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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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  • Terri C January 08, 2017

    My first week of 2017 was definitely a success. Not only did I save money but the challenge went well that I posted about on my blog. We've had warm weather, loads of rain (I think we're just 3 inches shy the deficit we accumulated last year so the water tables should start replenishing when it rains next) and some very cold weather, too. It's always a roll of the dice here in this part of Georgia, lol.

  • Rachel January 08, 2017

    I'm a first-time contributer, long time reader. Brandy, your blog is wonderful- I've been inspired 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 only 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 cooked lunch and let them play for 4 hours- they LOVED it. Did I mention that we now have a stage?

  • Katie January 08, 2017

    I started both a buy nothing new year and a no spend month on January 1st! It's going pretty well so far. His is my week 1 Roundup.

  • Debby in KS January 09, 2017

    Katie, we're doing a no-extras year. We're in need of some urgent replacements and trying to pay off the last of a medical bill. In a nutshell, we're tired of dealing with both and decided that a year of hyper frugality is worth it.

  • Lisa January 08, 2017

    Thanks, Brandy, for the continued inspiration. I have referred so many people to your blog!

    We have had a cold snap and actually had a few inches of snow this weekend. I couldn't work outside, but I did get a few organizational projects done inside and generally enjoyed being captive in my home.

  • Celeste January 09, 2017

    I've been up with my daughter since three, and am thankful to have this to read.

    We decided our beautiful dining table and chairs are a poor fit for our family. We do not have an eat in kitchen, so the heavy play, crafting, visiting, etc at the table was going to destroy it. We put it away and are thinking about if we should sell it or keep it for when we have a different lay out. I found a solid oak table for $300. My neighbor watched the children while we took everything apart. It took about five hours to get everything done. As a side note, I have a graffiti artist that's been coloring the underside of the table. :( and I found a spider making its home in a screw hole. Ick, I'd never have found it otherwise.

    I made black bean soup this week ( I saw I'm not alone in this), blueberry scones, and banana muffins. I soaked pinto beans.

    Its 14 degrees out right now.

  • Tanja Brattinga January 09, 2017

    hello everyone,
    With the kids to school again today an my husband back to work, I finally have the home al to myself again.
    My frugal accomplishments this week were:
    - choped up an pumpkin and put it in the freezer as I did not have time to make soup, but the pumpkin was getting bad.
    - line dried al the washing (in doors) as I dont even have a dryer anymore , I have a rack haging in the stairwell and that is above the woodstove. So I dry 1 load a day there, as I wash 1 load a day that is no problem.
    - mended a pair of jeans.
    - finished a pair of socks for myself this time.
    - We went to Germany to do some shopping there, some items are cheaper there. We took 2 of our childeren with us (and my daughters friend from school) to go clothes shopping at primark (very cheap clothes)(poor quality by the way). Our kids get 100,- euro of clothingmoney per 3 months. And they must buy al there clothes from that money, coat, underwear. Sometimes we give them some sportsclothes. That teaches them to make choices and that you can not buy all you want. We also went eating out there, for Schnitzel ofcourse wich was wunderfull.
    - I made foccaccio from scratsh.
    - All other meals were cooked from scratsh.
    - We used up almost al of the groceries we got in the cristmas boxes from our employees.
    - I baked about 250/300 Dutch Doughnuts on december 31. That is an tradition in The Netherlands, well..eating them, not everybody likes making them. I always make a lot so many people from our village come to get some, and my childeren are treating them with the other kids on the street, as they are lighting fireworks. (wich is also tradition, well...officially after 18.00 hours sinds a few years) This is al light firework but still a bit dangerous...!
    - I made 2 apple pies from the leftover apples I used for the Dutch Doughnuts (bougth 2 kg because that was cheaper)
    - For the night of the 31, we always come together with a group of friends waiting for midnight. Everyone brings something to eat, I made a pasta salat with tuna.
    Well I think this is about it.
    Getting busy this week again......I hope

    Greetings Tanja from the Netherlands

  • Becky January 09, 2017

    I love hearing how it goes in other countries! I think 300 doughnuts sound like a LOT!!! I can see why the kids shared and the village wanted some. I'll bet there was a steady line of people hoping to get some. Yum!

  • Debby in KS January 09, 2017

    I would sure be standing in line for fresh doughnuts! I'm not sure I've ever had one. Some of our friends make Pizelles (not sure how you spell it) every Christmas and give them to everyone at church. They only count by the dozen and said they made 350 dozen this year!! We look forward to them every year. They're a real treat.

  • Margaret @approachingfood January 09, 2017

    Olliebollen!!! Sounds delicious! So wish I was there eating them with you! :)

  • Karen vanbeynen January 13, 2017

    My grandfather came from holland and I was just thinking about trying to make the windmill speculaas cookies. He used to make a wonderful fruitcake but I don't have the recipe. Thank you for sharing your Dutch frugal life!

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher January 09, 2017

    It sounds like you've had a very productive 2017 thus far!

    In the New Year I have:

    1. Baked homemade ciabatta bread, yeast rolls, and three-seed wheat bread. I bought some oats on sale to make oat-wheat bread. I'm trying to use up the last of some nice wheat flour we have.

    2. Mr. Picky Pincher composted lots of our veggie scraps. We should have some amazing soil in time for spring planting.

    3. I used leftover ingredients to bake s'mores cupcakes as a treat for this week.

    4. We've been eating out of our freezer more lately, which means less eating out.

    5. I made homemade laundry soap and plan to make homemade dishwasher soap as well. Hopefully we won't have to buy pricey soap at the store any more.

    6. I sewed homemade handkerchiefs since I've been suffering from allergies lately. I hate going through so many tissues, so I made reusable handkerchiefs and they work like a dream. I keep a few folded up in my purse, too.

  • Tabbie January 09, 2017

    It has been rough this past week. Frugality has been rare due to illness in our household. However, I tried to find ways to save here and there.

    I Refrained from purchasing supplies for my head cold. We have plenty of kleenex, random canned soups and cold medicine in the cabinet. Typically when I am sick I purchase extra kleenex, several cans of soup, bottles of juice, and brand new boxes of cold medicine. This time i went through the cabinets and found several of these items.

    I am really hoping to get back on the frugal bandwagon with the new year. I got very lazy towards the end of last year.

  • Jenifer January 09, 2017

    That soup looks so delicious right now (its 20 degrees with snow coming in later today)! I miss fresh tomatoes right now.
    This past week, other than cleaning and organizing we were frugal by:

    Bought bacon ends (half the cost of bacon cut in strips) from the butcher. They have the best bacon, and the price reflects it. I try to be frugal while supporting small local businesses, so I feel the ends are a good compromise.

    I saved up enough Speedway (gas station) reward points to get a free GC to use as a birthday gift.

    Made a Christmas gift (took a metal hook attached to a 3" x4" metal flat surface) bought at the Dollar Tree and covered the plate area with felt flowers. Everything from supplies I had on hand. I used Pinterest for tutorials on making the fancier felt flowers. I have a small wooden box that 2 bars of soap came in, that I might fill with more felt flowers and add a few screw hooks to as another gift.

    I mended clothing that had missing buttons, a hole and a few sweaters that needed shaved to make them like new again.

    I used YouTude for workout videos.

    Have a great week everyone!

  • Melissa V January 09, 2017

    *I took home all the leftover Sunday papers from work which included all the ads and coupons - I think I got at least 6 sets of coupons and we need the paper to start fires in the wood-stove in the morning. They just throw the unsold ones away and we cancelled our subscription years ago.
    *I made all our meals at home - more out of necessity due to my new diet restrictions and now hubby is on no carbs in preparation for his PET scan. My system is in a full blown flare AGAIN and I am finding it difficult to find anything to eat that doesn't cause issues although it is also possible that my system is in revolt due to the huge drop in my sugar/carbs intake. We'll see in another week or so if I feel any better.
    *Clipped all the dogs nails at home again and noticed we really need a new clipper or to find someway of sharpening our current one.
    *We did not get any groceries but milk, eggs and the few ingredients for my new diet restrictions (garlic INFUSED oil - gets the flavor but does not have the FODMAP sugar that causes digestive issues)
    *Put plastic over the north window in back of my kitchen sink - the window is so warped it doesn't close completely - I did have towels stuffed in the cracks but while cleaning the basement I found 2 window kits :) I will use the rest of them to cover the windows in our daughter's old room.
    *Used our wood-stove to keep the heat up high enough in the main house to keep the furnace from kicking on during the day time hours. We stuff it full before bed as well which keeps it off for several hours at least at night as well.
    *I fixed the dog chair that they were pulling the stuffing out of (and my left hand now has 3 bandaids on it from where the needle slipped while trying to push it thru the leather :/)
    *Filled 2 more bags of donation items and will get the slip for a tax write-off when I drop them off.
    *While cleaning, I found an old Barnes and Noble gift card that still has $7 on it - not sure what I will use it towards yet.
    *Used gift cards to pick up the probiotics and vitamins we needed and used coupons matched with the stores B1G1 to make it go even further.
    *And probably the biggest money saver? We stayed home - other than me going to work or us both going to doc appointments. Between me feeling so sick to my stomach all the time and his lowered immune system it's just better if we stay home (although hubby is going stir crazy!!). With how I am feeling and the amount of meds I need to take to go to work, I am questioning if I really should even be doing that!
    I love reading thru everyone's progress! It is inspiring and uplifting and makes me feel not so alone in the struggle.

  • Becky January 09, 2017

    My oldest daughter has recently been placed on the same diet. I'm not sure which part is the FOODMAP and which part is all of the allergies she already has, but she had a very restricted Christmas. It worked out well, though. She just brought some food she could eat, and happily ate it--it was the company she was craving, not the food. I wish you the best in the transition to the new diet and I hope it helps your issues.

  • Roxie January 09, 2017

    I made a roast (just under 3 pounds) feed 4 people three meals. I roasted a couple of chickens for the week too. Got eggs at church this week from my friend. The weather here has just been nuts. Last week on Thursday it was 90 and on Friday it was 20. Can you beat that? How does anyone know how to dress? My grandsons are going crazy trying to keep up with jackets etc. They need a jacket in the morning and by afternoon they need shorts...I have had my windows open and cleaning the windows. Used newspaper and home made window cleaner.
    Made a big pot of beans, after we have had a meal of them I will use some to make refried beans and cheese burritos. My grandsons love those.
    Have hanged laundry out side when it was warm, on racks when cold...
    We ate all meals but 1 at home. Our bible study went to a Mexican food café and my husband I shared a meal and 2 coffees. (it was very cold)

  • Liz January 09, 2017

    We have a landline/internet combo here with cheap cell phones. I just wonder if this is the cheapest way and if others have ideas in this regard.

  • momsav January 10, 2017

    We have a landline that runs just under 25.00 a month. And, we both have a pay-as-you-go phone that runs about 200.00 a year. (After initial costs.) We've thought about getting rid of the landline, but for now we're hanging onto it. Our internet is by itself. That runs 59.99 a month. We're in a pretty isolated part of the country where there's not much competition. We don't have cable; we do have apple TV and free netflix from our son. I hope prices don't up anytime soon!

  • Debby in KS January 09, 2017

    Another quiet week and recovering from my head cold. It's easy to save money when you feel too lousy to go anywhere and do anything.
    *Meals included Chicken Noodle Soup, Chili, Beef Stew, Baked potatoes, & Beef Barley Soup.
    *My husband went out and bought my sale flour sack towels for a couple of gifts this year. We had a rebate card so I got 4 large towels for about $3. These are the best quality towels I have found anywhere and they're large and sturdy.
    *For entertainment, I pulled out an old puzzle I book I had and did about a dozen puzzles, logic problems, etc.
    *Continued to use fall rainwater for flushing. We're almost out!

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