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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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  • That's great that your seeing a great difference after watching everything with your utility bill. I'm afraid ours will be significantly higher this month with the extreme cold we are having. I have been checking out books at the library in order to have something to do when it's cold. Here are the rest of my frugal accomplishments http://www.vickieskitchenandgarden.com/2017/12/my-frugal-ways-this-past-week-122617.html

  • Here is my updated list of frugal accomplishments for 1/2/18 plus a menu plan for my first week of our No Spend January


  • Kim January 01, 2018

    Happy New Year! We’re starting the new year off in frugal mode. Our lunch consisted of. Bowl of guacamole from items we had on hand instead of going out for something. Dinner will be black eyed peas and rice seasoned with our ham bone from Christmas. The leftover peas will be recycled into a soup later in the week.

    I returned some sausage I bought from Whole Foods. They were not as good as they should have been for the cost.

    I’ve changed my menu for the week to accomodate a turkey breast I bought for Christmas but didn’t prepare. My goal is to only buy perishables (milk and bread) we absolutely need until the weekend.

    Longer term, I want to use the items I have in the freezer befor I buy any more merat.

  • Jen G January 01, 2018

    Living frugally from urban Seattle:

    -We had a nice, frugal Christmas with family but had an unexpected huge car bill (a rat chewed some wires in our transmission). I had been spraying the car and yard down with some nontoxic rat spray, but ran out and had failed to buy more. Lesson learned - a little money spent on prevention can save a lot later on!

    -Besides the car bill and a few groceries, I did not spend any money this week. Before we left Portland, I did spend a Target gift card that I received for Christmas on house essentials that we were needing: a new shower curtain, hand and body soap, shampoo, wash clothes, etc. I used the Cartwheel app for additional savings and did not pay sales tax because Oregon is sales tax free.

    - For frugal winter break activities we've watched Christmas movies from the library and popped popcorn and ate from our stockings. We also played a new Monopoly game for several nights that was gifted to my son. We've done some nearby hikes, looked at Christmas lights. Yesterday, the city bus was free all day and the weather was clear so we walked around downtown and enjoyed the views out to Elliott Bay. My mom gifted her grandkids an afternoon of ice skating, which was a fun treat as well.

    - I gathered some yummy, healthy vegetarian recipes for the new year....mostly from the budget bytes website. Still working on reducing our grocery bill. Buying less meat will help.

    It would be easy to throw our hands up after that awful car bill that killed our budget this month and just spend, spend, spend. I'm thankful that our frugal habits allowed us to pay the bill without going into debt. And past experience with much bigger unexpected expenses has taught us that we can recover quickly if we continue to stay disciplined.

  • kim January 08, 2018

    Discipline is the key. I had some frugal fails including eating out a lot and spending on things that are not "needs". But I feel because I had been frugal for Christmas I can make a come back in January on my budget and goals.

  • Marybeth January 01, 2018

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    -Made turkey stock with bones from Christmas turkey. Made turkey orzo and turkey rice soups(youngest can't eat pasta). Froze half for later use. Froze a bunch of meat to make pot pies one day.
    -Got 3 hams on sale after Christmas. Aldi was cleaning them out. Made one when my sister came later in the week. Skin and fat got added to homemade dog food. Bone went into lentil and ham soup. Chopped up a bunch and made ham and cheese omelets Sunday for breakfast. Froze about 3 pounds for future meals.
    -Used gift bags, boxes, bows and tissue paper from many years of recycling. Used 1 roll of Christmas paper that I garbage picked last year(a neighbor was moving and threw out about 8 rolls of paper. I took them all.)Already packed away all of the wrapping supplies for next year and do not need to buy anymore.
    -Made all of our in house Christmas cards. Used a coupon and ECBs to pay for our picture cards that I mail out.
    -Cooked up a leftover pumpkin from Thanksgiving. Froze 5 containers. Baked a ton of muffins and sent some to work with my husband and some to work with me. My kids did manage to snag a few for themselves.
    -My daughter made chocolate spoons to give out to friends for coffee/hot chocolate. They came out so good I asked if she could make some more to add to some gifts. We had all the supplies on hand.
    -Watched my sister's dog while she was away. When she came back she gave us an empty basket that she was given, some tea that she didn't like and 2 magazines.
    -My son was asked to stay twice as long on a shift one day(4hrs turned into 8hrs). He called and asked if I could bring him lunch. I wasn't feeling well(vertigo) so I told him to use my free meal I had earned. He brought lunch and dinner every other day that he worked long hours. He brought home bread several days.
    -My husband and I brought lunch every day we worked except for days that we knew we were being treated out(me 1, him 2).
    -Had a mandatory meeting one morning. They served bagels and muffins. When it was over(I was helping clean up) my manager told me to take some home. OK. Another manager had made little goodie bags for everyone for Christmas. She gave me 8 extra when I was leaving because some people didn't take them and I always help her out.
    -My sister came over before Christmas and brought a ginger bread house kit that she got free from her bank. We also made cookies.
    -Squeezed in another doctor appointment before the year ended since my deductible was already met for 2017
    -Received many beautiful gift that are usable or consumables. No dust collectors!
    -Came in under our Christmas budget!
    -Best gift I received was my oldest was able to come home for 5 days. We haven't seen her since July. We cooked the whole time and made all her favorites. We played lots of games and talked all night long.

    I hope everyone has a Healthy 2018!

  • momsav January 01, 2018

    I had fun at my sons over Christmas. Everything for the holiday was paid in advance, gifts and food I brought. I did spend on trips to the discount grocer, Aldi’s, used bookstore and wallyworld. After being gone ten days, and seeing my husband for four of those days, I come home to have him tell me he’s been laid off, for all the days I’ve been gone. I was furious and extremely ticked. I spent money that I could have saved. Needless to say, I will be spending as little as possible for the foreseeable future.
    Since i’ve Only been home since yesterday, I washed out some baggies I used while gone and put away all the decorations. I pulled out some crafting supplies i’ve had forever to keep me busy for the next while. And, I ordered some books with gift cards that were a gift or ordered from CC points. I paid the CC bill online for the first time.
    Happy 2018 to everyone!

  • Darcy January 01, 2018

    Frugal Accomplishments at our house this week:

    I made Greek yogurt in my crock pot.

    I made ranch dressing from Greek yogurt and mayonnaise.

    I made chicken vegetable soup using green beans that I froze from the garden this past summer, frozen mixed vegetables, Swiss chard that a co-worker gave me and I froze, and cauliflower. I used homemade chicken broth too.

    I only went out once over the weekend to a potluck on New Year's Eve. I brought olive cheese bread and a dessert.

    I made laundry soap.

    I washed baggies to reuse.

    I received 2 beautiful and sturdy gift boxes that I will reuse for next Christmas. I also saved boxes and gift bags for next Christmas.

    I received a couple of gift cards for grocery stores so I will be using those in the next weeks for our grocery needs.

    I rolled up an old towel and put it in front of the kitchen door to keep out drafts.

  • Sarah January 01, 2018

    Hi Brandy! I love the idea of gardening right now! It's been so very cold. We did get our seed catalogs so I've been dreaming of warmer days and making big plans about what I'd like to plant. I've decided to try and hold onto as much of my paid time off as possible so that I can take most Fridays this summer off and work in the garden. It's hard to picture with -15 degree mornings :P We've had an interesting Christmas with 2 kiddos getting sick on Christmas Eve, but it was still a nice day and we came out ahead this month! Joining in here: https://frugalfive.com/2018/01/01/january-1st-state-of-the-frugal-union/ with our monthly wrap up and frugal accomplishments.

  • Laurie in central NC January 01, 2018

    Working in the garden sounds heavenly, especially since it's supposed to be 8 here tonight. I know it's far colder other places, and I feel for them. I managed a 1/2 mile walk with the pups, chicken chores, and picking collards for our New Years dinner today. Other than that, I've stayed indoors. I really enjoy time outdoors, so I'm missing it. I have enjoyed a little bit of daytime reading, something I can't manage in the warm months, so there is that. Here's to good things in 2018! https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2018/01/hello-friends.html

  • Jess January 01, 2018

    I am never jealous of your weather in the summer, but I sure am envious now! The feels like temperature here is -31F right now. We have also been sick for a few days, so my husband and I haven't really left the house. I did take a trip to prompt care and had to get a prescription. But I have been pretty frugal otherwise.
    - saved several bags, tissue paper, and boxes from Christmas to use next year
    - my dad gave me mittens and a warm hat for Christmas. I also received several kitchen utensils, new pillows, dress pants, new boots, pint canning jars - all things I needed.
    - my parents always put lottery tickets in our stockings. I won $17 on mine!
    - my husband's uncle gave us a ham steak, a pound of bacon, and farm fresh eggs for Christmas
    - my dad picked me up some cough medicine and bread and wouldn't let me pay him for them
    - I rode with my mom to the grocery store, saving some gas.
    - I spent the remainder of our Christmas budget on some clearance Christmas cards, tags, and wrapping paper. I found some wrapping paper on clearance at walmart that wasn't really Christmas themed. It still rang up on clearance, but it will be great for my nieces and nephew's birthday presents.
    - We ate most meals at home or with my parents. My dad got a smoker for Christmas, so he made some smoked brisket and shared some of it with us. Other meals included chili, chicken gnocchi soup, sausage and potato casserole, homemade pizza, etc. We haven't really been too interested in eating since we've been feeling under the weather.
    - I added 4 containers of chili and 4 containers of chicken gnocchi to the freezer for future meals.
    - I went through all my Christmas supplies in storage to make sure they were neatly stacked and wouldn't get ruined.
    - My husbands grandmother gave us some money for Christmas, which we decided to save.
    - We paid extra on our mortgage, bringing our total to 25.4% paid off in 8 months.
    - Saved chicken and vegetable scraps in a bag in the freezer to make stock with.
    - I go back to work this week (assuming I feel better), which means we'll be back to using gas. We were $92 under budget in that category this month, probably because I have been on Christmas break since December 15th.
    - Paid 2 bills online

    I went $9 over on my grocery budget this month, but my mom and I made several freezer meals for a recently widowed family friend and his children.

  • Gardenpat January 01, 2018

    This week we had 11 of our kids/grandkids staying with us for 8 days- including 7 teenagers! I was able to feed them 3 meals a day plus snacks the whole time and only needed to buy a gallon of milk ($1.49) and a loaf of French bread. The rest of the food came from my food storage- muffins, breakfast burritos, pancakes, sausage strata,bananas, apples, oranges, juice, sandwiches, pizza, beef and bean burritos, lasagna,spaghetti! They inhaled food, it seemed!!! Lol! If I had to buy all that food at the last minute or taken them out for fast food, it would have cost a fortune!!
    I made 7 catering trays of sandwiches- chicken salad croissants,ham and cheese hoagies, roast beef on bun, PB&J for the 40 of us when we got together at our daughter's house for our Christmas get together! Again, grateful that all I bought were the croissants- I had all the rest in my storage that I made up!
    When I got the gallon of milk at the store, I scoured the whole store and found 23 oz canisters of Sunmaid raisins for $1 and Craisins (24 oz) for $2.99! I bought 37 pounds of Craisins and 24 canisters of raisins! 4 of my daughters got some of them from me for their families. I had been almost out of Craisins so the timing was perfect!!
    I bought 25 pounds of green bell peppers for $3 so today I canned 18 pints of Sweet and Sour Sauce using them and home canned tomatoes and pineapple! I made 4 dozen banana coconut delight cookies to use up some ripe bananas and canned 6 pints of pineapple chunks to use some on sale pineapple I had.
    I made 5 soup cozies to give as a gift from scraps, 2 flannel pillowcases and a baby quilt for an upcoming shower - all using fabric/supplies on hand! No OOP!!
    Our chickens are still giving us about 3 dozen eggs/week even with this cold weather!!
    The snow and cold here have been unusually fierce but we are grateful for the home and food security that we have !
    We are truly blessed!!

  • Lorna January 01, 2018

    Hello Brandy and everyone from Australia and Happy New Year to you all :) .

    We have been concentrating on replacing household items that have been in service for around 10 years such as towels, sheets, tea towels and having a few for storage as well for the future. You know when you can see daylight through some of your towels it is time to buy some more :) . In a couple of years we are purchasing our home so are concentrating on building up household supplies so we have nothing to purchase and then can concentrate on just paying the mortgage then.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made 1.908kg of chocolate fudge with chocolate purchased on special and homemade condensed milk for us and some for Christmas gifts for close friends saving $101.89 over purchasing the same amount in the shops.

    Gifts -
    - Managed to give all of our close friends a Christmas gift of free honey we get from having hives on our property which we packaged in a nice jar with material tied to the top and curly ribbon, some homemade chocolate fudge and homegrown garlic picked from the gardens. These were gratefully received and didn't cost us a lot of money :D.

    Finances -
    - We rounded off our savings for our deposit for our home for last year and saved $3534.69 over our budget target for the year through being frugal.

    In the gardens -
    - Planted a 3 mt row of cucumber seeds and weeded one large garden bed.
    - Picked 800g of cherry tomatoes from the gardens saving $10 over purchasing them.

    Purchases -
    - For a Christmas treat for us as it was so hot here and we didn't feel like cooking we purchased a chicken, 2 pkts of croissants and some bread rolls on special saving $7.91 on usual prices which we had over a couple of days.
    - Purchased 6 new Egyptian cotton bath towels, 6 hand towels and 6 bath mats on special saving $48. One set will go to replace a set that is worn out and the rest will be stored in the cupboards until the others wear out.
    - Bought 48 terry cotton tea towels on eBay using a 10% off voucher saving $82.60 over purchasing them here in the local shops. Some we will replace our present worn out ones with and others we will put away for spares for the future.
    - Purchased 5 x 500TC Egyptian cotton sheet sets on special and coupled that with a 10% off purchase eBay special saving $282 over what we can purchase here locally. One set we will put into use straight away the rest will be put away for spares as the others will wear out shortly too.
    - Purchased some on usual prices and or 30 - 50% off new year sales 2 eggs whisks, 1 lge and 1 sm Pyrex measuring jugs, 2 lge s/s mixing bowls, a set of s/s measuring cups, a years supply of cushioned work socks for me, and a pair of sandals saving $18.30.
    - Purchased a couple of years supply of underwear for me on special as well as a couple of years supply of cotton tips and makeup removal pads on 50% off special saving $26 on usual prices.

    Other general ways we saved were -
    - Watered household lawns with saved grey water from our showers and washing machine, missed one scheduled garden town watering session due to rain saving 83lts of water and only turned on our electric hot water system once for 3.5hrs as it was so hot the hot water stayed hot all week as we hardly used any hot water.

    Have a wonderful frugal week ahead everyone :).

  • momsav January 01, 2018

    Lorna, Wow! Good going on the house savings! That’s huge!

  • Lynn of NC Outer Banks January 02, 2018

    Congratulations Lorna on exceeding your savings goal for your house in 2017! Can't wait to continue to follow your house buying journey this year!

  • Lorna January 03, 2018

    Thank you also for your encouragement Lynn it is greatly appreciated :D . We are hoping to try and outdo that accomplishment this year but we won't count our chickens before they hatch and will just maintain our being frugal and checking prices on everything we need to purchase and buy at the lowest prices we can find.

  • Jenny January 04, 2018

    Thats a lot of fudge!!

  • Lorna January 04, 2018

    It is indeed Jenny but us and others enjoyed it thoroughly :D .

  • Becky @ Becky's Place January 04, 2018

    Ahh... I'd love to be a recipient of those gifts! I have started growing some garlic the past couple of years, just enough for our use and to replant again. I'm intending to nearly double it this summer, assuming they don't "disappear" from where they were planted. Not sure if they rotted or if a varmint got to them. Anyway, yum on all three of your goodies that you gifted!

  • Lorna January 04, 2018

    Thanks for your encouragement Becky and I hope that your garlic stays put where you planted them. Sometimes if they get too wet the bulbs rot in the ground so just watch you don't overwater them.

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