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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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  • Fiona Chain January 08, 2017

    Hi Brandy,
    We have also had some very welcomed rain this past week. Before that the heat and humidity was unbearable! Because of the lovely soaking rain many plants are just jumping out of the ground which makes me so happy. On the frugal front I have-
    Soaked orange skins in vinegar to make orange vinegar for cleaning the bathroom
    Made bread and rolls
    Cut up some not so wonderful fruit, added some homegrown ginger, basil and mint to give the fruit salad a bit of zing
    Line dried all the washing
    Packed my lunch for work each day
    Cleaned the house with home made cleaners
    Decluttered my bedroom draws and cupboard and took the unwanted items to a charity centre
    Made 2 jars of tomato chutney with home grown tomatoes (cherry tomatoes)
    Making a vegetarian meal once a week to save money on meat
    Rode to work on my bike, I get some exercise and the car stays in the garage
    Made all meals from scratch
    Used tank water to water the garden when needed
    Made a batch of sauerkraut out of a wedge of leftover cabbage
    Planted out Chinese broccoli, Bok choy, chilli and pumpkin seeds from saved seeds
    And I think that's about it.
    Have a wonderful week.

  • Amie January 08, 2017

    Reminds me that I have oranges soaking in vinegar. Completely forgot about it. Haven't opened, but the peels have lost most of their color. The jar was in a cool dark cabinet. How long do you think is too much? It's been a good 3 months, but I honestly don't know. Oops

  • Laurie in central NC January 10, 2017

    I've soaked some for probably 6 months before, and it was fine. When it's used for cleaning, I don't think there's any problem with the length of time. I have had some of my homemade cleaning vinegars begin to make some "mother", similar to good apple cider vinegar. The mint vinegar seems especially prone to it, but again, for cleaning I don't feel it's an issue. You could always strain it.

  • Amie January 11, 2017

    Lol. I strained off a pt of vinegar. It definitely has a cloudy "mother" settled at bottom of jar.

  • Diane January 08, 2017

    We are preparing to move into a new house. So, this has been a good time to purge, declutter, etc before packing what goes. I went through 3 dressser drawers and filled a donation bag with tees that I haven't worn in ages, 2 pairs of shoes that no longer work for me, and misc clothing pieces that we can no longer wear.

    I listed an armoir, which had one missing glass door, on Craigslist for $20. It sold immediately and emptied a corner in our dining room.

    We cooked at home all week and packed lunches with leftovers. On days that I didn't have leftovers, I ate hummus, cheese, and crackers.

    I returned 3 Christmas gifts that were either duplicates, or not the receipient's taste. Received a Walmart gift card for $35.11 to give back to the recipient for their choice of gift.

    Turned thermostat back 2 degrees.

    Baked banana bread with 2 overly ripened bananas and some yogurt I found in the back of the fridge.

  • Gardenpat January 08, 2017

    This week I made a baby girl quilt for a baby shower yesterday, using my fabric stash and batting stash and the leftover remnant of a twin sheet that I had already used as backing for a lap quilt! So total OOP cost- $0!!! It was an intricate looking pattern but relatively easy to make and was a real hit!

    I am almost finished with my optical illusion quilt which again looks extremely complicated but is relatively easy as long as you are careful as you piece it! It is all in blues, is a large lap size quilt for a granddaughter and is made completely from leftover scraps from other quilts I've made! Again- $0 OOP cost for this gift!!

    We made black bean taco soup using home canned black beans and pre cooked ground beef from freezer. I was down with the flu much of this week, but we were able to use some of our other chunky soups and homemade bread rather than going out for take out!
    We just finished an order for 10 of our Ohio wall hangings out of our free pallet wood so that money will go towards one of our medical bills. I received $18 from Pinecone surveys this week that I also used to pay down medical bills. Every little bit of "extra" income helps with that and we are grateful for opportunities that come to us to work little side jobs to reach our financial goals more quickly! A side benefit is that hubby and I thoroughly enjoy working together and consider the time extra "date nights"!
    Hopefully, this coming week, I will be flu-free and able to get back to being more frugal!

  • Heather in L.A. January 09, 2017

    Do you ship your ohio hanging? I don't know exactly where you are located in the state, but my husband has made some wonderful hunting friends that live there and host him twice a year, allowing him to frugally partake of hunting trips we wouldn't be able to afford otherwise. We also host them a couple of times a year as well. I'm thinking those state pallets would make a wonderful thank you gift.

  • Dawn January 08, 2017

    The crockpot is my favorite way to cook dried beans. I need to cook some pinto beans this coming week. Here is my weekly savings post:

  • http://Robbie January 08, 2017

    Good morning!
    I'm battling bronchitis and an upper respiratory infection so I didn't do much.
    We have dropped cable and are trying sling tv for our "must haves." It is an adjustment but we halved our cable and Internet cost and I'm watching less tv.
    Made a few donations using the program between Amazon and Goodwill. Post office will pick up donations and I didn't have to add miles to my car or get out in the cold.
    Sold daughter's little girl bookcase so the net cost for her "grown up" one was $5.
    Have a great week!

  • Glenda Rainbolt January 10, 2017

    I am not familiar with the program "between Amazon and Goodwill" that picks up donations, could you explain?

  • Athanasia January 12, 2017

    Yes, not sure what that means, either. Thanks in advance for an explanation.

  • Meredith January 15, 2017

    I think you can use Amazon's boxes to hold donations and have them picked up/shipped at no cost to you to pare down belongings etc. :)

  • http://Robbie At UseResourcesWisely January 16, 2017

    I'm so sorry! I just saw this. You can reuse old amazon boxes toship to goodwill. It's called give back box.

  • Athanasia January 17, 2017

    Oh interesting.

  • Mariana January 08, 2017

    I love the hair comb that's Winter made for herself. For the record, it looks like you would need to pay $20 for it in a store, if not more. I love how you teach your children frugality when they are young. It will stay with them for life.

    My weekly frugal update is up as well:

    Wishing everyone a beautiful Sunday. Xx

  • Ange January 08, 2017

    Happy New Year! I haven't done a superb job commenting like I had hoped I would have but here is to a new year and more accountability. We ate meals at home but one and had plenty to share with others too. My mom gave me coupons for Target to use on Diapers (we are in disposables till the baby grows chunky enough legs for the cloth diapers) some I won't use so I will pass them on to friends. I told a friend I would help throw her a baby shower so some Christmas treats I froze to use for that and I created a board on pinterest full of frugal ideas on showers. I want to do it after Valentine's day so I can use a lot of the pink decor at the dollar store etc. I am using leftover scraps for a blanket as a gift for her as well. This weekend we celebrated Epiphany (we are Protestant Christians but interested in church history) for the first time with friends and had a great time! I used Christmas decorations I had on hand and cut cardboard stars from recycled boxes to place all over the table. I even found Star cookies on clearance, that were dye free and delicious since I didn't have time to bake any. For our feast we used foods we had in the freezer, I bought sparkling drinks on sale and bought a King's cake & a friend made paper crowns for all the kids to wear, we played free Christmas carols on Pandora through on TV and had a great time!!! I used cleaned cereal bags to pound chicken, I have been doing without ziplock bags and have found creative ways to freeze things without them, I have been doing big batch cooking on the weekend so I am not tempted to order food. My son has been asking about playing the violin out of nowhere for the last 4months so I told God that is wasn't something we could save up for for a LONG time (He's 3!!) and that it was something He (God) would have to provide. Well, this week a friend pulled out a violin and asked if we wanted it!! She said her MIL was going to throw it away so she rescued it and offered it to me (they have one already). What a blessing. I am just in awe of His goodness. I hope everyone has had a great week!

  • Cara in OH January 08, 2017


    I love the violin story! Thanks for sharing. The Lord is SO faithful to provide for His children!

  • momsav January 08, 2017

    Wow! I love serendipity!

  • Patti January 09, 2017

    God is so good! This brought tears to my eyes today. Thanks for sharing.

  • Marivene January 08, 2017

    Continued to cut citrus peels from the clementines we eat into thin strips & dry them on a plate on the counter. They smell nice while drying, & when dry, I store them in a blue mason jar. They can be used in various herbal tea mixes, or as an ingredient in potpourri.

    You have all heard over the last few months the items I made for & gave to various members of my family, so I thought I would share what I received. Our youngest daughter gave me some of the cast iron candle hooks for canning jars from Lehmans for Christmas that I requested. I put 2 of them inside my blue Ball mason quart jars, with candles from my thrift supply that fit & gave them a test run. They work very well, & are indeed wind-proof, being down inside the jar, but still burn well enough to give light, & look pretty besides. She also gave me a few real, hand dipped bayberry candles. Our middle daughter gave me a 5x7 professional photo of their family, which I love. Our oldest daughter gave me a painting she did. Our son gave me a gift card to Home Depot (he hates to shop & knows I buy a lot of garden/yard items there).

    I looked out the window on Sunday & thought I saw bunny tracks all over the snow on the front yard. We live in a subdivision, so that is not likely, but then in the corner of the lawn, I saw a small pile of droppings, so somebody got a bunny for Christmas, I guess. Used a shovel to move the pellets to where they will be useful for fertilizer.

    Put away the Christmas plates. I have made thin foam liners to go between all but 2 of my BHG Christmas plates. When I bring home apple boxes from the grocery store to cut down to hold my canning jars, there are sometimes thin pieces of foam inside, used to cushion the apples. I wash those off, then cut circles the size of the plates from them, to go between the plates to prevent nicks & chips. I have been doing that for a year & a half now, & have made good progress. I think it is frugal to take care of what you have, even if it was purchased second-hand. About half of my Christmas Charm china plates have dividers as well.

    Put away the blow mold angels. Brushed the snow off the 2 little bales of straw that are part of the display. I bought the bales years ago for 40% off with a coupon at JoAnn's. I never removed the plastic covering, as it protects the straw from the weather. I just place the bales label-side down. Two of the shorter angels sit on top of the bales, & 3 more lean against them. I have used them for ten years now & plan to continue using them.

    Thawed the last package of cinnamon rolls & iced them with orange glaze, thickened to icing. They make a tasty breakfast with a cup of hot chocolate.

    Spent 5 days snowed in, for all practical purposes. DH & I shoveled to clear the drive & cul-de-sac to get him to work, but the roads were so bad, it wasn’t worth risking damage on the other car by taking it out. We had everything we needed & did just fine. Out little city plows the cul-de-sacs last of all, bless their hearts.

    Shopped some on eBay where prices had dropped, for Fisher Price little people animals for the ark, farm & the nativity, for 2017 Christmas gifts. The lions, giraffe & one of the alligators have arrived.

    I bought some beginning reader Margaret Hillert books on Amazon, the “winter” ones that had been reduced, for a penny each, with $3.99 shipping. These are the books my children used to learn to read, & middle DD would like a small “library” of them like I had for our children. I did an inventory of the ones I still had, & asked her which ones she had ( 4 of them), then looked at the ones youngest DD still had on the shelf in her room. Little Stuff will “inherit” 4 more that are “duplicates” between youngest DD & myself, since middle & youngest DD are the only ones able to have more children at the point in time. Four of the books have arrived this week.

    While we were snowed in, I hemmed more of the flannel wipes for use as tp in our disaster kits.

    When the snow finally quit falling, & the city plowed enough of the streets that we deemed it safe, I made an errand run on the 6th day (today). Picked up milk & a few groceries, so we are stocked again. Eggs were on sale for 49 cents a dozen, so I picked up 2 dozen, even tho they were not on my list. Dropped off donations at the thrift store & came home with 11 half pint jars, a tall jelly jar & a Ball quart from the Bicentennial series. Each of them were a quarter. I found a fisher price little people goat for the Noah’s ark, & one of the cornstalks for the fisher price farm, as well as 4 duplos, loose on the toy aisle. Picked up 4 plastic “ears” of corn, & all of those came home with me for another half dollar. Bought a tiny skillet & a small metal bowl for Little Stuff to use with her play kitchen, for a buck. Washed everything & put it away.

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