Euyonomus Branches The Prudent Homemaker 

I trimmed the hedges in the white garden, which have started to fill out again in all the warm weather we’ve had here. I put the longest pieces in a bucket to bring in, and liked them there so much that I decided to leave them as their own arrangement in the kitchen.

I cut green onions, Swiss chard, broccoli, and oregano from the garden. I picked lettuce from the garden.

I planted seeds in the garden for green onions and lettuce.

I thinned spinach seedlings and lettuce seedlings and transplanted all of the thinned seedlings to other spots in the garden.

Nasturium Arrangement The Prudent Homemaker

I cut nasturiums from the garden that had self-seeded into the side of the wall and brought them inside to enjoy in an arangement.

Winter printed some free sheet music from a new site to us, called Musescore.

Wren Skirt The Prudent Homemaker

I sewed a skirt for Wren for her birthday, using a scrap of hand-me-down fabric, and some elastic bought in bulk on sale from Wawak.

We did three haircuts at home this week: my husband’s, mine, and one daughter.

I used my carpet cleaner to clean the carpet in one of the girls’ rooms.

My husband and I had a free date using a buy one, get one free meal coupon and a gift card that we’ve had for years.



What did you do to save money last week?


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  1. That skirt is so pretty! I love the fabric!

    My week wasn’t overwhelmingly amazing, but I did make yogurt and gluten free bread. We packed lunches for our kids when we had to travel out-of-town for an event.

    I finished up a dress I made from a free pattern for my daughter (there’s a picture on my blog – it’s the one on the right). I call it the GOP Debate dress because I listened to the debate when I started it and finished it right before another GOP debate. OF course, there are a LOT of GOP debates, so it’s not that hard to do :).

    I also stocked up on a few gluten free items that are harder to find for us while we were there. My husband and I also watched The Intern after we checked it out from the library for a date night.

  2. We have been so sick the last few weeks that I have wasted alot of food. Not on purpose just to sick to really think and plan out what we were going to eat. So I cleaned out the fridge and reinventoried the fridge and freezer and made lists so I can go back to meal planning and not waste food ! I made rabbit poo tea and fertilized alot of my bulbs and rose bushes along with my peonies. I did plant in my herb garden some onions and lettuce and spinach. Here in the south we tend to have flooding with our spring storms so its too early here to plant anything in the ground with out losing it. So my herb garden is off the patio and up high so it won’t flood. I sprouted enough last week to feed my chickens and they loved it. Worked on taxes more so I could get them turned in to our CPA, hoping we don’t have to pay this year…

  3. Brandy, can you refresh my memory by telling me where online you buy seeds? I looked under the garden section but didn’t see it, might have missed it.

  4. Frugality is a new concept for me but I am learning. Starting small.
    I mended a pair of pajama pants that were too embarassing to wear, even around the house. Mending is a new concept for me. I am following your lead.
    I made homemade bread and used up two bananas to make 5 small loaves of banana bread. I froze 4 for later use.
    I made a large pot of vegetable soup with leftovers that I had previously frozen.
    Thanks for keeping me on track.

  5. – my favorite frugal thing of the week so far is the clothing and accessory swap party I went to. I brought four big bags. What’s left from those bags I’m going to take to goodwill. And I came home with some great stuff: 4 scarves, 4 bracelets, 3 necklaces, one tote bag, one gym bag, one cosmetics bag, one big purse, one shirt, one dress, two pairs of shoes, two gym headbands, Avon foot lotion, a belt and a water bottle. Awesome stuff for free!
    – another snow day for the kids. Made chocolate chip banana bread with bananas that were starting to go bad and some chocolate chips my aunt had leftover from Christmas and gave to me. Daughter is playing at a neighbor friends and my son and I played Trouble, indoor soccer and read short mystery stories that we tried to solve. Because my husband was home this morning I was still able to go to the gym and go to the training class that I already paid for so I didn’t miss out on that even though it was a snow day.
    – Two hour delay this morning. My daughter cracked two eggs thinking she wanted to make scrambled eggs but decided on pancakes instead. I took those eggs and scrambled them with the rest of the leftover potatoes for a yummy breakfast for myself and no food went to waste.
    – Stocked up on some 10 for $10 deals at Meijer with stuff we needed (frozen waffles, Kleenex, cottage cheese, etc). I also had some great coupons for some toiletries I needed ($3 off mascara, $3 off razors ). And found some jewelry on major clearance ($1.50-$3) to put away for gifts. And resisted a beautiful purse that was the perfect shade, shape, texture and size and on sale for $36…but I don’t need one.
    – Sold a nightgown and some kids clothes on eBay
    – Made a huge payment on our car loan to cut the balance in half. While I hate seeing that money go away I love to see the debt get smaller!
    – Went to Sam’s club and stocked up. I haven’t been there in a while so I got lots of toiletries and household supplies. Plus I found toothpaste and q-tips marked down because of damaged packaging! A great price on 5 lbs of chicken and 6 pounds 90% lean ground beef too. I divided those up into pound packages for the freezer. And I was starving when I was there and still had more errands to run so for the first time ever I got a slice of pizza and a drink for $2.64! And got a free sample of fruit snacks from the Sam’s club freeosk!
    – I have been looking for a while in thrift shops for a plant stand without luck. I found something that would work at Meijer on sale for $12. I bought it and a few days later found a beautiful plant stand in the basement with some stuff on top of it so I couldn’t see it. Luckily I didn’t take the tags off the one I bought so I can just return that. Just one more reason to have your stuff organized so you don’t buy duplicates!
    – My friend moved into a new house and wanted to have people over for a dinner party to thank them for helping with the move. She hired a chef (a neighbor friend of hers) and invited 5 couples and we all had a great time and an amazing meal!
    – Listed 8 more things on eBay

  6. Planted the two columnar trees that were delivered into tree pots until the ground thaws sufficiently to plant them. Placed the pots against the south fence by the garden, where they will be safe from strong winds that could dehydrate them.

    Relocated the top 2 Lodgestones on the northern half of the top tier garden wall, to prepare to reset the bottom stone. I just set them on half of the wall that does not need re-set, increasing the tiers there to 5, so they are handy when I need them. Picked up 6 more Lodgestones on a trip to town, as this is “acquisition season”.

    Continued to put the eggshells on the garden. The garlic bulbs I missed digging up last year are sprouting.

    Watched “This Old House” on PBS & followed the coverage of Super Tuesday voting.

    Bought seven 1.25 pound packages of ground turkey from the mark-down bin for $1 each. Those went into the freezer until I took them to our oldest daughter. I also bought 3 pkgs of beef summer sausage for $1.25 each, which also went into the freezer. I arranged to share the case lot sale ad with my oldest daughter, since I would see her on Monday, & she brought our grandson out to Heber on Tuesday night to have his wisdom teeth out Wednesday morning. Since she has to pay for the gas anyway, she shopped at our case lot prices late Tuesday night. She said the price per case was about $2 less per case. She also fit in a visit to the podiatrist while he was here, since the grandson needs a new orthotic.

    Picked up some Auguson Farms potato shreds. Those are very popular with our family & with oldest daughter’s crew as well. They have not been available in the buckets for the last couple of case lots sales, just the #10 cans, so I was glad to see there were a few buckets this time – – and the price went down $10 from the last time I bought a bucket!!

  7. Great photo of the arrangement in the table!

    Still doing very well on the food budget, lots of eating from the pantry and not going out. The used bread maker that I got at goodwill two weeks ago creates 2 lb loaves of bread and the consistency is even better than the old bread maker that went to appliance heaven. Very happy with the results.

    I had two girlfriends in town last weekend and took them to a clothing consignment store. I wondered a bit about their reaction, but they both looked around and were jealous they didn’t have similar stores in their area. Until I became more open minded and actually went to consignment and thrift stores, I didn’t understand their usefulness. Alas, I have other friends who are not good with their money, and wish they would check these places out, but they aren’t ready to see change yet. I get a bit sad at not being able to help people see…I think it must be the same frustration parents feel at watching their kids. ;). Then again, I think back on my earlier years and cringe. 😉

  8. We had a spendy week, but they were necessities: dentist visits, doctor visits, and even a visit to the vet with the cat. The vet does give us a 10% discount because we’re old, though! That’s a plus, since the regular “senior cat well visit” was $180. At least she got a mani/pedi out of it–nails clipped all the way round, which saves us some trouble. Told us the 14 year old cat looked great for her age!

    Tried a couple new recipes last week. They went over well. I made burritos with yellow rice and black beans, and my husband was in heaven. I need to learn more rice and bean combinations, obviously. I am less enthusiastic about beans, but I do eat black beans. That lasted two nights and still there is some rice and beans left. Tonight I made a chicken biryani curry, and we both liked that as well. Some of that is leftover as well, so there will be re-runs later. I get bored without a lot of variety, so I do try new recipes quite often.

    Two family birthdays this week, and neither of those had any wants or needs expressed in time for me to make ahead. I dislike giving cash, but that is what we settled on! I need to do better.

  9. Planted several squash plants. Planted 4 tomato plants (so far, we might still get a freeze so we are being careful) I planted more lavender plants. I planted these by our front porch and the smell so good. I put our out door rug on the porch and the repainted table and chairs. We love to sit there for coffee and muffins on weekends. I have made several sets of new pillowcases for our bed. I get tired of plain white. We have white sheets but I like color pillow cases. A dear friend sent me 3 yards of fabric with dachshunds on it. I just can not figure what to do with it yet. (we own 2 dachshunds and 1 basset) I cleaned out the toys in the spare bed room. As I have done child care for 28 years toys have collected. A few years ago I started doing infant only care and so I felt was time to give the older kid toys away. I had a whole truck load to donate. I got a donation receipt for $205.00 to use next year on taxes. I also planted some fresh herbs out side the kitchen. I love how easy it is to go get something for supper right out my own door. I recovered the seat cover on our porch swing with a shower curtain I got at the thrift store. My porch swing is old and could use a good coat of paint. I have to put that on my list. My husband surprised me with 2 new bird houses. He had to get new license plates this year. He took the old license plates and bent them to be the roof. So cute.
    We ate at home. We got the good news that our insurance is going to cover my husband’s special shoes and my iron infusions. So that is a relief.

  10. I’m going to sound like a parrot here and say how beautiful that skirt is! That’s some nice fabric you chose!

    I really love your flowers. I keep hoping to be able to dig up more of the yard or afford some more planters to plant more flowers around here, but so far I’m kind of stuck for space until we can get a piece of equipment rented and knock some trees and brush down.

    My list for the week can be found here…

  11. I love the skirt you made – gorgeous color!

    We went to CVS and got two 2-packs of toothbrushes and 3 packs of gum. I split the order, used coupons and a 99cent buck from last week. So spent $7.90 OOP and have $8 in bucks to use next time.

    I received a product from Pinecone to try and completed the followup survey. I also completed another Pinecone survey.

    I worked 5 hours overtime.

    I had $613.94 of auctions close on ebay and started some more. We sold a sun canopy and beach chairs we weren’t using on the Facebook garage sale page for $50. We skipped grocery shopping this week.

    We had a date night at WaWa one night after work. We had 2 sheets of coupons and got 2 of everything: free pretzel, free soup, free chips, free iced tea, free large roll of sweet tarts. We paid $10 for 2 foot long hoagies. We didn’t eat everything. I brought my leftover soup and half a hoagie for lunch the next day. We put the chips away for a picnic another day. I put the candy away for my son’s Easter basket. I have one more coupon sheet and will use that one day when we are working at my father’s house.

    Have a great week everyone!

  12. – Stocked up on waffles (our waffle maker bit the dust and I haven’t found a replacement yet) and breakfast sausage for $1 a pkg.
    – Visited the newest grocery store in town and picked up broccoli, onions and potatoes for .25 cents a pound + cauliflower heads for $1 each. I plan on making some broccoli soup this week with it. They also had gluten free waffles for $1.99 a box!
    – Brought the old beagle in to work with me for a bath and nail trim. It’s much easier on my back and knees to do her in the grooming tub than kneeling at the side of our tub at home.
    – instead of buying a bottle of soft scrub with bleach, I just used my regular laundry bleach and soaked an old rag and put in on top of the coffee stains on the counter for about an hour = no scrubbing and no stains 🙂
    – Bought the 3 year county license for our 1 1/2 year old Dane which saved me $6 over buying it yearly. Can’t do that yet for the young one – she only has a one year rabies at this point so can only get a one year license.
    – I had to run over to my parent’s house to help my Dad get some tools listed on Craigslist. Since the bread store is on the way, I stocked up on the bagels my daughter loves ($1 each) and a couple loaves of sandwich bread (.89) that my hubby prefers.
    – Purchased the plastic rolls for my vacuum sealer on Amazon and saved around $4 over the store prices.
    – Found a “new” pair of jeans ($4.99) at the thrift store which I needed to replace a work pair that wore thru in too many spots to be wearable in public any longer.
    – I fixed our older Danes crate – kinda a McGuyver fix but it works since he isn’t an escape artist. Unfortunately he cannot be trusted loose in the house – he eats socks…..clean, dirty – doesn’t matter – he digs thru laundry baskets to find them and then will throw them up somewhere around 3 AM…..he never learns!
    – We purchased the ginger we were out of at the “Indian store” since we knew they carried the really big containers for less than what the small containers cost at the regular store. We also found cheaper black pepper and rice flour there as well. I would recommend looking into a specialty grocery store – our Indian store has just about any spice in large bulk bags for cheaper than any other store + excellent prices on 20+ bags of rice and specialty flours. The Asian grocery in town is also an excellent source of spices, rice and soy sauce. I try and make sure my hubby knows what we are low on if he happens to have a job in the vicinity of either store.
    – I mended a couple items.
    – I cut hubby’s hair

  13. Probably most folks know that just-picked nasturtiums are very edible. Just a few in a salad add a peppery taste and their gorgeous color. Sometimes when I garden, I pop one or two in my mouth as I work along. Of course, this is almost always the moment when one glances up to a neighbor watching with their eyebrows slightly raised. I guess an older woman hunkered down in an overgrown garden, munching flowers, is a tad odd. I live in the upper Midwest and am anxious for our Spring to begin.

  14. Hubby and I just finished making 35 planter box kits for our Relief Society activity night tomorrow night. Each lady will go home with a completed wooden planter box that will go over 4-1/2 gallon plastic buckets. We made them out of scavenged wood pallets that we deconstructed and buckets that Sam’s Club gave us, so there will be no cost to the participants! We are hoping to encourage them to try gardening even on a small scale!

    We replaced 2 of our three furnaces before the winter set in this year and although the winter has been a bit warmer, we also had 4 extra family members living with us this winter, so those 2 things cancel each other out! We pay a level pay of $103/month for the gas. Our bill just came and they are adjusting it down to $33/month through August because our usage is down so much! That’s a $70/month decrease!!!

    One of our daughters is going to have a baby in April- she is in northern CA, I am in Ohio. I was able to find a sale and paid $256/ round trip to fly out there!! Normally it would be $450 or so round trip! It would have cost much more if I had driven out! This will give me more time to be out there helping!

  15. It’s been an up and down couple of weeks.

    On the not-so-frugal side of things we invested in a new dishwasher (our old one died over a year ago), a larger food processor, and two tires for my husband’s truck (ouch!). :p

    However, on the frugal side of things, we:

    Purchased the cheapest model dishwasher on sale, and hubs installed it himself.
    Bought the food processor at 75% off.
    Used butternut squash from last summer’s garden for homemade soup.
    Lowered our February electrical bill by 4%.
    Used white vinegar instead of fabric softener in the laundry.
    Harvested lemons from our tree and made lemon-honey muffins and lemon-coconut bars.
    Made granola using Brandy’s recipe.
    Made all of our bread.
    Harvested kale and tomatoes (!) from a vine that overwintered in the garden.
    Paid bills on line.
    Checked out books and DVDs from the library.
    Hubs planted the spring garden.
    Used water from our rain barrels in the garden, and then refilled the barrels during the most recent storm.

    That’s all I can think of for now. Have a great week, everyone.

  16. I planted potatoes, onion sets, lettuce seeds, beets and swiss chard in my raised garden beds. It is a little late for potatoes and even lettuce, but I planted the lettuce where it will get some afternoon shade. Hopefully, that will extend the life after things heat up in June.
    I ordered a vit c serum for my skin care regieme with a $5 off coupon code. I am spending more money on my skin care, but I think it is a necessary expense. It is important for my well-being and I want to fight the aging process as much as I can. Luckily, there are any GREAT products at the drug stores and many have coupons. I was able to print 3 $2 off coupons for Cerave products. They have a wonderful hydrating cleaner, moisturizer and I am about the by their serum.

  17. Hello Brandy and all from Australia :).

    Here is my husband’s & my frugal accomplishments for the week and I thought I would start off with major financial accomplishments first.

    Major financial accomplishments –
    – For the month of February my husband & I saved 47.62% of our total income not net (+10% tithe), for our house savings 😀 for our first home together, doing a happy dance now, and as I am a completely unco-ordinated dancer it is best you don’t see it 🙂 .
    – Reigned in overspending in grocery stock ups from January & February down by $105.33 down to just $22.44 in the red.

    Groceries, clothing & footwear –
    – Purchased a pair of leather steel capped work boots for my husband for $40 new on special saving $29 on usual prices.
    – Bought 2 tins of spam for 50% off regular prices saving $4.90.
    – Topped up on cocoa powder, sausages and bacon at the usual lowest prices as they rarely come on super special.
    – Purchased a tin of pears at another shop on special saving .29c on usual Aldi prices.
    – Found 2 x 3kg bags of oranges on special @ $3.99 kg or .60c lb and saved $9.96 on usual prices. These have been running here lately in price @$2.99 kg.

    In the kitchen –
    – Cooked all meals from scratch, except one night we were tired and purchased a cooked chicken on special for $7.95 saving $3.05.
    – Made all bread from scratch using our bread machine.
    – Made our yearly supply of orange juice cordial for $9.18 saving $48.92 on usual prices of fresh juice cordials for sale here.
    – Incidentally in pricing like for like of the cordial we make here, I was totally shocked at what chemicals such as sulphite (bad for asthmatics), flavours, homogenised & pasteurized reconstituted juice, thickeners, chemical sugars & artificial colours go into the shop purchased ones. No wonder ours tastes so much better !.
    – We also made 2 x 2lt bottles of citrus vinegar and used the remaining peels less zest for the compost pile.

    In the garden –
    – supplement watered all new seedlings planted with rain water from our tanks.
    – planted marigold seeds given to us by a friend in the vegetable patch.
    – Picked our first ever grown here, Queensland Blue pumpkin from our garden, shall make some lovely soup later in the week with it.
    – Planted another 2 x 2 metre patch of sweet corn seeds & amended soil with homemade compost & blood meal fertiliser as we are getting prolonged heat, so should be able to sneak in another crop before the weather cools down for winter.
    – Made 2 more layers of compost from vegetable peelings from the kitchen.

    Have a wonderfully frugal week one and all.

    Gardening money earned –
    – My husband made $125 from odd lawn mowing jobs.
    – I made $13 from the sale of pumpkin seeds on Ebay from a pumpkin we were gifted for doing service for a friend.

    Gardening money spent –
    – Purchased a much needed light bulb for my sewing machine for $5.
    – Bought a metal swivel whipper snipper head for my husband’s whipper snipper for $66.45, as the plastic ones just break and are not heavy enough duty to handle the horse power on the whipper snipper we purchased.
    – Used $9.95 to purchase groceries with.
    – Purchased a pair of work boots for my husband & 1 pair for myself that had worn out.

    Craft money earned prepping household purchases –
    – 6 x kerosene fire flint lighters from Ebay for $1 ea.
    – 6 x pairs of wool/acrylic/cashmere socks for myself for winter for $1.99 pr, usually $9 pr in shops here, saving $42.06 in total.
    – Purchased 10 x disposable poncho raincoats for 72 hr kits & general use for $4.99 total, usually $5 ea in shops here, saving $45.01.
    – Purchased 2 x 8 pce stainless steel measuring cup & spoon sets for $11.28 from Ebay, saving $53.40 on prices we pay in shops here.

  18. Hi Mary Beth and so laughed at the visual of mature woman eating flowers in the garden & looks from neighbours you may get.

    On that note do not feel alone as my husband & I were picking strawberries from the garden and I had more than my husband had picked and he had noticed saying well are you going to give me some ?. Of course in all playfulness I was putting them behind my back and put a silly look on my face and said nope. Our neighbour popped his head over the fence and caught us at play and was laughing so hard his face had turned bright red. As he knows we take nothing seriously in our home and regularly joke around fortunately he saw the funny side.

    My husband & I and the neighbour can be regularly caught picking and eating produce out of the garden in the front yard and I have noticed all the other neighbours staring in amazement at us on many occasions too. We regularly give our ne!xt door neighbour excess vegetables from our gardens and he regularly gives us excess produce from local farmers in the area that he has been given too. So wonderful to have good neighbours !.

  19. Your arrangements are very lovely. I was looking down into the bottom of the vase and couldn’t detect any floral foam. Do you use it? How do you make them so professional looking? And, how long do nasturnium last in a vase?

  20. Hello everyone! Brandy that skirt is gorgeous! And I love that arrangement on the table.
    Last week:
    I had excellent timing and got $75 (Aldi prices) worth of produce for FREE! I saw the employee culling produce and asked what they do with it, already knowing they throw it away, and she said throw it away and asked if I wanted it. I of course said yes and quietly met her out back. 😀 I think she was appalled at the food waste. In the end I threw away one lemon, three potatoes, 1 single blackberry, some green grapes, 5 strawberries and two cut off ends of those little tiny gourmet cucumbers. I got: two bags of potatoes, two bags of apples, a clamshell of blackberries, two clamshells of strawberries, a bag of plums, oranges, lemons, “baby” cucumbers, 1 green bell pepper to name some of what I got. I also got, using a couple, three free boxes of cheese crackers, a favorite snack around here. For free!! It really struck me how wasteful our stores are, throwing away an entire bag of produce because 1 or two in the bag went bad. I am so glad I asked! My mom also gave us a container of chocolate covered chewy toffee she didn’t want.
    We cooked all meals from scratch and ate at home. I made apple crisp as a sweet snack and power balls.
    I hung all but one load of laundry up to dry. I had a big load of towels, rags, etc that I dried in the dryer due to no room to hang them up.
    I turned the heat off for awhile yesterday when I got home from work. My hubby had the doors open due to beautiful 63 degree weather, but left the heat on……
    I found a brand of wet cat food my cat likes which enables me to stretch his very expensive prescription dry cat food. I feed the cat 1/4 of a can every day at dinner. I also feed my dog 1/3 of a can of wet dog food at dinner, this keeps her from using the litter box as a candy dish, which isn’t frugal but gross lol.
    Have a great week everyone!

  21. Great prices on turkey and sausage!! Our ground turkey is 2.49 lb; the sausage runs about the same. Our sausage ‘sales’ are about 2.00 each. I don’t think i’ve ever seen ground turkey on sale here.

  22. This past week was a blur of cleaning, packing, sorting, donating and trash burning. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but it’s just consuming us right now. Again, the way we saved the most money was by gratefully accepting any and all help that was offered to us so we didn’t have to pay people to do needed repairs, etc.

    We had a man paint the basement walls. A group of 5 men and young adults came Saturday and did outdoor clean up and finished the basement. There are still full jars of home-canned produce down there, and growing piles of bins being stored down there to save renting a storage unit for a while. Those things will stay until the end, because they are needed. Another huge pile of trash was burned, which saves on garbage bills and keeps anyone from having to haul the trash to the dump.

    The van was filled 2-3 more times, and the small car was filled once. These things were donated to a rummage sale benefitting our daughter’s upcoming mission trip, and charity thrift shops. The rummage sale earned over $4,000 for the kids, so that was outstanding. I’ve found a home for one of my freezers. I’m not keeping them all and now need to empty that one (plenty of room now in another one to put the things) and get that moved out of here.

    I cooked quite a few things, and pulled items from the freezer to use up several times. We did eat the same soup a few times–quantity is taking precedence over variety right now because we are so busy!

    I put a full moving update on my blog.

  23. I love the cascading flower arrangement and the lovely birthday skirt you made, Brandy! You really have a lovely sense of style.

    Despite having a rather sick child this week, I was able to accomplish a lot on the the frugal front. Here are my frugal accomplishments for this week:
    *Attended a huge Restaurant trade show with my husband and a co-worker. We didn’t need to buy any lunch as there were so many food and drink samples to try that we were full before we got to the end of the trade floor. We brought a bunch of samples home to share with our daughter. Some of them I put aside for my daughter to use in her bagged lunches. We also picked up several nice pens (our yearly supply), 2 sticky note pads, a Frisbee, 2 purse size spray bottles of hand sanitizer, a really cool travel lint brush, 4 reusable bags and a few other promotional items with company logos on them. It was a really fun day!

    *Filled my half empty gas tank when gas was at $0.73/litre.

    *Did a huge shopping trip this week, before yet another snow storm hit, and found some great bargains to stock up on. I bought 6 margarine containers for $0.88 each (normal sale price is $1 each), 6 packages of cheese slices for $1.88/24 slice pack (my freezer stock was getting low and my family loves grilled cheese sandwiches), 3 large packages of boneless, skinless chicken breast from Costco that had $4 off each pack (I found the smallest packs, making them under $20/pack), 6 loaves of bread for $1.33/loaf (normal price I pay is around $2/loaf), 3 cans of baked beans for $0.72/can, 4 packages of English muffins for $0.88/pack of 6 (normal sale price $1), 2 bricks of butter for $2.97/brick (normally closer to $4/brick), a bag of potatoes for $1.88/10lb bag and 2 big bags of mixed apples (easily over 3 lbs each) on clearance for $1/bag (3lb bags of apples are close to $4/bag right now). I also stocked up on some basic pantry items, like a 20lb bag of AP flour, huge bag of chocolate chips, toilet paper, cat litter, dry cat food and a few other items that were low. I used $30 worth of loyalty points to help offset some of the cost. My mother also paid for about half as we will be giving a bunch of groceries to my brother, who is also struggling financially, when he comes for Easter.

    *Filled the dehydrator twice with apple slices (using up one bag of the cheap apples) along with another batch of raspberry/applesauce fruit leather (using frozen raspberries from 2014) and orange/applesauce fruit leather (using an orange too soft to eat fresh).

    *My husband made up a big batch of chicken souvlaki with 2 packages of the Costco chicken I bought. We left it in the fridge for 24 hours, before I packaged up 5 family sized meal portions for the freezer. The other package was divided into 4 packages of single chicken breast and 2 packages with two chicken breasts.

    *I decided to clean out the freezers a bit. I put 4 freezer burned chicken pieces, 2 bags of chicken bones, a bunch of frozen veggie peelings/scraps I had saved, some left over bits of frozen veggies, an onion, 2 big bay leaves, some peppercorns, some salt and a good helping of minced garlic into a big stock pot and made a huge batch of chicken stock. I packages up 8 baggies with 2 cup portions in each for the freezer and used some for dinner.

    *Meals at home included chicken fingers with rice and corn (I needed a fast meal after taking my daughter to an eye appointment), cream of cauliflower and cheese soup (using some of the homemade chicken stock and frozen cauliflower from 2014) with homemade French bread, garlic chicken wraps with herbed potato wedges, ham steaks with mashed potatoes and green beans, meatballs with white rice and carrots, and a leftover night to clean up the fridge.

    *We used some gift cards my daughter won at school and some cash to buy a dozen donuts as a treat one night saving $4 off the cost.

    *The city we live in boasts a minor hockey team (the next step for the players is the NHL). My husband decided he really wanted to go watch a game on Sunday. He couldn’t find anyone to go with him, so he went by himself. While standing in line to buy his ticket, a man walked up to him and asked if he was buying a single ticket, to which my husband replied “yes”. The man then gave him a free ticket (he was a season ticket holder and had an extra ticket not being used that night). So my husband was able to see the game for only $4 for parking!

    Can’t wait to read everyone’s accomplishments! Wishing you all a wonderful frugal week!!!:D

  24. I would count the purchase of a larger food processor as an investment in your future frugal practices. That’s amazing you were able to buy it at 75% off! As for the tires…well those are a necessary cost that keeps you safe on the road. Sometimes money spent out of pocket is just worth the investment!!! 😉

  25. I used a flower frog in the bottom.

    I took a floral arranging class in college; I think that I use the skills from that class the very most, with my public speaking class skills being not far behind. We used foam in class, however. I’ve been wanting to try flower frogs for years, and am just starting to use them this year. I’ve also used chicken wire, put into a ball. I like that a lot, but it rusts, which is not good looking in a clear glass container.

    Nasturiums are generally good for 5-7 days in a vase.

    These ones self-seeded into the side of the wall, and I had to cut them out, so I decided to arrange them rather than just toss them 🙂

  26. I pray you find a small, efficient, reasonably priced house you like and that the children will be happy in, and that you have a peaceful move.

  27. Love the color of the skirt. Growing up I had a very similar one (embroidery wise). My mom was a dressmaker and she would make these by a dozen 🙂
    I did not appreciate it then, I wanted to wear store bought dresses, just like my friends did. Looking back, I know how much love goes into all the handmade things. Absolutely love this one.
    As far as frugality, I got some extra $$ last week (swagbucks, ebates, etc), I also cooked all but one meal (I think..). Definitely working long hours makes me NOT want to go shopping. 😉
    My weekly update is here:

  28. Thanks. The next move is to SELL this one:) So, we’ll see what happens when it goes officially on the market! But, much to be done this week to get ready.

  29. Marcia, I love tex -mex/rice and beans but even I like a little change in their “variety”
    I recently tried these 2 beans and rice recipe and they were a hit in out house.
    The second one, I used a bell pepper in lieu of the Cubanelle – and didn’t notice a difference. This recipe is also reminds me of a meatless chili. Anyway – I’ve been looking for some one to share this discovery with – so lucky you! 🙂

  30. Where did you go out to dinner with the coupon? I know that’s a rare treat for you, so I hope it was a lot of fun. We’ve also had bad experiences dining out in the past, which you’ve posted about, and I know what a disappoint that can be!

    To stay frugal, I continue to shop the sales and use coupons/rebates whenever I can. Last week, I stocked up on monthly and weekly deals at Rite Aid. I got free pain patches, free haircare, free Colgate, and free Arnicare gel. I wasn’t allowed to use a Bogo coupon on Purina dog food at CVS because the manager claimed “we’re losing too much money” and they pulled every bag off the shelf. My favorite deal was finding $0.15 bananas at Target. All of my purchases with pics can be found here:

  31. There is an Indian store and an Asian store in my area that I’ve always wanted to try and never did. Hearing about the great prices you found just gave me a needed push. Thanks!

  32. Love the Nasturtiums – I am drawn to orange right now. 

    Found a free to print adult coloring page – flowers- printed and had some therapeutic coloring time. I then used it to wrap a small gift.
    I finally sewed my citron green accent pillow. For the stuffing, I used stuffing from a stuffed chair that was no longer useable. We had cut the chair up with a reciprocating saw to for the trash collectors, and I had collected/stored some of its stuffing. It was just enough for the pillow.
    I started prepping salad greens for the week by buying (soon growing) 2 types of lettuce, a head of purple cabbage, and shredded carrots. This allows for a large salad daily for about 43¢ per salad for the week. I wash, salad spin the greens store in a large container with a cotton cloth. When ready I top with veggies or a diced apple. Makes life easier and saves in the wallet to boot!

    Saved up for another $5 Amazon GC with Bing Rewards. By the end of the month I should have another $10 in Amazon GC.
    My husband brought home 2 very sturdy Apple iPhone/iPad boxes. He thought I could cover the lid and use for gift or storage boxes. I covered one with small felt flowers. I will use that for an upcoming bridal shower, the larger one, I plan on using for a storage box on my book case.
    I shredded more free newspapers to put in our compost (breaks down faster) for better dirt.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

  33. Terri, I just love bluehousejournal!! I’m reading in 2014 right now and it feeds my soul.

    Brandy, I so appreciate this site and all you do!

    Our frugals for the week: I do so much better with menu planning and list making, so I kept up with that. My husband took me away for my birthday last weekend. Instead of a fancy trip, we went north an hour and stayed in a nice hotel using points from his business travel. We brought breakfast and snacks with us and split our meals “out” into two meals. It was bliss to get away with my sweetheart. On the trip, we stopped at a thrift store and I was able to pick up a brand new hand juicer and two new skirts for my 15 year old daughter for under $10. Thrift stores and garage sales are about the only places to buy modest skirts anymore. One was brand new, tags still on…I just needed to pinch an inch in on the waistband…perfect! Other than the trip, we have only eaten at home. We are working hard at cutting down our meat consumption and the kids and hubby are adjusting well. That is saving us quite a bit on grocery money. I’m starting seeds for a deck garden, which is fun…thinking of spring!

  34. your entry table arrangement is just SO PRETTY!!!!!!
    I plan on making the girls skirts this year, the weather is so close!!!

    I used grocery money to buy seeds online. I also received a $5 coupon when I signed up for the emails that I was able to use after making out my list and talking with hubby about what he wanted to include.

    My 1/4 cost-ed a bit less than what I was expected so I was able to make a amazon order !

    only went out to eat once.

    We have only told a handful of people that we are expecting #4 after a miscarriage in November. We are so thankful but I had an early scare already that I had an ultrasound for which I have a followup this Friday. prayers appreciated! Thankful for good insurance!

    We invested money into a tablesaw for my husband, to “thank me” for it he has built me a stand/small bookshelf with a bottom drawer from leftover wood and materials/paint we already had just needs sanded and painted!. Love that man!!

    adjusted budget to reflect the debt we paid off from our tax return (spent ALL on debt!) yay!

    bought kids clothes the needed from clearance! I will be trying to sell some of their old stuff on FB this week.

    Used less meat in meals this week- either chopping it finer (casserole), not using any (spaghetti), or filling in with extra veggies (pizza)

    signed up a couple more bills to be paperless.

    Had an at home date- ice cream and a movie. .. we also worked on our sons room this weekend.! .. and we also had a pizza (homemade) and movie night with the kids – the good dinosaur.

    Question Brandi or anyone really: how do you budget for your garden? do you give yourself a set amount each month? take money from other categories when needed?

  35. momsav, those are not “sale” prices. The mark down bin contains meat that must be sold within 24 hours (before the last sale date). When I buy it, I either have to use it, or freeze it, that day. It is usually marked down by at least 50%, but if there is a lot, sometimes they go lower than that. This is how I have purchased our meat for the last 10 years.

  36. ~Haven’t posted in a few weeks due to hectic schedule so this is from the past 2 weeks. Our church hosted Winter Relief for the homeless 2 weeks ago and DH and I were very involved. Since we spent every evening at church, we had dinner there every night so no cooking or shopping for a week. My friend and I provided mending services for the guests which was very appreciated and a joy to do. We had a great week and met lots of nice people.
    ~I continue to sell on Amazon and have been averaging 7-8 items a week. Not a lot but I have not been actively pursuing inventory so no real financial outlay involved at this. I have cleared $500 in profit since the first of the year. I also continue to use a mystery shopping app that has allowed me to make over $500 since the first of the year. With 2 in college every bit helps!
    ~Last week I was diagnosed with a severe case of bronchitis. A doctor’s visit isn’t exactly frugal but is a lot cheaper than an ER visit. As an asthmatic I have to be careful and not let things get to far along. The great thing is the PA gave me a refill on the steroids without me even asking which will save me in the long run. I will refill it when Rite Aid has a $25 point offer for a Rx transfer.
    ~During a mystery shop at Walgreens I found sunscreen marked down 75% off. With our red head freckled complexions we are always in need of it so happy to find a deal.
    ~I did go to a church sale on Saturday as I was feeling a bit better. I picked up about 6 canning jars, including 2 purple ball jars, a stack of comics for my sons, a 5 gallon water jug, a new in the box ceiling light, some holiday decorations for resale, an 18 qt. Nesco roaster as well as lots of books and CDs and other items. I went when it opened and bought quite a few things and then swung back by at noon when they had fill a bag for $5. That’s when I got the roaster which sells for $60, a pair of wall sconces in the box that I will sell on FB, some jewelry and all the CDs and most of the books. I’ve listed several of the books on Amazon and sold one the next day for $12. My goal is to always sell enough to more than cover all the purchases I keep. I will be listing more items this week and taking many of the CDs to the used book store for credit.

  37. My frugality for the week really benefited someone else. I won two free tickets to see the comedian Brian Regan, think retail value was at least $150. I was out of town by myself pet-sitting and could not use them. It was really short notice (won them at noon for 8pm show) and none of my friends, loved ones or FB friends could use them. Not wanting them to go to waste I posted them on a local FB Mom’s page. The first person wanted me to drive 17 miles to deliver them, No I’m giving them to you for free I am not going to make a 35 mile round trip to deliver. Then just as it was approaching 6pm and I was fixing to take the posting down a stay-at-home mom of 5 asked if they were still available. She and hubby had wanted to go but it was not in budget. Long story short, I met her at entrance to my neighborhood, she got the tickets, they made the show with 5 minutes to spare and had great date night. The funny thing is I have no memory of entering the radio contest that I won.

  38. Hi Faith from Australia :), and firstly congratulations on expecting #4 child, my husband & I hope and pray that things will progress well for you throughout your whole pregnancy.

    We are like yourself and try and use as little meat as possible in our meals, as it is becoming so expensive. We go on the government nutrition sites and go by their weights on what their meat consumption is for the day for 2 active adults such as ourselves. We separate our meat in portions in the freezer according to these guidelines to save us money. We also cook a lot of stir fries and make soups a lot.

    We have a rather large vegetable and herb gardens here of around 177 sq metres which we are blessed to eat from almost every day.

    Here is how we do our budget we put in a certain dollar allowance for gardening, another allowance for clothing, another for groceries, another allowance for regular bills & rent, and another allowance for preparation items, an allowance for fuel we also have an allowance in cash for rainy day expenses which we keep in the house in case the ATM’s go down and or any household emergency pops up that we need cash for.

    Should we not use any of the money from those categories in the month we either let it roll over and bank it, or we use it in case there is an unexpected over in another category.

    In the bank we have 2 accounts, 1 account on a slightly lower interest rate we call our rainy day account which we keep only enough in to cover immediate emergencies such as blown up fridge, car breakdowns etc and that money is easily accessible. The second account is a high interest account that we keep for our house purchase savings which we don’t touch as we get penalised interest rate wise if we withdraw money from it.

    My husband and I also earn money from gardening mowing and whipper snippering jobs, and or sale of vegetables or seeds from our gardens which quite often we use to cover any gardening expenses we have, and in most cases this gives us free vegetables and allows us not to use our gardening allowance from our normal pays at all.

    I hope this helps and this is just how we organise our budget and find it works well for us, you may have to tweak it a bit to suit your own families individual circumstances 🙂

  39. Because we have an irregular income, I budget a bit differently than those who take home the same amount every month.

    I plan 3 months at a time in a spreadsheet.

    I have a miscellanenous category, that covers the garden, clothing for the family, and other items (basically, anything that isn’t a regular bill). Bills are paid first for the month. If there is money for a miscellaneous category, and there is something we need, I’ll take it from that amount. If our income is smaller that month, I don’t fund that category at all.

    This year is a bit different, in that we had some additional income in January that allowed us to pay other needed items that we have put off for a long time (including some repairs). Those were funded in addition to our regular bills, and I had extra that I was able to use in the garden to purchase some things that I have been wanting for 10 years, but didn’t have the money for before (the roses I ordered). I also was able to spend extra in the garden this year, and as a precaution, I also bought extra seeds (enough for next year as well). Some years I spend just a little bit on the garden. This year I have spent more because some was needed (such as more manure to mix in the beds) and because I had the funds to do so, as well as more on some things I have wanted in the garden for a long time.

    To make the garden spending go as far as possible this year:

    I make sure to use coupons (our local nursery puts out $10 off coupons in the spring plus they have sales; I check their weekly ads online) and sales; I bought manure in bulk for a bulk discount, plus used a coupon on top of that.

    I was able to order the roses this year with a 20% off code.

    I bought summer bulbs on sale after comparing prices and finding places with lower prices.

    I ordered some flower seeds with a 15% off code.

    I ordered seeds in larger amounts from places that give you a lot of seeds for a little money.

    I used money saved from taking surveys to order some plants on Ebay.

  40. Hi Brandy and yes I agree and we have a spreadsheet my husband keeps on his computer, I have a manual one I keep in an account book. My husband & I are indeed different to your circumstances as my husband gets a fixed military pension every month, myself a carer’s pension that is a fixed amount every month as well. So we know how much money is coming in each month.

    With items we need for the gardens we too look for anything on special or buy items such as organic fertilisers in bulk to save us money as well. We have certain places we can get bulk manures both horse and cow manure in trailer load lots for $20 a massive load. We also split this cost with a neighbour who has a larger trailer so we only pay $10 ea for around the same amount our trailer would hold.

    So if you are able Faith sharing costs with like minded gardening neighbours also helps.

  41. We have been working through using up gift cards that we have had for years, since we now have a child old enough to leave in charge to babysit.

    This time we used a gift card we had for Mimi’s Cafe. We were able to make this gift card work for two dates. The first time we paid the tip in cash, and this time we had enought to cover the tip on the card. Both times we used a coupon for buy 2 entrees and 2 beverages and get 1 entree free. We were careful to choose dinners that were not too much so that we could have two dates out. My mom is on their email list and she gave us both coupons. (My parents always use coupons when they go out to eat, so she signs up for the mailing list of the places she likes to go in order to get discounts).

    I still have a few gift cards left, including one my parents gave us for a Christmas gift last year (we had 2 dinners from that one and have enough left to order a meal to split for a lunch, so we’ll be using that one next).

    We’re also continuing our date nights at home.

    It’s a nice change to get to go out; I have been considering saving Swagbucks to use towards some restaurant gift cards after we have used all of these.

  42. You can make your own rice flour by using a coffee grinder. It is slow going since you can only grind about one third of a cup at a time but it beats paying high prices for specialty flours.

  43. What a busy couple of weeks. We went on a long road trip so The Man could help his son with some home renovations. Travelling expenses were paid for using a Prepaid VISA that was part of a promo. I made some snacks and cookies to take with us along with a water bottle and a few other drinks in the cooler. The first night out we spent the night in the least expensive hotel we could find, which turned out to be really nice
    While we were there, I took advantage of being so close and took the bus to a neighbouring city to visit friends or family. I save 50% off my ticket by buying it online. My friend was very, very generous and let me sleep in her guest room and kept me feed. Another friend dropped off two very large bags of fabric scraps from a friend who had cleaned out two combined sewing rooms. I went through the scraps and was able to donate more than half of them to the thrift store and take the rest home.
    Because I lived in this city for a long time, I brought along a pre-paid Parks and Rec pass I had purchased years ago. Lucky for me, I still had several swims left on the card so I spent one morning swimming at one of my favorite city pools and enjoying their sauna. For entertainment, I spent a lot of time walking, either with friends, family, or alone. My friend lives in a funky downtown neighbourhood, where there are several “little free libraries“. I found another herb book in one while we were out walking.
    When I left, there were several construction project still under way and it was exciting to see the finished projects. One of the advantages of returning to a city you know well is that you know where the deals are. I remembered that the Museum is free on the first Thursday of every month. Me and my eldest took this time to see an exhibit.
    I did give in and do a little shopping. I spent the day with another friend and we found ourselves at the thrift store. Her 5-year-old helped me pick out a couple new shirts for summer. I also visited an Asian Grocery store and picked up a few supplies that were either much cheaper or unavailable at the grocery stores we usually visit.
    It wasn’t all fun and games while I was away. I took my laptop so I could continue to work an online side gig and still earn some money for groceries. Even though worked himself to the bone, The Man found the time for a few frugal endeavors of his own. The neighboring house was sold and the old owners were looking to clean it out in a hurry. He helped move their old swing set into his son’s backyard. The old owner’s asked if we could use a couch. They would not accept any money for it and they were glad to have it out of their garage. We were very happy to take it. By coincidence, some to the fabric from my friend should work to make throw pillows for our new acquisition.
    The trip home was long and started with some adventures. We decided to push through and not spend another night in a hotel. The weather was horrible over the mountain passes, but we were very careful and made it home without incident.

  44. I have a flour mill however, it works wonderful for wheat and oats but not so great for rice four (comes out like sand) or any type of nut flour. The texture of commercial ground rice flour is much nicer to bake with. Since I make my own GF blend (LOL pretty much whatever I happen to have on hand) it isn’t that costly to use the commercial rice flour as part of it.

  45. Yes, we view our purchases this way as well. We just hadn’t planned on buying tires this month. But since the guys had a scout campout “30 miles east of the middle of nowhere” last weekend, they couldn’t wait. Having a tire blow on a CA freeway–or anywhere for that matter–would NOT be good. Fortunately, I have a car expenses “line item” in our savings account for these kinds of things so it turned out ok.

    I’ve already used the food processor twice since it arrived and am very pleased. Bring on the homemade meals!

    And the dishwasher has been such a time-saver for hubs and me. (More time to cook. 😉 )

  46. That skirt is beautiful!

    We had an in home date night that cost us nothing. We borrowed movies from the library. I bought bulk ground beef and forze it in 1 lb servings, and I finally had enough to get a $20 rebate back from Ibotta.

  47. We have had a couple days of lovely spring weather in the 60’s and the snow is rapidly disappearing. Our pond is turning slushy and the geese are starting to fly over. We had quite a hail storm over the weekend, but there was no damage to be done as nothing planted or budding yet.

    Did all the usual, even hung some laundry outside. We started a bit of spring cleaning so we would be done by Easter. Youngest washed all the windows inside and husband will do the outside. Husband, youngest and sister in law went last Friday and Saturday to help their family with the maple sugaring. The early warm weather has started it sooner this year. We will have a small Easter at our house. The two oldest will be off with their families/in laws on holiday trip, the RN girl will stay by her cousin/aunt and uncle. We’ll just have the youngest girl and boy, my mother and a lady friend from her senior apartments. My sister in law and friend will be visiting his parents/family. We’ll check around church too to see if anyone wants to join us as there will be plenty of food.

    Last week bought white mushrooms .88 box, 2 gallons of milk for 5.00, 2 lbs of butter for 5.00, celery, romaine lettuce, powder sugar, soda crackers, bok choy, tofu, radishes. Bought unbleached flour, dry mustard, vegetable broth powder, chocolate chips, brown rice, oatmeal, unsalted peanuts and robins eggs at the bulk food store.

    Baked 2 loaves white bread x 2, 1 loaf pumpernickel, chocolate chip muffins, vanilla cupcakes with green frosting and sprinkles x 2, oven baked mushroom omelet and onion fried potatoes, baked beans, pigs in blankets, angel hair with (freezer) pesto, vegetable curry with naan, yogurt, vegetable stir fry with choice of honey sesame tofu or honey sesame chicken ( same recipe, just substitute the “meat”), copy-cat Noodles restaurant penne rosa (recipe off internet), cole slaw, scalloped corn, applesauce-blueberry coffeecake, macaroni and cheese, pizza-one cheese and one with pepperoni and pickled peppers, and a butterscotch pudding pie. This was actually 2 weeks of cooking because I never recorded last time, of what I remember.

  48. Hi Roberta and thank you for your kind words we are both really excited too.

    We are aiming and setting a goal to get our savings as close to 50% of our total income (+10% tithe) as possible. We know it will be a stretch, but we are going to give it a try so we can hopefully be in our own home sooner.

    As one of the old sayings goes, nothing worthwhile ever comes easy.

  49. I just love boc choi. Usually, we grow some each spring. It loves shorter days and cool temperatures. This year, I’m not planting any at this time, because I’m too busy to carve out the time for that, yet. Of course, stir fry is the #1 way I use it. We also enjoy it in chicken soup. I discovered by accident that it gives a good flavor to that. Do you have any other ways to use it? When I do plant it, I seem to get a whole bunch at once.

  50. What a beautiful skirt… You know, I think it’s easy to be frugal, but to be frugal and maintain such a lovely aesthetic is truly an art!

    Our frugal accomplishments last week include:

    My husband borrowed a lawn edger from the neighbor, who told him to borrow it any time!

    We had a group of friends visit and help us clean up our lawn and get our spring garden started. It was wonderful to have their company and we were happy to feed them lunch!

    I joined a gym, and was able to purchase a 3-year membership for 2/3 the cost of making monthly payments for the same amount of time, and with no initiation fee. I know I will use this gym, so this was a great purchase for me!

    I used our FSA for some heath care expenses.

    I came home a couple of times at lunch to start dinner in the slow-cooker and save us from “hangry” evenings!

  51. Hi Becky, I only buy it in the store. It is usually a big bunch, like celery is. I just use up the whole thing in the vegetable stir fry. I don’t buy it every time I do a stir fry though, just once in awhile. I stir fry the sliced stalks and then add in the green portion at the end. That is really the only recipe I have that uses it. I occasionally add it to vegetable soup if I have some while I am making soup. I have never tried it in chicken soup…that is interesting. Do you use it in place of the celery then or do you also add celery? When you grow it, is it large like the store bought? Or is it the baby bok choi that I have seen at the farmer market that the Hmong families have at their stands?

  52. All three pictures are lovely- I especially love the arrangement on your table. My frugal accomplishments include purchasing a 40 pound box of Zaycon chicken breasts for $1.69 per pound-we packaged and froze it and used the scraps along with some vegetables to make wet dog food for our dog. We ate most meals at home although we still have room for improvement in this area. I purchased some books on Amazon using credit earned from Swagbucks and I finally got to pick up a book that I wanted to read but waited until I could get it from the library.
    I booked a hotel for our spring break vacation using accumulated points and purchased additional points to pay for all 4 nights that we will be gone. Purchasing the points saved us money- we are going to drive to Portland Oregon- originally my husband suggested that we stay downtown but after researching hotels I decided staying a little outside of the downtown area would be much more economical. We will go downtown while we are there but we plan to purchase Max passes for the three of us which will cost less than parking our car downtown plus it will be a good experience for our high school daughter to utilize public transportation. We are staying at an Embassy Suites which includes a hot breakfast for all 3 of us- that will cut down on costs as well. We usually like to eat out once per day (like a dinner/lunch combo) and then have snacks in our room- the room includes a microwave and refrigerator which will make this easier for us. My mom is hitching a ride with us to visit her best friend so she will chip in on gas for the trip as well.
    We rented a couple of movies this past weekend and our out of pocket cost was $1.25 because we had credit accumulated- I took the movies back in time to get credit again for the next time we rent.
    One thing I am learning as I am more mindful about what I purchase at the grocery store and then meal plan is that I have been buying way too many groceries for us each month. I am going to work harder to use what we have in our freezer and try to limit our grocery store spending to dairy, fruits, and vegetables- of course I do need to occasionally purchase pantry items like flour and sugar but I really want to cut down on purchasing processed item. It is handy to have a couple of frozen pizzas in the freezer for my daughter and her friends but other than that I think I am going to not replace the processed foods as they are used up. I have traditionally kept a lot of food on hand which leads to waste. I am continuing to save eggshells for our garden but we don’t eat a lot of eggs (only my husband and I do usually) so it takes a long time to accumulate very many.

  53. Athanasia,
    I start eating it as soon as there is some that can be eaten, i.e. “baby boc choi” and then eat it as it grows bigger. Because we garden organically, there is bug damage to the leaves the longer it grows. I also add the leaves at the end of whatever way I cook it–stir fry or soup. If mine is too bug-damaged, I just use the stalks and whatever good leaves I can find. When I use it in soup, it is usually just a few stalks, and then the leaves at the end. I tend to throw in whatever I have, so I would use celery and that if I had both, or either if I didn’t. They don’t taste the same at all, so usually both. I only have it a few times a year in soup–I don’t try to store it in any form. I’ve only chosen to put in a small amount, then increase it as my family got used to seeing it in their soup. It is super light sensitive and bolts as soon as the days lengthen. It doesn’t like heat, either.

  54. I have hidden it in fruit smoothies, finely chopped it into chili, dried it in the dehydrator and then ground it up so I could throw it into things like soup for a thickener, and used it in lasagna and in place of spinach in various recipes. It grows extremely well all summer long here in Alaska, despite the 24 hours of summer daylight that induces bolting in other greens, so we grow a lot and use it constantly. Also blanch and freeze it for winter soups…

  55. Beth, a frugal suggestion is to grab some snack items from the free breakfast buffet to take with you for the day. They usually have things like yogurt and fruit which are perfect for throwing your bag or purse. If you don’t want to take the snack with you, put it in your room fridge to enjoy when you return later. It will save you some money on those healthy snacks!

  56. I am buying most of my vegetable seeds from Territorial Seed, and with only a few exceptions, they are all open-pollinated. I like that they give you a lot for your money, and include planting temperatures on the seed packet.

    I am also buying from Outside Pride–mostly flower seeds, but also some herb seeds in bulk, since they have a better price on both (a fantastic price, in fact!).

    I also buy some seeds from Wildseed Farms (zinnias, poppies, and johnny jump-ups in bulk).

    I did try a few seeds from a new place this year called Eden Brothers. However, they were not cheap. I was looking for a couple of things that I couldn’t find elsewhere, and they should both reseed easily, so if they grow well, those should both be a one-time purchase (Bells of Ireland and some dwarf double hollyhocks). I can’t see buying from them on a regular basis, as their prices are much higher than I’m paying elsewhere.

  57. That’s pretty bold for someone to expect you to drive to deliver the tickets to them. I am glad they went to someone who could use them. Parents with five children sound like they could. It is wonderful to be a blessing and to receive a blessing – those times I get to do that are few and far between. What a nice thing to read today. Thanks for sharing!

  58. I’ve been working on my low sodium diet and how to do on a budget with variety, good nutrition and easy and simple cooking. I’m making good progress on this.

    I learned how to borrow ebooks and audio books from my library to use on my Paperwhite Kindle and listen on my computer. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they joined with another library and expanded their offerings. I dislike cleaning and exercising, but I only listen to the audio book when I clean or work out so it is a incentive to do both for longer.

    I earned $150 extra dollars this last week and I’m beginning to save for a trip overseas that I want to take sometime.

    I “let go” of some fabric and craft items giving them to people who could use them and I don’t have to fret over them.

    I went through my cupboards, freezer and fridge and gave away (and threw away) any food that isn’t suitable for me with a low sodium diet.

    Between the food, fabric, craft supplies and other things I gave away I feel relieved. What was cumber for me was a blessing for someone else. I’ve decided not to grieve my past poor judgement at these purchases and celebrate that I was able to pass them on to someone who would put them to good use.

  59. Hi Roberta so agree that both household purchases of food processors and the like are indeed an investment, the dishwasher is a time saving investment too. 75% saving on a food processor is fantastic !.

    When we moved to the country from the city we waited a year to purchase a ride on lawn mower, and a new self propelled mulching push mower for our half acre we are on, 2 chainsaws 1 large and one small for cutting free fire wood for our slow combustion stove, a 7 x 5′ trailer with a trailer cage and wood chipper. We purchased lower end industrial machinery for all of them so they are not working too hard and will last longer with more power for only a little more money.

    Just the amount of timber we have cut and bought home ourselves to keep us warm for the cold winters would have well and truly paid for the trailer, and the purchase price of the 2 chainsaws in just over a year. Our firewood here if purchased is $130.00 and above per 6 x 4′ trailer load and we have filled an undercover veranda which is 8′ x 20 ‘ long stacked around 3’ high by cutting our own in that time.

    We have estimated with the amount of use we have got out of all of this equipment with free fire wood (just fuel for us to cut & a small amount of car fuel from home), the amount of cheap bulk trailer loads of manures we have been able to pick up, the amount of paid work my husband has been able to do with the equipment, the amount of time it has saved us and the amount of down time with my husbands injuries that this equipment has prevented, it has indeed well and truly paid for itself.

    I think we all think like that as we are trying where possible to be as frugal as we can, but quality equipment is one thing I will spend money on to save in the long run.

    Enjoy using and saving with the new food processor, dishwasher and new car tyres !.

  60. I am a long time reader….thank you, Brandy, so much….and this is my first time commenting, even though I feel a close connection to many of you, looking forward to your comments and missing you when you are out for a bit!

    My questions are for those of you who grind your own flour(s). I have wanted to make the jump into grinding wheat for bread making but in my research I have become confused by the different attributes of the various grinders. I will be able to buy a new one, expecting a price of around $250+ or so, but also expect it to last many years so I need to be fully informed going into this. I think I want a wide range of coarseness….and options for different types of flours (as Melissa V notes, her grinder doesn’t do as well with rice or nuts. Almond flour?). Opinions?

  61. I am glad the couple were able to use your free tickets…it was meant to be. I have never heard of the comedian, but a night out for a free date sounds like you did best by waiting and then having the young mother be the recipient.

  62. I’ll check with my oldest girl and see if she wants to add it to the garden this year. I’d use it more often if I had a regular supply of it.

  63. We have been battling rising flood waters in the northern part of the state. Due to the storms many we know and love have lost their homes completely. It is so sad and devastating, my husband went upstairs and found two roof leaks, they are small and compared to others having their homes completely lost, we will praise instead of complain. Folks in double wide trailers had their homes knocked off the foundations. We also lost a hotel reservation for the night. My son represents our Parish (we don’t have counties) in 4-h shooting sports and I had made a reservation through Priceline. Well it has been rescheduled(rightly so), I contacted Priceline and because we chose to book at a cheaper rate we are out of luck. They will NEVER again receive our business. Lesson learned. But what I wanted to remark the most on is preparedness. Because of the encouragement I receive here, we have a surplus of bleach, toliet paper, papet towels and even bottled water that we canned. In times of disaster, economical or environmental, the teachings of Joesph in Egypt hit home. We have been able to use our surplus as a ministry as well. Folks are teaming up for sandbag shoveling, boat rescues and opening their homes as shelters..sometimes just being able to take a shower or wash your clothes means so much. Another thing I am grateful for is my laziness at starting my garden… I don’t have to worry about my seeds washing away at least. Thanks so much Brandy and Ms. Marivene, I have gleaned so much wisdom from you two, this week it has paid off in spades.

  64. Of course, living near Portland, I’m curious about which sights you hope to see. We actually rarely go there unless we have an appointment, and those are usually in a surrounding suburb. I do have one doctor up there but otherwise, we love our country living. We have been talking about a trip to the zoo, though, one of these days. Maybe I could get some inspiration from you:) We have been to OMSI, the NW Childrens’ Theatre, Keller Auditorium, the Rose Garden or whatever they are calling it now, maybe Moda Center (for concerts and Blazer games over the years), and some other things, since we have both lived in this area our whole lives. I hope you have a great trip!

  65. Hello Heather and firstly would like to say most importantly that it is a blessing that you are safe and dry. My husband & I pray for those who have lost their homes, but those people by the sounds of it are being truly blessed and supported by those who are doing boat rescues and opening up their homes for shelters. Sometimes it takes tragedies to unfortunately see the best in the human race and the love and care and team work they are all capable of.

    So glad you have purchased additional supplies and are able to do the necessities for you family as well. Sometimes simple tasks such as washing our clothing and having fresh drinking water we indeed take for granted.

    Thoroughly agree about the teachings of Joseph in Egypt as it is a lesson to us all to have preparations & supplies in our homes well ahead of time in case of such emergencies as your community is experiencing. Also I would like to say that sometimes our preparations are not only for ourselves and if not already it will in the future bless others around us too, in this instance people’s homes and the love, compassion and dedication of the rescuers.

    We had 4 incidences recently with friends from church who have turned up on our doorsteps or emailed, one sick with the flu, another with severe burns who could not afford the dressing pad prices the chemists were charging, and yet another lady who’s husband had suffered a stroke and had no vegetables in her home for dinners, and most recently yesterday a friend emailed us that his lawn mover had broken down and they were unable to mow their lawns.

    The lovely friend with the flu we were able to supply Echinacea, zinc and vitamin C tablets we had a stock of in the house to get her through a couple of days till they had enough money to purchase some with their pay. The lovely friend with severe burns we were able to supply her a bulk amount of burns dressings from our medical kit we had set up including backup supplies @ 5% of the cost the chemists were charging ( we just charged what we had paid buying them wholesale). The lovely other friend who’s husband suffered a stroke came around and I just plucked a huge amount of vegetables from our garden for her to eat fresh and more to freeze if necessary. The other friend with the lawn mower breakdown we have said he could borrow one of ours as we have 2.

    Although we have a limited income we were truly blessed to be able to offer service, love, compassion and help all of these people. We have also had the added blessings of all these preparations being used by us on many occasions saving us money, time and stress by having them all on hand.

  66. I have a niece living in Portland and she seems to like it. They both work in computers and are moving now to San Francisco for his job. I don’t mind visiting big cities for a few days but I am much happier in my country home. This is my oldest brother’s daughter…they have no children yet and are more adventurous about where they live for now.

  67. Heather are you in Louisiana? I thought the LA meant los Angeles, but we saw on the news all the flooding in the southeast. It is terrible. I am glad you were spared somewhat and are able to offer help to others.

    Right now I am reading LIGHTS OUT by Ted Koppel. It is about a potential widespread cyberattack, how unprepared we are in general and how overwhelmed our resources and infrastructure will be in just a number of days. It’s scary.

  68. Hi Athanasia sounds like a good book to read, shall have to source it.

    When reading these books you can just substitute any disaster into the scenario and the same results will happen. Empty shops in 3 days with no groceries, hospitals become overwhelmed, not enough medical supplies to go around, banks have a run on them with people withdrawing all their money and no bank records as it is all mostly digital rather than stored on paper records as a backup, electricity going down, no water, and diseases etc.

    If we prepare for one disaster we are really prepared for all of them.

    My husband who incidentally LOVES zombie movies, says really even those have an underlying message about being prepared also, and come to think of it he is right :-).

  69. Juls, I’m needing back surgery that i’m hoping to have done in the Fall. I ‘m going to use some of your tricks for when the time comes. (Making a to-do list for when i whine! Eating my favorite food the day before. Love that one!)
    Good luck and blessings to you!

  70. Mandy.. you are very lucky that employee allowed you to do that. I worked at Gordon Food Services for almost a year and they wouldn’t even allow us as employee’s to buy bad produce, they hoarded it for the trash can like gold. There is a eye opening book I bought called “American Wasteland” by Jonathan Bloom. So much food is thrown away his book is optimistic in the end but I am not seeing that in my city. I work for a candy store, we sell choc. covered strawberries, when they “go bad” they instructed us to take what we wanted (first said throw it all in the dumpster) well us girls took every single case home, I froze what I could and we gave them away to everyone we knew rather than throw it in the trash. We could not use it all ended up throwing a couple cases away. It was in our companies logo boxes so we couldn’t donate it without getting in trouble with the company but it shouldn’t have been that way.. we should have been able to donate. Sad. And the list goes on and on in retail with food being thrown out, it is sickening.

  71. Yea, I’m a Louisiana girl, born and raised, but I’m from the top of the state..completely different world from the bottom. Not better, just different.

  72. Sorry my reply was eaten by cyberspace, yes I am a Louisiana girl born and raised, I am hail from the north of the state.. Completely different world from New Orleans.. Not bad or better just different. Maybe I should change my name on here to Bayou Belle!! Lol but seriously we have gotten so much rain that all of the bayous and tributaries that flow into our river has caused the river to back up and change course. When the water from Arkansas flows down the Ouachita and meets the reverse course in a few days we expect more flooding. You can see a small portion on under their samples tab. Thanks to everyone for their prayers.

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