Frugal Accomplishments

This Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

 November Garden Produce The Prudent Homemaker

I harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, Swiss chard, beet greens, green onions, basil and chives from the garden.

I used a coupon for a free bag of potting soil with any purchase at the nursery.

My husband and I had a date night at home.

I watched some comedy skits on You Tube (Tim Hawkins). 

I watched an episode of Poldark online for free.

I sold a piece of furniture we are no longer using via a Facebook garage sale page.

I went to a garage sale on my street and bought 3 pairs of pants, a shirt, and a pair of tights for $3.75.

I enjoyed talking to friends in France online. I love that we can talk without having a long distance bill, plus we can see each other, too!

 

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

American readers: Take your turkey out to thaw today! A large turkey takes 4 days to thaw in the refrigerator.

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63 Comments

  1. I spent a couple of hours on line looking for new recipes to try this winter. Found a few. Made a new menu plan to use a couple of the new recipes.
    Made a few napkins for Christmas gifts from fabric I already had.
    Found a pattern for a new night gown and down loaded it. Made it up from fabric I got at a thrift store. (a vintage sheet)
    Made meals from scratch; made menu for Thanksgiving dinner, made the grocery list for Thanksgiving. Will look in tomorrow’s paper for coupons.
    I got a recall notice from Samsung for my washing machine. I am going to go shopping for another washer. The recall notice said that I can get a replacement. I will look at the Black Friday ads to find a good deal.

  2. Sounds like a lovely week, Brandy!

    My list for the week:
    -Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gift card
    -Bought a drink from Starbucks (using a Swagbucks gift card) during Starbucks 2-for-1 special, and so treated a colleague to a drink
    – planned my Christmas baking (at least what I will be giving away in cookie/treat boxes) around what I have in my pantry. I’m reducing my baking this year, as the DH is watching his weight, so I’ll be doing more candy-making as the DH finds that less appealing. All I need to buy are red, white, and green chocolate wafers, Oreos, Ritz crackers, a few m&m’s, and some candy canes. Now I’ll keep an eye out for those products on sale! I already stocked up on chocolate chips from my local Costco. I found that the brand name was actually cheaper than the Costco brand, at least this time – fine by me!
    – coworker brought in bagels and cream cheese as a treat. Padded out my lunch v. nicely!
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 Amazon card
    – Redeemed Pinecone rewards for $5 to my Paypal account
    – lunch was provided by my work (pizza) due to a long day at work. So I set aside the lunch I had packed, for the following day.
    – for my turn hosting my bookclub, I chose a book to read that was given to me by a colleague. I then loaned my copy to one of the bookclub members, and most others got their copy through the public library.
    – so glad I made my Christmas ‘baking’ list, as almost everything turned out to be on sale this week! I bought candied fruit and cherries as well as candy canes on sale from Bulk Barn (additional coupon available in the flyer), and the Oreos and Ritz crackers are on sale at No Frills this week so I’ll pick some of those up later on. Then, only red, white, and green chocolate wafers and a few m&m’s left to buy!
    – used some free tools to make back-end modifications to my blog. Now I have better share tools! Am very excited about that.
    – took a free course in making Pinterest pins better, and it answered a question that had been stumping me
    – made chocolate-dipped potato chips to serve for my bookclub meeting tomorrow (chips bought on sale a few weeks ago, and chocolate bought in bulk from Costco). I just added a bit of oil when melting the chocolate chips, dipped the chips in them, and let them set on a parchment paper covered tray in the fridge. Voila, something a bit more gourmet than a 97 cent bag of chips!
    – I thought I would share a frugal way to beautify one’s feet (I am doing this as I type). Rub lots of lotion all over your feet, then place each foot in a plastic grocery bag, and put a cotton sock on top of it all. Wait 15 minutes (if you walk around like this, as I do, be careful not to slip!), remove the plastic bag, and place the cotton socks back on your feet for at least an hour (I leave them on overnight). The next day, your feet will be super soft, especially if you do this regularly! The heat from your foot gets trapped in the plastic and ‘opens’ the pores, allowing the lotion to penetrate more deeply, while the cotton sock lets your feet breathe after they’ve had a chance to absorb the lotion. The same principle works for deep moisturizing your hands as well. And it just costs pennies!
    – a frugal way to make your own cellulite-fighting body scrub (I’ve done this for years and I plan to do so again as soon as I get some used coffee grounds – most Starbucks locations will give some to you if you ask, as they have a “Grounds for Gardeners” program): mix 1 c. used coffee grounds with ¼ c. honey, a dash of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon. Use in the shower. It smells delicious, and is extremely effective at exfoliating your skin as well as combating cellulite. The caffeine in the grounds will reduce cellulite temporarily, and the scrubbing will stimulate circulation. I’ve also done with this those complimentary packets of coffee one sometimes gets at hotels, as neither the DH or I drink coffee.

    And that’s it! Looking forward to reading everyone else’s!

  3. Last week, I signed up for 2017 health insurance. After freaking out that my premiums had doubled, from $550 to 1008 per month, I went online and found I qualify for an obamacare subsidy, which reduces my monthly bill to $12! I have never wanted to depend on the government but in this case, but since my husband and I are retired, paying $12,000 a year in health premiums was not in our budget…let alone paying the deductibles. So I am very thankful and feel very blessed. Will have a greatly reduced selection of doctors and hospitals but at least I will have insurance.

    Made bread, and all our other meals except one, at home. Had 8 friends over for lunch, made black bean soups do salad, and everyone brought a side dish. In the old days, I would have spent $100 or more, now it is much easier, every one had a great time and the food choices were marvelous and interesting.

    Started our 2017 budget to see what it looked like. Have found that the past two years of retirement costs surprises were limited to health insurance, dental costs and home maintenance…everything else totaled up to what I was expecting…this website and focusing in on cost reductions have made an enormous difference in our ability to pay our unexpected bills. Thanks to everyone for all the education I get every week!

  4. I made 2 loaves of pumpkin bread, one loaf of zucchini bread and a dozen zucchini muffins. Most went in the freezer for future breakfasts and lunches.

    I have been saving bread ends in the freezer for awhile so I pulled it all out and made breadcrumbs out of it.

    We had chicken rice soup and ham and bean soup from the freezer. Making extra for the freezer really helps on those nights when there isn’t time or energy for cooking.

    I am so thankful for the low prices on gas lately. It has cost me less than 20 dollars each week to fill up my tank. I have a 50-mile per day commute. I remember when the cost was 4 dollars a gallon and boy was that tough on our budget!

    We host Thanksgiving every year for our 4 daughters, 3 son-in-laws, and 4 grandchildren. We found 2 turkeys for under 40 cents per pound (with a 25-dollar purchase for each). We will also make the gravy, cranberry salad, and two pies. Everyone else will provide the sides and other desserts.

  5. My husband and I saved up the cash to have our oven fixed this week.
    We were given a turkey by my mother in law
    I ate “brunch” at work once last week.
    Our neighbors moved and put A LOT of stuff out on the curb. My husband brought home 3 HUGE bags (the large black bags) of children’s clothing, one bag of which fits our daughter. I washed all the clothing and will be donating the ones we can’t use (3 regular sized garbage bags and 1 paper bag full) to a local charity that distributes food and clothing to the needy. He also brought home a cat tree, lamp, and very nice luggage set.
    I was able to give my mom some items she needed from my stockpile that I got for free (candy and coffee).
    We borrowed books and 3 movies from the library.
    My husband and I went to the grocery store together. I have gone by myself for years, so it is very nice to spend time with him. Even in a grocery store lol. We only purchased some items we truly needed. Otherwise I only left the house to go to work (only 2 days last week) and to and from my daughter’s school.
    My daughter and I made raspberry/lemon muffins together from scratch. We made a big effort to eat leftovers or use up pantry items.
    I watched Clara’s Kitchen (depression era cooking) on youtube for free. She also has a cookbook out, which I requested for a Christmas present 🙂 She has since passed away since making her videos, but I adore this woman!
    I drank coffee, hot tea, or water. I made sure to take ice water with me when I left the house.
    I washed zip top baggies and glass jars to reuse.
    My husband put away the wooden table, benches, and decorations from our yard for the winter. He has also been raking and burning the leaves in our yard (his favorite fall thing to do).
    That’s all I can think of. Have a great week everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Yes!

    My garden is watered with drip irrigation. This uses much less water than sprinklers. In the white garden, we had a tiny patch of grass, a tree, and some bushes (tree and bushes watered by drip and sprinklers for the grass). After we tore it out and put in a garden there, with more drip (but no sprinklers) my water bill went down significantly. In the same area, I now have 3 lemon trees, a peach tree, an apricot tree, a pomegranate tree, 2 flowering plum trees, 10 rose bushes, flowering bulbs, flowers from seed, basil, parsley, thyme, chives, oregano, tarragon, green onions, lettuce, and spinach.

    I would have trees and flowers in my garden that I would water even if I didn’t have food. All but the two flowering plums produce fruit (and those may end up producing fruit as well). All of the trees in my backyard produce not only shade but food. The vines that cover the cinder-block walls give me food. The garden beds, being on drip irrigation, use much less water than the grass areas, and give use food.

    Having children, I can’t see having rocks and cactus in the garden. I would have grass for them to play on for certain; they play outside every day. The grass is the main expense when it comes to water; inside, we have low-water use appliances, toilets, and shower heads. In the winter, we are still harvesting, and we use even less water than my parents next door (2 people who have a cactus garden with rocks–and cactus need to be watered here, too).

    The fruit trees give me hundreds of pounds of fruit every year. Last year we had several hundred Meyer lemons, each large like oranges. Meyers are much more expensive than regular lemons in the store; it more than made the difference in the water bill, and it wasn’t the only thing we harvested.

    Swiss chard grows year-round and is super easy to grow (mine easily reseeds, too) and yet is pricey at the store.

    I haven’t bought green onions from the store in over a decade, but I cut some from the garden every month!

    Plant a garden! You get back your water in the form of fruits and vegetables and more than make up the difference.

  7. Greeting from the north (Northern Ontario, Canada)! We received a snowstorm over night. It’s looking like Christmas out there today!

    Here’s what we did this week to save money:
    *I am working on completing our Grocery Price List (as suggested by Brandy. Thank you!) so that I know the lowest price of each item and can stock up. I’ve also created a chart, on a separate page, to record in which month the lowest price occurs. This will help with seasonal menu, canning, and budget planning.
    *Stayed within our $125 per week grocery budget. This week I stocked up on PB ($2.99 ea), frozen berry fruit and pork loin ($1.44/lb).
    *Ate all meals at home, cooking from scratch. This is easily accomplished as my son has a soy allergy. Only foods made at home can guarantee they are soy-free. Our basic rule: If I don’t make it, he doesn’t eat it.
    *I made tomato soup to use up all our tomatoes (picked green a few weeks ago to avoid frost and left to ripen on my counters).
    *We bought my daughter a new mattress. We bought a new quality mattress that will last her 20 years (she is currently 5). The old mattress we had gotten free for our first child 7 years ago. Based on the mattress pattern, it is from the 60s or 70s. We used money gifted to us by my Aunt (she shared a portion of her inheritance with us).
    *Changed my schedule so that I am now baking in the morning before the kids are awake. This gives me time to complete my tasks quickly (without being interrupted by children!) and saves us money as hydro is cheapest before 7 am.
    *Mended a skirt, children’s clothes and tights.
    *We needed new curtains for our front window as they had been chewed by the dog. I bought new curtains on sale. The old curtains I hemmed above the chewed portion and moved them into our spare room. They match the room perfectly and look terrific!
    *My husband put winter tires on our van himself. We also store the tires in our backyard shed. So we don’t need to pay a mechanic for work or for a storage shed.

    Have a great day!
    Andrea

  8. Love that your healthcare bill was so greatly reduced! It’s good to hear good news about insurance premiums!

  9. I’ve been enjoying your “thankful” series Brandy! It helps me to focus on the important things in life.

    I was busy in the garden earlier this week picking the peppers and getting things ready before it snowed. We’ve had unusually warm weather here in Northern Utah for the beginning of November so that extended our harvest time. Used some of the peppers in chili that I made this week. Also picked parsley, thyme, and sage to dry for my storage. I also brought in the geraniums, a begonia plant, and rosemary to winter over in the basement.

    We celebrated two birthdays this past week and I baked two birthday cakes. I’ve always enjoyed baking.

    Went to the library and checked out a movie for Friday night viewing. I’ve checked out a few books from the library on my Kindle and I enjoy reading those and not worrying about returning them on time.

    I used a $10 off coupon at JCP to purchase a baby gift for only $3. I made card to go along with the gift and used a recycled gift bag.

    I found a good deal on pasta at my Kroger affiliate store, they were clearing out Martino pasta for 39 cents a pound and I bought 15 pounds.

    I replaced buttons on a shirt for my college aged son and helped him remove some stains from a favorite pair of pants so he can continue to use them.

    I’m still working on the baby afghan that I started a month ago with yarn from my grandmother’s stash. I hope to be done this week, but Thanksgiving festivities may take over! I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I love reading this blog even if I don’t always comment, the positive attitude that Brandy has is wonderful!

  10. We have friends down for duck hunting from Ohio, and grown men who have been in the woods walking all day EAT. So last night I made jambalaya using smoked picnic ham. It was .87#!! And it turned out great, added in a peach cobbler, another family added bread. Two of us host when they come down, and then the Ohio folks return the favor when our husbands and sons travel up there. From the top of the U.S. to the bottom, it is a great time always and much cheaper than guided hunts that can cost thousands and puts meat in our freezer. I always give my husband $30 and a small ice chest when he goes up for the Amish butter. It is a treat we don’t get down here and I always look forward go it.
    I am thawing out the cornbread bits from the past few months to supplement for the cornbread dressing. The mantle passed a few years ago from my grandmother to me, so my daughter and I make it. Last year a family member remarked how grandma musta changed the recipe, because for the last few years the dressing has been the best ever!! I don’t think she liked that comment much. Lol
    Thanksgiving with my family is like a well oiled machine. We know over the years who makes what best and what they want to make so it help when you know in advance what it look out for sale wise.

    We are contuining to eat down the freezers and pantry. We made muscadine juice which should be ready this week, I hope it turns out well.

    Dollar General had a three day sale with select clothes 70% off. My grandmother is on a fixed income and insists on purchasing EVERYONE a little something, this is something we have tried to discourage for years, so my mother and I just try to make $200 stretch for almost 30 folks. I came across pajama sets in the sale that after the discount were $3.75!! So I grabbed the sizes she needed, folks gets PJ’s and she is happy, and any budget overage will be small and I will split the difference with my sister and mother. I sometimes get frustrated with the insisting that everyone needs to get something, but then I remember that she grew up very very poor during the depression and lots of Christmas mornings there was nothing but an orange. I am thankful my children and myself have never had to worry about where the next meal will come from. We have always had shoes on our feet and a warm bed, it is humbling to think where she rose from and what she overcame.

  11. Mostly I just finished three projects. An Afghan, and two quilts. The quilts had been unfinished for 5-8 years. Hello Christmas!

    I made my 10 year old cook dinner, with husband’s guidance. It was only macaroni and cheese and carrot sticks. But the sooner he learns to feed himself the better.

  12. Great that you saved all those items from the trash — now they will be used by those who need them.
    I love Clara’s kitchen. I didn’t know she had a cookbook — I will look for it.

  13. A lower income means we will qualify for a subsidy this year as well — and it’s a good thing, because otherwise, our premiums would be impossible ($2400 a month for my husband and myself!!) So I am thankful for this also.

  14. Most days this week were no-spend days, and very little spent otherwise.

    I have been planning my spending really carefully for the next couple of weeks, since lots of Christmas expenses come before all the December income is in and at the same time that my monthly bills are due.

    I ate from what was in the house, including some baking. I read brand-new books from the library and watched British TV shows on YouTube.

  15. Love that photo, Brandy! Such great light (not to mention, great veggies)!

    I posted previously, but it got lost in cyberspace, so if it turns up, ignore it. Here’s my frugal accomplishments list:
    -Redeemed Swagbucks for a $5 gift card
    -Bought a drink from Starbucks (using a Swagbucks gift card) during Starbucks 2-for-1 special, and so treated a colleague to a drink
    – planned my Christmas baking (at least what I will be giving away in cookie/treat boxes) around what I have in my pantry. I’m reducing my baking this year, as the DH is watching his weight, so I’ll be doing more candy-making as the DH finds that less appealing. All I need to buy are red, white, and green chocolate wafers, Oreos, Ritz crackers, a few m&m’s, and some candy canes. Now I’ll keep an eye out for those products on sale! I already stocked up on chocolate chips from my local Costco. I found that the brand name was actually cheaper than the Costco brand, at least this time – fine by me!
    – coworker brought in bagels and cream cheese as a treat. Padded out my lunch v. nicely!
    – Redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 Amazon card
    – Redeemed Pinecone rewards for $5 to my Paypal account
    – lunch was provided by my work (pizza) due to a long day at work. So I set aside the lunch I had packed, for the following day.
    – for my turn hosting my bookclub, I chose a book to read that was given to me by a colleague. I then loaned my copy to one of the bookclub members, and most others got their copy through the public library.
    – so glad I made my Christmas ‘baking’ list, as almost everything turned out to be on sale this week! I bought candied fruit and cherries as well as candy canes on sale from Bulk Barn (additional coupon available in the flyer), and the Oreos and Ritz crackers are on sale at No Frills this week so I’ll pick some of those up later on. Then, only red, white, and green chocolate wafers and a few m&m’s left to buy!
    – made chocolate-dipped potato chips to serve for my bookclub meeting tomorrow (chips bought on sale a few weeks ago, and chocolate bought in bulk from Costco). I just added a bit of oil when melting the chocolate chips, dipped the chips in them, and let them set on a parchment paper covered tray in the fridge. Voila, something a bit more gourmet than a 97 cent bag of chips!
    – I thought I would share a frugal way to beautify one’s feet (I am doing this as I type  ): rub lots of lotion all over your feet, then place your foot in a plastic grocery bag, and put a cotton sock on top of it all. Wait 15 minutes (if you walk around like this, as I do, be careful not to slip!), remove the plastic bag, and place the cotton socks back on your feet for at least an hour (I leave them on overnight). The next day, your feet will be super soft, especially if you do this regularly! The heat from your foot gets trapped in the plastic and ‘opens’ the pores, allowing the lotion to penetrate more deeply, while the cotton sock lets your feet breathe after they’ve had a chance to absorb the lotion. The same principle works for deep moisturizing your hands as well. And it just costs pennies!
    – a frugal way to make your own cellulite-fighting body scrub (I’ve done this for years and I plan to do so again as soon as I get some used coffee grounds – most Starbucks locations will give some to you if you ask, as they have a “Grounds for Gardeners” program): mix 1 c. used coffee grounds with ¼ c. honey, a dash of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon. Use in the shower. It smells delicious, and is extremely effective at exfoliating your skin as well as combating cellulite. The caffeine in the grounds will reduce cellulite temporarily, and the scrubbing will stimulate circulation. I’ve also done with this those complimentary packets of coffee one sometimes gets at hotels, as neither the DH or I drink coffee.

    Looking forward to reading everyone else’s accomplishments, as always!

  16. I can so appreciate your sentiments on your son making dinner, Marcia. I feel the same way. There is value in knowing that your child at least knows how to make a simple hot meal for themselves. Even if it is macaroni and cheese, he has to start somewhere. Great job getting dad to mentor him on this as well. This past summer, my 13 year old autistic daughter started making her own lunch by herself. So proud of her to taking the initiative and started putting into practice some of the skills we work on learning over the last couple years.

  17. Thanks for the turkey reminder, Brandy.
    My husband and I went shopping yesterday and stocked up on a lot of items at good prices: Bought 16 pounds of sugar for 37 cents a pound, 20 pounds of potatoes for 10 cents a pound, 6 pounds of brown sugar for 50 cents a pound, 4 pounds of butter for $1.88 a pound, 2 pounds of Gulf shrimp for $6.74, Nutella for 29 cents, 5 pounds of sweet potatoes for 45 cents a pound and got a free bag of frozen vegetables. We had lunch out for a date and had leftovers for dinner.
    We ate lettuce from the garden.
    I made some lotion bars to give as Christmas gifts, and made gift bags out of material I had on hand. Hung out all the laundry to dry, cooked all dinners at home, car-pooled to a meeting, downloaded free books from the library.

  18. I first want to thank you all (especially Brandy) for the encouragement you provide with your.postings. I was not particularly thrifty this week but I did purchase the 5# flour, 48 oz.oil, and 4# sugar at Dollar General for $3 total and anticipate doing it again this week now that I have three more digital coupons. I also filled the vegie shelf in the pantry closet with Kroger’s canned vegetables that are on sale now for 3/$1. I want to go back to the store and buy three cans of potatoes and try them three ways: mustard and egg potato salad, fried in butter, and scalloped. I have never bought canned potatoes but mom’s finger locks up occasionally when she attempts to peel vegetables so, if they don’t taste bad, she’ll be able to use these instead.. I skipped the mixed vegetables and the slivered beets on my first trip. I think I’ll buy a few of each if I return to Kroger’s before Wednesday. The slivered beets can be disguised in a chocolate cake easily. We had our first snow yesterday so I am trying to decide whether or not to postpone a shopping trip one day until after the other drivers have completed their yearly refresher on how to drive on ice. Any savings I am anticipating at the shoe store, Tractor Suipply, Michaels, Dollar Tree, Harbor Freight and Aldi’s would be quickly vaporized by the slightest of car accidents.

  19. I read a book borrowed from a friend and have a pile borrowed from my mom and the library to work my way through. Our family also watched the first season of Last Man Standing, as recommended by a friend, on DVD from the library.

    I’ve been cooking dinner from a menu plan, using items from my pantry & freezer.

    Ordered a pair of snow pants and snow boots 60% off for my son.

    Received a utility rebate check for our electric/natural gas; it will go into savings.

    Our bank refunds ATM fees and recently introduced an automatic “boost” program where they will move the refund to savings for us automatically. Received several dollars in “boost” this week from last month’s statement & refund.

    Was gifted lunch from my oldest – we went to her workplace to drop off her birthday & Christmas gift bag, and she asked if we’d like a free coffee. I let the younger kids pick sandwiches and drinks and was going to take the cup of coffee for my husband – the manager said the entire thing was covered, not just the coffee, when I went to pay for it.

    Filled my husband’s car and my truck for $1 off per gallon through my parents’ fuel rewards card. Paid $1.599 per gal for diesel – woohoo!

    Paid the last three payments for my daughter’s braces in advance – now her account is paid off, putting that amount back into our monthly budget, but also allowing me to get a payoff notice to my attorney to recoup 70% of the costs back from my ex. (I had not had them bill him yet for ease of paperwork, preferring to just give them the final receipts for everything I paid and only have the attorney have to invoice him once.)

    Wishing everyone celebrating Thanksgiving this week a lovely holiday and safe travels!

  20. We had our third baby this past week! We were frugal by not buying too much before he was born and reusing our car seat, bassinet, clothes, cloth diapers, etc. I made freezer meals in advance, so we are having one for dinner tonight. With a newborn, I’m not planning on driving anywhere other than doctor appointments, so we’ll save on gas! Friends have brought by snacks, such a blessing, and were available to watch our other children while My husband and I were in the hospital. I had a c-section and will take many weeks “off” to properly heal and bond with our new angel. We are so happy he is here!!

  21. What a great buy at the garage sale, Brandy! Wish I could find prices like that.

    I’ve had a busy week, with some great frugal successes. Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *Using the curtain panel I bought for $2 at the 50% off sale at the thrift store, I made 2 beautiful throw pillows for a wedding shower gift. The fabric was a rich red taffeta with a gold embroidered pattern. I bought 2 brand new bed pillows for $3.50 each, cut open one end, pulled the stuffing out, cut the fabric down to make a square pillow plus 1/4 inch for seam (noting the final pillow measurements), shoved all the stuffing back in and sewed it up. I then made slip covers to fit with a envelope back (no zippers or closures) and french seams that I learned about from Brandy’s posts (they look so neat and professional). This way, she can easily remove the covers for laundering. I still have lots of fabric left for more projects. (P.S. She loved my gift and my cousin even thought they were store bought!)
    *Used a Christmas gift bag we already had on hand to wrap the above wedding shower gift in. I looked everwhere and couldn’t find a large enough gift bag that was appropriatedly themed, and buying wrapping paper would have meant returning to a store I had already searched in to get the best price. So, this saved me time & money, plus she can reuse it for Christmas! I also used a pretty blank card from our stash and googled some nice sentiments to write in the card. Saved about $2-3 dollars (possibly more) by doing this.
    *Took advantage of a Buy one get second @ 50% off sale to purchase a wallet and purse, saving me $10 off the total cost. One more Christmas present for my daughter bought.
    *Sewed 2 kitchen aprons for Christmas gifts, using upcycled fabric from a medium weight cotton shower curtain I bought at a thrift store a while ago. I used my own apron to create a pattern. One will be given to my niece, along with a recipe binder I bought for $1 at a school recycle sale that I filled with some of our family favourite recipes. The other I will give to my mom, as we have been sharing one apron for a while now.
    *Went to an auction and bought an enamelwear stock pot with lid in excellent condition for $2.50 total. I collect enamelwear and use my pieces all the time. I love how simple, functional and utilitarian they are.
    *Walked 5 times around the neighbourhood for free exercise. Enjoyed the last of the wonderful warm fall this week! Saturday night, winter showed up…ugh.
    *Meals made at home included cheese & spinach ravioli with alfredo sauce, sloppy joes with green beans, canned soup with homemade garlic toast/english muffins (needed a super quick meal before attending a focus group meeting), chicken low mein stir-fry with spring rolls, breaded chicken burgers with choice of potato wedges or sweet potato fries and peas, grilled cheese sandwiches with pickles, and chicken bacon ranch pasta.
    *Made a double batch of Banana chocolate chip blondie bars (http://gimmedelicious.com/2015/10/22/banana-chocolate-chip-blondie-bars/) to use up some ripe/bruised bananas I bought on clearance last weekend. I cut and individually wrapped enough portions to use in my daughter’s lunches for this coming week, then we ate the rest for dessert that night.
    *Made up some cupcakes from a cake mix to use as dessert for our Sunday dinner and as another lunch treat option for this coming week as well. I had both the cake mix and icing in my well stocked pantry, bought on sale a while ago.
    *Great grocery deals this week included a bag of clearance produce (2 bunches of celery and a romaine lettuce) for only $1, 12 jars of smooth peanut butter for $5.89/2kg jar, 12 jars of crunchy peanut butter for $2.99/1kg jar (I’m finally restocked on PB…Yay!), a bag of spinach marked down 50% off to $1.48, and 2 bags of “imperfect” Russet potatoes for $0.50/5lb bag (I thought I was going to have to pay $3.50 for a 10lb bag because we needed them).
    *Participated in a parent focus group on the ABA programs provided to children on the Autism spectrum in our area and in return received 2 big rewards. First, I had the chance to voice my experiences as the parent of an Autistic child to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (most likely gathering info on the services provided to Autistic children in general – a hot topic right now as the Canadian government is currently reorganizing these services), and received validation that all the other parents had similar views and experiences…priceless opportunity really! Second, I received a $25 Tim Hortons gift card as a thank you for my time…awesome! So glad I said yes to this!!!

    That’s about it for me this week. Have a lovely, fun filled week full of frugal adventures everyone!

  22. Very frugal week here–most of the shopping for Thanksgiving had been done the past few weeks so only needed potatoes and whipping cream this week. Was able to pick up on sale vegetables for the Boy Scout food drive–saw a little guy get the bag off the porch and with a big grin on his face as he could barely lift the bag! So easy to do and it made him as happy as I hope the recipients eventually are to get the canned goods.
    Went to lunch with my sisters and they both insisted it was their turn to buy! I got to pick the restaurant. We always have such a good time talking and eating without kids and husbands wanting something at every turn.
    Meals this week were pretty frugal too–a chicken and stuffing casserole, meatloaf, burgers with black beans and rice later in the week, salmon fillets, leftovers another night, and Saturday night out (with a coupon and leftovers to bring home)–tonight DH has asked for pizza, again homemade. I also shopped online for a few additional gifts. Finding 97% cotton socks that were affordable was a delight–granddaughter is very bothered by synthetics so I was happy to peruse Amazon’s many offerings and find what I wanted for her. Shopping is slowly getting done–with one hour forays in town, and short bursts of online shopping. Bought the same thing for two people, who I know will like it, so that was a good idea doubled. I love it when new books or music comes out right before the holidays. I am getting a handle on it–I like to be 95% done before Thanksgiving, although I’m not there yet.

  23. I agree! I thought the same thing while reading Brandy’s comment 🙂

    My husband and I are still currently living in NYC but seriously considering a move to the west coast in the next 3-5 years. I know that water is scarce and I have been wondering how families manage (the bills, the gardening, making sure the children do not overuse, etc). Would love to see a post on that from someone trusted like you, Brandy.

    I am currently visiting my family but managed to put together my weekly frugal update as well:
    http://www.simpleisgoodforyou.com/home-trip-update-and-a-few-frugal-things/

    Wishing everyone a great week. xx

  24. This was one of those weeks that we didn’t do so great in the savings. I hate those weeks! We ate out twice and even though the combined total was less than $30, it irks me. Our meals at home included beef stew, spaghetti and meatballs, cheesy chicken with rice, and leftovers.
    On the bright side…
    * We received a certificate for a free ham or turkey(from work)
    * I successfully mended several items, saving them from the rag bag…for now.
    * Got 3 freebies from the market. Candy, yogurt, and a can of cat food I’ll give to a friend.
    * Borrowed a DVD from the library. Thankfully our portable player still works. Our regular player went kaput.
    * Planted our 3 little potted mums in the ground so hopefully they’ll bloom next year.
    * No heat or A/C for 4 days. Then the temperature dropped 30 degrees overnight. The heater is now set to 60°. We use lap blankets when we’re not moving around.

    I think that’s everything extra. As always, we’re catching water and hanging laundry. We still have plenty of water to fill the toilet tanks after flushing.

    Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all!

  25. Hi Cindi,
    I can’t imagine what the total would be if my husband also needed a policy, the good news is that he is older and on medicare which is much cheaper. $2400 would be horrifying…I thought $1008 was the scariest number I could imagine but your number beats mine!

  26. Brandy, I wanted to let you know I made your Chicken Fried Steak recipe for Sunday dinner and it was a hit! My meat-loving husband, who will eat vegetarian dishes, but shuns anything ‘pretending’ to be meat, ate 1 1/2 pieces of the ‘steak’ and said it was good. I thought it was very good. So — thank you!

  27. Greetings!
    I love the vegetable picture; it’s so colorful. I seem to crave salads more in the Winter; maybe it’s because they look so bright and cheerful!
    *This week i disputed a medical bill and saved 116.00! I really do not like talking on the phone with billing departments. But, sometimes i just have to bite the bullet. I’m glad i did!
    *I sold a hat on ebay to someone with the same name as a famous actor. Could it be???
    *After my husband goes to work, i turn the heat down and put on another layer.
    *I’m finally getting to the end of patching my Daughters old quilt. I will be so happy when this is in the mail! No out of pocket for supplies which i pick up from the thrift store when i find them. (Or my stash)
    *I racked two gallons of blueberry wine. When i get new corks i’ll be able to do the next two gallons. Now, to wait six months to sip..
    *I strained the apple vinegar i made from my apple peels. And, i started another batch with some bottom of the jug blueberry wine that i didn’t want to throw away. The apple vinegar is so much better than store bought!
    *Instead of letting the water barrel water drain away into the ground, i put it all into the washer. That was a lot of walking back and forth but i did it. I called it exercising.
    *I made pancake mix for the freezer. This morning, i made waffles with it. Easy, peasy.
    *I went to Marquette to get a few deals. I used coupons and old gift cards to pay for some of it. I also had a 10$ coupon from cashing in coke codes for Target’s spend 50$ get 10$ off deal. I wish i could do that deal weekly! I’m getting close to finishing up Christmas. I have three birthdays to work on, though.
    *I’ve started doing my heavy cleaning which i didn’t get to this Summer. I have a ways to go but that’s okay. It’s keeping me busy and i like getting things better organized. No out-of-pocket for elbow grease!
    I had another sourdough fail. It didn’t rise. I’m assuming it’s because i keep the house so cold. I put it in the oven with the light on; maybe i need to let it go and start again in the Spring. (Which is my usual routine)
    Wishing everyone a fabulous holiday!

  28. When I make bread, I turn on the oven for 1 minute at 350F (set the timer) then turn off the oven. There is enough heat in the oven to help the bread rise. Thought this trick might be useful for your sourdough.

  29. My fugal accomplishments:

    Free in the mail – Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens, a set of 3 Field Notes from Marlboro (we don’t smoke but I do sign up for their freebies). I put the Field Notes away for stocking stuffers. I opened the package so I could put 1 notebook in 3 stockings.

    I have 2 credit cards. I transferred the balance from one to the other with an offer of 0% fee and 3.99% interest rate for 18 months, saving about $675.

    Made the last payment on another small credit card.

    Picked more ripe bananas. Transplanted a black berry bush into the new fenced area in the side yard. Started rooting another black raspberry bush. Picked a small bowl full of everglades tomatoes.

    We sent to CVS and got free after bucks a can of peas, 2 bottles of cranberry juice, toothpaste, and a container of throat lozenges. The store didn’t get the Ludens in so the manager substituted a large container of CVS brand lozenges.

    I stocked up on a few things at Walmart (deodorant, OTC meds and lip balm) and Aldi (spaghetti sauce).

    Have a great holiday everyone!!

  30. I made a nice cake with orange taste (from a little juice) and pieces of dried melon (not home made).
    I made myself another blouse, from a pattern I used before, and the fabric came from my mother in law. She passed aways 1 1/2 year ago, as I am the only one sewing in the family I got al the fabric, including A LOT of quilting fabric, so I started a quilting curse. (I mentioned before).
    Finished a pair of socks for a little boy down the street.
    Always cook from scratch. Kids taking homemade lunch to school. Which in my eyes is a normal thing to do, so I don’t really see that as an accomplishment.
    Mended a pair of jeans for a nephew.
    It was a ” relaxed” 2 weeks. (how relaxed can it be….working a few hours a week and taking care of your family)
    Greetings from Tanja

  31. Since this is my first time ever participating (thank you Brandy for suggesting it ;)) I guess I still need to get used to recognizing my frugal accomplishments in everyday life and therefore my list for this week is rather short.
    I continued sewing Christmas presents for my godchildren.
    I bought two Christmas presents for my girls used on Ebay Kleinanzeigen (German version of craigslist).
    I bought a used jacket for my daughter.

    Lots of greetings from Germany
    Annika

  32. Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia 🙂 .

    Last weeks frugal accomplishments were as follows –

    In the garden –
    – Harvested 480g of strawberries and 1170g of capsicums saving us $16.24 over buying it in the supermarkets.
    – Saved seeds from 3 pumpkins under the house in storage and early Massey pea seeds for replanting.

    In the kitchen –
    – Blanched and froze 4.2kg of pumpkin puree for advanced freezer stocks.
    – Blanched and froze 850g of capsicums for advanced stocks.
    – Made all bread and meals from scratch.
    – Cooked a large family sized roast chicken and had it for tea and portion packed 3 more packets for other meals.

    Financial –
    – Banked $945.99 into our saving for our home with cash account.

    Power –
    – Used solar lanterns and wind up torches all week to light the home at night without turning on any mains lighting.

    Water –
    – Watered lawns all week with saved grey water.
    – Used vegetable steaming and washing water to water the lawns and herb pot plants.

  33. I am going to pay my son’s power bill for his Christmas gift. This will be more than what I intended to spend, but he just had to do emergency repairs to his car, and the payment of the power bill will be appreciated. I am not buying any presents this year because my kids need cash, and any friends that I would give a gift to need cash for their kids (single mothers), so that is what I am going to do. It will not be a huge amount, but I would prefer to give a little more in cash, and they have gas money, than to give them something they do not need. That is not frugal, but it is needed. I think we are frugal to help ourselves and to help others when we can. So, my budget for Christmas is $400 (depending on the power bill which is a huge chunk of that….I am thinking $250). I hope I do not exceed it. I have been blessed in the past by relatives and I am just passing it on.

  34. My husband and I attended a conference at a nice resort last weekend that was completely paid for by a committee he serves on. What a great time we had together enjoying good food and meeting others attending the conference. We host Thanksgiving dinner each year and I have been able to purchase all the food we will have (noodles, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, vegetables) out of our grocery budget for the past month by watching sales and using coupons. My in-laws offered to buy the turkey and other family members bring dessert and some side dishes. We’re looking forward to a great day on Thursday with family! I’ve gathered a lot of coupons for gifts this year, percentages off and buy one-get one, and hope to finish my Christmas shopping by the first weekend in December. I was able to purchase 5#’s each of organic ground sirloin and organic chicken breast at Earth Fare for $3.99/lb. each and used my seal-a-meal to store them in the freezer. I know this price may seem really high, but the quality of meat is terrific. We don’t each much meat, so this will last our family about two months and we were able to work it in our monthly grocery budget. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  35. I did a lot of stocking up on groceries, due to the great sales prices I found because of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I also was able to take advantage of some bulk food buys, get a few cases of canned items, etc. We had used a bunch of things up over the past few months, had a little extra money this month, so filled up the stockpile.

    My savings this past week were mostly ordinary, usual things like cooking from scratch, washing dishes vs. using paper, etc.

    I did enjoy watching an iris that is very confused and is trying to bloom. I’m hoping it will make it before it freezes!
    https://beckyathome.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/saving-money-november-20-2016/

  36. This week I sent out the baby quilt to Hawaii, made an oversized lap quilt for Christmas for granddaughter in Houston and started on next lap quilt for granddaughter here in town. None of my quilts have had any OOP costs!
    I made up 20 peanut butter/Apple/granola wraps for snacks. Also made up 18 ranch/turkey/cheese wraps and 2 pepperoni wraps all out of bits of leftovers for lunches! Doing this emptied little containers in fridge and kept a partial Apple from going bad! Plus, it saved the cost of take out lunches or snacks!
    I pressure canned 16 pints of beans- 8 black, 8 white all at one time using my second canner rack! It’s amazing how often we incorporate beans into our meals when I don’t have to buy them in canned form from the store or spend half a day soaking and rinsing and cooking our dry beans first!! Saves time and money!!
    Speaking of money, I got $59 in checks in the mail this week for rebates and surveys I participated in! Immediately deposited this and used it to pay some medical bills!
    We ate some freezer meals this week and were able to take dinner over to some friends. It’s so wonderful to have a stocked pantry so we can do this at the last minute when a need arises without going to the store!!
    Sold an Iowa pallet wall hanging to a repeat customer and shipped that out. Made another Ohio pallet hanging and shipped that out as Christmas present for son-in-law. Again, the cost was only our time as we had the free pallets already disassembled at home!
    We sold an extra car that we had within 12 hours on Craigslist so our insurance and gas costs will go way down!
    Canned 8 pints of teriyaki sauce.
    Donated another 2 big trash bags of clothes to Goodwill.
    Am donating a lap quilt to a friend’s sister whose husband has MERSA and e-coli that has swept through his body including his brain. My friend has a quilt I made her when her husband had his liver/kidney transplant and wanted to pay me for a quilt for her sister now. As it happens, I had a beautiful lap quilt already made that was waiting in my drawer for someone to give it to because the quilt had not previously “told” me who it should belong to. Now I know why and who it was waiting for! I won’t let my friend pay for it because it was a labor of love!

    Definitely feel like we have been blessed abundantly this week!

  37. Cindy, I totally appreciate where you’re coming from. Sometimes people really do just need cash. I like to give something tangible along with monetary gifts so they have something to open. Perhaps you could make some inexpensive cookies or treats (from pantry staples you already have), put them in a small container or pretty bag, then attach the monetary gift to the bag. Or perhaps you could make some cute little hot chocolate packets (a packet of hot chocolate with a few marshmallows and a small candy cane). It’s always nice to receive a little tangible gift, not to mention the fun of making them up. Even single mom’s appreciate a treat they can share with their family or one they can hoard to themselves for when the kids are asleep. It will feel more festive for you as well. 🙂

  38. This year I am trying very hard to keep my holiday expenses as low as possible. We have an extended family Christmas party we attend each year and I need 3 small gifts for this event. I found two of the gifts at a craft fair this weekend for $5 each which is a little on the pricey side but the event is the first Saturday in December so I thought I better get something while I had time. For the third gift, I looked around in my gift stash and found a really nice Christmas themed jigsaw puzzle. Not having to purchase that helped out a lot. In the past, I would not have taken the time to do a thorough search and to think creatively. Each week Brandy and all of you are training my brain to think differently and I greatly appreciate it!

  39. I agree with the teaching of life skills. We as parents sometimes just want the chore done and will do it ourselves to save time. My aunt was driving the car that resulted in a car crash and sadly her mother died in it. My aunt was 15, I remember her remarking that she had to learn to boil water, she had no idea how to run a house(she has a younger brother). I could not imagine grieving for my mother at that age AND trying to learn basic housekeeping on top of that. I made a resolve to teach my children how to “adult”, to gift them a legacy of how to do so if there was a tragedy they would at least know basic life skills, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. I have to remind myself that parenting is the ONLY job in the world that if done correctly you work yourself OUT of a job,

  40. Hello Everyone!

    I recovered throw pillows that were looking long in the tooth by using a lined curtain panel left over from a previous home where we needed it. It coordinates beautifully with what we already have and it cost nothing. The lining gives the pillow a nice “body” to the fabric. I’m pleased with how it turned out.

    We cooked all our meals at home for the past week. I planted 300 daffodil bulbs. Tonight I was offered another 200 bulbs for free from a friend. After a devastating loss to our chicken flock (2 to a fox and one to illness), we’ve located some replacements. I can get them tomorrow.

    The weather has turned cold here. when we were out planting the bulbs, my son was wearing shorts in the 70 degree heat. That night it snowed! (it didn’t stick much). I’m trying to get all the bulbs in before the first real snow.

    This week I received 4 butternut squash from a friend, a jar of mulberry preserves and a jar of green tomato chutney. I developed a new recipe for spent grain beer bread (by product of my husband’s brewing). You basically use the leftover grains from beer making to make a delicious loaf. Previously, we’ve fed all the grains to our chickens but why should they get all the good stuff? It contains no leftover alcohol. You can read about it here: http://www.dollarsandsensetimestwo.org/2016/11/notes-from-the-brewers-wife-spent-grain-beer-bread/. I hope everyone has a restful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

  41. Love reading everyone’s accomplishments- they are so inspiring! This week I:
    – continued to workout at home before my son wakes up. I am 29 weeks pregnant and I think being active when I was pregnant with my son helped me have an easier recovery.
    – made my Christmas shopping list…it’s long! Hoping to capitalize on Black Friday sales and some homemade presents as well.
    – made all meals at home, including packing lunches for my husband and I for work and my son for daycare.
    – washed cloth diapers and sheets and hung them to dry to avoid electric costs of the dryer
    – mentioned to my mother in law that my son needed insulated mittens for school and she showed up with them yesterday!
    – filled in a survey that rewarded me a 50 amazon GC! It will go towards the price of new front brakes, which my husband will replace
    – realized that we can get a “wellness rebate” from our insurance for fitness classes. Will be calling today to saw if my son’s swimming lessons count.
    – continued to transfer cash out of our checking account to a high yield online savings account in anticipation of my husband’s 200k mile car needing replacement and continued to chip away a little at a time on our mortgage.
    – drank only water or tea at home and work

  42. We met with our realtor who decided we can skip painting our carport if we scrub it down well so that is saving about $500 of sale prep costs. Having a simple Thanksgiving dinner as it is just the 2 of us – turkey breast & gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, apple pie and some Trader Joe’s wine. Exactly what we want. Celebrated DH’s 64th birthday by going out for tacos and beer as he requested. Decided to cut back on how much we spend on our adult children’s Christmas gifts as they are doing well. The put together wish lists so at least we know we are getting something they truly want. Mended my new to me fleece jacket where a seam is coming undone. Shopping for myself from a careful list: needed to replace shoes to wear in winter with jeans & socks and found a pair on sale. Didn’t even browse for anything else.

    Continue to rake our own leaves, am pruning shrubbery back from house in prep for painters, mostly eat at home, do almost all interior painting work to prep house ourselves, saving water as possible to pour on drought stricken landscaping while not running up water bill as much on days we are allowed to water (every little bit helps), etc.

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