Friday, May 27, 2022

Fourth Frugal Friday May 2022

Welcome to Friday! 

Quote of the Week

Buy things because you need them, not because they are on sale

My Frugal Week

We went to several yard sales last Friday, but there weren’t very many to choose from. We suspect that graduation and parties had something to do with that. We did find some Scott’s toilet paper priced at $1.00 for 6 rolls. It’s normally $1.00 per roll of the 1,000 sheets, so it was a good find. 

 I deleted several emails this week where the sender was enticing me with free shipping and discounts if I purchased their product. There wasn’t anything I needed this week, so now all of those emails have been deleted.

I wanted some new curtains in one of our bedrooms, but it wasn’t a need, so I was going to add it to my yard sale list and hoped to run across some this summer. But, in cleaning out Mom’s bedroom, I found a beautiful pair in her cedar chest, so I will wash and iron them and use them. 

Update on my Mom

Mom is currently in the ICU in the hospital and the news isn’t good as she is very sick. We thought we lost her on Wednesday, but she is still here for the moment and is on life support at this time. It’s been very hard on all of us as we only have one mother in this life. I’m very sad, but hanging in there as I know this is all part of life. 

I didn’t respond to comments on my blog post last Friday for this reason. I know you will all understand that my heart was in another place. ❤️ 

Question of the Week

This is a long shot, but here goes…do any of you know of a Watkins product called chocolate dessert mix? They used to make and sell it, but discontinued it in 2015 because consumers tastes were changing and Watkins wanted to keep up with the times. 

I’ve often thought it was simply pudding mix and I could substitute pudding for this product. I could also substitute a dry homemade pudding mix for the product. I have a cake recipe that calls for this product, a recipe I made many times in the early 1990s. I would love to make it again now and was just wondering. 

The recipe is called Vanilla Filled Fudge Crown Cake and is really good as a layer of cheesecake bakes into the top of the chocolate Bundt cake. Let me know if you would like the recipe and I’ll post it next week.

Helping Others

There is some food here that Mom enjoyed eating that we are going to donate to the little free pantry here, so someone else can benefit from it. 

Avoiding Spending

This week I’ve mostly avoided spending money. Sometimes it comes easy for me and other times it takes a concentrated effort. I mentioned a week or so ago that I set my grocery budget at $200 and would not spend any more this month. So far that is going well. The contents of my kitchen cupboards are being used and that’s a good feeling. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

For several reasons I like it when things get used up in my pantry. On Monday I took the drawers out of the refrigerator and scrubbed them and the refrigerator inside and out. This is a much easier task when the refrigerator isn’t full. 

This week I heard a tip about putting saltine crackers in chicken salad. The lady said it extended the meat and no one could ever tell it was in there. I thought about it and we use crackers to extend all sorts of meat like ground beef in meatloaf and salmon patties. So, I tried it with some tuna salad and it tasted good to me. It’s another way to extend expensive foods with inexpensive foods in order to save money

Grocery Shortages?

One of the items I like to keep in my pantry is Hormel canned ham. Walmart has not had this in a very long time. I had been ordering it from a locally owned grocery store and ordered some recently, but they only had one can, unfortunately. I hope this isn’t a sign that they, like Walmart, will no longer have this product.

Walmart finally has chicken on their online grocery pickup app after not having it the last two months Ive tried to order it. There was a limit of one package, so that is what I ordered. I’m not putting my order in until later next week, and I hope they still have it in stock at that time. We’ve missed having things like Pineapple Sticky Chicken on our menus. 

Meals This Week

Friday:  Grilled Chicken, Brown Rice Pilaf, Steamed Broccoli

Saturday:  Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice, Broccoli. 

Sunday: Spaghetti, Green Beans with Onions, Garlic Bread.

Monday: Chicken Tenders, Rice Pilaf, Corn on the Cob. 

Tuesday: Pizza as usual for movie night.

Wednesday: Chicken Fajitas, Roasted & Smashed Potatoes, Broccoli.

Thursday: Chicken Strips, Potato Salad, Carrots, Broccoli.

Recipe of the Week

The following recipe for Taco Casserole is just a basic recipe that probably everyone has tried at one time or another. This recipe calls for a bag of nacho cheese Doritos, but I would use store brand nacho cheese chips, tortilla chips, or even tortillas in place of the name brand variety in order to save money.

Also, you can serve this with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and sour cream as toppings. 

Taco Casserole


1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper
1 medium onion
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 package nacho cheese Doritos 
1 package (8 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tomatoes, chopped


Brown and crumble ground beef with onions, salt & pepper, and drain.
In a casserole dish layer the chips, meat, cheese, and tomatoes. 
Make the last layer to be a cheese layer.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese melts.

Saving on Entertainment

On Tuesday we went to the theater to watch Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. As many of you know Bailey is a huge Harry Potter fan. We went on Tuesday because tickets are only $5.50 instead of the usual $8.50 for matinee or $10.75 after 6 p.m. So, we saved $6.00 by going on Tuesday and also for a free popcorn for being a loyalty card member. 


Free popcorn at the movies on Tuesday.

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. 

We would love to hear all about your week in the comment section

~ Living within our Means ~
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Friday, May 20, 2022

Third Frugal Friday of May 2022

Welcome to Friday! 

Quote of the Week

Life is full of unexpected endings that make way for new beginnings. That which is meant for us will not pass us by. We must build and grow daily, accept the choices others make, and be ready when new opportunities come our way
My Frugal Week

Last weekend on Friday and Saturday we went to multiple yard sales. 

We found an Omega 8006 juicer that sells for $284.59 on Amazon at a church yard sale for $5.00! I’ve always wanted an Omega juicer since it is the one Dr. Fuhrman recommends. We both love church yard sales for this very reason. 

I am in love with this juicer. I think I juiced every vegetable I had in the refrigerator. 

This is a cold press juicer so it’s not as destructive to the vegetables as a juicer than runs hot. I saved my pulp too to either use in salads or I’m looking into making some breakfast “cookies” for our yard sale mornings. 

We also found this set of six new old stock Pier One Asian style dipping/sauce bowls for $3.00. They are black on the outside and blue, green, red, and tan on the inside. These will be perfect for when we serve soy sauce with egg rolls. 

Pyrex Portables 4.5 quart casserole dish with lid and insulated bag for $2.00. I already have two of these in a smaller casserole dish and I like them because they have lids with them, which makes them easy to store food in and reheat leftovers.

Saving Money on Sewing

Bailey had a pair of sleep shorts from Torrid that needed mending. The material isn’t very high quality considering the price we paid. She has some other sleep shorts from Target that were cheaper and higher quality material. I did the best mending job I could in several places hoping they will last a while longer as this is a favorite pair. 

We were speaking about the cost of thread on the Living Simply Facebook group recently. I bought this Gutermann thread (100% polyester- 547 yards) from Amazon along with a spool of black thread in a pair for $10.93. I used the white thread for mending her shorts along with a dress for her business that had a split in the seam. 

I also used some HeatnBond UltraHold on a pair of shorts she tie-dyed for her business. The hem had come out all the way around the leg, so the HeatnBond worked well for this type of repair. I also used the new to me iron we picked up at a yard sale recently.


In cleaning up my parents old bedroom I found several coins. I found twenty dollar coins, $4.65 in change, and a two ounce silver coin that my Dad told me to keep. That was $46.42 worth of money. We also found some unused stamps that no longer stick

I found some VHS tapes in there too and offered those up for free on our local Facebook group. Surprisingly they were gone the first day

Saving Money on Shipping

Mom needed me to mail a couple of packages to her in Michigan. For cheaper shipping rates I use to mail packages. I print the labels here and schedule a pick up as well. 

For these packages I used UPS to ship and scheduling a pick up on their website cost $6 verses the $21 UPS wanted on their website to pick up here. 

Of course, if I know I have a package coming from UPS or FedEx and put it outside with a sticky note on it, our drivers are always great to pick them up too at no extra charge.

Joy of the Week

I did some weeding over the weekend near the bottom of our steps leading out to where we park our cars. Our yard is filled with wild daisies right now. They bring me so much joy every year.

Update on Mom

I’m not sure if you read this in the comment section last week or not, but my sister and her husband came down to pick my Mom up and take her to Michigan to live with them for the time being.

Mom with her new neck brace

My sister is a trained CNA and will be able to help Mom so much more than I can,  and we didn’t like the care she was getting in the rehab center, so we are looking at this as a win-win situation. Her plans are to come back home once she is better. 

Of course, my heart is broken, but I’ve done my best not to let her know that as I want her to get well. I know what it is like being separated from family by miles like this and I’m trying not to think about that. My sister is trained for this, so I know it’s what is best for Mom right now. 

Meals This Week

Friday: Chicken Tenders, Egg Rolls, Corn on the Cob.

Saturday: Submarine Sandwiches after a long day of yard sales

Sunday: Egg Roll in a Bowl, Egg Rolls, Steamed Broccoli. 

Monday: Chicken Fajitas, Roasted & Smashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli. 

Tuesday: Movie Night, which means homemade Pizza!

Wednesday: Better Cheddars, Roasted & Smashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli.

Thursday: Hamburgers, Pasta Salad, Onion Rings

Recipe of the Week

One of the ingredients I use in my kitchen is Lawry’s seasoning salt. My grandmother always added it to her lasagne and I do too. It’s a delicious alternative spice and satisfies the “something different” element.

Back in the early 1980s my Dad took several of us to Lawry’s The Prime Rib restaurant located at 100 Ontario Street in downtown Chicago. 

I can still remember the carts of Prime Rib they rolled out on a silver trolly cart and allowed us to choose the cut we wanted. Also, their famous original spinning bowl salad was really something to watch as the waiter had it spinning about two feet up in the air.

Eventually the restaurant closed its doors in Chicago, and although they have three other locations in the US, I will always remember the Chicago restaurant fondly. 

Roasted & Smashed Potatoes 


Yukon Gold Potatoes (as many as you need)
Vegetable Oil
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Scrub potatoes well and cut into desired size. 
Spray baking dish and potatoes with vegetable spray.
Sprinkle with seasonings, stir well and cover with aluminum foil. 
Place in oven and bake for one hour.
Take dish out of the oven, remove foil, and slightly smash potatoes with a potato masher or meat chopper
Place a pat of butter over each potato and place back into the oven without the foil. 
Check after 10 minutes or so to check for desired crispiness.

These were a big hit with Bailey and me and we will definitely add them to our regular menu. 


This week I picked up a free chocolate chip cookie from Chic-Fil-A, and a free small sub from Firehouse Subs as birthday freebies. 

How was your week? Any frugal wins or fails to share with us? Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. We would love to hear about your week in the comment section.

~ Living within our Means ~
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Friday, May 13, 2022

Second Frugal Friday of May 2022

Welcome to Friday! 

My Frugal Week

This week our new cell phone bill came out and I am happy to report it is down $60 from $200 to $140, which we both pay for half, so $70 each. The latest discount was for $20 off the bill for signing up for automatic payments. I’ve already paid the bill that is due by the end of the month. 

I cancelled an iTunes subscription that I was no longer using that was set for renewal in June, so I wouldn’t be charged the $19.95 annual renewal cost. 

I also cancelled a subscription service for an over the counter medicine that was set to renew this month. I didn’t recall subscribing to it, and the representative suggested I may have done it accidentally when I ordered it in January. Either way, that is now taken care of as well.

Bailey found a Harry Potter Marauder’s Map blanket with hood at the thrift store for $2.00. Bailey loves the Harry Potter series and was tickled to have found this and at such a  great price.

I visited with Mom in the rehab center Sunday on Mother’s Day. She didn’t want me to leave and even asked me to take her home with me, which breaks my heart. Her follow up appointment was on Monday. The surgeon removed the staples and said her arm was  naturally swollen due to the surgery.

When I had groceries delivered last week, Walmart said ketchup was now a shipped item, so they shipped it via FedEx. I received a text from Walmart saying it was delivered on Saturday. 

We went outside and looked all around, but couldn’t find the package, so I reported it as missing and Walmart sent out a replacement item. I found the package on Sunday when we went to visit Mom. 

The FedEx driver tied it to our mailbox, which they are not supposed to do. Our driveway is 1/8 of a mile long and can’t be seen from the house. I didn’t think FedEx would do something like this.  So, I called Walmart to let them know and they told me to keep the second bottle of ketchup when it arrived on Tuesday. 

Joy of the Week

The joy of my week happened on Friday night last week when Vickie over at Vickie’s Kitchen & Garden left me a comment about embedded comments on Blogger. She left me a link on how to fix it via a blog post made by Leigh over at 5 Acres & A Dream

Let me tell you that I made just a couple of tweaks and now the problem of having to sign in using the anonymous button to post comments on my own blog is over. I’m still not able to post on some blogs such as More Parsimony, and Sluggy’s blog. and some blogs I’m still having to post anonymously, but this is a step in the right direction. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Vickie and Leigh for helping me solve what was becoming a very frustrating problem. 

Another joy this week was Mother’s Day and my birthday on Sunday and Monday. Pictured above are the gifts Bailey bought for my birthday. A brand new in the box weather station, which she bought at a yard sale for $5.00. The magazine came free from a yard sale also. And it’s hard to see but there is a new cell phone mount for my car included. 

We both have enjoyed the new weather station. I’ve had them before only to have the outdoor sensor go bad and used them indoors only until they finally stopped working altogether. At this time the outside humidity is 80%, up from 60% in the photo below, and I love knowing this information. 

Bailey installed the cell phone holder in my car that evening. Here is a photo of it ready to go for our next yard sale day. I use Google Maps to create a list of Friday and a list of Saturday yard sales and then check them off as we go to each one.

Question of the Week

Would you spend money to go to a destination wedding in Cancun, Mexico?

Dr. Phil had a show on recently about a Dad who received an inheritance and has made two trips to Ukraine to meet a lady, but hasn’t met her so far. (Catfishing?) 

His daughter is getting married in Cancun, but the dad is unwilling to spend money for that trip. 

How about you? Would you spend money on a destination wedding? 

As for me, it would depend on who was getting married. I would go for my daughter Bailey, but probably not for someone I barely knew. I think the Dad in this situation is wrong since he is willing to pay for other trips, but not this one. What do you think?

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

I like to keep my kitchen neat and clean and orderly and when I’m cooking I have a sink full of hot soapy water to wash dishes as I go along and wipe down the counters and stove as I cook. It’s something that I actually enjoy doing and don’t see it as a chore in any way. Having a clean kitchen motivates me to go in there and cook, which saves me money over takeout or dining out. 

Another thing we did this year was instead of cake for my birthday we made another Ice Cream Bar with toppings. The toppings included strawberries, pineapple, cherries, chocolate, caramel, and peanuts. They can be a lot more fun compared to cake. 

Meals This Week

Friday:  Cheeseburgers and Onion Rings or Tacos, which did not happen. The power went out around 4 p.m. due to a storm and didn’t come back on until after 10 p.m. There was no way I was cooking anything for dinner at that time of night. 😂 LOL

Saturday:  Tacos with chopped potatoes to extend the meat, shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, black olives, sour cream, and taco sauce served on your choice of flour or corn tortillas.  Bailey adds jalapeños and chipotle sauce to hers, which I avoid as I am a wimp when it comes to spicy heat in my food. Delicious and one of my favorite meals!

Sunday: Happy Mother’s Day! Dinner tonight was bought by Bailey for my birthday, which is Monday and Mother’s Day. We picked a locally owned Italian restaurant because they make the best pizzas here. My favorite is one with Italian Sausage, Pepperoni and Black Olives. They have a buy one get one free option, which we will use so we will have pizza left for my birthday on Monday. 

Monday: Day 2 for Pizza. 😋 

Tuesday: Movie Night - Bailey still had pizza left. I wasn’t very hungry, so just munched on some celery sticks. 

Wednesday: Hamburger Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus. 

Thursday: Grilled Chicken, Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli. 

Recipe of the Week

I first made this recipe for meatballs back in 1994. The flavor of all the spices really shines through and makes these taste delicious. 



2 pounds ground beef
2 egg whites
3 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 cup bread crumbs


 Mix all ingredients together well so spices are evenly distributed. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Saving on Entertainment

April 27, 2011 disaster struck the nearby town where we shop and leveled parts of it when multiple tornadoes swept through the area. Chet from the YouTube channel, Dream Poet, posted this video looking back at the area eleven years later. 

Another fun activity from this week is this from Miami’s underwater 
livestream of a coral reef called Coral Morphologic

We finished watching the last episode of Manifest this week, which was so good. Now we are going to finish the last ten episodes of This Is Us

In the Kitchen with Mama Mel is a new to me YouTube channel that I found this week and have been enjoy.

What I've been Reading This Week

Archive of USDA Farm Bulletins -  Has some really good informational bulletins about so many useful topics that you can read for free. One of the ones I’m currently reading is called Planning a Subsistence Homestead

Thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here. We would love to hear about your week in the comment section.

~ Living within our Means ~
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Friday, May 6, 2022

First Frugal Friday of May 2022

Welcome to Friday! 

My Frugal Week

Mom remains in the rehab facility at this time. Her arm is very swollen and an ultrasound was ordered today. She has a follow up appointment with her surgeon on Monday. 

Question of the Week

Is anyone else having trouble signing into Google and staying on there to post comments on other peoples blogs? I’m having the hardest time with that and hope I can get it figured out soon. I wasn’t even able to comment at all on one of them this week. 

Saving Money In My Frugal Kitchen

Be sure to check prices when purchasing eggs right now. I found that the cage free brown eggs were actually cheaper than the white eggs I normally buy. 

We bought groceries this week and the prices have risen quite a bit since my last big grocery order. I budgeted $200 for groceries for May 2022, which is a good amount for one person. Bailey added $140 to that amount for a total of $340 this month for two people.

I spent $178.91 of my $200 on our grocery order this week. That leaves me $21.09 in my budget for food in May. We are fully stocked up, so I do not foresee any problems with this. Once that $200 has been spent I will not spend anymore money on food this month. We will simply have to make due with what we have here or do without until June and I have new grocery funds

Before we bought groceries this week we were still in use it up mode. I had a box of pasta that was given to us by mistake at Publix, which they told me to keep. So, I cooked that and made a pasta salad out of it, which lasted for several days this week.

Meals This Week

Friday: 🍕 Pizza

Saturday: BBQ Sandwiches, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables. 

Sunday:  Cheese & Potato QuesadillasMixed Vegetables.

Monday: Macaroni & Cheese with Ham, Mixed Vegetables. 

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Rice with Cilantro, Corn Salsa.

Wednesday: Aldi Red Bag Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables. 

Thursday: Cheeseburgers, French Fries, Red Grapes. 

Recipe of the Week

This is a recipe for Cabbage Casserole that was given to me by a member of the Home Demonstration Club back when we lived in Pikeville in the early 1990s. It is a delicious recipe and one of my friends who worked at a buffet used to make this to serve there and it was always one of the first dishes to disappear. 

Cabbage Casserole


1 cup crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 can cream of celery soup (or homemade equivalent)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/8 cup dried onion flakes
1/4 cup mayonnaise 


Mix cornflakes and butter and divide in half. 
In a separate bowl, mix cabbage, soup, milk, mayonnaise, cheese, and onion.
In a 9 x 13 baking dish layer half of the cornflakes, all of the cabbage, and then the other half of the cornflakes. 
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

Saving on Entertainment

TLC put out a new show last year called, So Freakin Cheap. I happened to run across it for free on Facebook. TLC bills it as families who go to extraordinary lengths to save money and live their best frugal lives. Some of it is pretty far out there, but there are some good hints if you’re interested. 

What I've been Reading This Week

My copy of Stop Walking on Eggshells came in the mail this week. It’s a book about taking your life back when someone you care about has borderline personality disorder and has been written by Paul Mason, MS. 

How was your week? Any frugal wins you would like to share with us? We would love to hear all about your frugality in the comment section.

Also, thank you for dropping by my frugal blog, you are always welcome here.

~ Living within our Means & Debt Free! ~
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