The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Merchant Ship Mentality works!

Since last weeks post I have had so many letters telling me the same thing... surprising success with travelling further afield and trying different shops!   This is really paying off for me. Tomorrow I am heading off again on a mission to try out some new shops in an area south of us.  The last trip saved us so much that we are still reaping the benefits.

I have realised a few things that have clouded my judgement have probably been the result of advertising and what I guess might be called "popular culture" .... the ideas that supermarkets have everything you need in one place, no one can beat their prices (which is why so many old places closed down) and that convenience is everything.   I more or less believed these things for quite some time!  The only trouble is NONE of them are true.

The idea of convenience is somehow everywhere. Everyone wants fast, easy, instant.  We are led to believe this is a good thing.  But if shopping around different stores (and perhaps some a bit further away) save a large sum per week and mean you have so much more and better produce why does it matter if its not convenient?  If you save $50 by spending two extra hours a week on your shopping isn't  $25 an hour for your work a reasonable rate?  It's worth thinking about.
And the same with cooking.  I found with making sausage rolls the other day that what I made vs the cost for the same in the shops saved me over $100.  It took me a little over an hour to make them.  $100 an hour? Who makes that!?  This convenience thing has a high price!   It is great sometimes that is for sure but a little bit of inconvenience sure can be a big saver!

As it turns out finding seriously cheaper prices and improving the economy of the whole household is so worthwhile it is fun.   You can quite possibly change the fortunes of your home economy very significantly!

Jen in NZ wrote:

Your shopping trips to different areas have been an eye opener, I have begun to do the same here as I'm often quite disappointed with our local supermarkets. I found a cheese shop selling rounds of brie and Camembert for $1, they are $4.49 in the supermarket. And sometimes they have 1kg of Parmesan for $7, normally more than that for 250g at the supermarket! Now to find fruit, vegetables and meat at a better price! 

I love hearing this!

The photos in this post are recent ones sent in that I think fit our pantry theme.

Baking day with Chloe.

I also want to share this beautiful letter with you all.   Jesse has put the merchant ships mentality to work with amazing results.  I hope this encourages everyone.  We don't have some of the stores Jesse mentions. It doesn't matter!  The principals remain the same.  I have ended up including the whole letter as it is full of good things! 

Beautiful Muffins by Teresa.

Dearest Annabel and bluebirds,
Even though I rarely comment I am truly one of the fold. I so enjoy the spirit of these comments because I too do these things. Being a stay at home mom to three, soon to be 4 children, plus homeschooling doesn't leave me a lot of time for grocery shopping however a few years ago I was so fed up with leaving our local big chain grocery store in tears. I simply couldn't get what we needed there weekly with our budget. So I told the Lord and myself I'd find a new way if He'd help and He really did. Now I travel one hour each way every 2-3 weeks and am able to go to Aldi, B.J.s (like Sam's club) and occasionally another discount store like Ollies. Yes it's a sacrifice and a lot of women think I'm crazy but I got so tired of what They called deals! We have a big family and I love to entertain and now I always have plenty to share. At least some in the US see stocking up as weird but I feel blessed knowing we always have food to share. We live in a very rural area so if we have snow, or some other tragedy we are prepared. I also make an hour trek about every 6 weeks to a massive discount grocery store owned by the Amish. This trip is gold! I leave with two carts, heaped up and over, full of anything you can think of (gourmet, organic, specialty, coffee, cereal, cheese, yoghurt, body products, house products, even gifts) for around $300. Here a normal week of groceries could easily cost that much if you just shopped a big market. So with these trips I feel prepared, my husband and children are blessed, and I can share so many meals! Yes it's exhausting with the boys but it's teaching them so much about the cost of things and what it takes to run a household! My nine year old can spot a great deal! It also helps them have some say in what they get to eat which they enjoy. When we do our Aldi trip we usually splurge and eat a meal out. We can, we just saved a lot of money! Most of our beef and pork we are able to buy in bulk, we eat local eggs and do grow a lot of veggies. We have started an orchard and have many berry bushes planted too. I also grind our own flour, which is an initial investment, but oh so tasty and healthy. Everything else I look on Amazon for and get through subscribe and save for very competitive prices. Overall I can see just where the Lord started blessing me when I was willing to step from my comfort zone and work a bit harder to bring in food. I just recently got a friend to do the same as she too was feeling so sad over how little a grocery budget could do. I took her to the Amish store and when she got home her children and husband were practically in tears at the bounty! On another note Annabel I just recently saw how important it is to have extra bedding! I have always kept whatever extra nice bedding i could (we have 6 beds in our home) so when recently we had missionary friends stay with us our guest beds were lovely. The evening they left they called us with some sad news, they had found some lice on their daughter's head :( We immediately stripped the beds, pillows, and couches. I washed and line dried everything (hot summer sun here in Pennsylvania) and vacuumed (best tool against lice i read.) Now you tell me what I would have done if that was basically our only bedding! I have wiped up too much vomit, baby spit up, and potty accidents to believe that extra bedding and towels could ever be a problem :) I truly strive for my home to be orderly and manageable, which it is, but I draw the line at getting down to one set of sheets per bed! You ladies are such an encouragement to me! I want to comment so often and can't but I'm going to make more of an effort! I always talk about my Bluebird friends. I want to send you some pics Annabel as we have similar styles. Love and blessings to you all! Jesse in Pennsylvania.

Thank you so much Jesse!  Thank you for taking the time to share this! 

Vicky's Cabbages are really coming on! 

During the week I found another wonderful letter on the web archive that Laine wrote about shopping and keeping the prices right down.  I don't know how I missed this one as it is full of information and inspiration.    Laine was doing just what Jesse is doing now! You can read it  here.   It goes very well with the one I mentioned last week.

Laine  also applied this equally to thrift shopping.  Here she was advising someone who wrote to her for advice.  This person had said how she doesn't have a thrift store...

 "If I didn't have a thrift shop in my town, I'd travel once a month or so to a town that did. My mom takes me on one of these trips every year on my birthday. We hit thrift shops an hour away. It's so much fun. Garage sales and swap meets are also great places to save money. "

Just part of Vicky's Veggie garden! 

As it turns out many times you can combine thrift stores/op shops and regular shopping on further away trips.  It becomes a major adventure!

I am heading off tomorrow. My friend Hilde tells me about a store near her that I never have been too. It is right next to a fantastic op shop! 😊
Hilde is a big saver. She can cook anything too so I always learn new recipes from her.
My last shopping trip to her area saved me so much.  I am still in awe of that shop.
That shop reminded me of years ago when I routinely shopped further afield as I was in a very small country town with very high prices.  I went an hour inland once a fortnight or an hour and a half south once every couple of months.  These were huge days.  But they were so much fun!  The girls thought these days were the best fun ever! It was a great adventure!  Just like Jesse, these trips made so much difference to the whole household!

There are lots of ways we can incorporate shopping further afield into our routine. We might be somewhere due to an appointment or visit.  We might have family or friends who can pick something up for us and bring it with them when they are coming our way.  We can be creative with this!

Next week our post is by Laine!  This will be a general savings tips post!

Have a wonderful week! xxx


  1. Hello Dear Annabel & friends,

    What a wonderful post about heading further afield to collect our bounty, it certainly has me thinking more about it & planning a couple of trips to see what I can find (sort of feels like treasure hunting without a map, LOL).

    Jesse, thank you for your lovely story. That Amish shop sounds fabulous & full of wonderful ways to spoil your very fortunate family. I truly love reading of savvy people like yourself & Annabel who inspire others to think outside the box & shake up their normal routine.

    Hope all is well with you & yours Annabel, sending love & hugs to you as always & of course to all the Bluebird readers..... xSusan

    1. Dear Susan,
      Thank you! Yes I think it is like treasure hunting! Today I did it and I found several things I know you would love! :)
      Thank you so much Susan, with love

  2. I'm like you I had gotten out of the habit of shopping further away. I think I got busy and just didn't make time. Sometimes I run out of energy to tell the truth. This week though we went to a discount store about 15 miles away (one way) and got such good deals. We've made up our mind to go there at least once a month. Then today we decided to enjoy a country ride and stopped by a gentlemen's house that had blackberries for sale for $3.50 a quart. What a deal. We bought eight quarts. I canned them into juice then I will make jelly later when I have time. We used to pick them ourselves in a field owned by the power company but now they spray the weeds heavily. We are steering clear of them now. We were glad for the deal! Have a great day Annabelle!

    1. Dear Vickie, Your trips really paid off! This is encouraging! Once a month isn't too bad either especially if it makes a big difference to the budget. I am finding it fun, there will be weeks I just cant do it, but if I am ahead it wont matter, thats what I figure! With love

  3. Wow Annabel, this post is so much like what I've been doing for so long it is habit. I smiled at your travelling further afield when you were in a country town. I did the same thing, 1-1/2 hours to the next bigger town, 5 hours in one direction to Sydney and 4-1/2 in the other to Melbourne. Twice a year we'd visit family and boy would I have a shopping list - groceries, clothes, toys, presents, manchester, even furniture a couple of times. How we fit it all in with three children and all their gear I'll never know, but we did. It was the start of my stockpiling obsession :) Jesse's letter is beautiful too - I'm so envious of her being able to shop at an Amish store, something I have on my bucket list (just need to convince Wayne travelling overseas would be as much fun as travelling around Australia!). This week I've felt so much better, after not doing much for months I've been baking up a storm. Cupcakes, sultana cake, date cake, brownies, sausage rolls, bread'n'butter pudding, lemon syrup cake, potato bake and spaghetti sauce are all now in the freezer for us to enjoy. And restocking the stockpile with lots of tinned tomatoes, beans, chickpeas and lentils @69c. And to finish the week Thomas and I spent some time going through the seed box and planning the veggie garden for spring/summer. It was a busy week and I'm exhausted again, but it's a nice exhaustion :) Have fun on your shopping travels, Love Cath

    1. Cath I'm so pleased to hear your up to gardening again,its been a while since I have read you mention your garden. Glad to hear your beginning to feel better. You, Annabell,Wendy and Patsy inspire me to keep persevering especially when my family have trouble understanding my desire to be a better Steward of Gods gifts. Di

    2. Funny Cath, we travelled to Wellington in the school holidays and stocked up like you used to. There were several of us unable to put our feet on the floor of the car for the four hour trip home lol.

      Jen in NZ

    3. Dear Cath, I am so pleased about all your cooking! How lovely!
      Many of the big trips we did we barely had room to all get back into the car! haha! But no one minded!
      I feel just the same about Jesse's letter and the Amish store! We could have the most wonderful time visiting somewhere like that! Truly I would love it!
      I hope you are not too tried but I do understand happy tired! With love

  4. Dear Annabel, this is so true! I know that if I just drive for ten minutes more, I can shop at the market that saves me even more than Aldi does. As you say, we get brainwashed into accepting that Aldi is the bees knees, and it certainly can be! BUT, it's always worth a looky-see somewhere else, just as an experiment. This market sells fruit and veges for one third the price of even Aldi, and the on-site butchers will slice and dice your meat any way you want if you buy in bulk. They often have whole chickens for $3 (very cheap for here), and also have a great range of pantry staples. The cheeses are inexpensive, and they stock some wonderful international and delicatessen items too. Yes it's a little inconvenient, and the checkouts are not quick, but overall it's well worthwhile even for a monthly visit to stock up on meat and produce. As I mentioned in my earlier comment last week, I find that ethnic grocery stores often have interesting and inexpensive pantry items too. Chloes baking looks glorious by the way! Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      Yes we get brainwashed all right! Here Aldi is quite new so everyone believes Woolworths and Coles are the bees knees. So much so that our locals ones have responded to Aldi being near by with doing absolutely nothing. Nothing! No effort at all for any good specials... just nothing. Even though you can see less people are in there! The market you have sounds really good! I have been discovering more and more and tomorrow is another day of discoveries I am hoping! I have a big day planned!
      I agree on the ethnic stores... I have had luck in Chinese and Indian supermarkets. Not to mention the lovely things to look at. Oh and also a Greek place... we have a greek wholesaler and that is my best price so far for herbs and spices. Just amazing! And a joyful experience too!
      $3 is a bargain for a whole chicken! Have a good week Mimi! With love

    2. Dear Mimi and Annabel I also find that Aldi in our area is not that cheap on most of their products compared to the other big 2 supermarkets. On average for their staples they are the same price or under 1c of the price of the supermarkets.

      I am finding now that I can get my 5% off face value grocery gift cards for Woolworths from our local roadside assist club that this puts Woolworths staples far cheaper than Aldi. Then of course I look for specials to maximise the already 5% off the prices I am getting too :) .

      There are some foods I do prefer to get from Aldi being their cheese and sultanas as they are so much nicer than the generic big 2 brands.


    3. Dear Sewingcreations,
      I love the Aldi dried fruit! I need to stock up as my recent fruit cakes cleaned me out!
      Areas very so greatly. Our stores haven't bothered to compete with Aldi yet. I daresay sometime they will have to try. Today I found a new fruit and veg store and also a very good butcher so my choices are growing! With love

    4. Hi Annabel I am glad you have been able to find another good butcher and fruit and veg store it makes so much of a difference when you have a wider choice so you can get the best deals from the different stores.

      You are fortunate that Aldi in your area appears to be keeping their prices down on most things. We do find that their nuts, dried fruit, tinned apples, cheese and their meat if you are buying in small quantities are a good price. So it definitely pays to price check between stores to get the best deals :).

      For us being in a small country town our prices are more expensive than major towns around 45 mins away. We tend when we go to other towns on errands to stock up on a lot of things and fill the car up while we are there.

      Have a fantastic week.


  5. Dear Annabel,you have encouraged me with the others here to try other supermarkets , I use to go to 4 when mine were growing up,but changed to one a week depending on what was happening here and my energy levels.I can see now if I break my trips down it will be less to carry and easier on my body too and fun to see what good prices are around.
    Jen NZ did well with her cheese prices wow! I haven't seen them around here.But I can think of two places to visit next .
    Jesse US is very hard working and an inspiration with all she has acheived for her family, well done Jesse.
    Chloe's baking will be scoffled up Im sure hehe. Teresa's muffins too and Vicky's cabbage and garden plot are doing great.
    Well done Bluebirds!
    Love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria, I hope the shops you visit turn out to have good prices on the cheese. I agree... I remember my Nan... she used to go into a store with a small basket and get a few things... but she did this often. I think she enjoyed it, it was more pleasurable and social too. She was a good cook and bargain hunter. I know Nan and Pa studied the catalogues too.
      Many thanks Maria, with love

  6. Hi Annabel and all Bluebirds,

    What an encouraging post! It's very true, though I always dread the day we go to the city for "the big shop" as it is such a big day, but I couldn't afford to buy flour, baking items, etc., if I only shopped at our local supermarkets. I try to consider the gas prices in relation to what we're saving on the food...sometimes it works out even, when gas is sky high, but usually we come out ahead by travelling farther.

    Love to see Vicky's garden this year!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, Hopefully we will see a lot of Vickys garden and her preserving and also... she is working on a whole new pantry room! Saying this... I would also love to see your beautiful garden again this year!
      The big shop days can be exhausting! I know! We do have to factor in fuel for sure. My country town prices used to be such that I could save the file back on only a couple of items and then I was in the clear.
      I shopped away today too... I found some things that have me firmly knowing now that supermarkets are just no long cheaper where I live. Im kind of shocked by how much less so many things are... some are 1/4. We just have to keep our eyes open. With love

  7. Annabel,
    It was wonderful hearing from Jesse, knowing she is with Family this summer. I thank her for bringing us together.
    Chloe's baking looks so delicious, following in Mom's footsteps of being a great cook.

    When I lived in the country I made a trip once a week or every 2 weeks into town, we had a small grocery store but no real bargains, I would pack my son up and go into town when husband went into work, making it a full days adventure. I was able to fill my SUV with pennies on the dollar.

    With my present husband's work travel I have mapped out all the places we go and always try to stop and shop at places I had found from Op Shops to discount stores. I have even gotten excited at times knowing we are gong to certain cities just due to what I have found there. from Amish stores that I stop at, Op Shops that are more affordable by far than local ones, to discount stores and even Aldi's, some Aldi's have different items compared to others. Example: it took 4 Aldi's to find the planter I wanted for herbs.

    Our Farmer's Markets here are premium price as are the You-Pick, making supermarket prices more reasonable and if you let the dept manager know you want to buy in bulk they will give you a discount on top of the sale. One of those you don't know till you ask things.

    When husband travels without me I will go to the small ethnic shops in area, he's not into doing that, he believes it's easier and best to be loyal to one store, though I have pointed out A wants $1 compared to B where you shop wants $4 for same item. He misses out on the adventure and thrill of the savings.

    I have been demeaned for shopping at thrift stores all my life, but my family drinks out of crystal glasses at less than Dollar store prices, my Son cooks with expensive ($750 for 6 pieces) cookware I paid $7.99 for. If no one knew no one can comment, I never understood the reasoning behind spending more was better.

    As for linens, most of mine came from Op Shops, I was stunned when I went to a regular Dept store and they had security tags on sheets and pillowcases, then looking at the price of $165+ for each and $50 for a set of pillow cases, I can see why they tagged them. It seems now-a-days people will steal anything.

    One great thing is we have google now, search thrift stores in cities, ethnic food shops, produce markets. It's a fun adventure with savings.

    1. Dear Rubies,
      You are a fantastic thrift store shopper and also I notice you use this to build up your pantry and home really well! The trips are something you take advance of and wow you have had some wonderful finds!
      You got me looking more at linen. Good linen is a heck of a price so this is a good way to have spares! Yes some for sewing but some for actual bedding!
      You re right, the internet can direct us and help us find places we never knew existed! Many thanks! With love

  8. Great post. Love the letter from Jessee. So happy she has found other ways to save and is helping others find their way.
    This week I stopped at the Christian thrift store to look around. They receive twice weekly deliveries from Sam's of bread and sweets. I got 3 lovely pound cakes, 12 hoagie buns and 3 loaves of French bread all for FREE! Such a lovely addition to the freezer.
    You just never know where the DEALS will show up.

    We all need to keep vigilant and keep our eyes and ears open to deals. We also need to pass on the info to others. Love helping others.
    God bless.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Thank you! It was lovely getting all that food for free! Wow! Yes we need to share the info around. I love the sound of that Christian thrift store too! With love

  9. Rats! I lost my first comment...let me try to recreate my post!

    This post really hits the spot with me. We have gotten away from shopping frugally in our home, more for convenience sake than anything else. DH (Dear Hubby) and I talked about this recently and we have decided that we are going to pay more attention and shop more thoughtfully to save money and eat better. We have been cutting back on eating out and want to reduce that frequency even more. I used to love the thrill of the hunt for grocery shopping, so I'm looking forward to that again.

    We bought bacon yesterday for $2.50/lb, which is an astonishing deal because usually it is $4 or more per lb. DH bought 48 packages, so I'd say we're set for a year. I used to shop at an Amish market when we lived several hours to the south of where I live now. I think I need to find out if there is one that is closer to my home. They always had wonderful bargains in their shop. We also have a fruit/vegetable market every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday in downtown Kansas City that has been there for more than 100 years. I have always enjoyed going there and found good produce for a decent price, I had just stopped going, again due to convenience.

    We just ordered a side of beef from a butcher in Kansas that we bought from last year, the meat was delicious and it is only $3.10/lb. Of course, this is the hanging weight, including bones, that the price is based off of, but it is still an excellent deal and lasts us more than 12 months. I can usually find boneless/skinless chicken breasts for around $1.50/lb, which is an excellent price as well.

    I'm finding that if I just stop and pay attention, and spend some time, we will be enjoying big savings!



    1. Dear Jeanette, Thanks for trying again! I hate losing posts and comments.
      I think you are getting back into the grocery savings well with the big bacon purchase! I keep telling everyone how I would love to visit an Amish store! I hope you find one not too far away.
      Beef at that price is amazing. That is the way to by it!
      Truly, the grocery shop is so important. Not just in saving but what we end up eating... and whether we end up eating at home or out. Its a big impact. I am finding meal planning a really big help. I have the weeks meals written out and using up what I have but now I have a spare meals list and I am up to about twenty days. I love it as now I only have to buy great deals as I don't need anything urgently. And this is helping me build the pantry too with some of the savings. I am loving it!
      I had a good day today with a few major is fun and I am a bit further ahead again. I think do it while we can as there are good times and bad times. (make hay while the sun shines!) With love

  10. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    It is so nice to see what you are doing to save money and provide well for your family. Lately I have so avoided going the "farther afield" drive. For years I was working a sales & marketing job that had me behind the wheel driving for hours and hours each day. Now I just want to stay home!

    This is a good reminder that on occasion the drive is warranted and necessary to provide for my family.

    This past weekend my hubby and I took a drive a little over an hour away up into Southern Kentucky to a lovely Mennonite community. We have been there before and found they have great prices. Now in this community are a couple variety grocery stores. One is a "tourist" stop and the other is where the locals shop. I accidentally GPS'd us right to the tourist shop. We walked in and right back out again to go down the curvy road a bit to the where the locals shop for goods. What a savings!

    Have a blessed day everyone!

    1. Dear Kathryn,
      I understand wanting to stay home! Much of the time I feel just the same. Think of it as earning a good wage when you have to do it if the savings are significant.
      I would love to take a trip like you describe... and yes the shops the locals use would be lovely! Also so interesting! With love Annabelxxx

  11. We often thrift shop in tourist areas when we vacation. We find great shops with very nice merchandise in areas where the incomes are high and the prices are often very low since residents of those areas do not shop second hand. We were in Pompano Beach, Florida years ago and there were racks and racks of name brand, like new clothing for 50 cents each!

    We had to change our thinking to shopping nearer to home. We have shopped at an Aldi 12 miles from home for the last 2-3 years. A few months ago a new store opened 6 miles from us but we hate the parking lot and getting in and out of the shopping center where it is located. Then Lidl opened right down the road from the nearer one. The prices have plummeted at that Aldi and today they were handing out $5 off $30 coupons and there are 4 of them for the next four weeks. Just a few days ago my husband and I agreed that we have to make ourselves shop at that store until we figure out how to be comfortable there and navigate the parking lot and in and out. Eggs were only 29 cents a dozen and because we had saved up and gotten the new refrigerator for the garage we were able to buy 6 dozen. Overall the prices are lower on most everything in that store to compete with Lidl. My husband started on long term disability today and our income is now half of what it was so we must be more mindful of every penny now.

    1. Dear Lana,
      Well done on making the most of those great specials. I am a bit the same... I will take a dislike or have a fear of going somewhere... and then it is hard to go there! Possibly find a way to easily follow all the best specials, catalogues etc so you know ahead if it is worth going and then you may not even have to do it very often. Eggs at 29c a doz blows my mind as $5 a doz is the cheaper eggs here!
      I hope that you and your husband can settle into a new economy that is really comfortable and works well. A 50% cut back would be a big adjustment. But we can view adjustments as challenges! With love

  12. Hi Annabel
    I've managed to test a few places when we have travelled for sport on a Saturday. There is one area around 20 minutes away that is definitely worth exploring more. Another, 40 minutes away I would not bother with again. Which is interesting, as several people had recommended it. I think sometimes people assume that buying in bulk is cheaper, but the unit prices were more than our supermarkets. I was pleased I hadn't made a special trip for that one, we were heading there for soccer anyway.

    I had never thought of baking Camembert in pastry, that sounds beautiful! I will be heading back to the cheese shop in the next couple of weeks so hopefully they will have it at that price again.

    I think we are going to have a baking day having seen the pictures above!

    Have a great week
    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen, It really pays to know your unit prices! That is for sure. It is handy travelling with sport, there are the kid of trips we have to make anyway!
      We love cooked camembert and I got a bargain one today! Being winter this is a good way to eat it. So nice! A small amount goes a long way and the nuts add to that effect too. And the salad of course. It seems like a really fancy meal too which is good!
      Thanks Jen for sharing your experience as we all need to try outside the usual areas and shops as there are big discoveries to make! With love Annabelxxx

  13. Hi Annabel,
    I have been following you for a long while now but never comment.
    I was busy reading this weeks then and I saw that Jen from NZ was saying about the very cheap cheese prices here, and I laughed and thought gee thats here in the little town in which I live. And I thought that the prices here were dare and I shop 40 minutes away.
    What a small world it is.

    1. Vicky, your garden is beautiful and your cabbage really look good! Jesse, I loved reading your comment, lots of encouragement there for me. It looks like the concept of 'going afar' for grocery shopping is really catching on. We are planning another 'going afar' shopping trip soon! I was very pleased with our last one!

    2. Wow! Thank you for telling me that! If this is where you live could you share for Jen where you shop 40 mins away and where are the best places... as Jen is quite new to the area! With thanks,

  14. Hi Annabel, :)
    I love reading this post, so much goodness to take in. :) I live in a tiny farming community so I have to travel anyway to do my shopping. When we head further north though, about 1 1/2 hours away, I make sure to hit the discount grocery stores, Big Lots, and the thrift stores. My hubby and I will even do this when we take vacations and find thrift stores in those areas too. I used to come home with the most amazing finds from the area that my parents live in since it is very affluent. Unfortunately, they closed down the thrift store there and it just makes me so sad.

    1. Dear Debbie,
      We also hit the thrift stores when way! The far off country ones are really good! We have some amazing finds!
      The sleuth in me would have me asking around everyone where your parents live... WHERE do the locals donate their stuff to now the store isn't there? There may be a collection point... and you might be able to find out where a lot of it goes! Otherwise I wonder if the area has garage sakes as they could be really good! Put your FBI hat on as all that stuff will be gong somewhere and probably not too far away. Good luck!
      I used to regularly do a 1.5 hour trip each way. It was a big day but also kind of fun and it really paid off! With love

  15. Chloe your baking looks delicious, Teresa your muffins yummy. Vicky your gardens looks so productive, a woman after my own heart as we too have large vegetable gardens here that supply us with all the vegetables, herbs and berries we need for the year without purchasing any.

    Jesse I love how you save so much money by shopping in alternative places and feeding your family. Jen in NZ so glad you have found alternative places to shop to save money in your families budget.

    Annabel you have spurred us on to check prices more often in our area between various shops as well and it has yielded great savings which I will put in next weeks feathering our nests post. Let's just say that with specials and combining 5% off grocery gift cards we saved 38% on one item we purchased on special being toilet paper and 80% off the supermarket price of 3 correction pens purchased at the Reject Shop. We also picked up some lovely oranges to juice at 14.45% less than the cost of ones at Aldi too by combining our 5% off grocery gift cards.

    We are happy campers this week and I have to say by thinking laterally and combining specials and members benefits we are saving money and have even been able to buy ourselves some small treats and increase our grocery stockpile in the process.

    We are now thinking of having a dedicated day in town when we go on other errands to look at the tip shop and op shops in the area too to see what we can find in the way of needed items at good prices.

    Have a wonderful week one and all :) .


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, This is great news! Also encouraging! I really look forward to the details on Friday! I think it is exciting to realise there are more alternatives out there than perhaps we thought. I had great luck today doing the same thing. I have found three new places to put on my circuit, maybe once a month I am thinking. Way way way cheaper than the supermarkets too.
      I am very happy for you especially that you can have both a treat and be further ahead. This is the best of both worlds! With love

  16. Thank you everyone for the compliments on my gardens. I hope to have lots of productivity from it to share in the coming weeks.
    I love traveling a little farther to get good deals. When I come home with a truck full instead of just a few bags it is always rewarding Plus by paying attention there have been yard sales and road side finds along the way. Or stores going out of business that I wasn't aware of. I will go into even the most expensive stores and have a look around because sometimes they have really good clearance items. It is always hit or miss, but always worth the trips. Knowing the flow of traffic helps too. I avoid the times of day when it is the busiest and sometimes evening shopping has been rewarding because some places mark things down in the evening versus the morning. I love, love to find a bargain and stay ahead of things especially when I see people just toss things in their cart not being mindful of sales and then complain about how much they spent. It just makes no sense to me?

    1. Dear Vicky, I cant wait to see your garden as it grows and what you harvest! Then what you do with it all. I know you will make the most of everything.
      Stores closing down... that is a good tip I didnt think of. Some of our stores are not open on public holidays... so if you shop the night before, just before closing, they mark all the fresh stuff down to clear it out. That can be really good! I don't shop when its busy either... and I look in all the departments as mark downs can be located anywhere! We would have good fun bargain hunting together I think! With love

  17. Thank you, Annabel, for sharing so much in the last few posts!
    So glad to read Jesse's letter. God gave me a discount grocery near my home when finances were the tightest. The Lord will continue to guide you, Jesse. God always lightened our financial burdens as a new child was added to our home (we have 8). He is so good, esp. to those who trust in Him!

    Vicky, your garden is abundant! I wish I could tour it in person. We harvested potatoes today. We planted just a handful of seed potatoes passed on to us, and yet the yield was 20 lbs. at least. Starting our Fall garden this week. Lots of clay in our soil so must amend. That's the down-side of moving when you garden; new soil conditions & a new climate.
    We are off to spend coupons that my children earned in the Library's summer reading program. Free and discounted meals also add to savings. Then it is a festival of free christian bands in the park. We are so blessed!


    1. Dear Leslie, Thank you! I hope your new garden becomes very successful. Even though you are starting again all your past experience will be a big help. I hope you have a wonderful day and the coupons yield lots of wonderful goodies! With lots of love,


I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.