Saturday, December 1, 2012

This Week's Frugal Accomplishments

It was a beautiful week of fall weather. I'm enjoying our long fall this year. Our first frost usually hits between November 13th and December 15th. It's usually toward the end of November, but it hasn't come yet, and the weather was just beautiful all week.

Of course, no one wanted to be inside.

The plaid dress, the jumper, and my son's polo shirt are hand-me-downs from friends.
We enjoyed playing in the backyard, on the swingset and the merry-go-round that my husband and brother-in-law made several years ago. They constructed and welded the frame and installed it. We purchased the swings and chains, and they have held up many years, in spite of the sun, and the rubber-covered chains keep the children from burning their hands. Our swings are 10 feet tall, which are actually taller than most of the parks here (and none of our parks have a merry-go-round). I don't need to spend money on gas to go to the park when we can play at home!

We were excited for a little bit of color in them this year! I grew up in the desert, with a maple tree in my front yard whose leaves just went from green to brown, so fall color is a rare thing in my life. I love the little bits that we get here (there aren't many!)

Winter gathered the leaves from the peach trees and made giant footprints. Every time her brothers stepped on them, she would say, "You stepped on my feet!"

I made biscuits, French Bread, Italian dressing and crackers.

I mended a dress.

I cut the buttons off of a worn dress and added them to my button jar.

I harvested basil, a lemon, a few small bell peppers (the first ones of the year), and some thyme.

I made a few Christmas presents and worked on some others.

I bought 60 green bell peppers for  $0.10 each, for a total of $6. I cut them and froze them to use in other meals. I also bought 5 pounds of green beans at .25 a pound. This was a lucky find at Winco; when my mom went there a couple of hours later, a new shipment of bell peppers had come in, and they were marked at .58 each instead of .10 each.

My husband found his paint sprayer and used it to paint our side gate. We had received a notice from our HOA that it needed to be painted. He also painted a shelf that I bought at a friend's garage sale last month for $3, and had enough paint to share with our neighbor, whose gate was needing to be painted even more than ours. Using the sprayer meant he used less paint, and he still has some leftover for another project.

He installed some lights in the garage that he had had for some time from our last house, and wired in a plug from an old appliance.

We watched a few shows on Hulu for free.

I made homemade hair detangler with a half of a free sample of conditioner. Since I started doing this earlier this year, I have saved $8 a month over buying the largest bottle of Infusium (which I used to buy with a coupon for that price, and then dilute half with water). Now I use 3 Tbsp of conditioner a month for myself and all of the girls, and it's free.

The children had friends over this week. This meant that I had 12 children at my house for 2 hours (we had 5 friends at once). Part of the time, they ended up playing board games. I realized that it might be nice to have a few more options in games (especially for the younger children), so I decided to use the money my grandmother gave me for the children's Christmas gifts this year to be for some group gifts of a few games. I read a review of a game on some one's blog this morning and I checked out the game. It was pricey, but I looked over on Amazon, and they had it for 25% off . I ended up ordering a few more games (this one and this one) for the children to share with the money that she gave me. I think the money went further by buying a few things that they can share that will last for several years, rather than buying individual gifts for less money each (which would have happened if I had just divided the money equally). My grandmother will be able to see them open the gifts. I'm glad that she left me free to pick some things that I think they will really enjoy.

Ivory is wearing the sweet little European outift that I bought at my sister-in-law's garage sale last month for $1.

We took down our Christmas wreath from the box in the garage. I made it with materials from my mother-in-law on mine and my husband's first Christmas. All of the decorations are held on with hot glue, and each year something falls off and has to be glued back on. I glued back on a gold pine cone (it could be just that this particular pine cone falls off every year!) and hung it up today on our front door. The only other thing that I have put out so far is a large jingle bell, which I hung on the front door handle on the inside of the door. This bell was one of a small handful of items left behind in a house that my husband sold years ago. It has a beautiful sound.

Because it is the first day of December, we asked the children to pick Christmas songs tonight for us to sing before bed. Each night we read the scriptures together as a family, and then each child gets to pick a song for us to sing. Starting December 1st, we sing Christmas songs. Winter and Liberty are learning to play a few on the piano, and so they were able to accompany us on a few of the songs tonight. After songs we have family prayer, and then the children have prayer with us and we tuck them in bed.

What did you do to save money this week?


  1. You have a love;ly blog, Ive read back and enjoyed it xx

    1. Hey cool one of my fave bloggers found another of my fave blogs. You are both frugal queens.

  2. I used to have an Easter door decoration that I had hot glued together. Our house at that time faced west, and every time I hung up that decoration, pieces would start to fall off as the sun heated the glue. I finally took it apart and remade it with regular glue, which solved the problem.

  3. We made a paper chain to count down to Christmas, wrote and mailed a letter to Santa, skipped a holiday party that was going to cost a lot..our baby is teething and we knew he was too unhappy to leave with a sitter. So, it was sad not to go but it freed up a lot of money. We used a sale and a coupon to get a free toy for Christmas, I used a gift card to buy my sister's birthday present. We visited family and while there found exactly the advent calendar we wanted for 50% off, my husband put up an ebay sale and it is doing really well, plus it is helping declutter. My husband and son made snowflakes from a pattern one of your readers mentioned. Even though we have had so many medical bills, I have learned enough here to keep our charitable giving stable. This is important to us and I am so glad that even though we had unprecedented medical bills this year, we have been able to pay them while keeping our standard of living stable and still donating to families in need. I cannot thank you enough for the inspiration. Just when I thought I could not tweak our budget any farther, there you were to show me how. It means so much to me that we can continue to do this.

  4. Food: My neighbor saves his produce scraps for my chickens. He left a small bag of blemished apples. Instead of giving them to the birds, I made a quart of applesauce for my kids. Also homemade last week was caesar salad x2, whole wheat waffles, braised short ribs, banana bread x3, mini banana bread x4, 2lbs of pinto beans, cooked & frozen into usable portions, mexican chicken, whole wheat bread, 8 jars of pear vanilla jam with last weeks abundance of pears, blanched & froze 2lbs green beans, chopped & froze extra parsley, double batch of cranberry sauce, ranch dip x3, 6 dozen decorated sugar cookies (most went to a high school fund raiser), 3 dozen chocolate pomegranite cookies, 3 dozen m&m cookies (holiday baking time!), oat bread, hamburger buns, hawaiian pizza, gorgonzola onion pizza, sausage & beans.

    Crafting: downloaded a free Colette sewing pattern to try. Using on-line instructions, learned to do a full-bust adjustment to a pattern and it actually worked! Made subway art bookmarks for my kids per Brandy's instructions (I love how these turned out!). Also checked out a HUGE stack of sewing and crafting books from the library.

    Other: Hung our Christmas lights! Went to my book club -- got the book for free from the library. Hosted several of my 12 yo daughters friends for dinner mid week -- they formed a holiday string quartet and their first performance is this weekend. Got two movies from the library to watch. Hosted more of my daughter's friends for a movie night.

    1. Can you share the link for the Colette pattern please?

  5. @Jillbert - I'm interested to hear what recipe you use to make hamburger buns. ~Alissa D., Cincinnati

    1. I don't remember where I got this recipe but I'm sure it came from someone's blog though I don't remember whose......anyways, here's the ingredient list. I make the dough in a bread machine, then shape and bake at 350 for 20 mins.
      1 cup water
      3 TB milk
      2 eggs
      1/2 tsp salt
      2 TB butter
      3 + 3/4 cup flour (I use some whole wheat)
      2 tsp yeast

    2. Thanks! I just remembered to check for this today. I appreciate you sharing the recipe! Trying this soon!
      ~Alissa D.

  6. It sounds like you had a busy week. I enjoy reading your blog. You seem to be a like minded family. FYI, i n case you do not k now, produce change over generally occur on Thursdays. Ou t with the old and in with the new! Have a happy holiday season.

    1. Nice to know! They actually changed the prices on Monday morning. I thought perhaps it was leftovers from holiday sales.

  7. This week DH and DD have been very sick with colds, so I was able to combine sales and coupons and store rewards programs to stock up on various cold medicine ( to last all winter and probably beyond) and kleenex. I got a free gallon of milk and 2 boxes of cheezits ( my dd's favorite) using the store reward "bucks".
    I "bought" 30 free books for my Kindle. My small town library does not carry much of a selection, I've owned my kindle for 2 years. It was a present to myself with our taxes.
    We did eat out once this week, using the dollar menu and coupons we only spent $5. Otherwise we have been using up leftovers in our refrigerator (it's a constant battle in our house to keep the leftovers from turning into science projects)
    I finished a christmas present for my isn't perfect but I'm proud of it. My husband and I found some inexpensive christmas presents for our DD, niece and nephews for a dollar each. Joann Fabrics has good quality kids books in their dollar section.
    I donated a bag of outgrown kids clothes to a coworker.
    My DH gave himself a hair cut and will be assisting me today in cutting my hair. I can do most of it myself, I just need him to check the back for me :)
    Using a sale and coupons I bought a bottle of Dawn dish soap for .24 cents.
    I look forward to this post every week to gain inspiration from you and your other readers! Thank you so much :) I second anonymous - @Jillbert: what hamburger bun recipe do you use?

    1. Mandy, here's my fave bun recipe:

      You could use all white flour too.

    2. thank you Donna!!

  8. Well this week I replaced the buttons on a sweater that had button issues. I crocheted 2 scarves for christmas presents, dehydrated celery that I found for 39 cents at Aldi's and a couple of packages of frozen mixed veggies that I didn't have room for in the freezer. Hubby had a meeting at the Stake Center so we took advantage of the trip and shopped at stores we don't have close by (Aldi's, Sam's etc). Bought enough food items to last us through Feb! Thrusday we attended the OK City Temple and after 9yrs of waiting (long story involving an accident, tornado, paperwork lost in the mail and ofcourse Satan..) we were finally Sealed (I know, not a frugal accomplishment but nontheless a major and important Acomplishment!!! :) Also been teaching myself to play the Bowed Psaltery and trying to finish a quilt that my grandmother started for one of my younger brothers but died before she finished it... It's a frustrating thing not a straight seam to be had just concave and convex curves that have to be sewn together... The only thing I can think of that would be harder is sewing a square to a circle and keeping the square straight... Amy L.

    1. I appreciate your temple experience. It has taken me 4 yrs, I am 1 interveiw and the end of a pregnancy away from getting there for the first time. So well done, great persistance.

    2. Congratulations on being sealed!


    3. Congratulations on your sealing! That is such a major accomplishment. - Marivene

  9. Keep up the great work everyone! Ivory's photo has me laughing, looks like she is saying "who me!".... This week u mad a turkey, froze the meat and bones for later use, make white turkey chili and cornbread, made a bracelet (quickly to seeing it could be done) using a old t-shirt. Finally, our daughters room has carpet and she is in the process of putting her stuff away from our recent move. I am excited because all her stuff has been in my pantry/sewing/craft room and getting
    Things in, out and done has been a pain! :)!

  10. This was a pretty good week for me.
    1. The crockpot has been in heavy use. I made crockpot lasagna for the first time (delicious! And very easy, only 30 min to prep.)
    2. I made refried beans for the first time in the crockpot. No soaking necessary. This recipe is going to be a life changer for me.
    3. Today I'm putting chicken enchiladas in the crockpot.
    4. I made a gift for my husband. I used pieces of my son's old jeans to make him a drawstring bag for his tablet. When my son's jeans get a hole, I patch it. When they get another hold (he's 6, it happens quickly), I cut the bottoms off and make them shorts. Unfortunately, he's down to three pairs of non-holey pants. I used the bottoms to make the bag.
    5. I started making a bunch of pacifier clips. I tried it out a couple of weeks ago with clips from Joanns (1.50 each). This week, I bought 100 clips on line for about 40 cents each, including shipping. I have a lot of friends and relatives having babies. Still, it will take me a few years to go through 100. I'll probably give out two to each person.
    6. I stocked up on meat during some good sales. We're set for a month at least.
    7. I made photo calendars for Christmas gifts on Shutterfly. With discount codes, a free $20 gift card I got in the mail because I had a baby, and free shipping, I got 10 calendars for $96 (originally it was over $200). Our families are on the opposite coast. They really enjoy the calendars. Last time I did this was 2009.

    Unfortunately I also had to get a new crown last week. It was expensive.

    I still want to finish a couple of gifts. My nieces are 9 and 6, and I found a cute little wristlet purse pattern with a zipper. I want to make those. And you inspired me with your handkerchiefs, so I think I will make them each two. I found a pattern with crocheted edging. If I have time to do that, I will do that. Otherwise, they will just be pretty-fabric.

    1. I love crocheted-edged handkerchiefs!

    2. I find Artscow has a better range of products than Snapfish (I live in Australia and our Snapfish may be different to yours, but the templates are incredibly limited, whereas with Artscow there is a lot more variety or you can do it yourself from scratch). Artscow prices are better too; they often have calenders go on sale for $8 or $9 including delivery anywhere in the world. I have family in the US and I love that I can have things delivered straight to them, saving me postage. I don't buy from Artscow unless something is on sale but they put stuff on sale all the time.

    3. I would love the details of the homemade refried beans. And also, there are lots of free patterns for crochet lace on socks. The thin socks from the dollar store work great for this.


      This is the refried bean recipe.

  11. OH, and I also found a couple of items at a thrift store...fuzzy footie PJ's for the baby (all his are too small), a black skirt for me for $6 (I have a holiday party to attend, and the post baby body does not fit into any pre-baby clothing), and a $4 talking battleship game for the 6 year old (which he paid for out of his own tooth fairy money).

  12. Love those leaf feet! Frugal things for this week were:
    -Strained the broth from the turkey carcass & reduced it to half on the stove, then put it in the fridge to set the fat on top before bottling it. Put up 5 pints of broth & 4 pints of turkey chunks in broth. Cost: $0.
    -Saved seed from 3 Waltham butternut squash I baked, to plant next year & share with family & friends. Seeds from the remaining 36 squash will be toasted, like pumpkin seeds, for snacks. $0.
    -Put up the Christmas tree in the family room, then wrapped the Christmas presents & put them under the tree. That is the simplest way for us to store the gifts. Re-used bows from our “bow tins”, 2 repurposed popcorn tins from long ago. A few favorite bows, shaped like roses, have been reused for over 10 years & still look nice. For our Family Home Evening, my husband & I hung the ornaments on the tree. Cost: $0.
    -Put up the angels for our yard display. Problems with my knees prevent me from being able to set up the display all at once. We have 5 angels of various types (found over the years at yard sales & thrift stores), one shepherd & 10 sheep. All use a 4 or 7 watt bulb. We decided years ago to stop using the C7 watt lights to decorate our home, due to the electrical expense, but this entire display uses 56 watts per hour, much less than even one strand of C7 lights. Only the angels & sheep are lit. The shepherd does not have a bulb; altho he is supposed to have a 25 watt bulb. We choose to have the shepherd “revealed” by the surrounding sheep instead. Someday, I might even find another 2nd hand shepherd, so there can be “shepherds”. None are illuminated until December 1st, & then only from dark until around 10 pm. The light cord for one of the angels apparently had a short in it, so I borrowed one from a sheep to replace it, so this year the flock is 9 sheep instead of 10, but the cost to fix the angel’s “problem” was $0.
    -Cut short & diagonal crosspieces for the shutters, sanded them with a sanding block, & assembled the shutters for the guest room. I made the shutters entirely by hand, using a hand saw that had belonged to my father & a hand drill purchased long ago at a yard sale. I used to help my father build things around the house, & I find woodworking, especially with hand tools, very relaxing. The only cost was for the hinges.
    -We ate the last of the yellow pear tomatoes that ripened from the green ones. Cost: $0.
    -Bought a schoolhouse and a fabric shop for our Christmas village at the thrift shop in perfect condition. I set up our Christmas village this year on the ledge along one wall in the guest room. Cost: $0.50 each.
    -Received another domed glass cover from a cheese plate offered on freecycle. It had some small nicks in the glass at the bottom inside, but I used the grey side of an emery board to smooth them out, so I can use it as another cloche in the garden. Cost: $0
    -On Saturday, I went to the store for some triple antibiotic cream for my husband. While there, I checked the meat bargain bin, & found a 4.5 lb package of ground beef for $1.49/lb. Ground beef has been $2.49/lb here, on sale, reduced from over $4/lb, so I bought the package & divided it into freezer portions at home. I used about a pound to make a large meatloaf for dinner, since all our daughters were visiting that day. Cost: $7 for one meal & 3 large packages in the freezer. - Marivene

    1. If you have your packages wrapped, with bows, and under the tree, I think I can presume that you don't have any indoor cats...?! Good find on the ground beef, by the way.

    2. Mari, I am quite allergic to cats, so we don't have any, indoor or outdoor. In the past, I have sent gifts to our son, who has 2 indoor cats, "wrapped" in large Costco cookie tins that no one wanted, from work. When I worked as an RN, all sorts of gifts arrive for the staff, & the tins in which they arrive are usually thrown out, unless someone snags them first. This tin was red striped, & large, & altho the cats bothered the bow on it, I taped the tin shut & they could not get into the present inside.

      My husband was delighted over the ground beef, since he loves meatloaf. - Marivene

  13. Made a chicken noodle soup meal with things I had on hand rather than making a trip to the grocery store. Made homemade whole wheat honey bread. I am a reading enrichment specialist in an inner city classroom and was asked to create a Hannukah themed hour. I wanted to give the each child a dreidel but could not find anything affordable until I saw mini working dreidels at one of the local Jewish congregations. For $2.47, which I can afford, I was able to buy dreidels for 24 children. I continue to make baked goods rather than buy purchased snacks at the grocery.
    Finally, I was able to buy an 11 volume set of Anne of Green Gables for our ereader- cost $1.99 for the entire set. My daughter has read three books in the series and loved them.

  14. I wish I could say that I had a great frugal week but an unexpected trip to the vet, to the tune of $244, meant another less-than-frugal week around here. I'm trying not to get frustrated that I'm losing traction each week though. Here's what I managed to do:
    Made a half-eaten gingerbread man ornament out of felt and supplies on hand for my youngest daughter to give to a student teacher that was leaving her school.

    Made 2 lined zipper pouches for my nieces for Christmas. I had all of the supplies on hand so no cost there and I put the clay charm necklaces I made a few weeks ago inside.

    Made 2 pairs of earrings for my youngest daughter for Christmas. Cost was around $1/pair. She has very sensitive skin and can only wear titanium and ready made earrings are expensive. So, I bought some blank titanium earring posts and backs on etsy and glued on a resin cabochon flower. They came out beautiful and were so simple to make!

    Received 10 free Christmas cards from in the mail.

    Pairing a coupon with a sale at my grocery store, I was able to get 5 lbs. of Skippy peanut butter for only $6.99! I also used coupons to get free Kosher salt and country crock margarine sticks.

    Donated 2 bags of food and 2 bags of stocking stuffers to my children's schools for their food/toy drives for the needy in our community. Most of the items were free as I try to stock up during the year.

    After searching Craigslist for the better part of a year, I was finally able to find some seating (loveseat and chair) for our den for only $100.

    And, my husband was offered some extra hours at work starting tomorrow at time and a quarter! :)

  15. Hi, I am the one who wrote last week about trading the cloth my grandmother left to me for food; I still had the crushed velvet to trade to someone who would make good use of it. Well, the friend of a friend gave me 60 (!!) pounds of mooseburger for 20 yards. Then she saw my grandmother's button jar sitting in the bottom of the box, which I have never used since I have my own little jar and only use them for mending since i don't sew well, and offered me 2 frozen salmon for them. We will not have to buy any meat for months! On the way out of my house, she saw my grandmother's Singer sewing machine, which she bought for $28 the week she got off the boat to the U.S. on Ellis Island so that she could start her own tailoring business. It is a treadle machine, with a thick oak cabinet and six small drawers in it. One of the drawers has the original sales receipt and a little oil can and six spools of cotton thread that is very fragile now from age so I keep them just for memories. My husband drove all the weay to NYC to get that machine for me when Grandma died and then drove it home to Alaska. I told the lady there were not enough moose on earth or salmon in the sea to trade for that machine---it has pride of place in our livingroom.

    Made applesauce from some more apples a neighbor gave me; mixed with rhubarb sauce it is quite good and stretches.

    Hand stitched two handkerchiefs for a gift for my husband. He does not like Kleenex, only cloth, so I know these will be welcome.

    Found some sort of gnarly soft carrots in the basement where we store things like pumpkins. Cleaned them up and then cooked them into a paste that resembles pumpkin pulp, and put them in chili---no taste and it extended the chili.

    As a Christmas gift, a friend and her husband invited us to a dinner dance (with a live band!), and I was able to borrow a floor length black skirt so spent no money. This was a community fundraiser and at the end they had a table with doggie bags of leftover ravioli and salad. We were among the last to leave and there were so many portions still left that my friend and I each took home five doggie bags---they were so full that we will be able to get two portions of dinner out of each bag! We love to ballroom dance, so going to a fancy event for free and coming home with free food was one of the best activities we have had in all of 2012!

    Found some old calendars and was able to wrap a few small gifts with some of the pages (I don't buy wrapping paper anymore).

    That is about it for this week. It was 37 below zero at our house for the last two nights, so we had to keep the temperature up to 70 so that the pipes in the very back corner rooms didn't freeze up. As I write this, it has warmed up to 35 below so it loks like this will be an expensive month for fuel. On the other hand, most activities and my job shut down at 35 below, so we save gas and just stay home.

    I loved the idea of singing carols all month at night, so my husband and I are going to adopt that idea. Thanks to everyone for more ideas on how to be frugal (like saving the seeds from the squash for planting.)

    1. Make sure that the squash is an "heirloom" variety, or the seed will not produce anything but vines. Hybrid varieties cannot be saved. - Marivene

    2. Good trades, but you scared me when you started talking about the sewing machine and I'm really happy you didn't trade it for anything!

    3. Anonymous--do you have a blog? I would love to learn more about your life in Alaska. I can't imagine living where it's that cold, although here in Indiana we do get pretty cold but 37 below is crazy! And do you have a name?

    4. I was so scared you were going to trade that treadle sewing machine and so glad when you didn't! Allison

  16. I read this post every week and I am always very impressed by all the frugal things I read about.

    1) Our carpet needed to be cleaned very bad so instead of using a commercial business my husband is cleaning it. We spent forty-eight dollars instead of a few hundred to clean our very large home.
    2) I watched several show on and hulu.
    3) We went to the store and purchased only things we needed, this is huge for us because my husband and I both love to go shopping.
    4) I bought chicken breast on sale to put up in the freezer and dried beans.
    5) We ate at home for the most part, another biggie for my family.

    Not big things but small ways we are beginning to cut our spending.

    1. I bought a Living Social deal for carpet cleaning that is less than $50 for three rooms. Be on the lookout and post it on Facebook/Twitter, because if 3 people buy from your referral link you get yours free. My carpet is in a mess, because we have not had extra money to get it done professionally for several years. I have a cleaner, but it doesn't get it very clean now. Allison

  17. I love this question you ask and I read every single comment! I even went through to read the last 2 posts and all 100+ comments. Love reading them. A lot of them remind me of the books I see on the shelf called homesteading that I will proudly one day buy but until we are no longer a military family that won't be the case.
    - went to the goodwill and found a scrapbook for $2.25! Stickers for 55 cents baby pants on special for 99 cents. Great for Sunday church wear. Hubs found a workout shirt for $2. Total was $7.39 I couldn't find any maternity clothes for me. I'm getting too big for the ones I bought and I'm so close to the end that buying anything at the store is a waste of money.
    -made baby wipes out of my old tshirts
    -made chicken stock out of the thanksgiving chicken I cooked and froze it
    -made ham and lentil soup, ate some, saved some for the next day, and froze the rest
    -made friends pot holders from my yarn stash and mailed them out
    -Christmas presents that needed to be made are done and next years gift will be cloth napkins
    -practiced putting "baby" stuffed animal in car seat, showed hubs 2 different ways to burp baby
    - received some more baby clothes, diaper bag, and a Walmart coupon for a free collage portrait
    We have been so BLESSED with all the things we received for our baby. Lots of clothes, extra crib sheets, lots of blankets! We didn't even buy the car seat and stroller. An elder and his wife bought it! And 2 wonderful beautiful baby showers when I thought I wouldn't get any. Brings a tear to my eye seeing gods love and abundance in our lives and how much has been provided for us! God is good!
    To do list:
    Make a holder for my travel size bible I bought using a coupon. Using scrap fabric
    -work on baby's quilt I started months ago. Have all the material I just need to sit down and do it
    - make a rice obi pack for Carolyn. She's the wed women's bible teacher and is hosting the Christmas party at her lovely house this sat. Last year she even gave us all a gift. Have all materials on hand.
    -continue to cross stitch gmas table mats. They will take forever but I have all the thread to finish hopefully before next yr for Christmas present.
    -make various soups to freeze in preparation of baby's arrival any day now
    -bake blueberry muffins before they go bad, bake raisin oatmeal cookies with reconstituted banana chips freeze and give some away as presents
    Feels like so much to do and so little time.

    1. First of all, Thank You for your service! 2nd, Blessing on your soon to be child. Sounds like you "belong" here, along with everyone else. Question, what is a rice obi pack? I'm thinking it's one of those packs you can heat in the microwave to take care of sore muscles. Loved reading all you have done and look forward to the day you can "brag" about your homestead.. God Bless and easy labor!!
      Linda Higgins

    2. Aww thank you so much! I met my now hubs while we both served but I got out only serving 2 years. He is officially 10 yrs in and still going! Oh do I have dreams of living out the country (maybe) but growing a garden out back and canning in the fall. Having a small room for my sewing and crafts! An obi rice pack is like a rice pack but this has sewn tunnels and then you fill it up with the rice and then sew shut. It technically has long ties to wrap around your waist. I've omitted them since they get in the way when I want it on me rather than tie it around x body part. It's in the one yard wonders book (I think first series). I was told that Carolyn has knee problems so I think it will be something she can really benefit from. Plus she also gave me her mothers sewing table. The one that opens up. I still cant believe she gave that to me but I will forever cherish her gift. And it's been in use a lot ever since she gave it too me. No more using the sewing machine on the card table we have as our dining room table. Thank you for saying I belong here too :) I've been trying to live a more frugal lifestyle for the past 4 years. It started out just to have more than $50 in the account until he got paid again. Now it's just a normal way of life for us and we will be debt free in the middle of next year. Can't wait to brag about that one!

  18. I got three Christmas gifts (two books and a DVD) on Amazon and used Swagbucks credit for most of the total. I paid a little under $3 out of pocket.

    I used a coupon to get a free yogurt parfait at Chick-fil-a.

    I wrapped a Christmas gift in the brown paper bag that the store put it in. I cut the bag and turned the logo so it was facing in, and then used it like wrapping paper. I added a ribbon I already had to make it look nicer.

    On Friday night we watched a DVD that we checked out of the library.

    We've been sick this weekend and while that isn't fun, it means I haven't driven anywhere except the grocery store.

    I made pear crisp out of some pears that were close to going bad.

  19. For this week:

    Bought oranges on sale. Saved peels for candied orange peels and flavorings. I might try the vinegar too if I have enough peels.

    Bought cranberries on sale. Costco had them 2.99/3 lbs

    I went shopping at the thrift store and found 2 gorgeous lamps/shades with working light bulbs for $6 each. I brought both of them home.

    Used tomatoes in meals that ripened in storage.

    Planted celery end. It has grown close to an inch already and has a root starting.

    Turning my gifted/gleaned apples into applesauce. They were wrinkly, and I only lost 6 apples to rot from that box. I was very excited. Used the same liquid each time I filled my stock pot with apples for the sauce. Haven’t run them through the food mill yet.

    My 5 yo has strep. The instacare dr was willing to treat her without a test, but my pede requires at least 2 positive tests with full exams before they will swab test the rest of the family w/o a full exam. So I requested the test just in case as it will save me money in the long run if the whole family ends up sick.

    I had to take my 7 yo to the dr on Sat. One of the meds she needed was $200, but insurance contract brought it to $75, the pharmacist ( I love these guys, very patient oriented) suggested I switch from liquid to pills after discussing things with me, which brought it down to $27. My daughter is handling the pills very well. Oh and she also has strep. *sigh*

    We boiled the toothbrushes and flossers as soon as we found out about the strep and used Lysol on door handles, etc. Hopefully we don’t all get it!

    I forgot to put this on last week…I really wanted some chips and dip… so I made black bean dip with the last of the canned beans from storage. I cut corn tortillas sprayed them with a little oil and baked them in the oven until they were crispy enough. They were pretty yummy and the kids liked them.

    The above means I broke into my #10 cans of dried beans this week. I prepped black beans for more dip and for black bean soup for the week.

    Made flat bread this week. One of my children has always hated bread, especially if “wet” so flat bread helps her be happier and eat a better lunch at school.

    I found cable spools for free, and my husband was able to pick them up in his car, as they were closer to his work than our house and that way I didn’t have to drive the 15 pass to pick them up. I have a couple ideas of what to do with them.

    Planted lettuce seeds in the green house. Used old 2 liter pop bottles to act as solar batteries. Not sure if they will work, but it’s worth a shot. (did I share this already?)

    We sold the remainder of my father’s scaled train items.

    Thanks for the reminder about advent calendars. I have been so busy with things this week that I completely forgot to put them up. We put up some of our decor, but ran out of time for the rest... and those calendars are so important!


  20. Like a lot of other people said, I am very thankful for this post. It helps us be much more conservative with our spending! This week was as good as any.
    -Last week was my birthday so my mother took me shopping to buy some much needed winter clothes. I brought coupons along with me so I was able to stretch the money she gave me and I got a lot of clothes to last me this winter and for years to come.
    -I made it to the Joann's black Friday sale and was able to get thread for half price, fleece for 2.99 a yard, and a bunch of scrap fabric for 75% off. I will be using the fleece to make baby sleep sacks and the scraps to make bibs and burp rags.
    -I was able to get paid $1 to buy two bottles of laundry detergent at CVS. I had a free bottle coupon and a $1 off one coupon and the store put them on sale for Buy one get one free. I had to drive past the store to get home from work, so it didn't even cost me the gas money to get them. We make our own detergent usually, but this was a deal I could not pass up!
    -We have been saving our water while it is warming for dishes or the shower. Sometimes our water takes FOREVER to warm up and our water bill is so expensive in our town. We have been using the water to either water the Christmas tree or fill the washing machine.
    -I decided we didn't need to keep the house as warm as we did last year. I was guilty of sometimes turning the heat up to 72 degrees on the cold days last year! Now we have it at a max of 68 during the day and we turn it down to 64 at night. We never have to turn the heat on upstairs, since a lot of the heat from downstairs just goes right up there. It is actually in the 40s here right now, which is very odd for this time of year (I live in VT), so I have the heat even lower right now.
    -My boyfriend got me a Kitchenaid mixer for my birthday (he makes much more money than me, so I guess he wanted to spoil me for my birthday!). The good thing that came out of this is that he bought it at Kohl's when they were giving $15 Kohl's cash for each $50 spent. So, he came home with $105 in Kohl's cash. He gave it to me, for my birthday as well. I had bought a new jacket from there about a week earlier (sorely needed) with coupons and a sale, but the snap ripped right out only a few weeks after I bought it! So, I returned it and the credit went back to our charge card. I picked out a different Colombia jacket (much more reliable brand!) that was on sale, used a coupon AND was able to get some warm pjs. With the Kohl's cash and the credit on our charge card, we actually left with an extra $45 back on our card. It worked out so well and now I have some warm clothes for the cold weather.
    -I accepted a bag of free baby clothes from the woman I nanny for. We are currently working on getting pregnant, so I am working on getting stocked up on clothes whenever I can get them from friends or family.
    -I think someone mentioned last week that they use re-usable menstrual pads. I use these as well and they are wonderful, and I think they have saved me a lot of money. I bought them on etsy before I had a sewing machine and I have used them for the last six months. I know some people may be a little grossed out by them, but I was them in the washing machine so I know they are clean. I love them!
    -We dug out all of our Christmas decorations and put them up. I almost ordered a nice fabric advent calendar for our son, but I remembered I had purchased one at Kohl's last year after Christmas for next to nothing. Thank goodness I remembered before I bought another one! We also discovered that we stocked up on enough wrapping supplies last year after Christmas that we will not need any this year and possibly for next year.
    Hope everyone has a great week!

    1. I think people forget that reusable rags were all that used to be available for "that time of the month." Hence why it's called "the rag". Anyways, do you make your own now? Or where do you get them? I've considered making my own, but not sure how to design them since I've only ever had the store-bought sticky-backed ones. Thanks! ~Alissa D.

    2. Yes, Alissa, I agree! They are perfectly sanitary and save me money and the trash going into landfills. I bought mine on Etsy from a store called epicerma. She makes really great ones, I have a bunch now. Honestly, now that I'm sewing I plan to take one apart and use it as a pattern. Don't tell her I said that ;)!

    3. I would also like to throw in here that a menstrual cup can be another great alternative to tampons or pads. Have tried a Diva cup and a Mooncup UK and prefer the MCUK. It's about $30 up front but I shouldn't have to buy another feminine product again!

  21. Oh, I'm loving these lists!

    Things I/we did this week:
    * Downloaded 7 free ebooks for my Kindle for PC
    * Used the sour milk in our fridge for biscuits so we didn't have to throw it out.
    * Used pears that were past their prime to make a pear crisp for desert one night.
    * Accepted two purple cabbage from a friend - yum!
    * Used what we had on hand along with poster board supplied by the school (so everyone's would be the same size) to make our Children's family tree projects for school. They turned out fantastic! And the kids were so proud.
    * Brought my own coffee to work each day.
    * Brought my own lunch to work each day.
    * Watched a TV special on Hulu along with homemade popcorn for date night with my Hubby this week.
    * Returned some unneeded items for store credit.
    * Found a pattern for christmas ornaments the kids can make using things we have on hand. Will make those after Advent worship on Wednesday this week.

    That's all I can think of right now! Keep the fun lists coming. I learn so much by reading them!

  22. Brandy, I have been enjoying your blog for some time, but I've been too embarrased to comment because I am *so far* from being frugal. My husband and I decided this past week that we needed to do some serious budget revamping, though. So here I am.

    I'm still struggling with attitude. ;-P And figuring out which things will work for us. I don't have canning equipment, storage space, garden space (until we make an area with a really high fence and fix our water situation, both of which will cost money), etc. And some of my 'frugal' things are too embarrassing to list here. Sigh. But these are some things we did this week:

    Borrowed mom’s vacuum cleaner to use her attachments instead of buying one

    My husband was going to drive the kids and a few friends to a nearby city to go to a (cheap) movie theater. Instead of spending the money for gas (which would have been quite a bit), they borrowed a movie from friends, I made kettle corn, and they all snuggled in and watched it at our house.

    We visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium for $2 + 2 cans of food per person for a holiday event (which was lots of fun) instead of paying $15-20 per person to get in.

    Used up old biscuit mix making biscuits twice

    Made French bread twice (and it had been *forever* since I had made bread)

    Made homemade dinners (we LOVE to eat out or eat convenience foods)

    Ate up leftovers

    Combined trips to town, used the car as much as possible instead of the suburban

    Didn’t reschedule haircut appointment (guess I'm growing out my hair. sigh.)

    Used 50% off coupon for cellophane bags for gifts—didn’t buy anything else (I had a couple things in my hands and then put them back.)

    Got out my old sewing machine. I think it has been used once in 15 years. Used fleece from last year to make pocket hand warmers. I only made one set. I think the sewing machine needs some TLC. And probably some replacement parts.

    Made cinnamon applesauce ornaments for gift tags

    Got books at the library

    Used our Netflix streaming extensively (we got rid of our cable a while back)

    I finally figured out how to put Amazon affiliate links in my blog posts

    I bought some cranberries on sale today for part of the homemade gifts for the boys' tutors. I made cranberry orange bread with the leftovers right away--before the berries went bad.

    Thanks so much for all your beautiful encouragement and resources.

    1. I'm so glad you commented, Heidi! I always envy (yes, envy-I'm working on that) your many fun trips with the children. I wish we lived up by you, but we don't. I have never taken my children to an aquarium (or the beach, or much anywhere), and your pictures always look like such fun!

      Tell me what happened with your sewing machine. I'm just guessing here, but it probably needs to be oiled and cleaned (the dust inside arund the bobbin case) and most likely has a tension issue.

      I like your hair longer :) I really do :) But you have to be hapy with it, too.

      I thought you had a garden! Are the deer bothering you? Plus, it rains there! I imagine you have to water sometimes, though. If you stopped eating out for a while you can take the money you would have spent on that to fix the garden and get canning equipment. You'll have to take picnic lunches to places, but that can be fun, too!

      Your list is fantastic. I hope you participate every week!

    2. Heidi, we are like your family, we love to eat out. We are such penny pinchers on everything else but for some reason that is just our thing I guess. We don't do it often anymore and when we do we try to use coupons which does help. After we got out to eat we love to just drive around the countryside, maybe looking at Christmas lights or pretty farms in our area. I truly wished we could stop because it isn't very frugal but it is an enjoyable time, especially when we go with friends!

    3. PLEASE do not feel inadequate! Everyone starts somewhere... I have read this blog/facebook posts for some time now and I can tell you that you are not the only one jumping on the first side of the "frugal learning curve." I have almost always had a frugal heart (long story, but let's say medical situation as I grew up created this desire in me); however, as I read the posts, I can tell I still have a lot I can do and ideas I can learn from. This site has been quite the teacher and inspiration of new ideas/solutions to "problems" I have. I hope you will find this site to be a useful tool and of encouragement! Best wishes to you as you continue this journey. Watch out, it gets rather addicting as you discover what you can do and how much you save! Welcome to the *club* ~Alissa D.

    4. Thanks, ladies, for the warm welcome and encouragement. :)

      Brandy, we have an itty bitty garden that is in terrible shape. We do have deer that eat everything. And, for having a decent-sized property, we have *one* (yes, ONE!) outside faucet up on our hill at the well head. Unfortunately, though it does rain *a lot* here, it doesn't rain much during mid-late summer when it is actually warm enough to grow anything. I'm certain my machine does need to be cleaned and oiled. It was old when I got it (and it was *very* dusty when I got it out this week). :) My mom has a similar sewing machine, and I'm going to have her show me what I need to do. It does feel very tight (especially the bobbin) and sluggish. I grew out my hair for a year when I was pregnant with Leif seven years ago, but other than that I've had it super short since Levi was born! It used to be down to my waist, if you can believe it. It makes me very irritable to have it growing out, so I'm praying for a cheerful disposition. Ha! I'll be back next week. :)

    5. I think your list is great. And I have to say our family LOVES the Oregon Coast Aquarium! It has been a few years since we have been there. But your entrance fee was a spectacular savings.

      Just take baby steps to be frugal. My husband always thought he was, but it has been a struggle for him this year as things became tighter and tighter. I have looked on it as an adventure/game for the most part, but I also have experience with it growing up, more so than he does. It can be disconcerting at first.

      Thanks for sharing your list.


  23. I don't think I did anything unusual this week except to limit our spending on meals out of the home to $26. This is about ½, maybe 1/3, of what we would normally spend eating out in a week and $11 of it was because we ate before our annual eye exams. I can't stand any type of light after my eyes are dilated so I made sure I didn't even need to step in the kitchen when we got home.

    I did go to Hobby Lobby for the first time and oh my – how nice! I had a few things I needed/wanted and bought them, including USA-made candles, some hooks for stockings (very cool – clear plastic that can be used with any décor), etc., and used their online app on my phone to get 40% off a set of pillow cases to embroider,. I also bought some cotton duck material to try to make the slippers that Brandy made for day 15. More importantly was what I did NOT buy – pretty aprons, more fabric I don't need right now, more decorations, etc.

    Other than that, I didn't spend any money except on groceries (keeping to the budget – yes!). I took the week off from visiting my Mom in the nursing home (and with her very late stage dementia she doesn't know) and got a lot of things done at home, including some serious bathroom cleaning and organizing, My sister (and maybe her adult son) will be visiting after Christmas and I don't want to spend the weekend before Christmas frantically cleaning – baking yes, cleaning no. Starting now will take a lot of that pressure off me. My teenage daughter cleaned her room and the space bags that I bought at 50% off from Joann's during their Black Friday weekend sales came in handy since we bought put away a lot of things to make more room in our closets (houses built in the 1930ies do NOT have an excess amount of closet space.)

    Love the pictures of the children, by the way. They look so happy and carefree, just as they should.

    1. I am sorry to hear about your mother. I watched my grandfather disappear from that dreadful disease. It is the most frightening thing about growing old, to me anyway. You are a good daughter to keep visiting her. I worked in a nursing home once and was shocked at the number of folks whose children never visited them. I know some of them were probably reaping what they sowed, but it was still heartbreaking.

    2. One of the advantages of having 5 sisters is that 4 of us live within an hour of the nursing home so she gets about 3 visits a week. Some people see their mom every day but I have no idea how they do that. My Mom has been there since January, 2006, and I will admit it gets old sometimes but she and my late Dad did so much for us that I do it with a joyful heart (at least most of the time and always by the time I get there). Thank you for you'd kind thoughts and support.

    3. Anonymous, Sometimes as people age, the brain deteriorates, & the part that governs nice/mean goes. When a sweet, wonderful parent becomes a person who yells at the child for visiting them, it is human nature to prefer to remember them as the "nice" parent. I lived too far from my mother to visit, but I used to phone often her until she began to yell at me every call. As an RN, I understand it is sometimes part of aging, but it worked better for me to write to her twice a week after that. She still knew I was thinking of her, but there was no nasty component. -Marivene

    4. Marivene, I have seen that in a couple other residents and completely understand! I think you made a good decision given the circumstances. My Mom is just as pleasant as can be. She has no idea who we are but she seems to like our visits and doesn't know/care when we can't visit. Just sad to see in a woman who read several books a week and did the NYT crossword puzzle without a dictionary.

  24. - Last week I told to my husband that now we had eaten all our potatoes. Really? he answered, how about those in raised beds? I had totally forgotten them! How is it possible? So to the raised beds I went and there were nice potatoes (This was our first year of experimenting with raised beds. We were figuring out if raised beds were a good solution to expand our 'land' to the spots nothing can grow otherwise - no dirt, shade etc. We had 2 for potatoes, 1 for broccoli and 1 for Jerusalem artichoke, which I was going to let be unharvested until spring, maybe that was the reason I forgot the potatoes too)
    So I harvested the potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes and they were a good basketful combined, maybe 7 kg ~ 15lb. I think it was quite unusual thing to do in the end of November over here.
    - we had our first blizzad last week. I felt so sad for my lavender I finally was able to get growing from seed last summer. I've tried several times with no success, and I had done some researching and was convinced I can't get them over winter, that covering is not enough. So I decided to dug it out and move indoors to my kitchen window sill, if it don't like it, I would had lost it anyway, and it it will, I'll be so happy to move it out next year and enjoy it's growth.
    -I made 2 batches of whole wheat sourdough bread, one for eating, one for gifting, but I was not visually happy with the results, so we'll be eating alot of sourdough gifting this time

    1. I'd like to add that I decorated an ugly and free pocket calendar 2013. I wanted it to look more like 'me' so I covered the ugly covers with a beautiful rose&peony soap wrap I had saved. Then I protected it with contact plastic. I cut nice small pics out of old Country Living magazines and glued one on every other page. Much better! :-)

  25. I made a library book bag for my son for Christmas. Bought the fabric on clearance. I learned some things from reading your blog about sewing with upholstery fabric that I put to use. I used that fabric since it was thick. No pattern, just sewed three sides and used ribbon for handles. I did add sew on snaps. I could have bought bags from the library for cheaper, but I wanted to make them. I am almost done with one for my daughter.
    I cancelled my hulu subscription and I am now going to watch what is available for free.
    We went to the local thrift store for shoes for one daughter, didn't find them but purchased three ties, five shirts, two belts, two purses, three shoes for another daughter and three shirts for the baby. All for $11. We ended up buying shoes at walmart for the first daughter, but we tried to get them at the thrift store, but she has larger feet. However, we saved a lot of money. I think I am going to wrap the ties I got for Christmas.
    Got some free books for homeschool from the same thrift store.
    We checked out some books from the library.
    We sprouted alfalfa sprouts. Yum! But I still think I like lentils better.
    I used $13 in store rewards at kmart and $10 at safeway for christmas gifts.
    Used coupon code for $15 off $40 purchase almost half off christmas gift for mother and mother-in-law.

  26. Hi!I took the children to the museum when it was free this week.I got some books at Sam's Club to use for homeschooling which were half the regular price.I asked my children's Ukraine Sunday School teacher to share with me the music my children will be singing on Christmas Day at church.Have a nice week, Pat

  27. My big frugal accomplishment was replacing the blankets on our bed for 50% off the regular price. For many, many years we have used LL Bean flannel sheets for the blankets on our bed and they are pricey. They wear so well and we love them so much that I was determined to find a way to replace them as ours were completely worn out. I watched for a percent off sale and used coupons earned from our LL Bean Visa card. Two of our sons got married this summer and I ran all the wedding costs through that credit card so that could get the rewards. Wouldn't you know it though--now that we have new blankets we are having a heat wave and it will be in the low 70's here today :)

    I put many meals in the freezer for Christmas week using ingredients that were on sale.

  28. I washed two children's colombia coats that have broken zippers to send back for repairs.

    I found frames on clearnace for Christmas gifts.

    I used homemade laundry detergent

    I downloaded some free kindle books. I cehecked out a book from the library.

    I asked for a discount on a coat for my husband...he needed it for life but also for work. Saved 10%

    I plan to use my $10 from JCpenny's buttons to get a free shirt my son wants for Christmas

    I have been only using cash to purchase gfits and supplies for gift making (huge for us)

  29. -My in-laws brought us a cooler with several packages of deer cube steaks and hamburger meat, along with some chicken legs to put in the freezer. I was so happy to get some more deer meat, my husband has not had any luck hunting so far this season.
    -Our neighbor had a tricycle that their son had outgrown and gave it to us for our 3 yr old son, it is the perfect size! He loves riding it.
    - Used a gift card at Walmart to purchase a couple packs of diapers and baby formula. Well when we got home they had charged us for 2 cans of baby formula so I called and was able to go back and pick up the 2nd can. Always check your receipts!!!
    - My oldest son is in need of long sleeve shirts and a winter jacket, I finally found some shirts and sweat pants on sale for 65% off, I had looked at several consignment stores/sales, and could not find any in his size, so we were thankful to find some at a price we could afford. My husband found him a winter jacket on Black Friday that normally runs $70, they had them on sale for $17. So he bought one for this year and a larger size to put up for next year.
    - Not much spent on groceries so far, we had 4 couples from our church bring us dinner this past week. My husband picked up a flat of eggs on sale and 2 rolls of Jimmy Dean sausage on sale to put up in the freezer
    - found a new recipe for crockpot bean soup that is meatless, going to try it out as soon as we get some cooler weather.
    - My grandmother gave me a little money to pick out a christmas present, I was able to order a new crockpot online with free shipping, the lid broke on the crockpot I currently have been using, I am still going to keep it since it still works, I am going to look at yard sales for an extra lid. I will just use foil to cover the top when i use it until then.
    - I read the tip someone posted about keeping the water while waiting for it to heat up and using it in the washing machine. That was a **duh** moment for me! I plan on doing that soon, our water bill is pretty high in our area.
    - I enjoy reading everyone's comments, I have purchased some convenience type foods lately, but I figure it is still cheaper than the 5 of us eating out in a restaurant or even in a fast food place. I will try to start cooking more from scratch soon, but I am having a hard time getting back on track since having the baby. Any tips would be appreciated!!!!

    1. I always keep some type of frozen convenience food in my freezer for emergencies or days that I just run out of time. I try to buy these items on sale with coupons. My biggest defense against eating out is having a meal plan. If I don't have meals planned then I get down to late in the afternoon and have not thawed any meat or started anything cooking. Another thing that I do is cook double and freeze half which is really easy for me since we are just two but it is doable for any size family. When my kids were all home if I had cooked for two meals I would have to put half in the fridge before the meal though or the boys would have just eaten double. Give yourself time though when there is a new baby in the house. Sanity is the most important thing right now along with getting some rest!

    2. Cook some large pots of beans in the stove or in a crockpot. Freeze in bags for individiual meals. The beans can be cooking while you are nursing without needing attention.

    3. post baby, be kind to yourself. It is more important to eat something, than to try to make everything from scratch at this time. Or eat really simple stuff like pasta and baked beans, jacket potatoes, flat bread, canned veg.
      I hope that makes some kind of sense?

    4. Heather, you don't have to do it all. You have a new baby and it's time to be easy on yourself and your family. Enjoy tthe baby and enjoy December, which to me should be a fun time of year, and buy some convenience items (frozen lasagna, prepared and ready to heat items from your grocery story, etc.) as your budget permits.

      Sleep when you can and eat healthy.

  30. Good afternoon...
    Last week, I cut my son's hair and trimmed my husband's so he can go an extra week before getting his regular haircut. We were paid for deliverying something to family over a weekend and purchased gas for our truck and van with that money and gas points. So we were able to fill up both for 1/2 of our usual cost (and actually nothing out of pocket for us). We took the free gas and went to the food stores we needed to for my son's food (gluten free). We have to have certian vitamins and body wash and such. We used meat we already had in the house. I stayed home all week, except for our trip on Saturday. With that trip, we went to 4 stores combining driving and stops. We found a pair of winter boots, Timeberland brand usually $70 for my husband for $6 at a thrift store. We finished what we had to purchase for gifts for our kids and most of our extended family. Next week we will buy some gift cards that will net us some extra fuel points as well. I wish we had done more frugal things but will me being sick and trying to figure tis new diet out for our family, it has been kind of tough... I love reading all the great accomplishments for everyone each week.

  31. I do love coming here every week and reading everyone's posts and then coming back to read new posts or comments :)

    I used my crockpot to make turkey stock out of the leftover turkey carcass and broth/juices.

    Earned $3.00 from doing a survey. It was deposited into my Paypal account.

    I used homemade cleaners to clean my bathroom, kitchen counters & windows

    I have a lot of shampoo & conditioner samples so I started using them instead of the regular bottles in the shower

    I purchased 2 bottles of ALL Small & Mighty using the free coupons I received from the company

    I used my Paypal money on Cyber Monday to buy a ROKU for streaming Netflix for our bedroom. We figure it was a good time to purchase since they were on sale for $20 off. No cost to us since I used my survey money :)

    I went grocery shopping on Wednesday to save 5% using my MPerks at Meijer. By using the $1.50/1 Kellogg's cereal coupons I printed and the 5% MPerks I paid .87¢ a box for the big boxes of Rice Krispies. One will be used to make Rice Krispie treats for Christmas. I was able to get a free bag of M&Ms from a peelie coupon that was on the box of Rice Krispies.

    We have been eating our meals from our chest freezer to make room for a 1/2 cow we are buying at the end of the week. A co-worker of my husband asked us if we wanted to purchase a 1/2 a cow about a week and a half ago. They were taking 3 cows in to be butchered and needed to find one last person who wanted the last half. It didn't take us long to say yes! It will cost $2.39 lb. after butchering and processing (.39¢ lb). I called this morning to give them my "order" of what I wanted. We will be getting over 175 lbs. of meat. This is going to last us for quite awhile. It couldn't have come at a better time since we are almost out of the 1/2 a cow we purchased a year ago with my sister.

    I had earned $120 in Kohl's cash on Black Friday. I went back on Wednesday and purchased new cookware. I bought T-Fal Ultimate Hard Anodized cookware. I have wanted that kind for awhile now but it is so expensive! I found it on sale for $149.99 (orig. price $199.99) I used the $120 Kohl's cash and a 20% card that was mailed to me bringing the cost down to $25.67 with tax. It also came with a $20.00 rebate. I was so excited to pay a little over $5.00 for $200 cookware :)

  32. I don't feel like I'm doing anything 'new' lately, but all of the posts and replies help me see that the things we do to be frugal really do help. Thank you all for the reminder!

    I did 3 haircuts this week - trims, really, on my husband, daughter and self. All of them turned out great!

    Made some homemade fabric softener from conditioner a friend gave to me, along with vinegar I had on hand. I dried all our clothing on racks and/or hangers (I always do.) and hand-washed delicates in the sink with some shampoo.

    My daughter sang in the Christmas Cantata at church and needed a Christmas dress for that. I found a red velvet dress at goodwill for $5. It will likely fit her next year too. I also got her a Land's End winter coat that she loves ($6 at goodwill) and it should fit a couple years too.

    Combined errands to save on trips to town - I did the errands I needed to do on the night that my daughter had Cantata rehearsal.

    Made a centerpiece for the kitchen table - simply a pretty plate with oranges on it (on sale for .49 a pound) and a few nuts in the shell.

    Read books from the library. Watched a movie checked out from the library too.

    Used coupons and sales to stock up on baking supplies and chocolate. I combined a sale and coupons to get Dove Promises for $1.50 a bag, and put them away to use in Christmas stockings.

    Bought a Creche at goodwill that was olive green (and therefore on markdown) and painted it white with spray paint we had on hand. I like how it looks, though I may eventually paint it with colors....we'll see.

    Got malt o meal cereals for .50 a bag - they are 12 oz. bags that were on sale for $1, and I had coupons for 1.50 off three bags. My daughter loves the frosted mini wheat bites, both as cereal and as a snack.

    Used 40%-60% off coupons from craft stores to stock up on yarn for some projects. I also got some free tutorial sheets at the craft store to learn to crochet flowers and some other small items.

    So...a lot of my saving did involve spending, but we are well within all our budgets. :)

  33. It feels like Santa's workshop around our house! We got down ALL of our Christmas decorations (27 years worth) and "shared" with our two married daughters! They were thrilled and it saved everyone a lot of money! We also got a free 12 foot pre-lit Christmas tree from our friend for one of our daughters.

    Then the crafting/building began. We made a list of gifts that we want to make for our children and friends and got busy! We have all of the supplies already, we just need to find the time to make all of them. I made a crocheted doily table runner out of old doilies that my friend gave to me. A pair of earrings for a friend. Dog bone ornaments for all of my "granddogs"! A "LAUNDRY" sign for my daughter's laundry room and four pictures that are going to be hung on pants hangers as decorations (all ideas from Pinterest). My husband built an outside end table for our other daughter and an American flag out of pallet wood (also from Pinterest). It's all coming along, we just have a lot more to do.

    We cooked two pounds of beans with the ham bone left from our Thanksgiving ham and shared with our daughters. Cooked all meals at home except for one. Used coupons for the ONE that we did eat out!

    Husband also fixed my very OLD Volvo with parts we already had!

    Love reading this EVERY week. I had a rough day today. So I took a little time tonight to just sit still and read everyone's posts. I feel better already and VERY inspired! Thank you all!

  34. --Turned off lights when we left a room. We are trying to be more diligent in this and also trying to teach this to our children as well.

    --Made my own bathroom cleaner with vinegar and the $.38 Dawn I purchased earlier this month. I also reused orange peels to make the orange vinegar cleaner that I found on Pinterest.

    --Saved used dryer sheets to clean blinds. (I can't remember where I found this tip, but it really works!)

    --Started a scarf for my sister for Christmas using a free pattern I found on Pinterest.

    --Made pancakes and homemade instant oatmeal packets for breakfasts.

    --Used coupons at the Dollar Tree and only paid tax for soap and sore throat drops.

    --Forgot to pick up some things while I was shopping for groceries this week, but decided to save gas and not make an extra trip back to the store even though I really wanted to!

    --Purchased shirts ($1.50 - $1.99) and sneakers ($2.99) from the thrift store for our fast-growing children. These were in like-new condition and for just a fraction of the cost of buying brand new!

    1. We had a big problem with our son forgetting to turn off the lights. So, the solution we found is this: He gets .25 from us every Monday and Thursday for doing his chores. If we have to remind him to turn the lights off, it goes down to .20. And if he forgets again, it goes down to .15, and on from there. He's gotten a lot better about it since then!

    2. Great idea! I can imagine that it would be a good motivator! Since we don't give our children an allowance, I wonder if M&Ms would work? :)

    3. We charged our teens a dollar for leaving lights on! They remembered really quick!

    4. We are very fair about the whole situation...he asked us if he needed to remind US to turn the lights off, did he get an extra .05? And we said OF COURSE! What a smart boy to think of that, huh? And Vanessa, I think M&Ms are also a very powerful motivator! :)

  35. Your leaf footprints reminded me of making floor plans with our fallen leaves and playing house. We have a few "gamewright" games and like that everyone in the family can enjoy playing them.

  36. I am continually inspired by this list. I do many frugal things on a regular basis and have learned a lot from visiting your website and now your blog. It is so encouraging as I am trying to raise 5 children on my husband's teacher salary which seems to continue to shrink as they pull more out for the State Teacher Retirement and Medical. In a couple of years these two items alone will increase up to 20% of his pay. I have learned a great deal from you and it's helping. I often feel alone in this battle.
    Quick question; do you have a recipe/directions on making turkey stock or turkey noodle soup as well as a recipe for crackers that would be good with soup? I have turkey bones in the freezer from Thanksgiving and need to figure out what to do with them. I look here first since I have tried and liked several of your recipes. Thankyou!

    1. Put the turkey bones in your crockpot early in the morning and add some onion, carrots and celery along with some salt and pepper. Cook all day and then strain out the bones and veggies. You can use wilted veggies that are not good for other eating. Save all your skin and the neck next time you make a turkey as they really add flavor to the broth too.

    2. Thank you both for the ideas. I knew turkey stock wasn't hard to make but I wasn't exactly sure what I should do and couldn't find the info in any of my cookbooks either. It's not one of those things that got handed down from mother to daughter this time.

  37. Heather, turkey stock is easy to make. I am not Brandy, but I just put the bones (and skin, if you saved it)in a large stock pot & cover them with water. I add a spoonful of apple cider vinegar, as it helps draw more minerals from the bones, but doesn't really affect the finished taste. Simmer the pot on the back of the stove for 12-24 hours. In the meantime, I add any veggie trimmings, like carrot, potato or onion peels, from other meals I am preparing, to the stock, to add both flavor & color. Add water as needed to keep the bones covered for the 24 hours. After 24 hours, drain the stock from the bones ( & anything else added), place it in another pan & reduce the volume by half. Place it in the fridge to cool, which makes the fat rise to the top & harden, so it is easy to remove. If the stock becomes gelatinous as it cools, then it is reduced enough. If it is still very liquid, you may need to reduce it more. Add a thinly sliced carrot (if desired), a little turkey meat (if desired), and some cooked noodles. Any excess turkey stock can be frozen or canned for future use. After I drain the stock off the bones, I always refill the pot containing the bones & veggies with water, & repeat the process again for another pot of stock. The 2nd batch of stock usually needs reduced a little more than the 1st, but other than that, it tastes fine & works great in soup or anything else. -Marivene

  38. I listed my accomplishments on my blog:
    Hope everyone is having a great frugal week!

  39. We have finished the last bit of our T'giving leftovers w/ me becoming quite creative w/ recipes and meals. Here's just a few things I have done over the past week:

    Got 2 free Christmas gifts using my SavingStar acount.

    Started the Elf on the Shelf for my autistic son to help w/ behavior. (He is 19 but has a mind set of a 9-14 yr. old.) It feels graet to see him react to what the elf is doing and looks forward to it. Why hadn't I done this before. As a kid, my mom did the same for me and my sibs.

    Took winter clothes out of storage so I wouldn't have to go shopping.

    Recieved a gallon of milk, 5 tomatoes and 5 lbs of sugar from MIL. She borrowed only a little bit and returned a lot.

    Looking at sales and planning w/coupons to restock pantry for little bit of money, for the winter months ahead. I know my hours at work will be cut, as a way of life in retail.

    Gave the dog a bath at home and she liked it a lot!

    Went to GoodWill to drop off stock for thier Christmas baskets and found a figurine that goes w/a set I have been collecting for years. Normanly it would cost over $60 and I got it for $2.00.

    Had a fire a couple of nights to help w/ heating costs.

    Hubby downloaded a free version of the Rosetta Stone-German to give to a friend for Christmas. Plus he has been selling things we don't need on Ebay to offset our costs for presents. He also returned unused-not needed car engine supplies for a full cash refund. He is learning!!!


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