Frugal Friday Week #47

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Welcome to Frugal Friday, where we share updates and all kinds of fresh new frugal tips!

Snow covered mountains we spotted all on our drive this past week. These were in New Mexico.

Typically, I share our weekly frugal living here week, but I’ve decided to take a little sabbatical from Frugal Fridays for a few weeks after dealing with criticism and certain comments. Don’t worry, I’m not put off from the whole idea of sharing, I’ve just decided that a short break and little breather will be good for now. 🙂

In the meantime, I have plenty of “frugal life” from you to share as well as special deals I’ve found this week. Let’s dive in!


Deals I Found

Here are the latest best deals on Auguson Farms Emergency Foods.

You can get the Lego Magazine for free right now. This is a great deal. My kids have LOVED this little magazine for the past few years.

Organic Vanilla beans are 18% off right now for an already good deal. You can get a 10-pack or a 25-pack. This is the brand I buy to make all my homemade vanilla.

5 Ingredient Cookbook is a free Kindle book right now. You can also download the Kindle app on your computer to read for free.

a slice of old fashioned lemon ice box pie

Blog Posts I Wrote

We had a trip to Ikea this week where I got some furniture and things for the new house. This was a grater with an attached container that I got for my mom.

How YOU Lived Frugal This Week

This is your place! Leave a comment on the post here about how you lived frugally this week. I will paste some of the replies here on next week’s post, and one random commenter will win a pack of organic Vanilla beans next week!

I am nervous about posting this one. I am apply many frugal ideas, but rarely come up with my own. Sometimes my family gets cravings for eating out. This week I bought a bottle of taco bell taco sauce to put in our quesadillas. It tastes like we are eating out, but saving so much money, by staying home. – Sarah

This past week we went through our freezers to see what we already have. This weekend I will go through the pantry and make meal plans !
We found a new Amish store with discounted groceries and lots of Amish goods not too far from where we live!!
We celebrated our 24th anniversary, but I was sick, so we will go out to dinner tonight…using a gift card that I have had for a while. – Bethany

We have been working hard to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our diet. I tried something new last night. I microwaved a whole spaghetti squash. When cooled, shredded the squash. I then cooked spaghetti noodles and added the spaghetti squash to the cooking noodles about 3 minutes before the noodles were done. Stirred and drained the spaghetti mixture. Topped with meatballs and sauce from Aldi. It turned out great and we ate lots of vegetables in our spaghetti! We will be eating this more often as it was quick, inexpensive and full of extra vegetables. – Colette

I cover my stove burners with pot and kettle lids when cooking hamburger or bacon so grease doesn’t go on burner elements. Then wash lids when doing dishes.
Had fun eating picnic lunch with friend. She wants to do it again.
After days for girls volunteering, we hope to buy items for food pantry.
We had 99 cents per pound chicken thighs and mashed potatoes. Veggies were from the freezer. Neighbor has abundance of eggs so upgraded a box of brownie mix with chocolate chips and sprinkles for son. We had scrambled eggs and 79 cent per pound ham.
Husband is working on 8 x 8 greenhouse in workshop attic. He has onions started. We have an acre of garden at least.
Take care
– Chris b

You’re articles and tips on frugal living encouraged me to do a “no spend” event. When I talked to my husband about it, I planned for a week but hoped for a month. We weren’t 100% successful, but we were able to stay fairly focused for a month. For me, it was a great learning time. I was able to break some habits that I just couldn’t before, and get back in touch with some better ways of doing things that I hadn’t done for way too many years. BONUS! More savings than I expected.
I am hoping the motivation remains so we can continue to live and enjoy the simpler life we are finding. It can be done in. – Caro

I am still on my low/no buy challenge. I skipped the store this week and will miss my fresh produce (I eat mainly fresh produce daily) but will survive on frozen or canned. Changes up what I eat as well and I am a creature of habit. I did get swayed by two braided rugs that were on an amazing sale, but I took a second look at the rugs I have now and they still are in great shape. So, I didn’t hit order now and deleted the app! Have a great week! – Michelle

It seems living frugal each week is a challenge for sure. I receive an increase in a monthly expense, so I cut something we in our budget and now I am down to really having a difficult time finding where to cut. Once I cut something and I’ve “balanced” the budge, I receive an email from some other monthly expense that is going up in cost…I sure appreciate all you share with us on how you live frugally and how we might save money.

I try to use sweaters, blankets and throws and keep our heat turned down. We turn it completely off at night and sleep with comforters. We also use LED candles and lights.
I use power strips and turn them off when not in use.

We are blessed with a small grocery discount store in our community. I was able to buy a senior veteran I am helping bananas for .39 a lb. The owners are thoughtful of our community members and helping us stretch our dollars. They often have a graduated monthly sale on groceries. When they do, I stock up and sometimes save as much as 40%. I was able to get a lot of canned soups, canned beans (many varieties), and also treated us to some beverages at a 40% discount (off of already discounted prices).

When we do “go to town” we stock up at a Grocery Outlet store and this week we saved $175 on groceries. We also fuel up and save .80 a gallon on fuel “in town.” My husband and I try to run all of our errands in the same day, and we don’t drive every day to save on fuel.
We go on Wednesday when it’s senior day at our discount store and Thursday when it’s senior day at our larger grocery store.

I also purchase quite a bit of our groceries online and comparison shop on pricing normally between Amazon (subscribe and save if I can), Walmart+ (includes Paramount) and Target 5% off with Red card.

I always check our grocery fliers each week too.

I am going to do a bucket garden again this year. I am hoping to raise enough for our family and a bit for our community members in need.

Our daughter wanted ice cream, and we didn’t have any. It was too expensive at the store when we went last time, so we didn’t buy any. We had some frozen bananas and used our Yonana maker to make soft serve frozen bananas. She also baked a cake and made homemade frosting because that was all we had on hand. It turned out beautifully and was delicious. She is a great cook and made it her own by adding a bit of vanilla and almond to the mix and almond flavoring to the frosting. It tasted like a frosted glazed donut.

My husband and I plan on eating from the pantry as long as we can. I usually do a search of recipes on the internet based on what I need to use up. We’ve found some really good recipes this way. We normally plan our meal in the morning over coffee.

I remember my grandma lived through the depression and used to darn her socks. I do the same. I find it reminds me of my grandma and is relaxing. I try to make it through the winter season without buying new and buy in the offseason.

I shopped our house this week too for things that I haven’t used for awhile. Used some plates I had in the cabinet for years and never really used. Dug through my clothes and pulled out some I am wearing that I haven’t for awhile. I also found some adult coloring books and colored pencils tucked away and I think I might try that this weekend or maybe some cross-stitch that I have had for years.

I am really trying to shop our house before I make a purchase. We also have a buy nothing community page on Facebook that I use. I was able to get a very nice free dresser for that senior I am helping. All it cost us was the gas to pick it up. I encourage you if you haven’t tried it, find a local community page on social media. I have found so many great items for free or very low cost. I have also learned about free entertainment in our community.

I use every last drop that I can of things like toothpaste and shampoo. I purchase what is on sale not brand name.

We live where there is bad internet service so we pay for satellite cable and stream a bit instead of going to the movies. I am cutting streaming services and switching over to watching dvds from the library. I also found some free magazines for each of us at the library. I even got a large print western for my husband that he is reading. We play a lot of card and board games in our house. It’s fun and brings us closer together.

I found a recipe for homemade cat treats I am going to make this weekend. Our cat likes expensive treats and I am hoping she will enjoy these and I can cut out the store bought treats.

We try to find the joy in the small, every day living. Walking, reading, cooking, games,
music…a nice cup of coffee or tea.

I am excited to read the meal plans shared on your Facebook page. Thank you. – Amy

Sarah is our winner from last week! Sarah, I’ve sent you an email so that I can get your prize sent out to you!

What have you been up to this week? Leave a comment about your frugal living this past week for a chance to win some vanilla beans!

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. Yesterday I bought 2 pounds of ground hamburger meat and chicken drumsticks. I will be making meatloaf with one pound of ground beef and goulash with the other one. I will fix oven fried chicken with the drumsticks. I never eat restaurant food anymore. I like cooking my own food. I think it has something to do with my grandpa. He was a chef.

  2. I saved this week by combining car trips. I made stir-fry from frozen raw whole shrimp for Valentines day. I also made a Keto cake box mix, on Monday, for Valentines day. We skipped cards and texted each other. I am making my own granola this week. I am exercising in basement over a large $4.99 sq. yard $100 Ollies store zany, colorful, zigzag carpet. I turn on old CD’s music I have and exercise. I decided not to get any more knitting lessons and use You-Tube, etc. I am knitting with acrylic more often and have joined a church knitting group. Who you spend time with does affect how you spend! For instance, I was infrequently going to a little (wool) yarn store in the past. The women who often go there spend a lot of $$ on yarn, etc. They go to an annual New York fiber festival by bus. They even buy extra tickets for newbies to buy from them because they assume some newbie will buy it!

  3. I did a stock up on meats (for people and the dog (I make his food, find it is pretty easy and saves a little money, and he’s a picky bugger!) and pantry items. I save it for when I get my $20 off coupon from the store. They send one about every 6 weeks. Spend 200 get 20 off. I figure I will spend that over two weeks to stock up plus weekly items, so I save up my list for that coupon and sale items. Timing is key! To the person who was nervous about posting the Taco Bell sauce tip, YOU ROCK!! That is a great tip because it satisfied the craving for take out (and um, as healthy as I eat, can’t beat a taco bell taco sometimes!)and you saved money! Win Win!! I love making copy cat recipes, but that simple one item addition is a great time and money saver all in one!

  4. Hello Little House friends. Sorry I have been MIA the last couple of weeks. I’ve been sick. And we traveled to help our daughter in Dallas. I am on my “no buy” kick. Trying to only purchase what I NEED. Funny thing is right now I’ve misplaced my list. Yea, I am a list person using recycled used paper of course. And so I am not shopping until I find my list. Driving me a little crazy right now, and yes, I started another one, so I should find the missing one soon, haha! With this week and Valentine’s Day, my husband and I opted to celebrate this weekend were we can enjoy the day longer! Scored two free tickets to an upcoming movie! A free date afternoon! Was able to purchase local meat at a very good price, so saved in the freezer for later. Was able to score free paint/paint supplies on a Buy Nothing facebook page. Was perfect for my daughter’s home. So very thankful and was just the colors she needed. I was gifted fresh green onions so I am cutting them up and dehydrating them this weekend. Also drying shrimp that I purchased on sale. Good for our gumbos and my husband eats them as a snack. Dried shrimp in our area are very expensive, even though we are on the gulf of Mexico and many shrimpers not too far from us. I purchased an AeroGarden, try this out. I will gift it to my grandson but I first want to try it out. I purchased it from a friend that does fundraisers for Foster the Love children. I paid $30, and it looks like it sells for up to $100. Whether it works or not, it is helping an excellent cause. Thrift store shopping scored summer tshirts for my grandson. I purchased a used Yogurt machine. Will try that out this weekend as well. I believe, Marissa, you have a recipe on file. Will search for it shortly! Busy weekend for us! Until next week!

  5. We had snow upon more snow this week so I didn’t do any driving. It’s been about 2 weeks since we did any grocery shopping but I’ll head out this weekend for Milk and fresh produce.

    I winter sowed more Foxglove, poppies, phlox and a few other older flower seeds.

    Inside I’ve started begonias from seed, 22 out of 50 seeds have germinated so far. We have 1 room in the house with a heated floor and I put the begonia seed starts in that room on the floor with a light above it. I am eagerly awaiting inside starts of herbs and veggies.

    Propane is up 25cent a gal since December. Instead of increasing the thermostat during these super cold days, we wear wool socks, an extra layer and frequently drink hot water.

    Breakfast has been mostly PB oatmeal with 🍌 and Chia seeds.
    On Valentine’s day, I made homemade pizzas in the shape of hearts. Other meals have been soup, chili, tortellini, lots of soft boiled eggs and various leftovers. I purchase bountiful baskets produce every other weekend and that covers about 60 % of our monthly fresh produce needs in winter. Tonight’s meal is veggie soup with homemade bread, I’ll use cabbage, carrots, celery and onion fresh and stock and tomatoes previously canned.

    I re- grew green onions in a cup of water, using the tops on potatoes and in soups and salads. After purchasing head Lettuce, I carefully wrap the whole head in previously used aluminum foil and store it low in fridge, this allows it to stay good for at least 2-3 weeks. I use this same method to store celery.

    I mended several items of clothing, unsubscribed to several constant (salesy) email lists and read several books using our Library’s libby app.

    I used our treadmill to walk most days ( until the snow melts) and also did cross fit workouts, snow shoveling and yoga (via YouTube videos) for exercise.

    Hope everyone has a frugal, happy week ahead.

  6. I really enjoy all the Frugal Friday ideas! No criticisms here ❤️
    There’s just one of me at home now, although several animals and I do cook for our local Shelter. One of my weekly volunteering “gigs” is at our local food pantry. We have a couple of “volunteer shelves” in the back and are encouraged to check them out and take home whatever we can use. These are items that legally cannot go out on pantry shelves but are more than fine to consume. If your area has a food pantry, you might be able to get some extra groceries for helping out just a few hours a week (for me, it’s three). I’ve gotten many items that I’ve been able to incorporate into meals for myself and others (LOVE the dried blueberries!). Such a win-win!

  7. We’ve probably had more “pantry challenge” (only buying absolute necessities fresh but almost entirely eating from my much-appreciated food storage) months than not this past year. I haven’t added it up, but I’m sure those months have saved us hundreds of dollars that we could then use to pay other bills.

    Yesterday I ordered some seeds I need for this year’s garden. I needed quite a few types of seeds so it felt like a bigger purchase (especially after a couple no-spend months), but I had to remind myself that any food I can grow from those seed packages is likely cheaper than buying those same foods at the store or buying plant starts. Since I needed the seeds to start seedlings so they’re ready to plant in time, I didn’t get them ordered during a sale, but I did get them ordered when the company (Baker Creek) was doing a promo of extra free seeds with your order, so hey, getting free seeds counts as frugal, right?

  8. Thanks for all of the frugal tips this week. We shopped at our local community store, and I didn’t put a thing in the cart! I was going to buy some dehydrated potatoes, but my husband told me he didn’t think they were a good price, so I put them back. I was happy to hear that he is learning prices. I think that is one way to be frugal…Know your prices. My husband found some things at a good price, but I decided I didn’t really need anything, that I would use more of what we have on hand. I know you make your own sauces, and we make our tartar sauce, but we have never made ketchup or salad dressings. I am almost out of both and am excited to try making homemade this weekend. It will be healthier and probably taste better. My husband needed a haircut and we don’t have a barber here in our small community, (I don’t dare cut my husband’s hair; he is very particular about his hair – even though it would save us $20), so he went to a nearby town and while he was there he did a pick-up order for us at Walmart and also shopped a bit at Grocery Outlet. This also worked into our practice of combining errands into 1 run to save money on fuel. I like doing pick-up orders at Walmart and Safeway, because it saves time shopping in person in the store, I don’t make impulse purchases, and I can see how much I have spent and adjust my order to stay in budget. (Sometimes, I do a pick-up order at Walmart and Safeway. You just need a $35 order minimum to do a pick-up order and I price comparison as I shop and load either my Safeway or Walmart cart depending on the price). My husband needed a new white noise machine, and I used a store reward to pay for most of it. I have been surfing new Facebook groups that have images of small space living to get ideas for down the line if we move to a smaller home. It’s been so cold here, we’ve all been staying close to home and not doing much. Playing games, reading, watching movies, listening to music. We did go to the library for some more books and DVDs and our librarian showed us audio books that have all in one – little compact cassettes about 2″ in size, and she gave us each a pair of headphones, so we can listen to audio books. There isn’t a lot to do where we live. For fun, we usually go to the store on senior day, the library and the thrift store. At the thrift store I found a free picture frame, a binder, and a book. I am going through things and starting to put together items for a spring garage sale. Tomorrow is Saturday, and I shop at Dollar General because they have a $5.00 coupon on Saturday if you spend $25. Before I go I make sure I have my coupons loaded on the app. They also have cash back. Tomorrow, I’ll get $2.50 back. I’m going to make a big pot of split pea soup in the crockpot. I have a popover pan that I have been wanting to use, so I think I will make some popovers too. I am trying to wash a full load of clothes when I do laundry. I checked our cable bill to see if there was anything I could cut. Nothing right now. While I did I also checked to see if they had any free offers. Someone told me that you could purchase pet medicine online from Canada and save a lot of money. I am going to see if I can find the website.

  9. Merissa,

    Don’t worry what other’s think. I have found that those who criticize more have the most to be criticized about. This can be said for a lot of things. I love your blog and posts and there isn’t a week that doesn’t go by that I add something to my email for later ‘finding’ and print off at least one recipe. My pastor’s wife has recently had a bad reaction to diary, so I’m sending them your way.

    God Bless you and yours.

  10. Busy making maple syrup. Not a frugal hobby to start. But this was son’s FFA project one year. My husband continued 5he hobby. We gift jelly jars of maple syrup each year.