Green tomatoes detail The Prudent Homemaker

We picked the green tomatoes from the garden and began pulling the plants. There’s a possibility of a light frost in the day (which now looks like it may not happen! And it will warm up again after that) but they can ripen in baskets and colanders and we can of course fry some up.

Under the tomato plants, I found two small butternut squash in the garden, so I brought those in.

I picked a few Meyer lemons from the garden.

I picked basil from the garden.

I used a free sample of shampoo.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I continued to decorate for Christmas using decorations we already have.

Green Tomatoes in December The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?



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  1. Another week of using up Thanksgiving leftovers. We really get a lot of good out of the old bird.
    Also thawed out a piece of ham from the freezer for breakfasts and a Hawaiian pizza. The rind and a small piece of meat went into the instapot with white beans for soup.
    Albertsons had a great price on flour so I bought 25#.
    Baked bread, cookies and pizza crust as well as a batch of candy using pantry supplies.
    Aside from a quick trip to town for a few groceries, I stayed at home. While in town I picked up bags of leaves from my daughter’s house. They are stacked against the chicken coop for winter insulation. In the spring they will be dumped in the garden.
    Used black beans from the freezer to make black bean burgers, and extra patties in single packs for the freezer.

  2. I renewed my library card two months after it had expired. I was given a reduced rate for my membership, and I took out a few books to keep me going for the rest of the month.

    I took my car in for repairs. I got the winter tires put on and the mechanics tried cleaning and tightening up the connections for the starter to see if that would work, since no problems showed in the diagnostic scan. This lasted long enough to get me to and from meetings in the city from Wednesday to Friday, but by Saturday the car wasn’t starting again. It will be near Christmas before I can get additional repairs done, and something else is going to have to give for me to do that. I’ll miss a couple of social events, but I’ve plenty to do at home.

    The meetings in the city were very interesting and productive and we were very well-treated. Lots of great meals, a very nice place to stay, and many good snacks. I kept my personal spending to a minimum, just tips to the server at breakfast and a coffee on the road. I had a free glass of wine and smoked salmon appetizer at the hotel’s concierge bar one evening and skipped having wine at dinner each night, which I would have had to pay for. We also all walked as a group 10+ blocks each way to the restaurant and back for dinner the second night, which helped work off some of the food as well as save a taxi fare.

  3. Reading over the encouragement on your blog and trying with the God’s grace to see the beauty in all things. Thankful for my sweet husband who faithfully takes the lunch that I prepare each day. Also thankful for the gift of hand me downs for my daughter. I am excited about the idea of a simple quality christmas for my family.

  4. Wow! What a bumper crop of tomatoes! I’m always impressed at how much you can grow in your space, even though I know how talented you are at gardening.

    My week was pretty productive, which I’m happy with. My frugal accomplishments are as follows:
    – I had been craving pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing, but didn’t have any cream cheese in the house. So I figured out how to make a cream cheese icing without cream cheese! ( You’d NEVER guess that it was made with yoghurt cheese (which I made myself from my homemade yoghurt, of course)! Pretty darn frugal, considering that the two biggest ingredients in that dish were homemade yoghurt, and home-canned pumpkin!
    – Inspired by Brandy, I sewed two lined zippered pouches, which I haven’t done in years. I made one bigger so it could be a cosmetic bag, and filled it with beauty products from my stash (I used to do beauty product direct sales as a side hustle and stocked up once I decided to leave the business). I added in samples of face creams I collected over the last year. I plan to give it as a Christmas gift. The other pouch I made smaller, and used it to replace my current emergency supplies pouch that I carry every day. I used fabric that had been gifted to me, and dollar store zippers from about 15 years ago. So really, pennies per bag! I also sewed up six differently sized lined (and reversible) cloth baskets from Christmas-themed fabric gifted to me several years ago and some flour sack towels I bought last year. Not sure yet whether I’ll keep them, trade them, or gift them. But they’re super-pretty and only the cost of the thread and electricity for the sewing machine!
    – Using my local trading app, I traded a dozen cookies I baked from dough from my freezer, for an Elizabeth Arden lipstick and face cream sample to add to the cosmetic bag gift. I also traded two skeins of yarn I had in my stash for many years and never used, for a giant box of Rice Krispies and a package of pectin. As well, I traded a skein of soy-wool yarn that I bought a decade ago and never used, for a BNIB Lil’ Dipper Crockpot. I’ll set that aside for a Christmas gift. I also traded a skein of mohair yarn (too itchy for me) for a bag of semolina flour, which I plan to use in my holiday baking. And now I’ve finally gotten rid of all the yarn I wasn’t using! Decluttering and filling my pantry at the same time is the best!
    – I took some strawberry jam that never set, added in some leftover cranberry sauce, and added in the pectin I had traded for. Et voila, Strawberry Cranberry Jam! I’ll likely use it in my holiday baking, and to stir in to my morning yoghurt.
    – I redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 giftcard to Starbucks.
    – I bought a 5 lb bag of beets for $2 and turned almost all of it into pickled beets. Easy and yummy! (
    – I took a friend out for coffee at Starbucks using my gift certificates that I used through Swagbucks. I always load my gift certificates to my registered Starbucks card, because I get points when I use it, and can get free items once I have enough points. Today was double points day, so I got double the points for using my free gift card. Now that’s frugal!
    – I ordered some patterned self-sealing cellophane wrappers from, which will ship them from China. I used my rewards/credit on my account, so I only ended up paying 80 cents for 100 wrappers. And I used 80 cents from my Paypal account, which I earned doing online surveys. So, no money OOP! I do love a good deal like that! If they arrive in time for Christmas, I’ll make cookies and send them in to work with the DH, otherwise I’ll keep them for another occasion. They’re non-seasonal so they’ll work for any time of year. It’s a nice way to be able to give everyone at his workplace a little individual something special without having to spent a lot.
    – I made homemade mallobars for my cookbook supperclub. We all borrowed copies of the same cookbook from the library and then had a potluck with everyone doing a different course. I did dessert and made the homemade mallobars (homemade graham cracker base, homemade marshmallow on top, covered in a chocolate topping), although I made mini bites instead of bars, for a slightly fancier presentation. I have never made marshmallows before, and actually, I made them vegan, so that another vegetarian member of our group and I could eat them. The only thing I had to buy that I didn’t have in my pantry was the xanthan gum (xanthan gum, aquafaba aka chickpea brine, and agar agar are the three stabilizers in this particular recipe). I was very pleased to learn a new skill and make a dish for a lovely dinner inexpensively!
    – I made beet hummus using the chickpeas (instead of the black beans the recipe called for) leftover from my vegan marshmallows, and one of the beets I bought so inexpensively, plus a couple of other pantry items. I didn’t have any tahini, so I threw in some sesame seeds and some olive oil and called it good! I ate it with carrots and crackers for lunch the next day. The carrots were leftover from a trade a month ago or so, and were starting to get wizened, so I peeled them and soaked them overnight and they crisped right back up. I brought in the rest of the dish to work and sent it home with a co-worker who appreciated it.
    – I sewed a Christmas themed dish towel for my mother-in-law, using a flour sack tea towel that I bought in a 5 pack over a year ago, and some Christmas themed fabric gifted to me. I essentially just edged the towel in the Christmas-themed fabric. It turned out really well!
    – I wrapped some gifts for friends very inexpensively. The wrapping paper was given to me by my mother because she didn’t like the style; the ribbons were re-used from last year; the name tags were kraft paper ones that I have hundreds of (my parents were getting rid of them over a decade ago and I grabbed them for my craft supplies), and then I stuck gold and silver photo corners on to them for a seasonal touch, from my stash of craft supplies; and the little galvanized iron reindeer ornaments were only 25 cents on sale during the summer. Everyone commented on the wrapping. I was pleased!

    And that was my week! Looking forward to learning from everyone as always!

  5. Love your pretty tomatoes in baskets. What great finds in your garden. This holiday seems more relaxed in that
    Im not trying to keep up with the picture of Christmas but enjoying the season and using what i have . Here are a few frugal accomplishments this week:
    . Made oatmeal snowmen for my grands using cc and a fruit snack. Served hot chocolate with a candy cane
    . Made cut out snowmen with a grandgirl..hung in window
    . Made cut out snow flakes with another grand girl
    Hung in window
    . Made homemade bread for a supper will use leftover bread for Brandys..Tuscan bread soup
    . Made cc cookies..added a few coloring books..crayons..popcorn
    . Re did my bedroom..organizing..moved things to give more room and relaxed holiday. Added a few holiday touches.
    . Received a free cookie at grocery
    . Used a gift card given in october to purchase new shoes needed on a holiday sale
    . Made a cranberry bread using dried cranberries from last year.
    . Enjoyed others lights
    . Enjoyed sunrise n sunset
    . Enjoyed the geese flying overhead and splashing in the pond.

  6. Our frost was over a month ago. Like you, we gathered everything off the vines. Then I set up tables in our garage and laid out the green tomatoes. They began to ripen right away and I then put them into baskets in my second refrigerator. The crisper drawers are full and every shelf has a large basket or tray of tomatoes on it. My canning cupboard is full and I have plenty frozen, too. It is wonderful to have such bounty. I’ve been making soups and sandwiches with them as well as large nightly salads.

  7. I’m in awe of your winter harvest! I love going down to my inlaws in LA and picking oranges and lemons off the tree. No such luck in the PNW.

    Living frugally in Seattle:

    -I received a beautiful shirt (for summer wear) and a 12 lb turkey from my Buy Nothing neighborhood group. I gave away some Christmas crafting materials that I won’t use. I froze the turkey for later use.

    – Instead of buying a Christmas tree (which I LOVE, but is impractical with the small living space on the main floor of our rowhouse and also expensive), we DREW a Christmas tree on our chalkboard wall in the kitchen and decorated it with flat and smaller ornaments that we already owned. Got the idea from Pinterest and it turned out pretty cute. We will visit my mom and her real Christmas tree over Christmas.

    – Made bread for the week on Saturday (whoot! whoot!)

    – After attending a holiday jazz concert, we came home and drank homemade hot chocolate rather than going out.

    – Bought blank cards at Joanne’s for half price so we can make and send Christmas cards to close friends and family. Resisted buying a couple of other really cute holiday decorations.

    – Continuing to make good use of our local library for reading material as well as holiday movies.

  8. Margaret, I tried making marshmallows last year; what a disaster! This year, I ordered them from the health food store where I work. (I’m working, now..shhh..)
    I’m always amazed at what you accomplish! I don’t have a smart phone. But, if I ever do, I will be trying to emulate your successes!

  9. Good job! I’ve read that if you pull up plants with tomatoes on them and hang up upside down somewhere inside, they’ll ripen much better… haven’ tried it myself!

  10. Instead of driving 13 miles to take my 3 and 2 yr old to the park, we are staying home.
    I have all our Christmas shopping done and a full deep freeze and full pantry of food. I have decided to do a no-spend January-March 2018 and take the $1000 of my grocery budget for those 3 months and put on to our mortgage.
    This way I won’t have to waste expired food because I’ll use it all up.
    We have 4-5 family Christmases to attend this month, so I will also not be buying any groceries in December.
    I’m still contemplating a third child though my hubby is OK with 2. I’m figuring whether we could really afford it and whether we want to be tighter with our resources. Not sure if it would be best to wait 1, 2, or 3 years.

  11. Momsav, try using Alton Brown’s recipe next time. I tried various recipes that came out awful, but his turned out well!

  12. This week I canned another 9 quarts of tomatoes from a 25 pound box I bought for $5! I used up the last bowl of little bananas that were over ripe and baked them into banana walnut white chocolate chip scones! I got 24 scones from them!
    My chickens are still laying about 2-1/2 dozen eggs/week so I am keeping a careful rotation of using oldest first and am saving the extras that I don’t use in my downstairs fridge to carry us through the winter without having to buy eggs! What a blessing!
    I bought a bushel box of gala apples for $5 that I will share some of with 3 of our children who are local and we will eat/use many fresh ourselves. The rest I will can into spiced apple rings (using some of those for gifts!)
    I froze 8 pounds of chopped onions and dehydrated another 7 pounds! Those 15 pounds of pre chopped onions cost me $3, so I felt like it was a great way to add to our pantry!
    We completed 2 more wood orders for clients and that brought in another $75 for quick projects that we used reclaimed (free) wood to make!
    We started graphing out and also demo-ing the old 3rd floor bathroom tub and shower in preparation for our DIY remodel. One of our daughters offered us enough floor tile for that bathroom because we will be pulling out the old tile and laying radiant floor heating in first. We will keep the existing toilet and sink. There are no windows or exterior walls to renovate, so this may be a quicker remodel that we may have completed before Christmas families get here!!
    I just made 50 Christmas ornaments out of Christmas fabrics that I had on hand to give out to all of the ladies in our Church group next week! I’ll also be making the same number of mini-loaves of yellow squash bread using my 24 mini bread pan and the yellow squash I was given that I shredded and froze a week ago. Also- no cost!!!
    All in all, this has been a good week!!

  13. A friend stopped by on her way to the local thrift store and invited me to look through her donations. I picked out a lovely leather jacket to replace the old, ripped one I have been wearing. This same friend, who has worked as a professional photographer, kindly took pictures of me and my husband and our dogs which we will use on our Christmas cards.
    The man we hired to paint our house last spring gifted us with a poinsettia plant and a box of chocolates.
    I brought home 3 oranges from a women’s breakfast at church.
    I made sandwich bread, French bread, brown sugar, pancake syrup, brownies, a big batch of waffles and cooked all meals from scratch.
    Some books I ordered as gifts were two days late arriving from Amazon. I have Amazon Prime and emailed to complain and they extended my Prime membership by one month.
    I contacted my internet provider about a new rate I had seen advertised and was able to save $5 a month on my internet charges.
    We got a free load of horse manure from a neighbor and used half of it in a new raised bed in the greenhouse. The bed runs the length of the greenhouse (10 feet) and is 2 feet wide and 18 inches deep. We put the manure on the bottom, then emptied our compost bin into it, then added a layer of rotting mulch from the yard, then all the dirt from the pots I’ve been planting in the greenhouse. We used the other half of the manure to start a new compost pile, mixing in a bunch of the rotting mulch. By spring this should be ready for planting.
    My husband checked the heating system for a new neighbor in exchange for 3 pounds of elk meat. We were thrilled!
    We have started Christmas decorating – all with things we already have, except two strands of rice lights I bought from JoAnn’s on Black Friday, which I used in the kitchen. One of my favorite decorations are paper star garlands I made several years ago, following Brandy’s directions. Carefully folded, they have lasted really well.

  14. I bet your family will be happy to help eat up all those tomatoes as they ripen! Always nice when you find some surprise produce when cleaning up the garden, too. I’m glad you are still enjoying fresh, homegrown produce, Brandy. That luxury stopped for our area a couple months ago.

    Well, yet another very busy week for me. I worked a lot this week, including our last special event. Plus we had some appointments to attend, just to keep it interesting. Overall, I think we did well on the frugal front, all things considered. This week, we were able to frugally accomplish:
    *Meals made at home included chicken souvlaki with tzatziki sauce, mashed potatoes and corn, crockpot BBQ meatballs with mashed potatoes and leftover mixed veggies, homemade beef barley soup (using 2 slices of leftover beef from previous weekend and a few potatoes that are going soft/sprouting) with homemade garlic bread (using frozen hamburger buns that really needed to be eaten) and mini cherry strudels for dessert, and baked chicken smothered in broccoli cheese soup with rice and broccoli. Family was on their own for 2 nights this weekend as I was working. They did make meals at home, which I’m happy about. I took a “bagged lunch” for my dinner both evenings I worked.
    *Cooked the last can of chickpeas that needed to be used from the pantry with BBQ sauce to use in wraps again for lunch on the weekend. They are very good and frugal too! We will use the rest of the leftovers this week for more lunch wraps.
    *On Monday I had my last (5yr) bariatric recheck appointment in Toronto. I was able to maintain my exact weight from last year and was told I did very well in the years after my surgery! For those who may be wondering, the surgery cost was covered under our health care, but there were additional expenses we paid OOP. I am very happy I had bariatric surgery, but even more happy I don’t have to travel to toronto any more for rechecks.
    *Since we traveled to Toronto, my hubby and I used the trip as an opportunity to shop at some stores not available in our area. I was able to buy 3 shirts for DD on sale, buy 1 clearance item get 2 free.
    *DD had a dentist appointment on Wednesday. The cost was thankfully covered under her disability medical coverage. She had x-rays and cleaning, with no cavities found. Since the appointment was close to dinner, we used the crockpot to make meatballs, my hubby was asked to pop part of the dinner into the oven at a certain time, and the rest was quickly made when we got home. We will be doing a lot of eating out in December, due to Christmas get togethers, etc., so I’m glad the family is finally getting on board with less take out!
    *I cooked too much barley for the soup on Thursday, but wasn’t concerned. DD loves barley. She was looking for a snack when she came home from school and I offered her some of the extra. She mixed in some margarine and grated cheese, then happily devoured it! The remaining barley was taken in her lunch the next day. At least it’s cheap and healthy.
    *Worked my normal scheduled Christmas program days during the week, then worked both Saturday and Sunday evening this weekend at the Christmas by Candlelight event. Stayed late on Friday as well, to help with event set up. This will be a good paycheck! Both evenings I received a free cookie and cups of hot mulled apple cider.
    *One of the volunteers was roasting chestnuts over an open fire for visitors to sample at the event. I mentioned to him I had never tried them before, as I am always working during this event and can’t get over to get a sample. The volunteer graciously sent me over some roasted chestnut to try, which I shared with the co-worker I was paired with, who also had never tried them. They’re pretty good! I feel like I can now check that off of my Christmas experience wish list.

    That’s it for me this week. Looking forward to working my way through everyone’s comments, as I get time. Took me all week to do it, last week, but, by golly, I was finally able to get through them all! I hope you all have a wonderful week filled with the magic of the Christmas season.

  15. Not sure if this will help or not as cars have changed so much, but I once had trouble with a starter and I used a short, thick dowel stick to “whack” the top of the starter each time I needed to start the car until I could get it repaired. Not sure why it worked, but it did! I also feel the need add a disclaimer … “I’m not a mechanic!” LOL

  16. – fixed a pair of dress sandals instead of buying a new pair.
    – Using cards I already had for Christmas cards.
    – Using up partially used notebooks instead of purchasing a new one.
    – Putting off buying a box of hair dye and considering just not dying my hair for awhile.

  17. I turned some leftovers into a really good pasta salad (quick-pickled a chopped carrot and the rings from an onion slice, tossed with leftover spaghetti noodles from Thursday’s spaghetti and a couple of spoonfuls of tuna salad left from Friday night’s tuna melts). A friend brought over Chinese take-out and we watched a movie on Plex; he left us the extra Chinese food and I scrambled some eggs into it for Sunday’s lunch. I packed my lunch from leftovers every day of work last week . I gave my son two 15-minute driving lessons over the weekend in an empty parking lot. I used the ends of several loaves of bread that had been keeping in the freezer to make a big batch of bread pudding for this week’s dessert/treat.

  18. 1. Accepted a bag of lettuce and a bag of fried chicken left over from a rehearsal dinner for a wedding that I helped serve at. Made good lunches the next day.
    2. Decided not to order a beautiful dress jacket for church that was on sale. I am in the process of dieting and decided not to spend money on an article of clothing I won’t be able to wear in a little bit anyway.
    3. Laughed as I walked through the grocery store and realized all I needed this week was meat, milk, and bread. So, I used my grocery budget money to buy over 10 pounds of ground beef that was on sale and divided it up into portions of about a pound and a half to use for dinner ideas.
    4. Brought lunch from home each day.
    5. Stayed home!

  19. Took Bed Bath and Beyond coupons back to the store with an receipt from this Fall -(thicker curtains for bay windows) and got back $30.

    Made homemade whipped cream for hot chocolate from extra heavy cream from Thanksgiving.

    Used Ebates for all online shopping. Plan on putting it straight towards debt when I receive it in Feb.

    Bought Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University this weekend on sale. My husband and I think we need the extra motivation from the workbook and videos provided.

    Stuck to menu plan and grocery plans and still have grocery money left.

    Thanks to my (early) Christmas present: Instant Pot – we haven’t went out to eat in 2 weeks!

  20. My sweet college daughter showed up for five days after Thanksgiving. I had forgotten what a little tornado she is. She has been at college for seven years and I rarely spend this much time at once with her. She ate and slept a great deal. She did help me move some large pieces of furniture around and I have managed to get a lot done. We stopped by the thrift store on my way to take her back home. I was touched to see she bought winter clothes for a homeless man in the parking lot. He thanked her repeatedly. ( she was safe at all times, as I was with her). I am concentrating on learning new things. I have all the needed ingredients to bake breads. Biscuits, pie crust and tomato sauce for pasta. I don’t know how, but am reading and watching videos and hope to use no more store prepared products again. I didn’t see really much of anything on sale to buy this week with my remaining snap so I will continue to save and look for deals. Well, we are at the end of the year and I am gathering my paperwork for my taxes. I was devastated to see somewhere along the year, I made a horrible financial mistake. I don’t know if it was a mathematical error, unclear thinking due to meds from four surgeries or what. At this point it does not matter. I will correct it and continue on. The penalty is severe. About 1200.00 I will have to squeeze out of my limited budget . It will take three months to fix my oop’s. On the bright side, my 4 months of SNAP of 800 total bought 2400.00 worth of food. We have everything we need. I spent less than a hundred for Christmas over the year and am so grateful for swagbucks. I have several Carhart coats and other things I am going to try to sell on the local Facebook page. My days of being on a construction site are over and I hope to find new owners for my work clothes. So happy now that I always bought men’s stuff. So it looks like we have a no spend three month holiday coming up but I have plenty of materials to finish up many much needed projects in the house. I look forward to reading everyone’s posts and trying new ideas.. Sugar cookie will be leaving soon for a month of Christmas holidays with her up North Grandma and I can save my ignore this month.

  21. I’m making Christmas wreaths for our neighbors! We are so lucky to live in the NW where there is plenty of greenery. A walk in the woods with our dogs and with my scissors and bucket allow me to forage lovely wreath makings. It’s a great savings on gifts for our sweet neighbors!

  22. Our early Christmas present was an air fryer – and so far it is encouraging my husband to use less fat for his French fries, tater tots, etc.

    We put up our smaller artificial tree and used a blue, silver and gold color scheme for the decorations we already had. (We are going to be out of town visiting our DD and her family for a week at Christmas – so I didn’t go all out for decorating.) We’ll be flying so gifts are either pretty easily packable and small or we will buy them when we arrive. I am going to use a vinyl shopping bag as my carry on and put in some of the food goodies (but not the jam and jelly, which must go in the checked luggage.)

    My slow weight loss continues, with me wearing a wool glen plaid pantsuit to church that I haven’t been able to wear for 10 years. One advantage of being older is that no one bats an eye at a suit that age because the styles for older folks don’t change as much as for the young ones. The clothes I am now able to wear are so old that they were all made in the U.S.A.

    I fulfilled all my cookie obligations – 7 dozen for the open house at the Museum and 5 dozen for the Community Choir concert. My husband has been baking a few cookies at a time for himself – using a roll of cookie dough and individuals toppings such as a whole pecan, a Hershey’s kiss, a peanut M & M. I am successfully avoiding most cookies.

  23. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 . What a wonderful blessing all of those lovely tomatoes Brandy, we are waiting for ours to get bigger as we speak.

    Blessings for the week is that we have had lots of lovely rain that are making our pumpkin, cherry tomatoes and all of our other vegetables grow like wildfire and fill our rain water tanks and the first lavender blossoms have now appeared on our newly planted plants 🙂 .

    Here is how we saved money and accomplished things around the house this week –

    Financial –
    – Saved an additional $89 over our targeted budget this month for our saving for our home deposit and saved 47.66% of our combined after tax income for house savings too last month.

    Groceries specials –
    – Found some wonderful specials at 10 – mostly 50% off this week which were welcomed. We purchased 10 tins of long life vegetables and meat, 3 tins of corn kernels, 4 x 2lt BBQ sauce to bring us to a years supply, 6 Philadelphia cream cheese and 3 pkts of nice biscuits and coupled this with a $10 off purchase supermarket rewards voucher to save a total of $57.12 off normal retail prices.

    Other purchases –
    – Purchased 2 pairs of leather and canvas high ankle hiking boots, one pair for DH and one pair for myself, on special on eBay saving $71.90 over what we can buy them for here. My husband and I can now go bushwalking in more safety due to snakes and things now.

    In the gardens –
    – Picked and of course ate the first of our new strawberries for the year whilst we were weeding the garden beds.
    – Thinned out basil and beetroot seedlings growing to close together and transplanted them near drippers to not waste any.
    – Used composted grass clippings and leaves raked from under trees to mulch 2 x 2mt strawberry and herb gardens and another 4.5 x 2mt stretch of the garlic and beetroot bed.
    – Pulled out spent broad bean plants and put them on the veranda to dry and save seeds off to plant next season.
    – Missed two scheduled garden watering sessions with town water due to lovely rain saving 166lts of town water.
    – Took advantage of the lovely rain to water in urea put around the silver beet, spinach and sweet corn without using town water.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals and bread from scratch.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week ahead everyone 🙂 .

  24. I saw your post on instagram and thought at first they were baskets of limes! Darn eyesight. But the green tomatoes are lovely as well. How wonderful to be able to use them as they ripen. Beautiful pics as usual 🙂

    *Made all meals at home except for our date night which we had a coupon for a free meal.
    *Combined errands
    *Shopped around for my dogs medical procedure and got a better price and better option. The vet cleaned the teeth instead of pulling them.
    *Shopped sales and used coupons to save $200 on my grocery shopping list. But re-stocked quite a few items I was was running low on or was out of. Took advantage of a Kroger sale to get 5# flour and canola oil for 99c/each. Also found body wash and shampoo on their clearance end cap and used coupons to further lower the cost. They were items we normally use and ended up paying quite a bit less. Worth stocking up.
    *We inventoried our freezers last month and this month I went and re-organized my pantry room. There were a few things that I need to get more of for our shelves, but overall we are quite well stocked.
    *I use a paper planner calendar for keeping track of what I want to accomplish each day, appts and our menus for dinner. It has been so helpful to look back over the year as I am planning my menu to see what I have been making and to keep implementing into our meals. A lot of times my meals change based on what I need to use up in the fridge, but I can also keep track of what meals I had planned and purchased things to make. I put those meals into the next week.
    *I read As the Queen Rides By for free off another website. Loved the sweet message!
    *I made cranberry muffins to use up my last cup of cranberry sauce. Very yummy! Thanks to someone on this site for the idea! My mom has some leftover sauce too and wants to use hers to make muffins as well.
    *Watched a movie at home instead of going out to one on the weekend. My husband and I did see one movie in the theater last week but it was on their discount day.
    *I started our church’s #LighttheWorld activity and have been using things that I already have to hopefully bless others during this Christmas season.
    *I continue to use our local library to request books to read.

    I hope everyone has wonderful week! Looking forward to reading everyone’s posts and wonderful ideas 🙂

  25. That’s makes me laugh. I suspect it might interfere with the accuracy of the diagnostics scan when it gets towed in! The car did start sometimes during the last month, but I have to have it towed on a day it isn’t working, so they get some info from the scan. I have AAA fortunately, so no cost to me for that part.

  26. I have a couple baskets of tomatoes as well. Nice to have them in December! I worked hard getting ready for a handmade show last week, which I was glad to be a part of, and pleased with my sales. It was the first year I brought the natural deodorant I’ve been making for myself. I sold all but two, have an order for three, so I’ll be making more. Also, yesterday I got a message from a customer who’d bought one of my recycled wool dusters at the show. She loved it, and wanted to buy the two remaining ones I had made. Definitely one of my best shows.

    With the show, I didn’t gather much except eggs last week, but there are beautiful cabbage, collards and lettuce I need to be harvesting. I look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to. Thank you for creating this wonderful community, Brandy. I’m happy to be joining in here:

  27. Margaret @ApproachingFood Wow, Daddy just mentioned he loved Mallobars but could no one could find them for him. LOL I googled the recipe. Not sure if I can make marshmallows

  28. Although I wasn’t planning on buying much in the way of groceries, the local Krogers had ground beef on special for 1.79/lb, so I added 20 canned pints to the pantry. I cooked a ham from the freezer bought last year on sale, and used the bone for bean soup. I made a large stock pot, and canned 6 quarts of soup in addition to having it for 2 meals. I made pajama pants for several family members for Christmas, using fleece bought at 70% off on Black Friday, along with no sew fleece blankets for the grandbabies. I redeemed swagbucks for an amazon gift card. I ordered glasses online in my new prescription- for $130.00 less than they would have been even with insurance. We put up the (artificial) Christmas- purchased a few years ago at 75% off, and decorated using ornaments we already had. I bought a small pine scented candle at Dollar Tree to add the “fresh cut” christmas scent.

  29. I miss the Chestnut vendors here in Toronto. They were the men who sold fresh popcorn during the summer – come the Fall they switched to chestnuts – my favourite stand was just outside the museum. Not sure what happened to them – guess it was hard to make living, or perhaps licenses were no longer issued.

  30. Road recovery man has just told my friend to do that till she can get her starter motor repaired. He demonstrated it and it started first time.

  31. Brandy,
    I am amazed at all the tomatoes you harvested.

    I attended a family potluck Christmas party this weekend. I purchased spinach flour tortillas and made some cranberry sauce with the cranberries left over from Thanksgiving. I used that as a spread and put in sliced ham and lettuce and rolled them up and then sliced like making cinnamon rolls. They looked very festive and tasted really good and I made up an entire tray of them for less than $5 for all ingredients.
    We put up our fake Christmas tree last night. We used the mercury glass ornaments I have been collecting for the last several years along with paper snowflakes we made ourselves. It looks very nice. I used a ruffled tablecloth for the tree skirt- no money spent and we are really enjoying it.
    Other than that just trying to stay healthy and not get the flu or the head cold/sore throat thing that is really going around here. Staying healthy is very frugal.

  32. I do miss the daily thankful posts as they really helped me to focus on the good. Thank you for doing that each year, Brandy.

    This week has been difficult as hubby and I adjust to being apart. I just take comfort in knowing that he is super busy for the next few months and I have a job and can support us here. I’m also so happy that my DS is successful again. It’s been a long uphill climb to this point and we’ve a bit of a ways to go. Moving forward!

    My son and I were able to attend a Christmas party that I have been wanting to attend for a couple years. It was a drive and a toll, but we had the needed festive dress, a good bottle of wine for a hostess present (I’d been saving it!), and we were fed. A good experience for him and a good rememberance for me that we are going to be OK.
    My son did want a Christmas bow tie and I was able to make him one from supplies on hand. I have never made one before and do see what I would fo different next time, but it looked great and matched his other one that I used as a pattern well enough.

    I signed up for the soup club at work where I’ll get a months worth of Wednesday lunches for bringing in one crackpot of soup one Wednesday. That will be very nice!

    Still am shopping as little as possible. I did take advantage of a sale to buy my children each a book…although one is really a daily calendar. At a nice discount. For Christmas…something to open.

    I can get overwhelmed by the thought of all the medical and school balances I need to pay off. And I have been receiving exam bills that I expected were going to be covered by our insurance. I need to check that out. It seems like so much!

    I wanted to give the couple that allow my son to sleep over each week for his Air Force ROTC exercises a present, but just wasn’t sure how that was going to happen when my MIL said that she wanted to get them a gift. She is going to get a gift from all of us! So blessed!

    Staying home as much as possible (except that one party!), eating less and thankfully downsizing again, watching Christmas movies we own and using what we have…another frugal week.

  33. LOL My Mom had to pound a spike nail into the battery connection on one of our very beat up cars we had growing up in order to get it to start. My 1st car (a station wagon no less) was a “flint stone car” – You had to lift up your feet if you went thru deep puddles or you’d get splashed – LOTS of rusted out spots on that vehicle 🙂

  34. This week has been okay on the saving/budget front. Some frugal accomplishments were:
    – paying all the bills online – saving a check, envelope, and stamp. The only bill we still have to write a check for is our water bill because that’s our only option.
    – I only had to buy milk, bread, and eggs this week. I haven’t spent any of our December food/household budget yet.
    – I got some books for my classroom for free due to book fair rewards. My mom also hosted an USbourne book party to help my sister and I earn free books for our classroom. I haven’t picked mine out yet, but I shouldn’t have to buy any books for my classroom this year.
    – We hunted this weekend, but weren’t able to add any meat to our freezer. I will go back to deer hunting with my bow, which is harder than a shotgun. But hopefully I can get one more deer for the freezer. It is also still squirrel season here, so I might try to shoot a few squirrels to add to the freezer. I have one turkey tag left, so I’ll try to get a turkey with my bow, too.
    – We went out to eat with my parents and they bought our supper.
    – We were also able to turn off the heat for a few days, which saved us from LP.

    Other than that, it’s been same old same old stuff. I decorated for Christmas using only stuff I already had on hand. I used boxes that items were shipped to me in so I didn’t buy any gift boxes. I wrapped presents with paper that I bought on 75-90% off clearance after Christmas last year. I just had to buy a few gift bags. I will be out of school soon for Christmas break. That will mean less on gas money.

    My online store earned an extra $840 for our house this month. My husband also picked up a little furniture building job that should add a little bit to our income. We paid our December mortgage payment, bringing us to 21% paid off.

    That looks like quite a bit of tomatoes. I was so tired of tomatoes by the end of the growing season here that I didn’t even try to save the green ones. Maybe next year I will. Right now I am trying to eat as much squash as I can – we have a ton of acorn and butternut squash to eat up. We ate all the apples already. I still have some pumpkin to can. We also have sweet potatoes put back, but we ate all the regular potatoes already.

  35. Whew! What an awesome week. I got tired just reading about all the money you saved. When you have the time, please elaborate on how you manage to use a trading app to trade so many things.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  36. Impressive tomato haul!
    • I went through swagbucks and placed an online order while the store was having 50% off everything.
    • made swag goal x 2
    • hung laundry up to dry inside the house
    • I needed to pick up a script at Walgreens and also had balance reward points expiring on 12/1. I was a couple thousand points short of a $35 reward so I checked out deal websites prior to shopping in order to plan out coupon matches for needed items. After picking up everything and putting it in the car, I went back in and used my just-earned $35 to buy replacement electric toothbrush heads and hair color.
    • I had dental work done on Thursday. I didn’t know that starting in November 2016 my company was providing free dental insurance for all employees (I had been on a medical LOA). I gave the dental office manager my insurance info and asked her to run through insurance all appointments going back to Nov 2016. Hopefully I will be getting money back from paying cash for the prior appointments.
    • I tried a new recipe for French vegetable soup from “A Lady in France” blog. It is delicious and I love eating some of my “daily 5” this way 🙂
    • Updated my monthly net worth spreadsheet.
    • On Saturday while running errands, I passed a house with a pile of “stuff” at the end of the driveway with a FREE sign on it. I turned around and picked up 22 items, which I documented and promptly took to Goodwill for the tax deduction. The house is for sale so I’m planning to drive by once a week and see if they put out more stuff.
    • Finally finished getting up all the leaves in my yard. They are chopped up and on the garden for the winter.

  37. This week has been successful because I haven’t gone anywhere to spend money.

    *I originally planned on going to a thrift store to shop for more sweatpants and shirts to wear around the house. However, when I put my sons’ clean clothes back in their closets after they left following Thanksgiving, I FOUND ALL MY MISSING CLOTHES! When they did the laundry, they no longer knew whose clothes were whose so they put all my clothes in the wrong closets. I also dug through the back of the closets and found extra sweatshirts which I confiscated. If they haven’t worn it in a year, they don’t need it. Just to be clear, they did recognize my underwear and none of it disappeared.

    *We have eaten out of the pantry, freezer, and garden all week.

    *The weather has turned unseasonably warm, up to 70 degrees, so I took advantage and have put up the hoop houses in the garden. Wait, I did spend money, I ordered more wire to make more hoop houses from Amazon. It was cheaper than driving to the hardware store.

    *My time has been spent getting the house ready for Dustin and Reese to move back in. I have been cleaning the basement making storage room and tomorrow I will begin painting upstairs. Their bathroom is still bright yellow with ducks and their bedroom is a bright cobalt blue. They chose the colors when they were young. It is time for those colors to go!

    I like weeks that are quiet and uneventful. They are so rare.

    Jeannie @ GetMetoTheCountry

  38. Thanks, Brandy! I learn something new every day.
    By the way, I really like your system for letting us comment. I have so much trouble on other blogs. Yours is, by far, the best and easiest! The whole gooooogle thing is a nightmare for me. Sometimes it works, most times it does not. I’m tired of even trying. There is never a problem with this site.

  39. Brandy, you have such a great eye for photography, the tomatoes look impressive…and a bit overwhelming 😉

    For frugal activities: I found a special deal for 40 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken breasts at $0.75 pound…sold as a frozen block that I thaw, split up and refreeze into smaller portions. Will last us more than a year! But yikes it takes up half the fridge while it defrosts. Update as of Dec 4, chicken finally all defrosted, split up and refrozen but of course the bag leaked and thawed raw chicken water leaked through the fridge…good news is that now the fridge is super clean and spotless, everything is reorganized and so starts the new year with a clean fridge.
    -used up all thanksgiving leftovers, including making lots of turkey noodle soup and freezing for future meals.
    -bought an extra turkey at $0.79 per pound and froze for future meals
    -made a large batch of spaghetti sauce and meatballs and split into two freezer portions. Am being very careful to avoid products with added sugar so was not happy to see that all my cans of tomato sauce had added sugar :(. But tomato paste is fine. So I gave all the tomato sauce to food banks, and will just water down the paste when I need sauce. Also gave away the canned fruit in syrup and a few other sugar intensive items.
    -did a first look at our 2018 budget, didn’t like the answer so will start looking at what we can change to spend less and free up money for unexpected expenses. That is what I did this year, and the money we set aside covered the unexpected need to buy a new air conditioner.

  40. That is a lot of tomatoes, Brandy! I didn’t plant any this year. I may rethink it. It was hard to buy good tomatoes, here.
    It seemed like a lackluster week. But, I got to hang clothes on the line in Dec.! That made my day! The clothes weren’t completely dry, but dry enough. I hung them around the basket rim, etc. So happy about that!
    Our electric bill came. It was estimated so I checked numbers to see how close it was to reality. It wasn’t off by much so excited by that! I had to work really hard to figure out the rates so I feel i’ve Finally cracked the code.
    I purchased a small, white, vintage Christmas tree from the thrift store for 2.50! It’s perfect for our tiny home. I found the perfect vintage decorations at another thrift store for 1.99 for a small bag full. With some decorations I had from a garage sale, this tree is looking fabulous! I’ll be looking for a white skirt to go around it.
    I sold a few things on ebay.
    A friend and I took a walk up a huge hill and down Stink Hill, which is appropriately named, for free exercise. It took us a bit over one hour so not too bad. I thought I might be sore but I wasn’t. I’m ready to go again! I like a physical challenge.
    We talked to all of our children this week. We’re trying to decide when we’ll head down state to see two of them.
    I think that’s about it for me. Wishing you all a great week!

  41. Ahh Chris M yes the starters have a Bendix in them that used to stick so the cars wouldn’t start 🙂 . Hitting them with a stick is indeed what works and it frees up the Bendix so they will start again. Unfortunately this is only a temporary fix as usually 2 or three times later it stops working anyway and you will need to buy a new starter motor. But it is a temporary fix until you can get your car to a garage should you be stuck on the side of the road at least.

    I used to be a licenced motor dealer who sold older cars and we had a wrecking yard so that used to work with the older cars but not sure if it would work on the newer computerised versions although I doubt that the starter motors are much different from the ones of old anyway.

    I certainly would give it a try if stuck on the side of the road and my car made that click click noise without starting anyway 😀 as in a case like that it is usually only 3 things the starter motor, the alternator or a flat battery and in rare cases wiring faults.

  42. It’s been quite a while since I commented here! Here are the frugal accomplishments we’ve had over the past few weeks:

    * Got a bunch of spices, herbs, and tea ingredients from for my SO’s Christmas gift for me. I had very few seasonings that I kept on hand prior, because we don’t have access to a lot of good ethnic markets around here, so I got to purchase a ton of items I can’t normally get.

    * Ate up all of the pre-cooked leftovers from the freezer, and added in a few servings of Curry Rice (made with spices from SF Herb Co!). This made some room in the freezer for Thanksgiving leftovers.

    * I baked up a double batch of Budget Byte’s cranberry orange muffins for Thanksgiving, using cranberries I had stashed in the freezer.

    * I got to take home both the turkey carcass and the ham bone from our Thanksgiving celebration. I used half of the turkey bones to make a big pot of turkey, bean, and rice soupfor dinner, and save the remaining bones and ham bones for future soups.

    *I froze leftover sweet potatoes (the only leftovers we had left!) for an easy future side dish.

    * Made one big shopping trip for December. We’ll have to fill in with milk and bread, but otherwise we should have everything we need for the month. Total spent at Aldi was only $70, which leave room for milk, bread, and some produce towards the end of the month. (We’re challenging ourselves to use only $100 this month, which is half our usual amount).

    I think that’s most everything! I did also bake some cornbread for gifts and bought a birthday card from the dollar store, but otherwise that’s all we did for frugal accomplishments over the last few weeks. We’re in the home strech of the school year, so I’m just trying to keep my head afloat for a bit longer!

  43. Our garden isn’t producing much right now. Hubs pulled out the summer plants, and the winter ones (the ones that didn’t get eaten by slugs) aren’t ready yet. 🙁 I can’t complain too much though; our climate is so mild we can garden pretty much all year round.

    I haven’t posted in a while (just busy and haven’t been good at writing things down), so this covers about a month. In addition to our usual things we were able to do the following.

    Frugal Efforts

    * Hosted friends for Halloween and served tortellini soup and focaccia. The kids went trick-or-treating and then played Clue when they got home.

    * Canned 16 half-pints of apple butter (the apples were so sweet I cut the sugar in half), 5 quarts of apple sauce, and 4 quarts of sliced apples.

    * A local hardware store was giving away free LED lightbulbs, so we took a pack. There was no limit, and we probably should have picked up another pack or two, but when we went back they were all gone.

    * Went online to compare per-ounce prices prior to shopping. In several cases Sprouts was the best deal (even compared to Sam’s).

    * Picked up several free items from Vons (two packages of pasta, a can of tomato sauce, and a bottle of apple juice).

    * Used a $10 off $30 at Big 5 to get a pair of shoes for son.

    * Harvested cabbage and made home-made sauerkraut for the first time. Turned out pretty good.

    * We were guests of our neighbors for Thanksgiving. We brought a veggie tray w/ ranch dip and pita chips w/ homemade hummus.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  44. Could you share beet hummus recipe? We grow lots of beets, no insects ever harm them, so I always and up with too much… Thanks!

  45. Aw, thanks, Momsav! Your compliment made my day! I know vegan marshmallows can emulate traditional marshmallows quite well, so I will likely try again, just not the same recipe. And working in a health food store must be really good for the budget — I hope you get a great discount!

  46. Our biggest “deals” this week were the completion of CERT training through our county emergency management office – they got a grant for the training and when we graduated, both my daughter and I received starter response kits and hard hats at no cost to us! There are things we’ll want to add to them, but the basics are there: a flashlight, eye protection, medical and work gloves, Mylar emergency blanket, and some other items.

    Stayed home most of the week other than our classes – CERT and her weekly free art class at a local college.

    Took lunches/drinks to the classes.

    Ordered carryout pizza with online coupon and a free one for my husband to take to work with points.

    Bought diesel on base – didn’t realize it was a savings until I drove by the next day (payday, oddly enough…) and the price had gone up 7 cents/gallon.

    Read books from the library in print and on Overdrive app

    Completed a free FEMA Independent Study class online

    Drank herbal tea that I had on hand most of the week, instead of going to the store for sodas

    Refilled my foaming shower gel container with water & Dr. Bronner’s to make more shower gel

    Researched prices on steam mops – we have a fiber mop with reusable covers but the trigger mechanism is really hard on my joints, and our entire house here has vinyl tiles. I can now only mop high traffic areas periodically to control pain and it just looks gross. 😉

    Saw a book series listed on a Facebook page – 4 books for 99cents. Got the series and devoured all four books (and found out while looking at them that there are similar series at the same price point – I don’t know if it’s a holiday special or what, but had not seen this before!) The series I got was Terri Blackstock’s Restoration series.

    Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  47. Bought a nice purse at a thrift store.
    Made meals at home.
    Husband took meals to work.
    Still using peppers from our summer garden that we had froze.
    Went to library for entertainment.
    Eating less and losing weight! Feeling much better.
    Got invited to eat at parents one day for lunch.
    Enjoyed some sunny days outside.
    Glad to have warm clothes from my aunt for winter since It is getting cold this week. I am enjoying wearing them. I have lost 14 lbs in less than 3 full weeks. So I am glad that I saved my skinnier clothes to get back into. I hope to shrink into them soon.

  48. I love the green tomatoes. You got so many!! There have been other years when I was able to save green ones until about Thanksgiving, but not this year. My vines died off quicker than usual. That is the great thing about gardening…next year is such a promise! I’m grateful for all the good vegetables I did get:)

    This past week rushed by. We had dental appointments for the girls, and I’m thankful to report that there were no cavities. That is a real money saver–both that we got to use insurance for the check=ups and didn’t need to drive back for follow-up appointments. The dentist is around 1 hour away. He is the same dentist I’ve had since high school, and has been very, very good to us in the past, and is so gentle and kind, I’d drive further than that to get a good experience for my kids. (It wasn’t my turn this time, but I still see him, too.). When I was a girl, I was traumatized by a gruff, impatient, harsh dentist and am so happy to have the girls have a better experience.

    We worked extra hours last month, due to the school holidays. I bill at the end of each month, and get paid mid-month, so I have something nice to look forward to–a little extra in the pay envelope.

    I made some nice taco rice bowls from all the odds and ends left over from the week and they turned out really good. I put rice down in the bowl, put a tiny bit of salsa on it, then put things in piles on top of the rice–bits of chicken and taco meat that were left over, cheese, kidney beans from a can, and then some avocado and tomato pieces on top. I had sour cream and additional salsa for people to use. Yum! I don’t usually have any avocados, but got a bag at Grocery Outlet very inexpensively and snatched them happily. It felt good to use up the bits of food in a way that seemed new to everyone, but still got rid of many little odds and ends.

    My husband BBQ’d chicken at the beginning of the week, and we ate it a few times, along with chicken strips. Yesterday, I made refried beans, and chili. We will eat those items for a couple of days, but the batches were large and I froze some of each for quick meals later.

    My sister had a work party for her employees, and there was lots of food leftover. We had it for Family Sunday Dinner. She’s a great cook, so of course it was delicious. It made for an easy Sunday for all of us.

    I got what groceries from my list that I could at Grocery Outlet, and then finished up shopping at Fred Meyers. The prices are great at GO, but they didn’t have everything I needed.

    The rest is on my blog:, including pictures. After a computer crash, having it in the shop for days, and then having to re-load everything since my hard drive was gone, I am happy to say that I think it’s up and running well now. I will be happy to just blog and read blogs now–working out kinks on a computer is not my favorite pastime:). What a blessing that it was fixable, and that I have more computer knowledge than I had a year ago! I’m still learning.

  49. We moved over the weekend so it seems everything has been a frugal fail. However, it has felt good to declutter and toss, donate, or give away things I’m not using anymore. On the bright side I’ve realized I don’t need to buy any new curtains for the new place as I can use the ones I’ve had in storage for the past 6 years.
    *I’ve traded some unwanted bedding for some bath products I can use.
    *I crocheted a couple dishrags with yarn I got for free at a swap.
    *I printed a sheet off wrapping paper instead of buying a new roll I won’t use up.
    *I bought ham and string cheese for 30% off.
    *I’m gathering school supplies as school starts in March here. I’ve managed to acquire numerous pencils, crayons, oil pastels, erasers, *scissors, and coloring pencils for free or very low cost to get started in first grade.
    *I found a box of books buried in the back of the closet that will work well as gifts for some upcoming first birthday presents.

  50. I am thankful for my friend who let me put my Christmas cards on her credit card and I’ll pay her back. I used 6 of my photos from the summer for the cards. They were ordered on Saturday and have already been shipped to me.

    I saved a lot of money at the recent supermarket sale.

    A friend in Germany sent me (last year) a scarf which I just opened up today. It is not a scarf but a lovely shawl, much bigger than I thought and gorgeous. It feels like cashmere but is cotton. It is reversible and goes well with 2 of my coats. I will wear it when I go to hear Yo-Yo Ma on Friday. It is an extravagance (I was committed to it before I had money shortage now) but I feel it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  51. Stayed home all week other than a quick trip to the grocery store. Found a close out on cranberries for 48 cents so I bought 10 bags. Otherwise I only bought spices, some canned peas and 2 packages of pork ribs.
    Ate all meals at home, and caught up on my mending. Did my widowed brothers mending. He gave me a quart of frozen raspberries. I will make those into jelly as it is hubby’s favorite.
    The Christmas tree is up in the living room. Makes me happy to see it lit.
    I’ve been baking most every day with things from my pantry. The little bit of leftovers will go to the chickens today. They continue to bless us with all the eggs we need plus a few to share. I will start using lots to make homemade noodles this week. I use my grandmother’s recipe. Always think of her when I make them

  52. Because I will get paid mid-December and then not again until the 1st of February, I have stocked up on all of the animal feeds and cat litter to get me to mid-February. I continue to meal plan, scheduling at least 2 vegetarian (or nearly vegetarian) meals per week, and planning to use up older items in the freezer. I continue turning off lights, keeping windows open and the ac/heat off, washing only full loads, and air-drying clothes and towels when possible.
    I have been mainly living off the freezers and pantry for the last year due to overstock and my husband’s deployment. I have now drained some areas and must restock. So this week, I picked up 50 lbs. of pasta at $.50 lbs., 10 lbs. flour, 4 bogo peanut butter (stacked with coupons), and a few condiments that were on sale. My grocery store had a Star Wars promo that gave me some sort of trading cards. I gave them to a child in line.
    I need to make a Costco run for white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, flour, basmati rice, wine, and paper towels, but it is about an hour away. I am going to wait until right before Christmas, so I can renew my card so it will be good for next Christmas season too and do any Christmas food shopping at the same time.
    I had to replace a headlight in my car, so I bought the part and took it to the VFW where a kind person put it in for me. I bought him a drink during happy hour – much cheaper than taking the car to the shop. Got my car washed at a church fundraiser for a modest donation. Got my oil changed and asked for (and received) the 25% military discount. Attended a cheap movie on base. Bought my own water and snack.
    I am decorating with old items as usual. Not putting up outside lights or yard décor this year.
    I am in the market for a new phone unless I can figure out how to add an sd/memory card to mine. As my husband is away, a working phone is critical.

  53. 1.Spent $2 on a Christmas gift
    2.Made my own rotel when I realized I had none in my pantry(turned out surprisingly well)
    3.Paid my auto insurance premium for the next 6 months all at once and saved $20(installment fees make no sense!)
    4.Suggested some useful gifts that my children would love/need when asked by their grandparents as to what my kids would like for Christmas
    5.Bartered with my wonderful mother for much needed food items(everyone wins)

    Also, one of my goals this year was to have a simple Christmas, with less toys and more meaningful gifts. I had a great idea that I would make a “my favorite things” box for each of my kids and fill it with things they love but rarely get. So far I have added things like microwave popcorn(we usually air pop), 4 jars of Nutella(which I got on sale for 49cents!) and scored a free Venus razor with a coupon I received in the mail(we usually use disposable ones that I get free with coupons). I really think my kids will love this idea and the best part is….it’s soooo cheap and fun to fill:)

  54. I love this! Our summer growing season is far too hot and dry, so we let our garden stay un-growing from July to October. It’s crazy to see yours is producing this much! I’m sure we’re just lacking the discipline to really get a decent harvest. 😛

    This week:

    1. I’m trying to transition over to washing myself exclusively with Castile soap. It’s been a bit of a challenge washing my hair and keeping it from being greasy, but I’ll get the hang of it with some practice. 🙂 The best part? I get Castile soap for free from my sister.

    2. We cooked a dinner last night that just didn’t work out. Instead of going out to eat, I promptly whipped a frozen pizza out for dinner. Yay for not eating out. 🙂

    3. I bought apples on fire sale for 87 cents a pound and started fermenting them to make homemade apple wine. Just in time for the holidays!

    4. We’re using our credit card cashback points to buy Christmas presents this year. I’m excited because that means we’ll have zero budget impact for Christmas. I’m also getting a bonus, which means more money towards debt!

    5. We decorated for Christmas using the Christmas tree we bought last year. We plan to use it year after year until the thing just won’t stand up straight any more. We decorated it with ornaments I inherited, too.

  55. I had criminal jury trials all last week and wore thrifted outfits every day. I made meatloaf the weekend before jury week, and took meatloaf sandwiches to wolf down during our bathroom break, because we had motion hearings outside the presence of the jury during lunch break (for them)…. I could not spend money because I was tied up in trial, so I guess that counts as frugal? After spending 12 to 14 hours at work, every day, I hope my electric bill stays low, since I was not home much…lol. I was very tired this weekend so, I slept a lot, so that was also frugal. I did make chicken spaghetti with ingredients I already had, and also homemade tomato soup for this week. I tossed the chicken bones in the soup to give it extra flavor. I did not have Thanksgiving Dinner, for the first time ever, because we were interviewing witnesses from out of state on Thanksgiving Day (that was when they were in town)…. However, my daughter and son-in-law are driving 2,000 miles to come home for Christmas, so I will use the Thanksgiving turkey I purchased, for Christmas Dinner, and try to make up to my sons who live here, the fact that we did not have Thanksgiving Dinner. They were actually very good spots about it, and said many folks cannot afford Thanksgiving Dinner, and that we ware blessed to be able to have it every year. Truth.

  56. Yes, you must treat yourself and enjoy! And be pleased with how you look! That is honoring your friend as well as yourself, and worth taking a picture for next Christmas.

  57. We had a great frugally. Probably our biggest accomplishment was getting a new artificial Christmas tree for $15 from Michael’s. It was on sale, and I had gift cards, so it was pretty cheap. We’re looking forward to having a prelit one, since our old one isn’t prelit.

    We also enjoyed several shared meals, which was nice for fellowship and the grocery budget.

    Here are the rest of our frugal accomplishments for the week:

    I hope you all have a wonderful week! I always look forward to these posts!

  58. It was a quite week for me.
    We finally got around to covering our drafty windows and unused doors with plastic. We do notice that our living space remains a little warmer when we do this.

    I made yogurt from milk that was given to me from a neighbour who was travelling and didn’t want it to go to waste.

    I walked down our long hill to pick up a book from our library.

    The Man and I spent an evening cuddled up on the couch eating snacks we had on hand and watching a borrowed DVD.

    I made another ornament for our tree and I finished a set of embroidered pillow cases for a Christmas gift.

    Have a great week everyone!

  59. I went to Safeway this morning as they had 15% off if you spend $50. I headed straight for the reduced meat counter and stocked up on meats for 50% off. I try to only buy meat once per month when effectively I can get it for 65% off. My total came to $43.27, then I cashed in airmiles for a total of $33.27. I also received a $10 gift card and 4 cents per litre off gas so total OOP was only about $22. Then stopped at Walmart as they had large cantaloupe and pineapples for only .97-unheard of price here.

  60. Wow-I just received an email from my daughter saying she will get a completely unexpected $3300 subsidy paid toward her residence fees this year!! I feel like I just won the lottery. A nice Xmas surprise!

  61. I use toasted sesame oil in my humus instead of tahini. I think it is really tasty and lighter feeling. Cheaper too.

  62. Thanks, Heidi. I would never have committed to the concert had I known how tight money is now. Great idea about the photo. I will do that and send it to my friend. I hope to get a photo of Yo-Yo Ma from my seat. We are sitting in the choir.

  63. My mom loved those, too. I used to get them for her at Cracker Barrel. They weren’t cheap, but okay for 1 or 2 in her stocking!

  64. Hi Jeannie! The trading app is literally just a venue to post pics and descriptions of things you have that you don’t want, and to look for things that you do want. Then you message someone whose item you like (or they message you) and propose a trade. If the person agrees, you agree on a time and place to meet up to do the swap. I think there are a lot of fb swap groups, or similar. This particular app just takes money out of the equation.

    I like it because it’s helping me get rid of things that I have that I don’t want but don’t want to throw out, and it is also a way for me to get things that I do want (pantry items, or bnib items to gift) without paying for them. If there is something that I really want, I will sometimes offer to bake in trade, as that way I’m only paying for the ingredients and it’s my labour that is earning the item, but I prefer to use the app to declutter without adding to landfill. This particular app also works well for me because people often meet up on the subway line to do a trade, and I live and work near the subway line system in Toronto, so it’s easy for me to hop on a train after I finish work in the evening and do a trade before heading home. I have a monthly transit pass, so it doesn’t cost me anything extra to do. To save time, I try to arrange for several trades at the same place at the same time. Plus I read a book on the subway so it’s a bit of a break for me.

    Just like a lot of people will go through their homes periodically and declutter, I’ll do that, and then list the stuff on the app. Then I’ll arrange a few trades, preferably for consumables (sealed pantry items that I can use in my cooking/baking or to donate to a food bank) or for bnib items that I will regift (mostly for Christmas), i.e. items that won’t cause clutter. At some point, I’ll run out of things that I want to get rid of, and then my use of the app will dwindle. Until then, though, it’s like a fun game to plump up my pantry or get gifts for people while decluttering! Hope this answers your question!

  65. You’re Chef Owings! You totally can make marshmallows! It’s easier than it seems. Here’s the mallobar recipe I was making, the mallobar recipe from the Cook This Now cookbook ( except that I substituted in vegan marshmallows and cut them into individuals shapes a bit more like wagonwheels. Make the graham cracker base exactly as it — it’s soooo good! I plan to make it again, just as a cookie. In terms of the marshmallow, it only sounds difficult. The hardest part is pouring in the sugar syrup in a thin stream into the batter, but trust me, it’s easier than it sounds. You can totally do it! I believe in you! 🙂

  66. Hi Brandy:

    We were the beneficiaries of two massive turkey carcasses after Thanksgiving so we spent black Friday stripping them and making a ton of stock and chopped turkey meat for many other meals. I much prefer homemade stock to store bought so we were most grateful to have them.

    We redid our playroom using a fresh coat of paint and furniture from around the house (we rearranged). We did accept a nice leather chair from my uncle for the room. All I bought were new throw pillows and a new rug on black friday sales so I spent very little. It’s now my favorite room.

    My husband is building built in shelves for our living room. It is our Christmas present to each other and will take up one wall floor to ceiling.
    My daughter caught impetigo again and I treated with home remedies instead of using an antibiotic again. I have nothing against antibiotics but it was less harsh on her system than to do another round two weeks after she finished the first course of treatment. It worked!
    We are getting ready for Advent and i’m doing a mini series on advent. you can read about it here:

  67. I had never heard of charging for a library card either! So glad that our local Wayne County Library does not charge for borrowing books or tapes. Penny S.

  68. Amazing numbers of green tomatos Brandy.
    I currently have 4 green tomatos still growing on my tomato bush. The roses are blooming as are.the lemon and lime tree, and instead of the warm weather we might otherwise be expecting in Australia its raining cats and dogs. However this does mean the water tanks are filling up.
    Throughly enjoyed the exchange between Margaret of approaching food and Chef Owings. I believe in Chef Owings as well.
    And I really love love love the frugal approach to the Christ birth shown here. I think it fits in more with the kind of lives Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds had.

  69. oh I miss those chestnut vendors too. We always got hot chestnuts after viewing the Xmas windows at Eatons. My oldest son does chestnuts himself now on his BBQ.

  70. My daughters and I are involved with a pantry challenge. As much as trying to keep purchases low, my goal is to have no food waste at all. We have chickens and a dog so nothing really goes to waste. This morning I cleaned out the fridge of leftover and wilted veggies by throwing them in the pot with some rice so the chickens would have a warm breakfast. 50# sacks of rice are the same price as 50# sacks of scratch grains, and a good way to stretch leftovers. I used the center slices out of stale homemade cinnamon rolls to make french toast for breakfast. But the thing I was happiest about was a quick bread I made out of the leftover bits of cinnamon rolls, a few stale chocolate cookies, the bottom of the peanut butter jar and a frozen banana. Mixed with an egg, a cup of flour, baking soda and an egg. And all mixed together in the food processor It was either going to be good, or more chicken food. It is really good.
    One chicken breast and some leftover rice became a delicious chicken strip and fried rice lunch with enough left for another meal.
    I get a lot of good ideas from this site. My tip for saving money would be to be adventurous. You might come up with a new favorite. You might have a frugal fail if your experiment doesn’t work, either way it’s fun to try

  71. If you have a Cracker Barrel, they have a lot of different retro candy in their store. You might be able to find the Mallobars there.

  72. Thank you so very much! Now I understand. It makes sense because I thought you were driving all over town while alone meeting people on street corners to trade a batch of cookies. Your system is quite ingenious and I see how it would work well. We have used the local newspaper to sell items when we declutter but the people always had to come to our house or we would need to drive to meet them. Your system is better.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  73. Good job planning and being organized. I found child #3 to be cheap because I already had everything and was ready. Well, cheap until he became a teenager and then would not stop eating. However, I never regretted having him.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

  74. Trader Joe’s has started carrying them in the past year or so and they are affordable. Not as cheap or good as homemade I’m sure but FYI they are pretty tasty.

  75. I picked up movies from the library, made beef broth from soup bones in the freezer, continued making Christmas presents with repurposed materials, filled my Sams club cart with in store pickup items because they’re offering an e-gift card, continued to sell unneeded items.

  76. Is that where you put the meat into a bag with 1T. Of flour and bake for a shorter time than in a lidded pan? I love those but never quite believe the times. So, I usually over cook.

  77. I love Safeway’s reduced meat! I check it every time I am in there and stock up. I never pay full price for meat this way.

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