Chickens: cuter than a bread machine

My $5 yard sale bread machine got upgraded to a $40.91 yard sale bread machine with the replacement of its dough blades. Who doesn’t love starting the new year with new dough blades?! These small, blade-like objects snap into the base of the bread machine’s basket to perform the crucial kneading step in the bread making process. I am thrilled to outsource kneading to these blades and they tirelessly execute their task without so much as a squeak of complaint (cannot say the same about the children of the house to whom I also attempt to outsource… mixed results; will report back in 10 years).

I picked up our Zojirushi bread machine at a yard sale about 3.5 years ago and we’ve made what I estimate to be ~200 loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread since its arrival. After mixing and kneading lo those many loaves, the original dough blades wore down and lost their non-stick coating, causing large clumps of bread to adhere to the blades and not the loaf. A new Zojirushi bread machine–of similar make and model to ours–runs $319.99 (affiliate link). YIKES. What a delight for Mr. FW to discover that one can purchase just the blades for a mere $35.91 (affiliate link)! The new blades are installed and so far, rotating with ease.

Why Bake Your Own Bread?

Baking one’s own bread is a fantastic and simple element of putting your life on frugal autopilot. Once you start, you probably won’t stop and you’ll save money on bread forever and ever. Also, it is more yum.

It takes ~3 minutes to dump the ingredients into the basket and turn on the bread machine. It is so simple that my four-year-old can *almost* do it. Plus, the ingredients are much cheaper than a store bought loaf. Bonus: warm, fragrant bread aromas permeate your home.

My VERY eager kitchen assistants a few years ago

Benefits of baking one’s own bread:

  1. Cheaper
  2. Healthier
  3. Tastes better
  4. House smells great

Downsides of baking one’s own bread:

  1. You no longer have a reason to go down the bread aisle at the grocery store
  2. If you don’t have time to do it by hand, you will need to procure a bread machine (I’m team #breadmachine4lyfe)

Ways to source a bread machine:

  1. Thrift store
  2. Yard sale
  3. Buy Nothing Group
  4. Basement of someone you know
  5. Basement of someone you sort of know
  6. Purchase new

Our current bread machine is our 3rd second-hand bread machine and we paid no more than $5 for each one. Bread machines seem to be one of those things that folks receive as a gift and then never use… sounds like a conspiracy…. Hence, I see them at yard sales, thrift stores and collecting dust on counters all the time. If you too want to venture into self-made carb cubes, ask around and see what bread machines offer themselves up to you.

Our Sandwich Bread Recipe

Family ski! Mr. FW, Kidwoods and Littlewoods

Since I know you’re going to ask, our recipe is based off of this King Arthur Baking recipe. I’ve modified it over the years as I’ve discovered different bread machines work differently. In our current bread machine, here’s what we do:

611 grams white whole wheat flour
355 grams water
37 grams olive oil
90 grams maple syrup
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt

I find that using our food scale to weigh by grams is both faster and more precise (affiliate link). The white whole wheat flour is crucial for us–when I use whole wheat flour, it comes out like a dense brick (even if I use vital wheat gluten). Thankfully, we’re able to buy white whole wheat flour in bulk from our co-op.

Other Bread Considerations

To get thin sandwich-sized slices–and not mediaeval hunks–I cut a cooled, fresh loaf in half and then cut slices starting from the center. Use a proper bread knife and keep it sharp!

For storage pre-kids, I froze half of every loaf since my husband and I don’t consume bread at the rate of a hyena pack. It freezes perfectly fine!

For storage post-kids, I put each half into its own gallon-sized ziplock bag. This keeps it fresh for about a week (probably?). Not certain as no loaf has ever laster that long in our pantry. See above note re. current hyena pack’s bread consumption abilities.

I’ve tried storing bread loaves in tea towels, a box, and foil, but nothing works as well as plastic zipper bags. I just re-use the same bags over and over.

Happy baking!!

Can I Talk To You?

Our gingerbread house in the woods

Yes! You can hire me to write a full financial plan for you OR you can pick my brain for an hour over the phone. Have a super quick question? Talk to me for 30 minutes.

  1. Hire me for a private financial consultation here.
  2. Schedule an hourlong call with me here.
  3. Book 30 minutes with me here.

To learn more about one-on-one consultations with me, check this out.

I Love the Free Money Tracking Tools from Personal Capital!

I use a free online service called Personal Capital to organize our money. It tracks our spending, net worth, investments, retirement, everything.

Knowing where your money’s at is one of the easiest ways to get a handle on your finances. You cannot make informed decisions about your money if you don’t know how you’re spending it or how much you have. If you’d like to know more about how Personal Capital works, check out my full write-up.

Without a holistic picture of your finances, there’s no way to set savings, debt repayment or investment goals. It’s a must, folks. Personal Capital (which is free) is a great way for me to systematize our financial overviews since it links all of our accounts together and provides a comprehensive picture of our net worth.

If you don’t have a solid idea of where your money’s at–or how you’re spending it–consider trying Personal Capital (note: the Personal Capital links are affiliate links). 

Credits Cards: How We Buy Everything

We buy everything we can with credit cards because:

  1. It’s easier to track expenses. No guesswork over where a random $20 bill went; it all shows up in our monthly expense report from Personal Capital. I also spend less money because I KNOW I’m going to see every expense listed at the end of the month.

  2. We get rewards. Credit card rewards are a simple way to get something for nothing. Through the cards we use, we get cash back as well as hotel and airline points for buying stuff we were going to buy anyway.
  3. We build our credit. Since we don’t have any debt, having several credit cards open for many years helps our credit scores. It’s a dirty myth that carrying a balance on your credit card helps your credit score–IT DOES NOT. Paying your cards off IN FULL every month and keeping them open for many years does help your score.

For more on my credit card strategy, check out:

Cash Back Cards to Consider

If you’re now cash-back curious, there are a number of cards on the market offering pretty good cash back percentages. Here are a few I think are a good deal:

This kid is at home on the slopes!

1) Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express:


  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% cash back on other purchases.
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. Rates and fees details here.
  • Terms apply

2) Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express:

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • 1% cash back on other purchases.
  • Earn up to $250 – Here’s How: Earn up to $150 back when you shop with PayPal. Earn 20% back as a statement credit on purchases when you use your new Card to check out with PayPal at merchants in the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $150 back. Plus, earn $100 back as a statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • No annual fee. Rates and fees details here.
  • Terms apply.

3) Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card:

  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
  • $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • No annual fee.

4) Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card:


  • Unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target).
  • 1% back on all other purchases.
  • 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023.
  • $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • No annual fee.
Winter barnyard view

5) Chase Freedom Unlimited®:

  • Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year), which is worth up to $300 cash back:
    • 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • 4.5% on dining and drugstores
    • 3% on all other purchases.
  • After your first year (or $20,000 spent), you earn:
    • 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
    • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.

6) Chase Freedom Flex℠:

  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
  • New 5% categories each quarter.
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • No annual fee.

If you’re interested in travel rewards, people love the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card®. You can earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, which is $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Huge caveat to credit card usage: you MUST pay your credit card bills in full every single month, with no exceptions. If you’re concerned about your ability to do this, or think using credit cards might prompt you to spend more, stick with a debit card or cash. But if you have no problem paying that bill in full every month? I recommend you credit card away, my friend! (note: the credit card links are affiliate links).

Cash Back Earned This Month: $60.45

This little skier is up the chairlift now!

The silver lining to our spending is our cash back credit card. We earn 2% cash back on every purchase made with our Fidelity Rewards Visa and, this month, we spent $3,022.43 on that card, which netted us $60.45.

Not a lot of money, but it’s money we earned for buying stuff we were going to buy anyway! This is why I love cash back credit card rewards–they’re the simplest way to earn something for nothing.

To see how this adds up over the course of a year, check out How I Made $712.59 With My Cash Back Credit Card.

Where’s Your Money?

Another easy way to optimize your money is with a high-interest savings account. With these accounts, interest works in your favor as opposed to the interest rates on debt, which work against you.

Having money in a no or low interest savings account is a waste of resources–your money is sitting there doing nothing. Don’t let your money be lazy! Make it work for you! And now, enjoy some explanatory math:

Let’s say you have $5,000 in a savings account that earns 0% interest. In a year’s time, your $5,000 will still be… $5,000.

Let’s say you instead put that $5,000 into an American Express Personal Savings account, which–as of this writing–earns 3.4% in interest (affiliate link). In one year, your $5,000 will have increased to $5,170. That means you earned $170 just by having your money in a high-interest account.

And you didn’t have to do anything! I’m a big fan of earning money while doing nothing. Is anybody not a fan of that? Apparently so, because anyone who uses a low or no interest savings account is NOT making money while doing nothing. Don’t be that person. Be the person who earns money while sleeping.

Yes, We Only Paid $28.41 for Cell Phone Service (for two phones)

Our cell phone service line item is not a typ0 (although that certainly is). We really and truly only paid $28.41 for both of our phones (that’s $14.21 per person for those of you into division). How is such trickery possible?!? We use an MVNO!

What’s an MVNO?

Glad you asked because I was going to tell you anyway: It’s a cell phone service re-seller.

MVNOs are the TJ Maxx of the cell phone service world–the same service, A LOT cheaper. If you’re not using an MVNO, switching to one is an easy, slam-dunk, do-it-right-away way to save money every single month of every single year forever and ever amen.

Here are a few MVNOs to consider:

For more, I have a full chart of providers and their prices here: How to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill with an MVNO: I Pay $12 a Month*

*the amount we pay fluctuates every month because it’s calibrated on what we use. Imagine that! We only pay for what we use! Will wonders ever cease. These MVNO links are affiliate links.

Expense Report FAQs

  • Want to know how we manage the rest of our money? Check out How We Manage Our Money: Behind The Scenes of The Frugalwoods Family Accounts
  • Winter wood

    Don’t you have a rental property? Yes! We own a rental property (also known as our first home) in Cambridge, MA, which I discuss here and more recently, here too

  • Why do I share our expenses? To give you a sense of how we spend our money in a values-based manner. Your spending will differ from ours and there’s no “one right way” to spend and no “perfect” budget.
  • Are we the most frugal frugal people on earth? Absolutely not! My hope is that by being transparent about our spending, you might gain insights into your own spending and be inspired to take proactive control of your money.
  • Wondering where to start with managing your money? Take my free, 31-day Uber Frugal Month Challenge.
  • If you’re interested in other things I love, check out Frugalwoods Recommends.
  • Why don’t you buy everything locally? We do our best to support our local community and buy as much of our food as possible directly from our farmer neighbors. Our town doesn’t have any stores, so we rely on online ordering and big box stores for necessities. The closest stores are 45 minutes away and we go a few times a month to stock up on what we can’t get from our neighbors or online.

But Mrs. Frugalwoods, Don’t You Pay For X, Y, Or Even Z???

Wondering about common expenses you don’t see listed below?

  • We don’t have a mortgage because we paid it off (details here)

  • We pay bills in full the month we receive them. That’s why you won’t see monthly payments for things like car insurance or property tax. These expenses show up as the full annual (or bi-annual, etc) amount in the month we pay them.
  • Here’s what we do for health insurance.
  • We don’t have any debts and we paid cash for our cars.
  • Here’s how we make charitable contributions: How We Donate To Charities Like Billionaires and also How We Make Meaningful And Tax Efficient Charitable Donations.
  • Here’s an overview of how we save for our kids’ higher education: How We Use 529 Plans To Save For College
  • We live on 66 acres in rural Vermont, so our utilities and household expenses are different from traditional urban and suburban homes:
    • We don’t pay for water, sewer, trash, or heating/cooling because we have a well, a septic system, our town doesn’t provide trash pick-up (we take it to a transfer station once a week in bags we purchase from our town), we heat our home with wood we harvest ourselves from our land, and we don’t have central air conditioning (we use window units during the hottest parts of the summer).
    • There are, of course, costs associated with maintaining these systems (such as having our septic system pumped and inspected) and those expenses show up in the months we pay them.
    • We have solar panelswhich account for our low electricity bill.
    • For more on our rural lifestyle, check out my series This Month On The Homestead as well as City vs. Country: Which Is Cheaper? The Ultimate Cost Of Living Showdown

If you’re wondering about anything else, feel free to ask in the comments section!

Alright you frugal money voyeurs, feast your eyes on every dollar we spent in January:

Item Amount Notes
Groceries $842.82
Annual Home Insurance $782.00 Paid once a year
Dentist appointments for both kids $586.00 Cleanings, exams and x-rays for both kids
Car insurance $378.90 Six months of car insurance through Geico for our 2022 Subaru Outback and 2010 Toyota Tundra. This is fairly cheap because we shopped around, we are both accident and ticket-free, we live in a rural area and we don’t commute to work.

But the real reason it’s cheap is that we don’t carry comprehensive insurance because we could replace both of our cars (in full with cash) if we needed to.

We do carry the maximum in liability coverage because the risk of a large liability claim is one we don’t want to self-insure against. More here.

Preschool $260.00 For Littlewoods
Gas for cars $220.28
Doctor appointments $204.57 Labs, tests, visits, etc
Veterinary $186.60 Vet visit and medications
Household supplies and toiletries $171.99 The thrilling items of life, such as: dental floss, laundry detergent, vitamins, toilet bowl cleaner, soap, toothpaste, dishwasher soap, etc.
Mr. FW dentist visit $171.00 Dental exam, cleaning, etc
Haircut $82.80 For me!
Health Insurance Premium $78.10
Internet $72.00
Dog and chicken food $61.76
Beer and wine $50.71
Restaurants $44.98 Lunch date with Kidwoods after a morning of skiing!
New ski bibs for Mr. FW $39.99 Mr. FW’s old ski bibs bit the dust. So far, he’s thrilled with this new pair (affiliate link).
6 workbooks for the kids $39.51 The girls continue their love of workbooks and were ready for a new batch. I really like the Brain Quest workbooks we got because they have A LOT of pages, the material progresses slowly, and it’s perfectly on grade level (affiliate link).
Electricity $36.44 We have solar (which I detail here); this is our monthly base price for remaining grid tied.
Replacement dough blades $35.91 Replacement dough blades for our bread machine (affiliate link).
Toe & hand warmers $34.70 Toe & hand warmers: a must for long ski days (affiliate link).
Maple syrup $29.12 1/2 gallon from our neighbors. Used primarily in our bread recipe!
Cell service for two phones $28.41 Thank you, cheap MVNO!
Prescription medication $15.00 Co-pay
Boot laces $13.99 Mr. FW’s winter hiking boots needed replacement laces (affiliate link).
Spotify $13.77 Music
Washing machine bags $13.77 Remember how small articles of clothing kept getting lodged in our washing machine’s filter? Enter these washing machine bags (affiliate link). Everything smaller than a t-shirt now goes into one of these bags.
TOTAL: $4,495.12

How was the first month of 2023 for you?

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  1. Of the 3 in-person days for university (I go every other week, otherwise zoom) I managed to get to the first one, mainly to meet the nurse professor. And even then I got off at 0700 after working a night and my husband drove me the 80 minutes to the university. And my mom picked me up 8 hours later. I slept in the car.
    But the December operating room hangover feels really rough this year. This is where the case volume does not diminish after the start of the year and the deductible restart. I get it, I’m pro meet your deductible in the first month of the year and the rest of the year is discounted. Useful, especially if you are sure to meet your health insurance deductible. But I am tired.

  2. Of all of these tips- the cell phone discount and stop eating out so much is golden! Love the winter sports! We are a family of snowboarders-ages- 60 – 59 – 20 – 20YO. Heading up to Attitash & wildcat NH ( We have been all over VT.) We bought the 3 day epic pass. My wife Kathy & I love XC sking – its mellow & woodsy & contemplative,, just sooshing in the woods. We love the organic crunchy vibes too!
    Here in the Mid-Atlantic this year has been scary… snow drought… flurries and that’s it. Snowdrops & yellow spurs are already coming up and its Feb 14th!
    The old skating pond has not froze in 15+ years…..

  3. By the by…I have an amazingly great oatmeal bread recipe from Canadian Grandmother and New England God mother that I’d be glad to send you. Since I have no room for a bread machine, I still knead by hand, but this recipe is simple and always yummy. Just let me know.
    PS Greeting to Reva S down the road…

  4. It’s funny that you mentioned bread machines as always being available/around secondhand as I noticed that myself years ago. Some other items in the same category are juicers and exercise equipment. You should almost NEVER be forced to buy those things new.

    My interpretation is that people have good intentions, either for themselves or others, about living a healthier lifestyle but habits don’t simply change because of a purchase, and so they end up saturating the second-hand market. It’s amazing how many people fall victim to the “ohh, if I had that thing, I’d change the way I live” idea but it rarely seems to pan out that way.

  5. I recently bought a bread machine and I LOVE it. Thanks to Ms. Frugalwoods for putting the thought into my mind! I bought new due to the fact that a bread machine can’t be kashered easily (or at all? not sure), and I bought the Hamilton Beach HomeBaker. We figured that if we use it twice a week (which we do,) it’ll have paid for itself in 3.5 months, against the cost of buying even grocery-store sliced bread.

    For that machine, I make the King Arthur Flour 100% whole wheat bread, just with the amount of honey cut in half. I’m in Canada and use Robin Hood whole wheat flour. No Name brand makes a much denser loaf. We don’t have white whole wheat here, as far as I can tell, but Canadian wheat is generally higher in protein so “brown” whole wheat works fine for bread. KAF has an article on how to convert conventional bread recipes for a machine, and it’s SO easy. You don’t even need bread machine yeast! We just buy 2 lbs of active dry yeast at Costco.

  6. I love that you replaced the blades instead of scrapping the machine! I’m such a fan of fixing something where I can. Less waste in the world is a great thing, and if something was a quality item to begin with, there are usually ways to prolong its life. My favorite fixes have been new ear pads for my Bose headphones and literally sawing the wheels off my suitcase set to replace them when the plastic fell off. (The suitcases have seen a lot of action in 12 years and are still going strong. Not bad for a random $100 set at TJ Maxx!)

      1. I had to saw through the wheel axles to remove them. Once the old wheels were off, I replaced them with new ones I found on Amazon! It was about $8/set of 2 wheels (plus the cost of a hacksaw).

        Depending on the type of suitcase you have, that step might not be necessary. You can search online for your specific brand/wheel configuration to get the right replacements and guides.

  7. Can I ask why you paid for a haircut? I thought this was something you’d entirely eliminated from your budget. Thanks!

      1. Oh, got it ! Haven’t seen your pixie cut. By the way, I LOVE your site. Thanks for doing so much good in and for the world!

    1. I saw that line item of $82 for a haircut and thought, wow that is expensive. I do know that cutting short hair is more difficult than just trimming long, one length hair like mine. My husband who gives my teen boys their haircuts every 3-4 weeks has told me that. They like their hair kept short, but not all buzzed off. They both like the haircuts he gives them, so I don’t have to deal with the hassle and expense of taking them to a barber. I haven’t paid for a haircut in over ten years, so I guess I am saving more than I thought.

    1. If you pool it with the same company that insures your car you should get a lower rate. I pay around 550.00 annually and I have a 750 sq/ft house.

  8. Seems like most bread machines use the same dough blades. I bought my first bread machine 20 years ago at Aldi. After a year of intense use the blades lost the non stick coat and i got new ones for free. 12 years later the machines motor broke. I bought immediatly a similar model at ebay for next to nothing and was more than happy that the mold and the blades of the old one fit.

    I use it a lot for yeast dough for cinnamon rolls or so. Just to knead and rise the dough.

  9. A wonderful life! You provide a rich service and alternative to a life of debt. Thank you for you! Whether bread or phone service you help all !

  10. Yay for bread machines! Is your recipe for a 1lb or 2lb loaf? I normally make a 2lb loaf that is scarfed down in a couple of days in my family, especially if it’s fresh at any meal time!

  11. Marc Bittman’s No Knead Bread is another option for making your own bread without a bread machine that requires very little (almost none in fact) hands on time. A wet dough and slow fermentation are the keys to success; almost by magic, they take the place of kneading. You’ll also notice the unique baking method — a heated covered pot — which creates essentially an oven within an oven to trap steam as the bread bakes. I’m not kidding when I say the results will blow your mind. The only thing required is forethought. Ideally, you will start the dough about 24 hours before you plan to eat it; you can cut that to 12 and even 9, but you’ll be sacrificing some of the yeasty flavor and open crumb.

  12. I love the monthly expense updates – thanks for sharing this window in your life! Any chance you might bring back the “this month on the homestead” series?? Those were always so inspiring for folks with homestead dreams!

  13. Also a perk for homemade bread, reducing single use plastic bags for each and every loaf. It’s my 2023 “resolution” to make all our family’s bread products.

  14. Love my zogirushi, 10 years + and not one problem. If time allows. One can use dough cycle and then form long loaves, buns, sandwich buns, etc. so handy and healthier than commercial.

    1. I like to let the Zo do the work, then shape and bake in Lodge cast iron pans. Lovely crust, zero holes in the bottom, almost no work!

  15. The first month of the year was a big one for us. After 18 years, we finally bought a new minivan! We put down enough to keep the payment comfortable if we should ever find ourselves on one income. We financed the rest because the interest rate from our credit union was ridiculously lower than what were were earning in our HYSA. If that ever changes (doubt it) we’ll pay it off. We bought the Pacifica eHybrid and love it. We joke that a mom must have designed this car because the base model has a simple interface with everything you need and nothing you don’t, including a heated steering wheel. I didn’t know such a thing existed and it is wonderful!

    We were able to donate our old van to a friend who builds race cars as a side gig, who is fixing it up for a Ukranian refugee family. The mom and I have also become friends in the past month. I’ve been giving her rides and helping her run errands, getting her set up in her apartment, helping take her kids to school and events while she waits for the car to be ready, sharing hugs and laughing at my daughter’s silliness together. Any time she spends with my daughter is therapy for her so we spend a lot of time together and practice her English. She is the kindest, most resilient person I have ever met. I can’t imagine what she’s going through so we are all just wrapping her in love and support. We’ve got her kids sponsored for Cub Scouts, arts and sports programs, just about anything the kids want to do to help them make friends and adjust. They are doing beautifully with this while their dad is still back in Kyiv.

  16. Thanks for the bread recipe, I haven’t found a WW recipe I like that much yet, crossing my fingers! I admit to paying full price for a Zojirushi 1 1/2 years ago after getting tired of paying for delicious but pricey local bread (6-7$!). We’ve used it every week since then. Which also led me down the road of sourdough starters – just more things to take care of in life.

  17. I had a bread machine when I was first married and could never get past the aesthetics of cube bread. It just was not appealing to me.

    But then I discovered that I could easily make bread with my KitchenAid mixer, and I went through a very domestic period of weekly bread baking. It was bliss.

  18. When my son was younger, I home schooled him. My bread machine broke so I gave him the assignment of taking it apart to see what was wrong. The belt came off. Another time the belt broke and I found a replacement bread MACHINE at the thrift store for $2. 🙂

    We carry more than liability because we live in a heavily populated deer area and have hit deer several times. It is much more feasible for us to have insurance even though we too could afford to replace our cars with cash. We got our Prius at such a deal 6 years ago and to get it fixed after hitting a deer would cost almost as much as we paid for it.

    The good thing about frugality and managing money well, is all that we all have different ways to adjust it to our own lifestyles. I would like to ask who you have your homeowner’s through. We live in a lower income state and last year our insurance went up 40%. We just got our current bill and it went up close to 100% from two years ago. Our house is only worth about $175,000 and the new insurance bill is almost $2,000!!!

    1. Yes, the heavily populated deer area is something we have to deal with as well. It seemed like there were a lot of people I know who hit deer this last year. My husband had a low speed impact with one in December, just enough to put a crack in his front bumper. After he had the piece replaced, he put a bull bar on the front of his truck. I do like seeing the deer, and I like it ever better that he shot two last year on our farm, that are in the freezer, and we are eating a lot of venison.

    1. Yes, I find this troubling. Is there an alternative? (I am currently using old fashioned hand power, but would consider a bread machine.

  19. We make bread at home and pizzas 🍕 as well. We use the oven to bake the bread, but I do use my Kitchenaid stand mixer to mix and knead the dough. We only have just so much room on the counters in our kitchen. We like Sunday nights for pizza, so my husband will make the dough on Wednesday and let it cold ferment in the refrigerator. I agree with him that it does make a better tasting crust, especially as he bakes them on two steel plates in the oven. Baking Steel made them popular, but we bought another brand that were on sale, for less than half the price. When the oven is hot, we will bake bread as well as pizzas. Much better and cheaper than store bought.

  20. The dough blades get off the bread like magic and the blades will live longer if you spread a drop of vegetable oil on each side of the blade.
    I do it after each bread and let it sit till I bake the next one.

  21. Hi. Long time listener… seldom commenter (maybe 10th). I love your work. Read your book, bought several for family.

    Question re cell phone plans: I noticed in your March 2023 Reader Case Study that you mentioned that you use Ting, but I don’t see Ting on your cell service plan list above. Curious if you no longer recommend Ting or what is going on?

  22. I have a wonderful, somewhat old fashioned recipe for oatmeal bread that I make (by bread machine) bi weekly…fairly simple, great with jam or cheeses. Just let me know!
    Lisbeth C ( old friend of Reva S!)

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