 to our income in those 7 weeks! The amount we paid ourselves has increased our savings while decreasing our debt! We have been humbled and gratified with the response! My stash is diminished a bit but still has a long way to go, so after the holidays, I’ll start back up!

    Now, I’m in “get ready for holiday gifting and family coming in to stay with us” mode! Yesterday, I made 18 mini-loaves of butterscotch banana bread to put in our children’s gift baskets ! With 10 of the 11 kids having children of their own, it has become more realistic to make family gift baskets with edibles for each of them, rather than trying to buy/make something for each one (there are over 50 of us!) So grateful I got that Wilton m8ni-loaf pan at JoAnns a couple years ago for half price (about $17)! I can make 18 loaves at a time in the oven!!! I have used it for gifting individual loaves for our Church ladies, made enough for all of our children and grandchildren and made batches to give out at the spur of the moment when something would say “I’m thinking of you!”! They freeze beautifully, so I can keep some ahead! I bought a 40 pound box of bananas for $5 so I’m using some of those for these breads! So after I make 2 more batches (1 is already in the oven right now), I will have enough for the baskets!

    I made a big batch of Rocky Road candy for the gift baskets, using chocolate chips I got on sale this week for 99 cents and marshmallows I had in my pantry. Recipe called for peanuts. I didn’t have any so I substituted cashews that I had in my pantry! I taste tested a corner and am pleased!

    Made dinner for tonight already for us and to take to a friend who just came home from surgery. It’s a blessing to have a good food storage/pantry that makes it easy to share with others on the spur of the moment!!

    Made chicken salad using shredded chicken that I had made and froze previously, some grapes that I bought at the produce market (5 pounds/$1) and some slivered almonds I had vacuum sealed in my pantry. Added something different to our lunches- sandwiches or wraps using it! Yum!

    Still enjoying our homemade in Instant Pot yogurt! We finished up the caramel apple flavor, but still have some raspberry and some strawberry left! With milk running about $1.59/gallon here at my Kroger’s, it makes my yogurt pretty cheap to make and we really do love it!!

    Our 13 year old car and minivan just keep running well and we are grateful! Even though the weather is cold and wet here, our chickens continue to bless us with eggs and we are grateful!

    We have enough and to spare (and share) and we are grateful!!

    Hope everyone else has time to enjoy the season without feeling the crushing weight of debt/costs!

      1. Thanks, Tammy! All in all, it’s been a great way to use up some of my stash so that I have more space and it’s been an added bonus to bring in a few dollars at the same time knowing that husband will retire in 6 months and we want to be as financially fit as possible! Funny thing is, every day I’m discovering fabric that I don’t remember ever seeing before among my stash!! So, apparently, I still have a ways to go with decluttering so there will be more Cozies, Softies, Scrappy Bags and who knows what else in 2019 coming out of my sewing room!! LOL!!

    1. Gardenpat: I bought two sets of soup cozies from you a few months ago and gave them away as birthday gifts. They have received rave reviews! I meant to save a set for us so will have to order again after the holidays, but wanted to let you know how well made they are and how much appreciated by recipients. It is one of those things you never realized you needed until you had one.

      1. Thanks, Lindsey! Glad they liked them! I never imagined how much use mine would get when I made them 2 years ago! I was making bread yesterday and found that my honey had crystallized and got hard in the mason jar holding it! I put the quart size mason jar (with lid removed of course) in a Soup Cozie in the microwave and heated it for 1 minute! Honey was back to liquid form and my hands didn’t get burnt trying to take the hot jar out of the microwave! I just used the corners of the Cozie to pick it up!!
        One lady who bought some told me that she uses hers to hold a bowl of ice cream so her hands don’t get cold!! Who knew they’d be so versatile!! Lol!,

    2. Gardenpat, just a suggestion for your gift baskets maybe loaves of french bread and add a custom steak seasoning in a jar. My hubby did this last year and all the men in the family loved it. We found several recipes on pinterest and then made it our own.

      1. Thanks for the idea, mmckms!! Most of my daughters/daughters-in-law work, so this year I’ve gone with snacks/treats. In the past, I’ve given them baskets with some of my home canned salsa, jams, sauces. So it’s probably time to make up grilling baskets! I love Pinterest! You can find almost anything there! Lol!!

        For our business, I’ve been planning to put together baskets with Soup Cozies, bowls and dry soup mix for next fall!

    3. I just checked your site out (I admit I have never heard of soup cozies before :)) and I absolutely love the idea! The cozies, and scrappy bags, and softies look so well made and I want all of them! LOL! 🙂
      While they are not in our budget right now, I have bookmarked your site, and will come back for a set (or two) of cozies and maybe a bag! 🙂

      1. Thanks, Z! These have been a fun way to use up some of my fabric stash! They’ve done so well (114 sets sold in less than 8 weeks now!!) that they will definitely be something that we’ll continue to make and market! So come on to our website any time!

  11. I had some banked overtime at work, so I took a day off to handle traditional holiday cooking (cretons, tourtieres, cookie dough). 2 of my colleagues don’t cook and usually buy their tourtieres from the fancy bakery that makes them (23$/pie), so they came over and I taught them how to make them (4$/pie, and a pie is a plentiful meal for 2 adults and 3 children – we usually have a salad with it). So now I have 6 tourtieres in my freezer, which will be lovely quick meals over the holidays when people visit! And best of all – now my colleagues know how to make these too!

    And I had the chilled cookie dough ready for the toddler and preschooler to cut out and bake and decorate, which was a lovely low-cost morning activity on a slow weekend morning. 🙂

    1. I like to make a tourtiere for New Year’s. Day This year, I think I will make a second to put in my fridge freezer, if there is enough room in it by then. I like to have it with salad as well.

  12. Brandy, I am happy to see the blog is up and running again. I checked your facebook when I didn’t see any postings. You have done an amazing job at switching over to a new format. Lots of hours of figuring this all out, but your efforts are much appreciated by all of us who love your blog!

    It’s been at least 3 weeks since I have posted my frugal accomplishments. Life has been crazy here as we get used to my brother living here with us, plus I have been working the Christmas program at my work, which is not going smoothly this year (many of us are seriously debating if we want to return next year). I’m stressed, to say the least! So as much as I enjoy reading this blog, the break came at a good time for me. Anyways, here are some of the frugal accomplishments for our crazy household these past few weeks:
    *I bought 2 butterball turkey breast rolls on sale for $10 each (regular price is $21 each), roasted both up and sliced them into luncheon meat.
    *I bought a case of canned pasta when it was on sale for $0.59/can this week (usual sale price is $0.88 to $1). DD likes to have it sometimes for lunch. But more importantly, I like having it in my pantry as a back up meal for hydro outages or other emergencies because it does not need to be warmed nor have anything added.
    *When we had a problems with an E.Coli in romaine lettuce, which has resulted in all romaine lettuce being pulled from the store shelves, we had to find alternative greens for our Guinea pig. While shopping at the grocery store, my mom spotted some beet greens that someone had snapped off a bunch of beets and left. We asked an employee in the produce department allowed us to have them for free!
    *Made a double batch of blueberry cornmeal muffins (recipe link: https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/blueberry-cornbread-muffins.html) for our school and work lunches one week. These turned out really delicious!
    *We organized our meals to use up a bunch of meat that my brother brought back from Ottawa which thawed before he got home, avoiding waste.
    *I have been working a lot of hours, many of which were not originally scheduled. Happy to get as many hours as I can, before they stop for the season! Only 1 more day left to work before Christmas.
    *The bloodwork I had done in advance of a Dr’s appointment in January came back. I was called by the Dr’s office to come in sooner. Sadly, my diet controlled diabetes is no longer diet controlled, so I’m back on meds after a 6 year reprive. I don’t have medical benefits, so I pay for these medications OOP. At least the meds are inexpensive so far.
    *DD finished attending the PHIT cooking classes. She tried turkey chili con carne with lots of veggies which she really loved. She also tried chicken fajitas, refried beans, sweet potato fries and guacamole. DD really liked the spicy chicken, especially when I put some in a wrap with spinach and cheese. The last class they made black bean brownies and several different smoothies to taste test. FYI, the brownies were amazing and highly recommended to try (recipes can be found on line)! They gave the teens a gift for attending the program, an apron and a paring knife. Each week, we were also able to take home some of the leftover food, which was a huge blessing!
    *DD and her friend played a game of lazer tag for free through the PHIT program one night. It was the first time DD’s friend had ever played. Both of them had a great time, and DD even had the highest score (though we joked it was because she “accidentally” kept shooting her friend, who was still learning how to play).
    *Sadly, DD’s friend has moved yet again. She is now on the other side of the city, which means she will most likely be attending a new school in the new year. I am sad both for my daughter, who enjoyed having someone to eat lunch with, and for her friend as I will no longer be able to supply her with a nutritious lunch each day.

    So my next feat this week is to finish up with work, get Christmas gifts wrapped and organized (I hope I have everything I need, but will find out this week), do a bit of baking (thank goodness my mom is doing the lion’s share), and start writing my frugal accomplishments down again, as that went to the wayside with all the craziness. Looking forward to taking a breath sometime soon!

    1. I almost forgot to tell you all about a movie I watch that I highly recommend. The movie is called “The Man Who Invented Christmas” and is about Charles Dickens writing the book “A Christmas Carol”. So incredibly interesting. I had know idea how much that story influenced how we celebrate Christmas!

        1. I honestly didn’t think it was going to be as good as it was. There is a lot of historic info in the background about attitudes of the day, too. Christmas before 1843 was considered a nuisance. The rich business men were annoyed that their workers were asking for time off, which meant they lost out on making money. The book is what sparked the “season of giving” attitude that we associate with Christmas today, thus why we often think of and mimic “Victorian Christmas” celebrations. I too will happily watch it again!

  13. I had a joined the Reddit gift exchange where you are matched with someone and send them a $20 gift and then someone else is matched with you, who sends you a gift. When I saw the profile of the person I was to send a gift to, I realized that a lovely flower-covered tabelcloth I had purchased for myself but not used would be perfect for her. (It still had the tag on.) I wrapped it using paper that I had on hand, wrote her a note in a leftover Christmas card from another year, and reused a padded envelope to mail it in. The postage was $20 Cdn ($15 US) , but that was the only money out of pocket.

    I attended the opening of the renovated seniors’ home in my village on behalf of the college whose board I am on. It was a pleasant afternoon, meeting people I know locally and from the region. I sat with a resident, who told me about the 70-year-old Easter lily his mother had had, that bloomed every Christmas and Easter.

    Today I am heading to a free concert (donations accepted) in the next town over, and will try to find the rest of the ingredients to make Nuts and Bolts. Wheat and Corn Chex aren’t available in Canada anymore, so I’ll need to be creative.

  14. How wonderful to see a new post. I bought bulbs at 75% off, which I’ll be heading out to plant shortly. They are two varieties of alliums, 35 bulbs for $7.47. We bought our Christmas tree yesterday at 25% off plus another 5% military discount. We’ve been enjoying our evening meal by candlelight. Laundry was hung on the line, though had to be finished in the dryer due to the dampness. I’m looking forward to catching up here. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/12/late-autumn-days-frugal-accomplishments.html

  15. I have discovered something that is helpful to me. It is youtube videos where avid couponers combine weekly store sales with current coupons. The lady I am posting below is one I have been following for a while. Since walking is difficult for me, this is beneficial because she walks through the store, shows the item, gives the price and tells what the savings will be. Many times I have discarded a coupon because it is cheaper to buy a generic brand. She saves me many steps and disappointments.

    What I DO NOT like about her videos is when a programmer enters the wrong price and causes a glitch, she posts it and everybody runs to purchase the incorrectly priced item. I am not interested in profiting from another’s mistake. There are also people who are scamming the system and grabbing all the great deals then reselling them for a profit.

    Yesterday I was able to coupon at my local Dollar General store with no problems. I walked straight in, got exactly what I needed and walked out, for this benefit, I am grateful.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HXHkqSXkEc

    Jeannie@GetMetoTheCounty

    1. Jeannie, there are several good blogs for the drug stores too. Wild for CVS and Wild for Wags give their weekly shipping trips in detail. Sugar cookie and I are great couponers. If you need any help or suggestions I would be happy to guide you to blogs for other stores you shop at. Lilliannapickles@gmail.com

      1. Lillianna, I don’t have a CVS close by and I don’t know what a WAGS is. I checked youtube but didn’t have any luck. I will be emailing you asking for help.
        Thanks,
        Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

  16. Brandy,
    I’ve missed the posts, glad to see you are back. I’ve had a frugal week (considering it’s Christmas) and followed your example to make new small stockings for our family. I made a huge batch of Man Candy which is candied bacon (extra thick cut) and then baked with mixed nuts to make candied bacon and nut clusters! I’m giving this to all them men in the family. I’ll be making toffee and homemade cinnamon rolls closer to time as they are both better fresh. We discovered we had accidentally been double billed for our sons therapy and they had credited our account so we won’t have to pay for his therapy for several weeks! He’s severely autistic so this is necessary for him. We bought some blueberry goat cheese on sale at aldi to make fancy toast for some Christmas parties. Bread toasted, spread with a thin layer of blueberry goat cheese and drizzled with honey is absolutely delicious and feels so fancy and expensive but only costs about 4$ and is beautiful too! We are saving for some yard and garden additions this year. I used my birthday money last year to buy six David Austin Roses which will be delivered this spring and have recently bought corms for ranunculas, sweet peas, larkspur and clary sage. I only have a tiny strip of ground in our backyard to plant in since we have a very steep backyard landscapes in railroad ties and stones. I made a car seat blanket for each of our children to wear instead of a coat in the car. It consists of a double layer of fleece sewn together and turned and a hole cut out of the upper middle for their head to go through and hemmed. I then embroidered their names on each of them. This means they don’t have to wear a coat in the car (dangerous in car seat straps) and will also each have their own blanket which won’t fall off or get kicked off if they fall asleep. I also got all my presents save one wrapped thanks to my mother in laws help wrapping and my husband taking all three children to my sons therapy. Christmas is my favorite time of the year!

  17. Happy Advent!
    This list covers several weeks:
    1. My daughter had a frugal birthday party at home. We invited all the girls in her class. It was probably too may people for our small-ish house, but the weather cooperated nicely, kids were able to play outside, and I think the kids had fun. We did a saran wrap ball game with leftover Halloween candy, trinkets, etc., which they enjoyed. There was an uncut cake leftover, which I took to another event we attended that same night.
    2. I’ve bought a lot of loss leaders, mark downs, etc. We probably have enough frozen meat to eat for quite a while.
    3. I attended an estate sale down the street, where I bought a lot of consumable things: dish soap, bar soap, baby wipes, qtips, shampoo, deodorant, etc. The dish soap bottles and shampoo bottles were slightly opened and used, but at this price, it didn’t matter. Had they been given to me before the person passed away, I would have used them, so I don’t see why there’s anything wrong with buying them from the estate sale. I know that used toiletries probably has an “ick” factor to some people, though.
    4. Our Kroger gives a free apple or banana to each child, from a stand in the produce section. When I go in with my kids, I get them each a free banana, which we save to eat later. The bakery also gives them a cookie, which I let them eat then.
    5. I gave my kids’ teachers a card and a poinsettia bought for .99 on Black Friday at Home Depot. I would have sent in some cookies, too, but I haven’t been able to do as much baking.
    6. I’m using wrapping paper for presents bought marked down after Christmas. I want to try to use up some of these rolls with less left on them. I got boxes from Kroger for some of the gifts.
    7. My aunt is kindly buying a gift for each child, and I’m trying to stretch her money as far as I can, since it’s much more than what I usually spend on a child.
    8. I have several items to list on facebook and ebay, but I just need to find the time to do it.
    Hope you all have a nice, frugal week.

    1. Leigh Ann, my daughters are flower vendors for Home Depot. Thank you for the purchase! Funny story, there was a contest to see who sold the most poinsettias and the fastest on Black Friday. A man came in my second oldest daughters store and purchased a lot of poinsettias for a funeral. My daughter, who is super competitive said she felt horrible for being thrilled that she sold so many so quickly and knowing they were for a funeral. On the other hand she is pretty frugal and stated that it was a very frugal purchase compared to buying flowers from a flower shop for a funeral!

  18. That dress is beautiful. Would love to see one of the photographs of you and your husband.

    I am really enjoying your new site. It is so beautiful and well laid out.

    A couple months ago, I had some major dental work. I needed two new crowns for my front two teeth. The dentist screwed up on one of them and he had to do it twice. I don’t know exactly what went wrong during the process, but I haven’t felt normal since I had the dental work. I am easily tired and overstimulated, and have trouble focusing. I often get dizzy when I read. Work exhausts me, and it’s all I can do to get dinner on the table at the end of the day. It’s slowly getting better. I work for a non-traditional physical therapist, and he was able to help me some, and got acupuncture which helped a little as well. I tried a homeopathic remedy that I had on hand for something else, and that also seemed to calm things down. I spoke to the dentist and he said he has never heard of anything like this (but I am sure I am not the only person something like this has happened to). So these last few weeks have been rather frustrating.

    I wrote about some of my frugal accomplishments in my previous post. I consider the fact that I cooked just about every meal at home a big accomplishment. I didn’t feel much like getting groceries so I made some inventive meals from things I had on hand. We still ate well.

    Another thing I did was mend a coat for my sister. She has a beautiful dark blue down coat that she has worn for several years. The sleeves were finished with binding, and last year, small holes started to develop in the fabric near the ends of the sleeves. She was planning to get rid of the coat, because the holes made it look bad and she didn’t want to wear it like that. I told her I could repair her coat by taking off the sleeve binding and adding knitted cuffs. She was dragging her feet a bit about it, but finally got the coat to me a couple weeks ago. It took me several tries, but I attached the knitted cuffs and you can’t see any of the holes. It looks really good, and you would never know that the cuffs were added later. I sent her a picture of my work, and she was impressed. So now she can continue to wear her beautiful coat. It would have been such a shame to get rid of it.

    I am so glad your website is back up, Brandy. I missed you and all my frugal friends!

  19. More frugal accomplishments in hand. I cannot help but be concerned with all the predicted difficulties ahead. There are holes in my pantries that need to be filled and some credit card debts to still be paid off. We are close to our goals and need to keep our noses to the grindstone! I know God will provide.

    So tickled that my MIL bought us a cast iron steamer for our woodstove for Christmas and has given it to us already. I’m hoping the added humidity will help with our runny noses. She also asked and bought boots, socks, underwear and sweater. After 30 years, I so appreciate bring asked!

    I am starting on a long-term classics reading program, and was able to buy the first book on sale and with a 5.00 off discount coupon. These books will be the basis for a Classics library that will be used to homeschool my future grandchildren. I’ll read and write notes in a notebook.

    I am thankful to have a bagless vaccum. Nothing to buy!

    Finally, I am making popcorn balls with ingredients on hand to give to my students and neighbors. I’m on a mission to get to know who my neighbors are as many of them have moved into my very remote farming area in the past 20 years. Thrift store Christmas cards and popcorn balls are the plan. I’m rather a keep-to-myselfer, so I made a plan. Always good to know one’s neighbors. ?

    Happy frugal-ing friends

    1. I love the projects you set for yourself, like the classics reading program, and getting to meet the neighbors. All kinds of good things can happen when you meet new people and do new things.

  20. Brandy, I love your dress it is beautiful!
    Because I want to learn to sew I am thinking of turning our sheets that are worn in many places into a nightgown. Free material. All I have to do is find my sewing machine and hope it works. I think it is worth a try. Got more hours working last week. Happy about that. Will be cooking more soups this week in an effort to save money and lose weight. Get to spend time with grandkids today. We have been getting eggs. A couple of days we got 6 eggs each! Finally finished my antibiotic and I am feeling much much better. Life seems so much better when I am feeling well. I should get more hours this week and that will definitely help. Glad my husband has a job. The weather has got up into the 50’s this week. Love it!

  21. Lovely dress – can’t wait to see the pictures – what a nice opportunity – especially for the family photographer to finally be the subject 🙂

    The site looks great!

    I have wrapped all the gifts for the holiday using paper from last year and I have a gracious plenty left for next year.

    I used ‘free’ after coupon 8×10 photos from walgreens photo [pick up in store] for several gifts – I had frames on hand from my mother’s house – I have BOXES actually – I will eventually digitize all the photos in them but for now they’re stored away and the frames are all available – I got a ‘poster’ sized collage for my MIL for only $1.99 as well and that’s in a lovely frame and wrapped under the tree – I know she’ll love it

    I have been eating from the freezer because my favorite sales are not happening at the moment [though $1.99/lb for mozzarella cheese comes around during this season here in heavily italian NY! I stock up each year] – but now with my two college kids home I’ll need to go buy some more chicken thighs myself – I have one store that always has them between 68 and 89 cents/lb – holding off for Friday’s circular to see if I can nab them at 68 cents 🙂

    Stretching meats as well – tonight’s dinner is enchiladas with tortillas i had on hand [including my low carb ones bought on sale] which will stretch one far too scant pile of chicken into a feast for our family with leftovers to boot

    I visited several thrift shops for gifts [some great fun books for my family at .50-$1 each] and took my mother out for lunch at a nearby pizza place [she’s recently moved from a distance with my dad to an assisted living facility near me] and we stopped at the thrift shop we noticed across the street and she got 6 long sleeved tops and cardigans for a few dollars apiece. My daughter was with us [20yo] and found two Christmas gifts for her pals for a total of $5.

    Thank you all as always for the inspiration

  22. A busy week as usual for you, Brandy! I love the dress, and the beautiful wreath!

    My week was pretty good, I think. My frugal accomplishments:
    – I made Chocolate Caramel Ginger Cookies (http://approachingfood.com/chocolate-caramel-ginger-cookies-perfect-cookie-mouthful/) using a bag of chocolate caramel kisses that I had gotten free with an Amazon credit last Christmas, and saved for this year’s Christmas baking.
    – I traded some tea which was gifted to me, plus a dozen peanut butter and banana cookies, for a Laura Secord gift box, which I will gift to a friend for Christmas. I also traded a BNIB shelf (that I had previously traded for, thinking I would gift it) for a BNIB Body Shop gift set in a tin, which I will definitely gift, and which will be easier to carry around when delivering gifts. By offering a few fresh pb & banana cookies, I was able to have the trader pick it up from my home, which made the trade much easier.
    – I made Candy Cane Bark to give as gifts to friends (http://approachingfood.com/candy-confections-white-chocolate-candy-cane-bark/)
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 gc to Amazon.
    – I made fruitcake using candied fruits and nuts bought on sale previously, and basted it with rum given to me a few years ago by my sister that I use for baking. (http://approachingfood.com/fruitcake-smackdown-loaf-version/)
    – I wrapped some gifts, reusing tissue paper, gift bags, and cloth bags. I don’t think I’ll need to buy any gift-wrapping supplies this year, just like last year!

    Looking forward to learning from everyone else, as usual!

  23. I have used coupons from Kohl’s ($5 off $5 or more) and Penneys ($10 off $10 or more) to fill in some gift needs. I have bought food treats for 2 nephews at Grocery Outlet for their Christmas. I only have one more gift to sew. I am giving plant cuttings that I have grown to a good size to several people, and I gave a scented geranium cutting that I had grown for 5 months to a good friend. The plant cuttings are free, and all it takes is water and time for me to raise them. Then they make a beautiful gift.
    I keep hanging laundry, either outside or on racks inside.
    I am slowly selling things, mostly on Facebook, in preparation for moving next year.
    We received a gift certificate for a free oil change, which we will use on our commuter car that gets the most miles put on it.
    I read the book “Mending Matters” which shows beautiful ways to mend things that have holes in obvious places. I am currently wearing a pair of jeans that will receive that treatment soon.
    Being really careful about no food waste. Not glamorous, but it’s one of those things that are a repeating cost if I don’t do it.
    I’m loving watching my kids find frugal gifts for each other/friends, or making something. My daughter-in-law also has been making things, and she didn’t do that before she came into our family. It has been a fun way of connecting more with her.
    I am struggling with my health, and especially with over-doing. So I have to balance my frugal desires with my limited energy.

    1. Kara, I bought Mending Matters, too! Love the whole concept of being able to see the mending. I have jeans and a blue-Jean shirt I hope to give the treatment to.

  24. This week has been all about the holidays. My young son has been at basic training for 19 weeks with minimal contact with us. Once he ships out, we have no idea when he will be able to return home for the holidays . This holiday I am going all out. The ten foot tall tree is up. This is one of my favorite Goodwill purchases of $12.00. I think it is my 5th year using it.I used candy canes gifted to me last year to put on the tree. They are old but my children won’t be eating them anyway. I pulled all my Dept 56 Dicken’s houses out and they are displayed in the foyer on top of a bag of quilt batting I bought yesterday for 99 cents. I have never had snow for it and this worked well. The tablecloth I used last year under the tree went right back under it. It’s red with gold embroidery and beautiful. I’ve decided later to cut it up and sew it into a proper tree skirt next year. That was a $2.00 thrift store item. My boxes of 25 cent lights went on the tree. I stalked these after Christmas last year at Home Depot. I have a beautiful wreath and garland that are left over from my former life. These were expensive items but don’t match my tree. I tend to be a little picky about that. I removed all the decorations and lights off of them. I then carefully added back in my candy colored lights to match my tree. I didn’t have anything to apply the decorations back to the wreath or garland. I found some green mint dental floss and tied it all back on with that. It worked great. I wanted to make some red bows to replace the gold ones but had no ribbon. I planned on using a hobby lobby coupon , but there was no red ribbon in the store. As I exited, I saw some bows for gifts that looked like they were made from ribbon. I bought 4 and stuck them together to make 2 balls of ribbon. They look beautiful. I spent $ 8.00 . for Christmas. Last year after reading about Brandys boxes , I bought three larger shoebox sized boxes on Christmas clearance. I think I paid 50 cents a piece. All the gifts are in their boxes. I think my total out of pocket on gifts was maybe $14.00. The boy is receiving a gift card I got for free. Sugar cookies gift was paid for by actor Tyler Perry in a mass donation. College girls gifts were all bought throughout the year for a dollar here and there. I credit Brandy for that inspiration too. I did buy a $13.00 Christmas outfit for a newborn baby. Meanwhile I am meal planning for Army boy. He doesn’t want to gain a lot of weight while on leave. My freezer is packed with meat so I see a lot of low carb dinners coming. We are celebrating his birthday that we missed a few days ago. I dug out a bunch of super hero party supplies leftover from a long ago birthday. The dining room is decorated with balloons and streamers. It looks like we are celebrating for a young child . I’m buying him one slice of birthday cheesecake for his birthday dinner. I am on top of the world right now. I will have three children flying in this next week and one flying out. Of course , they all are traveling on different days. That’s 4 round trips into the city. Gas had dropped 33% here. That difference will cover my gasoline. I like filling up for $20.00 more than $30.00. Those arriving will be picked up at the curb to avoid paying ridiculous parking fees .We are making do, reusing, substituting and finding joy in every day. I’ve spent less than 25.00 this month and don’t expect to spend anything else outside of our regular budget. I’m off now to make cinnamon applesauce ornaments and cloves in oranges with items from the pantry. I hope the house smells great.

      1. Your excitement is contagious Lillianna! There is nothing better than being surrounded by those you love. Have a wonderful Christmas.

    1. Lillianna, Your joy just leaps off your post. I completely understand your need of completely enjoying your holiday. My Marine son came home for Thanksgiving. I was blessed to celebrate the holiday with all my 6 kids. That is my Christmas gift. We celebrated it to the hilt! Since my son is being deployed this Wednesday I made all his favorites while he was home on leave. I did not want to have him “miss out” since he will be in the Middle East while we celebrate our holidays.

      1. Lisa from Maine, I am so happy you got to have Thanksgiving with him. I’m used to my children being away at college but this is different. I think mine is going to live near the crazy dictator. I feel pride unlike anything I have ever felt before. I’m trying to figure out how to take photos of his boots. I hope you have a great holiday.

        1. Lillianna,
          I agree that this is not like college at all. He was supposed to leave today (Wed) but left a day early trying to get ahead of the upcoming storm since they are leaving by ship. My dad, who is 94, was in WWII and 2 of my brother in laws were in Vietnam. My mom raised me to totally respect & be proud of our military. Memorial Day was a serious holiday in our family. This is something my son has wanted to do since he was 4 years old. I am proud of him for his service. I hope you too have a great holiday. Enjoy it completely!!

    2. This may sound silly but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who uses dental floss for things like this! Someone suggested it to me years ago, pointing out that it was nice and strong, and I’ve been doing that ever since.

      Thank you to your son for his service. May you and yours have a blessed Christmas.

  25. I love your dress Brandy – a beautiful colour – hope you will post the photos when they are available.
    As mentioned previously I will be out of town for Christmas this year – saving money by just taking the commuter train to the end of the line in the east (about $5) and my brother will pick me up there instead of about $150 one way for the VIA train to where they live. The friend who is travelling back with me managed to book our return fares for just over $100 – I had expected to pay about $150 but she got us a good deal so that worked out well.
    I am treating her to a stage show when we get back to Toronto – School of Rock – I have my ticket via my yearly subscription (paid for a year ago) and her ticket was donated by one of the others in the group who is away for the holidays and who wasn’t really interested in seeing this particular play. It will be a nice evening out with minimum cost.
    All the gifts for the smallest ones have been delivered.
    I have baked a few fruit cakes to take with me as small gifts and I baked mini cakes to add to a couple of gift bags I am making up for some neighbours. I have cakes put aside to take to various Christmas events over the next week so that is sorted.
    I’ve already checked the grocery flyers and there isn’t much that I need or want this week so grocery shopping will be kept to a minimum – milk, butter, yogurt and a bit of fruit & veg. A big pot of soup is ready for this week’s lunches and a meatloaf is planned – I’ll eat some this week and the rest will be frozen to be used later. When my guest is here I like to make at least one really nice meal for us and I have a nice pork tenderloin (bought for 50% off) in the freezer and will prepare that. I’ll make a cranberry/apple crumble for dessert (my neighbour is bringing me some green apples and I already have frozen cranberries and all the fixings for the topping on hand) so nothing extra to buy. The only extras I’m looking for is some cheese – it will be a nice treat but something that will last well into January.
    It will be a casual Christmas so no need for new outfits. I did buy some new PJ’s (at 40% off) as my winter ones are really too big now – the pants look ridiculous and they are 4 years old so I have had good wear out of them.
    My only indulgent expense will be a haircut this week – but no need for colour as yet so this will get me through to about mid-February before it needs done again.
    I am looking for a new day-timer but will wait until after Christmas/New Year’s when they will go on sale.
    I hope it is a very Merry Christmas for everyone.

    1. Margie, if you like Brie cheese, No Frills has small wheels for $4 and larger ones for $8 regular price. I wouldn’t be surprised if they go on sale this week.

  26. We were blessed to have lunch with my parents one day. We brought a huge salad to share. I mentioned to my mom that we were going shopping later that day for a baby shower, and she

    I purchased chicken leg quarters for $1.00 of per pound and beef in a family pack (saving almost $1/pound).

    I used the thermal cooker to cook most of our meals.

    We drove the car with better gas mileage for our longer trips.

    I made my husband’s lunches to take to work every day.

    I resigned a networking group because it was too much of a time and financial commitment.

    I purchased yeast in order to continue to bake bread at home.

  27. That dress is beautiful. I can’t wait to see the pictures of you and your husband, and you in the dress!

    This last week we had our niece and nephew all weekend until Tuesday. Their parents were visiting people, then brother-in-law went to Florida and got his mother and brought her here to Oregon to spend the holidays. She is a bit frail, but they all made it with no mishaps. The children are so excited that Grandma is here. I will tell you 5 days and 4 nights wore me out and made me remember that I am not as young as I once was!!! But, we had a good time and got everyone everywhere they needed to be.

    Then I worked regularly the rest of the week, then did doctor’s appointments all day Friday, cooking in between because we had company on Saturday. Our dear friends, who have a large family, were able to come to lunch (11 were able to make it, along with our oldest daughter) and then we all went to the wonderful Christmas program at church. I was able to make a simple table decoration with things I had. Pictures of that are on my blog: https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/thriving-in-my-thrifty-week-december-16-2018/. I was able to pull my menu items from the freezers and pantry except for a few exceptions. I cooked extra and we ate that for Family Sunday Dinner today, saving both me and my sister time and money.

    I am sticking to a lowered grocery budget this month. I’d love to come in under $250, but have a slight bit more if I need it. That’s $50 per week, with a slush fund of $50 for stockpile staples. Because I’m a gluten-free diabetic, and my husband is on a weight-loss journey, we choose to buy more meat, protein and fresh veggies, and it all needs to be gluten-free so that budget is challenging. The produce is killing me right now–I spent around $25 on that along last week, and that was basic things like lettuce, bananas, carrots, potatoes–things like that! That is in addition to our home-canned and frozen things we are also eating like crazy! Otherwise, I’m buying the wonderful deals at the stores–things like cheese for 99c/8 ounce pkg., eggs for 79c/dozen, ham for $1.27/lb, etc.–whatever they’ve got on super sale to keep my stockpile up for future weeks. I also grab any free items they offer me, as well.

    I made up freezer burritos for gifts and for quick meals.

    I am very thankful for insurance, since my husband is still dealing with his bad hip. I think they are taking this opportunity to get him to every appointment they ever wanted him to go to, though–I mean how could a colonoscopy be required before he is ready for surgery :), but I’m so grateful that he is getting all these things done while we are so well covered.

    I’ve had a bit of a health surprise, I guess you would say. After almost 20 years of being told I’m type 2 diabetic, my new doctor did tests and they are now saying I am actually a type 1, adult-onset diabetic, and have been. I am thankful for insurance, a good doctor who did tests that had not been done before, and the chance to go to a dietician and get more information as to what this means to me on a daily basis and how to get these sugars under better control.. I’m also thankful that the insurance covers me so well! Believe it or not, I’m actually glad to know that no matter how “good” I was in my eating, since my body doesn’t make insulin–I can never control it by diet alone. Sad, I know, but a bit of a relief, in actuality. It’s been discouraging to say the least to feel like no matter how hard I tried, I always needed so much insulin anyway! Now I know why:). I’ve got some work ahead of me, getting this figured out, but I will, with help.

  28. Your website is beautiful. I can tell a lot of hard work went into it. That dress is so nice and what a discount too! This past week I worked on furnishing my granddaughter’s dollhouse for Christmas. I found many things at garage sales and a dresser at a dollar store. I also sewed the pillows, comforters, and crochet the rug. It was a labor of love.
    You can read about my frugal accomplishments this past week and then go to the link with more pictures of the doll house here: https://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2018/12/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-121618.html

    Have a wonderful week.
    Vickie

  29. Term is winding down. Finals are tomorrow and once they are graded I get a break.

    Arranged an alternate dog sitter so I have options and don’t have to pay to kennel the dogs and cats when I travel.

    I finished most of my shopping. I need only a few stocking stuffers and a small gift for 1 person. I also still need to hit the used bookstore in JAX for everyone’s book gift. I have not yet begun to wrap, but have located the tissue, tape, and paper. If I can’t find the tags I’ll just make some from the wrapping paper scraps.

    Bought a new artificial tree as the old one was damaged when the roof was mangled over the summer. It has LED lights so it will use less electricity. My colleagues decorated it for me during our cocktail party – and they did a fantastic job.

    Took the steak (and dessert) from a multi course wine dinner home (too much food!) and turned it into 2 more meals.

    Hosted my annual Hanukah dinner party last night (late – I know). IN addition to the other courses, I made matzo ball soup and have enough for an army, so I am bringing it to a friends as my contribution to dinner tonight and turned the meat from the poached chicken into curried chicken salad to take to share for lunch this week. Still have leftover chicken so fried rice, a pasta dish, or a curry are on my radar for this week – possibly all three.

    We have finished our holiday entertaining, now it is just my husband and I, or we are the guests. Although we may have some additional guests for our Feast of the Seven Fishes there is so much food a couple of extra bodies won’t change a thing.

  30. The skirt of your dress looks like it would move so prettily! That must make it feel even more elegant.
    I am working on frugal ways to deal with a cough and congested nose, focusing on gargling with salt water, drinking lots of liquids. and putting Vicks on my sinuses and neck. My sister suggested that Vicks on the bottoms of the feet is supposed to stimulate something.
    We got the recycling out to the curb this morning for pick-up. Read new library books– the latest Dr. Siri by Colin Cotterill and WWI Nurse Bess Crawford by Charles Todd. Needed no new Christmas wrapping paper accessories, and at a book outlet place, I found a box of MOMA pop-up cards for a fourth of the original price. I am sending those to friends who have small children, because pop-ups are sort of magical.
    Haven’t done anything new with food, other than make the usual recipes and allow for leftovers. We seem to be stocked up pretty well.
    I like that this new website design doesn’t have continuing pages for comments, just one block. I can scroll down quickly from the top and look for new indented comments/responses, and for new posts at the bottom. Hitting Control-F creates a search box if I am looking for something I read earlier. I just now entered the word “Christmas”: it has shown up 51 times in this post so far!

    1. Thanks for the tip about using Control-F to search the thread. I am also really enjoying how easy this new website makes it to navigate through the comments as we add more and more through the week.

      I am also glad to hear there is a new Dr. Siri book. I finished the series this year, so I am happy there is a new one. My librarian and I are both big fans.

    2. Heidi Louise,
      Here is a very odd tip for relieving head congestion. I have used it countless times and it works. I heard about it from an acupuncturist, and I didn’t believe it would work until I tried it.
      You need two pairs of socks, one thin cotton (or comparable material), and another thick pair (wool or cotton or whatever you have). About a half hour before you go to bed, run water over the thin pair of socks until they are totally wet, and then wring them out. Put this pair into the freezer so they get very cold. When it is time to go to bed, take the socks out of the freezer and put them on your feet. Put the thick pair of socks on top of the cold, wet pair. Now bundle up and go to bed.
      When I do this, I can feel the congestion leaving my head and soon I can fall asleep. I do this every night until the congestion is gone.
      Note: If the socks end up frozen, just pry them apart and stick them on the counter until they thaw. I even put them on partially frozen, and it works fine.

      1. Elizabeth M: I didn’t know there is another series by the Dr. Siri author, found it by chance at my library. The main character is Jimm Juree, set in Thailand. That is next on my list.
        Tina S: What a fascinating suggestion! I have a great respect for acupuncturists and their knowledge. I just choked down a dose of generic Robitussin (tastes as bad as the stuff I remember from my childhood), and cold socks sound pretty good by comparison.

        Comment I forgot to write: Poinsettias last a long time in vases if cut, as they are really just colored leaves. Sharing bouquets in interesting bottles with friends or making small centerpieces could make one plant go a long way, and then the friends who don’t want plants wouldn’t have to deal with them.

      2. As someone who deals with perpetually cold feet–and cannot sleep if my feet are cold–your suggestion strikes terror in my heart! For me, the cure would be worse than the disease, LOL!

        1. Maxine, I too suffer from perpetually cold feet and scoffed at the frozen sock suggestion when I heard it. No way was I ever going to try it. But one day, I was so miserable with a head cold, I decided to give it a go. And the weird thing is, once you put the cold socks on, your feet warm up almost immediately. So strange. And it works great for clearing congestion.

  31. Brandy, the dress is exquisite and how lovely to get a portrait for free! Glad you’re back!

    I bought $60 worth of groceries and saved $30 at the Co-op’s 10 for $10 sale. I got 10 pounds of mandarins for $10 (which at the time was a great price) and 10 pounds of B.C. apples for $10, so needless to say I’ve been having apples and oranges a lot. I gave several mandarins to a friend with MS on a low income who commented her store didn’t have any. I am very worried that the prices of fruit and veggies are going up next year. I saw the cheese I like that was $4.99 is now $8.99. Price increases are probably resulting from going up to a $15.00 per hour minimum wage (which I don’t begrudge as it is almost a liveable wage) plus extra costs of transportation due to the provincial carbon tax (again I don’t begrudge it as it helps us get off coal-fired electricity).

    I participated in the Christmas Bird Feeder count yesterday. Took photos as well. It was great fun at no cost. I saw Mountain Chickadees who only rarely come in from the mountains to the city.

    I recently went to a lovely but small potluck. I took a pie that I had bought from a friend whose church had made homemade pies. I didn’t have any but it was delicious I’m told. On Christmas Day our church has no service (only services on Christmas eve) so the church has a turkey dinner potluck. I will take the second pie that I bought.

    One thing that looks like a bargain is that Walmart Canada has a 24-can case of Primo soup for $20 plus shipping. I’m not sure how much shipping will be. Each can would average out to $0.83 plus shipping. I am thinking of getting a couple of cases. I don’t like the high sodium in most varieties so I’ll get the one that has the lowest sodium. I need to check on the shipping costs first. I saw a can of the same Primo soup in the store for $3.99 each. If nothing else it would be a good thing to have a case or two for the pantry.

    I finished Christmas shopping. I bought 8 presents and averaged about $12 each. Most were from Indigo because they were using UPS for delivery and I couldn’t rely on the Canadian postal service which at that time was on strike. Now it’s back to work but there is a huge backlog (which I admiringly say they are dealing with very quickly with extra workers hired and probably lots of overtime).

    I received my new eyeglasses from Bon Look, a Montreal company with a store here. They got caught in the postal strike but they finally came. The frames are designed in Montreal but made in China. Total price for progressive lenses and frames was $400, about half of what other stores would have charged me. I love them, although the frames look a bit delicate, but the lenses are Essilor which is a favourite company of mine. I could have had them for $322 but the sale frames I saw online didn’t look good on me when tried on in store. As it is, my insurance will cover the entire amount so they will cost me nothing in the end. Usually I have to pay a balance of between $200-$400 for what is not covered. I have to also say the service in store was great.

    Well, I’m pretty organized for Christmas. Now to work on clearing clutter in the house! The arm is still bad — another trip to the cast clinic is upcoming! Ann

    1. I discovered that there is no shipping charge for the Walmart soup but a $5 handling fee so the price per can is $1.04 as opposed to $3.99 per can bought individually in other stores. I will be stocking up.

      I renegotiated the price per kilowatt hour with my utilities company. I was paying a bit more than 0.08 per kW hour but will now pay a bit more than 0.06 per kW hour. I tied in for 5 years. I left the rest of the plan because I have an old plan where I pay a transaction fee of only $0.49 per gjoule of natural gas and the current transaction fee is $0.99 cents per gigajoule. Also, I receive reward points, a program that has been discontinued for newer plans. So next month $100 of my rewards will lower my bill.

  32. Oh, I also should mention that thanks to learning about Duolingo from Brandy, I am now up to 3,600 words learned in Italian. I still have work to do on the tenses and to practice but I think it is a great, fun way to learn vocabulary!

  33. Frugal things for the past week: Daughter went to her Holiday Party in her Calvin Klein gorgeous dress that we got at a consignment shop and 20% off also. It was purple and made her fair skin, blue eyes, and blond hair stand out. She wore a grey patterned cape of mine for a wrap and shoes she already had. I did her make-up and she paid to have her hair done. Her dad was her date. She has Down syndrome and works at a law office downtown. Made meals from what I had on hand even when I didn’t feel like it. Big meatloaf one day and meatloaf sandwiches for 5 of us today. Turkey burgers for Sunday lunch with Target frozen waffle fries (very cheap and my kids love them telling me they taste like Chik-fil-A fries)and then scrambled eggs, toast, sauteed mushrooms and onions with guacamole for dinner Sunday night. Proud of myself because it was church, then lunch, then Special Olympics basketball game for my boys, then dinner, then a Christmas Concert at a local church. Believe me I really wanted to wimp out and just buy dinner at some fast food place. All Christmas decorations and the tree finally up using what we have. Hubby has a bad back and we have lots of evening commitments for our 3 young adults that live at home making it hard to get things decorated. Our daughter needs an MRI of her back but just scheduled it for this Friday. We probably got in so quickly because people don’t want to do it before Christmas. I took one of my sons to get his coins changed into cash and he had $34! Took him Christmas shopping. Tomorrow I take other son shopping. Little by little we are getting it all done. Happy frugaling.

  34. You’re BACK!!! I missed the weekly frugal posts. Thank you again for all the work you do to create this community.

    • Did some Christmas shopping using a 50% off Lands’ End code plus free shipping
    • Hung laundry out to dry
    • Decorated the house using only items already owned including hanging up artwork that my now-grown-son did when he was 8!
    • Cashed in Swagbucks for a $25 Amazon gift card
    • Used a small electric heater on my feet when cold rather than turning on the oil furnace
    • Received a Nielsen survey in the mail which had $2 inside! I answered the survey and supposedly they will send me $5 more.
    • Read an ebook book through Overdrive from our library
    • Made a soleil tart for a party but substituted ingredients I had on hand for the filling: ricotta, proscuitto, and rosemary. Everyone RAVED about it.

  35. Brandy, I am glad your website problem has been solved. I did resubscribe as instructed but how do I get the emails saying you
    have a new post. My last notice is from Thankful 11-28 and there is no way to move on to next post. As of now I have to keep going back to 11-28 and then scrolling down to bottom to find current post. Do you know what I am missing?? What I am doing wrong?? Thanks

  36. Brandy,
    So very glad to see your site back up and running, it is beyond beautiful!!
    I really missed the frugal encouragement the past couple weeks but managed to keep to my frugal ways.
    I used my points at RiteAid to purchase a lemon cypress small tree and a few magazines for my mom for Christmas.
    My husband and I got free tickets to tour the Governor’s Mansion with all the Christmas decorations up. This was our first time and we really enjoyed it. It was a very enjoyable, festive, free date.
    I spent the day with my 5 year old grandson and I helped him make Christmas gifts for his parents. He painted a picture for his dad and made salt dough ornaments for his mom.
    Thanks to following everyone’s frugal suggestions all year, I can say this Christmas is considerably less stressful than last year.
    Brandy, I wish you and your family the best Christmas season and the same to everyone in this blog community.

  37. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    I am glad you were able to buy discounted photography courses and have a wonderful photo taken of yourself and your husband Brandy. Speaking on buying things at discounted prices during the Christmas season we heard that one of our local supermarkets reduces everything to really cheap prices on Christmas Eve to clear their meats and other products so we have thought ahead and got a 5% off voucher through our roadside assist club to take with us when we shop. A friend of ours told us about it and his sister works there and apparently last Christmas Eve they were selling 1kg trays of mince for $1, cooked chooks for the same price and they also reduce all of their dairy too. If the prices are good we could well fill up our freezer with very cheap meats and dairy.

    Last week happened in a whirl of activity so I didn’t really keep track of our frugalness. One memorable thing we saved on was $4350 in furniture removali st costs between the two companies we got quotes from and we picked the cheapest quote 🙂 . We also got fuel for both cars really cheaply and I know I was blessed as we went to get fuel and as I was waiting to pay they took the price down 4 c per litre 🙂 .

    So far we have got the lounge room, bedroom, most of the kitchen and 2 bathrooms set up. Still working on unpacking our food storage into the food storage room but have enough food unpacked in the kitchen pantry to get us by for a week or more.

    Had lots of beautiful rain and our 3 rain water tanks are full to the brim. Our home runs totally on tank water so we are truly blessed to have so much rain in the beginning of summer.

    We also have have been working on saving electricity as every time we turn on a tap our rain water pump kicks in using electricity. We have collected rain water during the storms and have it in soft drink bottles in each bathroom and in the kitchen for drinking water, washing hands, house cleaning, flushing toilets and have a bucket we filled up for washing hands during the day.

    Water saving is also on the agenda and we have been using the hand washing water at the end of each day to pour into the toilet to flush it rather than using the flush which uses town water.

    We are overjoyed with our new far more spacious home and slowly finding places to put everything but we will get there.

    Have a fantastic week :).

    Sewingcreations15

    1. Lorna – I’ve been wondering just how your move was going. WOOT WOOT! So happy for you both. Your hard work and diligence certainly paid off.

      1. Thank you for your encouragement So Co Mary very much appreciated :). It was a hard road travelled for saving a large deposit with lots of sacrifices but it was well worth it and we are feeling very blessed. Of course we still have the mortgage yet to pay off but we have worked out we will pay it off a lot faster by paying what we used to pay in rent anyway saving us 7 + years of bank interest or $18 000.

        It was an unusual circumstance with the purchase of the house where we moved in on the 11th of December but the house only settled yesterday being the 19th of December so we are 1 day homeowners as of today, yippee.

        We have already been doing some minor repair jobs around the house and tree and shrub pruning too.

        Sewingcreations15

    2. Lorna, I have been following you home ownership journey. Congratulations on your new home! I always look forward to reading your frugal accomplishments. Sabrina

      1. Thank you Sabrina for your encouragement it is very much appreciated :).

        Hoping there will be a few more frugal accomplishments listed next week when we are not so tired now that things are settling down a bit.

        Sewingcreations15.

  38. I live in southern Finland, so we have a little different challenges and solutions sometimes. We have a new house and district heating was mandatory, when we built. It’s more expensive than electricity, and both prices have been rising significantly for a few years.

    We put the district heating on a very low setting, so the temperature in the house stays around 63 degrees Farenheith unless we use our big old time baking oven. If it gets really cold, we need to use that oven a lot.

    But firewood is cheap, if you know where to get it. So we save quite a bit by wearing more clothes and having a cozy fire.

    Also I’m teaching myself to shut any lights I don’t need, but even at noon we might need some, if it’s cloudy. On sunny days our windows give a good light. Today in my home town the sun rose at 9.30 am and sunset is at 3.00 pm.

    Thankfully se have snow now and temperatures are low enough to keep the snow from melting, so its not super dark. November and December with only rain, mud and darkness are much harder to take, than proper winter.

    Greetings from Finland and thanks for your super inspiring blog!

    1. Hanna, it is so interesting to hear from someone else in Europe who brings such a different point of view – and your comment comes just after a reader from Australia so this is truly an international group! What is district heating? Is that oil or gas? You are very lucky to have the option of the wood stove to help keep things cozy.
      You live even further north than I do so how do you find food prices – especially at this time of year? I’d be very interested to know how much you spend on food each month.
      Thank you and welcome.

  39. Brandy,
    I love your new updated site. It really showcases your beautiful photography and the comment section is much easier to navigate! I have missed your posts and everyone’s comments.
    I have not commented since the end of October so here are some of my frugal highlights:

    Began using our wood heat in November. It’s been a cold & snowy one already. Over 30 inches of snow in November and this month the windchill has already reached below zero a few times. Did I mention that I am not a winter person?!
    Took advantage of holiday sales to stock up. Do plan to set aside money all year for this in 2019 to stock up more.
    Purchased a 1/2 a cow. It’s been some time since we have had beef in our freezer that was not just ground meat.
    Took advantage of the Black Friday sales that worked for us, used free shipping options and signed up for Ebates.
    My sister & brother from out of state came to visit my 94 year old Dad and myself. My sister noticed (while helping fold clothes) that my towels were in bad shape. I was waiting for the December/January sales to replenish. She gifted me with 15 bath towels and 15 washcloths. Now I only have to replenish my hand towels. Thanks big sis for spoiling me! Plus all the old ones will be used as rags.
    My thrift store had a $5 bag sale all November. I went 3 times. I scored 3 pairs of pants, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater and 2 pairs of shoes for myself–2 t shirts for my teen boys, 2 decor items for Christmas. A frame I liked and a ton of books. All for $15.
    My daughter was gifted a big box of pantry & non pantry items that came from a mystery shopper who had an overabundance. My daughter gifted those items to me.
    We received a Christmas meal box from our local Knights of Columbus. It included a ham and all the meal fixings.
    Our church gave away free LED light bulbs. We received 2 boxes for a total of 8 bulbs.
    Reused all Christmas decor. My look is homespun so my decorations include those made by my kids, things that were gifted to me and decor made either by myself or my mom. I also made some new decorations. I made a centerpiece for my table using a bread pan, 2 sprigs of greenery from Dollar Tree, a battery powered candle I had and an ornament. I also made some ornaments using Christmas ribbon and Christmas shaped cookie cutters.
    My husband’s employer had a Christmas party. We enjoyed a free meal and my husband received a sweat shirt & $50 gc.
    My biggest blessing was at Thanksgiving which was celebrated with all of our children. My Marine son is being deployed this week for a period of anywhere between 7 to 10 months. We probably won’t spend Christmas with him until his enlistment is done & by then my daughter will be relocated to any area of the country that has a high priority need for a dentist (as part of her scholarship). I enjoyed my time with them completely.
    Have a good week everyone!

      1. Penny,
        I also send my thanks for your son. It takes a lot of bravery to sign up for service with so much unrest in the world. My son Matthew was deployed yesterday. I am very proud but crying and doubling up on the prayers.

    1. Lisa and Penny,

      As I mentioned to Lilliana above, thank you to your sons for their service. We owe so very much to these young men and women.

  40. I bought a ham for $1.19 lb, which is much higher than last year, but my figs for the fig sauce were free, so it evens out I guess. I made a birthday cake for my oldest son who will be working on the river barge his birthday and Christmas. We celebrated early. for him . I paid an electric bill for one kid, a car ins bill for another, a water bill for another, and a gift card for another.. That was their Christmas presents from me. I am a practical mom lol.

  41. I really like the new website! It’s just lovely, peaceful and calming. You are a smart cookie to figure all that out! Congrats to you 🙂

    *Made all friend gifts for the two daughters friends (around 20) with items already on hand that I had saved throughout the year that were free or deeply discounted. Made candy sleighs for one set and socks/candles/candy for the second set of friends.

    *Also made the gifts for neighbors using items on hand. Made a peppermint and clementine wreath and gingerbread bars with cream cheese frosting.

    *Finished wrapping all the gifts and used paper that was picked up on clearance last year for $2 – really huge roll of nice paper. Looked through my supplies and realized that I had purchased enough to get me through a few years. I will be looking to buy some bows after Christmas.

    *I’ve discovered that as my family size has reduce with college kids living away from home that I am not going through my stockpile as quickly. This means that food is expiring. I am not going to buy anymore food except for fresh fruit/veggies and dairy until I have gone through things. We are really well stocked but I need to start using it more. I am going to use the grocery pickup service this week because there is a coupon for a free whole turkey if you use the service.

    *I hope everyone has a wonderful week!!!

  42. I made Christmas quick breads for my neighbors using a bag of cranberries we frozen after not needing it at Thanksgiving and partial bag of white chocolate chips left after making an appetizer for our church youth group the weekend before. I baked them in small ceramic loaf pans with Christmas patterns we bought at half price sale I wrapped them in saran wrap and decorated them with wide ribbon and greens I had on hand. Instead of buying paper goods for the gathering we had for the youth we used glass dessert plates that I’ve accumulated over the years that cost $1 each. (i have about 40) and glass punch cups collected from antique stores purchased very inexpensively. I served punch and water instead of soda. Since we were visiting our grandchildren the week after Thanksgiving I got their Christmas gifts purchased and wrapped while there and left them with their mother to save shipping costs.

    1. Pamela – a friend and I were discussing how our grandmother’s never used paper plates or cups! My grandmother had “luncheon sets” purchased with S&H Green Stamps. I think she had about 8 sets of four (cup and little plate with a place for the cup and then food around it). She used these for her bridge group as well as bringing them to church events and our family weddings, baby and wedding showers, anniversary celebrations, etc. Each woman had several sets and marked them with tape on the bottom with their names on them. I “think” there were paper napkins but everything else was not disposable. I thought I was so grown up when I finally got to use them at events. Everyone had nice table cloths too that they would bring to events. So glad you are doing this! And finally, my late father would always say – just bring the mints the mixed nuts will be there (referring to family, lol).

      1. Mary, you can still buy those snack plates and cups. They are about $1 and thrift stores are full of them. When a friend on a frugal bulletin board bought 100 for her daughter’s wedding, I thought she was nuts. However, it would have cost $1 each to rent plates for this one occasion. Well, she has married off 3 other kids (so far) and used them for their receptions, not to mention showers and other occasions, plus loaning .them to friends. I ended up with about 40 sets and we used them for my son’s wedding reception (I think cake tastes better on glass, LOL). I’ve used smaller amounts several times when entertaining at home. They don’t all match, which I think is part of their charm.

        1. I just googled these. They are charming. Much nicer than papar plates. I live in the UK and have never seen them in our charity shops. I am visiting New York next year so will be going to thrift shops. Hoping to see some. My late husband’s grandmother had a huge dinner set that went to him. Not a precious set and a bit old fashioned but charming as well. We had a very big barbecue years ago and used them. Much nicer than paper.

  43. Hello Frugal Friends,
    I wish everyone a Happy Holiday. I love the new site! Here are my fugal accomplishments that I can think of for the last couple of weeks:
    – We attended a holiday party and received gifts from Santa for the kids and free lunch and dessert.
    – I made embroidered crosses for my leaders at a church program I lead. They turned out really nice. They only cost me the cost of the thread since I already have 2 embroidery machines to use. If you would like to see them, they are on my Instagram account at: https://www.instagram.com/p/BrWu1kFA6Rz/
    – I also made 20 mini pumpkin loaves for the leaders. This used two batches of batter and was a low cost gift to give.
    – My son need to make some holiday cards for a school project. So, we used a website called dltk-kids.com. It is a neat site that has lots of printables that you can generate to make cards, bookmarks, chore charts, etc… for free. He made 17 cards for free.
    – I am planning to use a ham for Christmas that I bought for $.97 a pound at Thanksgiving time. I will also try to find an inexpensive turkey.
    – I took cuttings off of my herbs from my herb garden before we close on the house on Friday. Hopefully, I will be able to replant some at my new home.
    – I found some inexpensive plant stands at an ARC thrift shop for some of my indoor plants. I also found some $.50 poinsettias at Lowes that were just a little sad looking. Hopefully, I can get them healthy again.
    – I got all my Christmas stuff mailed off today which is a huge relief.
    – I sent away for several samples which I put on my blog at: https://lizsfrugalfamilyfun.com/2018/12/19/freebies-today-12-19-18/
    – That’s about all I can think of besides eating at home, menu planning, etc….
    Blessings,
    Liz

  44. We’ve been enjoying ham from the freezer. Small bits go into scrambled eggs, slices into sandwiches and pieces into salads for lunch. We are nearing the end of what we had frozen, so I’m watching for a great sale price on ham. I recently had foot surgery to deal with a broken bone and am slowly recovering. I can now walk without the help of a walker! One thing I was able to do during recovery was to finish up a pillowcase sewing project, which involved making 19 pillowcases for grandchildren and others. Including the cost of fabric, I was able to make them for $2.50 each. But then in some instances there was the amount spent to send them to out of state grandchildren, so that raised the cost somewhat. I’m enjoying your new look for this blog, Brandy!

  45. Yvonne, I made pillowcases, too! Only two, however. My son likes to sleep on flannel sheets in winter (they live in Wyoming) but his wife does not like flannel pillowcases. About 8 years ago, I bought a barely-used white percale sheet at a thrift store. I have used it to line curtains and for these pillowcases, which I banded with a red and white buffalo check overprinted with big white snowflakes. I used the “burrito” method (if you are not familiar with it, you can Google it) and they turned out fab!

  46. Brandy,
    I recently lost 25lbs and I am more proud that I have been sewing all my old tops and pants to fit my new size than I am proud to have lost the weight! Haha. I was sewing some tops tonight and thought of your and your ingenuity and resourcefulness. I wanted to brag about it to someone so here I am. I hope you have a beautiful holiday with your family and enjoy this precious time in your life with little ones at home. All my love,
    Libby

  47. Frugal Accomplishments for this week include-
    -trading a 1/2 day of childcare for 2 tickets to the Nutcracker which my sister and I will enjoy tonight
    -a coupon came in the mail for a free Christmas stollen at one of our local markets. Picked that up and put in the freezer for Dec 25.
    -tapped my credit card 3x this month(broke a car gas fill up into 3 smaller amounts to meet the criteria) for a $10 credit from the credit card company. Have used this promotion for the last 3 months so I am sorry to see it go.
    -cashed in $50 of airmiles to buy on sale and short dated meat to restock my freezer-free meat is always good
    -noticed I was overcharged at the grocery store for a 10 lb bag of potatoes and pointed it out and requested I get them for free( called SCOP). If the scanner at the grocery store overcharges you, by law in Canada at most stores you will get it for free on each item up to $10 if you request it. I find errors are quite common on the first day of a sale flyer so it does pay to pay attention to your bill.
    -yesterday by email I received a $50 promotion off an airfare if I booked by tonight. So I checked and found a super low fare for $89 including taxes for Vancouver to Calgary for April 30. So with the discount I only paid about $45( some of the discount could not be applied to taxes). My uni daughter will fly home that day-a distance of approx 1,000 km. I could not drive there and back and pick her up that cheaply.

    Happy holidays to you all. Enjoy the time with family and friends.

  48. 1. Bought a flannel sheet at the thrift store to use as the middle layer in a Star Wars quilt I made for my son.
    2. Found a spool of wide ribbon priced at just $3 for 10 yds that made the perfect binding material for the quilt in #1.
    3. Made “favorite things” boxes to give to my children for Christmas and filled it with all of their favorite junk foods and odds and ends that I never buy them during the year. They love these boxes:)
    4. Enjoyed a sushi dinner for our anniversary and used some of the money my husband’s mom sent us to pay for it. *She sends us fun money each year for our anniversary…she is the best!
    5. Gifted my niece a nice set of wood blocks my son outgrew and found lots of Duplo blocks for my nephew at the thrift store. In addition to those things, I also found numerous books in great condition to pad out their Christmas gifts. Books make the best gifts in my opinion.

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