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Frugal Accomplishments for the First Week of December

Christmas Tree 2017 The Prudent Homemaker 

I sewed a tree skirt for our tree from drop cloth I had.

My husband gave two sons a haircut.

My husband took a free course for one of his required continuing education classes for work. This class was also very close to home. Most classes he takes are 30-45 minutes from home, so one that was just a few minutes away also saved on gas. The law requires him to take a certain amount of classes. There are lots of paid classes available, but also a number of free ones. He always takes as many free classes as possible, and takes a few of the least expensive paid classes, which are between $10 and $20, and often include lunch. He saves hundreds of dollars by carefully choosing which classes he takes.

 I picked Meyer lemons from the garden. I also cut chives from the garden.

We attended a free symphony concert performed by the Henderson Symphony.

The temperature dropped here. I rolled up two old towels and put them in front of our front doors to block the cold draft that always blows under the door in winter,

Christmas Octavius Under the Tree The Prudent Homemaker

We decorated our tree with ornaments we have had for years.

I pulled out some stored boxes to wrap gifts and found my star garlands that I had made previously. I hung them in the house. 

I opened clothing boxes of stored clothing and pulled out winter clothing for my daughters. I'm glad that I keep boxes of hand-me-down clothing. I thought I was going to need some items of clothing for them, but they were already there in the boxes.

I said yes to the offer of some candy and soda that an acquaintance said she no longer needed at her house. 

I took my reusable bags to Target and received $0.05 off my purchase for each bag I used.

I used a 40% off coupon for an item I bought at Hobby Lobby. It was not a high-cost item, but I always make sure to have a coupon with me if I need to buy something, Every bit saved helps!

I returned some plants that died to the nursery within the one-year time frame. I also returned pots for store credit. I used the credit from these two towards the purchase of two new valves in the garden (to replace two old ones that had started to leak). While I was there, I asked for some branches that they were cutting off the Christmas trees out front. I've got these soaking in water now and I'll arrange them in the garden urns on Monday. Many places that sell Christmas trees will give you free trimmings if you ask.

Since the valves are leaking, I turned off the water to the backyard, and have been turning it on manually when needed to water the garden so that I don't end up with a flooded yard, a huge water bill, or dead plants.

I watered potted plants with shower warm-up water and water from drinking glasses that was left at the end of the day.

My husband mended my clothes drying rack so that I could dry sweaters and delicates that I hang to dry. He also mended my towel rack in the bathroom when it came apart.

 

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

For those who are wondering: Our tree stand is screwed to the table it sits on with drywall screws. This makes it impossible to be knocked down by children. Having the tree on the table (plus no ornaments on the bottom two branches) keeps our toddler from the ornaments.

This is the first year I've ever put out gifts before Christmas Eve (usually I wait after the children are in bed to wrap and out them out). I've started wrapping early this year to avoid the stress of wrapping everything Christmas Eve as part of my plans for a simpler month. I'll continue to add wrapped gifts under the tree as I go, if we can keep my youngest from them. I won't be adding any more candy canes to the top of the gifts, however--he liked those too much!

The tree is a faux one, bought on clearance 11 years ago for $80. It was the display model.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Shelley Jones December 10, 2017

    Love your blog! Look forward to reading it each week. Your baby is so cute. Things I did to save money...
    Was in another town got gas there since it was .05 cents cheaper
    Shopped at 3 stores for groceries for the best sales.
    Made a meal plan for the 5 extra people we are having this week. My husband is graduating Nursing school! (This is when, and why I had to become frugal)
    Used the quick wash on all my laundry...less water, and time...clothes seem just as clean!
    Even though I have a budget for Christmas...so far I am below it for each person on my list.
    Til Next week!
    Take care,
    Shelley

  • Cindi December 10, 2017

    Your tree is beautiful. I love the ribbon garland. And Octavius is such a cutie!
    I made a star garland following your directions a couple of years ago and it is one of my favorite decorations.
    We cut our tree in the national forest. $8 for a permit and our tree is 11 feet tall, so it was a nice bargain, plus a fun outing. We have 38 years worth of tree decorations, so no need to buy anything more.
    Temperatures stayed cold long enough we felt it was time to shut down the greenhouse. I harvested all the cabbage and made three pans of cabbage rolls (using home-canned tomatoes and some elk meat a neighbor gave us) and put them in the freezer for future meals, plus a large bowl of slaw.
    I made Christmas cookies using the dough I made and froze while I was getting ready for Thanksgiving. Definitely made the process less hectic. I mixed up a large batch of cocoa mix. We have been enjoying hot cocoa in the evenings.
    Due to choir concerts and rehearsals, I was away three nights this past week. I don't eat before I sing and my husband ate leftovers or canned soup for dinners and I had a sandwich when I got home. The rest of the meals were cooked and eaten at home, I hung laundry on a rack in front of the fire to dry, and we enjoyed reading to and listening to books from our library, and watching a couple of Christmas movies from Amazon prime.

  • Jen G December 10, 2017

    What a gorgeous tree and cute little boy with a sly grin on his face!

    Frugal living in urban Seattle this week:

    - It was my youngest son's birthday. I used gift cards from Amazon and a college bookstore for his gifts. The Amazon gift card I had traded on cardpool.com for a Victoria Secret gift card I had previously received, but had little use for and I bought him a LEGO Architect set that he's been eyeing. The local bookstore gift card my husband received from a UW professor for speaking to her journalism class as a thank you. He also really wanted take-out pizza (rare treat) so I found a coupon for the pizza and made him a homemade cake to celebrate with a few friends in our home. We asked that friends NOT bring gifts to his party, as he has a friend who is experiencing homelessness with his dad (sadly a common thing with skyrocking Seattle housing prices). It was a fun, simple party.

    - Last night we attended the luminaria walk around our neighborhood lake with music and festivities with my cousins who also live in town. It was free and instead of being tempted to go out for dinner or dessert, I made a hot cocoa bar with cookies, hot cocoa and fixings for us to come home to. I bought organic milk for the hot cocoa using a FREE coupon from a neighborhood organic grocer.

    - I found a holly tree in our neighborhood and got permission to take some cuttings to help make my house look more festive. It makes me happy to see the festive greenery in our house!

    - My Buy Nothing neighbor gifted me a pair of almost-new rainboots that fit perfectly. I had been looking through thrift stores for months with no luck.

    - I saved myself the cost of an uber ride for my son to get to a piano concert by rearranging some appointments (and with some rare Seattle traffic luck on a Friday evening).

    - I put holds on several holiday movies from the library for us to enjoy. I wish I would have done this earlier, as several have long wait lists. Hopefully we'll get to watch a couple of them.

  • Cindy in the South December 11, 2017

    Are folks with jobs homeless in Seattle? Either way, that is terrible, especially here at Christmas.

  • Donna G. December 12, 2017

    Yes, A small 900sq ft apt can run as high as $3k mo within Seattle proper. 30 Miles away will still cost about $1600. High tech companies are hiring and causing a housing shortage which is driving prices.

  • Jen G December 12, 2017

    Yes, and it has all happened so quickly. Landlords will double and triple rents with little warning, leaving lots of working people with a serious problem. We would not be able to afford our townhouse today if we hadn't bought it four years ago when the market was still recovering.

  • Cindy in the South December 14, 2017

    Wow...that is awful. I pay $500 a month mortgage and I think that is too high for where I live. I would never be able to afford an apartment in Seattle, or even 30 miles away! I am guessing the salaries must be a lot higher there, than here but still.....

  • Lynn December 14, 2017

    San Diego County has a problem with homelessness due to high rent prices too. In our rural town there are several families living in campgrounds to save money for first, last and security deposits. This morning it was in the 30’s really cold to be living in a tent. Really thankful for my home and wood burning stove.

  • Cindy in the South December 15, 2017

    Wow....is that a problem all over the West Coast? That is so sad. I am assuming people are in those locations because they are working there, yet, to keep their jobs and live close enough to commute, they cannot afford housing...that is terrible.

  • Heidi December 20, 2017

    That is unconscionable; that working people can't afford places to live. Prices near urban areas are going up all over the country, especially if there's a tech center of any kind near it. This makes me so grateful for a warm home and food on the table. I'll be sure to share this with my children.

  • Diane December 10, 2017

    Is that a sword at the top of your tree?

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker December 10, 2017

    Hahaha! The sword is on the wall. It would bend the tree in half; it is so heavy. But it does look funny in the picture like that!

  • Onevikinggirl December 10, 2017

    I saw the sword too! Love it, can’t you tell me more about it?
    We have a very frugal holiday season as we only celebrate winter. Spendings only on extra veggies and more tea lights. And heating; a lot is spent on keeping our warm room warm (the rest of the apartments is not directly heated).

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker December 10, 2017

    It is decorative. It is a broadsword. It takes a man both hands to hold it, as it is quite heavy. It was a gift to my husband many years ago.

  • Jessica December 10, 2017

    Your Christmas decorations look beautiful. I also decorated with only things I already had, with the exception of one stocking holder. I bought it 50% off at Hobby Lobby.

    We made a trip to Aldi to get the last of the groceries needed for holiday baking. I remembered I had part of an Aldi gift card left from last Christmas, so I used it to offset some of the extra cost.

    We sent Christmas cards this year, but I bought them at Dollartree, so I only paid $4 for the cards. I had about $20 in stamps and I'll hand deliver several. I also bought birthday cards at Dollar General since they are only 50 cents each there. My husband hand delivered a bill to a client - saving on postage again.

    I also think I've figured out what's eating up our data on our cell phone plan. I changed a few settings and we're using much less data now. So hopefully we can avoid overage charges in the future.

    I accepted 1/2 dozen cupcakes leftover from a party.

    We are spending a lot of money on Christmas this year, but we budgeted for it and had the money set back. It's just wierd to be spending so much money at one time when we usually don't.

    I'm afraid our computer will need replaced soon. It's not working properly, so I'll start pinching my pennies and hoping for a sale when we need one.

    Our couches are also not in great shape. But I'm holding off on buying new ones. The couches are still comfortable and they have good cushion, but the leather is peeling off on the headrests. It started small, but is working its way down the back of the couch. I have been draping blankets over the back to hide the peeling for now.

    So far, we've only spent about $50 on groceries this month and we shouldn't need much more.

  • Jen G December 10, 2017

    If you google it, there are some glue products available that will help stop the peeling off of leather furniture. I bought some glue off Amazon for about $8, which helped stop the peeling. You can also buy dyed glue to help hide the peeling - although it seems hard to match it. It's not a perfect fix, but might extend the life of your couches.

  • Jessica December 10, 2017

    Thanks for the suggestion! I actually did that when it first started peeling. It helped for a little while, but then it just started peeling somewhere else. It would last for awhile and then start peeling again. It's been going on for about 2 years now.

  • Susan M. December 10, 2017

    I drove my daughter to an event she was playing her violin at, and my husband, daughter and I were offered a free dinner since she was volunteering her playing that evening.

    I gave my husband a haircut.

    I FaceTimed our son who is several states away and was able to watch him open his Christmas presents that we had mailed to him.

    Before purchasing a $20 book on Amazon, I checked our local library and was able to find it there so checked it out for free instead.

  • Katy in Africa December 10, 2017

    This post is chock full of ideas for spending less!
    Thank you!

    I surprised the kids and bought a small artificial tree and lights. The last 2 years we've just done a paper tree that we tape to the wall, so they were really excited! :)

    Other than the tree and lights we used ornaments and stockings we've had for years.

    I don't plan on sending gifts to our US family this year, maybe next year when we're Stateside. Instead I sent them Christmas cards.

    I reused rinse water to water plants.

    We did order out once this week, but it was my birthday present, pizza, salad and chips. :)

  • Natalie December 10, 2017

    I love the way you curl the ribbon on your tree.

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