Welcome back to everyone’s favorite post of the week!

Here are some of the things I did this week to save money for our family:

I harvested basil, tangerines, a little bit of lettuce and arugula, and Meyer lemons from the garden.

I made Christmas gifts for a total of $0.40. I started several others. (I do the embroidery while I am doing other things, such as watching a show on Hulu).

I watched a few shows for free on Hulu.

I listened to free music from Pandora.

We ate lots of potatoes.

I made granola, French Bread, pizza, and crepes.

I used a $10 off $10 purchase coupon from Kohl’s to purchase a new blouse for myself for $8. The sale price was $18, but it rang up at the register at $24.99. I had the cashier check on it and she walked back to the display, saw the correct price, and adjusted the price.

It felt very nice to have new clothes. I wore my new blouse with a jacket I bought for $1 at a garage sale in October, and with the skirt that I made from a dress that I bought at another garage sale for $1. I am planning to use the top part of the dress to make myself some slippers and a change purse.

I did some more sewing on a jumper for a daughter.

The children played in our garden all week. The weather has been beautiful.

I was able to combine coupons, a sale, and store rewards to purchase 6 Carmex for $1.57. I will be putting these in the children’s stockings.

A friend of my mom’s brought us a ham as a Christmas gift.

My mom gave me 3 romaine hearts and half a head of cauliflower.

We set up our Christmas tree this week. Our tree is an artificial one that we bought 6 years ago. It was the floor model. We bought the $400 tree for $89, (since it was the floor model). As we live in the desert, real trees are quite expensive ($100 is not unusual for a real tree). Our tree has served us for 6 years and will serve us for many more.

We also set up our nativity and some faux greens on our piano. We bought both of these 8-11 years ago.

What did you do this week to save money?

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  1. We have an artificial skinny tree in our library that is 15 years old, & was first purchased as part of a backdrop for our oldest daughter’s wedding reception, with a 50% off coupon. We also have a large blue spruce artificial tree that is too large for this house, but is at least 25 years old, bought on sale, & still looks quite nice, which is why we are still storing it. When all the children are married & have their own trees, if no one uses it, we will find a new home for it. Last year, after 4 years of trying to make the blue spruce work by not putting on all the branches, & basically using only 1/4 – 1/3 of the tree, I finally bought a 2 foot wide tree, on a great preseason sale, for our family room, because it will fit in the corner where the larger tree will not. – Marivene

  2. I didn’t fell very frugal this week partly because I caved and bought take out 2x this week. I also did some shopping this week and while I think I did well, it was still a big chunk of money:(I used a $5 of Kohls coupon and got two clearance belts for my big girls, spent $15 out of pocket on them, but they where nice leather looking belts with plenty of room to grow. I used 40% off coupons at Hobby Lobby to get some thread I needed. I limited my trips into town and stopped at Hobby Lobby both times so that I wouldn’t be paying full price for anything I needed.I got some free groceries.I normally use cloth diapers, but we have several things coming up that I will be switching to disposables, also i use them at night, so I used a gift card from a previous purchase, rewards bucks, plus some manufacturer coupons at Toys r us and got two huge boxes and a big box of wipes, about $100 oop but then got $35 back in another gift card. I’ll roll that gift card into a gift, baby has started potty training so may not need anymore diapers(I can dream right, LOL)

  3. DH must be super bad on socks then, because Gold Toe don’t last very long! The best ones we’ve had were Calvin Klein. Pricey, but they lasted more than a year.

  4. Andrea, amazingly enough it cleared up a lot over the summer and he’s walking.running on it fine and begging to go outside (not yet, little fella, maybe tomorrow) and not showing any pain. If we do have to go back, though, I will definitely take your advice and ask. Thanks!

  5. Well, my bust line alone will prevent me from EVER being an extra small, but I just checked Kohls online and they do have some tops in XS; not all of them, but some. I didn’t check pants or dresses or anything else, just tops. You might find some things online and you can get free shipping on orders of $50 or more right now, so order a lot or hook up with a friend.I don’t know how old you are, but you might also be able to get some clothes at Hollister on sale. My daughter wears a size 1 or 3 jeans at most places and needs a 5 at Hollister. They have really nice, soft sweaters, plaid flannel shirts, camisoles, jeans, and skirts. The clothes last and if you hit a sale (such as 40% off the entire store on Black Friday), you can get some really reasonably priced clothes. Their website is http://www.hollisterco.com

  6. Ivory’s sweater is gorgeous!My son’s high school winter sport started with practices every day so I’m now carpooling with another mother. Had home cooked meals every day. Tried a new recipe but it was disappointing. I hate this when it happens, but I know how important it is to try new recipes to keep away boredom.Local supermarket had a coupon for $20 off if spend $100. I bought 27 pounds of chicken, pork, and beef plus stocked up on other foods. The pork was on sale for $1.98 pound for a center cut pork loin with an average weight of 9 pounds. They advertised custom cut for the pork so I bought 18 pounds and had 5 pounds ground, 2 pounds cut into kabobs, and the remainder cut into chops. Ground pork normally costs $4.98 a pound here.Made Italian wedding soup with one pound of the pork for meatballs. I love this soup as it tastes great, is filling, and doesn’t call for broth – uses water instead.Went to Aldi, which is 25 minutes away. Stocked up on Christmas baking supplies. The 60% dark chocolate chips are really top notch.Watched movies through Netflix.Bought our Christmas tree and paid $10. We went to a local tree farm and explained that our tree was going into the corner of our living room and we could use a tree with a “bad” side. Saved a lot of money!Heat is turned down to 58 at night and we have been sleeping with flannel sheets and down comforters.Placed an order with San Francisco Herb company – thanks for the recommendation Brandy!Libby

  7. Here are a few of the things I did this last week to save $I provide food for my daughter’s youth group. This week I made mini-pizzas with round pita breads and toppings. The only item I had to buy was a can of olives, the rest was given to me. I added cut apples my mother gave me and oranges I had been given. Because many of these kids come right from school, we try to give them something substantial.My older daughter and I both volunteered at a gleaners organization and received boxes of food as a thank-you for working. (the pitas were in there) With what we were given, plus our regular gleaner allotment (we are members), our family was able to give out 6 large boxes of food to others, as well as have plenty for us.(This was an especially busy week for that, we don’t usually get that much stuff in one week)We had a womens’ dessert tea at church and my daughter and I made some desserts to share. We were blessed with an invitation to sit with a friend, and then later found out she had paid for our tickets as well. My girls were in the church Christmas play. I used the extra practice times to work on Christmas gifts while I was waiting. I finished knitting a scarf today. I worked on some embroidery and knitted items that are not finished yet.I made a huge green salad and a bowl of fruit to share after church yesterday with the cast of the play. I used greens, a pepper, a few baby carrots, and some green snap peas, all of which I got from the free food boxes. So, it was free.(I did volunteer for over 6 hours, though-but worth it on many levels) The director ordered in pizza, which was paid for. With the salad, fruit and some pie from another lady, we were able to feed them, and ourselves for little $. And, we were able to use some of those random salad dressings that are always left in church refrigerators:) We enjoyed the church Christmas festival yesterday evening. The play was performed 3 times, with younger children doing a live nativity 3 times in the middle. There were animals to pet, pony rides, crafts, hay rides, and food served in the basement with a jazz band playing, and some other stuff. Although all 4 of us had things to do to help, we we also able to enjoy some of the activities as well. We were able to offer the community a totally free event (to them) to help usher in the true meaning of the season. We were blessed by how many community members chose to come by.Bought numerous boxes of Chex cereal for around $1.50 per box to use for Chex mix to feed youth group later, or make gifts.Bought very few groceries otherwise, just some cheese and a couple of other things. Used the lip balm coupon. They paid me 5 cents to take it away by the time I doubled the coupon. I will use it for a stocking stuffer we are putting together for a 5th-6th grade girl–our church is having us fill them to distribute to needy children. My pants are wearing out, pair by pair, so I’ve been wearing my skirts more the last few weeks. My shoes are wearing out as well. I have another pair exactly like them waiting in the closet that were obtained last summer on clearance. I’m waiting until they fall to pieces to get the longest use out of them. It’s getting close to that day. I was able to buy some new tops at Macy’s a few weeks ago with gift cards my family gave me for my birthday, so I don’t look shabby at all.I received the $10 gift card from joining ebates.Becky

  8. My DH uses the Calvin Klein and he loves them. They last him the longest. We have found them at our JcPenny outlet as well as Kohls. DS uses the gold toe, he has sensitive skin and needs something soft, comfortable and warm for his feet. He said these are the best and they last a long time for him. We found them at Kohls on a buy one get one free, plus have used our coupons and Kohls cash on them.

  9. We switched our health insurance plan & will save $2200 per year. A friend gave milk to us from her cow and I made fresh butter. We’ve not drank the milk yet as I’m concerned about it not being pasteurized. I know there are strong emotions on both side of this issue so appreciate any resources about pro/con of drinking “fresh” milk that this group can provide. My friend has a book she will lend me on pasteruizing it myself. If we can make this work—get comfortable—we will have a free source of milk and butter and cream and potentially cheese (if I can figure how to do that!). She wants nothing in return as their cow is giving much more milk than they can handle and she doesn’t want to waste. I will, of course, bake for her or give her some freezer meals in return.Decided that one of my son’s gifts at Christmas will be a couple of coupons to “get out of chores for a day”. We have big chore days on Saturdays and though he has plenty of down time, sometimes just doesn’t want to do it. I think chores are vitally important for children so don’t cater to that…but see no harm in giving him 2 or 3 “certificates” to get out of chores a few times during 2013.Got a 14-lb ham for $4 using an incentive coupon from a local store! I cut off meat as soon as I got it and had a nice ham supper plus enough to flavor beans/greens for several months–and perhaps another supper as well. The ham bone flavor green pea soup and the dog got the scraps that were too fatty for our use. Everybody happy!I’m empowered out of eating from our freezer—even saving just the little bits left over make for meals over the long run. I had a manwich and twice baked potato for lunch one day. These were left over from previous meals and there was just enough for “1”—one potato, one burger In the past, I would have thrown them out. But I used them…and that feels good. Likewise, the little bits leftover—a few pieces of broccoli, little bit of breakfast sausage, leftover rice, and some chicken that came from a broth-mnaking session—combined to make a casserole one evening. I admire all of you so much—this is a blog of strong, prudent, thrifty women!

  10. One of the main reasons for pasteurization 100 years ago was the tuberculosis pathogen. That’s not much of a risk these days.If your friend is clean, uses clean containers and takes good care of her cow, I personally wouldn’t worry at all.

  11. you have such a sweet spirit. You sound like you are incorporating a lot of what Proverbs 31 says about the virtuous woman.Having a good relationship with your husband is far greater than having a lot of money and no closeness. God is blessing your efforts. Stay encouraged we learn from suffering. The Lord works in strange and mysterious ways maybe somehow the Lord saw someone needed it more than you. He supplied your needs and then maybe requested you help supply someone elses. We never know how these things work.

  12. Congratulations on lowering your insurance!I have been looking into making cheese as well. That is so great for you to have access to milk. I started out with yogurt and then straining it to different consistencies for sour cream and cream cheese type products. I’ve also done what can be called day cheese. I’m adding a link to a great cheese resource. I haven’t gone into rennet use or anything like that, as I’m not quite ready for that. I’m thinking of trying it in the new year. I’ve had my best success with day cheese when the milk was the freshest I could get, meaning I made it within a day or two of purchase of the milk. Day cheese doesn’t really melt, btw, I think you need a rennet cheese to have one that melts. Make sure to save the whey as it is a great replacement for milk in things like biscuits and pancakes. We used it for potato soup one day.Oh, and you will want a candy thermometer and muslin.cheese making: http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/cheese/cheese_course/cheese_course.htmday cheese aka vinegar cheese (I actually used the recipe from my daughter’s food’s class, and there are many sites, this is just one. I suggest heating to 185F or 190F which is a little warmer): http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Recipes/Other-Miscellaneous-Cheeses-991/Vinegar-Cheese-1009.aspxPenelope

  13. This sounds just like something that would happen to us! Somehow we get through everything, even if it is a struggle. When I’m overwhelmed and in tears, I try to remember that it always works out. And it does…just in time for the next crisis haha!

  14. If you are concerned about pasteurization, small pasteurizers that hold around a gallon of milk are often for sale on Ebay, & sometimes in rural thrift stores. I purchased one for our oldest daughter when they began to drink goat milk from their 3 goats, because one of the children had difficulty digesting cow’s milk. I alter purchased extra “buckets” that hold the milk in the pasteurizer for under $1 at a thrift store, since when the does first come into milk, she sometimes needed to pasteurize multiple batches. They are not difficult to operate at all: fill, set & then remove & chill when the timer rings. – Marivene

  15. Yes, it is cheaper I found a place for us to use for next fall. You have to “buy in” and then we will get the meat sometime at the end of October.

  16. This is not specific to this week, but I wanted to share. My daughter goes trick-or-treating at Halloween, to about 5 of our friends’ houses. They load her up with candy…so she and I agreed years ago that I could pull out enough for the pockets in her advent calendar. On Halloween night after she’s in bed, I take out enough pieces to put a small treat in each pocket. We also do an advent activity/scripture each day, which I’ve gathered over the years from various sources. So there is no cost for filling the advent calendar…and I made it from fabric my mom gave me a few years ago. 🙂

  17. Here in Canada it is illegal to distribute or sell unpasteurized milk. I would do A LOT of research before consuming it.Theresa

  18. Definitely take the milk (it’s free and nutritious!) and just pasteurize it yourself. Using a double broiler, heat the milk to 161 degrees, then cool and refrigerate.Listeriosis is the most common problem from raw milk. It is unlikely to happen, BUT, it is not a risk worth taking, so pasteurize it! I work at a hospital and a woman miscarried at 20 weeks as a result of listeriosis. She had eaten cheese made from raw milk while vacationing in South America.Good luck,Christie

  19. Thanks to all of you for the feedback and links. Will definitely research some more….and glad to find out about the pasteurization tools.

  20. I also wear S or XS clothing though I don’t usually buy petite sizes (I’m about 5′ 4”). I’d recommend trying the juniors section at Kohls and at other stores as the clothes are usually cut smaller. (Depending on your age some of it might be too teenage looking, but you can find more basic, less trendy items too.) I’ve also had good luck finding XS clothing at Target. Target usually has clearance racks and sometimes they have coupons too. Some of Target’s pants come in short length. Also if you can sew, hemming too-long pants is another option. And lastly, I can find stuff in my size at Goodwill, it just takes some searching.

  21. you rub your hands gleefully at being such a ‘tiddler’ and buy the biggest garments you can find just purely for the fabric and don’t forget they come with zips,buttons etc. Then you remake into something you really want. Cant sew, well we all have our nemesis, you should or perhaps you shouldn’t see my gloss painting, you find yourself a good seamstress and barter, anything from baking, cleaning, dog walking, granny-sitting, whatever it takes. Us more generously sized souls find it a bit more difficult to find ‘used’ clothes with enough fabric to do this.

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