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Frugal Accomplishments For the First Week of 2017

 Black Bean Soup The Prudent Homemaker

Black bean soup topped with tomatoes harvested green (and ripened off the vine) from the garden in early December.

I made a large pot of black beans in the crockpot. We had taco soup with them one day and black bean soup three days.  

I harvested beet greens, lemons, and Swiss chard from the garden.

I pruned grape vines to make for a productive grape harvest this year.

I pruned rose bushes to keep my roses healthy and to help them produce well this year.

I dug euonymus plants from ones I started by tip layering and moved them to where I am starting a new hedge in the garden.

I also started some new plants from cuttings from other bushes for the same hedge. 

Following my plans for a more productive garden this year, I planted seeds this past week for spinach, 2 kinds of lettuce, 2 kinds of snow peas, turnips, Swiss chard, 3 colors of larkspur, and Danish flag poppies. 

Because of rain, I was able to not water the grass for the second week in a row. This time of year, we are allotted 1 day a week to water grass. It is rare to have enough rainfall to be able to not water. and I am grateful to have been able to turn off the sprinklers and drip irrigation.

My mom found a very large candle lantern for free out by the trash and gave it to me. It has a small crack in the base, but looks great still.  I'm not sure if I'll use it for a decoration, a large terrarium, or if I should use it as a huge cloche in the garden.

I watched the Call the Midwife Christmas special on I don't have time to watch a lot of shows, but it is nice to be able to watch a few things online from time to time!

Finlandia The Prudent Homemaker

My eldest needed some new piano music for her lessons. About 13 years ago, shortly after we got our piano, I had purchased a couple of piano books full of music for the time when we might need them. I was able to pull out this book and my daughter began using it for her practice (and I didn't have to buy anything new).

My husband and I had two date nights at home.

My husband cut my hair.

I mended a sheet.

Our silverware drawer broke in the back. In December, my husband contacted the company who made our cabinets and they sent him replacement pieces to fix to the drawer at no cost to us. They came this week and my husband fixed the drawer.

I found simple contentment in putting things away (including all of the Christmas decorations) and making the house tidier and less cluttered.


What did you do to save money and find joy this week?


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  • Karen January 08, 2017

    I had some time over the holidays to stay home and focus on household things (I only had to work one day between Dec. 24 and Jan. 3) so I am starting the new year reenergized and (somewhat) reorganized!

    I redid the budget and started tracking expenses again.
    I cooked all but one meal at home, from scratch, and took leftovers for lunch all week.
    I bought half a pig, so I reorganized the freezers and made a list of all our meats for easy meal planning.
    I started a decluttering challenge, and intend to simplify so I have a much better handle on what we have and where it is.
    I made rolls and two soups from scratch.
    I cooked a large turkey and portioned out the meat for future meals, then made two
    + quarts of stock with the carcass.
    I made a menu plan and stuck to it.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • I was reading the comments. What a great deal you worked out with the piano teacher. I love you Mom helping too!

    I finished an afghan this past week. I'm trying to stock my gift closet. We had a few hiccups in our first week of No spend January but we are still saving a lot.
    You can read the rest of my frugal accomplishments here

    Have a wonderful week Brandy!

  • http://Erika January 08, 2017

    Well, it's been easy to be frugal around here lately as there hasn't been any money to even potentially wasteful with. Doing the best I can to just reorganize, keep my chin up and soldier on.

    The rest of my list for the week can be found here...

  • Laurie in central NC January 08, 2017

    It was a joy to watch the Call The Midwife Christmas special last week. What a great score your Mom found with the candle lantern. I've been keeping an eye out for anything that could be used as a cloche this past year, but haven't found anything large enough yet. It's just a matter of time, I'm sure. I forgot to include it in my post, but my fiance replaced the gas valve on our stove yesterday. He had to remove the door to do it, which had to totally be taken apart, so I washed all 3 pieces of glass while I had the opportunity. We're happy it saved us a few hundred dollars fixing it ourselves. Joining in here:

  • momsav January 09, 2017

    Hi, Laurie! I've made mead. Once was enough for me. It tasted too medicinal for my tastes. Your taste buds may enjoy it. It wasn't cheap, as you mentioned.

  • Laurie in central NC January 09, 2017

    Thanks, momsav! I read several comments yesterday that said it wasn't fit to drink in 2 months, but was much better a few months later. Hope so!

  • Mandy January 08, 2017

    Hello Brandy and fellow readers!
    I went to the store once because we needed milk and pet food. I was able to take advantage of a few really good sale prices and get my daughter some foods for her lunch box that she likes.
    I took food to work with me and drank the free beverages provided.
    Other than the store trip I stayed home when not at work.
    I earned some swagbucks, however I had to contact swagbucks about an offer I never got the swagbucks for. I was also charged twice by a company for an offer so I contacted the company and received a refund.
    I took short showers
    I turned the heat down and run a space heater in the living room where we are most of the time
    dried all laundry on our racks after washing full loads
    I continue to measure everything when I use it (laundry soap, dish soap, shampoo, etc)
    Have a great week everyone!

  • momsav January 08, 2017

    Our weather is so cold, i'm trying to find things to cook to add warmth to the house. I can't wait til i can do something outside without three layers on.
    This week has been slow. I didn't make it out to the store for the .98 lb hams or .88 lb. whole chickens. So, kind of by default, i haven't spent much money. Yay! I did buy several things on amazon, a GC gift, and ebay, only after i sold a few things. I'm trying to get back into doing some art projects and need a few supplies. A few books may have slipped into the cart…
    Our electric bill came in about 10.00 lower, for the second month. Turning the temp. down after my husband leaves is finally paying off.
    I cleaned the oven and it raised the indoor temp. by 11 degrees!! I was sweating by the time it stopped.
    I've made chili and soup for meals and froze some for when i'm out of town.
    Several months ago, my husband won a GC from the local art store. He gave it to me to use for a gift for our daughter's birthday. I chose a handmade bowl with raised ridges in it to rub garlic on for recipes. I only had to add two dollars to the cost.
    I've been walking the dog even in our frigid weather. Some days she can go a mile, some days just two blocks.
    My husband is a Moose member. The deserts for the friday fish fry are all made by volunteers. I made some chocolate brownie cakes to donate with ingredients i already had.
    We took a ride to the big city. I dropped off a bag of things at goodwill. I bought a couple of containers for art projects and a small kitchen whisk. At the salvation army, i bought several art stamps.
    While out, we ate at Wendy's using a GC i bought for 20% off. I used my little frosty key-fob to get a free frosty. (I love their apple/chicken salads, without the chicken! I try to recreate it at home, too. But it always tastes better there!)
    Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

  • Lisa January 08, 2017

    I love the idea of cleaning the oven. I forgot about doing that. I will put that on my list for this next weekend. I have also made soups and chili this weekend. We had snow and have not ventured out. I have to go on a business trip tomorrow, so I wlll be braving the roads.

    I am enjoying keeping up with everyone's frugal accomplishments and I am posting weekly about my 2017 goals. It seems to be helping me be mindful of the goals since I will need to write about them every week.

    Come by for a visit!

  • Mandy January 08, 2017

    I forgot a few things!
    I made a meal plan to avoid the "I don't know what to make for meals" brain fog
    My daughter and I continue to use family cloth and I also used my cloth menstrual pads the "last few days"
    We continue to use the little dollar store light in the bathroom rather than the main light, which has already paid for itself
    I washed and reused glass jars and Ziploc baggies
    I printed some coupons I will use and despite cancelling my newspaper subscription twice I got a paper again (I'll call again tomorrow or Tuesday) so I clipped the coupons I will use and saved some for my mom
    Drank water
    Listened to music on Pandora when I cleaned the kitchen after dinner
    I used homemade Vaseline on my dry lips and hands
    I made more all purpose spray using vinegar, lemon juice, and water in a reused spray bottle. I also use baking soda to scrub sinks.

  • J January 08, 2017

    I always love reading everyone's tips for stretching your dollars. I have learned many useful things since I started reading this site several years ago when my first son was born. Things I did to save money this past month can be found here:

  • Rhonda A. January 08, 2017

    Brandy, I love that your mother found a candle lantern that someone else thought was trash and you have so many options of how to use it you can't decide which one to use it for! What a wonderful treasure to find for free. I also love that you asked about how we saved money as well as what brought us joy this week. It's always so uplifting to read everyone's frugal accomplishments and the things that brought them joy each week.

    As for my household, we had a relatively quite week at home. My daughter starts back to school Monday, so we've all been enjoying a relaxed daily schedule. Our frugal accomplishments this week included:

    *I ordered 2 free Parks Canada passes this week. Canada is celebrating our 150th in 2017 and Parks Canada is offering free day passes in celebration. We can use this for free day access to various Provincial parks or historic sites run by Parks Canada to have picnics, explore, walk/hike the nature paths, and swim at their beaches (you still have to pay fees to camp overnight). Can't wait to plan some free family outings this spring, summer and fall!
    *Meals made at home included leftover's night (lots of left overs from New Years Day), Hawaiian chicken (first new recipe tried this year and it was a total flop:(), fettuccine with choice of sauce (meat, red or Alfredo sauce), fish sticks with homemade tartar sauce, corn and choice of potato wedges of sweet potato fries, piggies in a blanket (breakfast sausage and cheese wrapped in crescent roll) with side salad, homemade beef barley soup (using frozen bits of leftover roast beef) with dinner rolls (left over from New Years), and chicken baked smothered in cheddar cheese soup with mashed potatoes and broccoli.
    *Prepared a pan of brownies from a mix in my pantry to use in my daughter's school lunches this coming week. I cut the brownies into squares once cooled, individually wrap 5 of the squares (one for each school day) and place them in the fridge for quick grab lunch items, then offer the rest as dessert for Sunday dinner.
    *Great grocery deals this week included 6 small raisin bran muffins for $0.25 (too cheap to pass up), 2 butter loaf cakes (similar to pound cakes but not as dense) for $0.50 each (put in freezer to use for future trifle), 2 loaves of 9 grain bread for $1.14 each, an English cucumber for $0.88, 4 jars of pasta sauce for $1 each, 5 containers of margarine for $1 each (put in freezer to pull as needed), 4 bags of french fries for $1/5lb, an 8 kg bag of Jasmine rice for $8.88 (the last time I bought a bag this big, it took us a few years to use up), 4 jars of peanut butter for $2.88/1kg, 2 packages of breakfast sausage for $1.88/pack, a cantaloupe for $1.88 and 2 boxes of cereal (corn flakes and bran flakes) for $1.88 each.
    *Bought 2 rolls of fabric "Christmas" ribbon on clearance for $0.50/2m roll that is neutral enough to use for other sewing projects (a pretty grass green colour with white polka-dots).
    *Bought 4 packages of pretty tissue paper in colours/prints that can be used year round on clearance for $0.25/10 sheet pack.
    *Bought a beautiful, nearly new linen top (Old Navy brand) and a large plastic storage container (to use for storing some of the massive bag of rice in) for $2.25 total at a thrift store.
    *My daughter and I had our hair cut in preparation for our upcoming vacation in a few weeks while she was still on school break. Most of the year I allow my hair to grow out and I trim my bangs myself. I do this because I need to put my hair in a Victorian style bun for my seasonal job (May-December), plus it saves a lot of money. But now that I'm off for the next 4 months, it is so wonderful to have my hair professionally cut in a pretty, modern style! Professional hair cuts have really become such a huge treat I so look forward to.
    *Enjoyed watching several movies with my husband and a few with my mom & daughter over the past week for free through Kodi Exodus. We love being able to curl up on the couch in our PJ's and watch movies together!:D

    That's it for us this week. Looking forward to reading all the wonderful accomplishments and joyful events of everyone's first week of 2017!

  • Tracy C. January 08, 2017

    We are trying to use up what we have on hand. So far I only spent $48 this month on groceries. I also sewed some holes on my youngest daughter's beloved teddy bear and a couple of clothing items that needed to be mended. Made two loaves of dairy free bread and monkey bread as well as a large crockpot of ham and bean soup that we have used through out the week. I was also able to borrow some homeschool materials for free and cut coupons from our free newspaper that we received today (it's a smaller version of the paper with coupons that we receive on Sundays and then another one on either Mondays or Tuesdays with the week's upcoming grocery ads). Yesterday we spent most of morning going through our walk-in closet and was able to donate about 10 bags of children and adult clothing, shoes, etc. It looks a lot better now and feel better that we got rid of a lot of things that we didn't need (and also found my oldest daughter's old clothing to use for her little sister and from my oldest son to use for my youngest son). I have also been working on my survey site daily to earn some extra money; might not be much but every little bit helps.

  • Lisa January 08, 2017

    I can so relate about trying to use things up! I cleaned out from under my kitchen sink and found SO MANY cleaning supplied. I am not going to buy another cleaning supply until I use up what I have on hand.

    I wish I was doing as well as you are on the grocery budget.

    Come by and check out my progress:

  • Cindi January 08, 2017

    I always love reading your accomplishments, Brandy, but I think the most important one this week was feeling content as you tidied up your home. Whenever I am faced with a chore that seems dull or I'm simply not in the mood to do, I have been trying to focus on the privilege of being able to do it and counting my blessings. I really does make a difference.

    I sorted through all the apples in our garage refrigerator. (We buy two boxes of apples from a local orchard in September and keep them in this fridge at 32 degrees. By January, they are starting to look worse for wear.) I sorted out about a dozen to eat and put them in the refrigerator in the kitchen, and made 6 ½ pints of applesauce from the rest. We were able to unplug the garage fridge, which will save us a few dollars a month on our electric bill, as it is a very old, not very efficient refrigerator.
    I made two patchwork pillow covers for my MIL for Mother’s Day, all from fabric I already owned. They turned out great and I am sure she will love them. I will buy a couple of pillow forms later and we’ll take them to her when we visit in late April, saving the cost of shipping them.
    The last two sweet potatoes from those I bought on sale at Thanksgiving were showing signs of getting soft, so I made them into a sweet potato casserole and froze the casserole to eat later.
    I made chicken stock from a chicken carcass I had previously frozen and some vegetable trimmings. I was able to get enough chicken off the bones to make a chicken salad for my lunch the next day.
    I went through all my yarn and pulled out a bunch I know I won’t use and listed it all on eBay. Some of it was yarn I had purchased, but some had been given to me. I was able to empty one storage container of yarn, which felt good, and I hope to make a little cash – which I may or may not end up using to buy more yarn.

  • Rachel January 08, 2017

    I'm a first-time contributer, long time reader. Brandy, your blog is wonderful- I've been spired by it for a few years now. This year, I'd like to better document how we are stewards of our money. "Frugal Accomplishments" is like a diary!

    For the past two weeks:
    - met with husband to map out finances for first half of 2017; resolved to meet weekly to review these goals
    - My 9 yo daughter and I visited my sister, BIL and 23 mo niece 3 hours away. We cleaned out toys, rearranged furniture and decorated their home with mostly things they already had. We babysat for them for NYE and they bought us brunch. It was such a good visit. She reads this blog too! Hi Ems!
    - While visiting, took advantage of Aldi for the first time. Such good deals! Stuck to my budget.
    - We mended a fence with supplies on hand
    - My dad cut weather strips for two of our doors. My husband installed them.
    - Our friends gifted us a 16 x 8' deck. We borrowed a trailer and installed it our yard with the help of some more friends. We now have a "stage". Great for student events(we both work at a Christian university). Fed our friends stew and rolls afterward.
    - Made a meal plan and stuck to it
    - Ate all meals at home; took leftovers for lunches
    - Was gifted 60 free tortillas and 7 lb shredded cheese
    - Returned unused Christmas gifts, groceries, etc to use funds for gift cards. Sent one gift card to newly weds. One went to our friends to thank them for the deck. Still another gc will go to my nephew for his upcoming birthday.
    - Earned $75 professional funds from my job for supervising a student's work. This will buy a LOT of printer ink
    - Sold items for $20 ON Craigslist
    - Read books instead of watching tv/renting
    - Donated a trash bag of items to Goodwill, but didn't go in. Thrift stores are "my one weakness"
    - Hosted a birthday party play date for my 9 yo with 10 friends. We served a home course lord lunch and let them play for 4 hours- they LOVED it. Did I mention that we now have a stage?

  • Lisa January 08, 2017

    We had a rare snow event where I live and it has been really cold. We realized that we need to do some caulking and put new weatherstripping around some window and our back door. You can literally feel a big draft!

    I hope you come check out my progress!

  • Mrs. T January 08, 2017


    Last week I purchased Christmas ziplock bags, tissues and marshmallows for 50% off. My boys were tickled by the snowman marshmallows.

    Purchased cantaloupe for .47/lb, oranges for .74/lb and broccoli crowns for .88/lb which I promptly blanched/froze. Much prefer broccoli this way! Sweeter tasting and less stems than bought frozen. The oranges currently fill my fridge drawers and the cantaloupe stays well in our mud room, but will be the first of the fruit to go since they tend to spoil faster.

    Moved the toddler out of pull-ups and into training underwear which will be big savings this month! This is my fourth child potty training and I can't believe I've never known of these before! It's already going well.

    Had several soups for lunch/dinner this week.

    Eating more meatless meals which is not hubby's favorite, but he never complains. God bless him.

    Made homemade bread and pizza dough.

    Organized hall closet which led me to finding 2 bottles of conditioner, several light bulbs and three bottles of bug/sun spray. Just another incentive to stay organized, it saves money!

    Used the last of the pears that were quickly browning to make pear sauce for baby when he is ready to transition.

    Cooked a spiral ham bought at $1.19/lb (lowest I've seen) for dinner and will be using leftover meat for breakfasts, sandwiches and soups this week.

    Unplugged garage fridge since it is now cold enough for any food stored in it.

    Rack dried most of the wash.

    Ran out of printer ink, so instead I hand wrote my son's math problems until I can find a good deal.

    All in all, pleased with my accomplishments considering I was battling a breast infection for 2 days and a migraine another day. Sometimes it doesn't feel like much until you see it in writing.

  • ruthie January 08, 2017

    I went to Joanns on New Years day to use the $5 off coupon, plus take advantage of their yarn sale. I bought enough hopefully to make some Christmas presents for grandkids next Christmas. I've already started! (is it too early?) I also had a gift card from Kohls for $11 so I used it to purchase tights and nylons for the coming year.
    I made a batch of wheat bread which I slice and freeze in half loaf portions. I also used some frozen zucchini to make zucchini bread. I have been trying diligently to use up what I have in the freezer and pantry to make meals this month. The only food purchase this week was two gallons of milk that were on sale only Monday - for 1.49/gallon. I'll freeze one of them since I don't drink it so that just leaves my husband to use it. For meals I prepared minestrone soup with biscuits, cabbage rolls, pizza using dough I had in the freezer and omelettes using eggs I had frozen.
    I checked out a movie for us to watch with our granddaughter. I highly recommend "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken". Excellent movie. I am looking for a good book to read - anyone read anything great lately?

  • Mable January 08, 2017

    A co-worker brought in late Christmas gifts for the three of us on our work team: 2 dozen moose meatballs for each of us! I found some aging jars of tomato sauce while reorganizing my cupboards, so we have been eating various pastas with tomato sauce and mooseballs. We are not spending any money on groceries during January, except for milk, and this really helps. Had to go to a potluck and managed to make a cake from ingredients in my cupboard. Made several loads of bread because if I don't have one in the freezer, when I run out I go to the bakery because unless it is a weekend day I don't have time to bake bread. Took a box to Salvation Army. One of my goals is to take a box to them every month---we have too much stuff and can use the tax write-off. My husband's birthday is in July and he loves cheesy Christmas sweaters but only has one. So, right after Christmas I was able to buy five sweaters for $10 each, plus free shipping. He will love them and although I usually spend less than this, I felt like this was worth it because it will make him light up on his birthday and then again when he wears them next December. I used a gift card I'd received last October, so this was no money out of pocket. Other than that did the usual things like reusing plastic bags, going to the library, and drying clothes indoors (no drying outside this week as the temps have been 30 below zero in our area of Alaska). Nothing exciting but it all adds up.

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