Sunday, December 30, 2018

Frugal Happenings 12/30

Happy Sunday.  Wow, here we are on the last weekend on the YEAR!  It seems like yesterday that we were talking about the start of 2018.  Geesh, I am just now getting used to writing 2018 and now I have to change!
I know I did not achieve all that I hoped in the year - but I do look forward to 2019 and to all the fun it may bring.

Weather has been up and down this week.  We had one day at almost 60*F and others in the 30's.  NY eve is to bring rain and storms and 50's.  I know many of you have experienced a lot of snow and really cold weather (and others have extreme heat) - but so far our winter has been uneventful.  I guess I shouldn't brag.

As fun as the holidays were, I am looking forward to being back to 'normal' - whatever that is!  No shopping, no baking, no rushing - just calm.  I got to see a lot of family I don't get to see real often, so that was just lovely.  The younger generation is always so busy and doing their own thing - us 'old' folks get last dibs!!!!

Here is a pic of myself (in red) with some of my great nieces and nephews and even a gr. gr. nephew and one 'in the oven' (girl kneeling is pregnant).  These are my brother's grandchildren.  They are such fun to be around and they make me (at 5'8") look short!!!!!

My frugal week:
  • Salvaged some nice big pieces of really heavy gift wrapping that I will use again and saved tissue paper and pretty bags as well
  • Shared lots of holiday buffet leftovers with our neighbor/friend and lots of sweets as well.  Needed all those sweets out of sight!
  • Set up a new 'snack' pantry area
  • Got all gifts and goodies put away and the main part of house straightened and cleaned
  • Took all decorations down and have house back to normal
  • Cut G's and my hair
  • Cut the fronts off all the Christmas cards.  These will be used for lists and notes - I have plenty to use as gift cards from years past. (I also kept the backs of some cards that were mainly empty of script to use for lists.)
  • Reworked and totally straightened the deep pantry that I have downstairs
  • We are getting FREE premium channels on cable through Jan.1.  DVRing lots of shows for later
  • Got a corned beef brisket out of freezer to thaw for our NY dinner
  • Did NO after Christmas sale shopping - no need for anything
  • Have my new calendar for 2019 all marked with birthdays and such and ready to put up
  • All normal things - making tea, laundry in cold, using leftovers, made up new bottle of shampoo mix, etc.
Meals this past week:
Leftover sloppy Joes and cheesy potatoes  (froze balance of sloppy Joes for later)
Baked spaghetti (used up balance of BBQ meatballs in it)
Chicken and dumplings & mashed potatoes (G's request for Christmas)
Fried chicken, leftover dumplings and salad
Dirty rice with ground sausage and side of marinated veggies
Homemade pizza
Long John Silvers - I bad!!!!  (It tasted so good)

We munched on chips/dip, beef stick, cheese and crackers for snacks (and of course sweets)
Have you survived all the holiday festivities?  Are you done with your celebrations?  Did you get any money saving gifts to use or shop for any deals?

I look forward to learning from and sharing with everyone in the coming year.  I am glad we are in this lifestyle together.  It is so much fun getting new ideas and 'meeting' new people from all over the world.
I pray that as this new year begins, that you and your family will have health, happiness and prosperity.  May all your wishes and dreams come true.

Blessings and HAPPY NEW YEAR from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

My Grim Reminder of WHY I Stock

Sometimes we all get that slap in the face on SOME subject.  It may be a DUH moment (why didn't I think of that) or it may be an "aaaahhhh this is why I do what I do" moment.

I got one of those yesterday.  I read over the grocery ads, which are really lousy this week!  I decided to go ahead and run to Kroger, as I just wanted to get a couple things.   It was a really nice day (sunny and warm) and was going to be the nicest day of the week - so why not.
I went to get milk,  and cabbage for New Year's day (it's tradition).  I did get both - but good grief they had cabbage advertised ON SALE for .79/lb.!!!!!!  Only 2 stores advertised cabbage  - one was .89 and one was .79 - WHAT????  It is normally .49/lb. or .59/lb.!!  This is a common NY dish in this area - so they sure are taking advantage of that.  Grrrrr.
But that wasn't the real problem.............................

Now mind you, Kroger was closed for Christmas, as they should have been.  All I can think, is that they must have been CRAZY busy over the weekend and Monday.  The shelves were bare!  I don't mean stock was a little low - but there was completely empty sections of the store.  Produce was minimal - I would say that department was three quarters empty.  There were empty sections in the meat department and totally empty meat coolers.
Minimal milk and dairy was to be found.
(I wish I had my camera with me)

I have never seen a store look so bad, except when they were going out of business.
I asked two different workers what they heck was going on.
SUPER busy for 3 pre-holiday days and the truck that should have been there early Wednesday was a no show.  Absolutely NO back stock is kept in their store rooms (no stock in back room is now normal).

                                        Part of MY 'personal' grocery - I HAVE back stock!!!!!

They had strip steak, pork loins and corned beef briskets advertised on sale - and there was NOT one  (of any of them)  in the store.  I wasn't going to buy any - but just got curious, so I looked around.
Many people always shop on Wednesday at this store, since it is the first day of sale and you can get your pick of goods.  I can't imagine how many disappointed people there were yesterday.  I was stunned.

It truly was a grim reminder of why we do what we do.  This was a holiday weekend and a late truck.  Think what could happen is it was a natural disaster or a terrorist attack,  and no trucks coming.
I have always thought about these things, but never really saw the effects of the stores being truly empty (well, maybe if they say the SNOW on the news!).  I have always heard that stores would be empty in 3 days if an emergency happened.
It was truly a rude awakening.  It was kind of scary.

So dear friends - try your best to keep stocking up and have a nice surplus (at least 6 months) - because you never know what can cause a run on the grocery store - and then BOOM - THE SHELVES ARE EMPTY!


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Frugal Happenings 12/23

Happy Sunday to everyone.  It is Christmas Eve - eve!  My goodness the time has just flown by this year.
This past week was quite busy on our home front.  We have had or been to 2 different holiday get togethers.  We have had company twice.  I baked and made candy.  I finished up the small odds and ends for gifting.  This old gal is pooped!!!!!!  It is a good pooped though!
I slept better last night than I have in ages!

We have had 40's just about all week - then it starting getting colder Friday.  We had rain as well - but we did manage to have 4 - 5 days with sunshine!  WONDERFUL!  NO chance of a white Christmas here.
The daylight hours will start getting longer again, for that I am thankful!
Did anyone see that glorious full moon on Saturday night?  It was so pretty.

Last Sunday was a nice meal with my brother and sister (thanks to my sister).  We had a wonderful time telling stories of old!

Yesterday the kids (my niece and 2 nephews) and their families were here.  What a wonderful time that was.  I love when they all come up and spend time.  It doesn't happen often. 
My niece became a Grammy this week!  My nephew Maverick Neal was born 2 weeks earlier than predicted.  Oh he is such a little angel face.  We are all in love.
I have one more visit to make for a short while on Christmas day - then we are done with the holiday events.

My frugal week:
  • We got some lovely gifts from brother and sister.  GC from Kroger, home canned goods and cash.

                                   A big Aldi reusable bag full of home canned items!  YUM
  • My sister gave me back a quilt I made for her years ago.  She no longer has a bed it fits.  Gosh it is probably 25 years old.  It needs a few repairs - then I think I will use it. (I have been wanting new bedding!)
  • Made candy and cookies from items from the pantry
'Mounds' cookies - Oh my goodness - so gooey and good and so easy to make.

           Fruit/nut bark and 'sort of ' turtles.  Just a couple things I remembered to take pictures of.
  • Sis sent home leftovers from Sunday dinner - I used them and reinvented one for Monday's dinner
  • Finished up the small items I needed to get for gifts
  • Our menu buffet on Saturday was all from items that we had here at home.  Didn't need to buy anything at all.
  • NO grocery shopping this week
  • We got so many lovely items from the kids.  I can't begin to mention them all - but a few were 2 handmade super sturdy squirrel feeders (mine is so old), a huge candle (the likes I have never seen before) A beautiful new cutting board, and food, food and more food items.  There are tons of snack items and fancy pastas, oils, vinegars  and mixes - oh my.   We have been blessed beyond measure!!!!!!
6 b. sloppy Joes
BBQ meatballs and little weenies
Cheesy potatoes
Beef stick and various cheeses sliced
Dip and chips
Veggie plate
Lots of sweets
We always have lots of finger foods and easy stuff and folks can eat whenever they feel the desire.

Last weeks meals:
Dinner at sis's
Leftover roast, carrots and made potato cakes with leftover mashed potatoes (all from sis)
Taco salad
Hamburger goulash
Leftover goulash and green beans
Buffet foods leftover

I hope you are all winding down on cooking and baking.  I pray you all have your shopping done.
I LOVE the holidays, but will be glad when it is all done.  I am ready to just get back to 'normal',  I am looking forward to 2019!

I will not post another blog until Wednesday, however I will be answering any comments.
I wish each and everyone a happy winter solstice, and a very Merry Christmas.
May you and your families make memories to last for years to come, may you each enjoy your family and friends, and may you all stay safe and healthy.

HUGE blessings from our humble home to yours.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Says it all

This little picture just says it all in my opinion.
Many are having a rough time right now - and this is just a gentle reminder of what is important.

I hope you are all making NEW moments to keep share and keep.  Actions today, will be moments and memories tomorrow.

P.S.  I hope all of you are well.  I have been missing some of our posters lately.  You are all in my thoughts.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Re-Crafting - A new concept store

I was pleased to read an article in the Sunday paper about a new store that is just up the road a bit.  This is actually about 6 minutes from me.
I can't wait to go check it out after the holidays.

The store is called Re-craft.
The gal that started it, has traveled a lot, and said she had found similar stores in other states - but none here.  Basically it is donated items that can be sold cheaply to others to use in craft projects.  No waste, no trash, no filling up the landfills.  It basically takes sustainable living one more step up.
It's kind of a thrift store JUST for crafting.

They basically carry it all.  They have fabric, sewing supplies, any needlework items, fine art supplies (paints, beads, scrap booking, art paper, etc.).  Any type of crafting supplies can be donated.
They also have weird stuff like mannequin heads and body parts and wine corks!

To make it more of a community destination there is a sewing machine, an industrial serger, and a screen printing machine that can be rented by the hour or day for a small fee.
She also offers classes on all sorts of things.

This store is just on the outskirts of a very old community, that is suddenly becoming the 'hip' place to live and be again.  Homes are being updated and renovated, and businesses are coming back, and it is becoming a great artsy scene.

I just think this is the coolest concept.  Every community should have something like this.  Perhaps some of our readers can develop something like this in their areas.  It wouldn't have to necessarily be a store - but a gathering place for a community of friends and family  to share and re-use supplies.  Perhaps a garage, a basement, a 'she' shed, or a local building all can get together to rent.  What fun!

I follow some folks on FB that basically have made a lot of extra money this season, by using up odds and ends of fabric to make new things.  We all have ideas on using old clothes (fabric), linens, jars, etc.  into new things.
There are so many ideas available today - just go look at Pinterest for a few minutes.  OK - a few minutes is impossible!  LOL - but just go look!

If we were all more aware of using what we have in new ways, not only are we saving money - we are saving the environment.
I hope that in the new year we can do several posts about new ways to use things.  I hope we can ALL contribute ideas.

Give it a thought and get involved.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Frugal Happenings 12/16

Good morning.  Can you believe it is just 9 days till Christmas?  WOW.
Today I will be getting together with my sister and brother to celebrate.  Sis will be making a late lunch and we will exchange gifts and OLD STORIES!  The old stories is my favorite part.

Speaking of old stories!  Yep, that is me a couple years ago!!!!  Seeing Santa at Murphey's Department Store was always so exciting.  Such innocence.

It has finally quit raining and the sun is out.  We look to have sun for a few days this week, which will be greatly appreciated.  Out temps are back in the 40's and staying that way all week.  Nights are chilly, but I will take anything above freezing and sunshine with great pleasure!

It has been pretty quiet around here.  I guess it is just that time of the year.
One would think it would be crazy. 
Here is my frugal week.

  • Got the health insurance situation all resolved and settled.  I am good to go (and not a bad price) until the end of next year when I can get Medicare. (Dang that sounds old!)
  • Ran to feed store and got well stocked again.  The birdies and the 'fat' squirrels are very grateful!  LOL
  • Got to P.O. and got postage and then all cards mailed!  I have enough postage for the next year for cards and letters.
  • Worked on Christmas baskets, getting things all arranged
  • Tried a new recipe this week - and it's a keeper for sure (had everything here to make it)
  • Made dip at home
  • Got started on some holiday baking - much to do this coming week
  • Ran to Kroger for a couple deals.  Got cheese for .99/8 oz. (we are cheese junkies!).  I also got 2 - 2lb. bags of HUGE peeled shrimp for 5.99 each!!  One will our New Year's ever dinner (every year), and another for later.  (I should have gotten more - but didn't want them to get freezer burnt)
  • Just doing all our regular stuff
See very quiet!

Meals this past week:
Sliced ham (from freezer), eggs and toast & jelly
Spaghetti & meat sauce and salad
Subway sandwiches and cookies (FREE with GC) - what a treat!
Cheeseburger pie (new recipe) and salad
Cold sammies and chips/dip
Smoked sausage, kraut, and chunk potatoes all cooked together
Beef franks, mac n cheese and salad

This coming week I will be making more holiday treats as the 'kids' (niece and nephews) are coming home for Christmas on Saturday.  I can't wait - just never get to see them enough.
So I will be baking and finishing up getting their gifts all together this week.  I make a nice buffet for lunch when they come.  I have one or two more small things to pick up for baskets.

Are you winding down on baking and preparing for the holiday?  Did you get any good deals this past week?
Are you like me and ready to get life back to normal?

Prayers that each and everyone of you are safe, healthy, and free from any harm.  May your hearts be calm and your lives happy.
Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Loaf is a Loaf

Wintertime is when we all seem to make more sweet or savory breads.  I like to make smaller ones for gifting.  I do that at home sometimes as well, just so we won't be temped to eat too much right off the bat!!!  (I wrap and freeze extras).

It is so easy to make several at a time and put some in reserve.
Do you know how much batter is needed for various size pans?  Me neither.  I usually just kind of wing it and hope I evenly spread it out.
Here is our answer!

Hope this helps you with your yummy winter baking!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Keeping it Natural

We see that many are just tired of all the commercialism of Christmas and the holidays.  I think we all get tired of it.  It is always in your face to spend.....spend.....spend!  It starts early in the fall and goes on through the end of the year.

If you haven't started or if you are determined not to fall into the trap, here are some neat and very frugal ideas!

Be observant of what you do, so as not to do harm the earth.  So much trash  is made during this time of year.  Do your part to 'do no harm' and stay frugal.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Keeping the Joy

For many the holidays are NOT a good time.  It could be remembering the loss of loved ones, bad memories of the past, weather, S.A.D. disorder, financial strain, etc.
Whatever the reason, it is real for those who feel it.

I do believe this has happened to everyone at some point.  Maybe not every year - but it happens.
Please respect those who feel this way.  Do NOT tell them to get over it, do NOT dismiss their feelings..............Listen if need be and just give a hug and a kind word.

Thanks to LaurieS for posting this on FB - I knew the second I saw it, that I would use this.

Do not succumb to the pressures of spending money you shouldn't spend.
Do not feel bad if you miss a gathering.
Do not give up faith that things will get better.

DO try to do something that helps the less fortunate.  If at all possible - work at a food pantry or a mission serving meals or passing out supplies.  Go to a hospital neonatal unit and hold babies.  Go visit shut-ins in a nursing home.  There are so many ways to help others - and in turn it helps you.

DO try to get more sunlight in your life each day.  Get outside and get fresh air and light - it helps more than you can imagine.  Take Vitamin D as well.  Take a walk.  Get exercise.
DO make plans for the future - make a bucket list.  Anything that takes you out of the past.
DO watch a funny movie or read a classic book.
DO something just for YOU!  Give yourself a spa night.  If you can afford it - maybe a massage or a mani/pedi.  Get your hair done.  SOMETHING  FEEL GOOD!

DO turn it over to a higher power.  Faith can get us through most anything.
Just remember - you have been through bad times before and you are still here.  YOU CAN DO IT.

The joy of Christmas is a "feeling".  We can keep it everyday - not just one time a year.  It is inside of each of us.
IF you can't get yourself to participate now - then spread the joy and love at another time.

It's OK to feel sad.  Please just don't let it take you over!
Keep joy in your heart all year.

Please know you are loved here and we will listen and understand.  Seek understanding and peace from your Maker as well.  Turn your troubles over to a higher power.

God bless each of you having a rough time.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Frugal Happenings 12/9

This month is flying by and I still have much to do.  I haven't baked the first thing yet!  I definitely need to work on that this week.
I have received all orders that I placed for gifts - so all the big stuff is done.  I still have some small things to take care of.

It has been cold in these parts.  Today we are actually seeing sun - for the first time in a week!

It truly has been quiet around here.  I just can not get in the Christmas spirit this year.  I really need to kick myself in the bum and get busy. 

My frugal week:
  • I did go and 'purchase' 92 cans of cat food and 2 bags of dry food and 4 containers (laundry baskets) for some gift baskets all FOR FREE!  Used part of the GC we received from the bank.
  • Picked up a script for G and it  was for 3 months and FREE
  • Got cards addressed - just haven't mailed yet.  (sigh)
  • Received FREE address labels and a notepad from a charity.  I wish they would quit doing that and save the money for the charity. 
  • I went to the funeral of a former neighbor this week.  We have known their family the whole time we have lived here (over 30 years).  Like family in some ways.
  • After the funeral I went a couple blocks up the road to Kroger to get weekend specials.  I purchased 10 jars of peanut butter for .99/jar, 40 lbs. of sugar for .99/4 lb., and 25 lbs. of Gold Medal flour for 1.49/5 lb.  The cashier let me do 2 different orders!!!!  I am now good for the following year on sugar and peanut butter and probably flour. (I still have lots of sugar purchased on sales from earlier)
  • G's TV/cable seemed to mess up this week.  We did trouble shooting online and everything seemed to lean towards having a service call.  No one came up with an at home fix.  WELL....  I went to work and did some things myself and WOOHOO I fixed it!!!
                                                                             Too cute!

Meals this past week:
Leftover turkey and noodles and stuffing
Open face tuna melts and salad
Red beans/rice with ground sausage & jalapeno poppers
Beef fillets (grilled), waffle fries and salad
Ground beef/mushroom/onion/Swiss mix over bread and salad
Hamburger stew 2X

I have to get started baking this week, as I have our first family gathering next Sunday.  I need to get all the gifts sorted and baskets finished.  I also need to run up the street to the post office for stamps and mailings.
Non Christmas stuff - I need to go to feed store and I need to visit with insurance agent about my health insurance for next year.  I think I may keep busy!

Are you all ready?  What did you do this week to stay frugal?  Any good deals?

I send prayers for all to stay healthy and safe.  I also pray that those who feel depressed this time of the year - may you be able to focus on other things and get through the season.  I know everyone does not feel warm and cozy this time of the year.  Comfort be with you.

Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Friday, December 7, 2018


It costs nothing to be a kind and good person.  It costs little to help a family have a hot meal.
We should be aware year round, but it seems to come to our attention even more around the holiday season.  So many have NOTHING.  So many go hungry.  So many are homeless.  So many have NO ONE to listen or turn to.
Let us all be the someone who does SOMETHING.

I love this idea.  If we each put back something each and every day - it does not hurt us at all - but will fill the bellies of another.

If we would ALL do this EVERY month - it would sure help our fellow man.
Thank you.

Click on picture to enlarge image

Thursday, December 6, 2018


There is so much crime in today's society.  It is really scary at times.  There are many ways to stay safe and keep your home safe, ESPECIALLY at the holidays, that costs little or no money.

  • The most obvious - keep your doors locked
  • If you don't have a security system, you can post signs that says you do
  • Perhaps think about getting an outdoor camera (can even be a trail cam)
  • I know people that have  a sign that says 'guard dog' and have auto recorder attached to door - that are action activated.  The recording is the barking of a large dog.
  • Keep bushes and trees away from windows - they are a great hiding place
  • Have motion activated security lights
  • Those living in colder areas - please keep your walks shoveled and salted.  If not for your family - for the postman, utility readers or paper boys.
  • Make sure  that any animal that stays outside has a warm and protected area to be.  Make sure they have food and 'water' (not ice).  If it gets too cold - animals need another warm protected area to be.
  • DO NOT use the oven for a heat source if at all possible.  Carbon monoxide can kill
  • If using baseboard heat or portable heaters - keep anything and everything away from them
  • Make sure you have working smoke/fire detectors and a fire extinguisher close at hand.  It is also a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector in or around where you furnace is.   (These are good gift ideas as well!!!!!)

Here's an idea for extra safety in your home.  This is call Jammer and it is added protection for home security.  We have one on each door during the night.  They don't cost a lot - but they give us a little added peace of mind.  Living in the city or suburbs can be intimidating now a days.  We like having a bit more security.   It slides up under the door handle and then you kick it in place.

  • Always lock your car
  • Do not leave packages in view - cover them in some way
  • Do NOT leave handbags, computers, phones, CD's, money, chargers, etc. in view (even in a locked car)
  • Be ever vigilant of your surroundings when walking back to your vehicle
  • If at all possible walk out with other people or a crowd
  • Try not to shop or walk in parking lots at night
  • If living in area with snow and ice - make sure that ALL of your windows are clear of snow and ice - this not only keeps you safe - but others as well.  DO NOT put others in jeopardy because you have an obstructed view
  • If you do a lot of traveling or travel in unpopulated area - keep food and warm blankets (or clothing) in the vehicle.  Have a shovel, ice melt or cat litter for getting stuck, and flairs.  Snow can act as water - but you need warmth for sure.
  • Make sure cell phones are always charged when traveling

  • Do not put gifts under a tree that can be seen from outside - that is an invitation to crooks
  • If having deliveries made - make sure you will be home or have them delivered to your work or to a neighbors.  There are so many stories every day of packages being stolen from porches
  • Be careful of what real holiday plants you have in your home IF you have pets.  Many plants are toxic if eaten.
  • Keep trees, throws, blankets, etc. away from heat vents.  Trees dry out quicker and that can cause fires.  Depending on the heat source - material can catch fire.
  • Keep LIVE trees properly watered
  • Keep tinsel and garland out of reach of animals.  If eaten it can cause damage to their organs
  • Do not feed pets overly rich and fatty foods.  Chocolate and many other items can cause animals to be ill


DO NOT "advertise" on ANY social media outlet that you are going on vacation or traveling.  That is like telling crooks "the house is available for you".

IF you have to attend a close family funeral that has been in the paper - TRY to leave someone at the house to 'house sit'.  Crooks watch the obituaries.

Another tip - when shopping - I keep my car keys and my cell phone in my pockets and not in my handbag.  IF someone gets off with my handbag - at least I can get home and I can call police!  
Sadly this is the world we now live in!

and STAY SAFE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Random Reflections

The Christmas Spider Story

I have a pretty crystal spider that is always out at Christmas time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Easy Baking from the Pantry

Here we are at that time of the year that sweet treats seem to be a way of life.
We don't need them by any means - BUT we have to have them available in case company drops by!!!!  RIGHT?  LOL

I do have a good pantry built up for baking, thanks to past clearance buys and sales.  Hopefully you do as well.
Well, what happens if you don't?  Don't worry - there are so many easy, tasty and fun goodies that can be made with what you HAVE on hand.  No need to go out and spend a lot of money on supplies.  Use what you have. 
Today I will give you a few simple ideas I have gleaned over the years and love to make.

You can use any flavor cake mix you have on hand.  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  Great crinckle  cookies.  Pretty darn easy!!!!!

It can't get any easier than 3 ingredients.  1 C crunchy peanut butter, 1 egg, 1 cup sugar.  375 for 10-12 minutes.

So easy and if you like coconut - soooooo yummy and gooey!  I use whatever chocolate chips I have on hand - not picky here!

Use brownie mix to make a really rich chocolate cookie.  Peppermint candies or candy canes can be crushed and used as the topping.  Taste very decadent!

Dip ANY cookies in chocolate to jazz them up.  Sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies are yummy done this way.  Shoot you can even fancy up store bought cookie, if you are in a hurry for something a little fancy.    Oreo cookies (any flavor), shortbread cookies, oatmeal or sugar cookies - dip and add a special YUM factor. A few pretty sprinkle and just like that you have a festive cookie.

So if you have company stopping by, don't have any extra funds for fancy ingredients, or if you are just in the mood for some goodies on a cold winter's night - give some of these a try.
You will be glad you did!

(Click on pictures to enlarge for easier reading)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Frugal Happenings 12/2

23 days till Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Oh my, how did this happen so quickly?

Good morning all.  It has been a quiet week here for the most part. 
It was quite the weather week.    We had the full circle of weather.  We had rain, ice, snow, storms, sun, clouds, fog and warmth.  I guess Mother nature just could not make up her mind!

Looking out the side window one day (see the squirrel).  Today is sunny and it was 57* at midnight.  We had thunderstorms yesterday!  Going to be cooler again this coming week.

My frugal week:
  • Last Sunday the coffee pot (wasn't that old) quit.  I could care less, but G likes coffee each day.  I made a run to Shopper's World to see if I could find something.  They had a smaller one (all we need) on sale through that day for 6.99 (reg. 14.99).  They had 2 left and I bought them both!  I am prepared!!!
  • Ran next door to that store to the Dollar Tree and got a few stuffers for the kids goody bags.
  • Ordered 3 additional gifts (additional to goody baskets) on sale from WM and no shipping.  I figure staying home and not being in the stores IS frugal for me!
  • Our bank called as they were having an audit.  G hadn't signed in to safety deposit box in years, and they needed a new signature card from him.  I explained that we have no way to get him there (being disabled), and bless their hearts - they sent a representative to our house!  I thought that was amazing.
  • I just keep finding more areas and things to clean - I have been on a roll!
  • I got to pick up Pooty's cremains on Friday, so she is back home.
  • While out I stopped and filled gas tank for month.  Used points (saved .30/gal.) and purchased gas for 1.89/gallon!!!  Haven't seen it that cheap in ages!
  • I stopped at Aldi and bought a Christmas gift.  They had a toy that I wanted for gr. gr. nephew on sale.
  • Been watching lots of baking/cooking shows on the Food channel
  • Washed down bathroom walls - readying it for painting!
  • Meals at home.  Making tea at home.  Doing all the normal things.
Not much going on.  Just been quiet around here.  Trying to ready ourselves for Christmas.

                              My Coogy  trying to sit all 'people' like!!!!!  He is so funny.

Meals this past week:
Ground steak with onions, mac n cheese and leftover green bean casserole
Loaded baked potatoes
Stuffed pepper skillet
Pancakes and sausage
Cheesy loaded potato soup (from freezer)
Hobo dinners (sausage, pots, carrots, onions)
Turkey/noodles and stuffing

Starting this week, I will be doing some extra posts.  They will be quite simple.  It may be a picture I have taken or one that I have saved.  It may be a recipe.  It may be a funny, a memory, advice, or a thought provoker.  I just want to start something a little different during the winter.
Comments welcome - but not necessary.  I hope you ENJOY!

How was your week?  Are you ready for the holiday?  Have you started cookie/candy making yet?
Give us a shout and let us know what you have been up too.
I look forward to hearing fro each of you.

May the Lord keep you wrapped in His loving and protective arms.  Prayers for any of my readers that live in Alaska (hope you are safe.)  Also any Australian ladies that live in the fire areas - prayers for your safety.  Health and happiness and security to you all.

Blessings from our humble home to yours.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Fun and Functional Gifts

We talked about doing some different types of wrapping or containers for gifts - now let's talk about some fun and functional gifts that are a bit different.
I don't like doing what everyone else is doing.  I want to give that one gift that keeps on giving and the one that they will be talking about or thinking of us when they see/use it.
^    ^    ^    ^    ^    ^    ^    ^    ^

I love getting anything home crafted.  It could be a scarf, hat, lap throw, pretty kitchen towel, canned goods, bath salts, hand scrub - ANYTHING that someone takes the time to make is special.

Think about putting together baskets/bags of things everyone uses or needs.
Items can be cleaning products - homemade or store bought.  Goodies to snack on.  Adult themed baskets.  Poker night baskets.  Game night baskets.  Snuggle & read baskets.

Cleaning pack - I would enjoy (some may not).  New home owner, newly married, college student..
Movie night snacks
                             Adult night entertainment - poker party, adult game night, etc.

Think about getting inexpensive books (2nd hand, dollar stores) and an inexpensive throw.  Good for a reader.
Books, candle, and hot chocolate mix.
A nice mug, a packet of hot chocolate mix and some fuzzy socks (all stuck in the cup)
Get a pretty thrift tea cup and a box or two of fancy tea bags & a small bottle of honey
Card games and some snacks
Board game/puzzle for the family
Kleenex, chicken soup mix, cough drops, cold meds
A basket filled with different jar mixes (homemade)

Do you have someone who spends a lot of time baking or in the kitchen.  Go cooking/baking themed.

Baking items - cookie/cupcake decorating.  How about an ice cream sundae topping basket?

Fun for the baker.
Vintage accessories
There is just no end to fun and different ideas.  Think about the receiver, and what they enjoy doing and HAVE FUN and  BE CREATIVE.

Know a prepper?  Maybe some jar mixes of different goodies.  Heirloom garden seeds to put back for the future.  A box of shells for hunting.  Jerky seasonings.  Tarps, plastic rainwear, anything camo.  Insulated socks.  Hand warmers.  Life straws, etc.
CALENDARS - would be great for the busy Mom, college students,  co-workers, etc.  I know many people keep track of things with their 'devices' - but it nice to be able to just glance at the wall and see what it happening.  I like the idea of adding all family birthdays to the calendar and giving to family members.  No more forgotten birthdays!

College student who doesn't make it home often - rolls of quarters for laundry.  Maybe even a basket of laundry supplies.

Oh golly, there are just unlimited ideas that are fun, functional, and many that can be quite frugal!  Watch for mark downs, use coupons with sales, check dollar stores, and have a ball putting together some memorable gifts.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Ideas for Fun & Unusual Containers for Homemade Gifts

It is that time of the year.  Everyone will soon be  busy baking goodies and thinking of ways to gift them.  You may be making cookies, candy, bread, muffins,  mixes, bath items, etc.
Many give to teachers, daycare workers, neighbors, co-workers, service folks, acquaintances, friends, family...................

Wrapping these items gets a bit boring sometimes.  Let us think outside the BOX!
You may have all kinds of items around the house that you can use, and haven't even thought about.  IF by some chance you don't - think Dollar Tree!  You can get all kinds of neat items to put goodies in.
I figure when gifting my goody baskets or just yummies - I want the outside package to be useful as well.  Kind of like 2 gifts in one.

We all know about using reusable grocery bags, baskets Mason jars, etc.  Here are a few more fun ideas.

I buy a whole package of brown paper lunch bags - they can be decorated, tied with jute or ribbon, old car fronts affixed, colored by kids etc.  Cheap and easy and fun!

I received this bag when buying from a craft bazaar - keep those card fronts!
Any kind of plain bag can be decorated at home.  These are great for gifting cookies or candies or small loafs of breads (all wrapped in plastic or foil.
Plain brown mailing paper can be purchased in rolls pretty cheaply.  This would be great for any kind of gift, crocheted/knitted items, throws, clothes, etc. Decorate  simply.

Think about using some items that have been passed down through the family or vintage items that have been purchased at thrift stores/flea markets or yard sales.  Have some fun with it.

Here are some items I walked around the house and found.  All kinds of jars, mugs and fancy glasses, tins, even a vintage pitcher.  My mind is thinking of all kinds of goodies I could put in these.  Hard candies, cookies, fudge, drink mixes, bath salts (how lovely in a pretty wine glass!) a pitcher full of  tea mixes or picnic items, or even cookies.  The pitcher would be a lovely addition to any kitchen!

Any kind of big mixing bowl or holiday dish could be filled with packages of baking mixes (think pancake mix, muffin mix, cookie mix, etc.), kitchen utensils or a kitchen towel, or cookies or candy.

A colander with pasta, spaghetti sauce, a shaker of parmesan cheese and maybe a spaghetti fork.
A round baking pan - with pizza sauce, mix for dough, shelf stable pepperoni, and a shaker of cheese.
A terra cotta flower pot filled with flower/garden seeds and a pair of gloves.

All home stores sell these.  It may be plain or it may have the store name on it - it doesn't matter.  Check with your local grocery deli or bakery and you may be able to get them for free.  These are great for making up goody baskets for preppers or just for filling up with a variety of home made items.  It is sturdy and can be used for other things by the receiver.  Good old buckets would work as well.
A bucket can be used for a guy with a 6 pack of their favorite beer and snacks, or car washing supplies.
A minnow bucket would be cool, with fishing supplies.
Wrap loaves of homemade bread in kitchen towels. 
Old gallon jars (like pickle) filled with birding or squirrel goodies for the outdoorsy person - or fill with kitty or doggy treats.

Do you have any old picture frames hanging around (LOL).  They can be gifted with children's art, family pictures (new and old), made into jewelry racks, collages, filled with old recipes, etc.

There are just so many options for original packaging.  Why be boring?  Have fun with it.  Holiday gifting is supposed to be thoughtful and fun in my opinion - and we just all need to raise it up a level!

I will post a few ideas this Thursday and next Thursday of some different gift ideas that can be put together for little money.  I just want others to have fun with this and not be so serious.  It seems many 'serious' gifts are never really used. 
I figure everyone has to eat and we all have hobbies or interests - so why not give a gift that shows some thought of the recipient's likes and be FUN!!!!

Goody bags and homemade goodies gifted one year.

Take a walk around the house and see what you can get creative with.  We all need to de-clutter and we all love to recycle and we all like to save money - so lets get creative.

You have any fun ideas?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Frugal Happenings 11/25

Good morning everyone.  I hope this finds everyone healthy and rested.
What a strange week it has been.  I stood for 2 days cooking, but it was worth it.  I sent food home for 2 other families, and we will be eating on the meat for many more meals in the future.  Lots and lots of food.
We had our 12 year old 'baby' kitty pass over the rainbow bridge.  That has been so very sad for us and for the other kitties.  THANK YOU all for your kind words this week.
I didn't do ANY Black Friday shopping this year.  I generally go to Menards only on Black Friday - but was pre-occupied this year and had no interest at all.

We have had cold and cloudy days.  We also had about 3-4 days of actual sun!  How wonderful.  Today is foggy  yet partly sunny - the calm before the storm.  Tonight a front moves in and it supposed to get quite windy and rainy (here) and temps dropped.  Tuesday is supposed to have a high in the 20's!!  YUK!

My frugal week:
  • Finished deep cleaning (I thought) before Thanksgiving.  This weekend I have thrown myself back into it trying to keep busy.  I have de-cluttered more, trashed more  and cleaned even more!
  • I do believe I have laundered everything that wasn't nailed down!  Gotta keep my mind busy.
  • All laundry in cold and many items line drying in the basement (free humidity!)
  • Our friend/neighbor brought me some goodies he got a food pantry and doesn't eat.  We got 2 bottles of mint choc. syrup for ice cream, flavored oats and a chicken salad/cracker snack
  • He also mowed our front & side yard while mowing his for the last time.  It mulched up leaves and looks nice.
  • Eating lots and lots of leftovers this week!
  • I made 8 bags (2 C each) of ham broth for the freezer
  • Turkey carcass is in the freezer to be made into stock at another time
  • I did run to Kroger for weekend specials.  I got limit 5 - 1 lb. butter for 1.99 ea.  Also got 5 boxes (various flavors) of Triscut crackers for .99 ea.  And I purchased a 6 quart - really nice - crockpot for a gift for 19.99.
  • I did a quick color job on my hair (FINALLY).  I mixed and used 1/3 a box of dye.
  • Bagged and froze lots of ham and turkey for future meals.  Slices and many bags of pieces for soups and beans.  We had a lot left after eating on it for 3 days and gifting a bunch.  Considering turkey cost .37/lb. and my ham was a clearance ham that cost .89/lb. - not too snaggy!  Lots of cheap meals.
This was a roasting pan filled with ham and turkey AFTER.  We had lots leftover.  I do not know how to cook a little!!
  • Got all the extra holiday cooking pans put back up in the closet in basement.  Some pans I only use a couple times a year
  • Totally cleaned and straightened the laundry room area

Meals this past week:
Shepherd pie and salad (I had made 2 pies last week)
Fried chicken and salad
Chicken/bean/rice burritos (beans/rice from freezer - chicken leftover)
Thanksgiving dinner
Turkey Manhattan's (hot turkey sandwich - split, mashed pots and everything smothered in gravy)
Ham, turkey - dressing and green bean casserole

Snacks - holiday sweets!  Cherry cheesecake, fruity Jello salad, and brownies

Exactly one month from today is Christmas Day - oh my.  It will be here before we know it.  Are you ready?  I am getting there, but more to do.  Oh, and there is all the baking and goodies!  We will definitely be watching our diets after the new year!!!!!!!

How was your week?  Any great deals to be had?  Tell us how you have been frugal.

I pray you are all safe and healthy, as well as your families.  Remember to take a moment each and every day to be thankful for the people, pets and things you have in your lives - it's what makes life special.
Blessings this week from our humble home to yours.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Morning Sadness

This morning our sweet, lovable, and precious kitty - Pooty - crossed the rainbow bridge.
She has been losing weight and in the past few days seemed to be breathing harder.  This morning she seemed distressed in breathing, so to the Vet we went.

X-rays deemed she was in extreme heart failure.  The Vet said it was the sort of thing that humans get, when in need of a heart transplant.  There was nothing we could have done.
He brought her back in the room, and I was holding her and kissing her, when he suggested putting her down - and she passed in my arms on her own.

We are just so saddened.  She was 12 years old.  We rescued as a little baby when she showed up in my flower bed!
I am so very THANKFUL that we got those 12 years with that sweet and gentle soul.
Coogy and Lilly seem a bit confused - they keep walking around as if they are looking for her, which I am sure they are.
Our fur babies are our children - we love them so much.

She will return home next Friday.  We have all our babies cremated after they crossover.

       This was one of the last pictures taken of her last month.  Such a sweet and beautiful kitty.

Tears are flowing and sadness is being felt by both of us.
Rest peacefully my sweet baby.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thanks & Giving - The World

I know that the Thanksgiving holiday celebration is an American tradition.  It represents the  celebration of the Pilgrims and their Indian friends in the fall of 1621 - giving thanks for their first harvest in the new land.

We now get together each November with family for Thanksgiving.  It is supposed to be a day of giving thanks for all we have.
In that 'definition' - it can be celebrated whenever you want and should be celebrated all over the world.  Having a day of giving thanks should just be a regular event for everyone.
As a child, basically every Sunday was a day of thanks.  Lots of family appeared at and around the table and we had wonderful large meals - no one was ever turned away, and there always seemed to be enough!  Granted, it wasn't on the grand scale of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter - but it was always a celebration of thanks and family.

It seems that now the day has become a day of over indulging and football and parades.  It is considered the day the holiday season really begins in America.  It is the day for giving thanks for what we have - so the next day/days can be spent spending money we don't necessarily have  on things no one really needs and fighting with strangers over that stuff - just a time gluttony (on many levels).
If you live somewhere other than the U.S. - you just can't comprehend the total and absolute madness of 'Black Friday' (the day after Thanksgiving).  It truly is shameful!

I challenge EACH OF YOU no matter what country you live in - to spend the day or a day that you pick, truly giving thanks for all your blessings.  Make it a true celebration.
I  give thanks each and every day on some level.
Days that we get to spend with family are joyous and special.

In the U.S. we are now heading into the coldest part of the year.  There are so many folks that have no homes, no proper clothing, no nutritious food, and they live on the streets.  I just can not fathom this!  Many are families.  I know for a fact it happens - it just is so hard for my brain to understand and comprehend.  How can we allow this to happen?
The nights that get so cold, my mind wonders to these folks and how they are trying to survive and stay warm.  (I realize for some it is a choice - but not all).

If you have a family (could just be you and your other), a roof over your head, warmth, food to nourish you body (no matter how simple) and a reasonable amount of health - you are INDEED BLESSED!!!!!!!
Not everyone is so fortunate.

So please, IF you find yourself out shopping this weekend or anytime - thinks of others,  Maybe buy a few inexpensive fleece throws, cheap gloves or stocking caps, thrift store blankets, non-used (from your home) winter coats, etc. and give to the local shelter or food kitchen to help others.  Getting super deals at the grocery?   Donate some to food pantries for those in need.
Think of others less fortunate - that is what the entire holiday season is about.

We have always donated to the shelters and food pantries.  ALSO, think about getting some small toys for the kids that are part of homeless families in shelters - they don't understand why they have nothing.

I believe as citizens of Earth, we have an obligation to help others.  If each and every person did SOMETHING, no matter how small, for another person - this would be one totally blessed and wonderful world.

BE KIND, BE GIVING, LOVE those LESS fortunate.
Be the help that you want to see.  The next time you think, "something should be done" - be one that DOES SOMETHING!!!


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Frugal Happenings 11/18

Good morning.  We are on the downward spiral of the month.  For those in the U.S., Thanksgiving will be here in a few short days.  It seems that Christmas comes very quickly after that - then the year is over.  2018 has gone by in flash.

We have had a lot of winter weather this week.  It seems like we got about a split second of Spring and a split second of Fall this year.  Summer came and went and then it became winter.  It does appear that we will have more fall like temps this next week, which is nice, since so many people will be traveling.
We had ice, cold, wind and flurries this week.  No snowfall accumulations like many had - thankfully. 
It is kind of funny - we are all so used to snow, ice, cold and ick (not that we like it), yet others can not even fathom what that could be like. 
For some strange reason, my allergies have been raging this week.  That is crazy considering everything outside is dead and it is so cold.

My frugal week:
  • I put away all my canning supplies until at least after the holiday season!
  • I did do a little bit of Christmas and winter decorating.  Trying to get myself into the holiday mood - it hasn't worked yet!  LOL
                                                               My little baby tree
Came across this candle holder I had forgotten about.  It holds jar candles nicely and gives a pretty glow
  • I rearranged some smaller furniture items - not much I can move, but it feels good to have it a little different
  • Air dried all the bread for dressing
  • Continued working on deep clean.  Just about done - then it will just be normal daily, weekly stuff
  • Washed and polished the hard wood floors (on hands and knees)
  • Thawed & strained some  watermelon juice I had in freezer and added it to fruit juice.  Tasty.
  • Had about a half inch left in the bottom of a wonderful smelling jar candle - chipped it out and using as melts
  • Preparing ice for company Thursday
  • We received a $250 Wal-Mart GC using bank card points!!!!
  • Ham and turkey are both out of the freezer and thawing in frig
  • Did NOT shop at all this week. Did NOT leave the property!  WOO-HOO
  • Made up my menu for Thanksgiving and checked my pantry for ingredients.  We have all we need
  • Normal weekly activities - making tea & cooling outside, laundry in cold, meals at home, using what we have, etc.
Meals this past week:
Chili with crackers and butter (I love that combo)
Chili/cheese covered rice
Chicken/rice casserole and spinach
Sloppy Joe's, green bean/corn mix and pickled veggies
Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Shepherd's Pie and salad
Chicken salad sandwiches and fresh veggies with ranch dressing
We ate apples and peanut butter, some peaches from freezer and ice cream for treats

I have absolutely enjoyed the day or two that we have seen the sun this week!  I sure do appreciate small things like that.  Cloudy skies can get you in a gloomy state for sure.

This week  (probably today) I will finish the deep clean.  I will probably start my holiday baking on Tuesday.  I have a small kitchen, so I have to do things in shifts!  There won't be many here, but I think my brother-in-law may be coming (doubtful on MIL) and we have a friend (next door) coming for dinner.  Of course I will send goodies home with both and we will enjoy leftovers for days.  That is my FAVORITE part - little or no cooking for a few days!!!!!!!
Can't wait for that cold turkey sandwich the day after.  I think I look forward to that more than any part of dinner.

What have you done this past week to stay frugal?  Any good stocking up deals?  Working on Christmas yet?
Are you all ready for Thanksgiving?
Let us know what you are up to.  Love hearing from each of you.

May you and yours have a safe and wonderful week.  Praying that all that are traveling have a safe journey.  Remember to take time to be grateful for the small things and give blessings to others whenever possible.  A smile, a kind word, a dollar - could change someone's day, week, or month.

I saw this quote the other day and loved it.  "The best you can do is the best you can do."  Bob Costas
We all need to remember that and not beat ourselves up.  NO ONE is perfect.
Just do what you can - and let the rest happen.  Life is a journey we can't predict or control.

Blessing from our humble home to yours!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Rule of Half

Have you ever heard of this?  
It is basically the story of my life, and has been for ages.  Now there are stories about this idea on the news!  They are saying it's the new way of thinking!  LOL- it's been the frugal way forever!!

The idea is to use half or less of just about everything.
Manufacturers recommend serving sizes, measures and uses for items.  Their purpose?  To get you to use up the product and buy more - thus making more money.
Frugal folks have been using LESS for ages and SAVING money.  This principle can be utilized for just about anything.

If you go out to eat - try buying one meal and splitting it.  Buy just appetizers and split.  Order water.  Buy one dessert (or better yet - eat dessert at home).

I like to buy concentrated fruit juice - I always add at least one extra can of water than that it states to use.  If making kids drinks like Kool-aid - use less sugar than called for.
Try using a little less coffee in a pot each day.  Use a tea bag more than once.

Soaps of all kinds can be watered down.  I have a bottle that I fill 1/3 with shampoo  - then add water.  Let it 'melt' for a day then shake.  It makes more suds than full strength.
Make you own foaming soap - 1/3 bottle (soft soap bottle) of body wash or liquid soap and fill with water.  Works perfectly.
Liquid laundry soap - I always use a lot less than recommended.  Soap doesn't easily wash out of clothes and can actually damage them.  Most people don't actually get their clothes that dirty - so less soap works fine.  Now if you have mud or grease on clothes you will need to experiment.

                       Dish soap watered down and a splash of vinegar added to help cut grease.

Along the lines of laundry soap - cut fabric softener sheets into 1/3 or 1/2 size pieces - works just as well.  Better yet, just use vinegar in your rinse - or throw in a drier ball or ball of foil into the drier.

All cleaning products can be diluted down.  Simple remedy - use vinegar and baking soda to clean.  Works for most things.
I also like peroxide instead of bleach - keeps whites white and colors brighter.
Toothpaste - use a pea size drop on brush and it works great.
Lotion - a little goes a long way.  Think about using a natural ingredient like coconut oil - a big jar can be purchased cheaply and will last for ages!

Food - if we eat less it is healthier.  There are many of us that could stand to lose a few pounds.  Meat should be consider a side, not a main course.  Use a palm size piece per person.  (I know this may take some getting used to - but try).
If using meat in soups, stews or casseroles - use half of what is called for and load up with veggies.
About the only place I don't recommend using half - is in baking.  Baking is more scientific than everyday cooking.
Meals for CHILDREN - place half of what you think they should have on the plate.  Odds are that will be enough - if not then give them more.  No more waste!!!!  Same idea with milk or juice - start with a half glass - then add more is needed.

Think along these lines with things like cable as well.  I can bet money that you only watch a portion of the channels you receive.  Cut back your package to basic!  Think Netflix or other service.  Cheaper and you still get variety.
Go back one level on Internet speed if possible.  Odds are you will not notice the change at all and it is cheaper. 
Do you really need that fancy phone?  Seriously - who  needs internet connections while shopping or in the car???  Use a simple phone and keep it for emergencies only.  Saves money on phone and plan!
I wish we could eliminate 'smart' phones - as they have truly DUMBED UP the world.  No one interacts much any more - they are spending all their time looking at the phone.
(OK - sorry that is a whole other rant!!)

Utilities - can be halved as well.  keep of lights when not truly needed.  I very seldom turn on a light during spring and summer months - as well have daylight early and late.  I use more in the fall/winter.  Turn them off when leaving a room.  Turn the heat down or the cool temp up.  Dress accordingly.
Don't just run water all willy-nilly!!!  Be mindful of what you use.  Do full loads of laundry.  Don't leave running when doing dishes, brushing teeth, etc.

The RULE OF HALF works for about everything.  It is the frugal way!  Use less - save money.
Consciously think about everything you use and at least TRY to half it.  You may be quite amazed!
You surely will save dollars and foil the plan of the manufacturers!!!!!  WIN - WIN!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Frugal Habits That I have Slowly Learned

Sometimes I think I must not be the sharpest knife in the drawer.  There are many hints and ideas that it has taken me years to learn.  Some days I am doing something, and BOOM I get this brainstorm!  LOL
I then stand there and shake my head and wonder why did that not come to me years ago.

I am always learning.  Here are a few ideas I have come across over the years that seems to make my life a little more frugal, or so it seems.

NOW is the time to ASK for those special gadgets you have been wanting.  Crockpots, Instant Pots, bread makers, vacuum sealers, canners, etc..  Maybe just maybe - Santa will bring it to you! 
Also check thrift stores and-or yard sales for those gadgets.  So many people HAVE to have the latest greatest new craze in gadgets and then they don't use them.  You can often find them for pennies on the dollar.  The biggest non-used item people sell cheaply and buy expensively is exercise equipment.  You tend to see it every where.

Get your FREE items whenever possible.  Check out Bath and Body Works - they often have coupons for FREE items.  Keep for yourself or gift.  Victoria Secret has a FREE panty program.  Crazy Kroger days (and maybe affiliates) have FREE downloads for Fridays.  Items can be received for nothing!  Sign up for WalMart freebies - I used to get lots of free samples from them.
Along these lines - REMEMBER if you love an item or hate an item - let the company know! 
They may send you coupons or free products.  They want your feedback.  There is generally a website address or toll free number on most products.

I hate being cold.  I also hate shoes!  I wear socks in the winter, but I still get cold.  NO I don't want to turn the heat up.  We all know to layer clothing and bedding to help.  I have finally learned that house shoes warm my feet in no time and then the rest of me stays warm.
We lose much heat from heads and feet.  Hats keep your head (thus you) warm outside and slippers keeps you warmer inside.

I found these memory foam slippers on a pre Christmas sale for $10 quite a while back.  They warm me up in no time.  They also have rubberized bottoms - so I can go get the mail or feed the kitties outside with them on (NO I don't wear to shop!).

We all get to the end of condiments in bottle and there is such a bit in the bottom - it doesn't seem to come out.  Things like ketchup, BBQ sauce, spicy mustard, etc. - add some water to the bottom of the jar.  Swish.  It is great to use in jazzing up your cooking.  No it probably won't work over fries or on a sandwich - but it extends the product  and makes great seasoning. NO waste.

Make sure you STOCK UP when you find great deals on seasonal sales.  Odds are you won't find the same prices for 'at least' another year (and then who knows) - so if at all possible with finances and space - stock up for a year.
Figure out how many pasta, canned good, etc. you use a week or month and multiply to have enough of a cheaply priced item for the year.  Prices are bound to go up and this is just like money in the bank.

I used to use a Tea Pot (brand name) to make my tea for iced tea.  It quit after years, so I went back to brewing tea on the stove.  We neither one was happy with it.  One day a light bulb went off - use the coffee pot!
I place my tea bags in the 'coffee' holder and fill the pot with water and run through a total of three pots - then add plain water to my jug. (I make a gallon at a time).  It is quick and works like a charm.
The coffee pot is also a great way to make 'quick' hot water for a cup of hot tea or for anything else - like hot chocolate.  Quick and easy. 
The coffee pot is for more than coffee!

Many times sponges, scrubbers (store bought) or even Magic Erasers are kind of big for most hands.  Cut them into the perfect size pieces.  I like to cut into fourths and they work great.  I tend to have to purchase less often.  It seems any time I have used a Magic Eraser, most of it is actually wasted and melts away.  No sense is just throwing money/product away.
I have many loofas that my Dad actually grew many, many years ago. (He passed in 1984).  I cut them into 3"-4" lengths and they last forever.  You can buy them at a lot of places - cut them and have more than one.  These are great for bath and kitchen chores.

Think about getting inexpensive wash cloths (same color so different from others) and use as  every day napkins or purchase cheap bandanas for napkins.  You can get different color sets for different occasions.  Darker colors are great as they don't show stains!!!

Lastly - utilize, utilize, utilize the library.  Books, movies, music - it's entertainment and educational items all for FREE!!  I realize computers offer a world of information - but there is just something about going to the library and wondering the aisles.  You find things you didn't even know you might be interested in.
Not everyone gets cable or Netflix (or other services) as they do cost.  You can get movies/videos at the library, video games, and so much more.  ALL FOR FREE
No better deal any where!

I hope this gives you something to think about.  What are some of your "DUH" ideas that hit you like a bucket of bricks?????  LOL
We all need new tricks!