Monday, February 17, 2014

Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

We celebrated Valentine's Day at home with simple decorations. I printed these arrow valentines and put in red pencils I had bought at back to school time (plus a couple that someone gave us for Christmas, one of which is in the photo above). I sewed together some paper doilies from the dollar store that I purchased when I was there weeks ago and filled them with candy that was given to us in October.

For breakfast that day I made pancakes. I didn't have any eggs. I made them without eggs and used powdered milk. We still have not gone grocery shopping this month.

I downloaded a free Kindle edition of 22 Beatrix Potter Illustrated books. I don't have a Kindle, but I downloaded the Kindle for PC ap to my computer, so that I can download books for free. (I believe that it is no longer free at this time).

I used water from the shower to water potted fruit trees and seedlings in the garden.

I grew my own alfalfa sprouts. I used the water from rinsing them to water the potted trees.These seeds are ones that I purchased over 8 years ago in a large mylar bag. Because I just use a couple spoonfuls each time, they have lasted me a long time.

I made tomato basil soup. I cooked a turkey.

I cut lettuce, Swiss chard, arugula, and tarragon from the garden.

Vegetable plants at the local nursery last week

I purchased and planted tomato plants in the garden. Four of the plants had two plants per container, so I carefully separated them so that I could plant each plant in the garden. I used a coupon at the nursery to save $20, which was equivalent to getting the bag of bone meal I purchased for free.

I planted more seeds in the garden.

I dug up "new" bushes that had started in the garden from branches being buried for a year (they rooted). I moved the tiny new plants to other spots in my garden. I have been slowly growing new plants this way for the last several years.

I was given a quart of goat's milk from the service exchange, and Saturday night my husband came home with a dozen and a half eggs from his brother's chickens for us.

I opened the windows and enjoyed the fresh air. The best air freshener is fresh air itself!

What did you do last week to save money?

*I was released today from my church assignment to teach the youth Sunday School class, so expect this post to go back to Saturday nights (like it was before I had that assignment) starting this Saturday.


  1. Your Valentine table looks so festive! I've recently found your blog and I'm loving the great ideas and encouragement.
    I replaced burned out incandescent bulbs with LED.
    Kept the thermostat at 60 during the day (55 at night), heating oil is over $4 a gallon!
    Printed Valentines from the Internet and give the kids left over Valentines from previous years(which I always purchase after Valentines Day for around $.50 a pack) for school exchange.
    Froze extra beans from a newly opened #10 can for use later.
    Focused on turning off lights

  2. Hi there...just lost my whole comments...sigh!

    Here is a brief resume of what I have done.

    Made my own yoghurt and blogged about it to give recipe to friend.

    Made a pear cake instead of whole orange cake using the same ingredients as my lonesome orange was too dry. I had to cook it way longer though and even then once out of tin I had to cut in half and splay open placing back in oven to bake longer still. It did taste nice and was something I could take along to a working bee. I also just toasted a slice to make it crunchy again. Was delicious with my cup of tea.

    Found some lovely and useful things at Op shop...your thrift stores. A fine light weight merino wool long sleeve dress in a lovely red, a wooden box style picture frame which I'll take apart and put in photos. Also a small lamps shade with brushed steel base ...I'll put a new cover over it to complete my sewing room.

    I love your gardening ethos...that is how I grew from cuttings a lavender hedge...patiently does it.

    I know I did more but lots of my ways are saving anyway and do them without thinking.

    Thank you for your as always inspiring blog posts.

    Alexa from

  3. We bought a stand mixer at Costco,in Australia. At at least $200 cheaper for the same model. As the big box stores and the kitchen stores were that much higher and some. The money for the stand mixer came from a few things that we managed to sell and then we returned some items that we hadn't used but had the receipts for at the local fabric store and bought some food processor attachments and today we sold a PC that we had not used in a very very long time nod took most of that money and bought another attachment to make our own pasta noodles including macaroni . These things are frugal for us as we also bulk purchased flour and cram for baking and making our own butter as well as making a better quality of pasta. Someone sold us. Defective pasta maker on our equivalent of Craig's list and we had to politely ask for our money back . The week before we sold our expensive and overpriced food processor and used the money to,buy a much needed washer dryer combo machine as we are limited by space in our home and our current washer was unfortunately no longing coping the balance of the funds tht cme from the sale of the overpriced food processor was put towards essentials like clothing and underwear where we got spend 60 get 10 off and surprisingly we made sure to split our transactions into lots of $60 to get $10 off and some of our items had additional discounts over the promotional discount and this was mostly between target and kmart. Oh e&s we have started baking our own bread again . That's it I think . Thank you Brandi for your blog even though I haven't mentioned it it is appreciated
    From a ex nor cal girl based in Aussie

  4. I love your blog - you are so helpful without being preachy. Anyways wanted to share with you one of my favourite inexpensive recipes. Sabih is originally from Iraq but is now street food in much of the middle east along with falafel. It's great for using garden produce.
    Take a pita (or any other bread) and stuff it with the following:
    A liberal spread of hummus - garlic and tahini optional but delicious.
    1/2 or a 1/4 potato - this goes at the bottom to soak up any spice you might have lingering in your mouth. It can be omitted especially if you don't like it spicy.
    Fried eggplant slices - zucchini is good too but eggplant is traditional
    Hard boiled egg bits - I use 1/2 an egg per sandwich but you could cut this to maybe 1/3 especially for littles
    Salad stuff - I like peppers, cucumber, tomato and onion coated with chile pepper and a little oil. Pickles are also nice.
    Feta cheese - optional
    It adapts well to whatever you have on hand - using dried zucchini could be an option and is inexpensive. I'd love to hear if you try it.

    1. This sounds very interesting. Sounds like a good meal for the summertime. Then I'll have a supply of eggplant again. What of the potato it fried, boiled?

    2. That sounds good, Avril. I make my own pita, and I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks for sharing.

    3. It is delicious! I got some zucchini from the market last week and have been eating this all week. The potato is boiled but some people use potato salad. I use a leftover from dinner if I've got it otherwise I just leave it out.

    4. The potato is boiled. But some people use potato salad. I use leftovers if I've got them. I've been eating this all week thanks to some cheap farmer's market produce. It's delicious and very filling.

  5. your Valentine's setting looks so lovely! Our Valentine's was simple. We are still living with another family, and our cash flow is I made peanut butter blossom cookies for everyone and the older kids go to school and got Valentine's from class mates, they were all nice enough to come home and share some with my little one that does not attend school. The family we live with went out for the night, so my kids and I watched a movie we already had on hand and just had a quiet evening at home. Our gifts to each other this year is our own place now that we are here in Florida...We put a deposit down on a duplex apartment.

    We have been doing the usual things. eating at home. Spending no money (mostly because we don't have any) I used a grocery store card at a local supermarket and saved .05 per gallon of gas when i put some in our car. oh and i went curbside picking which i shared about here
    It was fun. I got some nice things. It will save some money when we do move. There will be wants/needs that i won't have to buy at the store now. We also made sugar cookies from scratch. I have been trying to cook from the pantry only and avoid the store but when you live with someone else and they have different ideas it can be hard. There are things they want and I suggested we make them, but the idea isn't being recieved. I don't want to spend any more money at the grocery store really. I am not sure how to handle it. We still have at least a weeks worth of meals maybe more if we really look and get creative.

    1. Wow! You found some wonderful curb treasures! I always drive slow and look to see if I can use anything when people put things out. I furnished my oldest daughters first apartment that way! And just a few months ago I found a nice oak coffee table for the shared common area in my son's dorm. MUCH nicer and sturdier than a new one made of MDF (and it was free!)

  6. I can't believe you are putting in garden things already! Definitely a perk to living where you do. There is still over 2 feet of snow here!

    I am placing an order for seeds this week and for fruit trees as well ( this has been a goal for two years, since we moved in to our "Hopestead" but never happened.) So bummed to find out that it is practically worthless to try and grow just about any stone fruit crop because it is too cold here. I might still try for peaches and plums. Because I am desperate for them! How I envy you all your amazing lemons and fruits!

    Here is my list of frugal accomplishments~

    1. Rebecca - if you are in the US you can contact your local Cooperative Extension agent for recommendations of variety of peaches and plums that will grow in your area. Every state has a Cooperative Extension Service, usually every county, it is part of the State University and is paid for thru your taxes. Most everything is free and they are a wealth of knowledge.

    2. Plums are actually quite hardy for a stone fruit. As Bellen said, your local Cooperative Extension Service can guide you as to varieties. Some states have more than one "state" university, and the Ext service is a part of the "land grant" university - usually the oldest one. In Utah, it is Utah State University, not University of Utah. In Idaho, it was the University of Idaho, not Idaho State University. Just look for the oldest one, or find the local 4-H office. They are usually in the same place.

  7. I saved some money on sandals this week by researching prices on the Internet. I very rarely buy shoes, and when I do, I expect them to last for awhile and to be stylish and comfortable, so many shoe stores just don't cut it for me, but the ones I do like end up costing a lot of money. I found one pair for 50% of their price just be checking a few places before I ordered.

    I wintersowed some more seeds in jugs - the temperatures are warming up here in the Midwest, but it could still get cold. I planted lambs ear, spinach, Swiss Chard, and Sweet William. I now have 18 or 19 jugs filled with sowed perennials and vegetables.

    I made a big pot of pinto beans for Sunday night dinner. I am grateful that this more restricted season of life has come when our kids are young - I tell them we are having beans and rice for dinner, and they get excited and gobble it up!

    I checked out several books from the library to read.

    I reviewed our grocery receipts this week and thought hard about what I could either stretch out (use less of) or make or grow myself. I came up with about $6-$7 I could save just by doing this, and I thought our receipts were low!

    1. I like Sierra Trading Post for good quality shoes at low prices. They regularly have extra percentages off and 99cent shipping. I've gotten Dansko clogs for under $40 there.

  8. This week is going to be extremely busy, even for us! So, the most frugal thing I have been doing over ther weekend is trying to organize my meals and snacks so that we don't end up buying food elsewhere. I have tried to consolidate many of the appointments, to save gas, but they are far away, and there are too many to do in one day. Many of these are doctors, therapy for all 3, and appointments to prepare my foster grandchild for an upcoming court date, so they are non-negotiable. In fact, some were made for me without even asking my schedule, so I'm fussy about that. I know they are extremely important, but it's still difficult to make it all work. I had to cancel work at times, so that's frustrating as well. My cheering thought in this hectic time is that all these will help the girls in the long run, so it will be worth it.

    I bought potatoes for $1.49/10lbs. I got 2. At the same produce stand, I got over-the -hill yellow peppers for $1/bag. I will use them right away.

    We will continue to pack lunches, use home-canned and frozen foods, cook from scratch, etc.

    My husband worked all weekend, so has today off and will stay home with the children, saving any need for paying a sitter for the one who goes to public school. The older 2 are homeschooled and are used to coming to work with me and doing their school, but the yougest cannot do that.

    I used a gift card from Christmas to buy netting at JoAnn's. I want to crochet dish scrubbies. I also bought cotton yarn with a 1/2 price coupon. I got the big spool. I have been crocheting dishcloths while waiting for all these appointments. I will use them for gifts, or for my kitchen.

    I got a free pattern leaflet and crocheted the little baby/toddler hat from it, using yarn I had at home. It's really cute and I will use it for a shower gift.

    I finished a nightgown for my granddaughter. I used flannel, bought on clearance, and lace from a garage sale. I used a pattern I've had for years.

    I started a skirt for my oldest, using what I had on hand, including pattern. I may buy some lace for the bottom, I need to see what I can get reasonably. She is planning on going on a spring break mission trip to Mexico, and when working in the village, needs to wear only skirts, as that is culterally appropriate where they are going. I hope to get a couple more done, but I'll need to see how far my time stretches.

    I continued to care for the little plants I started. I check them every morning and night, and do whatever is necessary. I have lettuce, chard, spinich and boc choi coming up in pots in the greenhouse. I hope to harvest some of that long before the garden is ready. One week ago, we were just coming out of being snowed in for 3 days, so we are a ways off from outdoor planting!

  9. What a great coupon you had for the nursery. Makes me wish for Spring even more seeing those plants. I did some more winter sowing - for instructions on this you can go to This kind of reduces the great urge I have for gardening this time of year.
    I've been using my orange cleaning spray from your suggestion and it works great! Thanks!
    Nothing more beyond the normal of trying to turn off lights and tv when we are not in the rooms. Have a great week..

  10. I just posted mine for the first time! I have been reading your accomplishments and I am always so inspired.

    1. I love your garden boxes from repurposed drawers!

  11. I am expecting warmer temperatures in my area this week and am most looking forward to opening the windows. I agree that fresh air is better than any purchased air freshener. Here is what I did over the past week to save money:

  12. I also think that fresh air is the best!! I can't wait to open up my windows when the weather warms up a little bit here. This week I...

    Made granola, trail mix, homemade hot dog buns and rolls x 2, Brandy's lemon poppyseed muffins, homemade Shepherd's pie, chicken stew over egg noodles, creamy turkey and rice soup using the last of the turkey in the freezer from our Xmas turkey and broth made from the bones, and crock pot chicken taco chili.

    For my homemade bread rolls recipe I modified the recipe and now they are even cheaper to make. The original recipe calls for 1.25 cups milk. I usually used 1/2 milk and 1/2 water but tried it with all water and couldn't even notice any difference, so I will now always make it with water only.

    Spent less than usual at the grocery store this week and continue to meal plan using items mostly from freezer and pantry.

    Had 2 free breakfasts and 2 free lunches at work this week.

    Ate leftovers for dinner twice this week so didn't have much food waste at all.

    Only ate out once this week, for lunch on Saturday.

    Sold a book on for 45 dollars that otherwise I would have just given to goodwill eventually. This was my first sale on

    Started a price book to help make sure I'm spending wisely and so I can be sure of stock up prices and to make sure buying in bulk at sams is the best deal for certain items.

    Hope everyone has a great week.

    1. I forgot one more thing. When out running errands with my 3 year old daughter this weekend, together we found a total of 37 cents, which she got to keep. She was so excited to put that money in her piggy bank. It was really cute! The value of money and the importance of saving are important lessons to start teaching early!

  13. What a lovely Valentine's Day table! Pencils are wonderful for Valentines exchanges at school when children have allergies (nuts soy, milk, etc). My frugal accomplishments:

    Picked up a large sack of crushed soda cans from a former co-worker, who saves them for my granddaughter’s recycling project. Recycled all the cans with ours & received $4.50 for her. $3 went into her savings account, & she will pay her tithing out of the rest, & have a little to spend.

    Used freecycle to pass on some gift card we received in the mail as a grand opening special for a new Mongolian grill in town. We would not use them, but did not want them to go to waste. All our meals this week were at home, as usual.

    Hung laundry to dry on the rack inside. Added water to a shampoo bottle to use the last bits in the bottom. Since my hair is short, I was able to get 3 more washes from the bottle.

    Watched Lark Rise To Candleford” & “Downton Abbey” on PBS.

    When enough snow melted off that I could see the glass cloches in the garden, I was delighted to see that the lettuce & spinach I planted in late fall have made it through the winter. The plants are still tiny, but they are alive, & if things go like they did last year, this means we will have spinach & lettuce for salads through March & April, before the normal growing season even begins here, around Mother’s Day. When the snow melted completely, I was able to move the last mini-composter that had frozen to the patio, over to the garden beds.

    Stopped at Savers on my way home from an appointment, & found a cereal bowl in DD’s pattern. Since it was Wednesday, I received the “senior savers” 15% discount, too!

    Mended a backpack where the fabric had pulled away from the zipper due to an inadequate seam. Finished sewing the apron for my youngest granddaughter. Both were sewn by hand.

    Met my daughter in Heber after she had a medical appointment in Salt Lake, to send several items home with her. It saves me over 4 hours of driving to meet her instead of driving 3 hours over to her house. There are far more resources for thrifting where I live, than where she lives, & I can often find items she needs for very little, like the cereal bowl that will replace a broken one. One item she took this trip was the 3-pack of Josefina books I found at DI last week, for her daughter. On my way home, I stopped at Savers & found another American Girl book for $1, then stopped at DI, & found 3 more.

  14. I hand delivered wedding and shower invitations for my daughters upcoming wedding. Maybe this is tacky? But since we were at an event where a lot of these people were I decided to go for it.

    Took all the covers off my garden since it was in the 80's last week. Now I am fighting the birds. I bought 3 tomatoes and 3 pepper plants. The rest of the garden is from seed. We are still eating oranges from our tree, Swiss chard, parsley and now a little romaine.

    We also have been eating free grapefruit and lemons that friends have given us.

    We refinanced our house for 10 years so we can pay it off before retirement.

    1. To the contrary - hand delivered invitations are a classy touch.

  15. You have inspired me to start planning my garden, even with snow on the ground. Looking for plants at the store with 2 in the container instead of 1 - brilliant! We had 2 snow days this past week, so I saved 2+ gallons of gas by not going anywhere those days. Took a gamble that we wouldn't have school on Valentines day and waited to make my class their treats. Saved 50% on cupcake decorations because I bought them on Saturday. Found some "replace ground beef with lentils" recipes to try. I have been trying to use less power (single lamp instead of overhead lights, oven door open when done to heat room, etc). Now if I could get the others 2 adults in this house to help with that, it would be wonderful. Beginning to gather items for a yard sale in March or April. Used the fireplace to help heat the house on the snow days. Not much, but every little bit helps.

  16. This week, I was able to get free Crisco, 4 boxes of tissues for $1.00, tons of cheap snacks, and a huge softsoap refill for $1.07!

  17. I made meals at home out of the cupboard. Took short showers. I only shampoo my short dry hair once or twice a week in the thats a savings there. The other days I just rinse. We are purging and selling some things out of our home before a planned thats nice. I joined a produce box CSA and have been getting more than enough fruits and veggies to last! Its much cheaper than buying them at the store and we eat produce because we don't want it to go bad --saving on other food items and helping us eat healthier.

  18. Your Valentine's Day table looks so pretty and proves that it isn't necessary to spend a lot of money to create a meaningful holiday memory for your family.
    Your post today has me yearning for time spent in the garden. I have been nurturing my Meyer lemon tree indoors all winter. It dropped a lot of leaves (which was expected). Overall it is looking good and soon it will be time to move it to the patio. I can hardly wait for that first lemon to appear.
    I have just planted some herb seeds in little pots in the house. They are right in front of a sunny window and I check them daily to see if they are getting too dry. Last year I started herbs this way and was richly rewarded with the best basil I've ever grown. The seeds were a gift from my son.
    I would encourage anybody who likes to use herbs in cooking to grow them yourself. Most of them require very little care provided they are planted in the right spot. Some of my perennial herbs have been growing for over ten years. It sure beats paying those high prices at the grocery store. Also I know they are organic as I never spray anything on them.
    Your coupon at the garden center is wonderful. I am going to pay more attention this season for coupons from garden centers. I recently signed up for the e-mail garden club through Lowe's. I am hoping to receive some money saving offers this way.
    Brandy, I am wondering whether your instructions for growing alfalfa sprouts are posted somewhere on your website? I have some seeds that I'd nearly forgotten about. Would love to try it again.
    Thank you.

  19. Found a nickel in the bathroom of the library. Since I walked over there, it feels like I made a "profit". :)

    Made most of our meals from a ham I purchased while a good price over the holidays (.49/#) including ham and bean soup, ham w/sweet potatoes and broccoli (from the garden!), mac-n-cheese-n-ham, and Denver omlets. Sliced up the rest of the ham (yes! there was more!) for sandwiches for the kids' lunches. Also had our traditional pizza night (homemade, of course). Made more spaghetti sauce. Made citrus salad (and ate it all myself!!! Not in one sitting---just to clarify!). Made tea with hubby's hard-boiled egg water…love the reader's note of the side-benefit of getting extra calcium this way, too! Today I'm baking bread using your French Bread recipe since I ran out of my .28/qt. buttermilk. I can't wait to try the bread when it's done! I am doing the 8 long loaves rather than the 4 round ones.

    Hubby took kids by bike to the garden center to get seeds for this months' planting so as not to use gas. It's a bit too far for the youngest to ride so he put the trailer on the back of his bike for her. So excited for tomatoes and spinach!

    Harvested broccoli and sugar snap peas from the garden. What a treat!

    The dishwasher tablets I made didn't solidify well so I'll just scoop out what I need. I've only run the dishwasher two times, but they have worked well so far.

    Paid a couple bills over the phone. Most of our bills are set up on automatic payment which saves on stamps and time, but these two were not monthly bills. I also paid my father-in-law's dental bill while I was there for my cleaning.

    Cleaned the bathrooms with the rinse water from doing the dishes. I opened the pipe under the sink and let the water drain into my bucket then went around and cleaned the bathrooms (2). Even though I only use baking soda and dish soap for cleaning, the water seemed too dirty to dump on the plants. Ultimately it went down the drain, but I feel like I got a lot of use out of it. Kept to the 2 quarts on each side of the sink for washing and rinsing. I really think I need to use a basin instead of opening up the pipes, but it seems like an unnecessary expense right now.

    Stayed under $50 at the grocery stores and I wouldn't even have spent that much except that my husband has been eating a special diet recently and has been consuming a large amount of walnuts. I found them on sale for $6/# so I bought 4 pounds hoping that they will last a while. That purchase alone took up half of my entire spending. I did buy yogurt which I haven't done in a long time since I've been making it, but I needed more starter and I found some on clearance for .99 for a 2-pound container. Also purchased eggs for .99/doz., avocados at 5 for $1, green peppers at 4 for $1 and celery at 2 for .96. Only purchased 2 gallons of milk in hopes that it will last the next two weeks, but have some set aside in grocery budget for one more gallon just in case! Even though I have a couple of weeks until I close out our grocery budget for Feb., things are looking good. I'm still scratching my head as to how to get down to $250, but I think we'll still be under $300. I know we've hit these "plateaus" before, but we've managed to get it down so I have faith that it will happen again. Between becoming more reliant on our garden and less reliant on dairy products we should see a significant drop (not to mention when the youngest can get through the night without a Pull-up on!).
    Have a blessed week!

  20. I started timing mine and my husband's showers. We now try and beat one another's time each night and make a fun little game out of it. So far, we been able to keep our shower time under 5 minutes (including the time it takes for the water to warm up).

    We went shopping at Sam's with my mom's Sams card when she was in town and loaded up on things we can get for cheaper there (toilet paper, bread flour, etc.)

    We visited our local children's museum using the pass my in-laws got our family for Christmas.

    We used some Chick-fil-A coupons given to us by a friend to get 3 free chicken sandwiches for lunch one day.

    We visited a local botanical garden that is free.

    I decorated for Valentines for $3 using things I found at the dollar store and then printed off a coupon book from the internet to give our kids (included things like movie night, late bedtime, extra snuggles before bed, etc). They LOVED it.

    I sprouted some lentils and made lentil bread.

    We ate red beans and rice when we studied Louisiana.

    We rented library books and a movie from the library and had a movie night complete with air-popped popcorn with some melted chocolate drizzled on top.

    AND, we recently compared our insurances (we do this yearly) and shopped around....we save over $500 every year doing this.

    Have a great frugal week my friends!

    1. A fun way to take short showers - Wait for your favourite TV show. Watch it in TV (not Hulu or Netflix, otherwise this won't work!) Wait for the most climactic ad break - usually about 5 minutes before the end of the show. Take your shower while racing the commercial break (you'll have about 2-3 minutes). You'll want to see how the show ends, so you'll make it a very quick shower.

  21. Oh...and I forgot to add that we sold an old laptop we never use. We erased the hard drive and sold it for $70 on craigslist and put that money towards debt!

  22. Last Friday I went to the Health Fair at work. I work at a medical school. I received 3 free health screenings a number of free pens, emory boards, lotion samples, apple and carrot snacks, recipes and a nice reusable grocery bag to carry it all in.

    My supervisor took me out to lunch for my birthday and Ibrought my own lunch to work the other days. I cooked at home for dinner and the weekend except the one lunch we had out on Saturday. We bought 2 lunches and split between the four of us so it could have been twice as expensive.

    I sold my first item on ebay.

    I filled my daughter's prescription and the pharmacy found they could renew a coupon for this year so it was free. I used coupons and deals at Target to get what I needed for a good price. I have started saving orange peals for the vinegar cleaner. My husband hates the smell of vinegar so I have not been willing to try homemade cleaners before. I have been turning off the lights in unused rooms and my son has started helping except he likes to turn out the light in his sister's room even when she is in the room. :-)

    I found free budget printouts that I hope to fill out this week to make a real budget.


  23. So jealous of gardens and open windows :) We have at least 5 feet of snow on the ground and more falling right now. We are supposed to maybe reach 30 degrees this week and it will feel like a heat wave after weeks of below zero.

    I have been ill and therefore did not grocery shop as usual....we are making do with what we have.

    We stayed the in the town where my son had a BB tournament and played cards instead of wasting gas to drive home and return. We took others with us to really save on gas!

    We ate all meals at home this past week.

    We split a pizza dinner with my in-laws on Saturday night.

    I downloaded free books, listened to Pandora, printed coupons, made my shopping lists from on-line ads and paid my bills on-line

    my husband changed the oil in his fathers snow blower and he is letting us borrow it while ours is down

    wrote my children letters for valentine's day

    enjoyed a free lunch at work last week, ate leftovers the other days

    been intentional about not automatically turning on lights when I walk in a room but noticing when I really need them instead. I have started to use only the single bulb in the bathroom to shower and since I am no longer wearing makeup I do not need the lights by the mirror at all in the morning.

    received extra pay for a club I am incharge of...using some to buy some needed shoes and the rest into savings.

    deposited the five dollar bills I no longer spends into my savings account

    purchased milk for .99 a gallon on clearance

    made cupcakes from home for my son's party...used sprinkles someone had given to us. I wish I had remembered to take a picture of my 7 year old decorating them :)

    plugged in our humidifier from the basement. It only needed new filters and then discovered that we still had the supplement that gets added to the water under the kitchen sink so I can delay buying more until next payday

    my family received two children and one adult free tickets to a hockey game and my son was able to attend with a friends family. They paid the gas and parking.

    been serving more water than other drinks during dinner

  24. It has been record cold here in Minnesota! We have had to check our cold water temp. to make sure it is not below 40 degrees. if it is we have to run a continuous stream of water for the next 2-3 months. Such waste when so many are in drought conditions. Our water is free because we have a private well but luckily our water is still 46 degrees. We were hit very hard this last month with a $1000 propane bill. There is a shortage in MN that caused prices to go from $1.92/gallon to $5.60/gallon. Luckily we only got filled at $4.14/gallon. We have turned off our heat and are using electric heaters. We have only used 25 gallons of propane since being filled last instead of 250 gallons that we use a month in the winter. We also covered all windows with plastic which has helped a lot.

    I surprised my husband by paying the propane bill with money I had been saving from the grocery budget. I did not go to the store in Jan. He was VERY happy.

    We had a wonderful Valentine's day at home. I made heart shaped individual pizzas. Last week we had cheese for $1/an 8 oz. bag. Unheard of price. I bought 30 bags. So the pizza was pretty cheap. My kids like their pizza light on the cheese. I also made an ice cream cake with ice cream and oreo's my mom had given us. I took Valentine pictures of all the kids instead of going to a studio. I sewed appliques on the "littles" shirts and used that fabric from my stash to cut out hearts for the background. I took over 250 pictures. I am guessing I saved $100. I ordered prints from Shutterfly which only cost $27 with 40% off for President's day. My mom always pas me for the prints I order for her. So I spent only $15!

    I made a turkey, tortillas, bread, cookies, pizzas, applesauce with .75/lb apples, chicken tortilla soup, and lentil soup. We did not eat out.

    I cashed out $60 Walmart gift cards from Swagbucks. I use these to stock up on Walmart brand diapers. I have 2 in diapers and will for awhile. I love Swagbucks not that I got a smartphone. I am earning about 400 SB's a day.

    I only drove 200 miles in Jan. I stayed home 8 days straight. partly due to the cold and not wanting to bundle everyone up and go anywhere. I am starting to go a little stir crazy. Thinking of spring and my 1/2 acre garden. We live on over 3 acres so we have a large garden. Every year it gets bigger and we have to get more fence to keep the deer out. This spring will be the first year we can harvest our asparagus. We planted them 2 years ago. We also tripled our strawberry plants. Maybe I will actually have some make it out of the garden this year and into my freezer instead of everyone's mouth. ha We also have about 40 feet of raspberry bushes that bear 2 times a year. Blackcaps grow wild on our property. I just can't wait!!

    Lots of appointments this week. Dentist, well child, and orthodontist. I really hate those weeks of running. Hope everyone has a blessed week.

    1. We live in Alaska and it had regularly been 40 below; it is 27 below today. When it is that cold, we open all cabinets so that the house heat reaches the water pipes. We also bought those grey spongy insulating tubes and cut them to fit over all exposed piping. In one area where we could not do that, we wrapped the pipe with a heat tape. Just some suggestions---but leaving the cabinets open when it gets to 20 below or more really helps. Cheaper than leaving the water running.

    2. It is not because of the house pipes. The frost line has reached a record 6 feet deep. Normal year is 4 feet.I bet they are buried deeper in Alaska then Minnesota. The pipes are 6 feet deep so the city is asking residents to keep the water running so the buried pipes don't burst. They are adjusting water bills for people that have to do this.

    3. Heidi,
      Would you mind sharing how you earn 400 swagbucks a day? I would love to be able to save enough for Christmas next year...or other household expenses. I'd be happy earning half of what you do!

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. How do you earn 400 swagbucks per day on your smartphone? I just started and earn from answering the daily questions, searching and watching some of the TV but only average about 30.

    6. I saw this on our local news... You must live in northern MN near Lake Superior, as I do.

    7. Becky,

      No I live in Southern MN, Rochester to be exact. I went to college in Duluth. Love northern MN. I think all of MN is facing propane shortage and deep frost line.

      I run swagbucks TV on my smartphone for 50 a day. I run enterainnow app for 40 a day. I earn an average of 30-50 in search wins from my smartphone and desktop. I do special offers on my smartphone for an average of 100 a day. I get updates from my phone when there is a Swagcode via Facebook. Maybe 10 a day. I do the running videos on encrave on my desktop for 60- 100 a day. I max out the 6sb and 3 sb runners. I usually do about 2-5 surveys a day. That gives around 150-200 sb. I also make my goals everyday so I get bonuses of around 2500 on the 5th of every month. Last month was a bad month and I cashed out $200 in Walmart G.C. This month I have $70 so far but $50 pending. To be honest it takes a lot of time but I am a SAHM so I can keep things going on my phone and computer all day. You can easily earn at least 100 a day by not doing to much. Hope that helps.

  25. We inoculated 9 more mushrooms on Sunday; we had a couple friends who wanted to learn the process come and help us so we saved on time.
    We also cut a couple “small” trees down in a friend’s backyard who is clearing land for farming. We got 20 logs for our shiitakes.
    A friend gave me a new jacket that she had ordered online but was too small for her; it is a bit big for me but I will get it taken in.
    I went to a grad student lunch event. It was very nice and the food was great. I made sure to eat my fill. Keeping track of my frugal accomplishment made me realize just how much free meals I have gotten this month! And I have three more events to go to that will provide lunch. I am very grateful for that. I have been able to “eat out” so to speak without having to pay for it. I have also gotten to try new foods that way.
    I am almost at two thousand swagbucks. I thought I would reach it by Friday but have had a lot to do this weekend. I plan to get enough to get $25 in paypal by this upcoming Friday. I also got my daily goal for 7 days straight.
    We went out to eat and saved some by not ordering appetizers.
    Got detergent sample in the mail.
    Got a tv from a friend who moved and dry erase boards.
    It rained a few days, so I did not have to water.
    I listened to Suze Orman for free on iTunes.
    I fasted on Sunday and did yoga.
    Used baking soda as deodorant.
    Used baking soda for toothpaste.
    Remembered to use the printer at school to print.
    We are still using the fireplace.
    Harvested kale from the garden.

  26. Today I cleaned out the fridge. I used a tiny amount of canned tomatoes, chickpeas, flavored butter from a restaurant trip, and crusty bread to fry up some falafel.
    Working down my free sample stash of shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, and face cream.
    Daughter handed out Valentines which cost us less than 50 cents total OOP. Valentines bought on clearance and the treats were regifts someone had given us (individually wrapped chocolate pretzels).
    Went to a birthday party and spent about $2.50 OOP for the gift because I again regifted (my daughter has plenty of stuffed toys). It was a nice gift too so I was happy another little one could use it. We were able to eat pizza, vegetables, and cupcakes at the party.
    Already have my daughter’s Easter basket assembled and ready to go. Used the dollar tree, clearance at Kmart, and yard sales to fill it up. It is overflowing for about $10 OOP. More than I intended to spend but I am happy with it.
    We were invited to eat dinner at a friend’s house this week.
    To make Valentine’s day special, I made my usual homemade pizza into a heart shape (and a second smaller one that was not). I also cut the pepperoni into heart shapes and used the scraps on the smaller pizza.
    I complained to Sunkist on Facebook because some oranges I had purchased were absolutely horrid. Worst ever! So they sent me a $5/Sunkist coupon which I was able to use to get several pounds of almost free tangelos this week.
    Instead of buying regular sliced bread this week (normally 2 loaves at $2.99), I purchased whole wheat French bread for 99 cents. Cheaper than what it would cost to make myself 2 loaves of French bread whole wheat. $4 savings! We have eaten a lot less PB&Js too.
    Made $2 on to put into Amazon account.
    Sold two items on Ebay for a total of $56! One was a pair of shoes that were given to us and the other was a discount for Best Buy we had received for moving into our new house. Woohoo!
    Checked my J4U account (Vons) and I have 4 totally FREE offers! 16oz bag of chips, 8oz of cream cheese, green giant steamers, and pichuberry fruit. Very nice surprise!
    I ate out three times this week though (eek!) but one time was paid with gift cards. The other time was sort of a gift for some friends and yesterday I just didn’t prepare anything for lunch after church. So a total of $21 for eating out. Ooops. :/

  27. I love the arrow valentines. We may have to use those for next year.

    Our frugal Accomplishments:

    Replaced 10 incandescent light bulbs with CFL. I'm slowly working through all the bulbs in our house. We probably have another batch or two till they are all switched over.

    Visited my Grandparents and Grandma sent me home with a large garbage bag of fabric and thread. There are scraps as well as yardage. There looks like several pieces will work as skirts for my girls and flannel for pj pants. I'm very excited. She said there was more so as soon as I sort through this I can come get another bags worth. I'm so blessed with her frugal example and willingness to give.

    Made homemade fancy dinner for valentines and went dancing at the church for free.

    Made valentines at home with cheap suckers. Printed on card stock I had on hand. I designed and printed, the kids cut and assembled. Spent $2.50 for the suckers, not bad for 90 valentines.

    Planted a few seeds in my covered garden box. It may be a little early so I only did a handful. I will try some more in a couple of weeks. I can't wait for gardening weather.

    Photos on my blog:

  28. I, too, LOVE your table setting! This week I:
    -made homemade chili without meat and saved the extra beans in the freezer
    -used some of our federal tax refund and went to the grocery store and a separate meat market. We will not have to grocery shop for two months, at least.
    -For Valentine's day my husband bought me 3 roses from him and our daughter. After the petals start to wilt I will save the petals, then attempt to root the stems. We have rooting hormone powder in our garden supplies. I love the thought of possibly three "free" rose bushes.
    -He also made a very nice meal for us at home. We did not go out. I had to work that day.
    -I found out one of the surgical procedures I am having done will be covered 100% by my insurance company! YAY!
    -I made a new batch of yogurt using the crockpot method, which I have done before. It did not set up at all however. I know the yogurt was fine, but the milk was skim milk I was trying to use up that I purchased on clearance. It had to have been the milk, the starter was brand new.
    -I made granola bars from scratch, more laundry soap.
    -I canned some tangerines that were not being eaten in the refrigerator to avoid them going to waste. I also saved all the peels in the freezer to make citrus cleaner.
    - I got a free red pencil from work for a heart disease event they were doing.
    -downloaded more free kindle books
    -washed and reused plastic baggies
    -made more candles from supplies on hand
    -washed laundry in cold water and hung them all up to dry
    -I desperately needed dress shoes for work that fit properly. I found TWO pairs at Walmart on clearance.
    -The plastic on our large living room window came off the tape, so I put a rolled up towel on that part. I left the plastic up because most of the window was still properly covered.
    - I turn the heat down whenever the hubby isn't looking :)
    -continue to turn off lights, unplug things not being used
    -I used saved water from the shower bucket to use in the canner to can the tangerines
    -I only fill the sink halfway with water to wash dishes, and use a dish pan half filled to rinse them then air dry
    -I have not carried my debit card on me and carry only a small amount of cash. This way I can avoid the temptations of impulse buys and avoid stores altogether.
    -I used to print things off all the time from our computer. I now evaluate if I "really" need to print that. Usually I don't. This saves expensive ink and paper.
    -I stopped printing coupons also, because I rarely actually used them. I also do not buy a Sunday paper anymore. I wouldn't read it and again, rarely used the coupons.
    That's all I can remember. I hope everyone has a great week!

  29. Caught up on Downton Abbey episodes 3-6 in preparation for episode 7 last night

    Got a free magazine(Cosmopolitan) in the mail thanks to RecycleBank--thanks Brandy for telling us about this!

    Earned another free magazine subscription through RecycleBank--this one RedBook

    Started a batch of orange cleaner using distilled white vinegar and discarded orange peels

    Used the last two years Valentines for this year so didn't need to buy anymore for my son's 4th grade class

    Made my son a Valentine's Day bag (at the last minute) using my Scrapbooking supplies I already had on hand for his Valentines from school

    Talked my husband into calling our cable/internet company to see what they can do in lowering our bill as we are a long time customer. He hasn't done this yet so I will keep at him on this as he is laid-off. Bill is in his name so he is the one who needs to call.

    Returned some items to Walmart that I bought but didn't really need. Including a case for my iPhone that didn't work properly with the audiojack cable in my car. They took it back even though I had thrown the packaging away. I got back almost $100 for these items.

    1. If husband won't call try it yourself. Our satellite is in dh name but they allow me to call and talk over account matters all the time. A couple of years ago I gave my dh a year of football. It meant upgrading our package but by the time we got discounts for long time customer, new package, upgrade equipment, etc. We paid LESS than we'd been paying and got MORE channels, etc. Every time my husband watched football this year he'd say "Thank you for my Christmas present."

  30. I had not done a lot of shopping this week as I've been chauffeuring my parents to and from doctors appointments. I was able again just to pick up what I was out of, but not spend more on stock up items that were on sale.

    Then came Saturday.....note to self, don't take husband to the grocery store with you. Sigh.

    I've been scouring Craigslist for a while looking for an ice shanty (gardening, um its like 17 degrees here and we're expecting another 4-6" of snow). Lucky for me someone listed one and it was still available...only due to the fact they worked the title oddly. New ones start at $250..start. This older model will service me well and is light weight enough for me to handle....$50. The canvas has been patched a few times, but the rest of it is in excellent condition and might be worth a new canvas down the road.

  31. My frugal accomplishments:
    -Air Dried all of the clothes this week. I was doing up to a load everyday then I realized that clothes that were rewearable were being thrown into the hamper out of laziness. The hubs and I had a talk about this. We are now doing a load every 3-4 days. This should save on homemade laundy detergent too.
    -Finally mended a few towels. Some of the bigger ones that were very frayed got turned into kitchen towels and washrags. I kept two of the bad ones whole to use for when we bathe the dogs. The project did take long and I'm glad it done.
    -Used some of the citrus vinegar cleaner for the kitchen. Very happy with the results. I also used it to clean the inside of the refrigerator.
    -Cleaned out the contents of the fridge. We are transitioning to healthier eating which generally speaking isn't frugal, but it necessary for how much we are upping our training. I used some veggies on the brink to make a shrimp stir fry.
    -Went to a friends for Valentines. We did a couples coursed dinner. 4 couples went and each brought a course. The host did the main entrée and served wine. We brought lobster mac & cheese. It cost about $30 to make, but we ate food and drank wine worth way more than that. It was cheaper than eating out for sure. It was my first valentine's night off in almost 10 years.
    -I've turned off the thermostat everyday from 9:30-6:30 our apartment temperature has only risen at the most 3 degrees during that time. I will continue to do it everyday. That in combination with no longer using the dryer will hopefully bring down the electric bill to where I want it.
    -Paid off another student loan. We are tackling them little by little. I am very excited at the progress we have made. We are under $8000 now. Next paycheck we should be close to $7500
    -Sold 2 books on half. com. I also listed my first item on ebay. I am trying it out, but I don't know if I will continue to sell things there. I find just selling books and movies on half is a heck of a lot easier. I also received my bi-monthly money from half. I moved that money into a special savings account that we have for vacation.
    -We to the nearby outlet and got several great deals. My husband has an executive position and has to wear nice clothes for it. It is very hard to find things that fit and they often have to be altered. We found a button up shirt and vest. Originally the price on them was a combine $125. We got them on sale together for about $45. They fit PERFECTLY! We also went to the childrens outlet and able to find four outfits for my niece to send for her birthday for under $25. Just one of the items was a beautiful dress price at $40 originally. I was very happy with the purchases
    - We also ate at home every meal but 2 (our goal is one). We went to the gym four times. We both spent several evening reading at home. I finally did a "real" grocery shop. It cost about $40. Hopefully I can continue to feed us healthfully for under $200 a month.

    Frugal Goals for next week:
    Go thrifting to find a new purse and possibly a toaster oven. I cook breakfast for just myself in the morning, and I feel like warming the oven (and consequently the house) for just me is wasteful. If I could find a toaster oven under $10 I would buy it. Continue to keep the weekly grocery budget under $50. Make another payment on student loans. Continue to keep an eye on electric usage. Go to gym 5-6 times. Continue to de-stuff-ification of the house. The more I minimalize the more I want to. I only want USEFUL things in my house!

  32. This week was an up and down week for us, but we made the best of it!


  33. I pulled some carrots this week, and prepped them to use in a dinner this week. Also pulled a few more onions. I made a special Valentine dinner on Valentines day, Also my kids made valentine cards for two homeschool valentine exchanges, we used some Averybusiness cards I had(these are print your own business cards sheets) my kids separated the blank cards and decorated them. I got some free lamb, I froze it until I can figure out how to cook with it, will be experiementing this week. I have been working on watching my light usage, and our heater/air conditioner, this is a weird month where we will probably alternate using each of those are we can go from 20 one day to 80's the next. and back again. Working on potty training my almost 3 yr old, used a lot less diapers this week:D

    1. What cut of meat? If they're lamb chops they taste delicious straight from the grill or barbecue. Lamb roast, just pop it in the oven for a couple of hours. Lamb generally is a very tender meat; you don't have to do a lot with it.

  34. One child has needed a new dresser for a while. After looking around this weekend and still not finding anything we liked, I swapped his dresser for one we have in the laundry room - it's not the best, but it's larger - and now his clothes fit in it. The dresser is hidden away in his closet so it doesn't matter that it's a bit ugly; and while this isn't likely to be a permanent solution, at least it buys us some time while we search for something better.

    My work shoes had fallen apart - literally. Beyond the point of repair. While looking for a new (used) dresser I found some new shoes in an op shop - good brand name, known for being comfortable - for a fraction of the new-in-shop price. Very happy. Also found some brand new jewellery items marked down to 75 cents each - they look like they'd retail for between $10 and $20. I stocked up on presents (and bought a few for myself.) They had these adorable loop earings with pink and diamente hearts; the hearts were just perfect for little girls; so I bought a pair, removed them from the earrings (which were large, adult-sized hoops, so the juxtaposition was a bit odd) and made two necklaces out of them using chains I had on-hand. Still have two hoop earrings, not sure what to do with those, but I'm sure something will come along.

    1. Oh, I forgot - My kids have showers now, not baths; but I had them stand in the baby bath for their showers, which gave us tons of water for watering the garden.

      Also, I was given a dozen eggs, and three magazines, including one that is a current edition.

      I was also able to bless other people with some clothes, toys, and books that my kids have outgrown. I give a social worker friend of mine first pick with these (she works with a lot of families who have nothing) and then donate the rest. Not exactly prudent in the sense of saving money; but clearing out the space in my house makes me feel more peaceful.

  35. This tip is really only relevant to your Australian readers. A lot of professions in Australia allow for salary packaging; but I've met so many people who don't know what that means, so they don't bother following up on it - and that is costing them money! Basically, salary packaging means you deduct a part of your salary automatically to go towards certain things (how much you can deduct, and what it can go towards, varies widely by industry; but common claims are a mortgage, a car payment, superannuation, or a credit card) and then you don't pay taxes on that part of your income. For instance if you're on $40,000/year and you salary package $200/week your taxable income goes from $40,000 to $29,600. Depending on your industry you might also be able to salary package a computer or a holiday - even a wedding - on top of your maximum salary sacrifice amount. (Check with your payroll office, because it varies widely by industry.) As your Australian readers will know many other benefits are calculated using your adjusted income (family benefit payments, child care rebates, etc.) so the potential pay-off from using salary sacrifice is much greater than the savings on taxation alone - although that is still considerable; according to the ATO tax calculator, your taxes on $40,000 would amount to $4547; whereas your taxes on $29,600 would amount to $2166.

    It also pays to ensure your details are recorded correctly across government offices, as I learned when the child dental benefits scheme started earlier this year. Our son was listed as eligible; our daughter was not. Upon further enquiry I discovered this was because she was listed as our son on one lot of records, and as our daughter in another government department. I had her changed to our daghter on all the records, and suddenly we were eligible for $1000 over 2 years in dental benefits which we otherwise would have missed out on, simply because someone checked the wrong box whilst doing data entry!

    These are piddly little book-keeping things that are well worth investigating. The potential pay-off is incredible. We use a private dentist and so we still have to pay a gap; but correcting that one incorrectly-ticked box means the difference between paying $450 for dental this year, and paying $90 for dental this year - a savings of $360. (And potentially more - I plan to speak with the dentist about using the scheme to pay for caps for her molars, saving us from having to pay for future cavities.) Ditto salary packaging - through learning more about it I've discovered an additional $2000 in claims I can make this year, which will equate to a small (but still nice!) tax savings. So, sometimes it pays to do the boring bits . . .

  36. Well, I don't have too much to offer but I did the following:

    1. Made my own pita bread - it was $5.00 for four pita's at the store and it turns out it is only yeast, flour, water, salt and a little bit of olive oil. That was a first and it turned out very well.
    2. Made hummus without tahini because I didn't have any.
    2. Made a quadruple batch of pizza dough. Turned it into pizzas, calzones and cinnamon buns.
    3. Made a huge batch of hamburger soup and froze some for lunches.

    We also got our woodstove installed. Hopefully that will save on heating bills for next year.

    The best thing I did imo was contact a garden design instructor and engage her to teach a friend and I landscape design. Same low price as the college course, but just the two of us and held at our home on our schedule and we'll get a professional finalized landscape plan out if it. I know I could do it myself but it was so many decisions, many of them expensive to redo.

  37. Made a sort of hummus from white beans cooked from dry in the pressure cooker. So yummy!
    Made French bread.
    Mended a sweater of my husband's.
    Mended one of my slipper socks.
    Kept the temp in the house much lower at all times.
    Retrieved a body wash bottle from the trash--husband had tossed--opened it and rinsed it to use for three more showers!
    Focused on turning off lights.
    Carefully shopped with price matching and a stricter list than usual.

  38. I have been reading the blog for the last 2 or 3 months now and love reading what other people are doing. I always hang out the wash if the weather is good other wise I hang it in the house. The dryer cost too much and I love the smell of the wash hung outside. The day was good here in Colorado to hang the wash outside. The idea to use a bucket in the shower was a good one I will use it to water plants outside and dry grass areas. The electric bill I got this last week was very high. I know that it was me playing games on the desktop. I have been sick and so I found that I would just sit and play games. I have been watching the Olympics all the time so I know the TV is on to much but when it is over I will not be watching so much TV so I hope to get that bill down. I wish my garden was ready to plant but we still have a month or 2 I love tomatoes from the garden. Trying to eat better for less by planning sales with what we eat. I know that every little bit of savings helps.

  39. I priced a bunch of cloth diapers that we're going to sell at our local Cloth Diaper Garage Sale. They're ones we don't love the fit of, or just aren't reaching for, or have duplicates of. Even with baby #2 on the way, we'll still have plenty of diapers to go around with laundry every day.
    We continued using cloth diapers, and washing them in Tide purchased with a manufacturer's coupon, a Target coupon, Target clearance, and Cartwheel combined.
    I sold a few things we picked up off the curb and cleaned. Free money!
    We ate clearance Cheerios that were a little past the expiration. They taste fine.

  40. Love reading everyone's frugal accomplishments!

    -Made orange jam from oranges that were given to me. Also made grape jam from juice I had canned last fall from my own grapevines. I dug the grapevines many years ago from a neighbor's field (with permission) so they were completely free.

    -My husband got off work early one day, he is in construction and sometimes they finish up early in the day, and he was able to spend the afternoon making a minor repair to my vehicle, cleaning out the chimney, and cutting three loads of firewood- one for us and he sold two to some elderly friends who live nearby. The wife loves to bake so she sent us a dozen sugar cookies and a black raspberry pie.

    -Another neighbor has people who hunt on his land and they brought him a bag of specialty food items. He did not like one type of cheese so he brought it to us- about three pounds of Organic Vermont Sharp Cheddar. It was awesome!

    -Did not buy any groceries. Did shop at Dollar General using a $5 off coupon. Used coupons for quart and gallon sized storage bags also.

    -Cut branches from one of my pear trees placed in a clear glass vase and tied with red yarn for a table decoration for Valentine's Day. Invited the family over for lasagna, daughters brought salad and breadsticks. I made homemade chocolates for everyone.

    -Purchased animal feed at larger farm store rather than the feed mill. The savings was substantial.

    -I had bought my vehicle from my daughter last year. She and her husband allowed us to pay what the dealer was offering for a trade-in and they offered to let us make payments. It took 18 months to pay off, finished paying her for it last week.

    -Our chickens are starting to lay pretty well again, so we have lots of eggs. Sold a few dozen and make omelets for supper one night.

    -Sorted my seeds and I have more than enough for this year. I do have a gift card to the farm store from my Mom from Christmas. I am planning to use it to buy more seeds. I like to have extras on hand for future years just in case.

    -Our community center has a food distribution and once the senior citizens take what they want anyone can take what is left. I selected a 10 pound bag of potatoes and about 10 oranges.

    -Checked out 10 books from the library and renewed them online as soon as I got home. Keeps me from having to pay late fines.

    -Recycled all paper, metal, glass and plastic.

    1. Melissa, excellent exchange of services for food!

  41. Just want to comment on your lovely very beautiful...simple and beautiful.

  42. Used coupons and gift cards for groceries last week. Gifted 3 boxes of items to others ( I have 3 more boxes at the ready this week to give away. Continued all the usual things eat from the pantry and freezer, use up what we have in every way. Used homemade laundry soap made , used drying rack. Made several homemade gifts. Bought all the rest of the gifts for the year (as we passed by an outlet mall on our one trip out this weekend) I used coupons and discounts to get 70% off. Continued to declutter and started packing for our merging households. Completed taxes , Bought lost leaders at the stores Chicken $1.78 lb for boneless skinless. Bananas for .29 a pound. Got a Bread machine will likely start using it soon but not sure as packing will take priority over other things. Had picnic in the park and used our parks pass to see a museum on date day!

  43. Your valentines are so sweet! I love the ideas. I haven't posted frugal accomplishments for a bit - but I did a post of some general accomplishments, and some of them are frugal! ;)

    We have just been sort of plugging along, I guess. I have been tired, but I have been busy, so I guess that's fair. :)

    1. Just wanted to say that Mrs Hughes and Mrs Patmore are adorable! Such cute names!

  44. This week felt like I was bleeding time and money - but when I really broke it down, there were some frugal things in there too. Here's my post:

    It makes me feel better to come read these posts. Between your family's accomplishments and the other readers, I at least get a better grip on things mentally and am reminded that I won't always see "big" savings, but that the process is still worth continuing!

  45. Your valentines look really cute.

    We had a simple valentines day too. A picnic at the beach to watch the sun set, the weather turn out perfect not to hot and not to cold. This saved us an expensive night out, with the focus on enjoying each others company.

    Pictures and more accomplishments at:


    Rebecca | Life & Home

  46. This past week wasn't super eventful. Our spending has overall been in check this year and I've managed to keep our grocery spending under our new lower goal. I repaired a pair of post earrings that were a gift from my husband, I made tortilla chips out of leftover bits of corn tortillas that I didn't use for tacos from a dinner a while back, I combined a bit of leftover pumpkin soup with some sweet potatoes and a few other ingredients to make a new soup, and I continued to plan menus around meals that didn't require much in the way of extra ingredients. For fun, I bought some blood oranges that were marked down to 50 cents per pound. They are so pretty that I decided to get four, which were quite reasonable. Finally, my husband used the roof rake that we bought a few years back to scrape some of the snow off our roof to prevent damage.

  47. Brandy...does it get old being told how awesome you are?! Lol. I would think not....BEAUTIFUL table setting!
    This wk:
    -I have started our taxes. Looks like we will get a refund. I did my daughters as well and she will get a refund as well, $23, everything she paid in. :)
    -I have been diligent about turning off desktop. Next wk I should know if this translated into any savings.
    My hubby seems to have adjusted to not leaving it on all night, so he saves, bookmarks or reads what he needs to cuz im coming behind him and shutting it down!
    -today is our anniversary. 20 yrs!:))) he had an afternoon planned but is now on 12 shifts for a project. He said, I know you dont want "stuff" so I had a plan. Now we will have to pick a day after this project is over. I told him, we can celebrate love any day!
    -Our facebk has a local online yard sale. I have sold several things on there over the past few months. Probably making:$60. I have also purchased stuff on there for about $30. 3 items will be gifts. Those 3 items were $5 each and were brand name items!
    -I made the valentine M&M cookies w my separated christmas M&Ms for my family.
    -We have been staying home because of weather. So we still have plenty of gas to get us thru the wk and even into nex wk.
    -biggest savings came from calling my cell phone provider. We will now be saving $80 each month! The amt we paid was obsene. I was even considering dropping my line and my hubbys cuz he has a work phone. *May still hint at that when ours is out of contract. ;) our daughters are in contract..wish i hadnt done that! I love last wk how cecile commented about charging in car, I plan on doing that more when I am in my car.

    1. We use Air Voice Wireless and it costs us $10 a month flat for cell service. We used to pay a huge amount but have been using this for a year now and are totally pleased with it.

    2. Thank u mable! Is that talk only?

    3. Adriana, congratulations on your anniversary and may you be blessed with many more.

    4. Thank u for ur well wishes Athanasia! Im so touched. :)-Adriana

  48. I love your Valentine's table.

  49. Such a pretty table! We also celebrated Valentine's at home. Not exactly a family dinner as we ate at different times (my son fell asleep on the couch - tiring day) We lost power that night for two hours so we went to bed early and play cards by candlelight first.

    I baked banana bread from bananas I had in the freezer. I swear I must have a dozen in there still. I made a big casserole of pasta and veggies for the week, plus pesto rice, made a bunch of salads.

  50. Am learning to better budget my time while I deal with fibromyalgia and arthritis and this results in saving money. My better time is earlier in the day, so I am now doing the main part of preparing dinner then, rather than using many convenience foods. Also, I am finding that buying investment grade knives and keeping them very sharp enables me to do much more chopping and slicing myself - it's very $$$$$$ to buy prechopped produce but that's what arthritis patients are told to do to save stress on hands. I am also doing this produce prep in the a.m. And making enough for several days.

  51. I admire your ability to garden. The squirrels are numerous and destructive in our neighborhood. Absolutely nothing has an opportunity to grow, much less be enjoyed by the humans who planted. If the squirrels don't dig up the bulbs and young plants, they chew and break them as soon as they pop up. Also, whatever isn't fenced is eaten to the ground by the deer. Believe it or not, I live in a suburb, NOT the country! If you or anyone else has suggestions that are tried and true, I am all ears.

  52. I admire your ability to garden. The squirrels in my suburban neighborhood are numerous and destructive. They dig up bulbs and young plants. Whatever does grow is usually chewed and broken off. Anything not behind a tall privacy fence is eaten down to the ground by the deer. If you or anyone else have some tried and true suggestions, I am all ears! My husband recently ordered a blueberry bush and three rose bushes from Jackson Perkins, against my wishes. I say that because I fear we have just spent our money on the neighborhood animals, instead of ourselves.

    1. We have three foot high, three foot wide, eight foot long raised beds. On these we put wood posts at each corner and at the 3 foot mark to hold up chicken wire that goes up another 3 feet. I can open it to plant and weed, but there are few weeds with raised beds. They keep moose out, so I imagine they would work for deer.

    2. Lisa, when I was little, we used to eat squirrel in pot pie. It was delicious... just sayin.

  53. Publix had $2 off fresh meat coupons in the paper. SO and I went each with a coupon and we each got a package of hamburger patties for $1.45 after the coupon. Each package was just under a pound. SO and I do not eat meat anymore, so I stashed them in the freezer to throw on the grill when my kids are here from college.

    Then we went to Publix again on Sunday when we were out doing other errands. I stacked BOGO and coupons and was able to get 4 packages of the Knorr pasta/rice side dishes and 2 boxes of 100 Lipton tea bags for $2.13. There was a $2 off coupon in the Sunday paper off anything so I put it towards a bag of flour.

    I made potato and onion knish! I had potato flakes to use up so I decided to attempt knish – they were SO EASY! We haven’t had knish in years because they are so pricey - $3.50 each from the knish man at the market to take home to bake and eat and sometimes twice that in restaurants. I made 6 knish for a total of about $1.21 or 20cents a knish! I didn’t include the price of the onion since it was from the CSA and a few minor ingredients like 1 teaspoon baking powder, salt and vinegar that was such a little bit and I didn’t feel like figuring it out.

    I made minestrone soup from odds and ends and had that for lunch during the week.
    I started 2 more auctions on ebay for my son.

    I got a sample package of pantiliners in the mail and a coupon for a free Aquafina Flavor Splash.
    I processed a pumpkin left from last fall and froze it to make pumpkin bread hopefully next week and roasted the seeds for a snack.

    I worked 8 hours of overtime.

    I got a $10 off $50 coupon in the mail from Lowes. I used it to get house wash, rusty metal primer spray and glossy brown spray paint. I scraped and sanded all the wrought iron in the front of the house and carport using sand paper and steel wool leftover from other projects and then primed and sprayed it all to match the brown soffits and gutters – much better than the pink that was full of rust! I was going to buy sandpaper, but when I gathered it all up even going through my craft supplies – we had enough with a few sheets to spare! We had enough tarps using old shower curtains and vinyl tablecloths I have been saving. The house was in foreclosure when we bought it last fall with peeling paint. We fixed up the inside of the house first so we could move in but we really have to get the outside of the house fixed up before the hot rainy summer. We are pinching every penny where we can to get it done ASAP.

    I started getting the rest of the house ready to paint. I patched holes around the outside of the house using patch cement I already had. I have a little bit left. Hopefully it will be enough left to patch the crack in the patio at a later date.

    I spent some time researching what herbs I can plant in the front yard. That is our next project after painting the house. We are putting in 100% edible landscaping.

    SO and I each filled out a survey for the local historic movie theater and we each got a free movie ticket to use any time this year!

    We inoculated 6 oak logs with shiitake mushroom spawn. We had to do it in the evening after we were done with work, and we got done late because we both worked overtime and couldn’t start inoculating until 8pm. We were going to do it on the patio which is lit up pretty bright, but it was so cold out – I ended up spreading tarps down in the living room and doing it there.

    We had a date night out for Valentines Day for free using a gift card, so the only out of pocket was $2 to add to the tip on the gift card. We went on Sunday for a late Valentine’s dinner since Valentines Day we were inoculating the logs.

  54. Your photos are so elegant and beautiful! I truly appreciate the gratitude to God and generosity that is shown by you and so many of the people who post. A while back, I became very ill, nearly lost my life and spent more than 4 months between ICU, hospitals and rehab. When I finally got home and was able to do some of the cooking and even shopped sales and coupons, my husband said he felt like I was getting back to normal. It has been a long, hard road, but I thank God for his healing mercies and the prayers of family, friends and even strangers.
    Some of the frugal things I have been able to do:
    Planted and transplanted spinach and lettuce.
    Picked citrus from our trees and neighbors' trees for our use and to share.
    Shopped buying items on sale and with coupons.
    Cooked a turkey breast which provided several meals and broth for later.
    Used candy which was purchased on clearance or sale for Valentine treats.
    Got a rain check for an item out of stock. (CVS will give rain checks including the Extra Care Bucks and they don't expire.)

  55. We also celebrated Valentine’s Day at home. We gave the kids each a matchbox car with a card. At age 2 and 3 it doesn’t take much to make them happy! We had a few Hershey Kisses as dessert with dinner.

    I made my 3 year olds class Valentines. We printed a card that read “Orange you glad we’re friends?” and tied it to a little bag with a Clementine inside. I got the Clementines on sale and had the treat bags and ribbon in my craft supplies already. He thought the play on words was very silly.

    I had seen some very nice sensory bags on Etsy, but they were quite expensive. Since I don’t have $50 to spend on fancy beanbags I enlisted my mom’s help to make some. We found some material in her closet and searched her house and mine for the fillings: beans, rice, bells, buttons, etc. They came out great and we spent around $5 for all ten of them.

    I went to Kohl’s and used two gift cards I got for Christmas to buy myself some much needed new clothes and shoes. I specifically waited for Kohl’s Cash promotion. This week I will go back and get a couple of other shirts I saw with that Kohl’s Cash.

    I found a box of random items in our basement that included two books of stamps and some restaurant gift cards. We are planning a big basement cleanup this spring and can’t wait to see what else we find down there!

    I spent some time looking into a new electricity supplier in our area. At first glance it looked like it would save us a bit of money, but the company uses a variable rate and will only guarantee savings for 6 months. I found out that many have had their rate double after six months. I think we will stick with our current provider and turn off more lights!

    I took a few minutes to read up on money saving/earning apps. I have been earning a bit from Ibotta, Swagbucks, Plink, and Checkout 51, but wanted to see if there are others out there. I like that these don’t require much effort on my part. Even though I don’t earn much every little bit helps.

    Have a wonderful week!

  56. Your Valentine table is beautiful and I loved the presents you made for the children too. Planting seeds is a perfect way to continue with your garden. The weather must be good for you this time of year to continue to work in your garden. I live near Tacoma Wa and it has been a cold and rainy blustery high winds month for us. Amazingly, my chard has made it through and I have a good bunch to pick for this week for a warm soup this week. I am not sure what I can start planting here during the heavy rains and winds, but I may start some herbs in the window sill to plant later. Winter months here seem to be hard to grow vegetation so I am trying to live off of pantry foods that I stocked up during summer and fall. I am so excited to start this next season's annual vegetable garden since last year was my first attempt and I did fairly well. Just need to research more on what to plant at what time of the year and harvest when, here in the Puget Sound NW.
    My husband volunteers monthly and played last night for a local church. They feed the less fortunate monthly and he played beautiful romantic classical and spanish guitar for this February month for their entertainment. He was able to bring home 2 large loaves of nice homemade bread for free and they fed him a nice dinner . The bread will be for his lunches at work and part of our dinners. I need gluten free so this bread will go a long way for my husband. This week I made gluten free corn bread with cheese to serve with a home made chicken soup I made with a roasted chicken. We had 4 dinners plus soup for 2 days with 1 small chicken. . Today I will use the leftover GF cornbread with pinto beans tamale like casserole for our dinner.
    My grown 28 y/0 son is visiting for this week and will leave to move to Louisiana to live with his cousin while continuing with college, so I will need to make diners from the pantry to increase meals.I am happy to be able to spend time with him before he leaves. Erich eats a lot! :) and I am happy to cook for him :) I plan to make pantry meals to stretch our food from your menu's Brandy..thank you so much for recipes!
    Have a wonderful week. I look forward to reading your next postings! Bless you! Patty from the NW

  57. Your Valentine table is beautiful and I loved the presents you made for the children too. Planting seeds is a perfect way to continue with your garden. The weather must be good for you this time of year to continue to work in your garden. I live near Tacoma Wa and it has been a cold and rainy blustery high winds month for us. Amazingly, my chard has made it through and I have a good bunch to pick for this week for a warm soup this week. I am not sure what I can start planting here during the heavy rains and winds, but I may start some herbs in the window sill to plant later. Winter months here seem to be hard to grow vegetation so I am trying to live off of pantry foods that I stocked up during summer and fall. I am so excited to start this next season's annual vegetable garden since last year was my first attempt and I did fairly well. Just need to research more on what to plant at what time of the year and harvest when, here in the Puget Sound NW.
    My husband volunteers monthly and played last night for a local church. They feed the less fortunate monthly and he played beautiful romantic classical and spanish guitar for this February month for their entertainment. He was able to bring home 2 large loaves of nice homemade bread for free and they fed him a nice dinner . The bread will be for his lunches at work and part of our dinners. I need gluten free so this bread will go a long way for my husband. This week I made gluten free corn bread with cheese to serve with a home made chicken soup I made with a roasted chicken. We had 4 dinners plus soup for 2 days with 1 small chicken. . Today I will use the leftover GF cornbread with pinto beans tamale like casserole for our dinner.
    My grown 28 y/0 son is visiting for this week and will leave to move to Louisiana to live with his cousin while continuing with college, so I will need to make diners from the pantry to increase meals.I am happy to be able to spend time with him before he leaves. Erich eats a lot! :) and I am happy to cook for him :) I plan to make pantry meals to stretch our food from your menu's Brandy..thank you so much for recipes!
    Have a wonderful week. I look forward to reading your next postings! Bless you! Patty from the NW

  58. I'm jealous of your open windows and gardening! Here is feels like winter is never going to end, although we are trying to make an effort to enjoy it as much as possible but I still CAN'T WAIT until spring! I was a little light on the frugal accomplishments this week but one of the things that I was proud of was crafting with my son a 'gold' medal that has been used as a prop for all kinds of Olympic themed pretend play. I posted about it and my other accomplishments on my blog here:

  59. I'm so excited for gardening season!

    * cooked a batch of beans in the crockpot, froze some for later
    * made smoothies using freckled bananas
    * packed lunches for school/work
    * was able to pass along some food that we won't be eating
    * made homemade bread and calzones

  60. Dear Miss Brandy and readers,

    I have not posted of late because I have been sick. My household organization and routines have gone out the window. I have had an upper respiratory infection which has made my asthma flare up. I try to track my frugal accomplishments but did not these past few weeks. Here is what my memory recalls:

    Kept the thermostat at 63 F both day and night.
    Electric bill for December and January is under $100/month
    Stuck to my weekly menu plan most of the last 3 weeks
    Used items from the health food store purchase
    Made muffins, cranberry bars, banana bread ahead for weekday breakfast meals each weekend
    Cooked meals from scratch each night
    Made lunch preparations and took lunches each day
    Went grocery shopping-got a 10 lb sweet potato for $1 and 14 lbs of butternut squash for $3.50
    Went and fed the ducks this last weekend since the weather was so nice
    Used 1 tank of gas despite driving all over the city (for job)
    Got child's prescription for free at local pharmacy (free prescription program)
    Have an appointment at the clinic (finally!) for check up and medications-HUGE SAVINGS FOR ME
    Filling my change jar
    Found several pennies and/or change for my jar
    Attended free Ramsey Financial Peace class this week
    My BP was 116/72-excellent reading for me
    Walked outside each day
    Did back exercises
    Added another row to my blanket I am crocheting
    Oldest child went to a university overnight for seniors in high school to learn about univeristy life; as the parent I attended one day and got a free lunch and bottled waters
    Used honey to soothe my sore throat and coughing at night

    My frugal accomplishments with photos:

    Wishing everyone a warm winter day. The weather is lovely here and a relief after such a very long cold stretch.


    1. Hope you are feeling better soon. My daughter has been suffering something similar.

    2. This upper respiratory infection can hang on for awhile. I've had mine for 6 weeks. Get lots of rest, stay hydrated and don't over do. Your list is great, Anna. Love reading about your accomplishments. Hope daughter is feel well.

    3. Thank you Miss Frugalista Mama and Miss Linda for your kind thoughts. My daughter with the illness is doing well and that is all we can ask for at this time.

  61. It has been a few weeks since I've written..... Won't be able to remember everything, but here's a few of our accomplishments:
    Started cutting the liners from cereal boxes into sheets of diy wax paper
    When hubby and I went out for sandwiches at Panera I ordered a half sandwich, saving calories and money!
    Worked at home at least two days per week and one week I was able to work 3 days at home. Yay for saving gas.
    Used drugstore rewards to get 36 bars of soap and 2 tubes of toothpaste -- all free.
    Hubby called ATT in advance of our u-verse cable intro offer ending. He was able to bargain so our bill stays the same and cut the cell phone bill by $15 per month. If he had not called the cable would have gone up $40 per month.
    Hubby got a new prescription for his BP and found out it was going to be $80 per month. Old meds were $2 per month. He emailed the doc today and asked for if there might be a more affordable new med and low and behold, there's a $4/month medicine available. Happy but not sure why that one wasn't offered first.
    Started showering without turning lights on. Plenty of natural light.
    On the days I'm working from home, I've started letting my hair air dry rather than using the blow dryer.
    On work days, I'm blow drying my hair last so it has a chance to mostly air dry. Less electricity/less damage to hair. A win-win.
    Getting ready for a Super Double coupon event at Harris Teeter. Should be able to pick up multiple free items and several more super cheap items.
    Used a gift card from the holidays to treat myself to a lunch out.
    Gave my daughter a pair of pink slipper socks from the Dollar Tree for Valentine's Day. She was thrilled.
    Gave my hubby a big bar of Ghirardelli chocolate that I got FREE after coupon. He, too, was thrilled.
    Have a great week everyone!

  62. You are all such an inspiration. I am working on frugal habits, so here's what I accomplished last week:
    - Made gluten free cheddar biscuits from scratch
    - Cooked homemade meals and used leftovers for lunches
    - Researched options to reduce cable/internet/phone bills since they keep climbing and we don't watch many channels on TV. Cutting the cable, purchased on OOMA device for home phone and keeping high speed internet. Bill reducing from now almost $260/month to &75.
    - Found lower cost alternative to dog and cat kibble
    - Kept thermostat set at 64 at night, 67 by day.
    - Turning off lights (next goal is to start unplugging)
    - Revised budget to look for more savings opportunities
    - Signed up for health insurance at my new job and dropped COBRA. Monthly premiums reduced from $530 to $195
    - Took out books from library and learned how to download library ebooks
    - Cancelled data plan on iPad
    - Began researching how to sell some items on ebay. I've just got too much stuff.

    That's it for the week that I can remember. Doing really well planning meals, shopping carefully for groceries and not wasting.

  63. Odd reading about productive gardens when weather says we are getting up to 14" of snow. Brandy did you see a tall skinny guy with broad brim hat, flannel shirt, suspenders, blue jeans (picture Amish without the beard) on your street? My husband was in Las Vegas for work and he tried to find the house with the white garden in front. He took a picture on cell and it could be but picture's not too good.

    Watched Olympics. Played board games with youngest and BIL...he likes Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, HIHO Cherrio. (Pauli is my husband's twin, but due to some mishap at birth or before his mental age is around 7-8 years. Since parents death he moves from sibling to sibling. He'll be here 3 months.)

    We had nice Valentine dinner Fri. night. The 3 of us, my BIL, daughter and SIL. Made salmon loaf with tinned red salmon that was 1/2 price before Christmas, mashed and baked potatoes-made triple what I needed for leftovers. Made some into double baked and froze them and some into onion fried potatoes for Sun am breakfast. Made sweet-sour coleslaw, creamy cucumber salad from 3/1.00 bought last week ( had sliced and salted and they were waiting in fridge.). Had frozen peas and white sauce. For a pretty red touch served spiced crabapples from an aunt. Daughter brought strawberry (homemade cakes, with strawberries she picked and froze last summer) shortcake. Youngest made vanilla cupcakes/vanilla frosting decorated with red and pink sprinkles. Daughter gave us hyacinth bulbs she'd forced; they are blooming now and smell so good. I gave daughter and SIL batch of granola, husband a thrift store flannel shirt I'd mended button holes on, youngest a stuffed animal from same thrift store still in original wrapping. Gave BIL red socks. Youngest and husband gave out coupons for service offered.

    Went to grocer once, took BIL. Found he likes bologna. He loves sandwiches plus toast for breakfast and snacks. Store special on bologna and summer sausage at BOGO so bought one of each. 2 gal of milk at 2/5.00, celery, oranges for another batch marmalade. Gas station had grand opening coupons for free 1/2 gal ice cream, $1 off gas, free coffee.

    Cooked all from scratch. Used home frozen or canned or dried items on hand. Still have good stock in root cellar of fresh vegetables and apples. Made above mentioned items, orange jello with shredded carrots and crushed pineapple, applesauce, banana bread, tuna salad and egg salad filling for sandwiches, rice pudding, apple crisp, rutabaga and carrot soup (like potato soup), potato pancakes, French dressing, lemon poppy seed mini muffins and 4 loaves white bread.

    Reused ziplocs, hung clothes to dry, kept wood stove going in living area, kept heat low in bedrooms. Took lunch to school. Found .10 in dryer. We burn things in the wood stove beside wood. We have nut trees and we save the nut shells. We fill toilet paper tubes with lint from the dryer to make fire starters. My husband has one stove in his workshop that burns sawdust. Took reusable bag to grocer and got .05 off.

    Won 4 passes to garden show from local radio. Got box of canning jars good shape from freecycle. One was a pretty blue, and considering amount of dirt and dead bugs in it I think it is one of the original blues, not a remake. Received box of tea for vanilla chai from coworker who did not like the flavor.

    Measured windows in apartment over our old garage. I want new curtains as nephew will move there in spring. Checked linen cupboard for suitably manly and non-floral sheets to use. The fabric casing over waist band elastic wore out on a pair of pajama pants so found coordinating fabric and hand sewed it on. Also cut more pieces for a scrap quilt. Have a finished one that needs quilting. Husband will set up frame...this one for son's wedding in May.

  64. Library for brand new magazines (check out for 1 week), library for brand new just realeased dvd's, library for new realease hard backs---is there a theme here??? 90% off Valentine's at Target even though sign was old and said 70%.

  65. I was thinking that I didn't do much last week but then I started thinking about it and I did after all!

    There was the usual of home cooking from the pantry and freezer, living off cash instead of debit cards, but some extras too. I made lemon marmalade from discount lemons and lemon Jello I have had for years. Oh My Yummy! I gave some to my mother in law, who is home from the hospital after a hip surgery. Speaking of that, we decided that we would all take turns staying with her at night and checking on her during the day, taking her meals and cleaning for her ourselves, rather than hire out. Everyone we know thinks we should have hired home care. But we made the right choice. She is much happier and is mending quickly! Not to mention the savings to everyone involved. Why don't people look after their parents anymore?

    I made spaghetti with lentils and grated zucchini instead of meat. Everyone loved it and the children are having that for lunch today too. I made banana bread out of old bananas and old milk in the fridge. We had pancakes for supper one night as a 'treat' for the kids. I purchased liquid eggs at my wholesale club. They were discounted to $4 a liter (quart) if you bought six and then half off because they were nearing their expiry date. I put one in the fridge and the rest in the freezer to bring up slowly. So far so good! Cheap eggs, not as cheap as free but still cheap!

    We invited my parents for supper on Sunday and had a great meal of discounted roast beef, no one knew! My mom had gone through her closet and brought a laundry basket of clothes over and then I tried them all on, keeping most and then we went through my closet and I gave her clothes that I wasn't using. Free new clothes.

    We also when to our local Sears discount store and purchased shirts for the whole family for a dollar or two each plus $9 jeans for my son. I got $250 winter boots for $15 and my husband got $225 work shoes for $40. Most of the prices were cheaper than the thrift store, except the shoes.

    I convinced my husband to cut down our cable package. I was going for cut out but we are still working on that. He was reluctant even though we don't use it often at all. But then I gave him an analogy that he understood. I told him that it was like cooking five roast beef suppers with all the fixings and then just throwing them all away, every month. We would be disgusted at that waste but we think nothing of other forms of wastefulness. That's when he started to see the light. He said that we would start with this and then relook at things in a few months.

    1. Caring for ones parent/parents is all well and good if there are numerous siblings to take turns. I have seen people burn out caring for an ill parent when all the responsibility gets left to one sibling. It happens frequently. It is awesome when a group of siblings care enough to share the load.

  66. It looks like your children had a wonderful Valentine's Day! One unique thing I did last week was to drop off over 100 oz of breastmilk. (i'm a donor.) As a one income family we have a limited amount of money to donate to various worthy charities but I can donate something very precious-my milk. The need for breast milk is very high and unfortunately the need is always greater than the supply. .The rest of my accomplishments are here on my blog:

    1. I just wanted to thank you for the donation of breast milk. As a labor and delivery RN at a hospital with a very busy NICU, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  67. Cable is up for cut back. Its been a work in progress for awhile. We only turn it on for a few hrs at night but the hubby has it on ALLLLLLL wkend. Lol. Habit to have it on for white noise.

  68. I thought of something new I tried. had a recipe for homemade coffee creamer. I tried it and is just fine. Had the ingredients on hand ...1cup of powdered milk, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tblsp of melted coconut oil. Mix well and store in a jar. Stir before each use. She said cost is .60 for 12 oz. I put in pint mason jar in fridge.

    1. Thank you. I am going to try this recipe. I don't drink coffee but I like creamer for other things (decaffinated tea). I have hypertension so avoid caffine and salt.

  69. Dear Miss Brandy,

    Your table setting is lovely. I am sure the children loved the Valentines.

    My indoor plants are "re-growing" and putting out lots of new leaves. I have put them outside for periods of time since the weather was so warm right now. The nursery personnel told me to give the plants "outdoor" time when I could.

    My questions to readers is--do I prune the plants at some point? The plants seem to be getting "leggy". I am going to cut and trim the dead leaves away anyway but not necessarily prune.

    Most of the plants are herbs.

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions.


  70. What a lovely sight to come home to and dine at. You did a great job.

  71. I haven't posted in several months. However, I read this post (and all others) weekly and so appreciate the motivation.
    I have been doing Swagbucks as much as I can. I am averaging under 100 a day but I was still able to buy a 20 pack of toilet paper, a gallon of dish soap, fabric softener, 16 bars of soap, 2 tubes of toothpaste, a bottle of shampoo, 12 toothbrushes and 600 ziploc bags for under $10 out of pocket. I used to be an avid couponer but things have changed over the past few years and the deals that I find are nothing like they used to be and no longer feels like the best use of my time. So we will see how this Swagbucks/Amazon thing goes.

    My daughter brought home lice from school last week so that itself ended up being quite expensive. I probably went a little overboard, as in addition to the lice shampoo 'starter kit', I spent quite a bit on home remedies that supposedly discourage lice from ever making a home on her head. I washed the blankets and sheets very day for the first three days after treating before deciding it was safe to dry them for the hour instead of both. I suspect a higher gas and water bill regardless but if it keeps them gone, every cent is worth it!

    I have done much better about taking my lunch to work. I only work 15 hours a week split into 3 days so I kind of got into the mindset that lunch out was no big deal. However, the amount of money we spend on food in December made me sick to my stomach. January and February have been sooo much better in comparison!

    We were able to pay $650 of debt off in February. God willing, we will finish paying off two credit cards next Friday (about $800 total). In addition, due to careful budgeting and not so much eating out of the house, we were able to pay for the lice fiasco, a redone closet for my daughter (about $75 in supplies and $0 in labor due to a handy hubby) AND the smog check and registration on my husbands van ($145 total). This is all usually stuff that would come out of savings due to money being too tight.

    I am working 15 hours a week right now. It's while the kids are at school, but due to volunteering commitments, I am out of the house all mornings during the week. I am finding it to be difficult to deal with and I feel like homemaking is suffering. I will put up with it as long as I can, to hopefully get one more debt paid off, which is a personal loan. We owe about $5000 on it, so just with my wages, it would take 7 months. However, there is a line in the budget for debt repayment, so with what we normally send AND the line in the budget AND my wages, it should only take about four months. I am really praying we stick to it and get it done before the kids get out of school for summer. Hopefully putting it out there motivates me too. Once that loan is gone, it's student loans which are our biggies and probably years away from repayment. However, every step forward is a step in the right direction, so I will continue to be frugal, find ways to cut, and work as long as I can - at least until summer!

    Thanks again for this Brandy! It's more help to so many of us than you could know. I know you have had posts but I often feel very out of place in today's society. Here, I feel right at home!

  72. I just wanted to stop by to return the blog visit and thank you for the comment and suggestion on mine. what a lovely blog you have! So welcoming and encouraging.

  73. Good job Staci. Debt free feels amazing. Did you read my comment above about how I get 400 SB a day? With bonuses last month I got $200 in Walmart GC. Amazon is even cheaper but caps out at, I believe 6 for the month.

  74. Ladies did you know there are close to 12 million displaced homemakers in America. Which makes me stop and wonder about my own path towards retirement? Have any of you who have been homemakers all of your lives thought of what if something happens to the income of the house? How would you make ends meet? I personally have not worked outside the home in almost 28 years now. I have always had side things to produce a bit of income but it never amounted to much of anything. Mostly cleaning peoples homes, making ordered homebaked goodies, watching children, pet sitting, washing windows or cars , running errands or helping people who are home from surgery at the hospital. I have been given cash or other things in barter for services. However, none of that would keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

    1. I have been a homemaker for only 10 years but I plan to the rest of my life. The only reasons why I would become a displaced homemaker is because of either divorce or death. If my husband were to die we are financially prepared. We have life insurance and a large saving. Plus I would be entitled to his 401K. I would not have to work again and could continue to raise my children. Divorce is a word we do not believe in. The Bible lays it out clear on divorce and we believe what the Bible says and try to conform our lives to God's standards. As a homemaker I can take care of my husband much better then if I worked full time. He is my first priority then my children. We both work really hard to have a strong and healthy marriage.
      My trust is in God. He is in the details of my life and I don't worry about what could happen.

    2. According to a financial planning seminar I took a few years ago, only 1 in 5 women can expect their husbands to support them financially during retirement. This is due to death, divorce, accident or illness (a long and complicated illness such as cancer can quickly rob one of one's ability to work, as well as deplete any existing savings) and other causes such as poor investment choices (some friends of my parents were very comfortable, having amassed a fortune of several million dollars, all of which they lost during the GFC and now must live off Social Security) or bad lifestyle choices such as gambling and addiction.

      It's also very important to know the probate laws where you live. In some jurisdictions probate can be a lengthy process and any shared assets are frozen until it's completed. Even if you believe your financial future is secure it's wise to keep a small savings account in your name only (this goes for your partner too) - just in case. Otherwise you might find you're reliant on credit cards or personal loans for daily living expenses until the probate process is completed.

      I also believe it's important to believe in yourself and trust in your abilities. I have a very close friend who was widowed at a very young age, with several young children. Her husband had life insurance but she soon realised that if she continued to stay at home, the life insurance (which they felt would be more than adequate) would be gone long before she hit her expected life expectancy. She retrained for an occupation which allows her to be home with her children when they are home; and still bring in a decent income. If the worst happens, have faith in yourself that you will somehow find a way to meet it with grace and rise to the challenges it presents.

      Every family will make the choices which are best for them. In my household, my husband and I are both employed (we work approximately the same number of hours each week, at approximately the same income; and are fortunate enough to have jobs with flexible hours and accomodating bosses, so that one of us is at home whenever the children are home) and share domestic duties. We are both very happy with this arrangement.

  75. Thank you for allowing all to share here. I have been living frugal for 37 years but learn new things all the time because of the massive amount of sharing here.


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