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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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Christmas Spritz Cookies The Prudent Homemaker 

 Spritz Cookies made with my grandmother's vintage cookie press. These are the fastest and simplest Christmas cookies I've ever made.

 

Can you imagine a December without shopping?

No food to buy.

No gifts to purchase.

 

The chance to stay home: making cookies and treats from items in your pantry, making meals from a well-stocked pantry and freezers, making gifts from items you already have on hand, making memories as a family as you sing Christmas carols together before bed every night of the month, playing board and card games as a family in the evenings instead of being out shopping (and picking up takeout because you don't have time to cook after work and shopping), watching Christmas movies as a family, etc.

 

BUT . . .

Maybe you still have presents left to buy.

Maybe you have groceries to purchase.

Christmas Bedpost The Prudent Homemaker

 

Could it be simpler, though? Could you avoid the time you spend shopping, standing in line, etc.? 

 

You could decide to shorten your Christmas list to what you've already purchased (and/or make any remaining gifts using what you have on hand in your kitchen or with any supplies you have).

You could order the last gifts on your list online and have them shipped to your door. (Amazon has a free trial of Prime if you want two-day shipping for free for the month, plus you can watch movies from home with it).

You could order groceries and have them delivered. (I've never tried this option, but many stores have free and/or discounted delivery options for the first time you place an order. I can see an extra appeal in this if you don't want to leave the house in inclement weather). 

You could limit your grocery shopping to just two stores for the month.

You could decide to eat what you have in the pantry and freezer and not go shopping.

 

I've decided to keep my December shopping as simple as possible. I still have many gifts to make and I am wanting to bake often, both of which require me to be at home.

 

I'm limiting my December grocery shopping to $40 at Sam's Club, which comes from a $25 gift card I earned on Swagbucks and a $15 gift card I received as a gift, and $25 out of pocket.

I looked through Sam's sales flyer and am purchasing two things that will each be $2.50 off in December. One is balsamic vinegar, a regular staple in my pantry. The other is Nutella, which I only buy in December when it goes on sale at Sam's Club. It's a large jar (26.5 ounces/751.26g) that comes in a two-pack, on sale $6.48 (that makes each jar $3.24, or $0.122 an ounce/$0.0043 gram.)

I'm planning on saving the time of walking around the store and standing in the checkout line by ordering everything online and having it ready for pickup. I've never done it before, but this service is free, so why not have a bit more time in my life? It certainly doesn't take very long to add it to my cart online. I'll have my husband pick it up on his way home from work, and he can fill up on gas (which is cheaper there) at the same time.

 

Sam's Club:

corn tortillas (110 count)

milk (1 gallon)

salted peanuts (52 ounces)

mozzarella cheese (5 pounds shredded)

balsamic vinegar (1 liter)

brown sugar (7-pound bag)

Nutella (2 26.5 o./75126g jars)

 

I'd like to purchase some clementines for both fresh eating and Christmas stockings, but that will depend on what sales are out there. I'm allotting $15 out of pocket towards clementines, if I find a sale right before Christmas of $1 a pound or less (there are sometimes coupons available for these, so I'll keep an eye out). If I don't see that price close to Christmas, I'll pass on purchasing these.

I'll spend $10 on dish soap for hand washing. I usually buy this at Walmart, but since I am planning to go to Target anyway this week to pick up a few small items for Christmas gifts, I will purchase this there. I want to keep my shopping trips (and standing-in-line-time) to a minimum.

Christmas Table Runner Detail The Prudent Homemaker

 

A few ideas to make your December a bit more peaceful:

 

Advent calendar activity ideas Simple things you can do this month to keep the spirit of Christmas.

Rethinking Christmas Stockings. A simpler, less expensive approach to filling stockings.

Seven Frugal Ways to Decorate for Christmas

A Gift a Day. My current and past year's simple, inexpensive gifts, often made from repurposed materials, that you can make in a day. I'll be sharing more gifts this month as I complete them.

My Food Gifts board on Pinterest

My Christmas Crafts for the Children board on Pinterest

Ten Ways to Add Joy to Your Life When You Don't Have a Penny to Spare. Don't let a super-tight financial month keep you from finding joy.

Gifts You Can Make Right Now in Five Minutes or Less

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

 

 Deciding to keep things as simple as possible is helping me to stay more peaceful this month.

 

What are you doing to keep things simpler this month?

 

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Last Week's Frugal Accomplishments

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Green tomatoes detail The Prudent Homemaker

We picked the green tomatoes from the garden and began pulling the plants. There's a possibility of a light frost in the day (which now looks like it may not happen! And it will warm up again after that) but they can ripen in baskets and colanders and we can of course fry some up.

Under the tomato plants, I found two small butternut squash in the garden, so I brought those in.

I picked a few Meyer lemons from the garden.

I picked basil from the garden.

I used a free sample of shampoo.

I made a triple batch of laundry soap.

I continued to decorate for Christmas using decorations we already have.

Green Tomatoes in December The Prudent Homemaker

What did you do to save money this past week?

 

 

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Thankful: November 30th

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Christmas Candles The Prudent Homemaker

 

Today, I'm grateful for all of you who read and comment. I'm grateful when you share your struggles and successes. Thank you for keeping this site positive and encouraging for all who read.

 

What are you thankful for today?

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Thankful: November 28th and 29th

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Christmas Table 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Christmas 2016

I'm grateful for the chance to do some tidying in the house. I had visitors the last two days and it was a relief to have several things cleaned up and put away before they arrived.

I did a little more Christmas decorating. I had bought a few small Christmas picks at 90% off last year that I had forgotten all about, and I was thankful for the little extra to add to an existing faux $3 wreath and faux garland.

What are you thankful for today?

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Thankful: November 27th

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Meyer Lemon Blossoms in the Garden The Prudent Homemaker

I am thankful for the scent of Meyer lemon blossoms that permeate the air when I go into the garden.

 

What are you thankful for today?

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