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Frugal Accomplishments the Week Before Christmas

Lemons on the Christmas Table The Prudent Homemaker

I put up a few more decorations that I already had.

The frost that was predicted earlier this month never came, but a frost was again forecast for this week. There were still some green tomatoes in the garden, so we brought them in. We also enjoyed eating garden tomatoes that we had picked green earlier in the month that had ripened.

We harvested lemons from the garden.

Eiffel Tower Pencil Pag The Prudent Homemaker

 I sewed and made gifts for the children using items I had on hand, including another pencil bag.

I made several batches of caramel sauce using ingredients I had on hand. We enjoyed it on brownies and cookies. I used some to fill Christmas candy.

I made candy for everyone's stockings.

I sorted through the garage sale Legos I bought in October (two purchases; one was $0.50 and one was $20). I thought they would all fit in the girls' stockings once I divided them. Then I thought they would all fit in small boxes as there were more than I thought. I quickly realized that wasn't going to work, either. I ended up dividing them into 5 boxes for five different gifts, and I realized what a great price I had really gotten when I started seeing how many sets and people were inside (It took me over 2 hours to divide them up). The girls will be delighted! 

A comedian came across the suggested videos on YouTube for me. I had never seen her before. I watched/listened to this video first and then a few more of hers while I worked on Christmas gifts.

My children watched several children's shows on YouTube.

We listened to Christmas music on Pandora.

My husband and I had a date night at home.


What did you do to save money this past week?


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  • Carissa Ramirez December 23, 2017

    We love Jeanne Robinson! We listen to her in the car all the time!

  • Anne December 24, 2017

    Carissa, this is the first I heard of her and she's hysterical. Are you listening to tapes in your car or is she on a special program?


  • Gardenpat December 26, 2017

    You can also download several of Jeanne Robertson albums for free if you have Amazon Prime !!!

  • Mandy December 23, 2017

    Merry Christmas!
    We cooked most meals at home and we took our lunches to school and work.
    I used supplies I had on hand to wrap presents. I stayed within budget for all the gifts I purchased.
    I made bread, muffins, power balls.
    Nothing spectacular this month as far as frugality goes, however after taking a good look at our debt I am going to work harder at using money to pay it down.

  • piggykr December 23, 2017

    *I've wrapped all my gifts (2 lol) with paper I picked up in previous years for free.
    *A friend bought me lunch and we had a good conversation.
    *I visited a friend and we ate a frugal lunch.
    *My son and I played pokemon go instead of spending money on entertainment.
    *I planned Christmas dinner and was able to buy everything in advance or will use what I have on hand.
    *My hubby has been feeling unwell and ended up in the ER. Thankfully, I work for an affiliate of the hospital and get a 50% discount. In all his co-pay was about $150usd but it will be reimbursed by insurance.
    Christmas presents for my son will be pokemon plushies that I got for free at the last swap.
    *I've been using youtube to learn to crochet. I've added several dish cloths to my collection and made some dish scrubbies to give away.
    *I was able to combine several errands into a single trip.
    *I made two loaves of bread last week.
    *I used powdered milk for cooking instead of running next door to 7-eleven and over paying.
    *I took leftover fruit, pastries, and cookies from a Christmas party.
    *I bought juice, lettuce, and bell peppers for 50% off.
    *I froze zucchini and cherry tomatoes that would have gone bad. I'll use them in future dishes.
    *I received a bag of starbucks coffee beans from a secret santa. I was out of coffee that day.
    *I soaked veggies in water for the guinea pigs.
    *I've currently hosting a workawayer who will assist me and take care of my son when I have surgery next week. She's been incredibly helpful with housekeeping. (I suggest everyone look into workaway.info and see if it works for you and your family)
    *I was able to help my workawayer find extra paid cleaning work so she doesn't have to worry about finances when she moves to another host. My friend now has a cleaner apartment and a regular housekeeper for the next few months.

  • Susan December 24, 2017

    I hope your husband is OK. Good luck on your surgery. May you both heal quickly.

  • I December 24, 2017

    Thank you for posting the workaway.info-I found it fascinating to read about various volunteer opportunities around the world!!

  • Mable December 23, 2017

    1. Instead of buying something special to eat for Christmas, I went through the freezer and found some puff pastry and two small steaks, as well as some mushrooms I had sautéed and froze when there was a good sale on mushrooms. So, we are having Beef Wellington, a favorite but rarely eaten meal for us. All with no additional cost!
    2. Cook down a pumpkin from last summer's garden, and there is a pumpkin cheesecake in the oven as I write this. Dessert for Christmas.
    3. Did not attend any craft or holiday fairs this year. I end up buying things I don't need, sometimes even things I could make myself, so even though the music is cheering and I see lots of friends, I opted out this year. I have not been to a clothing store in several years now, wearing what I have accumulated over the years or going to thrift shops, and it has saved me a lot of money (shoes and smalls are the exception, I buy shoes and underwear new). So, this year I have been applying the same plan to catalogs, which I discard without even opening them (I shred and compost the ones I can), and to buying opportunities such as the holiday fairs. I am amazed by how much I have saved.
    4. Ran out of vanilla while doing holiday baking. I had a bottle of amaretto I use for making canned Drunken Cranberry Relish as gifts, so used up the rest of that when recipes called for vanilla. Turns out, I like many things better when they are flavored with amaretto rather than vanilla! Sugar cookies, shortbread, banana bread...
    5. A friend called and told me about a close out sale on dog food at a local store. I called the husband, who was already out on errands, and he picked up 150 pounds of good quality dog food for half price. I know some people believe that being hardcore frugal means not having pets, but we find a lot of joy in our two dogs, so I just try to economize as I can when providing for them.
    6. Cleaned out our closets and went through our books shelves and dropped off five boxes of the former to Salvation Army and two boxes of the latter to a used book shop run by a charity. Wanted to be sure to take advantage of the tax write off. The clothing was hard to get rid of because some of it was still in the packaging, but we have both lost quite a bit of weight this year so the items were just jamming up our closet. I hope someone gets good use of them.
    7. A relative sent homemade hats to both of us for Christmas. The problem is that she has never been to Alaska and the yarn she used was too thin to be of any use. I took them both apart and doubled the yarn up to make one thick and useful hat for the husband. She will never know and I am happy to be the recipient of a gift I would repurpose to good use.

    Merry Christmas to everyone who reads and contributes. I have learned a lot from you all and sometimes feel less weird for being around other people who do things like cut open the toothpaste tube to get it all and who save and melt down soap bits to make a new bar. And thanks to you, Brandy, for hosting this site.

  • Carolyn December 24, 2017

    I, too, have a dog and wouldn't want to live without one. We all have different incomes and different size families and what works for some of us doesn't work for others. My dog brings me great happiness and since I live alone now, he is also part of my "security system". Like you, I apply frugal methods to all areas of my life and that includes my dog but I feel no guilt in owning one. He's not an expense I would ever eliminate. He's part of my family. I think it's very appropriate for you to share how you frugally care for your dogs.

  • Steph. December 24, 2017

    I can not imagine my life without a dog!!!! We have had a dog our entire 31 year marriage, with brief periods in between when one had passed. Our last two have been rescues. I tell myself that all the cleaning of dog hair is good, cheap calorie burning for me! Merry Christmas everyone!

  • http://Melonie K. December 24, 2017

    I agree with Carolyn! I love that you shared about the dog food. Our dog is a constant source of love and entertainment and the early warning system for family security. I agree that having a pet isn't "cheap", but there are many ways to care for furry family members on a budget. Each of has to prioritize where our funds go; some of us choose pets over cable or clothes or coffee - we all deserve some pleasure our way, and for my family it happens to come with a tail.

  • Kathy Worden December 24, 2017

    Love your Amaretto swap & re-purposing the knit cap, cudos!

  • Jo December 25, 2017

    We have three cats and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world! To us, being frugal most of the time means we can splurge in a few areas that are important to us, including pets. ;)

  • Laurie in AZ December 26, 2017

    I love the idea of using amaretto instead of vanilla!

  • Melissa V December 26, 2017

    I literally work to keep my 3 dogs, 5 cats, 3 ducks and 11 quail fed and vetted (okay - my psych doc wants me to work as well so I actually get out and have to interact with people face to face :/ ) I cannot eat chicken eggs at all now and the ducks and quail are cheaper for me to keep myself, than to purchase the eggs at the farm market. The dogs and cats are my sanity savers - they are the only reason I get out of bed some days. They are security and comfort that I have so needed over the last 18 months of my husband's health issues (one, after another, after another). I cannot imagine not having them. It is why I often share frugal things I do to keep the costs down (like a pet food pantry we visit and all the odds and ends I bring home from work for my birds) so that others might be able to use the tips.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada December 23, 2017

    A friend is making chocolate cookies for me (I know because she was checking to see whether or not I'm allergic to the ingredients. I suspect she will bring them over tomorrow. I greatly enjoyed watching and listening to Jeanne Robinson! So funny. Thanks for posting it.

    My camera store goes out of business on Dec. 31st. I bought some memory sticks, a compact flash card, a card holder, at half price. They gave me a great deal ($50 as opposed to $200) for a lens. While in the store I noticed the large red Christmas decorations so those are being thrown in. I spent the day reading about the new telephoto lens that the insurance is paying for to compensate me for the one I broke. I love bird photography and this will be a great lens for that purpose. Although my eyesight is not good enough nor my reflexes fast enough to use a manual focus lens but my camera has a green light that shows inside it when something is focussed (either manually or automatically). So until I can afford a new camera, (one which is compatible with the new lens on autofocus) I will use the green light with the new lens. Problem solved at least temporarily.

    I love Brandy's photos on this blog. The are always so beautifully composed and executed.

  • Laurie in central NC December 23, 2017

    I've listened to that same routine of the comedian before. She's funny. I may check out her other videos. I thawed and simmered 4 gallon bags of vegetable scraps, and canned up 17 pints of broth today, with one more in the fridge. My holiday Pandora stations have gotten lots of listening, while working on holiday endeavors this week. I'm happy to be joining in, and look forward to reading all the other comments. https://abelabodycare.blogspot.com/2017/12/super-foods-frugal-accomplishments.html.

  • Holly December 23, 2017

    My recliner ordered last month arrived today. After subtracting the Swagbucks earned from the purchase, this chair is costing me $140 including tax and shipping. If I bought the same chair from the same website today, it would cost me $848. I am a large woman and ordered this chair because reviews from 6' and 6'2" men were favorable. At 5'9", my legs comfortably touch the floor when the chair is upright. It is too big for my tiny mom. She had said she did not want a replacement for her wingback chair but I had worried that once she saw my chair, she would want one of her own so we could have a matched set. The deliverymen took pity on me and moved the broken sofa out the front door, down the two porch steps, and to the place where it will sit until Wednesday night, beside the woodpile. If the frame wasn't broken, I would have "walked" the sofa to the shoulder of the road for scavengers today. But it really is only worthy of a trip to the landfill.

    We are baking a small cherry pie using about 3/4 of a can of cherry pie filling left over from another dessert and one of two rolled pie crusts in a package I bought at Aldis. I used tiny cookie cutters to use the trimmings to top the pie. Cute. I won't be buying premade pie crust again. I have a quick oil and water recipe that I can whip together almost as quickly as I can warm up the refrigerated dough to room temperature and unroll it. Most of the work in a pie is pinching the edge neatly and topping it, which I had to do anyway.

    Our Aldi bill, which included a large package of paper towels and a bottle of inexpensive wine was about $72 this week. I also bought a fish sandwich at Burger King (I got hungry grocery shopping as I had skipped lunch), coffee once at McDonald's for mom and me to share, and an inexpensive meal for two at Taco Bell where we tried out the $1 quesadillas and then went to sit by the millpond to watch the ducks before sunset. I thought I was ordering their new egg-filled quesadillas but I got the ones with ground meat and cheese sauce. I like their burritos and tacos better.

    I stopped at the local donut shop near the end of the day on the way home from Aldi to get a treat for mom. The owner said she was out of donuts except for day-olds. I asked how much they were. She said, "Free." She wanted to give me two dozen but with a household of two, I accepted just one dozen. While she was the owner, I gave her $1 for the tip jar. They were the freshest day-old donuts I have ever eaten. About a half-dozen are still in the freezer.

    I am trying to keep us out of the stores but we need water softener salt and mom wants a spare can of decaf coffee in the house because it is December. So we will venture out to the store tomorrow.

    I hope you all have a lovely, peaceful week.

  • SJ in Vancouver BC Canada December 24, 2017

    Our McDonald's offers a Senior's coffee that is free; no purchase necessary. They define senior as 55 or better. You might ask if yours has the same discount.

  • Holly December 25, 2017

    Thank you for the suggestion. Mom is not at all shy about asking about senior discounts. A few McDonalds locally have free coffee on Mondays for everybody. Senior coffee is in the 75-85 cent range. I am not quite a senior. If mom gets the largest decaf, she gives me some so we both get drinks for just $1. Taco Bell always gives her a senior pop.

    We also don't have a senior discount at our nearest two Kroger stores. Maybe there are too many retirees who stayed in the area.

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