Frugal Friday Week #36

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I always feel like I post many how-to’s and not many “real lifes”. Although I do try and incorporate that into my newer posts, I’ve often thought that it might be even more helpful for my readership to get a better glimpse inside of what our simple/homestead/from scratch/frugal life really looks like.

Weekly Kitty picture…he does so well in the car and doesn’t complain much. We are thankful for that!

Frugal Friday Week #35

So I’ve started a series called Frugal Friday and need your help. My idea for this series is to share some of the projects/recipes/things we worked on this week and, in general, just what life looks like.

I need your help because I’ve tried something similar before, and I gave up after a while. I got bored, felt like no one was reading it or cared, and I moved on to other projects. So what I need you to do each week is to share what your week looked like in the comments section. I think it could keep us ALL accountable and may serve as an encouragement to others!

Side Note: If you missed the last weeks, I reshared that we are currently in the process of moving into and living in a tiny home (camper) to travel and do ministry work in rural places for now as we take a temporary break from our homestead.

Meal Highlights

I kept a strict meal plan this week since we’ve been on the road, and I have no other choice right now! Here’s what we made:

  • Blueberry Muffins (pre-made before we left)
  • Hardboiled Eggs and Fruits
  • Yogurt and Granola (I made a new granola with seeds, and it’s SO good!)
  • Lemon Bread and Eggs (I made the bread before we left and froze it. Tried a new recipe and can’t say it was a favorite.)
  • Pancakes and Sausage (also pre-made before we left and frozen)
  • Summer Sausage, Crackers, and Fruit
  • Ham Sandwiches
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Quesadillas
Lots of free activities this week, including walking in the woods and playgrounds to get much needed exercise.

Shopping We Did

I had to finally do some grocery shopping after not doing any for a long time. I only purchased what we needed for the week (although some things will last longer than that). I spent exactly $150 at 3 different stores (Costco, Natural Grocers, and Target).

We brought some pantry items and snacks with us, but that was all the fresh produce and meats for the week. I was pretty happy with that amount since none of the items were on sale, and that’s to feed all 5 of us 3 meals a day for the next week plus some.

Baker Creek
The seed shelves at Baker Creek Seeds Farm. It was a nice break from driving and it’s free to walk around! I did buy a few packs of seeds though!

How We Lived Frugal This Week

We’ve been on the road all week and have so far spent $100 on campgrounds (they are SO expensive!). Instead, we stayed with a friend, and we also used our Harvest Host membership a few times. Harvest Hosts lets you pay a yearly fee in exchange for free overnight camping. They ask that you donate or buy something from the host. One of the places we stayed was a church, so we gave a donation, and the other was a cider mill, so we bought cider and doughnuts to share with friends.

So there is a little cost involved, but when campgrounds cost $50, $75, $100+ per night…it’s a great deal!

The other nights we stayed at campgrounds to be able to do laundry. Yes, surprisingly, my kids still go through way too much laundry no matter where we are!

We haven’t spent anything on “attractions” or places to visit so far. We’ve played at lots of playgrounds, parks, nature conservatories, and similar places this week. We also made a stop at Baker Creek Seeds, which is always fun to walk around. I did buy a few seeds, though…I couldn’t help it!

Besides our few nights at the campgrounds, we have been living completely off-grid. I’ve found that it hasn’t been too big of an adjustment not to have power. That’s good though as we are going into a place where we won’t have any electrical hookups for a while so we will see how we do with that test. We have a small amount of solar on our camper.

Homemade Stuffing

Blog Posts I Wrote This Week

I’m working on updating all of my Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes and posts, so that’s what it’s all about this week!

Looking Ahead to Next Week

Quite honestly, we aren’t sure what next week will bring! We will assess the situation at our first ministry opportunity to see what we will do. I’ll also be looking at free things to do with the kids this week.

Me and Kady

Merissa Alink

Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple and frugal life on Little House Living since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to freedom on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.

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  1. It sounds like you and your family are figuring it all out, working out the transition, and enjoying the adventure of it along the way…good for you guys! Next week we will have a houseful of eaters for 3 days straight. Our kiddos are coming for Thanksgiving and staying for the Big Game on Saturday (Ohio State and that team up North). So I started my baking and cooking early, my freezer is filling up with rolls, gravies, pie crusts, and pumpkin breads. I did have to make a run to Costco for lots of baking basics, but those will last me until after the next wave of holiday baking. I made a ham earlier in the week (had to clear out the big freezer in preparation for all the baked goods), and have used it now for 5 different meals. Ham and Beans is on the menu for tomorrow, and will finish it off. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  2. Interesting to hear about your adventures. My child loved playgrounds also so we did this as we traveled years ago. We also had numerous playgrounds near us that he visited with friends. My child loved being in the vehicle. So travels went well.
    I have been cutting fabric for transport bags for our days for girls chapter. The items must be done correctly so liners añd supplies last as long as possible for girls abroad. So many checks along the way. One church gave $5000 for this project. What a blessing! I also work on mission quilts for disaster relief with beautiful fabric that was donated by three long time quilters and stores. So our quilts are gorgeous. We donate several to local charities. Our groups is very small, but we donated 70 quilts. Frugal efforts in next post as my internet goes down.

  3. Frugal this week……
    I got a free square pan that is perfect for bacon, free Tupperware, free 2 bags of various colors embroidery floss, free medium size cutting board. How wonderful!
    Get free desserts when we get free bread for our cows and cats. Our cats are so healthy with grease on bread like the old days. I made a carrot chowder with garden carrots, produce, cream of mushroom, beef bouillon, homemade tomato soup, and Italian sausage. I make it with beef bouillon; otherwise it is too acidity with just tomato soup and cream of mushroom. This soup was a hit when I worked in assisted living and group home. I made an apple pie. Been making lots of applesauce as apples were plentiful this year. Our small trees and neighbors gave us many bushels. A blessed year!
    On sad note, my sister in-law died quite suddenly so instead of Thanksgiving dinner, we are having an early funeral meal with family next week. Take care,

  4. Oh my goodness what an adventure, I’m really surprised that camp site fees are so much! Having said that they’ve doubled since 2019/2020 season here in U.K. too.
    Frugality is very tricky these days, every month no matter how hard I try my life isn’t frugal! It was not too bad in the summer but here we are in November! We are doing, like you, most of our meals out of the freezer and the pantry. This week we cooked a Turkey crown for a family roast on Sunday, usually it’s just us two. It feed 8 that day we had leftovers for dinner one night, Turkey, cauliflower cheese and left over mashed potato and gravy another. Then we had fried fish (freezer)with home made oven chips and peas, last night bolognese out of the freezer with spaghetti. Today some salmon potatoes and fresh broccoli with some frozen B-road beans. Oh and there’s enough left over for a pot pie and I have some pastry in the freezer so that will be another low cost meal. The crown was very good value and provided lots of meals if you don’t mind eating the same meat for a few nights! They are about a third more expensive this year so will wait until there are some deals then will stock up. So I’m finally seeing some space in the freezer want to get down to two freezers and completely empty the small one before we head out in the RV February 1st next year for our three months in warmer climes. I need some boots but can’t justify the cost of a new pair so will manage for now. Trying to help our daughter and her family too by baking bread for them as well as us and making them one meal a week which usually means they can eat twice from it. We are all in the same position. Being frugal is a necessity for most these days. Love the vegetable stock cubes. Some really helpful blog posts lately. Keep it up and keep us all in the loop with your travels. Best wishes and happy thanksgiving to one and all. 😊

  5. I did a lot of cooking for the freezer using sale and pantry items. Shaved $42 off my grocery bill for a final bill of $74. We switched from our cotton sheets to our flannel sheets.

    I had a tooth pulled yesterday. I have a savings plan my regular dentist. She gives a 15% discount on all services, with two free cleanings and a set of x-rays per year. She pulled my tooth yesterday, and it is healing nicely so far. We also had a good discussion on my options for tooth replacement.

    We are replacing three skylights which are older, leaking and less efficient. Our contractor took final measurements for the skylights. He also made temporary repairs to our roof for free. This meant my 71-year-old husband did not go up on the roof to make these repairs. We potentially saved an ambulance ride and ER visit.

    1. Claudia,

      I’m glad you kept your husband off the roof. As a nurse you wouldn’t believe how many ER visits were secondary to falling off ladders; especially in the 70+ age range.


  6. Sounds like a busy challenging week. We have been trying to eat without grocery shopping this week. I only purchased flour and items for salad dressing. Most of the shopping for Thanksgiving has been done. We are getting together with our daughters and their family’s and each family is preparing and shopping for part of the Thanksgiving meal. I have baked 4 loaves of bread some for stuffing and some for sandwiches. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  7. Sounds like a very full and fun week.
    Wow, on the campground prices! As a child we were a part of a large camping group that met monthly…camping during the spring/summer/fall, and just potlucking 🙂 in the winter. Such good memories, and I still have my vest with all the awards/patches I received. Back in the 70’s & 80’s camping was cheap, surprised to see it’s so very expensive these days. Yikes

  8. I’ll leave out the boring and the negative. This week I saw that I may be moving to a place where I can have a garden! Have a very happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Darlene,

      You have a good start on Christmas! I too am focusing on homemade, upcycling, etc. gifts first for Christmas, then if needed go to store bought. My mom and I have been having fun thinking of ideas for each on our lists.


    2. That’s exciting, there’s so much I’ve learned this year about gardening through different suggested sites. It’s like a chemistry and biology class combined.


  9. What our week looked like was eating some already canned soups as it has been a bit chilly. Finishing up some Christmas gifts also. Although we try to keep gifts to a minimum most of what I give is handcrafted. The rest is gift cards that way there isn’t a gift given that someone doesn’t really have use for. So far this year I have sewn and hand quilted a king size scrap quilt, crocheted a large afghan and made a quillow and a crocheted Bluey dog for another of the great grand kids. This next week will focus on getting the pies done for Thanksgiving as that is what my daughter in law requested. Cleaning up the yard for winter.
    I love your blog i am excited to see what the new ministry will bring. Blessings Darlene

  10. Thank you, Merissa, for all of your posts and all that you share with us and teach us. Wishing you and your lovely family the happiest of Thanksgivings. I pray that your time in the RV is rich and blessed; and may you have opportunities for planting lots of seeds and leading others to the Lord..

    Connie Lipp

  11. Merissa,
    I love hearing about your travels and it’s great to here that you’re saving money on overnight stays. This week I have been trying to keep on track on getting prepared for a Christmas Bazaar that I signed up for. In addition, I have elk hunters here for 5 days, 2 days off, then another 5 days. This has been a challenge as they are staying in my craft room and there’s too many people and meals for me to use my kitchen and dining table to create my kitchen crafts. I’ve been trying to do as much as possible in between their hunts throughout the day. I was able to do some toilet fizzies, wood polish, seasoning mixes, flea spray, and prepping our meals. When my mom and I were making the menu we took stock of what we had (both of our homes) and made our menu and grocery lists accordingly which saved us both money. I am having mom bring up gallon water jugs tomorrow, because my Berkey can’t keep up with all the hot water, cold water, tea, and coffee drinkers (although he is trying really hard and doing a good job). We have plenty of water here, but it’s not drinkable without going through the Berkey. It is nice that we don’t have to conserve on showers and washing. Our spring was still filling our 2- 2500 gallon water tanks during the driest part of this summer. My grandfather always said that we have running water; grab a pail and run to the crick, lol.

    Have a blessed week,

  12. So just curious, why buy seeds when you don’t own a place for a garden? Are the travels going to be temporary- just for the winter? Seeds for hostess gifts? Just wondering?

    1. We are not selling our homestead. At this time we plan to be back at some point, we don’t know when that is yet as we are currently doing service projects.

  13. Merissa,
    I am 72, live on social security, and am learning to embrace a frugal living’s fun, educational, a challenge for sure. You emails and your community of followers have really helped me! You know what? My life is more peaceful, of course faith in God will do that❤️ just wanted to
    thankyou for what you do.

  14. Thank you for the easy cranberry sauce recipe, I’m going to make it this week. Somehow I missed a lot of your posts this week, so planning on a binge-read tomorrow evening. Praying for your family as you adjust to your new lifestyle.
    This week was an easy cooking week because last weekend I needed to defrost the freezer in my garage, and wanted to use up some of the meat. I made meatballs and used pork country ribs and beef short ribs to make a big batch of Italian “Sunday Sauce” with, of course, spaghetti to go with it. I also made some rice and a big batch of sauteed some onions and mushrooms from the fridge. All this fod made the basis of meals for the week. I just cooked up fresh vegetables and one night some stir-fried beef for variety and that was it.
    This week was a “spend” week for groceries and some Christmas presents. I got some used like-new books from Alibris for a fraction of the cost of new. Tonight is our first deep freeze. Winter is coming.

  15. Thanks, Merissa, for sharing your adventures with us and encouraging us to do the same.
    Raising your kids this way will pay off now and as they grow and will help them be wiser consumers and guardians of the land.

  16. Thank you for your travel updates. I would have bought some seeds too! I enjoyed reading how you are eating and finding free exercise away from home. Ideas for the future. This week I found a local hardware store going out of business. I got 40 % off everything. These are things I needed. I also got a small kitchen table for my son’s apartment. I asked the price. Mouse repel, roach repel, organic fertilizer, boot mats, winter sleds, kid’s gloves, cedar 4 x 5 garden frame all 40% off. I am getting ready for thanksgiving and making 3 ingredient cranberry sauce. I got $20 off floor cleaning cloths for son’s apartment. Landlord left Swiffer’s there with no cloths. Bought a futon for oldest son, age 30, when he was 13. Still in use as his apartment sofa. It’s cover was washable and dryable. Got a $10 coffee table, that matches blond wood of sofa arms. I think it is actually a kid’s table from a daycare. I winterized a coleus and geranium plant to not buy next year. Making moldy leaves for next year’s garden.