Saturday, March 15, 2014

This Week's Frugal Accomplishments

I cut a few spears of asparagus from my garden. I also cut lettuce from the garden.

I cooked a large pot of beans and froze the cooked beans in bags to have on hand for future meals.

I used my raincheck from Walgreen's to purchase 9 dozen eggs for .99 a dozen.

My husband bought 80 pounds of potatoes on sale for .20 a pound.

I combined coupons and sales to pick up some shirts for my oldest daughter for $3.50 each. I was also able to pick up a free bottle of conditioner (which I will use to made homemade hair detangler).

My husband and I watched a show on Hulu for free. I put on an episode of Curious George for the children from

I used my referral credit from One Kings Lane to order something for myself.

I received a free copy of a magazine in the mail.

My two oldest children were invited to a birthday party for siblings. They gave gifts from my gift stash and they made the girls' necklaces using items we had on hand.

What did you do to save money this week?


  1. Soaking chickpeas, it's hard to avoid the temptation to buy cooked and canned but it is really so much more frugal.

    I've gotten a really good deal on bread this week, a big sandwich loaf for 1 euro each. I bought one and have one stashed in the freezer.

    I cleaned out my inlaw's fridge, everything was old and found things over two months overdue like cottage cheese and chicken. Saved a trip to the ER for food poisoning for them both. Some memory issues are around so this was a good thing.

    I ordered some freebies online so that'll help me with woman hygiene.

    I shopped around online and found cheaper alternative for my lichen planus medication than what the dentist suggested. It has the same active ingredient and so far is doing well.

  2. Last week's accomplishments are…
    I baked a berry cheesecake for my brother.
    I cut Nathan's hair.
    I cleaned up some more leaves and trimmed some plants along the driveway.
    I made a new no sew pin cushion from an old gift box, scrap fabric, poly-fill and masking tape.

    We bought a now kettle using a gift card we had on hand. Our old one was slowly dying, it kept boiling and boiling and boiling until you unplugged it at the power.

    Photos and more accomplishments at

    Have a great week everyone!
    Rebecca | Life & Home

    1. Kettles (as with anything with a heating plate) use *a lot* of electricity. You can save quite a bit of energy by buying an old-fashioned stove-top model, and then pouring the boiled water into a thermos, which will keep it piping-hot for several hours.


    these were our efforts for the last couple weeks. We have probably been more unfrugal than frugal. I must confess with moving and everything going on trying to keep up we ate out alot. The link above tells what we were successful with recently! Watching all you do with your garden has us inspired to try, but I really don't have a green thumb, but we are looking forward to planting some things in containers this week!!!

    1. I used to have a black thumb, too. Keep trying. I had several things get eaten by bugs or outright die for no apparent reason in the garden this week. Even experienced gardeners have difficulties. Keep trying! I always wanted to garden. Taking some local classes really helped.

  4. My husband cut his hair

    I got a free copy of Fitness magazine in the mail

    I received a large refund from a fund at work, not exactly sure how the program works, from paying my insurance deductible. This will go towards paying off a debt.

    Ate at home all week, took my food to work. Did not go to the store this week.

    Cut our dog's fur ourselves, saving $100. It took many hours, but she looks pretty good if I do say so myself!

    I have been turning the oven and stove top off a couple minutes early when cooking. The food finishes cooking and it saves gas charges.

    Also continue to do the usual stuff: washing and reusing plastic bags, saving warm up water and using it through out the house, line dry wet clothing, keep lights off and appliances unplugged.

    I sent in two rebates for paint from Menards. This made them $2 per gallon of paint.

    We have been putting our food scraps in the dogs bowl so they won't go to waste after a meal.

    I got two large sized samples of Pantene shampoo and conditioner in the mail.

    Took our toddler outside to play when the weather warmed up to 40 degrees for a couple of days.

    I defrosted a turkey casserole from the freezer to take for my lunches to work. It was made with sale purchased turkey from November and bulk purchased pasta. I froze the left overs to use later so they wouldn't get thrown away over a month ago.

    We made tie-dyed t shirts as a family with a kit my husband found on clearance as well as clearance purchased white t shirts. My husband bought these awhile ago for us to do. I had never done it before and we had a cheap but very fun family night at home.

    Have a great week everyone! I was happy to read that your husband is getting more sale and income, congratulations!

    1. What a deal on the paint! And good for you for saving yourself on the dog's haircut!

    2. Thank you Brandy! My husband saw the deal on paint in their flier we get in the mail.

  5. I also cooked up a bunch of chickpeas that my husband will use to make hummus. Much cheaper that way and no preservatives! We love raw cut-up veggies dipped in it.

    For a five-hour drive beginning at 6 am, I packed lunch for all of us and the children's breakfast so we wouldn't have to stop at a restaurant.

    Later today, I'm heading to a big consignment sale--which happens to be going in my hometown the same weekend I'm visiting--to take advantage of the last-day 50% off sale to get the kids' summer wardrobes started.

  6. We ate all meals at home-doing a lot of cooking from scratch. We were out running errands on Saturday and it was tempting to hit the drive thru, but insteas came home and took pasta and meatballs out of the freezer that I had made from scratch earlier in the month. It was delicious-so much better than fast food!

    My parents too me and the children to a museum and paid for all our entry. I was able to use the paid entry as a credit toward a museum membership, and only had to pay $6 out of pocket. It also allows us entry to other attractions and museums in our area!

    Instead of purchasing a gift for my sister's birthday, I was able to give her some bookmarks, book plates, and needle cards made from the patterns on Brandy's website. I used materials I already had on hand. They were a big hit! I also baked her a Tardis cake (she is a big Doctor Who fan). While it looked far from perfect, she loved it.

    I have been spending more time and effort to beautify my home and make it more organized so it is a place my children and I enjoy spending our time. Organizing and decorating with items on hand and gifted items has made a huge difference. It has allowed me to spend more quality time with my children at home.

    I am a single stay at home mom to 2 young boys, so I like to be able to get out of the house sometimes and feel like I am contributing something. I have started volunteering in the library at the school my children attend. It is a frugal "hobby" and I am helping the school at the same time. A win-win!

    I have been using natural light instead of turning on the lamps during the day, saving some power. The weather has been warming up, so I was able to turn off the heat and open the windows. It was 50 degrees-I know that seems cold to most of you, but it is almost a heat wave here in New England after the winter we have had!

    I think that is about all for this week. I so look forward to reading everyone's posts. Thanks for hosting this, Brandy!


  7. It was my older son's 8th birthday. We went small this year on the party. There's a tendency to go big in my town, and big means several hundred dollars. Usually renting a place like the YMCA pool or bowling. I've just been overwhelmed with that and told my husband that I wasn't going to do it, and we should do a sleepover instead.

    So my son invited 5 friends for a sleepover. One was sick and couldn't make it, one was at a different party that went really late so he didn't come either. One came but didn't stay over. So in the end we just had two boys sleeping over (twins). We spent probably $12 on pizza and $4 on cake (my husband cut the cake into the shape of light sabers from Star Wars). Because two of his best friends are girls, we had their family over for dinner on his actual birthday for lasagna and more cake. That was probably $10 for that meal. Total cost for the birthday was less than $30.

    I got a really good price on cabbage this week so we are having cabbage with dinner.

    That's a great price on potatoes! I would have bought some this week but my husband is out of town half the week and it's going to be hard to eat up all of our produce already.

    1. Marcia, potatoes last a long time, just don't store them in the same place as your onions. If you can just keep them cooler than room temp you should be able to have them for a month at least. Also, don't store them in the plastic bags, if you can help it, even if they do have little holes punched in them.

  8. I want to cut our dog's hair too!! It is so expensive that we only do it twice a year which makes him look like a Rastafarian during the in-between stages...I try to clip it down but it grows VERY fast! Here's the low-down of our Frugal Week:
    *I cut my son's and husband's hair.
    *Planted more lettuce, (the old ones are up!), flowers and vegetable seeds.
    *Purchased six chicks on sale at Tractor Supply. We've kept chickens for over ten years now and the eggs are better and less expensive than the $4.99/dozen free-range, organic eggs that I normally buy. Hate to buy, is what I really should say here...
    *Brined my own on-sale beef (purchased and frozen a few months ago when it was hugely on sale) for our corned beef dinner this afternoon! So easy and much better for us!
    *Purchased buy-one, get-one free bags of potatoes and carrotts, and cabbage at .25/pound.
    *I'm cleaning out all of our "little kid" stuff in order to get it ready for a spring garage sale.
    *Posted more things on Ebay and at my Amazon store for sale, most of which was free to us or purchased for .25 or .50.
    *Attended a library book sale where most of the books were .25 and purchased my middle daughter's English/Writing curriculum for next year for .25. I also got a Trivial Pursuit game that looks like it was never used for $3.
    *Took the girls to GoodWill to look for some new clothes and found dresses and shoes that actually fit and looked nice! Dropped off a bag of clothes there so I feel like it's a never-ending circle of frugality...
    *My husband is doing all of the work on our basement guest bedroom (water leak, ugh) himself and we found an old can of ceiling paint that we'll be able to use once we have it re-shaken, for free, at Home Depot!
    *Hung laundry, dried plastic bags, packed my son's school lunches, made bread, ate every meal at home, carpooled and did the regular stuff. Doesn't everyone do this??
    The temperature rose into the 30s and 40s this week and we finally started to get outside daily! Feels wonderful AND we can turn the heat off and stop burning wood!
    Thanks so much for running this blog, Brandy, I look forward to it every week.

  9. Last month while looking through Craigslist I found a local horse farm that was giving away all the horse manure we could want. My partner and I have brought home three trailers full so far and are making compost with it. We're in a new property that has very poor soil and no gardens, and we're slowly making new garden beds. This is been such a gift, and the horse farm is grateful to us for taking the excess.

    We also made a big bonfire of limbs that have fallen off the trees for the last year. We gathered the ashes in a 5-gallon bucket and will add them to the soil to balance out the pH. I had our soil tested and it was very acid (5.5), so the ashes should help with that.

    I have lots of packets of seeds that I moved with last summer. Most were already a couple of years old, so I'm not sure if any are still viable. I started some inside last week, and a few have sprouted so far. Keeping my fingers crossed that more will sprout.

    1. I had a pretty decent harvest of carrots from seeds that where dated 2008, just thought I'd share that with you:D

  10. Left several empty ink cartridges at Staples, which will turn into $2 each in coupons for store merchandise.

    We had a huge pile of winter yard waste from the ice and wind storms. Lots of limbs and 19 huge bags of pine needles and small debris. I happened to look outside and see the handyman had stopped to talk to my husband and went out and told him he could go ahead and haul off the stuff whenever he was ready. Turns out he already had some waste from another customer with him and was headed for the dump. He said he would load it right then and since the other people had already paid the dump fee he wouldn't charge us that part. Saved fifteen dollars.

    Used a coupon for $6.50 from the drugstore bonus plan to cut the cost of the month's medicine. Over time, this expense has really come down. Four years ago when my husband had to quit working, we lost all insurance. For awhile, I was having to set aside three hundred dollars a month for medicine. Over time, all but one drug has gone generic and we are both fully insured now. This expense has dropped to $83 a month.

    I successfully tried an authentic recipe for red beans and rice, so that is another cheap dish when needed.

    Right now, I'm buying almost no meat because our freezer is too full and we need to use it down a little so that we have room to have ice trays when it gets warm. I went a little overboard on meat specials this fall and winter. All I bought this week was a corned beef. My husband is Irish, what can I say?

  11. I got myself some very inexpensive tea by combining a coupon with sales. I baked some Irish soda bread using things we had on hand.

    My husband and I watched Call the Midwife episodes from a library DVD for free.

    I trimmed my dogs nails.

    I used a "We miss you" coupon from Kmart for $5 to buy some eggs and a small block of cheese. I got two bottles of conditioner and one bottle of shampoo for free by combining coupons with sales.

    I bought some local whole milk that I'll make yogurt with. It's amazingly good milk and my yogurt will still be less than half the price of so-so store bought yogurt in a carton.

    I've been trying to keep unused lights off and line dry (indoors on racks) some of our laundry.

    I gathered some twigs to use for kindling. We might need to use our wood stove for heat for at least a bit longer.

  12. -I cut both boys hair.
    -I made homemade french bread for the first time. It was SO good and easy! I will definitely be making it again.
    -I made homemade yogurt for the first time. Our first taste, after adding vanilla and a little sugar, was good, but it was soupy. So, I strained the yogurt and tried again and...perfect! We would have made granola to go with it but I am out of oatmeal and honey :(
    -I bought a pair of much needed khaki pants for my son with a store credit we received for returning items that did not fit. I found the pants on clearance for $6 marked down from $30. We still have $7 of store credit left
    -I have been carpooling with a friend for Bible study on Tuesdays. We take turns and it cuts our gas in half for the length of the study.
    -I have been in need of some new every day dishes (mainly dinner plates) but the cost was not something we could do right now and we decided to start saving the money up. Two weeks of saving later we found some plain white dishes (just what I wanted) at Salvation Army 50% off for $9!! There was 1 dinner plate and 1 mug missing, but the rest (including salad plates and dessert plates) were all there. Basically, we found what we needed and I am happy :)
    - We also picked up a board game for the family while at Salvation Army for $1.99.
    -I bought a cabbage for $.15/lb...I know I weighed it but I can't remember now how many pounds it was. I wanted to buy more because of the price, but we really don't eat cabbage much.
    -Read an ebook I checked out from the library
    -I used a gift card I received for Christmas from my mom to buy some perfume and lotion.
    -My dad wanted a magazine subscription for his birthday but it was $25 for the year. After doing some searching...and searching online, I found it for $9.
    -I took the kids to the library (we do this once or twice a month) to play and check out books. There is a train table there as well as puzzles, games, coloring books and computer games my boys like to play with. We are on book 2 of The Boxcar Children series :)
    -I used .$10 off we had on our store loyalty card and filled the van. This should last us 2 weeks.
    -My husband sanded and spruced up our dinged up, chipped, garage sale end tables with brown spray paint we got on clearance a year ago. We bought some clear coat for $4 to seal it. They look like brand new tables.
    -A friend who works for a local tree service, needed to park his truck in our driveway to cut some of the neighbors trees. He offered to throw some of our downed branches from an ice storm into his wood chipper as a thank you. One less thing to take care of this spring!
    -I made a double batch of pancakes; one to eat for breakfast that morning, and one to freeze for another breakfast.
    -I made homemade pancake syrup
    Have a blessed week!

  13. I had a week’s vacation to use so I took it off during my college-aged children’s spring break. They came home for the week and helped me paint the outside of the house. UGH – so much work but I’m glad it’s done and we didn’t have to hire anyone to do it.

    My son made banana bread from overripe bananas and homemade donuts while he was here.
    Frugal fail though – I let a couple of little pears go bad. I didn’t notice they were going until they were way past being usable : ( I haven’t had food waste for a while, but just got busy with all the painting and let it slip.

    I made a big pot of taco rice and lentils for soft tacos which we had for dinner one night and then lunches the rest of the week. That preempted any thoughts of ordering pizza or running out for fast food while we were painting.

    We had lentil sausage with rigatoni for dinner 2 nights with salad and garlic knots from the freezer. Then I turned the leftover pasta into a minestrone adding odds and ends of veggies from the freezer and had that for 2 meals with dinner rolls from the freezer. At Christmas I made a huge batch of Copy Cat Rhodes dinner rolls and froze the dough balls. Now all I have to do is pull them out in the morning and let them thaw and rise. For garlic bread I either roll the balls in garlic butter when I take them out of the freezer or just put the garlic butter on after they are baked and some parmesan cheese and they make garlic knots kind of roll. Or roll them in butter and cinnamon sugar and pile them in a pan and let rise for a monkey bread. And of course we eat them plain too :)

    We celebrated the house painting with a movie. SO and I used our passes we earned by completing a survey for the theater so we only had to buy 2 tickets for my kids. We bought 2 popcorns and 2 drinks and shared.

    The only groceries I bought were 2 boxes of couscous with pine nuts since they were BOGO. We eat from the pantry and an every other week CSA share and only buy groceries at my stock-up prices. Right now we are spending as much as we can to get the garden and fruit trees going and I’m putting a little bit away each week for a stock up trip to Sams next month before our membership expires.

    In the mail I got a free Ladies Home Journal and a tea bag.

    I had a little apple growing on one of the apple trees we planted 2 months ago! I sniped it off but it was exciting to see!

    Thank you to the ladies that had some ideas on clearing drains – I will definitely try them next time and I ordered the Zip-It to have ready to use.

  14. Used over $12 in food coupons at Target got some produce for almost free. The biggest thing I did this week is to make up slow cooker freezer meals to use for the next few weeks. Work is going to be very busy so making up the meals will hopefully keep us from eating out. Received a $10 rebate check in the mail, got a $5 off grocery purchase (to be used in the future) coupon. Built 2 4x8 raised bed gardens.
    Not much but its something.

  15. Library as always for books, magazines, dvds and cds. Buzzed in GW while I had time to kill before the matinee at movie (only $5 for brand new movie showings) and found 9 brand new greeting cards that retail for $ 7.95 each at Tarjay (can you imagine ?) for only 59 cents each, I love,love,love sending cards so this was a great find for me. We met a friend at restaurant of her choosing for lunch, I went online the night before and joined their loyalty club and got coupon we used for free appetizer to share with everyone at table. Unlike most commenters on here I don't ever cook but always take advantage of coupons and early-birds and lunch specials at restaurants.

  16. Our 2 boys (4 & 6) asked for desks in their rooms, but rather than buy brand new my husband made our eldest a desk and I found a second hand desk at the local charity shop for our youngest at less than a quarter of the shop price. I remembered I had a couple of chairs stored in the shed from years ago, so cleaned them up and reused rather than buying new ones. My husband used the wood leftover from making the desk to make shelves for both boys' rooms, which has helped with storage and made their rooms much neater.

    My husband cut the boys' hair and also his own. The cost of the clippers is less than ONE visit to the barbers so there is an immediate cost saving.

    I went to a boot sale and bought several items on my list for a fraction of the shop prices. They were all items that we need (rather than just wish for) so it was a worthwhile trip.

    I bought a 2kg joint of pork on sale and cooked for my family and invited my mother in law over to share it with us. There are leftovers of the meat and vegetables, which we will eat tomorrow.

    I bought my youngest son a game at the charity shop. I will save it to give him on his birthday. I also used my sewing machine and fabric stash to make coin purses to put by as birthday gifts for my boys.

    I tried washing the paintwork in a room that had marks on the walls. We had it earmarked for redecorating but I spent an hour washing the walls down with a cloth and weak bleach solution and it now looks as good as new. Pleased to have saved the expense and hassle of repainting.

    Thank you for your inspirational blog. You have helped me to think differently about how I run our home.

  17. Sprinkled the grounds for gardeners over all 3 of the garden tiers. Picked up another large bag when I was in town on Wednesday. Filled the car with gas, using the card for the discount & the free car wash…& found another penny by the pump! Checked at DI & Pak Rat for AG mystery books, glass cloches, & jars, but found only jars: 2 pints, one tall jelly & 3 half pints.

    Dried more seed from the heirloom Waltham butternut squash, to plant this year & to share.

    Cut the first four daffodils & brought them inside, just before a snowstorm. The parsley is coming up between the bulbs in the flower beds. Continued to save “warm-up” water as well as downspout runoff for use on the garden.

    Used leftover diced chicken breast to top Sweet Spring Salad, & served it as Sunday dinner. We used snipped chives from the garden. More baby onions are sprouting from the seed I scattered last fall, & I am transplanting some of them into rows where I want them to grow. Mulched the onion & lettuce seedlings with dry grass, to keep them from drying out in the wind when the cloches are off during the day, & to help keep the soil around them warmer at night. There are 3 large dandelion plants within the garden borders which I intend to use as salad greens with the lettuce until blossoms appear, then I will harvest, sauté & freeze to use as spinach. I tried this last year & sautéing the leaves did remove the bitterness that comes when the plant flowers.

    The last 2 times I have baked chicken with vegetables, I poured leftover broth from the baking dish into a glass measuring cup & put it in the fridge. After the fat congealed, I poured the defatted broth into a pint freezer container. The 2nd “batch” of broth filled the container, so when it was frozen, I repackaged it in a labeled zip bag in the freezer. When I fried ground beef, I used the same process in the glass measuring jar to defat the broth, then froze it in the pint container.

    Used leftover rice & the remaining leftover diced chicken breast with a can each of black beans, diced tomatoes, corn & spices to make dinner on Monday, then topped the leftovers from that with melted pepper jack cheese for Tuesday. It was good both ways.

    Continued working on the cross stitch checkerboard pattern. Hung laundry to dry.

    Received a small packet of winter hardy Grand Rapids lettuce seeds from the author of “More Forgotten Skills of Self Sufficiency”. There was a coupon in the book.

    Received a $3 check from pine cone research. I have been using these checks to purchase used AG “mystery” books on Amazon, for our granddaughter for her summer birthday. We read a chapter together almost every day over the phone, & it has helped her reading over the last year. We are in the American Girls series, & have read Rebecca, Felicity, Samantha, Caroline, Molly, & Josefina. We still have Kaya, Kirsten & Addy to go, then we will read AG “mystery” books for the series she liked best. Our youngest daughter still had some of the “series” books at home, & was willing to let me use them, while my grand-daughter read copies her mother owned as a child & some bought in a large batch on eBay for less than $1/book. This child received the Rebecca series from us last year for her birthday, & the Caroline series from one of her aunts for Christmas. I purchased a few on Amazon, but it works best if my oldest daughter & I both “shop ahead” at the thrift stores.

    Used cardstock & pictures from the pages of the American Girls catalog to make several no-cost bookmarks to give with the books to my granddaughter for her birthday.

    Saved the Coban from the wrap around my antecubital after giving blood, & re-rolled it to use in the garden to hold vines in place, like grapevines, tomatoes & winter squash.

    Had my hair cut for half price during a sale at the salon.

    1. Hello Marivene - I'm going to get coffee grounds this weekend for my blueberry bushes. I mulched around them with pine bark mulch when I planted them. To spread the grounds around the beds do I have to rake up the mulch to put the grounds under the mulch or is there an easier way to do it?

    2. Debbie, I just sprinkle the grounds around the bushes on top of the mulch. They move down under the mulch with the first heavy rain or watering. No need to work harder than necessary :)

    3. Glad to hear about how to apply the coffee grounds with mulch, I just started doing that and wasn't sure if it was the right way.

  18. Our frugality has officially gone full tilt since my husband was laid off a few weeks ago. We have had a very successful frugal week

    - I picked up an extra shift at work. I made $100 on the shift that I wouldn't have made otherwise.
    -We baked a Turkey (from Thanksgiving sales) and made homemade turkey broth using scraps that I save up in the freezer. 10 pints of FREE turkey broth :)
    -My husband filled up w/ .25 off a gallon at Raleys & I filled up at Sam's club. We received serious discounts on gas this week. It should last me 2 weeks and hubs 3.
    - We went to the gym 6 times and the dog park twice
    - We ate in for every meal. Our grocery budget has gone up, but its still less than we were spending on groceries AND eating out.
    -Our electric/gas bill went down TREMENDOUSLY! We were at $119 in December. Now we are down to $82. I'm hoping it will continue to stay low with the hubby at home.
    - We cleaned out the pantry, fridge, and freezer and did an inventory. I think that we will be ok food wise except for vegetables and stable (less than $20 a week) for about 4 months. We don't expect the unemployment to last that long, but at least we have an idea.

  19. Here's my list!

  20. Brandy, may I ask how your family deals with intimate garments such as underwear and bras? Do you buy them second hand or make them yourself?

    1. Generally, asking someone about their underwear is a pretty personal question :)

      I do not make underwear but there are several tutorials online to make your own, as well as how to repair bras. I have seen tutorials for women's and boys' underwear and for boxer shorts. The women's and boys' were made from jersey knit; some were made from repurposed t-shirts (Girls' could be made from jersey knit as well). Boxers were made from cotton prints.

      I wear things out before replacing them (think years), and then wait for sales. Children's underwear are on sale at back to school time; most sizes fit for several years, because children get taller but their waist sizes stay the same and knit stretches. Women's bras go on sale at Target for under $10 from time to time; they are on sale this week (if you have a cell phone there is a Target mobile coupon and a Cartwheel coupon making them $7.29 each; check out this week's deals on Totally Target for details).

      I have also had items where the stitching has just come undone, and then I just mend them. That's an easy fix.

      Hopefully that will give you some ideas for your own family.

  21. Hi Brandy, what a beautiful picture of your little one. This has been a good week/bad week.

    Starting with the good.

    1. Washing and reusing Ziplocks and any other plastic food bags.

    2 Eating most meals at home, trying to get 2-3 meals from what one would consider 1 meat meal. Stretching with lots of rice, noodles, potatoes, etc.

    3. Saved water from shower as a trial, got about 2 gallons, however I only have 2 plants to water now but am going to use this for saving water for my outside planters once the weather warms up.

    4. Have been opening drapes/curtains in the daytime and closing all drapes to conserve heat at night.

    5. Saving all veg scraps for either compost or adding to bag in freezer for making vegetable stock.

    6. Doing all laundry in cold water.

    7. Started preparing raised beds for planting. Planted some lettuce and onions in cold frame. Planted early peas.

    8. Spent one day cleaning out barn and outbuildings. Collecting metal and alum. for scrap. Husband will finish up this week and take in for cash. It will be good to get rid of the junk and make a little extra cash too.

    9. Still saving 5.00 bills when I get one.

    10. Have been working on paying down debt but have a long way to go. Was considering possibly a consolidation type loan or possibly some type of debt reduction program. Has anyone had to use a debt relief type agency, wondering about whether this is a good move or one to be avoided.

    Now for the bad.

    1. Husband wanted to go shopping at Sams and go out to dinner. Did fairly well a sticking to a budget at Sams and had a Coupon for the Red Lobster, still costs more than I wanted to spend so will not be going to the grocery this week if I can help it. Did bring home leftovers for dinner the next day and brought home the shells to use to make seafood stock, so I guess that is something.

    2. Having ongoing battle of the lights.. Husband likes to keep all of them on all the time (he is retired and home all the time) and I keep switching them off. Electric is one of our largest bills and predicted to go up 30% and I would like to find some ways to cut back on the electric but aside from cutting off TV (which isn't going to happen) I'm not sure what else I can do. We have had an energy audit and aside from installing some solar electric or skylights (newer roof so that is not an option for us either) they had no other real suggestions. Using CFL bulbs, hanging out laundry when I can, using dryer rack for towels/jeans inside, Can't think of much else Any ideas?

    Hope everyone has a great week, really enjoy reading what everyone else I doing.

    1. Lightbulbs (especially CFLs) don't take a lot of electricity. Anything with a heating element will use the most energy - dryers, heaters, kettles, toasters, etc. (Toasters don't really count because it's maybe a minute a day; but they use a lot of energy for that minute.) Your fridge and (if you have one) freezer will use a significant amount of energy; but there's not a lot you can do about that; although if you have older appliances you can always see if it's worthwhile swapping them over for newer, energy efficient models. Whether or not this is doable depends on your budget and the potential savings. Your TV may or may not be using a lot of energy - plasmas suck it dry; LCDs are much more energy effecient. Again depending on your budget and potential savings you might be able to save some power there.

      If your appliances are all energy-effecient and you're using CFLs pretty much the only thing you can control is your behaviour, which means more fights with your husband about turning off lights. So you have to weigh up whether or not it's worth it.

      As to whether or not solar is worth it - Well, that depends on a lot of factors. Is it feasible for your home? (If your roof is in the shadows a lot of the time - from trees or from surrounding buildings - you won't reap the benefits of solar panels, because if any part of a panel is in the shadows, you don't get energy from any part of that panel.) What sort of price do you get for selling energy back to the grid? Are there any rebates which make it more affordable? We love our solar panels; but then we got them at the exact right time as far as rebates and a sell-back price go. These days it's much less attractive.

    2. If you have a deep freezer, or any type of freezer or fridge, keeping it full uses less energy, limiting how often and how long they are opened helps to. If your freezer is habitually half full or less try storing grains in the freezer to fill space. They last longer, kill or prevent the emergence of bugs in the grains etc. so win win... I have a bunch of things I could take out of my fridge if I need the space, but I leave them in so keep my energy use down.

    3. It costs about 1 cent to run a CFL for four hours, so turning off the lights isn't going to save much. Look at everything else in your home.

      Is your fridge more than 5 years old? If so, consider a new one. If you have a second fridge that is more than 10 years old, ditch it.

      Is your hot water heater electric? How old is it? When was the last time it was flushed? Sediment build up from hard water can make hot water heaters very inefficient.

      A crockpot is a lot cheaper to run than the oven.

      For my washing machine, it costs around 20 cents in electricity to run a medium load and 25 cents to run an XL load. It makes much more sense for me to only run it when it is completely full.

      Do you have an electric dryer? My propane dryer costs 1 cent (or more) per minute to run. That was a good incentive for me to buy more drying racks. They paid for themselves in the first year.

      The fans/pumps on most furnaces are electric. Having your furnace cleaned, replacing the air filters regularly and turning down the heat can save money.
      Shut off computers at night and unplug everything you can when it isn't in use.

    4. Thanks for all the tips everyone. Some of the things I have already been doing but some of the suggestions are new to me.

    5. It's complicated for Allison because it involves a disagreement with her husband, but for us and our budget, it is worth it to be vigilant about turning off lights even at 1cent for 4 hours. I like to annualize small savings and think of what I could buy instead.

      We have a few lamps with single bulbs but our overhead lighting has 3 or 4 bulbs in ceiling fans and 5 bulbs in chandeliers in my office and the dining room. So leaving on the living room and dining room light is 9 bulbs for 4 hours at 9 cents/day or $32.85 for the year. It would save even more if the living room had the ceiling fan on unnecessarily too, plus you have to replace the bulbs more often, so making the bulbs last longer is another small savings. For $32.85 after a year, I could buy 3 bags of 72oz chips at Sams Club at $10.48 a bag. I would rather have 216 oz of chips than leave lights on when they aren't needed.

      Also, the savings is greater in our bathrooms where each vanity light has four G5 incandescent bulbs, which also get very hot thus heating up the room even more.

      But we are on a very tight budget now, so that's our situation - we have to save where ever we can no matter how small.

  22. Hi Everyone,

    The weather is finally turning here in MN. Our driveway finally melted the 3 inches of packed snow and ice so we got out all the bikes and scooters. It was only the 3rd time my 2 year old had played outside since Nov.! The day it got to 45 I was outside in a tank top. Really it felt that warm. My blood runs thick.

    -I was able to turn off our heat during the day for a couple of days. The house got to hot for me and I thought of opening a window but I refrained.

    - The only shopping I did was with my $50 Walmart G.C from Swagbucks. I have another $25 pending.

    -I made all meals at home. I made 2 dozen tortillas, 3 loaves of bread, pumpkin and carrot muffins, chocolate cupcakes and pumpkin waffles. My boys ate 5 dozen muffins in 4 days!

    - I stayed home 4 days.

    - I figured out I only drove 500 miles since Jan 1st. A huge savings.

    -I got 10lbs. of bananas for .28/lb.

    -My mom gave me 4lbs. of strawberries and 2 pints of blackberries.

    -My parents took my big boys to a waterpark for a few days. It sure was quiet in my house. I didn't get as much done as I thought I would.

    - All my kids were very sick this week! My 5 month old did not handle it well at night. I got 9 hours of sleep in 3 days. I was a zombie but everyone is better now. Did not take them to the doctor.

    Well that is all I can think of. Blessings everyone and keep Swagging.

  23. Brandy,

    Have you ever done a post on how you built your stockpile to begin with? I read somewhere that you did not buy diapers for a year. Did you stockpile enough diapers for 3 in all sizes? I am starting to build a stockpile but am not sure the best way to go about it.


    1. Heidi,

      At that time, I just bought one or two boxes of diapers per month per child. I had a larger budget then; I spent about $200 a month then buying diapers each month. By continuing to buy diapers each month even when I wasn't running low, I was able to stock up on diapers. I had diapers in all three sizes.

  24. Hi everyone,

    Had a bad eye injury and got away behind planning and shopping schedule so I am not both over buget and disorganized. Having said that, some good things -- we continue to regularly eat grains we have bought in bulk -- our current favorite is rolled oats in the mornng with bananas. We continue to strive to eat fewer meat based meals. Today for dinner we had fabulous cheese sandiwches and the best ever brussel sprout caesar salad with bread crumbs. The Caesar salada alone with close to an entree. Also made a pot of vegetarian chili which we are still eating on potaties.

    So for the next week my goal will be inventorying, a good shopping list, and cooking. I have to say even after a few months of "more thoughtful" shopping, disorganized shopping just stinks.

    Need to buy a set of tires but I think I have a deal where I can get 160.00 in gift cards if I buy a set of 4 with a goodyear credit card (which i obtained).

    Would love more recipes for brussel sprout meals

    1. Oh no, Eleanor, is your eye better ?

  25. I love your posts! When I open my RSS reader they are the first ones I look for. Our family is semi-frugal, but we just had a very large unexpected expense that took a big chunk out of our savings so I'm focusing on it with new energy, to rebuild what we had to take out. Here are a few things I did this week:

    I've been having trouble with my laptop overheating. My husband took it apart and was able to clean out the fan, so I didn't have to buy a new one.

    Other than bills paid online, I didn't spend any money during the week. This also meant that I wasn't running errands on my lunch hour, so I only used half a tank of gas instead of my usual 3/4 or 7/8,

    Bought corned beef for $1.79 a pound and cooked it to freeze it for corned beef hash. My family won't eat corned beef as is but they love it in hash!

    Found two gallons of organic milk marked down half price, and it doesn't expire until the 24th.

    Darned one of my daughter's socks (first time I've ever done that!), and mended a hole in the knee of her leggings. Also used Goo Gone to get residue from a giant sticker that had gone through the wash out of one of her almost-new dresses. Do all five-year-old girls destroy their clothes or is mine just especially rough? :-)

    Took my daughter to an evening storytime event at the local library on Friday, and to a parade in the next town on Saturday. Free entertainment.

    We ate at home all week (and I took leftovers to work all week), except for a fundraiser corned beef and cabbage feed after the parade Saturday. It was for a good cause and I was happy to get my corned beef fix!

    Planted radish, beet, carrot and lettuce seeds in my garden.

    Made banana bread with three bananas that were headed to the compost. My husband eats two cereal bars for breakfast each weekday morning, but if I bake he'll take muffins or banana bread instead. So one loaf of banana bread will save us about eight cereal bars.

    Took most of the laundry out of the dryer as soon as it was done and put it away. Not exactly frugal, except if my work clothes get hung up before they wrinkle that means I don't have to spin them in the dryer before I get dressed in the morning. I don't iron if I can help it!

    I'm sure there were other things, but that's all I can think of off the top of my head. Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Karen, your daughter sounds pretty normal...she's just living her life.

    2. We had the same problem with my husbands laptop even after a good cleaning. He found that if he could get it off the table and let the air flow better around the bottom it wouldn't heat up as often. You can buy special racks for this on amazon, but we found an upside down muffin tin worked just as well.

  26. We enjoyed some much-needed rainfall this weekend, which watered the gardens and - and what is more, it seems we have finally, after several failed attempts, managed to fix the leak in an upstairs bedroom. I've plastered and sanded; but need to do a bit more before it's ready to paint. With the enthusiasm I feel about having to paint a ceiling, it will probably be quite some time before the ceiling is 'ready". (The upside to that is that by the time I finally admit defeat, the plaster will be sanded so smooth that you won't even tell it's been patched.)

    I spent some time in the garden weeding and clearing out dead growth. Continued to collect the neighbour's eggs while she's on holidays. A friend gave me some zucchinis. Both discount grocery stores had some very good specials this week.

    We've been looking at replacing our computer for some time; a store was having a pop-up sale which brought the price of a decent looking laptop to below cost price. (Perhaps not for that store; but at another store they refused to price-match because they said it costs them more than that.) Computers are something else we can salary package which means it'll cost us considerably less than the ticket price once tax savings are taken into account.

    Found some summer sandals for $1/pair (new, just marked down for end of season). Took advantage of another shop's free shipping sale to get a new wallhanging for the kitchen and a couple other little items - all up I spent $5.50 instead of the retail price of $41 for the items, plus saved another $10 on shipping.

    Now that the weather is changing we'll have to think about pulling out our "hillbilly" line on the front porch (we live in the middle of nowhere, so nobody ever sees it anyway, but I do love being able to pack it away for the summer) - but hanging the clothes outside is worth it. I love it, not only for the savings and environmental benefits, but also because it forces me to go outside, even if it's just for 10 minutes, and enjoy some fresh air and the beauty of where we live - and really, it is a beautiful piece of earth.

    1. It's amazing hearing the finance rules that you have in Australia!

    2. Yes, I can't imagine they'll last forever so we may as well take advantage of them while we can! My husband's salary packaging is very limited (superannuation, a computer, a car); mine is almost unlimited. We can even salary package airfare if it's part of a package deal (airfare and accomodation). I was just saying to my husband we'd best book a package deal month-long trip to Europe to minimise our tax bill . . . .

    3. The above comment was written with the tongue firmly planted in cheek, but I jsut reread it and realised it might come across as me being serious! While I'd love to go to Europe (and could claim a great deal of the trip on my taxes) it's still not exactly a prudent option, as the money that is returned is only equal to the taxes you would have to pay (eg if you claim a trip at $1000 and would normally pay $200 taxes on that $1000 if it was income, you'd at best be able to get $200 back, meaning you're still $800 out of pocket). So, salary packaging is great and we are happy to use it wherever and whenever we can - but it's not worth taking on unnecessary expenses *just* to claim back a portion of those expenses on our taxes.

  27. Allison, my late mother used a debt consolidation firm to deal with her credit card debt. The firm seems to have been reputable and did what they promised. They did get the debt reduced and give her a plan to pay off the settlement amount in two years, which she did. She was unprepared for the fact that when the banks wrote off part of the debt, they are legally required to report it to the government. It counted as income for her and she owed taxes on the forgiven amount.

    The best thing we have ever done to conserve electricity--and natural gas--was take advantage of a free energy audit and weatherization offered by our electric company. Just the insulation they put in our attic would have cost us a few thousand dollars, and we were so grateful to get it. Despite a hotter than normal summer and colder than normal winter, out bills have been a lot less. Also, we are on the average monthly billing plan for both gas and electric, so we don't have unexpected highs and lows on our bills. When I am doing a monthly budget, I think about what the last bills were and what the weather has been and can pretty accurately estimate what the bill will be.

    Maybe your husband, like mine, really appreciates the pleasant atmosphere it gives a home when lamps, accent lighting, and the china cabinet are left on around the house at night. You can compromise by using very low wattage bulbs in the lamps that are just for atmosphere. We use bulbs ranging from seven to thirty watts for this purpose and they give an appealing glow as you walk through the house, despite the low wattage. For all other lights, we use the new compact florescent bulbs.

  28. I forgot to add - The kids and I also did some great science experiments (presents from my sister, the science queen). That was a fun, frugal way to spend the day.

    Allison, re: debt consolidation, I'm sure this man's experiences aren't typical but they do serve as a warning that perhaps you can do the same thing yourself, for less -

    1. Thanks for the link. That is exactly the type of situation that concerns me. Actually although I would like to have some of my debt forgiven, I'm very realistic that this will probably not be the case. I would like to get some interest rates lowered, so I will definitely try this myself. I'll be calling credit card companies this week and see what I can do about that. I'm weighing possibly an old fashioned debt consolidation loan at a lower fixed rate with only one payment to simplify monthly bill paying, etc. I'll try looking at my local banks, etc first before trying any type of company. Have home equity but don't really want to have to use that. Right now I'm just paying additional on each card, trying to do my own 3-year plan.

  29. Just discovered this website. LOVE the ideas and comments posted!

    We bring lunch and have the kids bring lunch to school daily. We cook quite a bit that is simple. I am NOT a pasta fan but will make my own ravioli on occasion. Or ziti.

    I bought cabbage for .39 a lb and will make stuffed cabbage tomorrow. I had ground beef and rice on hand. I'll make banana bread tomorrow with old bananas. I use vinegar to clean appliances and sinks. We have solar panels so our electric bill is extremely low. Our tv broke so I will ask about a repair but if the visit is too costly, then we will just live without it for now. The last few years have been riddled with job loss and financial situations that have been rough.I need cataract surgery and have insurance but the deductible is too high for me to afford it . I am a diabetic so my meds are expensive and I need to plan to pay for those instead.

  30. Two months ago our water bill almost doubled (rate hike, plus our garden exploded with thirsty produce because of the super warm winter and spring). So we had to get our water usage under control in a hurry. The new water savings we put into practice --thanks to your for blog-- were: toddlers and babies
    bathed three days a week and sponge bathed the rest of the nights, military baths for EVERYONE else and more careful usage of all water. So, our water bill came yesterday and we cut our usage in HALF!!!! YES!
    Have a happy week everyone!
    Desiree from Southern Arizona
    (I have been an admirer of this absolutely #1 awesome blog for 6 mo+. 1st time to comment.)

    1. Congratulations on cutting your water bill in half!

  31. Hello, thanks for all the encouragement! This week I almost bought my daughter a new skort, on"sale" for $13. I decided to wait and try to find them second hand. I got 5 for $10 and they each fit well. I was able to buy shirts for .80 and so her summer clothes are ready if the warm weather ever comes!
    I bought cabbages .18 per pound.
    I sewed up some mama cloth from old ripped t shirts.
    Repaired a skirt
    Got good prices at the store this week and shopped on Tuesday for a .25 off per gallon coupon.
    Bought lettuce seeds for .25 and 12 bulbs for $2.

    1. I'd be interested to hear more about the mama cloth- do you use a pattern? Do you use snaps?

    2. I used patterns from online and used scraps to sew. Wool bottom, a fleece top and cotton inner. I did use snaps because I have a press, but Velcro would work too.

    3. Oh also, I was looking through the manager special ground beef and noticed there are 4.5 pounds expiring the next day. It was still marked 2.99 p pound. I went and asked the butcher if I could have a lower price, he said yes!!! 1.50 a pound. It pays to ask,

    4. Julie- I made a large postpartum mama cloth to use after my daughter was born and I absolutely love it!!! When my cycles return (I am breastfeeding) I plan on using it all the time. I purchased 1 and made a pattern from it. I used all sorts of scraps: flannel, cotton, or fleece with warm and natural batting inside or Zorb. I found that I really did like the snaps a lot better than the velcro. Feel free to email me if you have anymore questions a.emersontutoring at g mail dot com.

  32. I started a new price book. I had one before years ago, but I gave it up. Now I am again enlightened by how important this is. I always want to know how much a meal costs me and without this I can't figure it out. I'm again surprised that you just can't be sure of the best price without this book. I realized that Walmart had the best price on whole grain wheat and wheat flour (Prairie Gold brand) and Azure Standard had the best price on oats (even with the 8.5% shipping) Trader Joe's a better price on brown rice than Azure, but I need to check Walmart later on when I got by there sometime. Obviously there might be other better places, but for us and our area this is what I found.

    We've been hanging clothes outside when we can and looking for where we can hang them inside. I want to get out my sewing machine and serger because I'm determined to fix so many of the clothes we have rather than buying new ones. (It helps that they are cheap clothes from garage sales so I don't mind cutting into them etc.)

    I had my husband show me how to program the heater and we've turned it WAY down.

    We are adopting a baby soon and it is expensive, but I'm so happy that it forced me to look at our budget and see how we were spending our money and wasting a lot on gas (an awful lot. We just got very careless.)

    My husband agreed to let me use the debit card and cash instead of always the visa so I feel I have better control of where our money is going.

    I'm selling some items on Craigslist. I actually pulled some things out of my thrift pile to either repurpose or to sell.

    I'm trying to spend almost very little money on food in the next few months. (We have a lot of garden produce still canned, frozen and dehydrated and meat in the freezer.) I realized that we were spending a lot of money on dairy products. I was surprised to see that my homemade yoghurt costs about 20cent per cup and the on sale kind was 73 cents per cup. So I keep buying on sale milk to make some things. I found rennet in my pantry that I never used. Also, I could not find a cheap source of powered milk. At Sam's it was still 2.82 a gallon and that's not as cheap as I can sometimes find it on sale. I will keep looking. We are eating our milk now more than drinking it. Oh and I quit buying cereal. We only ate the 1.99 kind from Trader Joe's but I think our muffins, pancakes, oatmeal, etc. is still cheaper and definitely more filling! I admit to being distracted during church yesterday. Our next baby will be a boy and I kept looking at my daughter's sweater and wondering if could make it into a stocking cap (and maybe I could use the sleeves to make little things to put in front of the windows and doors to block the drafts) and her dress into a little shirt and the little bears from her dress something to dress up some plain pants or something.

    We dropped our Netflix and then we started getting movies from the library, but only on the way to our or from some place.

    Gas is the biggest way we've cut money besides food. We were spending so much on it and not being careful at all. Now we are combining trips or not going. If the teens want to go some place extra they are paying for the gas.

    Lights and water. I've been trying to save on both. I want to learn to make soap too since we have a source for animal fat.

    It was a good week. I really enjoy reading Brandy's posts and all of your comments. Thank you so much! Liz

    1. Congrats on being able to adopt a child, that's is wonderful news! I hope all goes well with him joining your family :)

  33. To start trimming our food budget even more, I have been experimenting with gf recipes to avoid buying premodern/premixed items. So far I've made muffins, chickpea chocolate cake, sandwich bread(tastes like a yeast roll), pancakes, garlic breadsticks, and cookies. With the exception of the breadsticks, everyone of the recipes turned out great. Next up, finding a good pizza crust recipe! To trim our homeschool budget, I checked out some constellation books from the library and wrote up a study guide for our next 8 week session. To trim our outrageous power bill, we are using our tax refund and yearly bonus money to replace all 18 windows in our house(they are single paned aluminum windows from the 70s so I know we will make back the initial investment). I love reading everyone's great ideas to save money and look forward to gleaning new ideas every week:)

    1. Go under Meatless Dishes on my website for an easy and delicious pizza crust recipe.

      Your window replacement should make a HUGE difference in your bills! That is great!

  34. Hi Brandy,

    This week I planted a lot of different annuals indoors, and was excited to see that my tomato seedlings had finally sprouted. One negative to trying to keep the temperature down is that it's harder to germinate the warm weather vegetables, but after moving them around a little, it looks like most of them are up.

    Despite the unusually cold weather we have had the past few weeks, our gas and electric bill both went down significantly this past month - they were about $70 less total than the previous month. Part of that I think is due to the previous month's estimation of our bill instead of looking at actual meters, but still, I think that adjusting our thermostat slightly is starting to make a difference.

    Our weather has finally started to warm up. Last week we even saw temps in the 70's after previous weeks of highs in the teens. Such is life in Kansas! I have a spreadsheet made up of different planting dates for the vegetables I want to do this year, and realized that we needed to build the raised beds soon to accommodate them. After researching different prices and ideas online, I found that we could build the 3x6 bed frames out of cedar fence planks for about $10 each. My husband took a day off from his law school studies and helped me go around to get soil ingredients, wood, etc. We had purchased a nice pocket hole tool with some Christmas money some time ago, and still hadn't gotten around to using it, but it worked well for assembling the beds, plus we learned a skill! We felt so proud of the beds, and have other ideas of what we would like to build with scrap wood the previous owners of our home left behind.

    Our backyard neighbors received some frozen whole chickens from a friend, and gave two to us. They are big chickens - I weighed one and it was almost 7 pounds! I have never received food like this out of the blue before, but I was grateful for the provision, as I was just thinking we needed some more chickens so that we could practice our grilling techiniques. I also bought two corned beef briskets on sale for $1.99/lb - super cheap for beef given the high prices we've seen lately.

  35. It was a frugal week here too. By the way, your daughter's ponytails are so cute.

    We ate all meals at home.

    We had our foundation leveled this past summer (means lots of cracked walls to repair now that the house has resettled) and finished the sheetrock in our hobby room with sheetrock given to us by a neighbor who had several unused sheets after the gut and redo of his home.

    Ran all errands in 30 mins. yesterday within 1-mile of our house, other than that, stayed home and saved gas. Did pick up three 12-packs of Bic razors for free (after coupons) in our running around.

    Had extra grocery money from last week and added it to the emergency savings.

    It warmed up enough Sunday to open all the windows and let the house air out before another cold front came through, so was happy to turn off the heat or a/c (weather is changing daily here).

    Had 4 apples about to go south, so I made homemade chunky applesauce to go with stuffed pork chops. First time I made applesauce and it was sooooo good. I will definitely make it again.

    Filed our tax return, so our refund will be added to our emergency savings as well.

  36. I blogged my frugal wins this week!
    Mary, momma to 10

  37. Here are our frugal accomplishments:

    Additionally, I've been selling more and more on eBay, which is great because it gets rid of our unneeded things and we get a little extra money.

  38. Brandy, your children are darling and you take the best pictures. The past few weeks have been hard to be frugal. My son is starting to get ready for baseball season and he grew. He needed new cleats – the resale store wouldn’t buy his old cleats but we did get used cleats for more than half off. And he needed a new glove. We tried to find a used one but everyone else had the same idea. We wound up at Target which had a sale. I guess it could have been worse but next I have to buy jeans because he handed me a pair this week and said they don’t fit anymore. I will need to find time to go to the resale shops.
    My husband and I went on a date night and we used a gift card we got from my parents for dinner.
    I cleaned up a cast iron skillet that my mother gave up on as unusable but I read online that you can clean them with oven cleaner and then re-season them. It took multiple applications of oven cleaner but it turned out great.
    I went to the mall with my Mom and daughter. My Mom bought us lunch and bought some bath towels for me and a pair of shoes for my daughter. She enjoys the gift giving and everything was on sale.
    I bought bratwurst, little smokies and pork steaks on sale and then portioned them out in freezer packages. I made cinnamon rolls, pizza pockets and muffins for the freezer as well. I also bought some corned beef for dinner tonight.
    I have been turning lights off whenever I can and Saturday we turned the heat off but Sunday the low went down to 20 degrees so the heat went back on.

    1. Denise
      There is a site called which is like a consignment online store n i have seen cleats on the site for a steal. Try them.

  39. Also good for affordable,not cheap, bras, the Hanes One Place catalog always has Playtex bras for half the retail store price. At least once a year, Sears has a half price sale on their bra that is an absolute copy of the Playtex 18 hour bra. This is about as cheap as it gets for those of us who require a really good bra with good engineering.

  40. Hi everyone! Hope you are all having a good Monday. Here are some of my frugal things from the past week.

    -Ordered vitamins online and received free shipping.

    -Helped my son find a diagram on the internet so he could repair his brakes himself.

    -Made several types of cheese- Italian, hot pepper mustard, yogurt, and one from pure cream. I have been making cheese for about 6 years. I made my own presses instead of buying of the expensive ones. I can actually make three cheeses at once and spent only about $20.

    -Made yogurt. Since I have so much milk right now, I freeze some yogurt from each batch for future use.

    -We are getting plenty of eggs. Made breakfast for supper one evening, boiled a few dozen for quick breakfasts, and made devilled eggs to go with supper on night. Also sold six dozen.

    -I cut my own hair.

    -Electric bill was $11 lower than last month.

    -Organizing photos by putting them into albums and frames I already own.

    -Added time to mine and my husbands prepaid phones. We live in a rural area so they are handy when we are on the road, but we don't use them much. I am grandfathered into a plan where I have to add $15 every two months. The minimum for my husbands is $30 for three months and I had a coupon for his which gave him double minutes.

    -Signed up for a free trial issue of Prevention Magazine which comes with a free booklet about healing foods.

    -A friend gave us four pounds of sausage from a hog he had butchered.

    -Ordered an entire series of a cozy-mystery series from the library. I enjoy these light mysteries and it is fun to get them all at once. I had seen one of the titles at the bookstore, when I looked it up I found that there were several books ahead of that one. Hopefully they will all be in Friday when I go to the library.

    -Did some of the same old things- hung laundry, washed laundry in cold water, recycled cans, plastic and glass, added money to my 52 week challenge fund, left one day on my own and one day with my husband, besides church which is only a few miles away.

    Have a nice week Brandy and fellow readers!


    1. Melissa , I do that with mystery series too. My favorite series is by Jo Dereske and is about a librarian, Miss Zukas. :)

  41. It's been a while since I've been here but I have applied some of your frugal ideas such as : do I really need the light on over the tub, over the vanity , and the one on in the shower? LOL I only use the one in the shower now . Thanks for that suggestion. Every night for the past few months I have made a point to unplug all computers, games systems, and printers.

    Soaked pinto beans. I have enough in freezer for 4 meals.

    Cooked a ham that I bought on sale for 99 cents lb. Shared it with an older couple who are always treating us to something.

    A couple weeks ago I bought a Keurig from Kohl's. Original price $149 but with promos, Kohl's cash, and rebate it was $69. Not it isn't efficient but I feel like it will save $$ in the long run because we don't have to make as much coffee now.

    Friend from church gave us 2 dozen eggs. My intentions were to make breakfast burritos for my husband's breakfast but cakes and cookies have been on my daughter's priority lists. :/

    Stopped at Goodwill for books. We ended up spending $7 on books but my husband is sure he can get that money back with a "hard to find book" that our religious brothers would like to have. He spent quite a bit for his copy so when he found this book he knows he can sell it to get some of our $$ back from our little excursion.

    1. OH, I forgot. I've been following a coupon blog and she finds FREE magazines. I now receive upwards to 10 magazines a month! FREE! I am not sure what to do with them after I read. Doctor offices? friends? I left one on airplane last month. I hope someone enjoyed the read :)

    2. You could take them to hospitals for the ER waiting area, or X-ray waiting area or outpatient surgery waiting areas.

  42. Dear Brandy,

    This isn't a frugal accomplishment, but a question for you. What books would you recommend for a young lady who needs inspiring things to read? She is feeling anxious and sad and I thought you might have some ideas.


    Thank you for any help you might have.

    1. Patty, are you looking for a self-help type book or just good modest/clean fiction with a positive message? What are you meaning by " young lady"....17 ,18 years old? I know some people call teens, even tweens, young ladies. Depending on a bit more clearer meaning (to me) I could give you some titles from our library.

  43. Some days I'm fairly certain I would never get anything done without PBS kids. We love just about every show. I have the ap on my iPad and it's so nice to give the kids a little screen time while I tackle a project.

    Our Frugal Accomplishments:

    I found these cute little pots at the dollar store and planted some herbs for my kitchen window. We had to drill drainage holes first with a special glass/tile drill bit. Why do manufacturers make pots with no drainage holes? Plants must have the holes. It just seems silly to me. Any who, now they are all planted up and ready to grow.

    Made Bread.

    Planted more seeds downstairs. We now have broccoli, onions, kale, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, several varieties of herbs and flowers all basking under the grow light.

    Put off grocery shopping till Saturday. I normally go on Wednesday night, but we had plenty to use up till the weekend. I'm hoping we can stretch the pantry till next Wednesday seeing as we have very little left in the grocery budget this month. Ha!

    Pictures, Links and More on my blog:

    1. I enjoyed looking through your blog posts and reading your story - thanks for sharing!

  44. The posts and comments are so encouraging and helpful! We have learned that many frugal practices are being good stewards even when funds are not extremely tight besides being great to have in place when economic or health issues arise. A well-stocked pantry and cabinet of health and beauty items have been a blessing now that getting out to the stores is harder for me because of illness.

    I took advantage of the Walgreens offer to get a free 8x10. I think it is still going through the 19th. with the code MARCH8x10.

    In our garden, I have restarted my compost pile. Our city provides a used plastic dumpster with the bottom cut out and holes cut in it delivered for free. I have been picking spinach, lettuce, tangelos, grapefruit and green onions. The onions are a couple of years old, but keep on going with having a stalk cut here and there for use in cooking. I have transplanted seedlings of flowers, spinach and melons.

    A friend gave me a recipe for potato chowder. It was yummy, and all of the ingredients were on hand. It made enough for 3 meals.

    We went to see the beautiful Clydesdale horses when they were in town to make a commercial. It was a lovely, sunny day and we were able to sit on a grassy area to enjoy seeing them---free entertainment :-).

    Received a check from ebates.

    Politely, but firmly called repeatedly about a medical bill error, saving us $225.

    Completed surveys to get extra fuel points to save on gas. Used fuel points to save $.70 per gallon on gas.

    Cleaning and reorganizing pantry. This is frugal in helping me use food before it spoils and using what I have without buying new.

    Used coupons to get some things free and save on things I needed from the grocery store. Also got whole pineapple for 99 cents and strawberries for 99 a pound.

  45. As I try to remember my frugal activities from the week, I am reminded of so many things I DON'T do - eat lunch out, go to a movie, go to the mall. I took my lunch to work from leftovers, saw a Redbox movie with my husband for our date, and found a coral colored silk skirt from the thrift store for $5 - just the perfect color for my son's June wedding. We ate almost all meals at home - except my mother took my entire family out to dinner one night. I ate half and saved the rest for lunch the next day. We had another birthday meal at home - fajitas and an icebox dessert. I made granola, wheat bread and found this great tutorial for making artisan bread - It was so easy, had 4 ingredients, and was so good! I also price matched several produce items at Walmart.

    1. For the Baby shower first check what you might have on hand but think way outside the box.
      Go thru items you have for decorating for Easter even for Christmas and see if you can use some of that for decor and for serving. Consider doing just desert and drinks . Check out Martha Stewart online for other ideas. If you want to do an entire meal consider grilling out (it can be cheap) sloppy joes or pasta salad or a buffet of salads. I hope some of these ideas help you to get started. In addditon I asked around at work once when I was having a big gathering and the ladies all came thru with cups and paper products that were just extras in their own homes. Best of Luck I would love to see what you come up with.

  46. Tons of freebies and cheapies stuff this week! Free bananas, free Suave shampoo/conditioner, $0.77 mushrooms, pasta sauce for $0.50 each, free protein shakes, and moneymaker mascara! More details and pics here

  47. I always feel like I don't do much, but then I start to make this list and suddenly I did more frugal stuff than I thought!

    -- We stacked coupons, sales, and Cartwheel at Target for a big grocery shop. Normally we head to the store every week, but this time we'll be able to go a lot longer, which keeps us from making little impulse purchases.

    -- We also used two gift cards at Target to knock $15 off of our total. They were hiding at the back of a drawer and we had totally forgotten about them.

    -- My favorite blazer has finally started to fall apart, so I thought it was time to retire it and get a new one. I went to the outlet mall and found one on clearance for $19.99. Bonus: it's machine-washable.

    -- I cut my husband's hair.

    -- My husband made chocolate chip cookies from scratch.

    -- I made another batch of sugar scrub. Still going through a ton of it since the weather is still colder than normal here.

    -- Ate all meals at home during the week, but we did go out to a local steakhouse on Saturday night. We got a coupon for $25 off when you spend $50, so one of us essentially got a free entree.

  48. Brandi, your daughter at the piano looking so focused on those keys is a great picture.

    I know a lot of you homeschool and I was wondering if this would interest you. Are you acquainted with the blog (and also a radio show from St Paul) The Writer's Almanac? It is narrated by Garrison Keillor from Prairie Home Companion. The radio spot is about 5 minutes long. It always starts with a poem, then a list of 3-4 literary subjects, either authors or famous people in history. He gives anecdotes of their life, a listing of their works. He covers all and sundry...from Poe to Guttenberg to Mary Oliver for example. So you can listen, or read. I listen only occasionally, but I read the blog every day.

    We had a pretty nice week. Did all the usual frugal things of packing lunches, composting, hanging know. Did not shop except to go back and get cabbage and milk. I called all 4 groceries to check on cabbage...I was hoping for .19 a pound as in past, but no more. So stuck with my usual store which was .29/pound and I had a 20% off on green cabbage Saving Star coupon. I called ahead and asked them for at least 15 heads if possible. I bought 2 gallons of milk at 2/6.00.

    Made 2 loaves of white bread, 1 loaf of Irish soda bread, 2 loaves of orange nut bread, 4 loaves of banana bread ( I have smaller pans for quick breads...a recipe that says it makes one loaf will make 2 of my pans.) Made 2 doz vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Sprinkled with green and topped with some shamrock picks that I have saved for years. We actually ate out a lot which is really rare for us. There was a funeral meal last Saturday, then we ate at my husband's sister Susi's home...she lives only about 20 min away. She normally eats with us once a week, but she wanted us to see an art exhibit she had worked on, so we visited that after an early dinner. She had also made copies of some old photos of their parents and framed them and she gave them to us. That was nice...photographs were very rare in their family. Then (husband and I) we ate away from home Fri and Sat as we travelled down to Illinois for the Relief Fair, stopping to pick up a cousin on the way through WI. Janna paid for gas on the way down as we were delivering her to her expectant daughter...her husband could not go ahead of time and would come down later after the baby was born. We all brought food for the trip, we ate at the fair on Friday night and then Saturday Janna and I made brunch for everyone. They farm, naturally, so we were sent home with 4 pounds of homemade sausage. On Sunday back at church there was a potluck to which I took the cupcakes. Seriously though it was fun I am really glad to get back to my own cooking.

    Picked up two reserves from the public library, watched a Shirley Temple movie, addressed Easter cards. Took those pillowcases I started working on last year along to embroider on the drive. Did more on the way back as husband and I mostly listened to music...on way down Janna and I probably talked non-stop so I didn't get much done. All in all was not a productive week but was very full.

  49. What a sweet picture Brandi. I may try to take one of my son in a similar manner (although I am not even close the photographer that you are but I am trying). He loves to play the piano although he does not yet know how (he just turned 4). We had a pretty good week and even started our seeds in our float bed. (I will have to take some pictures of it.) My accomplishments are listed here on my blog:

    I am throwing a bridal shower for my brother's soon to be bride. I would love any tips, ideas, etc. (I have never thrown a shower before.)

    1. We have bridal showers all the time at church. Are you having it at your home? Candles are always nice for prizes if you are doing games. There are books at the library on how to throw showers if you want lots of ideas. I guess your budget is your guide. Our showers are pretty thrifty as we have a cupboard at church with misc decorations stored and all color table cloths etc. Stringing mini lights is always festive. I like to do games for the shower so I always save the games from all showers I ever go to for future ideas...Present Bingo is always popular and you can have 5 or so small prizes for the 1st 5 people to get bingo. A recipe shower is fun if your bride to be likes to cook...bring a nicely written out card of your favorite recipes and the canned or boxed ingredients needed for it and a kitchen item...for example the recipe for DUMP CAKE could be a 9/13 cake pan and a box yellow cake mix, can of cherry pie filling and can of crushed pineapple. A devotion at the beginning is always appropriate. Do a game with the bride and groom names where you fill in an attribute or wish for the L---love one another, A-always support each other, U---try to understand the problem , R---read the Bible together, A...appreciate the small things... and J---join in prayer together, O---offer encouragement, H---help one another, N..never go to bed angry! You can have nice little note cards for your guest to write on and then gather them up and punch a hole and tie together with a pretty ribbon.

      Are you doing food too? Finger food is nice, like relishes, dip, little sandwiches cut in triangles, fruit on a skewer, nothing you need to cut with knife and fork unless everyone is sitting at a table. Have a variety of bar desserts and cut them in small pieces so people can have a couple or 3 if they want. Have fun!

  50. Brandy,

    I would love to see the items you made for Wren's Birthday. You always make such beautiful items!

    1. Yes, I hope you can show Wren's presents. I am not sure where Wren falls in your children...Is she the middle girl?

  51. Helped out and went to a wedding last week, so needless to say, I was not very frugal, lol. I also got sick, which did not help. I did some things:
    Went to a friend’s to study, and she made lunch. It was delicious.
    Another friend altered a dress I planned to wear to the wedding for free. I wore the jewelry and shoes I wore to my wedding; so glad it matched, and I did not have to make any new purchases.
    I planned to get a pedicure because I was getting caught up in the moment. Thankfully I refrained; it really was not necessary, lol given I was not the one getting married.
    It rained a lot, so we did not have to water as much.
    We got a couple more shiitakes.
    Husband and I went to a new park that opened in our city. It was nice. We plan to return this week.
    It got cold again, so we had the fireplace running for a few nights.
    I listened to Suze Orman for free on iTunes.
    Used baking soda as deodorant.
    Used baking soda for toothpaste.
    We continued to compost.
    Picked kale from the garden.
    I bought the netty pot for my sinuses. I got it on sale and with a manufacture coupon.

  52. For The Baby Shower Question:

    For decorations try using onesies, sleepers, bonnets, socks, etc that you might have from your own children try hanging them up around the room, with clothespins like they are on a clothing line. As for centerpieces, try using some baby bottles and put flowers them. This way its all baby decorations. You might have all of this on hand. Games using just pen and paper. Help with cost of the entertainment. If you have the need to send home favors and the budget is tight hold a raffle for the favors.

  53. My week was good...I so enjoy reading the comments here. I learn something new, am reminded of things I'd forgotten I could do, and just enjoy knowing that there are many others who really are interested in being frugal. Thank you all for sharing each week!

  54. Here are my frugal accomplishments. I wasn't as happy with this week but can always try again. :D your little girl is so adorable!!!


Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I moderate comments manually, so please allow a few hours for your comment to be posted.

This blog is meant to be a source of encouragement to those who are struggling to put food on the table and make ends meet. Please keep your comments kind and uplifting.