Friday, December 25, 2020

Frugal Friday ~ The Christmas Edition

Good morning everyone and welcome to the Christmas Edition of Frugal Friday. We woke up to a white Christmas this morning. 

Last weekend we worked hard to finish up the inventory my daughter had for her shop before taking this week off for Christmas. 

Quote of the Week

Why in childhood and youth do we wish time to pass so quickly - we want to grow up so fast - yet as adults we wish just the opposite? ~ Willie Morris ~ My Dog Skip

Avoiding Spending

Remember the more effort you put into frugal and resourceful living during the times when you have more money than month, the easier it will be to get through the times when there is more month than money.

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

We cooked every meal from scratch this week and used up all the leftovers as well. I keep the leftovers in special bowls and keep them front and center in the fridge, so they can be seen and eaten first. 

One way we save money in the kitchen is to not use paper plates. Not only do they cost money, but they are not good for the environment. I'm not going to spend money on something that I already have, so we use the dishes we have and we wash them to reuse over and over again. 

Another way we save money here is to use up what we have on hand. Last week when I used the bread crumbs for salmon patties, I used a loaf of bread that was older and needed to be used, so I made bread crumbs out of the entire loaf. 

That left me with extra breadcrumbs, so I made sure to make recipes to use that up. One night we had hamburger steaks and then I used the rest of the breadcrumbs in a meatloaf. 

I make my hot chocolate with water rather than milk, so we can save the milk for cereal and/or cooking. 

On Monday we did a Walmart grocery pick up and had it delivered. The only non food item I bought was Great Value freezer bags. We ordered four jars of peanut butter in the 18 ounce size for $1.32, but they only had two of those, so they substituted two forty ounce jars instead, which normally cost $3.12, for the same price. A small win for us. 

One night this week I made Mexican Goulash for dinner. I didn't have any elbow macaroni, which I prefer to use as it's smaller, but I did have plenty of Penne on hand, so I used that instead. No need to go shopping and spend money for elbow macaroni and I used up something else in my kitchen.  Make substitutions where you need to and use up the groceries you do have on hand. 

Making waffles Monday, I used up the last of my bag of Krusteaz pancake mix I bought in the
 summer of 2018. I wrote about that experiment here.  This ten pound bag lasted us for eighteen months. 

These peanut butter cookies with a Reese's cup in the middle are some of my favorite cookies. We only have them at Christmas time and I made one batch, which makes two dozen cookies.  

My Favorite Tools

Before this tool I would chop hamburger meat with a large spoon until it resembled fine crumbles. My Mom used to tell me I was a loud cooker, LOL.

Nowadays one of my favorite tools in this kitchen is this Mix and Chop tool from Pampered Chef. The beveled pinwheel blades make it easy to chop and crumble hamburger meat for tacos and chili, and you can even use it on non stick pans. I use it whenever I need to crumble hamburger. 

Meals This Week

Salmon Patties, Potatoes, Carrots, Beets
Hamburger Steak, Potatoes & Peas, Carrots 
Mexican Goulash, Cole Slaw, Carrots
Grilled Salmon, Basmati Rice, Steamed Broccoli
Soup Beans, Greens, Potatoes and Cornbread

Saving on Entertainment

For movie night this week we watched Annie, which is a sweet version of the old classic movie. 

On Christmas Eve we watched The Walton's Christmas movie, "The Homecoming". It is available to watch for free on YouTube. 

The Walton's is the true life story of Earl Hamner and his family who grew up during the Great Depression. For Christmas that year his mother tells John Boy that the only thing they were able to provide were scarves she had knitted for all of the children. 

Later in the movie they show a church service where all the children receive an orange and you could see the joy on their faces from that  one simple gift. 

What I've been Reading This Week

eBook of Thrift, by Samuel Smiles

How to Stretch Ground Beef

Other Frugal Activities

I did a little mending and sewed a button  back onto one of my favorite shirts.

We save the twist ties from our bread bags. They come in handy for keeping extension cords neatly and safely  organized. I also use them to hold the cage together on our fan after the clips that hold it in place broke. 

We used the plastic wrapper from a package of toilet paper and cut it in order to line one of our garbage bags thus saving a garbage bag for this week. 

Subbing News

One of the teachers at the high school texted me this week and asked if I could sub for him for two days next month. I explained that I wasn't subbing during Covid, but I would let him know as soon as that changed. He said he understood and thanked me for responding to him. 

The school district closed school last week due to the increase in Covid numbers and a shortage of staffing. I'm sure they are having trouble finding subs. I was asked to work the last two weeks for one teacher who was being quarantined, but I turned her down. It is not worth the risk right now. The school system had a shortage of subs before Covid and now it is even worse. I will be glad when all of this is behind us. 


The free book I picked from the Nutritional Science Zoom meeting last week is Chef AJ's new book, written along with Glen Merzer, Own Your Health: How to Live Long and Avoid Chronic Illness

If you're looking for something new to read don't forget about Project Gutenberg , which is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. There is also the FreeReadFeed website as well. 

Here is a link to several free printable calendars for 2021.

From Paper Dolls by Cory... a free Grinch paper doll to play with over the Holidays AND even one to color! 


A man joined a monastery. The abbot explained to the aspiring monk that he would only be allowed to speak two words every ten years.

At the end of the first decade, he was given a chance to say his first two words. He looked at the abbot and said, “Bed’s hard.”

Ten years later, the abbot gave him the chance to say two more words. He opened his mouth and said, “Food’s bad.” Finally at the end of his 30th year he looked the abbot straight in the eye and said, “I quit.” “I can’t say that I’m surprised,” replied the abbot. “You’ve been here for thirty years, and all you do is complain.”

How was your week? What did you do this week to spend less, save more and make do? We hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas and as always be safe and healthy 

~ Living within our Means ~
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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Frances. Merry Christmas to you too.

  2. Sounds like another fantastic frugal week! I love the monastery humor lol. Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas!

    1. Thank you, Martha. We hope you had a very Merry Christmas too.

  3. Merry Christmas!!!!

    I love goulash so much - so many ways to fix it and it is just good plain old comfort food.
    I remember my Daddy telling about the year he got ONLY an orange and thought it was the best Christmas. They never got fruit like that and it was a wonderful treat he said.
    Grandma was a young widow with 3 young children living way out in the country - not many opportunities.
    Sure makes us thankful for what we have.

    1. Yes, it sure makes us grateful for all that we have, Cheryl. Merry Christmas to you too.

  4. Some places were paying $200/day for subs. That sounded great, but still not worth it. I have one of those choppers, but I got it from Rada. I am going to use it today or tomorrow for ground pork. I guess I am a loud cook, too. Or, I was before now.

    1. Yes, $200 is not worth the risk to me either. In one school they had 15 staff members out with Covid, so I feel like I am making the right decision for me. I didn't know Rada made those choppers. I'll have to go look at it.

  5. Merry Christmas Belinda and Bailey!

    1. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Sluggy. Thank you for all you did for us this holiday season. :)

  6. Merry Christmas to you and your daughter! I enjoy your blog very much.i agree, can't wait till things get back to " normal" I miss being around my grandkids.i have type 2 diabetes so being careful.Hope your day is filled with peace and happiness.

    1. Thank you, Karen. I hope your day was filled with peace and happiness too. I know you will want to see your grandchildren asap. I would too. :)

  7. Those cookies look divine! I’ll have to remember them the next time i want something a little different. I’m afraid i would be the only one to eat them, here! So yummy looking!
    My daughter is a teacher in Fl. She’s been working this whole time. I worry about her and the whole country. What a mess!

    1. Thank you, Debbie. I will be praying for your daughter. These are scary times for sure.

  8. Merry Christmas!! I hope you have a wonderful day.
    We have snow here too. It is the first time in 10 years that I remember having a white Christmas. It is nice being able to stay home, and while this year is different, we can still have fun.
    Thanks for the tip on the Waltons. I used to enjoy the show years ago. We live a few hours from Charlottesville, and I always wanted to visit Earl Hamner's birthplace. I think they have a bed and breakfast decorated in the style of the depression era Waltons.
    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    1. Thank you, Kathy. I would love to see the Walton's house in Schuler and visit the bead and breakfast in Charlottesville. That would be so neat. I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and also a very happy new year.

  9. Merry Christmas, Belinda. Your quote of the week made me cry. How very true it is. I love the Walton's and my husband and myself watch it just about every day. I live near Richmond, VA and Earl Hamner's home is in Schuyler, VA which is an hour or two drive from us. We went there several years ago and saw his home and went thru the Walton's Mountain Museum. My favorite time period to learn about in history is anything involving the Great Depression or anything about the home front during WWII. I can remember my mom talking about growing up during the Depression and she would always get an orange or tangerine in the toe of her stocking and that was such a big deal because at that time fresh fruit was a luxury. I have been reading your blog for years but I don't think I have ever left a comment. I enjoy your blog. I hope you and your daughter have a very Blessed Christmas.

    1. Thank you, Bobbi. I love the quote from My Dog Skip. It is one of my favorite books and movie. How neat that you were able to visit Earl Hammer's childhood home. I have always wanted to do that. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoy the blog. That means a lot to me, thank you and I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and many blessings in the new year.

  10. The tool you show, from pampered chef, works great to split up tuna out of a can when making tuna salad ;)

  11. Schools are hurting for stable staffing across the country. You have to make decisions that are best for yourself. That joke was pretty good.

  12. That line from My Dog Skip is one of my favourite quotes. It is so profound and sad.

    Merry Christmas.

    1. I love that quote too, Theresa. I loved the movie and the book.

  13. Merry Christmas!

    Belinda, I was thinking of you yesterday. I know you were not close to the blast at all. I hope you were not affected and that friends and family are safe.

    I don't understand paper plates either. I never use them for their intended purpose.

    Do you know if you are next in line for vaccine? I read some States are making teacher's priority for round 2-3 of the vaccines. You might be able to get it next month.

    My DH just found out he will be round 3 because he's part of the states requiring construction workers to be vaccinated. He will have his in February. He's considered critical because of the housing shortage.

    I had bought my DH Cyberpunk for an early X-mas gift. He's been playing that game since it was tabletop RPG and waited a long time for the video game release. If you heard in the news the release was a disaster and the game was buggy. My DH has the pro Xbox so his glitches were not as bad and more funny than anything else. He didn't have broken game play. Once the investor's started suing the developer my DH became skittish about the game. You can get refunds for the game if it's broken. DH would have been excluded but he explained to Microsoft as an investor he felt skittish about CDProjekt Red's future and if they would be able to provide the fixes, patches and contents of the game. Microsoft agreed with him and refunded his money. It was a huge win. The disappointment was bad but we didn't lose a substantial amount of money because of it.

    I did my big end of the year stock up. It cost less than $15 this year. I didn't need anything. My home is that well stocked. I am really proud of myself, lol. I worked so hard to get to that point. The rest of the week was just normal frugal things.

    1. Thank you, Safyne. We were not close to the blast at all, like you said, we live abut three hours from Nashville, but many folks in eastern Tennessee were impacted by the lack of service. It seems to be back and working now though and I am very grateful.

      I don't know when I will be able to get the vaccine. I'm willing to wait my turn though. I'm glad the front line workers are able to get theirs and hope this helps keep it from spreading further.

      I had read a little bit abut the game having issues. I'm glad your dh was able to get refund.

      Kudos on being all stocked up, that is terrific!

  14. I've never seen that mix & chop tool before, but it looks really cool. We've been staying in, celebrating the holidays, enjoying time together & eating way too much of delicious food.

    1. I hear you on the delicious food! We have been enjoying that as well. I'm happy to hear you've been able to stay in and enjoying your time with each other. I love this time of year for that.

  15. How does the big bag of pancake mix compare to the waffle mix in the box at the grocery store? The box of waffle mix is our favorite but unless I can find a BOGO sale on it I hate the price. That big bag is such a good price but I would hate to buy it and then have to suffer through it or throw it out which is what my husband would want me to do if we do not like it.

    I'm with you on the paper plates. When we had five kids at home we did use some paper plates but pretty much never now. Last month we were cleaning out the pantry and I realized we had an entire shelf dedicated to paper plates which was silly. Those all got packed away to the laundry room and made more food storage space.

    1. We like the pancake mix and of course you can doctor it up too. You can add vanilla and eggs to make it more waffle like. We like to add cinnamon and bananas for banana waffles. They need to make a smaller bag, so people can sample it before buying the big bag.


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