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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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  • Athanasia January 12, 2017

    Mable, I read a book that you recommended, if I remember right...THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE. It was excellent. I read it in one sitting. I would say it was the best book I read in 2016. Thanks.

  • Jeannie January 08, 2017

    Oh my! I am following Erika's post! I did not do as good as she did this week and my attitude is never as positive...but here goes.
    This week I shared how I use, harvest and make pills from the herb feverfew. I found some still growing in the garden (right before this big snow) and harvested them very quickly.

    Next I shared how unexciting we were on New Year's Day. All activities were extremely frugal.

    I have just now posted pictures of how my winter garden is surviving with temperatures in the mid-teens and under snow! I am in lower middle Tennessee. Zone 6b to 7a It can get really cold here.

  • Erika January 08, 2017

    Thanks for the post on beverages, Jeannie. I passed it on to a friend of mine who has chronic migraine syndrome and can't work due to getting debilitating migraines several times a week. She thought she had tried everything, but she hasn't tried beverages so she's going to make sure it is okay with her meds and give it a shot. I hope it can help her :).

  • Erika January 08, 2017

    Feverfew not beverages. Best auto complete fail I've ever had lol!

  • Judy January 09, 2017

    My friend that has severe migraines found that when she changed her diet to grain-free they totally stopped. Just another idea.

  • K January 08, 2017

    My frugal accomplishments this week:

    * When I was at Aldi, I noticed that their hams were $2 and $5 off their listed prices, for shank and butt portions, respectively. So, I bought a small butt portion (original price was under $8) and got the $5 discount, meaning I spent less than 50c per lb for the ham. I would've bought more, but our freezer is already packed pretty full.

    * I stayed under the $50 budget when shopping and have $2 to spare, so I may go pick up some more frozen peas.

    * I cooked everything from home this week! :) Except for a dinner out with my mom, but she paid for that.

    * I went through more of our closets and put more stuff in the donation pile. A local donation center gives out discount coupons for bringing in donations, which I may use to replace aome clothes items.

    I think that's everything! This week wasn't busy for me, but school starts up again soon and I'll be rushing again as soon as it does.

  • momsav January 09, 2017

    Ham envy, here!

  • Marybeth January 09, 2017

    My Aldi did the same with the hams the week before Christmas. I was able to get 3. I cooked one right away and the other 2 went into the freezer. We have been eating lots of ham omelets and I made ham and lentil soup with the bone this snowy weekend. It came out to 38 cents a pound. I love Aldi!

  • cathy January 14, 2017

    Me too, They had organic oranges for $2.49/3lb. bag. I bought 2 bags. I find dealsc there quite often. A lot of times they are unadvertised.

  • Emily January 08, 2017

    Happy New Year Brandy! Thank you for the time you dedicate to this blog, I just love it! We are trying very hard to be frugal this year as we are expecting our second baby.

    *We resolved to eat out less this year and we have done so well, so far we just did brunch on New Years!
    *I redeemed swagbucks this week for a Walmart gift card and used it to lower my oop on groceries.
    *We have a smaller home and with a second one otw, I'm trying to be more organized. I sold a lot on Facebook and used those funds to purchase a new piece of storage furniture and some decorative pieces from IKEA. Thankful for my sister who helped me reorganize - she's great at decorating with what you have! Hi Rachie!
    *Price matched groceries at Walmart, redeemed rebates on Ibotta and uploaded my receipt to savings catcher.
    *Menu planned so we would be less tempted to eat out (See resolution above) :)
    *Scheduled my mom to come next week to help go through all the baby clothes and accessories we have in storage, thankfully we are having another girl and will be able to reuse most of it. I plan on selling the abundance we bought for our first daughter on FB. She will be here on my husband's birthday so we will use a gift card to a restaurant to celebrate while she babysits for free!

  • Rachel January 09, 2017

    Sending you a million "atta-girls"! So glad mom can come help.

  • Hilogene in Az January 08, 2017

    January has been interesting so far. I started off aiming to spend 200 on groceries, then Brandy's post last week set me thinking about $0. I won't make $0 but likely less than $100. I thought it was a really illuminating post that she did....for me, rather than trim from $200 to $180...I set my sights at $0 and wow did that change my perspective.

    I inventoried the freezer and all the already frozen cooked meals (yeah!). We are in good shape for meals. I had bought a 10 lb bag of potatoes in November and due to where I stored them they were starting to sprout so we made a big batch of mashed potatoes and I froze various portions. How fun to have a stockpile of meals already made!

    I finished our 2017 budget and have started a list of savings from 2016...or even savings so far this year. I like to see positive things when I look at our budget ;). I also stacked some items on the dining room table to sell, now just need DH to put them on Craig's list. So, the year is starting off to a good start. Happy New Year everyone.

  • Holly January 08, 2017

    We bought the smallest ham at Kroger's for less than ninety cents a pound and the butcher kindly sawed it into three portions. Two are in the freezer and the third I baked in orange juice with brown sugar sprinkled on top. Yum. I try to keep 93-year-old mom above 100# so when I saw the post-Christmas food gifts at at great discount, I stocked up. Sanders is a sentimental favorite in Michigan. Another discounted food platter from Figis will be here tomorrow. I hope the variety of goodies will encourage her to eat a bit more. So far, so good. I also got a cookie mix that makes 36 cookies for just fifty cents today at Dollar General. Kmart also was offering award points for furniture purchases. I've been wanting a desk chair for quite a while. Kmart had a Serta chair for about the same price as Walmart but included $71 in points on a chair that cost less than $100. The points were not supposed to land in my account until the chair arrived and $48 of the points are only valid for seven days. Because of the weather, I do not expect to see the chair for a few more days but the points were in my account the day the chair was shipped. I used them yesterday to buy household essentials. I thought I was really going to score by buying the Kmart generic brand which offered 100% of the purchase price in points if you spent at least $10. But cash is not the same as points. So much for the idea of spending points to earn points. Sigh. I still saved about $65 altogether compared to Walmart prices. And my sister went a little crazy at her Kmart today buying Kmart brand household essentials to the tune of $170 or so because her son needs a new bicycle. He is going to be a very happy boy later this week and my sister's house is now well-stocked with lots of essentials. We've been keeping the thermostat a little lower and mom has not been complaining of being cold. I put a space heater on a sturdy wood stool close by her favorite chair. She'll turn it on for just a few minutes each day. I think the fact that she has total control her micro-climate makes all the difference. We have also been burning tea lights on fake logs in the fireplace to make it seem cozier. The candles provide a little bit of heat, imagination supplies more. I ordered the Canadian Parks pass. I hope so much we will be able to visit some of the parks in Southwestern Ontario. I don't know if the pass will include Point Pelee. I hope so. I also baked bread two more times this week. I now have the recipe memorized.

  • Holly January 16, 2017

    Kmart appears to have updated their restrictions on points rewarded for purchases of SmartSense products. After buying the "$40" bicycle last week, my sister thought she could get her son a large Lego set the same way. No. Now she and everybody else are limited to a maximum of $50 worth of ShopYourWay points at Kmart when purchasing SmartSense products while the offer is valid. Apparently, the offer was a bit more popular than Kmart had expected.

  • Becky January 08, 2017

    I also like the phrase "save money and find joy" that you ended with. I have been giving that thought quite a bit of reflection all weekend, so it was interesting to see that it was on your mind, too.

    I've been pretty sick with the flu. Like, I have been laying on the couch since Thursday, feeling pretty sick. So, I have had the tv on almost non-stop, since it puts me to sleep, or keeps my mind off how I'm feeling. I've also had a lot of time to think. Now, we have not had tv for over 10 years,until we moved here. Cable (the cheap plan), plus internet ended up being less than our bill at the old house for phone and internet, so we are trying it out. We did not put in a land line here--at the old house, we did not have good cell service so we needed one there. We normally don't watch it a lot, due to lack of time, but do enjoy some shows. And, who knew that I Love Lucy was on at 5 am every morning? I've enjoyed that while sick and not sleeping much! So, when I saw a show about people saving money, I was excited and watched several episodes. I was shocked and dismayed at what the people did on this show!

    I am sure some of it was made dramatic for the camera, but I saw people lie, cheat and steal to keep more money in their pockets. I saw children who did not have a pleasant home, with the excuse that it cost too much. I saw the penny pincher put aside all feelings for those around him or her and embarrass their loved ones with rude behavior, trying to save money. I saw husbands and wives not working together as a team, but instead one or the other deceiving their partner and hiding money in the name of savings. I saw parties put together with no attempt to please the person the party was supposedly for, instead a cheap, tacky event was put on. Even one simple thing to genuinely save money was never used--making their own cake or treats for their occasions. Instead, it was all about getting their dessert from old scraps of cake, etc. at a bakery. I thought about it quite a bit. Those people had no joy. They did not live life in a pleasant fashion. Instead, they were showing their "loved ones" that money was the most important thing--above honesty, integrity, happiness, joy, and mostly--them. Instead, money brought strife, unhappiness, confusion, and outright war at times. What a terrible example for their children. What a miserable life for those families. Anyway, what I got out of it was quite a few things I will NEVER do to save money, but no useful ways TO save money. All the ideas from people on this blog are a lot more useful. Balance is the key in everything in life. I can't imagine life with no joy! I just wanted to say that I so appreciate your efforts on this blog, and appreciate them even more after watching that show!

    My ways of saving money this week are at:

  • Jeannie January 08, 2017

    Thank you Becky for this post. It was so very insightful. I do hope you will get to feeling better soon.

  • Celeste January 09, 2017

    I agree they sound miserable, and I also agree itcwas probably manipulated for tv. I guess it's not exciting to hear that turning lights you aren't using and making retried beans from scratch, saves money and is delicious.

    I found the game Battleship for $4 at the thrift store this week after passing it up for $20. My husband and I had a great time playing each other while showing the children. Then they ate popcorn. We had so much fun that bedtime was late.

  • Debby in KS January 09, 2017

    I'm intrigued! What's the name of the show! I know about I Love Lucy because I watch it while I'm having my oatmeal some mornings lol. The Brady Bunch follows if you're really sick lol.

  • Becky January 10, 2017

    I believe it was Extreme Cheapskates, or a very similar title--it escapes my mind right now, but Cheapskates was definitely in the title. Brady Bunch would be great, but it's not on after Lucy here! I'm thinking my binge-watching days are about over, though, thank goodness.

  • Kim January 10, 2017

    yuck..........I remember Extreme Cheapskates!!!! yeah lots of their techniques are quite bizarre.

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