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The Last Frugal Accomplishments For 2017

Pansies in Black Urn The Prudent Homemaker

I spent all week working in the garden each day, tidying it for planting. I pulled out dead plants, pulled weeds, spread manure. and pruned.

I planted seeds in the garden for beets, green onions, snow peas, Armenian cucumbers, spinach, and lettuce in the garden.

I began my birthday gift list for 2018, starting with moving several items I didn't make for Christmas to the birthday gifts list. I already have fabric for these.

My efforts to save energy and water resulted in my utility bills (water, power, and gas)  all coming in significantly lower than normal for this month. Our warmer winter should mean a lower heating bill too; it's been 10 to 15 degrees warmer than usual, which means we're rarely running the heater. It was so warm last week that I even opened the house for a few hours several days.

My daughter downloaded six free songs from the library.

I downloaded and read four e-books from the library.

What did you do to save money for the last part of 2017?

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  • Cindi January 01, 2018

    That was a fantastic buy on the roast/steaks.

  • Becky January 01, 2018

    I remembered the tip about the kisses, too, and got 2 or 3 bags on clearance. It's one of the few things I got after Christmas. I was just too busy to shop, which may have ended up being a blessing in disguise:)

  • Happy New Year!

    Well, this week was good, and busy. We celebrated my birthday and I started “pre-Spring cleaning” the house (it starts to drive me crazy this time of year) and lots of other stuff!

    My list for the week can be found here...


  • Cindi January 01, 2018

    We have been enjoying warmer than usual weather as well, Brandy -- still much too cold for gardening, though.
    We had a lovely, quiet Christmas at home. One of my favorite things is being able to call family and friends and talk for free – I remember the days when all those calls would have entailed hefty long-distance charges.
    I cleaned out my closet and took a large bag of clothing to the local humane society thrift store – one last deduction for the year.
    I’ve made a meal plan and think I can get through January without buying much.
    I saved all the citrus peels from the fruit salad I made for Christmas dinner and put them to soak in vinegar to make a cleaning spray.
    I’m sprouting some seeds and plan to use them on sandwiches.
    I made homemade wool wash to launder my hand-knits.
    I covered a box with some scraps of suede to use to store my dog’s toys.
    Our dishwasher broke and my husband diagnosed the problem and ordered the part to fix it. He was able to make a temporary repair so that I can still use it.
    We stayed home all week, only making one trip to the post office.

  • Elizabeth January 01, 2018

    1. Froze leftover Christmas goodies before my mom threw them out
    2. Scavenged broken off tree limbs at my parents house to use for kindling
    3. Found a nice winter coat for my son at the thrift store for $4.
    4. Renewed my Amazon Prime membership. It actually saves me money in the long run on free shipping alone and keeps my husband happy being able to still see his favorite tv shows/movies...much cheaper than cable:)
    5. Decided to try and not buy anything brand new this year (thanks to the Non Consumer Advocate for the wonderful idea) and listed it as one of my 2018 goals on my blog, so that I have to be accountable each month...here's hoping for success!

  • Elizabeth Schroer January 03, 2018

    Update: My husband found the frozen stash of Christmas goodies....I am going to have to hide them better!

  • Hilogene in Az January 01, 2018

    Happy New Year!

    Frugal accomplishments last week:
    -cooked all meals at home, updated my freezer inventory for use in meal planning.
    -made a dish to take to a New Year’s Eve party rather than buying pre-made food
    -used electricity on off peak hours to reduce costs
    -reviewed our 2017 spending and created our 2018 budget (I find it amazing that I was a bit lax in spending in December on small items but they really added up. It is truly amazing how easy it is to spend money once I decided I had a bit of extra to spend....another lesson, but our year overall was a okay so this extra spent won’t hurt us, just taught me a lesson I apparently needed to re-learn).
    -cleaned out a closet and took a batch of items to Goodwill before the end of the year

  • Susan M. January 01, 2018

    I finished a Christmas gift for my 13 year old daughter by recycling some old jeans of my son's into a tote bag for her to carry her music books to lesson in. So the denim was free, and I bought exactly enough music fabric using a coupon to line the inside of the bag. Scraps were turned into some flowers for decorating the font, and some flower buttons were bought also with a coupon and I now have some left for another project sometime. I have pictures of my project over at my blog at: http://tnquiltbug.blogspot.com/2017/12/frugal-friday-week-of-december-24-30.html

  • Cindi January 01, 2018

    That bag turned out so cute!

  • Susan M. January 01, 2018

    Thanks! I was so happy with it!

  • Gwen January 01, 2018

    very cute!

  • Susan M. January 01, 2018

    Thank you! I was very glad that my daughter really liked it! And the width of the bag fits her music books perfectly!

  • momsav January 01, 2018

    Perfect! I wish I still had a machine. You’re still miles ahead of me even if I had one! So many talented people here.

  • Susan M. January 02, 2018

    I am sure you are very talented! My sewing skills are pretty limited to only a straight line. But it is a blessing that a tote bag only needed straight line sewing! If you enjoy sewing, I wonder if you might be able to find a used sewing machine at a good price somewhere. . .

  • Libby January 01, 2018

    Happy New Year! It is so hard to believe that flowers are blooming someplace in the USA. Your photo of the pansies made me smile. Such a sign of hope during this frigid winter.

    • Made swag goal x 4
    • It has been -2 at night and highs of 14-20 during the day. Using a Styrofoam tray that held sugar snap peas from the grocery store, I taped the tray onto an outside wall that had exposed wires and was letting lots of cold air into the house. Not pretty, but the air leak is gone.
    • I open up the kitchen sink cabinet doors at night to make sure heat is getting to the pipes since the sink is on an outside wall.
    • Bought new eyeglasses and sunglasses to max out FSA account while money still available.
    • While I was in a neighboring county having a mammogram, it was the closest location that had an opening in 2017 while I still had work-provided health insurance, I stocked up on shampoo, cheese, lemons, and Dawn. During the same trip, I also went to an Asian market and bought sugar snap peas, curry mix, and rice noodles. Prices MUCH lower than my local grocery stores.
    • Made double batch of pizza dough and froze half, made cauliflower au gratin, made risotto with arugula and gorgonzola. Also made French toast from stale rolls, which were left over from Christmas dinner – yummy but not pretty
    • Visited friends and brought a bottle of homemade balsamic vinaigrette as a present
    • On New Year’s Eve I took a load to Goodwill – arriving 30 minutes before they closed – and itemized all the donations for taxes

  • Becky @ Becky's Place January 01, 2018

    I've been sick for 4 weeks (since starting a new job at a preschool) which has kept me home a lot more than I would normally be. That is the BEST way for keeping money in your wallet. The other thing that has helped is that I have scaled way back the hours put in at my other job (every other weekend bakery) which has saved $$ because I am not there to be tempted to "enjoy" our employee priced meat. Both of our freezers are full so any of those purchases would have been unnecessary. The past few days I have been feeling quite a bit better. Today my husband and I met someone in a nearby city and bought a set of 6 copper clad pots and pans for $25. When I priced just one of the pans I saw that it sold for about $25! While I do not need them, I do have two young adult children that will be setting up their own households at some point and have stored them away for that time. I also cleaned out some of my linens and put them into that same tote. Future frugal win for one of them, ha ha!
    It's been well below zero for, mmm, I want to say a week or two now. I have kept our thermostat at about 61 and creep it up to 65 for short times, like at meal times or bathing times. I did have to put in a request for a propane fill soon but we have already set aside the money to pay for this, thankfully. Your photo reminds me that we will again see the sun and feel its warmth here...

  • Vickie@Vickie's Kitchen and Garden January 01, 2018

    Becky, I hope you feel better soon. I drove school bus for many years and it seemed the first couple I was sicker than before. I think I had to build up my immune system being around sick children all the time. I seemed to get strong as the years went by.

  • Elizabeth M. January 01, 2018

    Well, turkey leftovers in their many forms. So far a skillet dish with fresh broccoli (on sale) and rice is my favorite. Tonight I'll try turkey tacos, with homemade tortillas. There are quite a few packages of turkey in the freezer still, along with the carcass for making soup. A 13 lb turkey goes a long way for one person.

    The flowers are beautiful, Brandy. No gardening here, I'm afraid. It was minus 31 F all week long. No wind though, if we want to be positive about it. :-) The cold spell is breaking today, though, and the forecast is a more manageable 16 F.

    I spent some of the week making phone calls cross-country related to my sister's illness and preparing to arrange a power of attorney. for her. They'll be more of that this week as it was difficult to get hold of people during the holidays.

    My car has a new starter now, along with a new motor for the heater fan. Not frugal at all, other than my saving enough money to be able to do this. It is a big relief to have a working vehicle now.

    Wishing everyone a happy new year.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood January 01, 2018

    Oooh, flowers in the garden! Here in Canada we're in a cold freeze, which I actually like, but it does mean no gardening, so it's nice to see your beautiful flowers!

    My week was pretty productive, I think.
    - I made a batch of Cappuccino Cupcakes (espresso-flavoured chocolate or vanilla cupcakes, topped with cappuccino buttercream and chocolate-covered espresso beans), using some instant coffee granules I had leftover from several years ago. I had bought the choc-covered beans from a bulk store previously, and the cupcakes wrappers were purchased using giftcards earned on line. (http://approachingfood.com/cappuccino-cupcakes/)
    - I fixed a scratch on a piece of wooden furniture by rubbing a walnut into it.
    - My mother and my younger sister only wanted donations to their charities of choice for Christmas, so in order to give them something to open up on Christmas day, I created very classy black and white certificates on my computer saying that a donation had been made in their name to [charity of choice], using some holly-themed black and white clipart. I cut them out and placed them inside Christmas cards that charities have sent to me. Something nice that can be pinned on a bulletin board, and a bit nicer than printing out an e-card.
    - I downloaded a free e-book using a promo code from harlequin.com.
    - My husband and I were sick with my annual Christmas cold, so I made a variation of Brandy’s creamy potato soup. I microwaved the potatoes so that the soup would be ready faster, and added in bay leaves, veggie bouillon, and extra carrots. Frugal and just what we needed for our sore throats and sniffles.
    - I made mini quiche using odds and ends from my fridge, and the last of the fresh onions in my pantry. I caramelized the onions, added in some eggs, milk, some leftover herbed goat cheese, and mustard powder, poured it into a shortening crust and baked it until puffy and golden. I packed some away for lunches during the week.
    - I made caramel apple cinnamon buns for Christmas breakfast, using a jar of caramel apple jam gifted to me. I didn’t have any icing sugar, so I made some in my blender using regular white sugar, and added some leftover condensed milk and water to make icing.
    - I cat-sat for cash over the holidays. The owner also gave me some food gifts, some of which I will pass on to family friends.
    - My mum was given some gifts that she couldn’t use, and so passed them on to me, including some tea (I re-gifted that to some family friends), as well as some hand soap (perfect as it’s in a foaming dispenser so now I can make my own foaming hand soap once this is used up), and some body wash. She also passed on to me a ranunculus kit that she received. This will be my yearly growing-flowers-inside-in-the-winter attempt!
    - I learnt from my mother that tissue paper can be composted. Good to know!
    - Saved all possible gift bags and containers to re-use next year. I haven’t bought bags in many, many years.
    - I bought 3 packs of Christmas cards on sale and used a promo code for an additional 30% off and also received free shipping. I used gift cards for this so there was no OOP cost. And now I’m set for cards for the next few years!
    - I baked some potatoes in the microwave until almost done, sliced them into wedges, brushed them with oil and sprinkled on a parmesan and spice blend, and finished them in the oven. And easy and quick side dish, and I served it with Christmas dinner leftovers that my parents had sent home with us.
    - I disputed a credit card charge and had a $5 fee waived.
    - Using my local trading app, I traded a set of penmanship books that I didn’t want, for a set of hand creams and an additional hand cream. I’ve set them aside for gifts. I also traded a bottle of wine that had been gifted to me, for a set of pretty pineapple-themed napkin rings.
    - I used a coupon as well as a gift card to buy some face cream; I also applied the $3 I won via stocking stuffer scratch card.
    - I took some yoga classes at home via Youtube.
    - My husband had sent away for some free thyroid pills a few months ago, and we received them this week. If Ontario at least, if you live within a certain distance of a nuclear power station, you can ask for free thyroid pills to be taken in case of radioactivity exposure. Taken properly, it essentially blocks your thyroid from absorbing radioactivity and reduces your risk of cancer after exposure. We’ve added them to our emergency supplies and also plan to carry around a single dose with us in our everyday bags. It’s statistically extremely unlikely that we’d ever have to use them, but it didn’t cost us anything and now we’re prepared.
    - I redeemed Swagbucks for a $10 giftcard to Old Navy
    - I had a bowlful of apples that were going to go bad if I didn’t use them soon, but I had plans to make a fresh Dutch apple pie for a family lunch next week and wanted to save them for that dish. I thought about how I could preserve the apples and found out that it is possible to freeze apples. So I peeled, sliced, and froze them all. I’ll be able to add them frozen right into the pie.

  • Athanasia January 01, 2018

    Margaret, the parmesan potato wedges sound easy and good. I am going to try them.

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