I changed out some pictures in frames that I had but didn’t have hung, and hung them in the house.

I mended 2 articles of clothing.

I used coupons towards some Easter candy.

I made white chocolate Easter rabbits.

Lemon Juicing The Prudent Homemaker

I juiced more lemons from the garden and froze the juice.

Daffodils on Table The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut daffodils from the garden for an arrangement for my kitchen table.


Iris in Vintage canning jas The Prudent Homemaker

I cut iris from the garden.

I cut pear branches from my pear tree to arrange in a vase.

I cut another arrangement for my entry table with branches, iris, and other greenery from the garden.

Asparagus and Eggs The Prudent Homemaker 

I cut asparagus and picked lettuce from the garden. I picked a few strawberries from the garden. I also cut Swiss chard, green onions, and thyme from the garden,

I sold an item I wasn’t using via a local Facebook garage sale.

I redeemed Swagbucks for a Sam’s Club gift card.

I cleaned the carpet in all of the children’s bedrooms with our carpet cleaner. I was only going to do one, as I did two of them not that long ago, but I decided to try those two again to see if it would make much difference. A lot of dirt came out, so I’m glad I gave them a cleaning sooner than I usually would.

I cut out and began to sew some new aprons and hotpads for myself, and a pillow for my chair.


What did you do to save money last week? For those who had children on spring break, did you do any extra projects around the house, or accomplish any spring cleaning?


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  1. Hi Brandy,
    I’ve been following you for a number of years and really appreciate how frugal your frugal endeavors are! I’ve had great success using hydrogen peroxide directly on carpet stains. I had a particularly large area to clean in a child’s room and used borax and water when h2o2 didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Once the area had dried, I just vacuumed over it.

    We hosted Easter dinner and made do with one ham for our large families. My husband was skeptical that one would be enough, but I think it helped to limit how much each person took. We filled in with twice baked potatoes. I didn’t stress over decorations. My 6 year old daughter noticed that I hadn’t put centerpieces on the tables and made her own with simple flower vases, artificial flowers, and chocolate Easter bunnies from sibling’s Easter baskets. She was so proud!

    I watched some of the LDS Women’s Conference on Saturday evening. I read a couple of years ago that you had done this and it introduced me to your faith. Your little blurb has encouraged me to seek information about the LDS church that has been exciting to learn about.

  2. Jean,

    I used ammonia in the carpet cleaner. My biggest trouble in their rooms is just the general dirt that comes from the most walked on areas. Did you use the hydrogen peroxide on general areas, too, or just the stains?

    I enjoyed Saturday night’s General Women’s meeting. We watched online from home. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    For those who are intersted, you can watch it online here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/04?cid=HP_SA_3-26-2016_dPFD_fGC_xLIDyL1-B_&lang=eng

  3. Those asparagus look yummy! I’ve only picked a handful here so far, but we had a good rain yesterday, and I’m hoping to have a bigger harvest soon. No spring cleaning here yet. I wait until we’re done with our wood heat, as it makes everything so dusty. Hopefully, in a couple more weeks. I got my mending pile out yesterday, and began doing the repairs. Joining in here: http://www.abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2016/03/gifts-of-maple-frugal-accomplishments.html

  4. We didn’t do much this last week which saved money – my husband is experiencing a lull in new jobs right now so there is very little money coming in. I am so glad I have a full freezer and pantry so we are okay at least on the grocery front for a while. I am also very glad I made the push to get the animal’s food also stocked as we will be okay on that for a while as well. I continue to sell hatching eggs from our ducks with the money going into the vet fund I have started for unexpected vet bills. I also went thru my cabinets and listed several things that I just don’t use and are taking up valuable space. I did use a Penzey’s coupon for a free 3/4 cup bag of spice – the quality of their cinnamon is so much better than any other we’ve tried so that is what I stocked up on.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

  5. Your irises are so beautiful! We have some burgundy-colored ones that a neighbor gave us. I have never thought about cutting them for arrangements though.

    The main frugal thing I did last week was to try and stay within the remainder of our food budget, and I succeeded. We stocked up on eggs last week at 79 cents/dozen, butter at $1.99/lb, flour at 99 cents/lb and some chicken thighs the previous week at 49 cents / lb. I also made a lemon meringue pie and apple tart for Easter.

  6. We spent Easter with my husband parents. We traveled to Naples, FL. They kindly treated us to all the meals including two meals out. We were trying to pay for those but did not want to make much of a scene in a restaurant and only insisted that much. We only stayed two days and spending another day (today) in Miami just the two of us. We are staying on a friend’s boat so no need to pay for a hotel. The boat has all we need. We can even cook if we want.
    More frugal accomplishment in my weekly post

    Have a great week, everyone

  7. The picture of asparagus with eggs was eye opening to me. I have served asparagus omelets and asparagus quiche but both of those egg dishes require cheese. If I had no cheese, I don’t think it would have occurred to me to serve a simple side of asparagus along with fried eggs. Your photo makes me realize I’m thinking a bit conventionally and that being creative with what you have doesn’t mean making something complex.

  8. Hello Brandy & all from Australia.

    My husbands and my frugal accomplishments for the week are –

    Blessings –
    – Was given a lovely ripe rockmelon from a friend at church.

    Major financial achievements for the month –
    – Saved 58.39% of our disposable income less taxes for our first home (plus 10% tithe). We have exceeded our 50 % goal that we have been working towards :D, happy dance.
    – Saved $307.99 on usual prices buying items for the house, groceries and clothing on special, making our own cordials at home rather than buying them pricing like for like and purchasing fuel on the low points of the price cycles for the month.

    Craft Sewing & garden seed saving hobby businesses –
    – My husband made $40 profit from odd lawn mowing jobs.
    – I made $22.34 profit from the sale of bean & watermelon seeds saved from the garden, 2 pocket wallets & eye mask I made that sold on Ebay and Etsy.
    – All up for the month my husband & I made $92.79 profit from our hobbies & things we like to do :).
    – I shall be saving the money earned from my sewing crafts to put towards paying the phone / internet bill next month.
    – Saved rockmelon seeds the portion we have eaten from gifted rockmelon so we have seeds for us and will sell the excess on Ebay.

    In the kitchen –
    – Made all meals from scratch.
    – Made all bread from scratch using our bread making machine.
    – Roasted a chicken that fed us tonight, plus enough for lunch tomorrow left, and put 2 pkts in freezer for 2 more teas.

    Autumn cleaning & getting ready for our rental inspection –
    – Cleaned bathroom windows on the inside.
    – Damp dusted all belt rails in bathroom & toilet & all alcoves around.
    – Husband damp dusted the wooden buffet, sewing tables, bookshelves in the lounge room, sewing room & kitchen and then polished and cleaned them with pledge.

    In the garden –
    – Picked 6 large ripe pumpkins from the garden & placed them on the shed roof to season for 2 weeks, with previously picked ones that will make 15 pumpkins we will have stored for over the winter months, plus more growing.
    – Picked 2 sugar baby watermelon which are in the fridge.
    – Picked more ripe cucumbers, snow peas, strawberries, spinach, turnips & spring onions for teas & snacks.
    – Weeded 1 side on the house lawn & one ornamental flower garden.
    – Husband whipper snipped all of the house yard & mowed with the ride on lawn mower.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week one and all :).

  9. We ( with some kind help ) and are now going all in for flowers. I have about half my seeds started and am going to start more tomorrow night after I set up the heating pad. We got great/hard news. We’ve wanted to move for three years but our neighborhood has not recovered from the recession; having a third child really made it imperative to get out. Our home is an outlier that is hard to comp, so I’d been comparing it to what was available but our realtor believes since we have improvements and an extra bedroom and bath( almost unheard of in these homes) that we can alllllmost break even, but we still will need ten thousand dollars to pay fees and taxes. Homes in our neighborhood go for 90 grand right now and we owe 132 so assumed we’d be having to pay down for another year of Extreme Rice and Beans, We are hurrying to get everything ready for May. We’re delighted that we might finally be able to get out, but had assumed we needed to wait another year. We are saving as fast as we can. We did an eBay sale and will net 640.
    My goal this week is to sell as much as I can on Facebook’s garage sale and list some things on Craigslist. Since our timeline has lost ten months my husband and I don’t have time to help each other as he is eBay and paint and I am garden and garage sale.
    I have an application for a scholarship for our son and hopefully he’ll get it, that will ease the burden of raising ten grand ( lalalala so ridiculously hard).
    For Easter we went to my sister in laws, I made a big batch of Cole slaw, some chocolate chip bars, and a small chocolate torte.
    I have successfully transitioned quite a bit of our grocery shopping to Aldis, we’ve been very happy with the quality and elated with the prices.
    We did have our son home for spring break, and did some gardening, like taking apart the strawberry cage, and moving furniture around. It was very nice to not have to take him to school each day. He and his brother did a fine job aerating the raised beds so I could take out the weeds.

    We’re really overwhelmed at the idea of cleaning and painting and gardening AND coming up with ten thousand dollars in two months. But we’ll have so much of a better life out of this house( we are right next to a four and highway and now that the children are older they really need more room to play outside) and we’ll save so much more money once we are in the new town that it is worth trying as hard as we can. Basically if it’s in my house and doesn’t have a heartbeat, we’re selling it. I know it sounds crazy to come up with that much money but it’s really surprising how much you can make on eBay and Facebook.

    I’m carefully hunting down some accessories for staging the house and found a nice bookcase for the playroom, three lamps, some shears for the living room, and candles. I’m watching for a few planters, and new bedspreads.

    I’m making a nice split pea soup with the leftover ham from Easter.

    I am slowly getting comfortable driving our new ( used) minivan. My husband spent about two weeks and three grand on parts to fix it up. I am so, so , SO thankful not to be sharing a car with him anymore though I wish we’d known we could move as I would have kept sharing and we’d be closer to our goal.

  10. Happy day after easter everyone,
    My frugal success this week was in limiting grocery store purchases. I went through the grocery sales flyers and listed 16 items that I could use and had good prices. I then went through the pantry and freezer and updated the inventories. Then I sat down and though about what I really needed, and reduced the purchase list to one pound of butter for $1.99 (limit at that price). As Brandy has said in the spending less area, one key is to go shopping less. That is the hardest thing for me but the most effective.

    When possible, i try to make more than one meal at a time when I cook dinners, so had three extra meals put in the freezer. Last week I wasn’t enthusiastic about cooking for us and was so happy to bring out those dinners. Spaghetti and meatballs never tasted so good. ;). Also had some wonderful pinto beans and ham with left over cornbread. Alas, now the freezer cooked food shelf is bare so need to start up a new burst of cooking. 😉

  11. I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. Our day was very nice. We went to church service on Saturday. We belong to one of the fastest growing churches in TX. Our new building is being built now to allow for more people to attend at “normal” times, but right now we just can not. There were actually 9 services held this week for Easter. Pastor Joe must know his ‘speech’ by heart now.

    I took a heirloom red lily plant to the sweet woman who always sits beside us in service. It was actually big enough to be divided so we agreed that she should break it into 2 pieces and share 1 with her sister. She was going to her sister’s house after church to stay for Easter.

    I got some new to me shoes from the thrift store. They look very new and I love the color. Cost less than $4.00. Spent $4.00 at Dollar Tree for seeds. They had the boxes of wild flower seeds. I got 4 boxes and spread the seeds in a flower bed on the side of our house that is empty right now. We are just doing away with a lot of the walk way area and wanted to make it look better. My husband turned over the ground and then we did the ‘lasagna’ garden thing all winter. My husband broke it up again turning it over and I spread the seeds and watered using water from my rain barrels. I hope the seeds come up. I will keep an eye out for deals on plants to put there when I can. Right now I just wanted the cardboard/news paper stuff to go away. It does look a lot better.

    I made meals at home. Cut out 29 doll dresses to sew and made 30 doll diapers. I have the fabric and patter laid out to make the pajamas for the dolls. I think I could cut that dress out in my sleep now without the pattern. Ladies from our church service gave me some fabric too. I need to go through the fabric to see what is there and how much I can use for my doll dress project. Some of the fabric is not suitable for doll clothes and it will be donated.

    We worked in our yard most of the weekend. My husband got a sun burn too. I keep sun screen on and he does not take the time. I spray pained 2 baskets. I spray pained 1 wood tool box that I got at the thrift store. I am going to put plants in thee tool box and use it as the center piece of my patio table.

    Brandy, I want to see the ‘pear branches you cut from your fig tree’ I bet they look special.
    We had no little kids here to do egg hunts. But my grandchildren got hand made treats. I gave my daycare kids a special hand made bunny rabbit with a book of Peter Rabbit for Easter.

  12. I hosted a clothing swap with women from my church. There were lots of leftover clothes. I documented everything and donated to Goodwill, which will make a large deduction for next year’s taxes.
    My Dahlia I planted last year are poking up again this year. The freesias from last year are already in bloom.
    Hubby wanted to get pizza for the kids last night but I just made eggs, toast and served fruit. It took less than 10 minutes to cook and clean up (only 2 kids)
    I have been loving podcasts-all free with the app “podcast addict” on my android phone. This American Life, The Robcast, Ask Science Mike are some of my favorites.
    Spring break this week, have already done a hike with my kids, hoping to do some more and enjoy some beach time.

  13. Such beautiful floral arrangements with your garden cut flowers, Brandy. I especially love the irises in the canning jars. The wire basket adds such a wonderful charm to the whole display!:D

    I’ve had a bit of a crazy week this week. Although, my daughter went back to school after being off for March break the previous week, it was rather short lived as you will read below. Anyways, here are this week’s frugal accomplishments:

    *We had a freezing rain storm roll in on Wednesday night, which continued all day Thursday. Of course the schools cancelled the buses, so my daughter only went to school for 3 days after her March break, then had a 5 day weekend, instead of the scheduled 4 days. Can’t wait to see her back on a regular school schedule!

    *Meals made at home included hot chicken sandwiches with home made baked herb parmesan potato chunks and peas, homemade lasagna (pulled from the freezer), forced leftovers night to clean up fridge before Easter weekend (I took some leftover chicken, mixed it with BBQ sauce, warmed it slightly in the microwave and put it in a sandwich with grated cheddar cheese…so good!), breaded fish with homemade tartar sauce, potato wedges and coleslaw, and chicken souvlaki with turkey stuffing, rice and carrots.

    *My brother came and stayed for a few days over Easter weekend. Of course this means we had to cook more food at each meal. However, my well stocked pantry was quite prepared for this, so it was no big deal.

    *I made up the last expired chocolate cake mix in the pantry into cupcakes to serve as dessert a couple nights while my brother was here (they tasted perfectly fine). We also pulled another apple pie from the freezer to bake for our Easter meal.

    *On Easter Sunday, we enjoyed a late morning brunch of chocolate chip pancakes and bacon at home, which held us over until dinner time. I had 3 leftover pancakes that I put in the freezer for my daughter to use as a quick school day breakfast option.

    *Both my brother and my MIL joined us for Easter Sunday dinner. We served roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, coleslaw, homemade bread and the apple pie for dessert. I sent my MIL home with some leftovers, enough for one more meal.

    *My daughter was so excited to have her “chocolate breakfast” on Easter Sunday. She likes to tell everyone that she is allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast 2 days a year, on Christmas morning and Easter morning. She caught me putting her Easter basket out, so now she knows for sure that the Easter bunny is not real (she’s 12 years old, and I’m surprised it lasted this long). We had the talk that she is not to tell everyone and ruin this for other little children. I might be able to decrease the amounts I buy now too!

    *Some more amazing grocery prices I found this week: bought a big bag of bananas marked 50% off so cost was about $0.40/lb which everyone snacked on over the weekend, bought 2 salted butter bricks on sale at Costco for $2.79 (1 for freezer and 1 for Easter), bought 4 hams on sale for $5.97/800g which will be shaved into luncheon meat and packaged for the freezer (prices are going up, so this was the best deal I could get, but still cheaper than buying sliced luncheon ham @ $1.25/100g on sale), and 4 pineapples for $1.49 each (great price for us in Canada) which I plan on trying some in the dehydrator.

    That’s about it for now. My brother will be going home today, and I will be supplying him with some food from our pantry to help him out financially. I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter weekend!

  14. I am going to try this recipe for making sprinkles! My kids are crazy about sprinkles and always wonder why we don’t like them. I tried to explain that they taste like wax and most adults don’t care for them. Maybe these will be better tasting and they will certainly be cheaper! It never even occurred to me to look for a recipe to make your own sprinkles. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-sprinkles-for-cupcakes-cookies-and-cakes-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-138957

  15. I started a new job this week and it is going well. The people I work with and the customers are really nice, which makes all the difference in the world. I polished up a pair of good quality walking shoes I have. They will keep my feet happy after standing all day.

    Completed a short side gig on the computer. This should buy one load of dirt for my new raised beds.

    The Man made a new sign with our house numbers on it .

    Fixed my rubber boots with a couple of pieces of duct tape. Hopefully I can continue to wear them for the rest of the season.

    Started crocheting a new vest using recycled yarn. Spring might be here but winter is always shows up sooner than expected.

    I am watching my neighbours cats while she is away. I feed them some of our leftover fish from dinner one night. We are friends now.

    Downloaded an ebook from Amazon for free. I like the author’s blog and I enjoy her writing.

    Went for a walk and coffee with a friend. I spend money on my coffee but the conversation was priceless.

    Turkey dinner at my mom’s. I brought home some eggs, left-over turkey, and the turkey carcass. I plan on making a big batch of turkey soup and give most of it to my mom and brother.

    Have a great week everyone!

  16. It has not been very frugal here for the past two weeks. We have had two funerals and a wedding to deal with which put me running frazzled and since the deaths were unexpected, it threw me off as far as meal planning and we are out a couple of times that weren’t planned. This week I planned more carefully and took stock in what staples I am running low on so I can restock. I hope to get back on track this week and smooth things back to an even keel. Have a great week!

  17. Happy Spring!

    Our frugal accomplishments this week include:

    We attended a roller derby match, and our friend is on a team, so we got discounted tickets: 1/3 off the regular price!

    While we were there, we bought earrings as a gift for a friend, from another friend who makes jewelry and had a booth at the event. She also gave us a discount.

    We harvested loquats (Chinese plum) from the trees on our property, and I tried my hand at making jam for the first time ever! These little fruits are growing like crazy and I see a lot of people treat them as a nuisance… Big mistake! So delicious! I’m looking forward to finding lots more ways to use them!

    I mentioned my intention to start canning, and a lady at work gave me a handful of brand-new jars she wasn’t using.

  18. If you haven’t tried dehydrating pineapple yet, prepare to become addicted! It’s a great way to take advantage of the sale price!

    And I think it’s so wonderful that you can help your brother with your pantry store. What a blessing!

  19. I saved cantaloupe seeds from a cantaloupe. I cleaned out a jar with wide mouth and used it to store leftovers from dinner. I used items from my pantry to make two of the three items we took for Easter dinner. I took two of those items in insulated casserole carriers that I have had for years so they stayed nice and warm. We cut wood for our fireplace from downed trees on our property. Used delayed shipping option to get free shipping on some medicinal items we needed. Started more seeds for our spring garden. Saved more cardboard for use in developing a back to Eden area on our property. We will cover it with compost we have developed over the fall and winter. Turned down a request to join a friend to get a pedicure. Used coupon to purchase snacks for son’s team. Bagged ice from home to use to keep water and Gatorade cool for son’s team. Used milk of magnesia (original blue bottle) ad my deodorant. I get it for $1 at Dollar Tree, have been using it for over a year and it works fantastically.

  20. I made an extra meal and froze it to use at a later date. I bought some seeds and started planting them in a container indoors. I rented a carpet cleaner to clean the carpets this week. I had to pay to rent it, but it was only $20 which is way cheaper than having someone come to our house.

  21. – Project Use it Up: 2 10-oz Patriot Candles Caramel Royale scent (I swear I’ve had these at least ten years…it felt good to finally finish them!)
    – Redeemed free panty with coupon at Victoria’s Secret
    – Used buy one get one free pretzel coupon at Auntie Anne’s for my kids
    – Had $11 coupon to use at kohls. Got a melamine tray with handles as my last one broke 2 years ago and I’ve been meaning to replace it. They’re great for carrying stuff out when eating outside in the summer.
    – My friend was getting rid of her really nice foosball table and gave it to us for free!
    – Thanks to tips on here I cut open my lotion when it seemed to be empty and there’s at least three more uses in there!
    – Received three free bags of different flavored Twinings tea and more free magazines (almost having trouble keeping up with reading them all!)
    – Went to the gym often enough this year to earn another free guest pass and $10 off my membership next month

  22. Brandy,

    how do you keep your dining table so shiny? Do you have a secret frugal maintenance tip or two? 🙂 Where do you homeschool??

  23. Brandy, I found a Norweigen blog through Pinterest. She does beautiful floral arrangements and I thought you would love to see them for inspiration. I love your arrangements. http://vibekedesign.blogspot.com/?m=1

    I am continuing to fix up my house for market. Today I am painting our Master bath ceiling and part of the wall where my son came through the ceiling from the attic. We had a moon roof for a few months 🙂 My husband redid the dry wall and sanded it so I have to Kilz and paint. I am also painting the baseboards in the kitchen.

    I used a Home Goods store credit to buy a Mexican painted pot for my deck. I will plant some colorful, yellow and red flowers in it and set it on the cafe table for a pop of color.

    I sold a kids bike and ceiling fan for $60 this wekend. They will pick up today and tomorrow. I have a box of my daughters stuff to sort for garage sale, list online sales, or donate. I got 4 more boxes packed and in the car to take to storage when I am out tomorrow. We are moving in June.

    My husband traveled last week. We have a Marriott card that pays us points, and he stays in a Marriott hotel earning points for the stay and also on the money spent. We already have about 10 days stay earned since the first of the year. His company pays us back for the stay. He gets per diem for food and gas. Instead of eating out he gets free hotel breakfast and goes to the store and buys sandwich items or quick meal items. He has a microwave and refrigerator so can buy microwaveable meals. He usually goes out with the guys one or two times. We get to pocket what he doesn’t spend.

    I went with him last time and we ate at Bonefish. The waitress brought our food and never returned the entire meal. The server next to us was at their table three times. We had empty glasses. We finished our meal and waited 10 minutes to get the check. At that time we finally went to the hostess stand and asked for our check. She told the manager who got our check and didn’t apologize or anything. My husband called the number on the receipt and they gave us $25 gift card. We now have a meal out. Bonefish is usually very good service.

    I make a cleaner mixing blue Dawn and vinegar half and half. I spray the bath shower and tub and let sit a couple of hours. Soap scum comes right up. It is string so be careful with the fumes.

    I sold 8 small pitchers that were my moms. She collected and passed away in 1986. I’ve moved them every move and finally decided to just keep some that were special from travels and get rid of the ones that didn’t mean anything. I just sold them as a set. I also am selling about 10 of my Precious Moments that weren’t bought f6ir a special occasion. I can’t find a buyer, though, even though I listed them at $2 -$5 dollars.

  24. This week has been a great one for frugal things! I had 99 cents worth of marked down bell peppers and I combined those with some home canned tomatoes and home canned pineapple chunks and canned 13 pints of Sweet and Sour Sauce that we love! My shelf was down to just 6 jars left and we use it often as a quick dinner!
    I got eggs on sale for 99 cents/dozen so I turned some into 6 egg/sausage/cheese McMuffins (using 49 cent marked down pack of English muffins) as well as 26 breakfast burritos! Some went into fridge, but most got bagged up and put into freezer. We do love having the convenience of grab and go and since there are now just three of us instead of 13, we still run an assembly line and make large quantities, but then are able to portion it into smaller containers for us to enjoy later.
    I bought 2 boneless hams on sale for half price but only used one for Easter dinner so I am putting my electronic slicer to good use by shaving some of it for sandwiches and freezing it in ziploc bags, cutting some into slices, then cubes and freezing to use in dinners/breakfasts that call for cubed ham.
    I love, love, love the convenience that I get by just spending an hour or so in the kitchen ahead of time!
    Made ranch dip for homemade veggie tray using the dry homemade ranch dip/dressing mix I keep in the pantry.
    Made 2 more baby quilts this week- all from stash, including batting, backing, thread, top! I love that when I get creative, I don’t have to worry about whether the stores are still open so I can buy my supplies!
    Used gas buddy app on my phone and found that there was a gas station less than 1/2 mile from our usual one that had gas for $1.69/gallon instead of the $1.99 it was everywhere else nearby! That saved us $4.75 just for the minute it took to look!
    We plan on replacing our side yard fence and saw one in the neighborhood that we really liked- a different design than we had seen before, so hubby and I had a “date” as it was getting dusk and a little drizzly and drove over to the house. We parked in front of the house which was on a corner and got out and walked to the corner where it was and took some photos. We got back into our car but then noticed the curtain move slightly from inside the house and decided we should go to their door and introduce ourselves so they didn’t worry about what we were doing! They were so delightful and invited us into their yard and proceeded to tell us how exactly they built the fence (and how they saved about $1000 doing it rather than contracting it out!) with that instruction, we are confident that we can do the same using the tools in our wood shop! So excited to see that project moving along!
    We are having another date night tomorrow to redesign our whole side yard for maximum edibles and family gathering areas! Hubby has started his own Pinterest account and we are happily pinning ideas for fireplaces/fruit tree planting and spacing ideas,more raised bed gardens! We do enjoy this kind of date more than the dinner and a movie type! It lets us dream together and then start to plan how to accomplish each dream!

  25. Thank you, Elizabeth. The pineapple is in the dehydrator today, so it won’t be ready until late this evening, hopefully before we go to bed. My daughter is looking forward to trying it for sure! I was thinking of canning some, but once I cut it up and filled the dehydrator, I only have one whole pineapple left. It isn’t worth the effort to can such a small amount as far as I’m concerned, so we’ll eat it fresh.

    As for helping my brother, we’ve been doing this for over a year now. He has been struggling financially since he separated from his wife. My husband, daughter and I are currently living with my mother in her house, which has been a huge help financially for us. I feel like helping my brother with groceries is my way of paying it forward. I’m very good at shopping the sales, looking for rock bottom prices on grocery items and preserving fresh produce when I can grow them, buy them cheap or get them in bulk season, so it really isn’t a huge burden for us to share from my pantry. He went home with a cooler full of meat and various frozen items, plus a bag full of pantry stable food and some excess fresh fruit I’d bought super cheap. He should be good for the most part for the next 2-3 weeks with what I shared. The idea of someone having to decide between food or bills really bothers me.

  26. Saved the seeds from a butternut squash we grew last year, to use in the garden this year. Pureed part of the baked squash for my visiting granddaughter, who loved it! Hurrah for Grandma’s garden.

    Bought eggs for 69 cents a dozen on sale. We “decorated” our Easter eggs in white & brown this year. Simple, yet classic, & no out of pocket cost.

    Bought several packs of cinnamon rolls from the bargain basket & quickly cut between the rolls before freezing them, which made it very simple to remove them, one at a time, & zap in the microwave for a nice warm cinnamon roll for breakfast or snack while my daughter was visiting.

    Gathered 6 gallons of water to use in the garden from the downspouts after a light snowfall melted, & scooped some of the snow into the black Rubbermaid trash can in the back yard to let it melt for garden & fruit tree use.

    The apricot tree bloomed early in the week, & I saw at least 5 bees working it one sunny morning, but we had snow with freezing-ish temps on Friday night, so we will have to wait & see if it was cold enough for long enough to damage the blooms.

  27. We had a quiet Easter dinner, just the four of us left at home plus one mother and son from church. I baked the spiral cut ham I bought at Christmastime for $1 a pound. We decorated with decorations I’ve used for years and years. I did use yarn scraps to crochet peep bunnies. I made 12 of them then chained them together in a garland to hang on the fireplace. The free pattern is here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/easter-marshmallow-bunnies . It was cute, fun and free…just took some time. We have been decluttering to begin our spring cleaning. Our spring break was last week. We stayed home and the kids played with friends, went to track practice and read for fun during the day. We had some movie nights during the week, which is a treat. I asked if they had an ok spring break, even though it was so chill and my daughter replied “it was wonderful to stay home, sleep in and relax.” That made me feel better about not planning a big thing.

  28. Hi Hilogene and the shop less strategy is what we are doing to and it certainly does work. Strangely our groceries seem to last longer if we shop by the month instead of fortnightly, been thinking on this that maybe we were just using more as we knew we were shopping earlier ?. It does save you a lot of money if you persist at it, I think it is because we don’t buy as many impulse purchases.

    We do similar and go through the grocery sales brochures and make out the list then we cull from there after inventorying the pantry. A couple of months ago I cut almost $40 after going through the pantries and finding out we already had quite a few of the things on the proposed list.

    We love our cooked food shelf in the freezer too and cook things ahead of time for multiple meals too, now there is only the 2 of us at home and the children have grown & left.

  29. This week was a bit more frugal than last, what with our daughters wedding. I don’t know how some people do it!
    *We toasted our good fortune in having great kids. (Twenty and thirty something young adults.) We really feel blessed in that department!
    *I continue walking (almost) every day in an effort to get to 1000 miles by Dec. 31
    *Ordered and received my indoor Meyer Lemon tree from Amazon with gift cards i received for Christmas and birthday. It has flowers that smell divine; i hope i don’t kill it and i get lots of lemons!
    *Got ground chuck on markdown of 2.99. That’s about as good as we see here. I made patties, meatballs and one meatloaf, all for the freezer.
    *I used cleaned, cut up waxed bag inserts from brownie mixes to separate the freezer patties. (My husband would not survive long if he didn’t have his boxed brownies..)
    *I started counting calories in an attempt to lose a few pounds. I’m not good at dieting, so this will be an experiment in self control. I’ll admit right up front that i have very little self control when it comes to certain foods. Holidays do not help. My calorie book was bought at a library sale.
    *I dried old mushrooms and onions in the dehydrator and packed them away in canning jars.
    *I used 99cent eggs this week; so happy about that deal! I had my husband buy me five dozen.
    *My camera died while taking pictures for ebay. My husband advised getting a new battery. I’m happy to say that it did the trick! I’ve never replaced that battery and the camera is at least eight years old! I honestly did not know it had a battery!
    *Watched two children’s movies and one Sherlock on netflix that we get through our sons account. Love Sherlock! If you’ve never seen the Gruffalo movies, i highly recommend them; they’re about twenty minutes long and so well done. Great for any age!
    *Used the last of my store bought pancake mix so i made my own. That goes in the freezer til needed. We also used the very, very last of the wild picked blueberries i picked two years ago. So sad. It was so dry last year that we didn’t have any berries at all. I hope this year is better!
    *Skyped with my son and grand sons; the best use of time, ever!
    I hope everyone has a wondeful, frugal week!

  30. I had $40 in ebay sales which were 2 things I had started before my health problems the last 2 weeks.

    I made a small apple crisp mixing some apple pie jam that needed to be used up with cut up fresh apples topped with oatmeal, brown sugar, butter.

    I started going through my pantry a few items at a time as I felt up to and writing the expiration dates in marker in big writing in an obvious place so I can rotate items easier. I pulled out a few things past dates or near dates. I checked Still Tasty to see how long I have to use them. I will work on using those up in the next month. I started thinking about what gaps I need to fill. The last flare with my autoimmune issues has me thinking about living on food storage if I need to.

    I cleaned out a clogged drain in the bathroom sink using just a Zip It and then baking soda and vinegar and flushing with hot water.

    Have a great week everyone!

  31. If you are planning on keeping your lemon inside all the time, you will need to pollinate it by hand (you can use a paintbrush). Otherwise, you need to put it outside for the bees to pollinate it in spring.

    If your tree is small, you may want to let it grow for a couple of years before it produces lemons. That gives it time to get larger rahter than putting effort into fruit. Often, the flowers from the first year will fall off anyway if the tree is small.

  32. Hi Miriam from Australia & not Brandy :), but Brandy has answered you below.

    If you don’t want to use polyurethane you can also make a wonderful furniture polish with items out of your pantry as well, this is a recipe I found and you can find it by clicking on the link below –


    I hope this helps, and here in Australia we have a product known as pledge which is brilliant too which is a furniture cleaner and polish in one that you dilute with water. Unfortunately it isn’t cheap, so when we have finished the bottle we have we will be making our own.

  33. Well, when it came to Spring Break, all I really managed to get done on the cleaning front was trying to keep on top of my son, whom I love to no end, but who is destructive when he’s home for any length of time. It didn’t help that we were stuck inside most of the week as we were still battling a nasty cold bug that REALLY wanted to be the flu.

    We got some snow so we got to play outside and other things though!

    My list for the week can be found here…


  34. Gardenpat,
    Would you mind sharing your recipe for the homemade ranch dip/dressing mix? We love ranch at our house and I would love to be able to keep a mix on hand. Thanks in advance!

  35. Hello Bràndi and all. Your flowers look so beautiful. Still too early for flowers here, though my daffodills are just beginning to poke out of the ground. I may be rushing the season a bit, but I planted English peas, lettuce, spinach and arrugula in my raised garden beds. The chard and collards I planted in the fall are coming back out on their own and the fall planted parsnips and carrots are growing too.

    My favorite frugal this week is the robe I made from some brocade that was once our duvet cover. I have saved it for a couple of years. I was even able to use the braided satin trim from the cover for trim on the robe. It looks great I am calling it my Scarlett Ohara robe.

  36. Thank you Brandy and Lorna!

    I have been using olive oil, but I am certainly going to try it with lemon juice, too.

  37. Our. Easter was wet and cool, so everything got moved indoors. After church, two of our daughters and their families, two of our youngest sons, and our new pastor and his family came for lunch. I provided two hams, stuffing and two pies, and everyone else brought a side. We had ham leftovers so I gave everyone a bag of ham to take home. No decorating other than flowers from our yard.

    My frugal accomplishments were snagging one of the hams for 99cents a lb and the I had free stuffing and broth from a friend. She gives me chicken backs from their flocks and I watch her kids from time to time. The pies were also free. A local grocery store distributes expired items through a friend of mine, she gets what she needs and then calls me to distribute the rest. It can be 4 to 10 boxes, so I pull out for my family and my kid’ families, and then start texting down my list of families who could use help. It takes me an afternoon, twice a week, but it has been a blessing to help families who have been out of work or have difficulties. They come to my house to pick up and I love watching their faces as they see the wonderful , quality food that God has provided for them.

    My friend the pick up person, is a longtime friend and we both have 7 kids. We have helped each other out through decades,of family life. Yesterday, when picking it up, she mentioned she had gotten a free dining room table and chairs and did any of our kids need any chairs. One daughter definitely needed some and she is sharing 6 sturdy chairs with my daughter now. I am so grateful for the friends who we share, barter and alert each other to deals.
    Having a community like that is a huge blessing. Helping friends and family with food, furniture, childcare or whatever gives me a better feeling than just about anything.

    My other coup was I was shopping at Kohls and they had about 10 bins that they were clearing out for a dollar an item. I sat for hours sorting to get items for the grandkids for birthdays and Christmas. I checked my purchases with my daughters and will need to return a few items, but it was well worth the time.

    I love that this online community you have developed through your friendship, Brandi, is like minded as well. I always come away blessed by your lovely artwork, it makes me want to beautify my corner of the world. I am learning new tricks to stretch my dollars and use resources I have to share and encourage others with. You all are a,great community of women!

  38. As I know, cleaning, sorting and packing is really a lot of work. However, now that we are just maintaining the cleanliness, waiting for the house to sell, it’s really quite peaceful. Hang in there. It looks like you have a great chance of getting out of that neighborhood.

  39. Things are finally settling down around here. I went back to work yesterday, after a pretty wild, busy spring break. We spent a lot of time and money getting out of the house so people could look at it. We had a lot of lookers, but no buyers, yet. It has felt good to be able to settle down and get back to my “usual” ways.

    My husband has been selling a few small items on eBay (besides his eBay business), that are items from the house that we have sorted out. We have all been struggling with this terrible cold, and now he has it. It he can get to feeling better enough, he plans to have a garage sale with some of his excess things from the shop, this weekend. All of the money that we have earned through selling excess things has been saved in a special bank account, along with some $ we earned as a team, for fixing up our new house. Right now we have about $1,500. That’s not enough, in my opinion, but is a great start. We hope to add to that as we wait for the house to sell.

    The rest of the things I did to save money are on my blog.

  40. My biggest, happiest frugal accomplishment is that we were able to pull enough together to get a traditional ira to meet the AGI so our kids will now qualify for the state tuition voucher for school! Tuition is nearly $7000 a year and has been a hardship for us but willingly done so our kids are educated in the faith. Praise God! !! 🙂 🙂

    Other frugal accomplishments:
    Raised $115 this month from my small blog.
    Made stops on drive to parents for a couple things I wanted to blog about, so I’ll be able to write off most of the mileage.
    Splitting shifts on spring break to avoid child care costs, saving about 400 in camp fees.

  41. The Iris’ are beautiful. I have Siberian and never think to cut them to bring in. I will this year!
    Speaking of, I cut more daffodils and some Forsythia. It is the only thing I have blooming; with a cobalt blue vase they look so pretty.
    Turned off the heat and opened windows, and when I closed windows, kept the heat off. This is unheard of to my husband, but so far he is faring well.
    I found Crispy M&Ms on sale 2 large bags for a $1. These are my husband’s favorite. I dumped the bags into a glass jar, decorated with a bunny cut out for his Easter “basket”.
    Found 18 eggs on sale for $1.69, bought 2 and decorated eggs with my parents as entertainment.
    I made a large batch of Brandy’s red rice for meals this week. I do make it a spicier; it is one of my favorite comfort foods.
    I had made a lap quilt months back and still have fabric from that project. I made it using my husband’s old dress shirts. With the remnants, I will make another quilt to either gift or donate. I am using all supplies I already have, and look at it as a way to continue improving my sewing skills.
    I have been losing some inches around the waist and started taking in my jeans/pants in at the waist to extend the life of my existing wardrobe.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  42. This week I prepared a frugal feast for a family in need! Upon learning that the mother of a good friend of mine was terminally ill, and with my own recent loss in mind, I asked this friend if I could prepare Easter dinner for her family & her mom & dad who live next door. Her mother chose end of life care at home. This would add 12 people to my Easter plans. I had 6 hams in my freezer. Two were given to me by a friend who had good intentions and purchased ham, but never used it and the others were purchased a very low price points, generally $.59-$.79/ lb. I took out 3 hams, 1 for my family, 1 for my in-law’s potluck the day before Easter and one for my friend. The next day my friend called to say more of their very large extended family would be coming for Easter & could I accommodate 24 people? Out of the freezer came ham #4. My friend’s mom passed away the day before Easter and their grieving family in town grew to 37. Out of the freezer came ham #5. I made giant pans of rice pilaf very inexpensively from bulk rice & homemade chicken stock from my freezer, I steamed several lbs of frozen broccoli which is a loss leader right now at our local grocery & purchased a 5# bag of carrots, several lbs of cucumbers and cut some celery out of my yard for a fresh veggie tray. A few other friends rounded out the meal with desserts & rolls. It was nice to be able to frugally serve another family.

    That meal was a great help to me in cleaning out my freezer. I made my first purchase from Zaycon. 40lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.69/ lb. I skipped grocery shopping one week last month to place the order. We have not had this particular cut of chicken in some time because I have not been able to find it inexpensively. Regular price here is $5.99/ lb and while it routinely goes on sale for $3/lb that is still too much for me. That 40lbs of chicken became 19 meal size packages, and the scraps went into broth. The very next week the same boneless, skinless chicken breast went on sale at my local grocery for $1.18/ lb! That price is unheard of! Under my husband’s raised eyebrows, I bought 21 more lbs of chicken, trimmed it, wrapped it & stashed it in my freezer. Pork shoulder roast (untrimmed in the bag) was on sale for $.69/lb (each bag has 2, 6-8 lb roasts in it.) I bought the limit (2) and borrowed a friend’s giant crock pot to cook the pork roasts over a series of days into carnitas, green chile pork, hawaiian smoked pork & BBQ pulled pork and then packaged into meal size portions for the freezer. I also found 2 5lb chuck roasts marked down to $1.98/lb. And 7 1lb packages of pre-made ground sirloin burgers. Each package was marked down to $1.25. Normally, pre-made is not my thing but I haven’t seen ground sirloin that low in a long time. I wrapped them well with little squares of parchment paper between the patties and in to the freezer they went. I was given a 14lb thawed turkey from the same friend who gave me the ham because she had received the turkey free with purchase at Thanksgiving, thawed it to make for Easter but then opened the package and encountered a raw turkey for the first time, declared it too gross to touch and called me to take it before she threw it away. This meant we unexpectedly had turkey for Easter and the ham will wait. Needless to say, my freezer is very full of meat which is always nice, but I don’t want to look at raw meat for some time.

    Other frugal happenings include finding 2 large & pretty drink dispensers, 4 pie servers and 2 cake stands at my mother-in-law’s house in her storage that just need to be cleaned up and can be used at my daughter’s wedding reception. I found a Mother-of-the-Bride dress that I don’t despise. It was at a fancy store on clearance marked down from $119 to $54 and by joining the mailing list I received a further discount of 30% off my purchase. I also received $20 in “bonus dollars” for the store that I will use in two weeks when they have their big Spring sale (probably for a single scarf or t-shirt, but free is free, right?) The dress is fancy enough for my daughter’s taste but not so over the top that I will never wear it again. My daughter has sparkly heels and matching flats from a previous formal occasion and she has decided that these will work perfectly for her wedding.

    Every year Easter brings a road trip to Grandma & Grandpa’s. For the past 17 years they have hosted a giant egg hunt for their community. We go to help out every year. We checked out audio books from the library for the 4 hour car trip to my in-laws house and while we were at the library we checked out movies to take with us because Grandma & Grandpa love to watch a movie every night. I made several loaves of bread and sandwich things to take with us to make sandwiches. Also in our cooler was breakfast sausage I pre-cooked so we could have sausage & toast in the mornings, homemade spaghetti sauce & pasta for one dinner & pre-cooked ribs & potatoes for baking for another dinner. We even brought a ham for the egg hunt potluck. Before we left I made a batch of banana muffins, a couple dozen cookies and popped some popcorn for snacks. I cut up some veggies as well and we filled water bottles. While we were there the kids got to go fishing in the evenings, explore the property and do all kinds of chores that they don’t normally get to do here in the city. We spend 3 days doing yard work on 6 acres, scrubbing lawn furniture, cutting limbs or trees that have fallen over the Winter, transplanting things that are not where they want them and filling in any gaps in the landscaping with new plants. It is hard work, but the kids have a great time.

    I was happy to get home and exhausted but instead of running through fast food, I thawed a container of chili & a package of cornbread muffins for a simple dinner & went to bed!

    Have a frugal week everyone

  43. I found some excellent deals this past week. The Town Money Saver book that occasionally comes in the mail usually doesn’t have coupons that are useful to me, but this time they had coupons for the local bakery outlet store. I was able to get 5 loaves of white bread, 4 loaves of wheat bread, a bag of pretzels, a package of cookies and some drink mix packets for only $9.00. After that, I went to Walmart and came across a clearance sale where everything was $1.00. I bought my 8 year old son a pair of gray dress pants, 2 school uniform shirts, an “Ireland” t-shirt left from St. Patrick’s Day, a pair of khaki shorts for my 19 year old son, and 2 bags of individually wrapped chocolate candy for a total of $7.00! I found a free crochet pattern on Pinterest to make homemade face scrubbies/makeup remover pads that use up the small amount of cotton yarn I have left over after I crochet dishcloths. We ate all meals at home (except one lunch that I went to with 2 of my friends). I made a batch of powder laundry soap that used Ivory soap that I purchased awhile ago with coupons- 16 bars of soap for $2.75. I made homemade air freshener spray and homemade eyeglass cleaner. We watched a movie from the library and I renewed a magazine I used to enjoy getting because they offered me a half price renewal along with a free book. My 8 year old son came home wanting $8.00 to purchase a fancy yo-yo from the school fund raiser because they had a presentation. I told him I could get a yo-yo for him that would be better. I bought him one at Dollar Tree that he was perfectly happy with. I know it was a fund raiser for the school, but that much money for a yo-yo is crazy.
    On the not-so-frugal front, I spent too much on Easter candy for the kids and I am STILL waiting on my tax refund. I e-filed at the beginning of February but made a mistake due to the whole healthcare thing, so I had to send additional information. Once we receive the refund, we will be ALMOST debt free. Less than $800.00 left to pay off as soon as possible. I REALLY wanted to be debt free by now (not counting the house) but groceries and “life” keep making that really, really hard and I get discouraged. I know we don’t owe much, but we don’t make much either so it is difficult. I am trying to stay positive and keep moving forward. I really enjoy everyone’s posts every week to keep me inspired-thank you for sharing them.

  44. Milk of magnesia is typically used as an antacid for an upset stomach or to relieve constipation, so it will be located in the medicine/personal care section of the store.

  45. I love using that Dawn/Vinegar mixture on my fiberglass shower. You are right that it is strong smelling but it’s not unpleasant or toxic. Soap scum is so easy to remove with that stuff!

  46. Most welcome Miriam and glad we could help.

    The addition of the lemon juice just cuts and cleans out a bit more of the dirt from the timber. We find we get a build up of dust on the furniture & blinds in the lounge room after winter when we have the slow combustion stove on in winter to keep us warm, from the fine dust particles that fly everywhere.

  47. Hi Jean and so wonderful that you have such good friends that are like minded as yourself and what a blessing to have a long time friend who helps you as well. So good that you network and pass on the wonderful foods that you are both able to get to help other struggling families. The looks on the faces of those recipients of that food is true gratitude & happiness.

    Like one lady said to me at church who had lost her business and house in the financial crisis with tears in her eyes when she saw me donating a box of pantry staples for our Christmas appeal “You just don’t know how much that box of food will mean to someone, it just may mean the world”. Those words are something that has always stayed with me.

    Like yourself we are blessed to have a good network of friends and we all help each other out, much like everyone here does by sharing their ideas we are supporting and uplifting each other in hard economic times. We too have friends we share the use of equipment, barter, and exchange goods & vegetables with along with sharing information on specials on groceries & things we find. It all makes a difference and by networking we are all blessed and able to offer service to others with minimal cost.

    We likewise

  48. Thanks, Brandy! I hope to put it outside, but we’re still in the 20’s-30’s most nights. The days are getting warmer but we have a long way to go. Some of the petals have fallen off; i thought it was shock from the trip. My plants tend to do better if i don’t pay too much attention to them. I kill them with kindness…

  49. No, the doll dress I make are not for sale. These will go to Africa. I make clothes for dolls collected by other members of our church. Our church has an orphanage in Africa for children who have been left without parents because of the AIDs. There are more than 400 children in the home and half of them are under age 12 and most seem to be girls. I just quilt and have lots of scrap fabric (been a quilter and fabric HOARDER more than 40 years) I have to buy elastic sometimes and snaps etc. but that is little when I think of the children playing with something I made. I make simple clothes that fit dolls from Cabbage Patch to American Girl. The clothes are simple to sew and take about 30 minutes per piece. I mix and match my fabrics too. I have been known to sew some scraps together to make a piece big enough to cut a dress sleeve or a diaper. As a quilter I know all about how to mix my fabrics so it does not stick out like a sore thumb. Sewing is just something I do as a de-stress. I have a child/son going on 39 that is not doing well with his life choices. (I am raising his sons for example and have had custody since 2001) I keep thinking he will make better choices and get his life in order and it seems to get worse. So when I can not sleep I go to my machine. Between that machine and prayer I get through the evening without losing my mind. Today I hand basted 3 dresses that are reversible and 10 more diapers made from the scrap fabric. (these will go with the dresses) I am making some Bitty Baby doll clothes today. Got the patterns free from the internet. In a few months I will take the clothes I have made to the church and the ladies and I will match it up with the dolls. (it is a great way for adult women to play with dolls) I also try to make boy things too. Pants, shirts, and pajamas that can pass for a boy doll. Mostly I make a simple diaper/dress combination and pajamas and for boy dolls some jeans and shirts and boy pajamas. I have an old Millie Hines pattern for Cabbage Patch clothes that came out in 1981. Got it out of Women’s Day magazine. It has a cute easy to sew pajama pattern that looks very much like the baby romper zipper up the front 1 piece clothing that babies wear today. I make that a lot too. It is easy. I use a zipper in the front. Sometimes I can use a zipper I already have. Other times I use snaps. Not sew in snaps. I use the pliers and add a snap like on professional made clothes. They are not expensive if you buy in bulk. I do now that I make a lot of clothes. Other ladies in church make clothes too.
    Also, I live next to the Texas Baptist Children’s home. My first cousin and his wife are house parents there now. They did 4 years of missionary work in Africa and shared a lot of their experience with me. I can not at this time go into the mission field, my family (2 grandsons 16 and 14) and my body (arthritis) will not allow me to go. I hope this makes a bit of a difference. Anyway, my cousin and his wife are house parents in a younger child home. (the kids are 4-7 in age) and I make doll clothes for their dolls too. I only have 1 grand daughter, she is 16 now and going to prom next month, so doll clothes are not her speed any more. She did have a big bunch of clothes for her dolls that she gave to her cousins.

  50. Beautiful flowers Brandy. They certainly brighten up a home.

    Here’s what I got up to last week –

    * Dug into a bag of bits and pieces ready to donate to the op shop and found a pair of new sneakers Megan was donating. I tried them on and they fit perfectly. Their new home is in my wardrobe. It always pays to check what your kids are throwing out.

    * Saved and washed the plastic wrap from some flowers given to me. The plastic will come in handy for another present or bunch of flowers.

    * Cut up some old socks to use as garden ties.

    * Cut up a cereal bag to use as go between for burgers and crumpets.

    * Picked a good handful of raspberries. I’m counting the days until the plants have finished fruiting for the season.

    * Bought one punnet each of broccoli, mixed lettuce and silverbeet to plant in our veggie garden. Of course I made sure I picked punnets with the most seedlings to get extra value for money.

    * Gratefully received a fuel docket from a blog reader. Thankyou Tania xoxo

    * Darren made one dozen hot cross buns for us all to enjoy. So yummy and much better than anything you can buy.

    * Refilled the foaming hand wash pumps with shower gel and water.

    * Dried all the washing on the clothesline.

    * Saved the kitchen warm up water to use on the raspberry bushes growing in a pot.

    * Cooked up a leg of lamb on Thursday night and made it stretch for three meals. We had some that night as a roast and tonight we having some of the meat in a shepherd’s pie. The rest of the meat has gone into the freezer for an easy meal in the future

    * Brightened up our home with Easter decorations we’ve bought over the last few years. I resisted the urge to add to our collection.

    * Gratefully received an Easter bouquet from Cath’s daughter Hannah at the last card making day. Hannah had placed a bouquet at each place setting with a lovely Easter card. I was having a tough week with the passing of my friend. This bouquet cheered me up and gave me something pretty to look at in my kitchen.

    I have some photos of my Easter decorations on my blog http://myabundantlife07.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/this-weeks-frugal-tasks-saturday-26th.html

  51. Hi Cindy and great deals picked up in the bread outlet with your coupons and fantastic prices on clothing. Keep up the good work and you will be debt free apart from the mortgage in no time.

    My husband & I have been working on getting debt free since we were married in 2005 which we achieved in 2013, I do have to say it was a huge relief to wake up each morning and know we didn’t owe anyone anything. Well apart from of course MR BILL which we refer to as our regular bills such as rent, utilities, registration & insurances.

    My family had run up bills which totalled around $70,000 in damages to my home and unpaid bills in my name, long story (which I won’t go into and best left in the past) which my husband struggled long and hard to pay off. Needless to say I have deliberately moved away from my family & have no contact which is for the best :D.

    We are now looking forward to a much brighter future and are saving to buy our first home with cash without borrowing. So I understand your pain on debts, but with us it is just the long haul for the next 8 years to save everything we can possibly save to build our new home, that we call the huge no mortgage bill :p.

  52. He’s lucky to have you as his sister! I especially love that you’re a good shopper, so that offering him assistance doesn’t overtax your own budget. Grocery shopping is still one of my weak suits, so I’m afraid my dollars wouldn’t go as far toward helping someone that way. But I’m getting better at it all the time, with the help of this blog and its many clever commenters!

  53. I LOVE that you recycled a duvet cover into a robe, including using the braided trim! What an awesome reuse of that fabric, Cindi!!!

  54. Wow, such awesome scores on meat for the freezer this week, Amber! Have to admit, I’m a bit jealous of those finds.

    I also think it’s lovely that you were able to bless a grieving family with a nice Easter meal that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I’m sure they truly appreciated what you did for them.

  55. Thank you for sharing your week, Amber! I find it very inspiring. We are here (on earth) to share what we’ve got… smiles, our time, hams… 🙂

  56. I remember when I read for the first time that Brandy bought hams and turkey when they were on sale at rock bottom prices around holidays, then cut them up with a meat slicer for sandwich meat. It was such a *dah, that is so brilliant!* moment for me. Up to that point, I was using coupons combined with sales to build my pantry. But this made me start thinking outside the box on how to feed my family. I’m not afraid to buy “perishable items” at rock bottom prices now (including seasonal sales and off the clearance racks) and freeze them to use long after the sales are done.

  57. Rhonda,

    A good time to look for clearance on meats is the first day of a new sale. For example our Safeway or Kroger’s sales start on Wednesdays. Early Wednesday mornings I have often found meat on sale very cheap because they are making room for the new sale items 🙂

  58. Lorna, you are so productive!

    It sounds like your garden is doing well. I can’t wait to plant. Have you saved tomato seeds? Just curious as to how it is done. What variety pumpkins did you plant? A few years ago I started planting Cinderella pumpkins (they are the more squatty ones a deep orange-red). The is more flesh to them than the standard pumpkin so more produce for the same amount of time, space and work 🙂 And they are delicious!

    I like the term “Whipper Snipped” 🙂 Out here people say “Weed Whack” but my honey used to own a lawn care business and the correct term (according to him :)) is Line-Trimming.

  59. Jean, we are also very thankful to have friends like you and Lorna. We try to help each other out as much as we can, a blessing for sure. I just love being able to bless someone.

    When I read of your company from church coming over it reminded me of a time when we had invited 2 couples and their children over for lunch. More people started showing up and we had about 23 people in total. I was serving Chicken Chili and every time someone popped in I threw another can of beans in the chili 🙂 It was an unexpected but wonderful time 🙂

  60. Cindy,

    That is wonderful, you are so close!!! Keep up the good work. I understand that while it might not seem like much, when things are tight it is. You have been doing awesome!!! 🙂

  61. Thank you again Brandy and readers 🙂

    Brandy, I love your floral arrangement! It has inspired me. I found a jar carrier (?) at the thrift several months ago for 25 cents. It holds four jars and is currently hanging from my ceiling with other baskets. I am going to try tinting some jars myself to use for a display. Your breakfast looks wonderful too!

    It has been a busy and stressful couple of weeks with a trip to the ER and losing a baby piglet. Three weeks Monday one of our sows gave birth to 11 babies, they are so cute!!! The smallest one didn’t make it. It lasted a week and we think that a predator may have gotten ahold of her. That same day she was missing, my honey got in the way of another sow and our boar and the boar got him. This is so out of character for him, he is huge but has been such a sweetheart. I guess he turned because our sow was in heat and my husband was in the way. So, we have the butcher coming out the end of April (the soonest he could do this). Once hung for the proper amount of time (sorry to be graphic), we will try the meat to see if there is any boar taint. If not, then we will go ahead with that process and if there is then we aren’t out much money. It’s been bittersweet.

    On a money saving note 🙂

    ~I wanted to thank those that mentioned MissingMoney.com. I learned that I had some unclaimed property in a previous state I lived in so I went to that state’s website to start the claim. Two days ago I received a check for a little over $400.00! This is such a huge blessing! It will be used for a couple of things we need for the vehicle, hunting licenses and then the rest for gardening! I need supplies for raised beds and want to purchase some berry bushes, etc.
    ~We had to use a credit card for new fuel injectors for our truck. A big ouch. We were able to gather points in which we used for a gift card and were able to purchase a crockpot (ours is 20+ years old :)), fireplace gloves, Band Saw blades and a couple of other items we needed.
    ~I received 2 samples in the mail: Twinings Tea and Contact Solution.
    ~I was able to get some free address labels from Shutterfly with the purchase of shipping.
    ~We had a Roast Lamb for Easter and I found the best recipe for it on Food.com. Last night we had leftovers that I sliced really thin and made Gyros with them. I have more lamb left so I am going to freeze that for Gyros for another time 🙂
    ~I used really ripe bananas to make Banana Buns. Similar to a cinnamon roll but the mashed banana is in the dough and it creates a wonderful feeling dough and the buns are tasty too! I only baked a couple for each of us and flash froze the rest for another time.
    ~I had some old herb seeds but decided to try starting them. They are germinating! I wasn’t sure if they would as they are about 3-4 years old. So hopefully they will continue to do well and I will have some more herbs in the garden 🙂 I also planted some perennial seeds: Lady’s Mantle, Rose of Sharon and Honeysuckle. I know it takes along time to get going so I am waiting on those.
    ~I saved the plastic containers from fresh strawberries to use as mini-greenhouses. Thank you Tadpole!
    ~The pigs are doing a great job tilling the garden. Once they are finished rooting, we will be raking some compost over the are and a friend will be using his tractor tiller for us, a blessing!
    ~Made some more cleaners with Clementine peels and white vinegar 🙂
    ~Also made a scrub using equal parts Baking Soda and Borax. I use this on our sinks and it comes out so clean. My husband also uses it to clean his hands after working on our truck, it gets the grease off. I just mix the ingredients in a large ziploc bag and then add essential oil to it. I added a blend similar to Four Thieves called Fighting Five from Eden’s Garden. The blend of oils is supposed to help keep a healthy household, so we’ll give it a try. I have tried oils from Eden’s Garden and really like them, they are much more affordable than the 2 popular brands out there right now.
    ~I gave a friend some Walking Egyptian Onions and she offered us some Strawberry Plant Runners once our beds are made. I am so excited for this and have been wanting strawberries forever!
    ~We already sold 6 piglets, so some of the money made from those will be going into a fodder system for feeding the hogs. The initial investment is expensive (even though we are not purchasing the whole system!), but this will save us from having to purchase feed which can get expensive as the pigs get bigger.
    ~I bartered some soap for Milk Kefir Grains. I have been wanting to try this and since we are able to get Raw Milk (through milk shares) it will be beneficial for our tummies. We already do Kombucha and that has helped us so much.
    ~I also bartered a couple of books for a surprise box from a friend on a message board I belong to. It will be fun to see what comes 🙂
    ~I have sorted through alot of my books and I plan on trying to credit for them at a local bookshop.
    ~Went to the thrift and was able to find 2 pairs of jeans for me at $2.00 each, a couple of tops for 50 cents each and a picture frame for $1.00. It is exactly what I wanted for a print.

    Have a lovely and frugal rest of the week ladies 🙂

  62. I took my kids to play at its indoor play area and then borrowed some movies. I got a $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks and went through Ebates to get a discount and cash back for sending flowers. I also signed up to participate in our neighborhood’s community garage sale. I am thinking of selling water and homemade yeast cinnamon rolls to make an extra money boost during it.

  63. I look forward this post and reading everyone’s comments every week. Thank you, Brandy, for hosting. 🙂

    I decided I’m going to start selling things on Ebay. I’ve sold on Etsy for years so it shouldn’t be too much of a learning curve. I’ll have a decluttered house and a larger savings.

    We utilized the physical library for the first time in awhile. My little one was thrilled. We’ll be going again this week to get another stack of books.

    Here are some other frugal efforts of mine:


  64. Hi Sharon and yes we are happy with the way the garden in going indeed. Like everything you have your success and failures, unfortunately the tomatoes got hit with one of the worst cases of fruit fly I have ever seen, and it appears that everyone else’s in the area did too. I couldn’t save seed from them as after the first crop we picked & ate, thinking of course I would have more, the rest got diseased so had to pull the rest of the plants out. Another simple way if you are planting in season is simply create a line in the soil where you want to plant the seeds, grab ripe tomato cut in half & squeeze seeds into trench, cover with soil and ta da :p, new tomato plants will sprout there.

    I did look into how to save tomato seeds and here is a link – http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3025357.htm.

    We planted Queensland Blue pumpkins and they are great producers but you need a lot of space which isn’t a problem here fortunately, they even grew into the next door neighbours paddock they grew so profusely and their resident sheep had a great time eating the vines along with any that made it up the fence. So at least we were unintentionally kind and offered & fed the sheep some yummy food :p. We also planted some butternut pumpkin which were mildly successful an we got only a few off them as the Qld Blue took over them.

    Love the term “Weed Whacked”, but do agree that you have to whack the weeds to get rid of them :p, strange the different terms we use in each country to describe doing the same task :D. Your husband’s terminology on Line Trimming is absolutely correct as well because you are trimming in a line, and in building hardware terms the machine used is called a line trimmer or in Australian terms the acronym is whipper snipper :).

  65. Hi Roxie and you are indeed making a difference to these orphaned children by making your beautiful dolls clothing. To the recipients I am sure it brightens up their day and if even for a moment takes their minds off the hard life they have experienced so far, it is indeed worth it.

    Love the side benefit too that the adult women can get to play with dolls, after all we as adults are but little children at heart but just in grown up bodies :p .

  66. Hi Sharon and sorry to hear that you lost your little piglet and that your honey got hurt 🙁 , large animals can do some damage to us humans if we get in their way inadvertently.

    I used to have a cattle property and ran beef cattle, one of the heifers whilst I was rounding them up for injections and things with my then young children in tow suddenly got rather nasty and charged at one of my toddler sons, I saw this happening and ran and crash tackled my son to the ground and put my body over the top of him, she got me with her head ( she had been dehorned fortunately previously) and hooves and I had some nasty bruises and abrasions for a while, but it would have been far worse for a child of 3 if she had managed to get to him. Needless to say she was indeed same day booked into be sold at the cattle auctions & segregated in another paddock after injections till sold for safety reasons.

    Great to hear that you are investing in a fodder system, like any initial start up it is usually expensive, but will indeed save you a lot of money in the long run. We average our expenses over usually an 8 year period on machinery and garden purchases and work on making back the cost plus more over that period of time through gardening jobs. Just from our experience most of our lawn mowers, line trimmers etc have an approximate life span of 8 years if maintained properly. Our garden drip irrigation system was to us anyway a huge expense as it spreads over around 180 square metres of gardens beds in the front and back yards too, however well worth the expense as it has paid for itself many times over already in saving us money on buying any vegetables or herbs from the shops for over a year now and we have now made the money back through the sales of vegetables & seeds from the garden. Again our large lower end industrial rototiller was not cheap either, but again has paid for itself in helping supply us with vegetables, we also help other people with digging their garden beds as well as our own, in return we have as trades received a huge amount of hardwood stakes, enormous bales of hay for mulching our gardens with, fuel, herb & vegetable seedlings, eggs and more which is a blessing. Great to hear you have a wonderful friend who is coming over to till your garden beds too :D.

    Those darn vehicle expenses just sneak up on you unexpectedly and yes unfortunately always expensive but good you were able to get a gift card which helped you purchase some items you needed for the home.

    Also your baking soda & borax mix is a great idea. Thought I would pass on another scrub I make here for cleaning the oven and stove tops, sinks etc too which I use when they are really really country dirt harvest dirty :p, which is equal parts of dishwashing liquid and baking soda. I use this to scrub the oven out once I have used an egg flip to remove any build up & around the stove hotplates & also I use this mixture on my non stick baking trays to get off build up as well, with any residual oven gunk stuck to the bottom I use salt with a damp sponge to get the rest off. Of course the magic trick is to put aluminium foil on the bottom of the oven to prevent this. Also a tip for cleaning your oven shelves, take them out of oven, fill bath with hot water to cover, put in half a cup of dishwashing liquid and leave soak for a couple of hours it soften the grease yuck and makes it easy to get off. For any hard areas I just sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge & the rest easily comes off.

  67. Amber, bless you for turning your grief into blessing. You went beyond what you said to accommodate the unexpected guest and I am sure they were immensely grateful! This is were having a stash really allows us to care for others without it being a financial burden. You have been one busy woman!

  68. Celia – I love “if it is in my house and doesn’t have a heartbeat…!!!” There is nothing like a concrete goal and short time frame to focus the attention. You sound so motivated! You Go Girl 🙂 Can’t wait to read your updates. Hope you will continue to share.

  69. I, too, look forward to this post each week. I check-in several times during the week to read everyone’s comments but rarely post my own comment. It seems like I am repeating the same things each week and, so, don’t have anything amazing to report. But it’s in keeping on with being frugal that pays off in the long run.
    I continue to write in my journal what I spend. I have columns for cash, credit and checking account. This method helps me keep on budget no matter how I pay for something. It also has eliminated any surprises when I get my credit card statement.
    I continue to cook all my meals at home. Changed days, for sure. I use to stop in at fast food more then I care to admit to.

    For grocery shopping, I returned to the non-profit grocery store. It sells day-old bread and other foods that have been donated. It’s not the food bank but an actual grocery store that is open 6 days a week. I did have to sign-up to be a ‘member’ but that was very easy. And the savings are amazing. For instance, I bought red and yellow peppers for $0.25/# with a limit. The cost of food is my biggest challenge in my budget so shopping here really helps. The store is located very close to my apartment so it is easy to stop by frequently. It’s a little bit like a thrift store; I never know what will be there so it pays to stop by often.

    The weather has turned warmer and I haven’t had to turn the heat on for two days. Another savings! I’m looking forward to even warmer weather and the chance to use my drying racks outside.

    I continue to turn off lights when I leave the room and turn off electronics with the power bar. Every little bit helps.
    Best wishes to everyone for staying frugal this week.

  70. Be very, very careful about lining your oven with aluminum foil – hubby has found carbon monoxide being leaked into several homes he was auditing due to the homeowner lining the oven with tin foil.

  71. Hi Melissa and you knew I was going to ask you why an oven gives off carbon monoxide gas ?. Thank you too for the information.

    I know I was introduced around 2 years ago to the horrors of uncleanliness of a home when I rented for the first time this house a little over 2 years ago. Is it because the tenants put so much foil in there it breaks the seal around the oven or that it blocks outlet vents on the oven ?, or because the tin foil gives off carbon monoxide gas when heated through deterioration perhaps ?. Is it better to line the oven with baking paper instead ?. Sorry for so many questions but really want like to learn about this as I have never heard of this happening.

    The real estate agents themselves here in Australia even suggest that you line it with foil too. So when I find out the reason I will pass this information onto them as well to stop anyone poisoning themselves :). Incidentally they did install a brand new oven recently for us as the old one the door didn’t shut properly in, and the kitchen has 2 windows in it. We also rented the property as the rent is extremely low compared to other comparable homes in the area & has a large area to grow vegetable gardens whilst we save for our new home with cash.

    To clarify on house uncleanliness, apparently according to the next door neighbour who we get on well with and tells us we are the only quote “normal” people who have rented this house in 25 yrs. The previous tenants used to burn disposable nappies in the fire place to dispose of them during winter ewww got to say. Needless to say the flu in the slow combustion stove was completely blocked, the walls in all the rooms were absolutely black and covered in more than smoke residue from the blocked fireplace and I would say definitely drug residue as well. The toilet had no toilet seat on it and the room had let’s just say residual toilet paper stuck to the walls, the vinyl in the kitchen was an unrecognizable pattern and colour and generally I have never seen filth like it. They even had an oil fire in the kitchen at one time and threw the hot oil in the laundry tub and melted it and had used the oven door as a trampoline. The real estate told us they were sending in cleaners before we moved in but when we arrived with our furniture and belongings the house was still in the same state and not cleaned.

    My husband & I as a welcome to our new temporary accommodation set about cleaning constantly for a week and putting on the toilet seat that was bought new laying on the floor. I set about taking detailed photos of the property in the before and after state for entry purposes reporting sake, whilst seething in my well known redhead state, saying “how could anyone live like this ?”. I sent the real estate all the photos of before and after cleaning, along with my invoice for cleaning products used and in firm but a nice tone demanded 1 weeks rent free which we got. By the way after scrubbing for a week we did eventually find out that the walls were cream and the vinyl in the kitchen a nice pink and grey swirl and the carpets were also rather a nice brown and cream speckle :p.

    The real estate did come and to another inspection after we cleaned it as with the dirt you could simply not tell what was wrong with the place. Now they come through on inspections and the only words that come out of their mouths is “looks so much better & love the gardens, do you have any maintenance problems that need fixing ?”.

    Just thought I would pass this on as I notice that like myself others are spring cleaning, Ohh the joys of a clean and hygienic home and if you have children the clean but lived in effect :).

  72. Melissa, is this connected to gas stoves, as opposed to electric? We have always wrapped tin foil around the racks in our stoves (not on the bottoms as it sounded like Lorna does) and have never had a problem. My father was a volunteer fire fighter for most of my childhood, so when carbon monoxide detectors were being suggested in the homes, we had one right away.

  73. Hi Jen and fantastic you are thinking outside the square in making money, and congrats on the Amazon gift card and signing up for the neighbourhood garage sale.

    It is amazing how every extra dollar we make through our own industriousness makes a difference in our budgets. The way I look at it is we paid money originally for our clothing and household items that we or our family grew out of or don’t need anymore, so it is indeed a way of recouping that money and putting it towards current needed items.

    Like yourself my husband & I are going through our wardrobes of clothing, as I just went up a size, and will indeed sell any clothing that is too small for me or my husband on the internet.

    Good luck with the garage sale and we hope it goes well for you.

  74. Sorry – I should have clarified that it is GAS stoves due to the combustion. Yes, the foil blocks the vents and it doesn’t burn correctly.

  75. Hi Janet and thank you for your love and support. Sometimes it is nice to know that others will stretch their hands out in friendship :).

  76. We call them weed-eaters here. Though they can be toe-eaters if not so careful. I like reading the different terms too.

  77. Hi Brandy, Easter half term holidays here too and I’ve been touching up the paintwork in the hall where the kids have had mucky fingers lol. I’ve also bought a steam cleaner and have been attacking my floors. I will be cleaning carpets next.

  78. At my Dollar Tree it is always on the bottom shelf just to the left of thei cold medicines and pain killers.

  79. Hi Melissa and thanks for the info, will pass the gas suggestion onto the real estate though. We have an electric oven here though, but still as I have worked out & seen over the years that most appliances are not what are known as, sorry for the term “idiot proof” :p .

    For instance in a lot of countries recently we have had people die by cooking on their BBQ’s and camp stoves indoors in cold winter months with closed windows and they have died from carbon monoxide poisoning. When I was nursing a clever gentleman decided to use his lawnmower for a hedge trimmer by picking up whilst going with his hands underneath, well you can well see the results were not good and something he had not intended got trimmed instead.

    Unfortunately what we were bought up as called “common sense” is indeed not common in most people 🙂 .

  80. Hi Athanasia and totally agree with toe eaters and love that 😀 . Particularly dangerous with our weed eater, whipper snipper, weed whacker, brush cutter or more technically line trimmer as ours has 65 cc of power and is more powerful than a moped engine for industrial type use.

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