Sunday, March 30, 2014

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

I harvested asparagus, lettuce, sugar snap peas, green onions, and parsley from our garden. The peas and onions were used to make my museum pasta salad.

Our sewer company switched from annual billing to quarterly billing last year. I have been expecting my new quarterly bill but had not yet received it. When my bill did come this week, it had a late fee attached. I called to protest it, since I had not received a bill at all. The late fee ($8.98) was removed; I paid over the phone (no charge) and found out the dates the bill will be due from now on so that I can pay on time whether I receive them or not (I put the dates in the spreadsheet that I use for bill paying).

I received a free magazine in the mail.

I watched two shows for free on Hulu with my husband.

I signed up for PixieFaire's newsletter and received a link to two free 18" doll patterns.

I have been planning to purchase a pair of garden boots for several years but had not found any that I liked. I did a lot of research and decided to purchase a pair locally for $30 (that were also made in the U.S.!) These should last for many years and save the wear and tear on my regular shoes.

I attended a free dinner with a guest speaker at church on Thursday.

I went through our things and parted with those I was no longer using in a garage sale on Friday (including the gravy boats that my grandmother had given me, above). My parents also gave us some things to sell after they did some decluttering at their house. A couple of the things that they didn't need we wanted, so we kept those instead of selling them (my dad looked through our things first as well). We sold a good number of things.

The items that didn't sell were donated to my oldest daughter's church youth group garage sale on Saturday. Proceeds from the sale were divided among the girls to help them earn money for camp. Winter handed out flyers to everyone who came to our sale to tell them about Saturday's sale. At least 6 people went to that sale from our flyers, including their first customer.

I went to Saturday's sale to help. I also purchased a few items, including a silk scarf for myself for 25 cents, a book that I have long wanted (that has been out of print for years) for 50 cents.

I used a $10 off coupon at the nursery and I purchased three elderberry bushes to put in a space in the garden where nothing was growing.

I also purchased another Stella cherry tree. I'll need to get a pot for this one (at this point any additional fruit trees need to be potted, as I already have 42 fruit trees on a .25 acre lot); I'll be looking at Sam's Club the next time I am there, as they usually have very large pots in the spring for low prices.

I continued to water my potted plants with water gathered from waiting from the shower and from rinsing vegetables.

I painted my garden bench using leftover paint that I had.

I did another thing--a rather exciting thing--to save us some money. I'll be writing about that in a separate post.

What did you do last week to save money?


  1. I am dying to plant a lemon or orange tree in my yard, but my husband won't let me. Wondering how much trouble I'd get in if I just do it one day while he's at work.. Love the bench picture!

    1. I understand, my husband needed convincing too! I now have 6 trees though! I promised that I would keep them pruned so they wouldn't lean against our fence and that I would regularly pick up the fallen fruit. And, I made sure to buy semi-dwarf so they wouldn't get huge. I also told him it was important to me. Gardening is my hobby and I spend lots of time in the backyard with
      my 2 and 5 year old. Good luck!

    2. We have been looking into a lemon tree to grow in our 4 season room and then move to patio for summer. The garden center says they will be getting them in but they are delaying all their shipments due to the weather. It is snowing today; it was 55 yesterday.

    3. Christie- I'll have to take your advice and see what he says! You are definitely giving me hope! Athanasia- I'm here in Fl and the local nursery sells trees that guaranteed to produce in 2 yrs. all of my neighbors have bought from them and been successful. Where are you?

    4. Mary Ann, I have wondered whether to do a mail order as I see mentioned here often that folks do mail order. The garden store says they usually get 3 in when they are ordered. I think that is 3 total, not every shipment. We are in Wisconsin, kind of in the middle.

  2. Not receiving bills in the mail and then being hit with late fees even when you do manage to get it remove is very annoying. I’ve switched all but one of our bills to online bill accounts so that we get an email when our bills are ready to be viewed and that I’m easily able to log in and check we haven't missed any.

    Last week's accomplishments…
    I made Bread and Butter pudding.

    I made Cupcakes for 2 - Chocolate stuffed Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Sauce.

    I made slow cooked pull apart pork with apple coleslaw for the first time and it was a big hit.

    I separated and planted some more of my onion and leek seedlings but have now run out of room in the veggie garden. I'm thinking that I'll buy some large plastic tubs to grow the rest in.

    Nathan made Bailey a raised dog box for in the lounge room and I found fabric from the clearance section to cover the foam insert .

    Photos and more accomplishments at

    Have a great week everyone!
    Rebecca | Life & Home

    1. How do you make bread and butter pudding?

  3. We have new (used) kitchen cupboards. Our existing cupboards are past it - they don't match each other, a couple of doors are falling off. I've wanted to replace them forever, but haven't wanted to fork out the money for new cabinets. Well, a friend is redoing her kitchen and saved her cupboards for us. They're solid hardwood (not pine, not laminate, not plywood, hardwood - even the shelves are 2 inch thick hardwood). And the size is almost perfect. With a lick of paint we'll have a new kitchen at a fraction of the cost.

    We took the kids to the movies - for free, using passes we'd won at work. Since my pass was actually a gift card we had enough left over for the snack bar too.

    I was given a free magazine (current issue). I also signed up for a free cosmetics sample. My husband took advantage of a promotion to get 2 free 32 gig memory cards.

    I managed to save some petrol by reorganising a couple of errands. Later on this week I have to go to a training session at work for two days; I'll use my own car and claim back the mileage (the reimbursement rate is very good so two days = 1.5 weeks of petrol).

    I cleaned the pantry. I always think that counts as frugal because I always find food I forgot I had. It's like going shopping, without spending a dime. (Now how to use two kilos of chickpeas . . . )

    1. Congratulations on the new cabinets! How wonderful! That is a huge blessing and a huge savings!

    2. Yes, and as icing on the cake, we should be able to reuse one of the kitchen cabinets (one that isn't falling apart) in the laundry room, to replace our shell of a cupboard there (literally, it's just a shell - no doors and some serious water damage).

    3. I love to boil then oven bake chickpeas. They turn into super crunchy little snacks for very cheap. Just boil until tender with a little salt. Then rinse and dry roast (no oil) on a non stick pan for 30-45 min at 400 degrees. You will want to stir them around every five minutes after 15 minutes so they don't stick and burn. Once they are crunch I coat very very lightly in oil and flavoring of my choice... everything from ranch to cayenne. Good luck with the chickpeas!

    4. I'm really inexperienced with chickpeas but I've heard you have to soak them overnight or they'll make you sick - Is that right or have I been misled? If I do the boil-and-bake thing do I soak them first or boil them from the dried state? (I bought them because they were 10 cents for a 500g bag - and I figured sooner or later I'd learn how to use them!)

    5. I have not heard the thing about getting sick. I sometimes soak over night, sometimes the quick bring to boil, boil 2 min then sit 2 hours. Then drain and cook til as soft as you want. Don't add salt ahead of time.

    6. Hard to imagine why anyone would want to get rid of such wonderful cabinets!

  4. I spent a few days at home this week, since it was Spring vacation and I did not go to work.

    We shopped at Costco and Cash and Carry for some fruit, vegetables and dairy that are less expensive there than at the regular store.

    I cooked beef roast from the freezer, hubs barbequed steak from freezer (we buy 1/2 beef each fall/winter) and we ate lots of fruits and vegetables, both fresh and stored. I made soup from turkey frozen earlier, plus veggies and rice.

    I also made a zucchini lasagna with a recipe a friend gave me. Since 3 of us are gluten free, this will be a great savings once the zucchini begins to come on during the summer. Gluten free lasagna noodles cost at least $2.50 per box and often over $3.50. It was really good, too. Around here, though, I can't even think of planting things like zucchini out in the garden yet. I tried to get down there this week and it's much too wet to even plant peas. It's too cold for any warm weather veggies like zucchini. I love looking at your veggies, though, Brandy.

    Our pig was returned to us, all cut and wrapped, and we ate 1 package of bacon. My husband raised 4 pigs, sold 3, and his profit paid for the cost of our pig, plus the cut and wrap fees.

    I mended quite a few items. My husband got a dress for our granddaughter for $1 at a garage sale. It just needed a few stitches put in to mend a small tear. It's in good shape now, and looks nice enough that she wore it to church today. He also got a top for her, and 2 other tops for my youngest daughter, all for $1 each. I also ironed several items so that they can be worn.

    I sewed a pair of shorts and a top that matches them for my granddaughter from fabric I had on hand. I bought thread to match the top fabric. I was able to go to JoAnn's while she was in one of her many appointments, saving gas, as everything is an average of 30 minutes away. I also have a jumper almost finished from a pattern my friend gave me and fabric I had on hand. I am running into some challenges dressing her, since she is at the top of the child's sizes (16) and is only 9. So, it's ladies clothes next and I'm not ready to go there yet. So, I'm going to try to sew some things and see if she shoots up a little this spring and summer, and can stay in the child's section a little longer. Sewing some things will help since I can alter them a little bit when I make them. I also bought some knit fabric and want to see if I can make leggings. She needs some that fit better and are not worn out. If it works, I may make several pairs. The ones I bought earlier are not fitting as well as I wish they did.

    We got several library movies and watched some of them.

    We drove to church today together, saving gas. I did drive back this evening to pick up my daughter who was returning from a 10-day absence. She was on a mission trip. I guess we saved money by not feeding her this week, but I'm ready to have her back home, that's for sure:)

    We are having a party for my older daughter's 18th birthday. I have made some of the food ahead. I made homemade re-fried beans. I plan to make a big nacho dip with them. I got corn chips from Costco for $3.50 for a huge bag. I plan to do Make-Your-Own sandwiches with rolls, the nacho with chips, veggie plate and fruit plate. We are going with cupcakes and I've been making some lollipops in the shape of flowers to make a candy bouquet. Each girl can have one as her favor. So, the will eat, play games and watch "My Fair Lady." At least that's the plan so far. In the morning, we plan to feel them eggs (from our chickens), sausage (kielbasa purchased for a very low price from Grocery Outlet), and canned fruit from our basement. We also plan to do pancakes with regular flour since they are not gluten free guests, as far as we know.

    1. Have you looked at the "plus" sizes in the kids section? Target carries some plus jeans, Sears and JCPenney have a decent selection, too. Kohls, Lands End and some others have plus online. I have one girl that has a very long torso and a round belly, so I buy her plus-sized shirts on clearance, usually with free shipping and a coupon code. Plain t-shirts from the boy's section usually work for her...they are a bit boxier and longer. I've altered a few of them to be more feminine (shorter sleeves, different neckline).

    2. Thank you. I'll try that. It is becoming a crisis:)

    3. Hey Becky, a great thing for leggings is the Cake Pattern Espresso pattern ( )
      They're a pretty penny but they are downloadable so no waiting, and it's totally customisable - you plug in the measurements and copy the lines and voila a pair of leggings. I think it took me about an hour to make the pattern and by the 2nd pair it took me 20 minutes to sew. I can't wait to make some summer ones (for under skirts for work). Best pattern I've ever bought and the website has some great tips, make sure to read them!

    4. Becky I'd like to suggest Justice (in the Mall or online). Their sz 16 runs bigger than Wal-Mart brand, plus they have sz 18 and sz 20 as well. My 10 year old frequently can't wear girls sz 16, but she always can at Justice. Sometimes she can wear their sz 14. 18s and 20s sometimes fit, it just depends on the style. Justice regular prices are crazy, but they have great clearance ($2-$6 shirts frequently)
      Also check Cato stores. Their 16s also run bigger. Good clearance and regular prices run around $14-$20 for shirts. To much I know, but we were a little desperate the other day and found a shirt for $14 that not only fit great, but made my 10 year old feel good about her body and what she was wearing -- that's priceless (on the rare occasion ;) )
      Even if you don't have these stores keep an eye out for these brands at yard sales and 2nd hand stores.
      Good luck on your search. I know it's not easy :/

  5. I did the following this week;

    - ironed ppre-used white tissue paper to wrap my brother's birthday gift
    - "harvested" gold Christmas ribbon to use on said gift
    - used coupons to buy his presents cheaply
    - used up a card I already had for his b-day card
    - took him out without my kids to save money on lunch
    - bought frozen pizzas for $2.00 each and "doctored" them up with tomatoes, mushrooms and extra cheese rather than order out
    - washed and handed down clothes from my kids to sister's kids who have very little
    - downloaded Viber on my phone to talk and text for free to relatives in europe
    - borrowed book from church library
    - went through boxes in the garage and found clothes to pass down, gifts that my kids never used to pass on and lots of unused office supplies

    1. What a great idea to iron tissue paper. Do you iron it on the lowest setting? I threw a bridal shower for my sister-in-law to be and saved all of the used tissue paper. Now I have tons. Does anyone have any fun craft ideas to do with it?

    2. Yes, Amanda, you need to iron it on the lowest setting so that you don't burn it. I always iron tissue paper. We use it for birthday decorations and wrapping other gifts.

  6. I watched a TV show through Hulu.

    I received a free magazine in the mail--Redbook, thanks to Recyclebank!

    I earned 4 magazine subscriptions through Recyclebank using my Mom, husband and sister's email addresses.

    I had an erratic work schedule this past week so I didn't get as much done as I would've liked but starting 3/31 I am on vacation for 7 days and my son is also on spring break. We are using a gift card from Christmas to stay overnight one night at a local resort that has an indoor pool, sauna, hot tub and fitness center. The package we booked included credit at their Spa and I'm getting a professional massage!

    I made a batch of Orange vinegar cleaner using the orange peels a second time so after I strained the vinegar, I discarded the peels.

    My Mom brought me some Zote Laundry soap (4bars) and a 4 gal bucket so the next time I need to make powdered laundry detergent, I'm all set. She even offered to buy the Borax, Biz and Clorox 2 for me. I'd given her some from the first batch I made at the end of October and she really liked it. At first she didn't but I told her to put it in the washing machine and let it dissolve a bit before putting the clothes in.

    I made a batch of my homemade stain remover, 1 part Original Dawn dish soap(MUST be the blue kind) and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. This stuff has gotten MANY a stain out of clothes for me including grease stains that I thought were set for life! Gotta love Pinterest for this idea!

    Not so frugal---had to buy new ink cartridges for my printer, to the tune of $52. Needed to print something for my son's class project.

    Went on a lunch date with my husband, not frugal but vitally important in connecting and blossoming our relationship, which has lost its sparkle as of late. Lunch IS however cheaper than dinner.

    Hopefully, it will warm up here in NE Ohio this week. We got 6 inches of snow Saturday night. Tuesday, April fools day it's supposed to be in the 60's. I guess we'll see.

    1. Have you checked Amazon for printer ink? I can find ink for about half the price as they sell it at Walmart or Staples. Plus I use Swagbucks most of the time to pay for it.


  7. I haven't commented in a while- housing drama. The house we've been renting for the last 6 months is being put up for sale so we're trying madly to find another house that will work for our little family. I think we may have found it. But I digress :)
    Frugal accomplishments:
    I continue to shower during the day so I don't need to turn on the lights.
    I stuck to my food budget even though that made for some interesting meals. I was able to put away almost $100 towards buying half a beef in the fall.
    Because my grocery budget was out, my son got to start using up the extra size five diapers left over from when his sister wore diapers even though he's size four.
    Didn't need to turn on the heat except at night (my husband likes it to be 70 when he sleeps).
    Trying to keep things turned off has led to a gas and electric bill that is almost $200 less than it was 2 months ago!

    1. $200! That is wonderful! It is amazing how the little things add up to be something big, isn't it?

  8. Checked out 4 books from the library.
    Made vegan mac n cheese with cashew
    Purchased some herbs, tomatoes, and vegetables to plant in our new 8'x4' planter. They were 50% off.
    Attended a gardening workshop.
    Used sample size toothpaste from the dentist.

  9. I've come to a not so frugal conclusion....I buy waaay too many books. I seem to be a pushover for pretty book or magazine cover, only to find little content of interest. So...

    I picked out books from the shelf that I won't be using and am selling them on Amazon. Of course, I don't recoup my purchase cost but have managed $150 so far.

    I so try to purchase books from Amazon when they are available. I had a book on order from Fishpond (Australia) from an author who first publication I enjoyed immensely. Then on her website someone mentioned that Amazon US had the kindle version for 99 cents. I was able to cancel my book order before it had shipped and the kindle version will be coming when the book is released here. Glad I was able to do this....come to find out this is more of a booklet at 45 or so pages rather than a book.

    So my goal is to try to find books I'm interested in CHEAPLY via kindle. I really don't care for the kindle and it won't work well for certain types of books. I will be buying far, far fewer books unless I can actually put my hands on them first and see what's in them first. I weed out cookbooks this way. Open a cookbook to three or four random places and see if they are recipes you would actually cook....if not pass on the book.

    The best plan would be to use the library. Mine is located in the next town over about a 15 mile round trip. They don't have the best selection and have instituted a policy of no borrowing books from other libraries that are less than six month's old and no borrowing of DVDs. The magazine rack is a little thin in my interest area and those have to be returned in two weeks, often before I would normally travel to that town. Nuts.

    I can report that so far my attempt at raising tomato, cauliflower and broccoli plants is successful. All the seeds sprouted. And with the warm weather, I might just see my garden before July!

    I tried a couple more items from Aldi this week. We seem to use quite a bit of cottage cheese in this house and they are about 50 cents less a carton. And I got a steal on butter at $2.19 a pound. They also had a snack bar in their brand similar to what my husband takes in his lunch at about 75 cents less a box. Its something I can't easily make nor will it store long enough to use a pan of it up. As a diabetic, sometimes he can eat them and sometimes he can't.

    I looked around Goodwill Saturday and came up with a new in box Ott table lamp. For $19. :) They also had a rolling sewing machine case that also looked new for $19 as well. :) I have one of those already so I'm going to pass that one to a younger relative.

    They also had an Ott floor lamp that I passed, but seeing that they are priced from $ might be worth swinging by and spending the $69 they wanted for it. :)

    1. Garage sale books might be a cheaper choice for you at .25 to $1 each. I have a list of books that we are looking for on my garage sale list. I look for those specific books.

      I have also purchased used books from Amazon, Half-Price books, and Alibris.

    2. Even though you don't prefer Kindle here's a tip: I do a kindle book search for "free kindle books" and download the ones I am interested in. If I don't like it no money wasted and I just delete it.

    3. My family uses Do they have anything like that where you are?

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. I bought butter at Aldi's for $1.69 a pound in December. It usually goes down around the holidays and with Easter approaching you might be able to buy more for $2 or less per pound.

    6. Another cool way to get free Kindle books is to subscribe to Kindle Buffet (I get it emailed to me every day. ) I also prefer real books but I've downloaded tons from this site!!

    7. Sometimes public libraries have a sale room where they sell books really, really cheap.

    8. Mdoe, you need to make a library your best friend. I buy books for a living, but most of the books I read every day are from the libraries, our church/school one or the public one. You should be able to get whatever you want, even if you need to use inter-library loan. Years ago I needed an odd book for a research project and ILL got it for me...when it came it was the Library of Congress copy. I was a little nervous the whole time it was in my possession.

      Not to say we don't have a lot of books, we do. Both my parents were/are big readers and I still have many of their books. Plus with seven of us books still accumulate. Since your town doesn't have its own library can you use the school Library? It seems odd your town has no mother's hometown of 600 has a library. I spent a summer on a mission trip when I was younger and the town of 300 or so had a library. True it was in someone's house and was only open a three days a week but it was a real library.

    9. mdoe, since you want to purchase part of your books, learn when the big delivery dates are for "remainder" books at your local book stores. At our Books a Million, it is January and June, I think. I have made some incredible finds just checking remainder tables. Also, there is a company called Daedalus Books that I have ordered books from at a very deep discount, and their shipping is very reasonable. In both cases, some of the heavily discounted books are gift quality books if you happen to know someone who would appreciate them.

  10. I had been wondering about the potted tree idea.....because we only rent I wouldn't permanently plant anything here...i had asked my husband what he thought about a potted fruit tree...i need to do more was my week.

  11. We bought 120 pounds of sugar this week because we found a sale for .99 for four pounds. There was a limit and it was only for two days, but we stopped at different stores while doing errands or while my husband was going to and from work. We saved nearly $20 which didn’t sound like so much, but really it was 42% off of our cheapest price for sugar we would buy which is about .40 per pound. (We will use a lot during canning season and actually we use it for snacks like granola bars and homemade cookies etc.)
    I’m looking at everything differently now. I was staring at my washing machine the other day, and for the first time, I wondered how much water it uses. If we cut out one load of wash a week that could add up to a lot of water. I keep thinking about how little water Brandy’s part of the country gets and how beautiful and green her yard is. I finally tracked our water bill for the last year or so and now I am determined to lower it. I’m slowly doing that for the whole budget. We are having another unusually dry year here. Our water skyrockets in July because of the garden and because our kids work on farms and get really dirty. The idea of saving their shower water for the garden gets me all excited.
    We sold our treadmill. Woohoo. The lady paid our full price which I didn’t expect (but I do think it was worth it.) Now can rearrange my house better and get out my serger and sewing machine that I have not used in years. I felt like I didn’t have time or space for them, but I’ve decided that I had to find the space and I will make the time by not running out to buy stuff as much. I am pretty frugal and mostly only buy things from garage sales and thrift stores, but I wasn’t being as frugal as I could have. (I am not much of a seamstress, but I can fix and alter things to rework them. Last year I was so distressed that I could not find skirts for my daughters for church that were long enough. I kept thinking that if I could add something onto the bottom of skirts or dresses we already had it would be so great.)
    I am trying to look at things in a whole different way. I pulled most of the stuff out of my “goodwill pile” to either sell or re-use. Instead of buying cheap washcloths for baby wipes (which seem to fall apart very easily) I cut up some clothes. The fabric seems much better for this purpose and I don’t think it will fray. I make all of my kids have assigned cups, but I realized that I am the worst about wasting cups and mugs. I keep getting new ones and it’s pretty bad. I’m going to work on that.
    I made about forty pounds worth of bread, bagels, pita bread, pumpkin bread etc. in the past couple of weeks and it’s nearly gone (teenage boys eat a lot, but also I have a large family.) I decided that when things are hectic I should stick to the fastest ones to make. I did have the batter for two loaves of zucchini bread and was inspired to bake it in a cake pan. I realized that it baked a lot faster this way. I can only do this up to four loaves of bread at one time with a sheet cake pan. (I think. We will see.) Oh, and I have been trying to turn off the oven a few minutes early and bake extra potatoes with other things etc. Oh, and my husband bought 130 pounds of potatoes while they were on sale. He planted some, but not as many as I thought he would so we have been eating a lot of potato dishes.
    Oh wow this is long. I will stop! Have a good week everyone. ~Liz p.s. I love reading about everyone’s accomplishments! It really inspires me!

    1. Good for you LIz!

      It is amazing how many changes we can make when we start thinking about things in a different light. Using less seems like a tiny change, but when you use less of may things, it really adds up. Melissa showed that in her comment this week and a $200 savings in her electric and gas bills! I think you will see big amounts too!

    2. I have a dear friend who has become quite ill in the last several weeks. She is going to the doctor today. As a result of whatever is going on, she's been retaining a lot of water and cannot fit into her clothing. I didn't realize this until Friday when we spoke in the phone. So, I told her if she could get me her current measurements, I'd make her a skirt to wear to the doctor. On Saturday I made the skirt. It is a half circle wrap skirt. I took it over there yesterday and she loves it! It will also still be wearable as she loses the extra weight, as you can just wrap it more tightly. Here is a nice tutorial on how to do this:

      It was fun and simple to sew. I made it from lightweight denim that I bought from Here is that denim:

      It is 60 inches wide and only $5.58 a yard. Fortunately, I already had the fabric on hand, as I had been planning to make some more A-line skirts for myself for the summer. It's fine. I can wear my older skirts this year!

    3. As someone who is going through cancer treatment and gaining weight as a result, the kindness you did for your friend brought tears to my eyes. Blessings on you for your thoughtfulness!

    4. What a thoughtful gift to your friend! And thank you for sharing the tutorial, the skirt looks lovely!

    5. I agree. Feeling good about what you're wearing is a huge gift for a friend. You're an extra-special friend for sure!

  12. Continued washing my hair with baking soda, vinegar rinse. So far so good--and as an added bonus, I'm finding it can go an extra day between washings!

    Tried cutting down to slightly smaller cups of coffee. Turns out they are just as satisfying!

  13. I love that you found the book you wanted! :)

  14. Last week we saved money by:
    -Did not go to the grocery store. I am about ready to run out of milk, so I will use the powdered I have in my stockpile until my next scheduled grocery trip.
    -I downloaded several free kindle books
    -ate up all the leftovers at home and took all my food to work. I drank free coffee and water while at work.
    -we went to Menards to get some supplies for the garden/yard. This was a planned expense. We also needed dog and cat food and they had a decent brand on sale in huge bags for $18.
    -I started some vegetable seeds indoors.
    -it has warmed up into the 40's and 50's here so I have turned the heat down to 64 degrees.
    -I have been using my Wonder Wash and LOVE LOVE LOVE It! I use it in my bathtub so the kitchen doesn't get soaking wet. In the warmer months I will just use it outside with the hose and dump the water (we use all natural soaps) in to the garden and flower beds. I did a large load of laundry yesterday using no electricity, a quarter of the amount of water a washing machine uses and 2 tablespoons of soap. I then hung them to dry on our outdoor lines for the first time this year.
    -continue to save warm up water from the shower and sinks and use elsewhere in the house.
    -washed and reused ziploc bags
    -continue to use the solar lamp in the bathroom at night.
    -I don't turn on lights during the day unless I absolutely have to. If no one is using the laptop or watching TV I turn it off instead of letting it run. My husband struggles with this.
    -used free yoga videos on youtube
    -watched the birds at the bird feeders for entertainment
    -use my homemade cleaners to clean the house
    -I received my soap nut order in the mail and it came with a free small bottle of laundry soap. I used that the last few loads of laundry.
    -A neighbor gave our daughter a bike for free that his family didn't need. My husband just had to attach the training wheels. She is still to little to ride it but we will save it for when she's older.
    -I put saved/used coffee grounds around my rose bush and continue to save the used grounds to make all natural egg dye.
    -remembered my reusable cloth grocery bags the last several times I went to the store :)
    - we have stayed home except for the above mentioned trip, saving on gas.
    -still have not had any soda or store bought junk food/processed food. This has saved tons of money.
    -I quit smoking for a few months last year but then caved and smoked again. My husband and I both quit on March 21. I am using the patches this time and feel fantastic. I haven't craved a single cigarette (thank goodness..and WOW are they stinky!). This is a huge savings in money and my health. There is no such thing as a 'healthy smoker'. I will not fail this time, and I am SUPER excited about it! I have not spoken about it until now because the last time I quit some of the smokers at work would wave their cigarettes in my face if I went outside and blow their smoke at me. Those people do not work there anymore and I avoid that area at all costs if anyone is outside. I have changed all of my habits, including paying at the pump so I don't go inside. So far it hasn't been an issue.
    -I didn't have time to bake anything last week so today I will be making muffins, granola, and something else for my lunches all week.
    Thank you everyone and have a fantastic week!

    1. Way to go on quitting smoking Mandy!

    2. One more husband converting our daughter's crib into a toddler bed for her. She's three and never tried to climb out so we kept it as a crib as long as we could. She's doing well, but has fallen out of the bed twice LOL. We have the mattress just above the floor on the lowest setting for this purpose. We did not have to buy a new toddler bed, saving us lots of money! She loves her "big girl bed".

    3. If you haven't already, try a pool noodle (the kind from the dollar store) under the bottom sheet against the mattress. It'll give her just a little bit of railing that might help, unless she gets enough momentum in her sleep to toss right over it!

    4. Congrats on quitting smoking, Mandy. Nice ex-co-workers - Not!

    5. It wasnt easy but u didnt give up! Congrats!!

    6. Thank you Mari and Timothy Bean! It hasn't been long but I am super proud of myself. I also figured by sharing I was holding myself even more accountable.

    7. Congratulations on quitting smoking. You will live longer and smell better. I worked in a convenience store for four years and it was the first time I realized how many people smoke, and how much. I don't come in contact with smokers much in my regular life.

      One of the saddest things I saw was people who would refuse to buy their children what they asked for, while buying tobacco. I know you can't let children think they can have an extra every time they are in a store, but it seemed so hypocritical and unfair to me.

      One poor mother was so addicted. There was a horrible scene because she didn't buy something for her young child. She came back in the store alone and asked if I would buy back the cigarettes so she could get her child a treat. She said it had been a long time since she had allowed her a treat, and that she didn't know how she would make it through the week without the cigarettes, but she had to try. She broke my heart.

    8. Mandy, so glad you are quitting smoking. It will be so much better for you and your children.

  15. Hi Miss Brandy and other Readers! This is my first time commenting even though I have been reading your blog for months.
    I rode the bus to work all week. (My employer pays for my bus pass saving me the price of a monthly pass of $75 and a 55 mile drive one-way to work).
    Except for pizza Friday night, I made all lunches and dinners for my family this week. By draining the last of chicken veggie soup that was left over I made a pot pie. Also make beef roast with veggies and with the leftovers a beef stew for a second dinner. Still had more left so froze for another week. We had meatless burritos (I am trying to do one night a week meatless which doesn’t go over extremely well with husband or daughter but they are good sports). I baked crusty bread and two batches of cookies.
    Our neighbor gifted us two truckloads of seasoned oak for our wood burner. Husband as split most of it by hand during the week. We live in New England so even though we have oil heating in our house we use a wood burning insert in our fireplace to heat our small home. We haven’t put oil in our tank for a year and a half! Huge money saving! The wood burner was given to use by my grandparents. They were no longer using it in their home.
    As part of Wellness Classes at work I attended a Healthy Cookie baking event. It was held during my lunch hour. We baked 6 different types of cookies and given a box of cookies with recipes to take home. Many of the ingredients are items I don’t normally bake with so it was very educational.
    My daughter was given two dozen fresh farm eggs from the barn she takes riding lessons. Downloaded a free kindle book and renewed two library books for my husband. Had my teeth cleaned and was given new tooth brush, two travel sized tooth paste and three travel floss. Stitched a hole in my daughter sweater. Used coupons to keep under my grocery budget.
    Husband painted all the trim in our kitchen and painted the trim on a chalk board to hang in our kitchen. We have just finished remodeling our kitchen. My husband has done all the work including painting, hanging new cabinets and trim, redoing the tile floor grout and new lighting. He has had the help of a friend on a few occasions which was very much appreciated. We saved thousands of dollars in labor costs by him doing the work. We started in early February and are just finishing up all the small details. It is amazing. We were very economical with the remodel. I am very proud of him. He is proud of me because we ate out very little during the renovation. I used my crock pot and the grill to cook lots of our meals during this time.

    1. Not buying oil in a year and a half is several thousand dollars saved! That is wonderful!

  16. I spent most of yesterday prepping food for the freezer so that we'll have quick weeknight meals and won't be tempted to go out.

    I have a pair of shoes wearing out and unrepairable so I ordered another pair from Zappos (I have size 13 feet so it's hard to buy shoes). Those didn't work, so I'm returning them for free. Then I ordered another pair. Turned out that pair was not available, so they canceled my order and gave me a $15 coupon, which I used to order another pair. Hopefully those will work out.

    Was cleaning out my junk mail account and found $10 in Kohl's cash I forgot about. Got two tops for my daughter for $2.23. One of them is really nice so I'm stashing it away for when she starts school in the fall. The other she can wear this summer.

    Hit the clearance aisle at Target and got 10 birthday gifts (for when my daughter is invited to friend parties) for $47. That should last us at least a year.

    Friend of mine rented out a movie theater for her big 40th birthday party so I got dinner and a movie for free on Saturday, plus got to catch up with some people I hardly ever see. Friday my daughter won movie tickets at story time at the library, so while I was out with my friends my husband took her on a daddy-daughter date to dinner and a movie.

    Took leftovers for lunch again every day.

    Cooked dinners at home, except for Saturday when hubby and my daughter went out for their favorite teriyaki.

    Focused on turning lights off, opening up curtains while we're home to let in the natural light.

    Watched free TV shows on and (we don't have cable).

    Ordered a $15 gift card and a $5 Starbucks gift card from Swagbucks. Tomorrow I'll have enough for a $5 Amazon gift card.

    Remembered to get my free birthday coffee from Starbucks two days before it expired.

    Took my daughter to the library to check out books. Returned all but one on time, so now we have a 15 cent fine, but it's a small price to pay for the wonderful services they offer.

    1. Can you renew your books online? That has saved me late fees a time or two!

  17. This week we were a little lax with our spending after doing so well last month, so for the next few weeks we need to get back on track. I did manage to do a few frugal things, mostly cooking meals at home. I made homemade split pea soup with left over ham and the ham bone from our freezer. Also made homemade chicken noodle soup, rolls using my bread machine to mix the dough twice this week, and I cooked a frozen turkey I bought a few months ago on sale. We had quite a few meals out of the dark meat this week and I cut up and froze the white meat in 2 cup portions. I didn't have time to make broth from the bones so I froze the bones and will make the stock this coming week or next. Also made granola, trail mix, and whole wheat lemon blueberry muffins.

    My electric bill came and was $125 less than last month!! I figured it would be less, but was surprised it was that much less. As the weather becomes nicer, I should see even more savings as we love to open the windows and turn the heat/air off as much as possible. It's just been way too cold here this year!

    Took my daughter to the library yesterday and checked out 7 new books for her. The past few times I've been looking for books listed on Brandy's homeschool kindergarten page. My daughter has loved all these so far. I've also used some of the links to free coloring pages as well. Thank you Brandy for such wonderful and complete homeschool resources on your website.

  18. I had parked for a specialists appointment and read the directions on the parking ticket machine incorrectly. I had a parking ticket when I returned and realized there was a minimum $$ to park in the lot.
    I was supposed to pay $4.00 and I only put in $2.00.
    So, I phoned the number on the ticket( in another part of the country) and though the young woman as helpful her hands were tied. I then asked to speak with a supervisor. I asked for grace I admitted they were in their rights to bill me and that I had misread the posted rules. I admitted I had only gone in for that appointment and immediately returned to my car. I actually promised and meant it that I would not do that again.
    The supervisor forgave my ticket! It would have cost me $68.00 plus taxes and if I waited 7 days it would have gone up. I sincerely thanked her for the grace she showed me:)

    I needed an external hard drive. So.. I started looking, I looked online and in the office stores. Then a one day ($30.00)coupon on hard drives came in the mail for the office store. I checked Amazon and the online store were having a price war. I went into the physical store they honored their online price (even though they were out of stock online) and took the $30.00 coupon in addition. I saved over $70.00 and received 3TB of memory.

    Took a piece of luggage in for repair that had lost a wheel. ( The piece was bought on ebay for over a 1/3 less than anywhere else even with shipping ) The brand does lifetime warranty replacement and repairs for free!

    Purchased two printers ( one colour ,one black laser) determined which brands had the best prices on replacement cartridges. Found color ones on line. Received a notice of a March online sale for 1/2 price.

    Had someone come and shovel the snow off our roof and hammer ice off the exhaust vents. We were beginning to get water leaking in because of ice dams and frozen bathroom exhaust vents. Money well spent to prevent further water damage.

    I had purchased a number of coupon books as part of a school fundraiser. The mom I bought them from knew I wanted one grocery coupon in the book that would pay for the book and give me extra $$.She gave me $30.00 coupons, I gave her additional coupons from the book I would never use. We both were happy:) Have found other coupons that I won't need and am giving away to other friends.

    Spend points on grocery card then transfer money from Grocery budget to vacation budget. So far have nearly $900.00

  19. Watched “Lark Rise to Candleford” on PBS and “Cheese Slices” on UEN.

    Filled a green bud vase twice with cut daffodils for the dining table, & filled a small white hobnail milk glass vase with grape hyacinths. Our apricot tree is in full bloom right now, which is way too early. If we have another hard frost, which is likely since our last frost date is about Mother’s Day, we will lose all our apricots. This happens to us more often than not, but on the years when the tree does bear, it bears heavily & I make jam & bottle the fruit to last us thru the non-bearing years, just like my mother & grandmother did. Still, it is a blessing to have nice enough weather for the bees to be pollinating, instead of the rainy cold weather that is usual when the tree is in bloom. The forsythia, daffodils & grape hyacinths are all in bloom as well.

    Bought several individual serving packets of salmon for $1.29 each. I expected them to be just the “cut” rectangles, but they were small filets, with the narrow part tucked under the wider part. I cooked 3 for Sunday dinner, when our daughter visited, & between the 3 of us, we only ate 2 of them, so I put the extra baked filet in the fridge, & Monday, I crumbled it into a mixture of brown & white rice, & baked it again for dinner. It was wonderful, & now that I know the size of the filets in the packages, I may buy a few more of those to have in the freezer, since filet is plenty for the two of us, especially served over a salad, or mixed in a casserole. We had a little of the salmon rice leftover, so Tuesday we had a frittata to use it up.

    Planted the onion sets I saved from the seed planted last fall, then planted beets & more Swiss chard. Gathered water from the downspouts during the day we had some rain this week.

    Began to cook double meals, & then freeze half. In the next 4 weeks or so, I may be having surgery, & this is the easiest way for me to prep meals ahead. I have 4 meals in the freezer now, just from freezing half. Used 2 old bananas to make GF muffins to go with dinner one evening.

    Eggs were on sale for $1.09 a dozen, which is much lower than the $1.69-$1.89 they have been, so I bought 4 dozen, since I was down to my last carton. Bought a package of taco flavored ground turkey from the meat mark down bin for 45 cents. The package was 1.25 pounds, marked down to $1, but there was a 55 cents coupon attached to the package, so it was only 45 cents. I made small meatloaves with it. We ate 2 & I froze 3 for future meals.

    Continued to work on removing the glue residue from the car windows. The driver window is done, but I am still working on the passenger side window.

    Made a list of items in the shed that we have not used in the last ten years, & discussed how to best de-clutter them. A couple will go to our oldest daughter, because she can use them, & the other will either go on craigslist or a yard sale.

    Continued to strip the dried fir needles off the branches onto the flower/blueberry beds.

    Moved 2 grape hyacinths that were blooming in the lawn to one of the flower bed borders. Apparently a few seeds were blown there last year, but I try to deadhead the plants before they go to seed. I also moved 3 clumps of daffodils from the back of the bed to the front, to make room for boxwoods to go next to the house, with daffodils in front, and grape hyacinths in front of those. When we first moved here, I bought some bulbs, but since then I have just divided & moved bulbs when needed to fill in the landscaping plan. Patience continues to be my thrifty friend.

  20. i would like to know what websites you go to for inspiration?

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. I would love to hear your tips for holding a successful garage sale. I didn't make much the last time I tried (several years ago). But, I'm tempted to try again b/c I want to clean out in preparation for a new baby. How do you advertise and stage your sale to attract shoppers?

    1. I think I may need to write a post on this.

    2. I have a yard sale every summer at my house. A friend of mine joins me since she lives far out. I put signs at the main roads (one on each side of the telephone poles) plus a sign at my house. Make sure you wash your items being sold, price them to sell and be willing to take offers or counter their offer. I have noticed people buy more clothes if they are hung up. My nana has always told me to have a free bin, .10 bin and .25 bin - I don't know why this works but people buy more things. Haha my nana can make a yard sale feel like you are at a store so I have learned from her. Presentation is everything. Hope this helps. :)

  23. It is a good Monday here in SE Ohio. The sun is shining and it is warm. I am hoping to get into the garden this week and start planting.

    -I sorted through my potatoes and set aside the ones that are sprouting so I can plant them.

    -Started saving my one dollar bills in addition to saving for the 52 week challenge.

    -The chickens are laying prolifically, so I am freezing eggs. I beat six eggs together and freeze them in ziplock bags. I also made French toast, boiled eggs to have for quick sandwiches, and made devilled eggs.

    -Made yogurt and froze some of it. Made homemade cheese.

    -Cut the good parts out of two pairs of jeans that were torn beyond repair. I like to make denim quilts when I get enough saved.

    -Downloaded a free Kindle book that I had been wanting to read. Patience saves money!

    -My daughters, aunt and cousins had an indoor yard sale this past weekend. I bought some new dishes, coffee mugs, and glasses. When the sale was almost over my aunt said I could have any of the toys I wanted. I picked out a doll-house, Barbie riding stable, four games, some flashcards, and a Mr. Potato Head and friends set--fun things for the grandchildren to do for free.

    Have a nice week ahead everyone. Hope most of you are getting this great weather.

  24. We had an interesting week without internet for the most part, but got a few things done without the distractions! This was our week!

  25. I've started dropping by a couple of times a week to read all the comments here. I learn something new or interesting almost every single week. Thank you to every one for taking time to share! My week can be seen here:

  26. .. made sandwich bread (2 loaves) which should last 1 1/2 weeks
    .. gradually getting rid of plastic containers and replacing with glass for leftovers and freezer cooking (mostly canning jars,) -- which I actually find easier to use, I get out some frozen soup and put it on the stove submerged in water and heat and eat ;)
    ...unplugging, turning down heater and constantly turning off unused lights-- which has gradually went down the last few months! four months ago our bill was around $77 and I paid $50.78 this month! {note: we live in an apartment}
    ... downloaded our local library app to my phone to keep track of due dates, items placed on hold, and upcoming activities-- I returned our items last week and over the weekend I looked to see if any of my items had came in and it showed we didn't return 2 books.. we happen to have a trip planned today and found one book on the shelf and the lady found the other one! ..
    ...only ate out 2 times this weekend! - which is a BIG accomplishment for us- my SO is gone during the week and like to enjoy as much time with us on weekends, but this weekend he jumped in and help me cook almost every meal we had at home-- free quality time while we occupied the kids with a game or movie :)
    ...used my Kroger card to get gas and saved 30cents per gallon!
    ...I have been under my grocery budget for the last 2 weeks, but went over this week by $10 because I had to stock up on a few things we ran out of.
    ...made cabbage rolls for the first time this week; my two toddlers refused to eat it, but I put the leftovers in small portion sized containers and froze for an easy lunch for me after our 3rd baby arrives.
    ...bought a sweatshirt on clearance at Kohls for $6 versus full price of $34.
    ...used my birthday (jan) gift card for some maternity/post partum clothing for spring/summer.

  27. I got a lot done in the garden. I spread more mulch around the fruit trees. I cleaned off the smaller arbor next to the patio so I can plant another grape vine.

    I got the veggie garden ready to plant. The previous owner of the house put in a cement block base 9 feet square for a hot tub. I’m using it as a raised garden bed for vegetables. I turned the soil over in the garden and mixed in the garden soil I bought. I also had to do some work on the edges of the bed, pulled out some nails and a few pieces of wood to be able to use it as a garden. Then I spent over an hour picking up red lava rocks from a back bed where I eventually want to plant melons and so I can use the rocks up against the house under the eaves between the house and the veggie garden (old hot tub base) so dirt won’t splash on the house when it rains and I don’t want to plant under the eaves anyway. It was so tedious - I had to pick up the lava rocks by hand individually so I didn’t get a lot of junk and dirt and leaves – but I’m counting that as 2 frugal activities – I didn’t have to buy rocks to edge the veggie garden and it’s getting the melon bed ready.

    I thinned the red beet seedlings and used the greens to top thick slices of beefsteak tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sea salt as a salad course. I transplanted the nasturtium seedlings to the front flower bed. I started more red beet and chard seedlings in the peat pots where the flower seeds didn’t come up. I transplanted the zucchini seedlings to the garden. The zucchini seeds were 3 years old and every one of them grew! I planted sugar snap peas directly in the garden and moved the owl to stand guard over them.

    I had a bowl of nuts sitting on the sideboard leftover since Christmas. I can’t crack them myself with the nutcrackers but I was tired of them not getting eaten, so I put them in a bag and took them outside and cracked them all open with a hammer on top of a cinderblock. Then I sat and watched a bit of TV while I separated the nuts from the shells. I will use some for baking and snacking.

    Free in the mail I got a magazine and a sample bag of dog food. The magazine had a coupon card in it for a free 8 oz paint sample from Lowes in one of their spring colors. I will go next week when I do errands and pick out a color I can use to decorate my rain barrel. I’ll be driving right past Lowe’s on other errands.

    I made fried rice with leftover rice and veggies for dinner. Another night I was short on yellow rice, so I added plain white rice to make up the difference, and with the black beans on it, you could not tell I had stretched it with plain rice.

    It rained so I didn’t have to water and I was able to check the placement of the rain barrel in front of the house. I planted lavender around the base of the front rain barrel to hide the cement blocks.
    I made a batch of lentil sausages/vegetarian hot dogs and then while I had everything out a batch of lentil meatballs. After the water cooled from steaming the sausages, I used it to water the fruit trees.

    I worked 7 hours overtime.

    I think I remembered one of the readers here looking for Brussels sprouts recipes? Post Punk Kitchen has Brussel Sprout Fried Rice.

  28. I also prefer books to Kindle, but Kindle Buffet has some great free titles to download! I get it emailed to me every day. Give it a look...

  29. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    I have not kept track of my frugal accomplishments like I normally do. Life has been very hectic working 2 jobs. Here is what I can think of off the top of my head.

    Made about $700 from part time work last month.
    Got $500 back in tax return
    Saved $32 change in March
    Made this past weekend, 48 muffins, double batch of granola, stir fry, smoothies from old fruit, and enough breakfast items for the month of April to put in freezer
    Got 5 lbs. from health food store for $1.49
    Saved $10 off $20 from health store and mainly got clearance items which increased savings
    Turned off heater/air conditioner much of March
    Repurposed sheet so it fit a bed, made a pillowcase and attempted my first hankies
    Made 3 more blue and gold scarves for my 21 scarf project
    Had $187 leftover from last month's budget

    I hope everyone is having a wonderful spring so far. I went for a walk and found lovely flowers on my outing. I took pictures and posted them to my site. I was pleased with the photos. I also took pictures of my hankies-not as beautiful as Miss Brandy's but I will try again.


    1. Clarification: I got 5 lbs of ripe apples for $1.49 on clearance.

    2. Wow - $187 left over from your budget. That is great!

  30. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    Here is the link to my photos of the spring flowers that are blooming here. These early spring days are so fleeting and it was so nice to capture the moment and essence with photos.

    Best regards,


  31. I had an exceptionally good coupon/sale combo week. I spent a lot but it was to stock up on things I have been out of. That's always nice!

    I made baby gifts instead of buying them with designer fabric to boot (that I've had for years).

    I sold a few things.

    I thought I needed to go buy a few supplies for a project. But on a whim, I thought to look in one more storage tote and found both things I needed! I was elated!!

    I made seed tape with my favorite 3.5 year old little buddy. It was a free activity and fun for both of us.

    I bought some seeds at Home Depot. That's a failure on my part. I need nothing but I just lose my mind when confronted by all those shiny photos of veggies. Ha. Thankfully it wasn't a big splurge.

    I skipped dinner out with friends. I was bummed to miss seeing my girlfriends but it was worth it to save the $.

    I started a big cleaning/rearranging/purging project. Just starting feels great! I have a long way to go but even the small amount of progress I've made so far feels fantastic.

    KK @

  32. I have been enjoying the lists everyone has made. I notice some are interested in potting fruit trees. I have created a variety of YouTube videos on how we potted our orchard. We have 10 fruit trees in our orchard plus 6 blue berry bushes in pots. We put the orchard together in 2009. At the time I could not find anyone who had done it. My husband had wanted an orchard for years. Our backyard is a patio. I decided we would just pot trees. It has been a fun project. We lost 2 cherry trees last year and replaced them this year with a 4 variety cherry tree and a 4 variety pear tree. We are hoping these turn out as nice as the other have. We have strawberries as well. The last couple of years the potted garden was limited. This year though we plan to go back to a big potted garden. Enjoy the videos!

    1. Thank you for sharing. I really enjoyed your video. I am guessing that if one were to move to a different home the trees could also be moved? We are renters and so I am hesitant to do anything as major as planting years. On the other hand we could live here for years and years. :)

    2. Amanda, some of my current trees in my garden were in pots at my last house. We brought them here. You can grow a lot in pots and take it with you! You might also want to plant in garden boxes that can be brought with you to your next house (for things like lettuce). Pots are great for lots of things, including herbs, lettuce, chard, and green onions.

    3. Judy, I watched your video on the potted orchard . Very nice. Are you a warm year all round
      climate ? If not how do you keep so many trees from freezing? I like your brick patio and the fountain.

  33. I'm on a tight budget, and couponing every week helps me save the most! This week I got free glade, paper towels, chex mix, and lots of super-cheap beef and produce. Full details and pics here

    If anyone has a sick pet and needs help paying for vet care, I have a huge post that has tons of resources here
    My sister just raised over $500 for her sick dog!

    1. A couple of friends raised money through crowdsourcing for large vet bills. One has a cat that needed an amputation; another has a dog with cancer. It's easy to contribute small amounts, and it all adds up when everyone pitches in.

  34. I love reading through all the comments, thank you for this weekly post, Brandy.

    * I was able to use $30 in coupons over the last 2 weeks

    *Received a free dishwasher sample from Sam's Club

    *$1.50 back from an overcharge at the grocery store

    *Through some unknown to me lawsuit, Amazon gave me a $6 gift card credit to use on my Kindle

    *Made laundry soap, I need to find a dishwasher soap recipe now

    *Moved my seedlings outside

    *Got $10 in Happy Cash from Walgreens last week

    *Turned off the heat for a few days

    *Made most meals from scratch, we usually eat out about once a week

    *My son went with his friends to rent their tux for the prom and it costs less than $100, included the shirt and shoes!

  35. Love the gravy boats. I love getting "hand me downs" from my grandma they are always such high quality stuff. They don't make it like they used to.

    Our Accomplishments:

    Planted the my uncovered garden box.

    Harvested cilantro and spinach from the covered garden box.

    Cilantro from the Garden in March

    Continued to add fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, newsprint etc. to the compost bin.

    Baked Bread. Used 1/2 Tbls. less yeast and didn't notice a difference. Will use less next week.

    Stuck to the grocery budget even though it was pretty tight the past two weeks.

    Went out to dinner with my girls and used a gift card.

    More photos and links on my blog:

  36. I usually love reading what everyone shares, unfortunately this has been difficult this week as I am on day 12 of nausea and extreme fatigue. My husband thinks it's because I am expecting a baby. Any suggestions for a queasy potential mum to be?

    In terms of frugality, we continue to eat our meals at home, and my husband takes leftovers for work. I have stopped working, so no more travel costs. I will start working again soon, so our income should go up again when that occurs.

    I am using our store bought laundry soap until they run out, and have all the items necessary to make our own products. We picked up some dvds from the library to watch for our at home dates. I've also taken a bunch of useful books from the library that keep me busy.

    I have started making baby blankets as many of our friend's are expecting babies.

    Enjoy your week!

    1. Pam, increase the protein in your diet to combat the nausea. Check out Blue Ribbon Baby for suggestions with protein needs in pregnancy. Inexpensive choices would be beans (a bean soup that you can freeze portions of would help), whole wheat bread, and eggs (hard-boiled eggs are a quick fix for protein when you start to feel queasy).

      Also make sure you are getting vitamin B12 and iron--both important in building a baby and both important in strength and energy. If you think you could be pregnant, make sure you are getting 800 mcg of folic acid right now. A regular multi-vitamin should have 400; take a folic acid supplement with 400 mcg in it. Both foic acid and b-12 are very important throughout the pregnancy, but ESPECIALLY important at the beginning. And, even if you are not pregnant, these vitamins will help you with energy.

      Kidney beans are good source of iron and also protein, so you could make minestrone soup :)

    2. Thank you very much! Only a few more days to wait to find out if I'm expecting. I will be boiling a bunch of eggs today, and have been taking prenatal vitamins for awhile, but I definitely need more iron and protein.

  37. I love, love, love greeting cards. Love picking them out for friends and family. At first of each month I get the birthday cards ready for that month annd always try to send get wells and sympathy cards. I was in our state capital 150 miles south of my home housesitting for a week for a friend and happened to go in a salvage store with inventory from a couple of Ha*lm**k stores for 25 cents each, some retailed for as much as $8 each. The salvage store was on the way to lots of other activities so I went 4 times that week. Now if you could only find discounted postage but sending a card across 100's and even 1,000's of miles for less than 50 cents isn't too bad.

  38. Thanks to inspiration from your reader Rebecca and your own story of eating from food storage I am having a No Grocery Shopping April. In some ways it should be a piece of cake and in others a real struggle. If I had planned better, I would not have started this when Easter is just around the corner and I am the one who hosts our entire family for Easter dinner. Oh well!

  39. I have successfully used up enough things from the freezer that I am able to once again make ice. My husband is really pleased.

    Food seems to last longer when you get older. I made spaghetti and meatballs and it lasted three meals with one serving left over for one of us for lunch. I made vegetarian chili and it lasted two meals with one serving left over.

    My husband needed dress shoes. We went to a shoe sale at Kohl's and between the sale, Kohl's cash and an additional discount, he got $80 shoes for $26.50. I allowed myself to buy some spring tops, a bag and matching shoes, and did really well. All discounts combined, I got them for about forty percent of regular price. This was the most unnecessary clothing I had bought in several years.

    We both hate cell phones, but finally resorted to carrying a cheap TracPhone ($7) for emergencies. It is strictly pay as you go, and for the life of the phone when you upload a card of minutes, you get double the minutes you paid for. We have been using it a few months, and I don't think the total cost has averaged even six dollars a month.

    1. Today the doctor told my husband to start wearing support stockings. You can buy them over the counter, but at our drugstore, if you show a prescription, they won't charge the tax. This saved us almost ten dollars.

      My husband had to be fasting for his appointment this morning so we had to eat lunch before starting our errands in the city. I felt terrible today--a rare cold--but needed to eat because I didn't eat breakfast in front of him. Since I didn't really care much about eating, I just ordered a little breakfast and it cost half what his lunch cost.

  40. I love reading all of these tips!:) I would like some reader's suggestions if you don't mind. I've been keeping track of my budget on excel for the last year. I am shocked at how much I spend for birthday presents! Not the price of the gift , never more than $15 and usually less, I mean the amount of gifts. My son is 5 and is invited to at least two parties a month. Birthdays are huge where I live and at his school. I already decline invites to kids that are only acquaintances. Homemade gifts would not go over well in this town. Ideas?

    1. Kid's birthday parties are tough! A couple of times a year, our local craft shop has a massive clearance sale on craft kits - as in, $20 kits marked down to $3. I buy several at a time and put them in our gift cupboard. Craft kits work well for boys or girls; most kids like making stuff. I can also usually find good things in the clearance bins at toy shops; because most kids go to the same shops I like to put these away for a few months before I give them away, because there's less of a chance they'll be identified as clearance bin toys! I also do some birthday present shopping from - especially for jewellery, the prices can't be beat. I can get very cute little girl's necklaces for 50 cents to 80 cents each (usually from stores that have a minimum spend of $10, but for $10, you can get *a lot* of stuff.) I've seen the same necklaces retail in shops for $10 to $20, so they don't look like 80 cent presents.

    2. That's too bad that people would turn up their noses to something you had actually put thought into making! My suggestion is that you stock up on art/school supplies at back to school time. Crayons are always a hit with kids. Our local dollar store always has a selection of coloring books with current cartoon characters, too. Think out of the box, most kids don't need yet another toy.

    3. I like your ideas Melissa and Maydijo. I'm so glad my kids are older now and there aren't as many birthday parties. It does get better!

    4. Stock you gift closet with toys from Target's semi-annual toy clearance. Happen twice a year with up to 75% off. Follow AllThingsTarget on FB for hints on when. Hope it was ok to mention that FB page which I have no affiliation with. Also my Kroger has toys on clearance after each holiday, I am using a ton of princess dolls I bought after Valentine's for Easter basket. Another idea is $10 movie theater gift card for any and all, you could keep then in inventory, no extra trips to store for toy and gift wrap.

  41. Hello everyone. I tried to post earlier today but lost it I guess, so I'm going to try to remember everything. I'm feeling like the "Leftover Queen" this last week. Have made multiple dinners with
    leftovers, trying to get at least 3 meals out of every meat dish.

    I did however lose a bit to food waste, 2 onions, half a head of lettuce, some nachos that my daughter in law made and gave us her leftovers. Reheated them twice but that was all I could do with that. Also lost a few biscuits to the chickens.

    Managed to score some leftovers at work again, had a Mexican buffet and brought home some chicken and sliced grilled steak. Also brought home 4 large whole wheat rolls.

    One of my daughter in laws brought us a small bottle of maple syrup.

    Picked up mushrooms on markdown for 75 cents a quart and dehydrated them

    On Saturday went to our local electric co-op meeting. Everyone who attends received a 25.00 credit on their next electric bill. We have 3 meters/bills so that was $75.00. Also received information about EPA regulations and if we filled out a contact card we received another $2.00 credit on our bills. Our electric bills are anticipated to go up approx. 32% in the coming years, which is really going to hurt. One of our local power plants is already going to be shut down in June. We also received a energy conservation box which included 6 CFL lightbulbs, a low flow showerhead and a faucet aerator, so I received 3 boxes. I am set for light bulbs for quite awhile I think. I did make donation of $5.00 for a cancer charity and for that they gave you a new LED light bulb which I definitely wanted to try an LED. Also had free ice cream during the event. Picked up a few pencils for my grandson from the Sheriff department booth as well as a hardback book for 3rd graders. There were also some very nice door prizes but unfortunately we did not win any of those...Boo.

    Cut my husband's hair this week also. I've been doing this for years. He always says the only difference between a good hair cut and a bad hair cut is 2 weeks. LOL.

    Still doing the usual washing clothes in cold water, washing and reusing plastic bags, turning out lights, etc. Can't wait to get to using my clothes line again for drying clothes. Right now am using just half a softener sheet in each dryer load.

    Purchased a large men's shirt at the Goodwill for a few dollars on half price day. Going to use it to make an apron to go into an office Christmas gift this year.

    Was given seed potatoes by two different friends so those are planted along with my lettuce, onions and peas, still waiting for them to come up. Brandy your peas look so good, I am so ready for Spring!

    Had an abundance of extra eggs so gave away some of those to friends and family. Well I think that is about it for this week. Really enjoy reading everyone's accomplishments.

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  43. Mary Ann,

    On the birthday gifts books might work years ago the kids all like "Goosebumps" , treats for a lunch and or snack in a wicker basket, thrift jewelry (sometimes you need to repair and find a pretty box , for girls) Michael/s coupon purchase craft items sometimes on clearance. I hope that helps.

  44. I ate a lot of leftovers for lunch. I also used a lot of lentils to make dinner, which is great because with WIC we get a LOT of beans for just three people and an unborn baby. And lentils expand a LOT.
    We kept using cloth diapers and washing them in Tide I bought with stacked coupons. I experimented with using cold water to wash the rest of our clothes, but our water is so hard that they didn't come clean. Back to warm water it is.
    I sold a few things we no longer use on Craigslist.
    I put my foot down on leaving kitchen appliances plugged in, and we've been saving a lot on our electric bill since then!
    I cut some services that we were overpaying for, and called our internet provider to complain about a rate increase they flung at us. They gave me an introductory rate instead!
    We shopped online for a multi-family home in Arizona. We're not planning to move until Hubby gets out of the Corps in November, but we want to have a plan in place. We intend to use a VA loan, and live in one unit while renting the other unit to help pay our mortgage.

    1. You can also sprout lentils to use in stir fry and in salads.

    2. My water is also very hard. 10 years ago, our appliance repairman told me to add 1/2 cup vinegar to every washload to help keep hard water deposits from building up on the inside of the machine. I have done that, & it really made a difference with the clothes getting clean. If your water is very hard, some of the components of the hard water are being left behind in the water heater; that is why the warm water works better. Now I add a little vinegar to the dishwasher before I run it, too. Adding a capful to bathwater helps any cleaning product work better, with less. I use the cheapest vinegar I can find, and it does not leave a scent behind.

  45. My biggest frugal accomplishments was the bridal shower that I threw for my sister-in-law to be. I worked very hard on it and I think it turned out really nice. This was my first time ever throwing a shower and wow did I learn a lot. :) It was a lot of fun but also fairly time consuming. Showers can be SO expensive. Thankfully I was able to borrow tons of beautiful silk flower decorations from a friend who used the same colors in her wedding. I also borrowed tablecloths from 3 different people so I didn't have to purchase any. We did use paper plates and napkins but everything else was reusable. We used real silverware and mason jars. I made a chevron banner with the wedding date and a canvas with the last name initial. I also made the bride a pin to wear. I taught myself how to make a Cupcake Wedding Dress Cake by watching YouTube instead of purchasing an expensive cake from the bakery. Pictures and other frugal accomplishments on my blog: Thanks so much to everyone for the encouragement!

  46. As usual I was so busy reading and re-reading everyone's posts that I never go around to mine. We did the same al always with hanging laundry when possible, composting, cooking from scratch. My daughter was off school and we were also on spring break. With Easter so late, our school went with the earlier break as the term is over mid-May.

    She and I started the spring cleaning of the inside...we washed the windows, mini blinds, all the curtains, took all the snow rugs from the doors outside to beat them, then to the laundromat to use the jumbo washer. We washed all the fall/winter duvet covers there and air fluffed the down comforters. I have spring/summer weight duvets to put on now. We washed and waxed the floors. We rolled up the winter rugs and put them away in the garage. My husband cleaned out the garage and hung up some new shelves and cupboards he built over the summer.

    The weather has been warmer with not much additional snow. No sign of bulbs coming up yet. The robins arrived last week. My oldest girl has started the tomatoes from seeds, along with all the annuals, which is something I
    never did. But as I said earlier, she is taking over the gardening. We put plants out here end of May. As that is the wedding this year, we will work around that.

    I made homemade poptarts with pie crust from the freezer and different jams mixed with finely chopped apples from cellar. Made a powder sugar glaze for some and left some plain. Made yogurt, egg salad, baked beans, tostadas (baked the corn tortillas in oven until crispy) and refried beans from the freezer, made the turkey-wild rice soup from the meat and broth from last months turkey dinner, tuna-noodle casserole using mushrooms I froze a couple weeks ago to the make the white sauce, made a rhubarb crisp with last years rhubarb. Made tapioca pudding (with the pearls, not the instant), had breakfast for dinner one night with French toast and eggs and Illinois farm sausage patties (obtained a couple weeks is bulk sausage so I formed all 4 pounds into patties and froze between wax paper for easy separation.) Made 2 loaves of white bread, a pan of dinner rolls to go with the turkey soup, one loaf of cinnamon swirl raisin bread.

    Watched several shows on HULU and listened to radio shows. Daughter made play lists on 8tracks app to listen to while we were cleaning. Mended a hem that came loose. Worked on Easter cards and wrote letters and got 13 sent out so far. Finished the last of the embroidered pillow cases for a May
    birthday. Made my youngest brother a birthday card and a selection of 10 bookmarks for his many in-progress books that he reads at one time. I used pictures from maps and pamphlets we brought back from our vacations and attached to cardstock with dry adhesive and put a Bible verse or literary quote of the other side. Did not tassel them. Sealed in clear laminate.

    Read Brandy's new post just now on the fruit trees and I am just going to get the lemon from the garden store as all the points seemed to lean toward local purchase. I am going to call the manager on Monday so I can get a call as soon as they come in.

    At grocer bought 2 gallons of milk for 6.00, 2 large bunch of radishes for 1.49 each, a 3-pack of romaine for 1.99 and a cucumber for .59. We were really in the mood for salad, added celery on hand and shredded carrots and cabbage bought a couple weeks ago, garbanzo beans and sunflower seeds, we had a very nice salad several nights. Used shredded lettuce and cabbage on the tostadas too.
    Got a .05 credit for using own grocery bag. Bought 4 more bottle of sparkling grape juice with doubled .50 off 2 bottles, so 1.00 of 2 bottles. Made them 2.29 each. That was it.


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