Monday, February 25, 2013

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

Ezrom bought some clay with his birthday money from his grandparents and made the Polie family.

I harvested green onions, garlic scapes, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary from my garden this week.

I planted dill and mustard seeds from my pantry in the garden.

I planted several more seeds in the garden--both flowers and food. I transplanted my lettuce thinnings and moved my green onions to a new spot in the garden.

I planted the basil that I bought at the nursery. The plants were actually several plants per pot; I divided the two pots into several places in the garden. I covered them with quart-sized mason jars for the mini-greenhouse effect that it would provide, so that we will have more basil, sooner.

I watched Downton Abbey on I also watched a couple of shows for free on Hulu.

I had a couple of at-home dates with my husband after the children were in bed.

My husband redid the hooks in our mud room. He used molding that we already had and hung the molding over the old holes, painted it with paint that we already had, and then hung the hooks back up, including a few extras that we had, so that everything would fit better.

I mended the hem of a dress.

I made 3 pairs of earrings, using the beads I bought at a garage sale last year and the findings that I bought for Christmas. Each pair costs me .15. I used these as gifts for birthdays for 3 of the girls in my Sunday School class. I called their mothers first to find out the girls' favorite colors. These were similar to the ones I made at Christmas.

We had company this week for dinner. We had ham sandwiches and soup.

I cooked a ham the day before and I made French bread. We sliced the ham with my meat slicer and we sliced the bread on it, too. We topped it with mayo, Italian dressing, lettuce and tomatoes. I had to buy lettuce and tomatoes (Roma tomatoes were .79 a pound and the lettuce was 3 romaine hearts for $1.79. That was the least expensive option for lettuce; heads were $2.28 each! I am looking forward to our lettuce being big enough to harvest in the garden).

I ordered a pair of shoes for myself online. I went through Ebates when I ordered, which gave me a coupon code for 15% off, plus 8% back, from The shoes I chose were already on sale, so these discounts were on top of that. (My whole family has wide feet, so I order shoes online.) Shipping was free.

My husband washed the windows this week for very little.

What did you do this week to save money?

Note: This post contains referral links.


  1. I actually made a mental list this week! I enjoy reading everyone else's posts even though I don't usually post a list.

    -attempting sourdough starter. My husband loves sourdough, and it's so expensive at the store!

    -cherry-picked some great sales and mark-downs at Fry's on my day off. I repackaged the meat to meal-sized containers, including cutting off all the fat, etc., from the chicken (which I HATE doing), and froze them, so it's all ready to just thaw and cook. I feel well-stocked on meat now, and I was thrilled to find Wholly Guacamole for $1! My family LOVES guacamole, and several of the packages were contained the 2 7 oz packages (most were the 1 7 oz packages). We think they must have over-ordered for the super bowl and the use by dates were less than 1 week away, but I simply froze most of them (I did buy 7 - I can't make guacamole from scratch even when avocadoes are on sale for that little!) They also had Wholly Salsa for that price and I bought 3. Yummy! We eat a lot of Mexican, and these luxury items make eating at home feel like eating at a restaurant. The salsa had a use-by date a couple of months away. It will be no problem to use up in time.

    -switched to cash for dining and groceries. I actually did this because my debit card got duplicated and I am more cautious about using it as much as I used to (also cautious about carrying so much cash!), but I think it may be a real eye-opener to me. :) I had purchased a cash envelope wallet pattern on Etsy some time back for <$2 and made myself one using oil cloth, but had just never made the switch.

    -continued my practice of staying busy so that I don't start wanting to go out and spend money. I did this in a fun way on Sunday. I had seen this link for making braided headbands out of old t-shirts earlier in the week (, and then my husband cleaned out his closet and there were several t-shirts that he was getting rid of the had discolored spots on them. I made 3 headbands yesterday in colors that my daughters are likely to wear. I reused something, entertained myself, and created useful items all for $0!

    -stage of life change: my 16 year old drove her sister and herself over to the city ice rink yesterday afternoon to meet friends. My husband and I stayed home, popped popcorn (stove-top using Amy's Finer Things directions), watched a recorded show, and TALKED. :) Paying for ice-skating not so frugal (city rink, so not expensive either), but we actually had a great talk about our goals (financial and otherwise), and it was really good.

    Hope everyone has a great week, and wish I had a carrot-cake cupcake!

    1. I really like those headbands, and I was just thinking that I need to weed t-shirts for the whole family - thanks for sharing the link!

    2. hmm i might try those for when i work out....they should be quite absorbant, washable, cute and keep the flyaways at bay....thanks

  2. Our big thing this week was re-arranging the girls' rooms. Instead of a shared bedroom and a schoolroom, they now have their own bedrooms and school stuff in there. My older daughter really needed a new mattress set/frame, and after some shopping around, we got a very nice set for less than $200. Her new headboard, and little sister's antique desk, came from my parents' basement. Another desk was given to us after we helped a friend clean her apartment for moving out (she was going to sell it but gave it to us instead). Although we've done some extensive rearranging, we have been able to make everything work without buying anything but the new bed. My girls have come up with some really great creative solutions!

  3. *Renewed a magazine subscription at a discounted rate, then got another discount and an extension of the subscription at checkout.
    *Baked bread in my new-to-me bread machine. (Now I just need to find good recipes that don’t call for bread flour, because that’s expensive!)
    *Stocked back up on medicine, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies, and I found most of them on sale BOGOF.
    *Combined some good sales with good coupons, and stocked up on some toiletries (Secret and Degree deodorant for $0.99 for the big sticks, and the good disposable razors (only kind my husband can use on his sensitive skin) for $1 each) and household goods like paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, and aluminum foil.
    *Continued to shop clearance and outlet stores for Easter outfits and other items we’ve needed around the house, like storage containers for under the bed and the set of drawers for under our bathroom sink, sheets, and things for my husband’s job (boots, flashlights, compression shirts for under his Kevlar vest, and additional accessories for his service and personal weapon).
    *Shopped for some additional storage and counter space for our bathroom by checking out the local “yard sale” store. I found a pre-fab kitchen counter that will give me a drawer, a cabinet and a good deal of counter space for only $20. I also found, at Goodwill, a solid wood rolling kitchen cart with three wire baskets, a drawer, and an expandable top for $18. I have needed something that I could store my pot holders, cooking utensils, salt, pepper, etc on that also gave me a work space and would roll so that I could move it to the wood stove for cooking and move it away when I didn’t need it.
    *Use fuel points to fill up the gas tank.
    *Combined trips to save gas as much as possible.
    *Found a great deal on the TV my husband wanted that is a smart TV, which ended up saving us about $50 over buying a regular TV and a Roku box.
    *Cooked Valentine’s Day dinner at home for my parents, husband, and siblings. We had roasted chicken (bought on sale and used leftovers for soup that fed us for 3 more meals), broccoli from the garden last fall, homemade bread, baked potatoes (bought on sale) and homemade red velvet cake (all ingredients except food coloring were on hand, purchased last year while on sale). I decorated with candles we had around the house, used silk flowers from other areas for the table centerpieces, and put my bouquet of fresh flowers from my husband on another table (grocery store flowers that I arranged myself in a vase I already had.)
    *Ate leftovers for several meals, and sent leftovers with my husband for lunch every day.
    *Saved newspapers for my Mom to make seed planters for us to start our seedlings in.
    *Purchased the supplies to make more homemade laundry detergent. I also found that Kroger has the 3.5 pound container of their version of Oxyclean for $3.99 (on sale for $3.69) which is about $2 cheaper than the “cheap” stuff I found at Walmart.
    *Worked with my Mom to think up ways to re-purpose several items around the house.
    *Helped my Mom and Brother build a greenhouse out of scrap wood, extra plastic, and a few other supplies we had around the house.
    *Used some of the eggs our prolific chickens are producing to make three quiches for supper that we also ate for breakfast and lunch the next day, and gave one to my Mom. I used frozen veggies as well as the odds and ends of fresh veggies I had on hand.
    *While cleaning out the kitchen cabinets, I found several food items that were more suitable for the chickens than for humans, so we fed them those scraps, lowering our feed bill.
    *Cancelled the tag and insurance on our car that is broken–not sure if we can even fix it, and if we can, it will be expensive.
    *Hung clothes on the clothesline on dry days, even when it was chilly.
    *Worked to conserve firewood because our supply of good, dry wood is dwindling. We have not used any of our propane auxiliary heat or any electrical heat all winter.

    1. At Sam's Club, a 25 pound bag of all-purpose flour and a 25 pound bag of bread flour are the same price. Costco's prices are similiar. I would encourage you to look for a place where you can buy flour in bulk; it costs me .25 a loaf when I make French bread.

    2. I ditto Brandy's post. Also was going to recommend checking out Winco if you don't have a membership to the Costco/Sams. Winco's bulk bins had it for around (if I'm remembering correctly) $.50 a lb. Roughly half the price or better than what my Safeway charges!

    3. We don't have a Winco, and we don't have a membership to Sam's. I've been trying to decide it it's worth the cost of the membership based on what we'd save. One of my concerns is that the only Sam's in the area is about 45 minutes away, and is literally on the other side of every single other store that I ever go to. Does most everyone else find that the cost of the membership is easily recouped by the savings? Do the savings justify extra gas costs for most of you? I would love to find good bulk flour!

    4. Amberswindow- Yes, for us atleast I think its worth it. Even if i just calculate the price of organic spinach for a 1lb bag is 3.49 at costco compared to other shops its 5.99/lb. So if that would be the only thing we buy its saving us quite a lot. But I have found our costco having a lots of variety of organic stuff at good price and i think its worth it. Ii i have to buy non-perishables i wait for their coupon book. Like this time around they have their finish tabs 100 for $12, which i think is a good price. But i guess i shouldnt be the one to comment coz costco is hardly 1 mile from my place :). In fact all shops are within 2 mile radius inclu target, cvs, safeway which makes all the difference. 45 mins for you is quite a drive. I dont think it would be worth it unless you plan on making a trip once every 3-4 weeks, I think you would still save and fill up their gas.

    5. I can't say for sure if it would be worth it or not for you, I would recommend going in on one of their "free days" and price things. :) For me, our Costco membership is worth it. It's about 30 minutes away from my home, so I don't make special trips there with the price of gas here ($4.29 a galloon is the cheapest at the minute). Saturdays I go to that town for my daughter's gymnastics and that's when I'll go to Winco/Costco. Brandy might know when Sam's trial dates are as I believe that when she's said she goes?

    6. I know there was a trial day back in January, but I was thinking that would be a good way for me to try it out. Hopefully there will be another one soon. Back years ago, when it was just me and my hubby, he had a corporate membership that we were allowed to use for our personal stuff, and we did. But, that was Y E A R S ago and we lived much closer. He made a trip for the company about once a month, sometimes more, so it wasn't as big of a deal for us. I talked to my Mom, and she has some bread flour we haven't used that she bought from Sam's about 3 years ago on a trial day. It's been sealed up since she bought it. We've just about decided that we're going to break it open and try it. If it's good, we think we could justify the membership cost simply to buy more flour because we could buy enough to store. I also did think about the gas--I have heard that Sam's gas is typically cheaper than what we can get even using gas points from the grocery store. We're at least 1.5 hours away from the nearest Costco or BJ's, so Sam's is our only wholesale option that I know of. Thanks for the input. I'll keep thinking about it. My husband did point it out that Sam's is only about 10 minutes away from our only Target, which I do go to about once every two months (or more frequently if they have something on sale that I need) so I could stock up then.

    7. A regular membership is $40 a year. They also carry yeast in bulk. Have you read my Sam's Club list? While I don't think everything is a great deal there, there are many things which I think are a fantastic price.

      Here's my list for an easy reference:

      If you're only 10 minutes away every other month, then it sounds like it would be worth getting the membership. Also, you can go to their website and look up the prices for the store in your area, which would help you compare prices to see if it is worth it to you.

    8. If you go to Sam's website you can print a one day pass. Some states have a law against charging an upcharge so in those states you pay the same prices as members. My state, SC, is one of them and we have used this option in the past. My husband's new employer pays for out membership now so that is a blessing.

    9. We do have an upcharge here, so it would cost me 10% more without a membership. But, after looking at Brandy's list--it's been a while since I took a peek at it, because I had basically written Sam's off because of how far away it seemed to be--and after checking out their prices, I do think it's worth it. I paid $3.49 for 5 lbs of bread flour the other day at Kroger (not on sale, White Lily brand) and was disgusted to pay that much, and when I did the math, I discovered that I'd pay $17.45 for 25 pounds, vs $8.76 at Sam's. That's $8.69 worth of the membership right there. I'm going to keep looking, especially at the other baking products, and talk to my Mom about splitting the cost of a membership and shopping together so we both save money. Thanks for all your input. Sometimes it's really helpful to have someone else offer advice and help you learn to save money. I guess that's why this post each week is so popular!

    10. Even if you have to pay a 10% upcharge it would only be 88 cents more for a bag of flour. It may be worth doing if you are picky about bread flour like I am just to try their brand. I have a local grocery chain that puts White Lily on sale for 1.99 a few times a year and I really do a big stock up then. I do not like Sam's bread flour because I prefer unbleached flour.

    11. momma-lana, Sam's also sells unbleached flour, though I believe it is only unbleached all-purpose. You can check online to see if your store carries unbleached flour. I really like Sam's Club's bread flour; it is so much fresher than the Kroger brand.

    12. My Sam's does not sell anything unbleached and the flour is in 50 pound bags. As empty nesters this would last us way too long besides the fact that I have nowhere to store flour in such a quantity. The store where I buy my flour on sale goes through a ton of flour and it is quite fresh, I usually have to get rain checks and pick it up the next week. White Lily is such a popular brand in the south that the stores in my area can hardly keep it on the shelves.

    13. No White Lily flour here that I have seen. Our Sam's has 25 pund bags of flour, but the unbleached comes in a 10 pound bag. Different Sam's clubs carry different items; I know there is another Sam's here and they have some things that are different.

  4. *Ordered aluminum mini blinds to replace 3 vinyl blinds that were broken & 1 more that needed replaced during the President’s Day sale. Saved 30% after getting “buy 3, get one free”, plus free shipping. This was a planned purchase, waiting for a “good enough sale”. By combining all the offers, I saved over $74, & spent just over $100. They arrived Friday, & I put up the new blinds in the library. Cut off the cord pulls & removed the wands before putting the broken blinds in the trash. Since our aluminum mini blind in the dining room came from freecycle, without any cord pulls at all, the 4 pulls that were on it were mismatched, from scrounging. In fact, a few years ago, I knocked on the door of a woman with a blind in her garbage can & asked if I could have the pulls – she was surprised, but said yes. I replaced those with 4 matching cord pulls. I used one of the plastic sleeves in which the wider blinds were shipped to repackage the shorter “good blind” from the library, with the wand & hanging brackets, as it will be donated to DI. There are only 2 more blinds in the house that are vinyl, in 2nd story bedrooms, & those will be replaced with aluminum when they break. Vinyl does not last well with the UV rays & summer heat we have, plus when they are backlit, one can see thru them, which is a privacy issue for us. The 4 blinds we replaced finished off the windows on the front of the house.
    *Bought a dress with a black velveteen bodice & red ruffled skirt on clearance for our youngest granddaughter. She wears a size 2 right now, but I bought a size 4; she is tall like both her parents, so she should fit in it by Christmas.
    *Bought white, silver & gold Christmas ball ornaments at the thrift store, & painted the gold balls green. I plan to use them to make a St. Patrick’s wreath, using either Styrofoam or a wire base to support the balls. It may not be done in time for this year, but when I saw one I liked on etsy for $65 with $35 shipping, I knew I could make it myself for pennies on the dollar.
    *I watched Downton Abbey on PBS & Cheese Slices on UEN.
    *I whittled & sanded on the top for the doll-sized butter churn.
    *I went to get my hair cut, & was blessed to find out the haircuts were on sale for $6.99!
    *We received our state tax refund. It was small, but last year we had to pay, so this year we are just happy to receive a refund instead!
    *In between storms, when the snow was melted off, I sprinkled more dirt over a few low spots in the front lawn. I have been doing that all winter, whenever the snow is not covering the grass, & the spots are filling in nicely. I also moved the tomato ladders that I use to support the Christmas angels from the front yard back to the garden and removed the last of the dead leaves from the dogwood tree I transplanted late last fall. I was delighted to see new buds on most of the branches. It had been stressed for a while before I was able to transplant it, & I did not have high hopes for success, but it appears to have been tougher than it looked.
    *When I bought OTC medications on Monday at Fresh Market, I checked the meat bargain bin & bought 1 pkg of bacon, & 2 pkgs of sausages, for $1 each.
    *I used a coupon on Wednesday to buy a ream of paper at Staples for half price when I filled the car with gas at the Chevron station, on the Chevron card & got both the discount & the free car wash. They use so much salt on the road here that we have to wash the car, or it corrodes the body. Stopped by Fresh Market on my way home & bought 2 pkgs of ground turkey & 1 pkg of turkey sausages for $1 each from the mark-down meat bin. I also bought a loaf of English muffin bread from the bakery discount rack, as a treat for myself, since my husband eats gluten-free. For lunch I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich.
    *Cooked all meals at home & ate leftovers for lunches.
    *I used ¼ cup frozen ham broth mixed in with homemade scalloped potatoes as flavoring. The potatoes were delicious.

  5. made granola...hopefully it goes into bar form tonight

    dehydrated apples for apple chips...apples were $1 a pound

    Got a free bottle of grapefruit juice and a free bag of frozen corn by combining sales and coupons

    My husband and son are shoveling the roof and breaking off the ice

    had two snow days so we statyed in pajamas...lots less laundry this week.

    downloaded a couple free kindle books

    made popcorn for our movie night

    found that our city garbage bags are going to be $1 each instead of .60...will use some savings to buy a case before the price hike.

    enjoyed an afternoon of games and a pool party sponsored by our chuch...provided us with lunch as well. I brough orange slices (1.99 for a 3 popnd bag) and a bag of pretzles I had gotten on sale and were close toe the expiration date...brought some of both home as leftovers. Accpeted hotdogs and buns as well as a thank you.

    bought ground turkey for $1 a pound

    made a double batch of oven spaghetti sauce...will be at least 6 meals for my family

  6. Here are mine from last week:

  7. I LOVE reading these! Everyone is so inspirational and positive. I also wanted to comment that Ezrom's clay work looks fantastic!

    My list is posted on my blog:

  8. This week I ....

    -Make chicken salad without chicken. I drained a can of chickpeas, warmed them up, mashed them, added mayo, salt and pepper. I also made a loaf of wheat bread, a huge batch of granola, pot of soup, drop biscuits and stuffed bell peppers (using a can of drained blackbeans instead of meat).
    - My husband brought home two pizzas leftover after a meeting.
    - He also brought home a pile of thick white plain paper. It will be good for printing paper dolls, cards ect. He also brought home leftover letter stickers. The letters are huge. I think I am going to make a yard sale sign using them. A co-worker was retiring and going to throw these items out.
    - I won a free 20 soda from subway.
    - Found seven outgrown dress in my youngest daughters closet. I added these to the pile of clothes to sell to Once Upon A Child.
    -A free pastel art pencil came in the mail and a free sample of kids medicine.
    - I went to Aldis and spent alot $129 but, I stocked up on a lot of things. If I went to Kroger or Wal-mart I would have spent over $200 on the same amount of food.
    - I listed five books on I use to use this site all the time years ago but, haven't in a long time. I plan on getting as many homeschool books as possible for next year this way. I already have two of my books requested.
    - My husband worked four hours overtime.

    Reading this post and all the replies is the highlight of my week!

    1. The chick pea "chicken" salad is a great idea - I'm going to try that this week. Thanks for sharing!

    2. i won't omit the chicken , but a great way to BOOST the nutrition in my chicken salad....i already add tons of veggies in's almost a non chicken i love thanks for the great tip..i'll be trying it next week.

  9. We have had a more stressful week than usual, and I don't feel like I did much.

    I purchased some items in bulk since prices were good.

    We went out for dinner, but our going out was Costco pizza on sale. We removed the pepperoni to make one of them a cheese pizza, and some off the other because there was so much. We saved it for future use.

    I found some 50% coupons at Joanns for some fabric for a costume I need to make and for a birthday that is coming up.

    Food shopping was for storage items mostly, as we are in a position to build it back up a little.

    My son needed a fleece jacket for a winter camp. I found one a little big (he can wear it for next year too) on clearance and on a one day sale. I paid $2 for it.

    Although I ran out of time to do it last week, my neighbor offered me the use of her pressure canner. I will be canning half of the chicken I bought on sale last week.

    I dehydrated more orange slices.

    I returned a couple of items that were impulse buys.

    I started some more seeds. I am also excited to see such a high germination rate on my seeds. Since the rate is so high, if the starts continue to do well, I will be able to share them with my neighbor.

    My husband finally took the GMAT a week ago. He used many free resources for study and only one paid practice question packet. He got a good score that may help him qualify for grants or other assistance since his company will not be paying any towards his program.

  10. I used to play with clay when I was Ezrom's age. It's a fun hobby to have!

    I shared my accomplishments here:

    1. Nora, whenever I try to view your list, via copy & paste, as soon as your blog opens, my browser (Firefox) crashes. Is there any way you can post them here?

    2. tell Ezrom his Rollie Polie family is amazing....i am very very impressed...

    3. Here you go, Marivene:

      -We ate through the pork roast much faster than I anticipated. Instead of being tempted to go grocery shopping or grab a meal out, I used the last of my homemade pasta sauce and some pasta I bought on sale weeks ago. We had a simple spinach salad based on what was in the fridge.

      - I reorganized my freezer above the fridge and my chest freezer. I'm doing my best to make sure that all of our frozen foods are being rotated regularly. I found 2 lbs of butter and some pork steaks I thought that we had already ate.

      - I made some fruit cobbler with some blackberries and blueberries from my freezer.

      - My husband brought home some leftover pizza from work.

      - JoAnn's had a Presidents day sale. I have been waiting to pick up some heavy duty thread to repair a button on my winter coat. Can't wait to get my coat fixed.

      - Took an online survey, earned $10

      -My dear husband broke my Rubbermaid mop a few weeks ago. I've been making do until we can save up enough to replace it. My husband has been pitching in with keeping the floors cleaned.

      - We are running low on dog food. I've been adding some white rice to the dog food to stretch it out. (We are getting a new bag later this week).

      - We completed our transition from traditional cell service to VOIP and pre-paid service. We negotiated a lower internet rate. In total, we will be saving over 48% or $804/yr.

      - We sat down and made a plan to pay off the last student loan within 5 years. It's an reasonable plan that still allows us a little wiggle room for "rainy days."

      - When we went to reconciliation, we ran errands on the way home, saving gas.

      - Got a free product coupon for pulled pork.

      - Got a free Air Wick sample.

      - Earned a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card. We will save it for a coffee date next month.

      - Called my friend who is coming to visit this weekend. I found out she gave up meat for Lent. I was planning on making a roast while she was here. Now that I know her dietary restrictions, I can plan ahead and we can avoid eating out because I didn't have anything pre-made.

      What were your frugal accomplishments?

      Check out The Prudent Homemaker

  11. A couple months ago I got a box of Uncle Sam cereal free. It’s been open in the cupboard for a couple of weeks and no one really cares for it. To use it up, I made Brandy’s granola recipe and used 1/2 cup of the Uncle Sam cereal and 2-1/2 cups of oats. It was really good that way! I’ve also done it in the past to use up an opened box of kasha/buckwheat , and that was really good too. My son commented that it had a different flavor than usual but that he liked it to have something a little different.

    I used my legal plan and had my will, power of attorney, and living will updated for free. I’ve had the plan for 5 years and never used it! I’m going to make it a point to check into the other benefits offered on my employment plan.

    My 18-year-old son has really been embracing meatless and less-meat meals, so that has been a blessing. He especially like the mushroom and lentil spaghetti sauce I made and said it was even better than meat sauce with ground beef.

    I made homemade biscuits again totally from scratch and homemade really is better! I need to keep working on getting better at it though so I can do it quicker and it isn’t so much of a project.

    Last year we stopped using paper plates. This week I’ve been reusing a plate through the day instead of putting it in the dishwasher right after I use it. I work at home and usually have toast or a biscuit for breakfast and brush off the crumbs and keep the same plate and use it later for fruit and then again for lunch. So 1 plate gets put in the dishwasher after lunch instead of 3. My son on his own has been doing the same thing when he can.

    I was gifted a 1/2 flat of strawberries. Some were getting mushy already when I got it, so I made sure I sorted through them ASAP and put the good ones in the fridge.

    I finally signed up for the FSA at work at the end of last year during open enrollment. There is a tax advantage but to me the best thing is that I got a debit card to use for co-pays and I can use money before it’s been taken out of my pay, which really helped with my deductibles so I didn’t have to have the cash upfront this month.

    I got an email from Kmart that I had $3 of free points to use this weekend. I combined it with $1.87 of points I had earned on my card and I got my daughter a kitchen set with 2 towels, 2 washcloths, 2 hot pads and an oven mitt and only had to pay 12cents out of pocket.

    I’ve been making an effort to reduce food waste that is slowly becoming habit. This week I only threw out about 1 cup of spaghetti sauce that looked iffy. I was planning to use it in the lentils and mushroom sauce but it went bad before I got a chance to make it. Still a waste but much better compared to what I used to throw out over a week’s time.

    I went to Goodwill and dropped off donations. While I was there I went in and bought a new mat for in front of the kitchen sink and 2 new dishtowels (both were new with the tags still on), a covered cake plate (very pretty glass with flower pattern ), and bread machine for my daughter. I spent $28. I have a few other things I needed to shop for but ran out of time. I started a list of what I need so I can shop when I drop off donations and I won’t end up buying things on a whim.

  12. The first thing I did this week wasn't frugal at all! I went on a vacation with my 2 sisters and our 3 oldest daughters, and an aunt. We had SO much fun!

    Upon returning Tuesday night, I reverted to frugal reality.

    We ate at home all week. I menu planned for the next week. It helps me keep myself organized and I use things I have when I make a plan.

    I bought celery, 3 lemons, dish soap.

    A lady at church dug the rest of her carrots that were overwintering in her garden, and shared. We got a plastic grocery bag stuffed full.

    I cleaned another cluttered, messy area. I am trying to get around the house. I am finding things I have, so don't have to buy again, plus lots of stuff I don't need at all. We are piling the extras up in anticipation of a yard sale in the spring.

    I have 4 large raised beds my husband made me a year ago fall. Our garden is so wet we can't till it until late May, or even June. They allow me to get an early crop in, since they dry out faster. They are enclosed in a fence next to the regular row-type garden (deer protection). During the summer, weeds grew in the mulch we had laid around them last spring. I dug out the weeds with a shovel in one area of the path. Then I covered that area with wood chips we got for free from the tree-trimmer guys. I am going to need some family help. In an hour of hard work, I didn't get as much done as I wished, but if I do a little bit every time it quits raining, I will get it done before the ground hardens up.

    We received a large (to us) bill from a recent procedure I had done at a nearby hospital. I'm just thankful that we have insurance. They paid a large portion. My husband called the hospital, and, if we pay in full, they will take 10% off. We think we can scrape that much up, so plan to pay it in full next week. It will leave us really tight for March, though, so everyone keep the great money-saving ideas coming.

    I have mixed emotions about my trip. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it for the world, but I probably would have cancelled if I had known about several medical issues that cropped up after the trip was past the point of no return. i.e. plane tickets purchased, etc. So, at this point, I'm just going to enjoy the memories.

    My husband replaced and put back 2 smoke alarms that had run out of batteries a while ago. Should anything catch on fire, that should save lives as well as posessions.

    The chickens are laying like crazy, so I've been using eggs a lot. I've also been working hard on using pantry items, frozen vegies and other items, plus many, many jars of home-canned fruits and vegetables.

    1. Yay for your trip with your family! I try to remember that spending money on experiences is better than spending money on things. You can never take away your memories and the fun you had, especially with your daughters.

    2. Good for you doing the trip. We cancelled ours because of the uncertainty of the cold.

    3. Have you considered listing your yard sale items on craigslist or ebay to sell them sooner? Just a thought to get money for March. Best wishes!

  13. I exercised my legal rights in a csse that I am involved in and will be getting a check soon for a large some yeah me!
    I did laundry using homemade laundry soap. I washed our home with homemade cleaners. I made Chicken noodle soup (with turkey) I also made ham bean soup and some sandwiches of turkey ham, I made Turkey Alfredo. I did deals and coupons to bring my grocery total down by $50.00 yeah me!
    I did a picnic date day with hubby, It was awesome we saw about 30 deer.
    I am packaging up some things for my next swap box and almost have one full. We have been using up all the food in the house before we go out and shop again. We eat veggie meals two nights per week and cut back on electric usage. I have also been doing my own dishwasher soap.
    Our date this week was $5.00 gasoline to drive to the site and back.
    I lost my coupon booklet at Kroger this week but I pray it will bless someone else.
    I did the med assistance that someone on this blog wrote to me about and I got to pick up hubby's meds! No cost to us! Yeah team!!!! Way to go ladies!!! What a savings!!!
    I bought another Ham on discount paid $1.70 a pound we will enjoy that in the coming weeks. I could not find any other deep discounts so I bought some turkey sausage $2.00 and a small pkg of hamburger (with a coupon from Laura's I will use this for several meals. I also got some shrimp skewers in the frezzer from weeks before and I will put that with the Laura's reduced Ribeye I found and also used a $1.00 off coupon on that as well. So we will have meals for another two weeks with all that we have in our stockpile.

  14. My husband was injured at work (45 minutes before he was to end for the day) Monday afternoon. He went to the E.R. and suffered a broken collar bone from the fall. It has been a pretty rough week for him and he was able to use 2 days of vacation time so he didn't miss any pay. He saw the orthopedic surgeon this morning and he put him in a shoulder/back brace thing to help with healing. The sling the E.R. gave him really wasn't doing anything for him. It was a tiring week, but I did end up getting a lot more accomplished than I thought I would last week.

    - I had 3 Kroger e-coupons for FREE items on my card: (1) dz lg. eggs, (1) 12 oz bag frozen vegetables & (1) 2-L Pepsi next. I also used a $3.00 checkout coupon expiring that day to purchase a 5 lb whole chicken for a total of $2.78
    * I cooked the chicken the next day in the crockpot and I made Brandy's Chicken flavored rice to go along with it and steamed organic carrots. I purchased the carrots on sale with coupon for .25¢ for the 3-lb. bag. I used not quite half the bag.
    -That night I put the broth that was in the bottom of the pan, leftover chicken carcass, celery, carrots, seasonings and an onion in the crockpot to cook overnight to make chicken broth
    -I used some of the broth and leftover chicken to make chicken & noodles. I used some of the 30 lbs. of potatoes we have and I made mashed potatoes. There is enough mashed potatoes and chicken & noodles for another meal
    - I also used the last of the broth in pinto beans I cooked in the crockpot to make refried beans.
    - I made homemade brownies for dessert last week
    - I ate leftovers for lunch a few days
    - I dehydrated orange peels and lemon peels in my food dehydrator. The next day I ground them in my coffee grinder to make homemade orange & lemon peels for baking
    - I added $10.15 to our change jar
    - I sent $5.31 to my Paypal account from the Endorse app on my cell phone
    - I earned $3.00 from doing a survey
    - I have been washing storage & freezer bags and hanging them to dry to use again (no meat has been any of them)
    - I bought 4 gallons of milk at $1.99 a gallon and they don't expire until 3/05
    - I used baking soda to clean the inside of my toilet and homemade citrus cleaner to clean the outside
    - We went to E&S on Saturday morning to stock up on a few things we were getting low on (homemade Amish noodles, spices, beans, etc..)/ We also found a 2 lb. bag of hard salami for $3.79. I packaged it up in separate bags to freeze so it doesn't go bad all at once
    - I also purchased bone-in chicken breast at $1.27 lb. The package had 4 huge breasts in them. I cubed the chicken and froze it for future meals

  15. Love all the great ideas and inspiration… I made my meal plans using food we already had first. This saves me quite a bit on the grocery budget. We were sick a couple of days so we had soup and crackers or other light meals - this allows for those scheduled dinners to be rescheduled into the next rotation. Husband sorted through his closet and drawers and has a large pile of clothes that I am offering to my friends to sort through for their hubbies. I am now going to grab all the t-shirts and make headbands for me and my Maddie girl -- thanks Sheila! We ate at home except one meal (pizza night for daughter's free pizza in reading program at school). I helped at my daughter's school which keeps me busy and not spending money. Filled up my tank when I was near the Kroger gas station and saved 10 cents a gallon. Working on my game plan for a garden this year. Attended a free program at the library "Elephant and Piggie Party" and my daughter and I had a blast, she brought home free crafts and finished projects and a pink piggie balloon. I have asked my daughter to bring me any toy that she feels that she has outgrown or just doesn't like anyone and she randomly does this… I plan to post on Mom's group board and sell. If they don't sell, I will donate. I have discovered that less toys is better for my girl and more time (more time helping me in the kitchen, doing crafts, reading books, cuddling and daydreaming, coloring) -- and these days are precious and few so I am getting rid of all the "stuff" that can distract us from each other. I feel better just saying it.

    1. Thats a lovely idea Amy about spending time with your daughter. We have so many toys but my daughter will only play with particular ones. I think im going to follow what you did about asking her to get one toy which she doesnt like.

  16. I wish I could participate in your garden tour but it's a little far. I did very much like the pictures of your garden though on your website. We still have about 1 1/2 feet of snow over the garden. Supposed to warm up this weekend.

    Did all the usual...hung some of the laundry to dry in the laundry room, cooked and baked all at home, used up leftovers, took a couple meals out of freezers, composted, darned one pair of socks and mended 2 pair underwear and 3 pairs pants. Took lunch to work. Picked up books at the library, watched TV on HULU. Listened to our favorite radio broadcasts on Public Radio...Live at the Metropolitan Opera and Prairie Home Companion, among others.

    Baked 4 loaves banana bread, bagels, apple crisp from root celler apples, made yogurt, homemade fries and hashbrowns, pizza, meatless meatballs. Oranges and grapefruit still on sale. Made more orange marmalade, candied orange peel, grapefruit marmalade and sectioned out about 5 pounds grapefruit just for eating.

    Husband attended a dinner meeting and returned with a large styrofoam filled with leftover onion rings. Have been warming them in oven...enough to have 2x with dinner. Made beef stroganauff with the steak he brought back and the mushrooms I never used last week plus root celler onions and the homemade yogurt.

    Younger daughter and I visited older daughter Friday night, ate dinner, played Scrabble and watched a couple comedies on HULU. Her husband was recently promoted but that moved him to evening shift...she also changed shifts at her job so she would work evenings too, but she did not work Friday night. Gave her loaf of banana bread and some marmalades. She served potato soup she made using my recipe which is actually my mother's recipe that was my grandmother's before her. Just potatoes, carrots, onions , and dried crushed rosemary.

    Still doing pretty good on grocery totals at the end of month...still under $100 even though had the large produce purchases. But I do plan on making large cheese purchase Wednesday night, it is the store brand and as usual, can purchase unlimited amount so will buy mozzarella, ex sharp cheddar, co-jack, pepper jack and much as I can. Unopened they will keep for months in the back of the fridge.

    Found the recipe I asked for that does not use non dairy creamer in the cocoa mix. It uses white chocolate chips instead. Have some $1 coupons for baking chips, will use them on double coupon day and stock up. Received THE HOMEMADE PANTRY cookbook for Christmas and made up the baking mix in there to use for waffles, pancakes etc.

    1. Forgot to mention butter and milk in the ingredients for the potato soup.

    2. Could you share the hot chocolate recipe or where you got the recipe? I love white chocolate hot chocolate, but only buy it as a special treat since it is $.59/cup.

    3. How do you make your meatless meatballs? I would love to be able to use them to make sweet and sour meatballs. I haven't made it since we cut back so much on the meat I buy.

    4. Vanessa...I had asked whether anyone had a recipe not using the non-dairy creamer. Someone listed a link and I did not write it down, just the recipe. Now the recipe makes a regular chocolate cocoa, just uses white chocolate chips to replace the creamer.

      3 C nonfat dry milk
      2 C powdered sugar
      1 1/2 C Dutch process cocoa powder
      1/4 tsp salt
      1 1/2 C white chocolate chips

      Mix in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
      Store in airtight container for 3 months.
      Use 1/3 C of mix to 1 C milk or hot water.

      I am sorry to not be able to credit the recipe to whomever this
      was , but I just don't remember the site.

    5. Debbie...I usually cook without recipes...I just mash (don't mash smooth though) brown rice, cooked lentils, an egg, some crumbs, cooked minced onion, garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, you can add some grated Parmesan cheese too. They work best if not too big, more like a walnut size. Oh , I have added finely chopped walnuts too at times. Fry them in oil or roll in oil and bake in the oven at 375 until crispy on the outside. Don't soak them in sauce as will fall apart...I just serve them hot on top of the pasta and sauce. I get meatless recipes from the Seventh Day Adventists. I took a cooking class as their church years and years ago.

  17. Oh another thing. I found a neat trick in the HOMEMADE PANTRY book. She does something she calls icing the kettle when she heats milk and it really works. Set your kettle on the cold burner, add one ice cube and swirl it around and allow it to melt, just at room temp. Then pour in your milk. Heat milk as usual. Both times I used her recipe I heated the milk to 180 as she said and not a bit or scorched or blistered milk. She says just don't stir to the bottom with a metal spoon.

  18. Frugal Accomplishments
    My biggest accomplishment this week is not frugal, but it was a huge family event. On Tuesday I gave birth to a son, it all happened very quickly! He was born at home as planned. He is being combination feed, with me alone he was not putting on any weight, I think it was both a manufacture and delivery issues. Combination feeding is semi frugal, and formula had already been budgeted for and bought.
    We were gifted dinner on Thursday by someone at church.
    My husband wanted to treat the children for having been so amazing this week, with McDonalds food. I agreed they should be treated but explained how much McDonalds meals for 6 various age children would cost, he looked a bit pale and agreed it was not such a good idea. Instead he found chocolate digestives that are normally £1.85 a packet in a local garage he often uses. They were short dated so were priced at 45p each,so he negotiated and bought all 6 packets for £2 total.
    We were given a travel cot from my husband’s business partner, our usual cot is still being used by the next child up.
    I am looking forward to being back to myself soon and being able to live simply and frugally.
    Jenny in Wales

    1. Congratulations! Take care of yourself and get some extra rest. You deserve it!

    2. Congratulations on your new treasure!

    3. What exciting news! Congratulations!

    4. Congratulations! I am very happy for you!

    5. Congratulations Jenny!
      Here is a tip if you want to treat for next time a treat of McDonald's comes up. Buy just the sandwiches 6 cheeseburgers are cheap , serve at home with applesauce and drink from home.
      This is a way to eat on the cheap on vacation as well.

    6. Congratulations Jenny!

      Have you heard of a SNS (supplemental nursing system)?

      I had trouble with one baby and had to re-lactate with another and those things work wonders to get your supply up, while still supplying enough for the baby in the meantime.

      There are also some herbs that help.

      Blessings to you and your new son!

  19. I went to the wholesale farmer's market rather the supermarket and found cucumbers, blueberries, and bananas cheaper.

    Also bought and stocked up on other fruits and veggies that I needed.

    Made a appointments to meet friends over the weekend but made them promise it would be cheap.

    Alternated meat and meatless dishes throughout the week and ate leftovers.

    Hung all the laundry to dry instead of using the dryer.

    Walked instead of driving.

    Bathed the dog, clipped his nails, and cleaned his ears myself instead of taking him to the groomers and saved about $30.

    Found balsamic vinegar and coconut milk on sale (finally!).

    Searched and found some new and interesting recipes on the internet that use ingredients I already have on hand.

    Made chocolate muffins with organic cocoa powder gifted to me by a friend.

  20. Great ideas as usual. This week was a bit lean as far as frugal purchases as I could not find very many but my husband is starting to get in on the game plan and he went to one of the stores I have been going to for their one day sale and picked up the sales items for me because he gets off work before I do and they are usually sold out of something before I make it to the store.

    We had old fashioned Sunday at church. We had to dress in costume from different eras and I used clothing that I already had to make a costume rather than buy something that would only be used once. My son did the same. My husband had to get one article of clothing to complete his outfit but his mother offered to get it for him so we did not have to pay anything out of pocket.

    Took lunch to work all week. Made breakfast at home each morning.

    Made coffee and filled up my travel mug each morning. This saves me about a dollar a day or more if I don't stop at specialty coffee shops on my way to work.

    Made homemade dessert for the Sunday potluck at church. Fried chicken was on sale so my hubby got that to take instead of using our food storage.

    Went to a ladies' retreat on Saturday. The lady that decorated used tissue paper to make flowers and tissue paper balls and they were beautiful. I got her to show me how to make them so I can make some for an upcoming baby shower that I am hosting. (I am doing almost all of the decorations myself to save money and to make it unique!)

    Overall, not as much as I hoped to accomplish but I did have a bit of frugality and every little bit helps.

    1. The tissue paper balls are very easy to make. If you are careful, you can even make them so that they can be used for other events by changing the ribbons they hang from! A girl from church saved all the tissue paper from her bridal showers and made balls to hang at her wedding reception. I made some for my daughter's birthday party last summer, and she liked them so much that I hung them in her room for everyday decorations.

    2. Martha Stewart

      we made these with old christmas cards but they would also work with any heavy paper, like childrens books or invitations. They are beautiful, and then they become favors.

  21. I love the picture of Ezrom! He really has a talent there and his attention to detail is impressive. Bless his heart. I got a little chuckle out of your statement that your husband washed the windows for very little. For a moment, I thought you were saying you did not have to pay him very much to do it, before I realized what you meant! :)

    I bought 2, 4# packages of bacon ends and pieces and canned them this week.

    I also learned how to cook spaghetti squash and love it! I hope I can grow some this year in our garden.

    I had a few oranges that were not looking as appealing as they used to, so I cut off the peels, sliced and dehydrated them along with some sliced very ripe bananas.

    I gathered some mache from the hoop house, and with a carrot, made some very nice green juice.

    I taught a friend how to make sourdough waffles, using our cast iron waffle irons.

    When I needed to roast some bones for making bone broth, rather than heating up the big oven, I did it in our toaster oven.

    I was very happy when I bought gas this week to realize it had been a whole month since I bought gas. I've been trying not to go to town anymore than I have to, and combining trips. My husband is always good to call before he leaves town to see if I need anything and that helps a lot.

  22. This week's frugal activities:
    -Paid off one credit card completely! We are almost completely debt free, so this is a step in the right direction.

    -Purchased 2- 4 lb. hams for $4.99 ea, also purchased pork loin roast on sale for $1.49 a pound. I used an additional $5 off coupon plus received 10% off on top of the discount. The roasts I purchased have been cut up into 6 smaller roasts and frozen.

    -Purchased 25 lb. bag of wheat berries. I'm new to grinding my own flour but I hope it's as easy as everyone has said it is.

    -Found some french bread on clearance for .39 cents a loaf, bought 3 loaves, sliced them buttered them with garlic butter then froze the slices for future use. I also made 2 pans of stuffed shells and froze one for future use.

    -Made a pot of potato leek soup, used evaporated milk instead of half and half. My family liked it.

    -Finished knitting a baby blanket for a friend whose first grandchild will be born this June, started knitting a couple of matching burp clothes. I also taught my 8 yo son how to crochet, he made a necklace with a round medal on the end of it. My son wants me to knit him a larger blanket using the baby yarn because it's so soft. My next project is to watch for flannel sheets to go on clearance to make fast and easy quilts with them.

    - Planned my garden for 2013, sorted my seeds and will get them started this week. I'm going to use Brandy's jar idea and try to get them out earlier.

    -Someone commented that they tried to keep busy to keep them from spending money, I too tried this this week and it works. I was amazed at how many projects I actually have around the house that I need/want to do.

    1. I have a hand cranked wheat grinder. The children think it is great fun to grind wheat!

    2. Congratulations on the credit card pay off! It's hard to un-bury yourself from debt!

    3. Jenny, I have a hand one for emergencies but I lucked out and won a Nutrimill. It should be as easy as pushing a button.

      Mandy, thanks for the encouragement. Your right it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but I see it!!!

  23. -mended some clothing

    -went to Goodwill during their half-off sale and bought some new clothing

    -sent my friend a birthday card that I had gotten for free online a few months ago with a code

    -went to a free concert put on by the local university's symphony orchestra

    -was $9 under budget this week at the grocery store

  24. *love*love*love* those whimsical and charming little clay people. Ezrom has created charming creatures. I've enjoyed seeing them, and sharing the photograph with grandchildren.
    Ezrom is a very talented young man... I hope he continues to grow in his artistic abilities. He must have been born with this gift!

  25. Things we did to save money
    *Stayed home- which was easy since we were all sick
    *Ate a meatless meal- big one for us as hubby is definately a carnivore, lol
    *Used more rice in our meals to stretch what meat we did have
    *Ate out of the freezer and pantry
    *Hemmed 2 pair of pants
    *Saved containers that will double into "green houses" for starting seeds with my kids
    *Saved 2 gallon juice containers to wash our and use to hold hm drinks (tea, lemonade, koolaid etc) for get togethers, we normally have people over every weekend and I feel like I am constantly making tea, so this way I'll be able to make a couple gallons of beverages before anyone gets here and it will be cold and in the fridge instead of waiting for more to be made.
    * Found some free pattern ideas online to make some clothing for my youngest out of cast offs ( stained shirt of her daddy's hopefully will become a cute skirt?? Who knows, we'll see)
    * Turned a bicycle pump into a manual vacuum sealer for jars

    Thats all I can think of right now!!!

  26. I wish I could attend your garden tour, but that would be quite a trip for me! I'm a little envious of everyone who has mentioned starting their garden already. We just got 9 inches of snow over the weekend and are expecting at least 6 more inches over the next couple of days. We won't be able to plant until Memorial Day.

    This week we mostly saved in small, everyday ways:

    **Husband took lunch to work every day.

    **Turned lights off when not being used.

    **Used cash to buy groceries.

    **Kept the thermostat at 67 during the day and 62 at night.

    **Ate oatmeal many times this week instead of cereal and made Baked Oatmeal Cups.

    **Earned $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks.

    **Borrowed books and a DVD from the library and also found a few coupons that I could use.

    **Used a coupon for more free relish (this will be so nice to have this summer!).

    **Cut older son's hair.

    **Used a gift card and had a nice date with hubby while the children stayed with Grammy and Grampy.

    We had some not-so-frugal moments:

    **I got some bulk spices thinking that it would be a less expensive way to buy spices, only to discover that some of them were actually more expensive to buy this way.

    On a positive note: instead of buying spice jars, I reused jars to store them in and made labels using tags I already had on hand.

    **We took the boys to the Maine Discovery Museum. The cost of gas (4-hour round trip), the museum fee and a meal makes this a fairly expensive family activity. To help with the cost, we brought our own snacks and drinks for the car ride and planned on using a gift card we were given at Christmas to pay for lunch. After eating lunch (and splurging on dessert!), we discovered that we were not able to use the gift card and had to pay for the meal.

    On a positive note: our family had a wonderful day together and it was worth far more than the money we spent!

  27. This week went well...
    *Earlier this month we deposited our ins. check from the accident that I had from last Sept and been ever so slowly chopping away the bills...Paid 2 in the last week itself probably 2 more to go before closing this for good...Anyone gone through this knows the amount of time you spend pursuing the different services for a variety of hospital services not to mention the stress, its a full time job in it self...
    *cleaned out the junk drawer finally and found a lot of useful things: old incense sticks which I immediately used throughout the week;more bag clips;bread wires;odd end buttons to add to my sewing box.
    *sorted out my seed packet box and so glad to see that I do not have restock on flowers/herbs as I have had been holding onto some old ones for sometime.Amazingly I also discovered I actually had the plant description tags for every plant we had bought(and the ones that also died) since we have been married -plenty of memories.Gosh the shocker was how much we spent on beautiful calla lilies (which died of root rot) and the numerous roses that my husband loves in particular which died of fungus.Not doing that anymore...
    *Made my 2013 garden plans and will have to use the large change find from last week to buy some soil as well as the wood for another raised bed.
    *Used the Homemade detergent
    *Ate all meals at home except for Friday Night out at a friend's house for our bi-monthly prayer meeting group/birthday.I did get a good deal on shitake mushrooms at the Asian Store ($3 for.75 lb) so made a casserole to take over to the party and it was a hit.We gave a gift card that I got as a gift last summer for the party which made me realize I am a bit slacking in gift preparation this year.
    *Made another batch of idli/dosa mix which seems to be a staple here.Also made hummus as my son has been asking for "white dip". Turned out well though I think I ate more of it than anyone else.:)
    *Cut my son's hair at home and hubby got his hair done at Great Clips as they had a sale this week for $7.99.I asked my hubby for mine to be done while we were at it for my son but he said a flat "No"... Thank goodness my friend who does my henna application said she would do the straight chop for me as well-bless her heart!!
    * Got my free subscription of Martha Living as well as a free L'Oreal shampoo and conditioner via mail. Also figured out how to get the magazines on my hubby's Ipad-its beautifully done.
    *Listened to a lot on Pandora this week
    *Used my Pepsi Next coupon for the FREE 2 liter bottle-saving that for when we have guests.
    *Got my 16 oz vanilla essence for $6.88 from Sam's via a friend who has a membership as we do not.
    *Shopped @ Trader Joe's after such a long time as we like some of their stuff and some not so much-TJ Veggie chips,oranges,TJ's Columbian Instant coffee(my weakness and $3.99 splurge this week)etc.
    *Thanks for all the ladies' input on beauty stuff-I found some mud clay that I had not used in awhile and used it with gr8 results on my adult acne...
    That's it I think...Look forward to reading the others...

  28. It wasn’t a very exciting week here, which is a good thing. I like quite times.

    - Cooked from scratch and packed lunches or my husband as usual, planned around sales and leftover ingredients

    - stocked up on pasta again

    - Made another batch of felt play food for my son using free tutorials and materials which I had on hand(this time it was strawberries and carrots).

    - Fixed another pieces of furniture to the wall for safety (I only need like 2-3 more to get done); I had to buy some of the fixing material though.

    - Husband finally started his driving license course (not very frugal, but my father-in-law offered to pay for it). We don’t plan to buy a car the next few years, but it is good to have it since it is a requirement for a lot of job opportunities.

    - updated the computers/laptops in my household using free programs and add-ons

    - downloaded free e-books using the local digital public library services – saved both money and the time would have needed to go and fetch them.

    - threw away a few pieces of clothing that was beyond repair and also not fit to be cut into cleaning clothes; saved buttons and put them away for later use.

    - Used bits of leftover milk (it was just a few drops left) from the bottle as a facial cleanser

    - used up cream completely – this meant cutting up the tube

    This is pretty much everything (I have not manages to mend a few clothes, though – task for this week).

  29. We had a pretty good week:
    -I found out today that I got a promotion at work! I have worked very hard for this moment :) I also get a $3.50 per hour raise!! and my own office :) Very excited!
    -Continued to bring my own coffee/beverages and food to work. I forgot my lunch at home one day, due to being outside chipping the ice/snow off my car for a half hour, so I was able to eat at work for free in the cafeteria. I work in a halfway house supervising criminals, if we supervise them at meal times we can eat for free.
    - I desperately needed a pair of dress shoes for my interview for said promotion so I took my toddler with me and went to Good will. I got 2 pairs of dress shoes, 1 pair of dress pants, 2 tops for me and 2 shirts for her and "new" gloves and hats for us both. She also found a mickey mouse plate for .50 cents so I got her that as well. I spent $22.00 using my discount card.
    -We discovered why half of our house is freezing cold all the time. In the kitchen and our room the wall has rotted away from the cement floor (yay us) so as a temporary fix my hubby bought the spray foam and filled in all the gaps. I made a "draft dodger", but made it a lot larger than store bought to put in front of the back door where air was blowing under the door. These were made from fabric/sand we already had on hand. Our house is much warmer now and i am able to keep the heat down to 66 or 67 all the time. We know this is a temporary fix. This was my grandmothers house, we bought it after she passed away so we knew there was major problems.
    -I made homemade granola and snicker doodle cookies. I portioned out my snacks for work into sandwich bags so I can "grab and go".
    -We didn't eat out at all
    - I only spent $50 at the grocery store, other wise we are still eating from our food storage
    - My homemade vanilla is almost ready, which is good because our last batch is gone. So much cheaper to make myself.
    - I received a free recipe book for spending $50 at the grocery store and received another free recipe book from sunmaid raisins company
    - Washed most of the laundry over the weekend since it off peak hours all weekend. I hung most of it to dry on my indoor lines.
    -I got several free heart/red/pink pencils, left over from the "heart healthy" event my employers put on. Several people didn't want theirs so I took them. They are put away for gifts.
    -Used homemade cleaners only to clean. This is my personal preference. I made homemade air freshner and it smells great! and it is all natural :)
    -In a previous comment I wrote about disputing a medical bill my insurance company was trying not to pay. I received a new bill that was slightly over $1000 cheaper! That's a big savings and only took me 3 hours total on the phone with all the different people involved. Now I will make payments until it is paid off
    - I printed off a birthday card from my computer for a coworker.
    -I received several loaves of bread from work for free. They had to many loaves and could not store them all.
    Thank you everyone for your comments!

  30. I took soil samples from our garden and landscaping. Then I dropped them off at our local extension service. They will send them off to a lab to be tested and then give me a recommendation for adding minerals to the soil. This test is completely free and should help improve my garden yields this year I posted my frugal accomplishments on my blog here:

  31. After a couple of not terribly frugal weeks due to social commitments, I feel like we are back on track. We continue to eat more meatless meals --my husband has started making the most wonderful enchiladas with homemade red chile sauce and egg on the top. Yum! We are also eating more potato, soyrizo and egg. We also have not purchased laundry soap in a couple of months -- perhaps as many as three. In addition to being cheaper I think making your own laundry soap is actually much more convenient because it is easier to have the ingredients on hand.

    I am trying to go out less on the weekends -- which really seems to be cash intensive. And frankly, I am happier at home . . .

    Trying to take more lunches in to work and buying fewer colas while I am there. It does seem to be having an impact on my wallet.

    Am taking a badly damaged duvet cover in to have repaired --- the tears are beyond my skill level -- but at least we are not buying a new one. . .

    Am trying to make homemade cleaner out of vinegar and citrus, but am not sure of the recipe. Do the citrus peels have to be perfect and pith-free? Proportions?

    Had one large frugal fail this week -- hummus made with garbanzo bean flour. Concrete like consistency, gross yellow color. Am trying to make falafel out of it. Very curious about why the stuff in the stores is SOOO much better.

    Planted Nasturtium -- to enjoy and hopefully eat.

    Regards to all you smart women, especially Brandy.

    1. Elanor- I think the hummus and the falafels in stores uses whole garbanzo beans which are soaked that why the lovely creamy consistency instead of garbanzo flour. Even making at home, try using whole garbanzo beans, it will def give you better results

    2. My Cooks Illustrated magazine says that the very best hummus is made with dried chickpeas that have been soaked.

    3. Thanks for the tips. I just assumed garbanzo bean flour wouldn't be that much different than whole garbanzos which have been ground . . . live and learn. Thanks!

    4. When I mill garbanzos for chickpea flour, they are still dried and raw. When I make hummus, I use cooked garbanzos. That could make a big difference in texture and flavor, I bet. Did you cook the mixture? Just wondering. :)

    5. I make hummus using cooked garbanzo beans as well. I've tried it with flour and the flavour and texture are never quite the same. I DO use the flour for making gluten free corn bread. You can't tell the difference but it is much more nutritious.

  32. Can someone answer a question please? When I boil ham bones for broth every year, after our New Years and Easter hams, I end up with a layer of firm white fat at the top of the cooled broth. Can I use that like lard? It would enable me to be even more frugal...Thanks in advance for any guidance.

    1. I think that you can - it is pork fat, after all. It may be salty or otherwise flavored from the ham, so you would want to skim it, then simmer it with a fair amount of water to 'clean' it and get out any flavors, bits of stuff, etc. Then let that cool/harden again, and skim it. :)

    2. You can definitely use it as lard - that is what it is. The firm white fat layer has been through the water when you boiled the ham, so rather than simmer with more water, I would just scrape the bottom to remove bits of stuff. However, because it has been boiled with the water to make the broth, it will not keep as long in the fridge without going rancid, so you will need to freeze it.

    3. From a read at Mom's Frugal blog, I would say yes. Put in tub and keep in freezer. Enjoy!

  33. I just discovered your website & blog last week. You are amazing! I am loving {and slightly obsessed} with all your frugal tips and priceless advice on all areas of homemaking. I am starting now with some serious budget changes in my own home. I can't wait to build up my own food storage, start a tiny & modest potted garden {on my balcony no less} and most importantly stop wasting money! Thank you! You have a new dedicated follower! :) Ps. Your Potato Cheese Soup is AMAZING! My first no-meat dish {minus a few bacon crumbles}. The hubs LOVED it with a little bit of garlic and dried chile pequins. Thank you!

  34. Brandy, I just tried to find out how to make your laundry soap. Instead, I found out that I cannot legally buy borax in this country! Turns out that apparently "too many people have misused it in the recent years" and it got prohibited to private households about 4 years ago.
    However, I did find a lot of advertisement posters atc. from the fifties and sixties. I wonder whether people have become so much more ignorant over the past 60 years.

    Do you know by chance any other laundry soap recipes that work and do not include borax? (I still can get washing soda and natron, at least.)

    1. What country are you in? Perhaps my readers there can give you a suggestion. I do know that you can add washing soda to your detergent to "boost" it, according to the box. So, you could at least try mixing your powdered soap with washing soda to extend it.

    2. Thanks!
      Right now I'm in Germany but relatively close to the Polish border so any information whether I could get it there would be useful, too. I don't speak Polish so although I looked up what "borax" is in Polish, I can't really figure our where to ask for it.

    3. You might find a recipe w/o borax on one of my favorite blogs. She is in Australia.

    4. Thanks, momma-lana, this is great!

  35. Can anyone tell me how to keep chicken breast moist? The whole family loves chicken thighs but since whole chickn was a good discount I ended up buying them. I tried using it as i would in any meal bt it tended to dry out. Are there any specific recipes which would maintain the moistness of it ?

    1. Roast the bird with the breast-side down and you will have a moist bird every time. If you have a pan with a covered lid or if you can tent it with foil, this will help even more; your bird will be falling off the bones. I roast my chickens and turkeys like this every time.

    2. I find that rubbing the skin of a chicken or turkey with oil makes a huge difference in moistness. Like Brandy said, a covered pan makes a big difference too.

    3. if i'm making just breasts i poach them, in water, lemon juice, with peppercorn, garlic and bay leaves and rosemary

      they are VERY moist and keep well for leftovers and are very (possibly too) juicy..

    4. Brine before cooking. Times vary by weight/size. :-)

  36. I made laundry soap. My son has been on a pancake kick so I have been saving a lot since pancakes are so economical. I made some with half a medium roasted sweet potato mixed in and they were delish. We used a gift card to buy my husband new shoes for work. While we were at the mall we took our son to the lego store. He loves it there. I got a case of free cat food. It was a pretty quiet week here. We are gearing up for my son's first birthday next week, I am making his favorite, beef stew and my sister is bringing the cake. Then we are decorating with the stuff I saved from our older son's first birthday. Ivory's birthday must be soon too! Where did this year go?

    We were delighted to receive our son's big present from their grandma, a one year family pass to the Please Touch Museum! It includes parking and unlimited carousel rides and we are looking forward to all the fun.

  37. Your son's little people are amazing!! What creativity he has=)
    I love reading your blog, I've learned so much!

  38. Today is the first day Ive read your blog. Very inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I'm glad you're here! Make sure to check out my website; the blog is just a small addition to what is on my website:


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