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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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  • Jamie | Medium Sized Family January 01, 2018

    Happy New Year! This year we should finally finish paying off debt, and I really hope to get back to things like adding on to our fruit trees and bushes, plus getting back into chickens.

    Here's a wrap up of how we saved money in 2017: https://www.mediumsizedfamily.com/best-financial-moves-this-year/

  • Julie Walker January 01, 2018

    I regifted some nice new gifts I couldn't use. After Christmas I got some new ornaments half off at Walmart. I also found out that my tree lights had a fuse and that could be why lights don't work sometimes so I will try to fix that. I found some flower pots my neighbor had thrown out which I needed. I tried to use up some coupons about to expire at the end of the year. I've been using old bananas for shakes since I was given banana bread for a gift. I try to stay home so I won't spend money.

  • TJ January 01, 2018

    We, Mid-westerners, are in a deep freeze. We aren't outside at all. We have saved on our heating bill by opening the blinds on the south side of the house during the day time and turning back the furnace. Baking has helped to keep the kitchen warm. Games, library books and movies have provided entrainment.
    I nearly spent money on a personal planner when I remembered the bank offers those free each year and wall calendars are available from our insurance agents.
    It is time to gather financial papers for taxes and review the family and business budgets as well as complete an inventory.
    An engagement was announced in the family during the Christmas season so a beautiful and financially responsible wedding is in the works. I would appreciate helpful hints. The wedding will take place in the fall of 2018.

  • Marybeth January 01, 2018

    Congrats on the engagement!

  • Heidi Louise January 01, 2018

    An engagement is so exciting!
    I have opinions that might turn in to helpful hints.
    A wedding is one of the best parties you'll ever have. The ceremony itself will be done in twenty minutes, so plan for simple and lovely. Ignore what is "supposed to be" at a reception, and plan with that in mind. Pick a few things that are most important to you, and minimize the rest.
    Be sensitive to the differing expectations of the couple and of the guests. Leaving the guests sitting for three hours while the bridal party takes photos between the ceremony and the reception is beyond annoying, especially for out-of-town guests. (Yes, I've been in that situation several times). Yet if the couple wants that not-see-each-other-ahead-glow, do what can be done to minimize the time.
    I support professional photographers and the time they have put in to learning their arts. Yet also be realistic: How often do people look at their wedding photos, which with digital photography might number in the thousands of shots? Do you really need an image of every fingernail being painted for the bride's manicure?
    Welcome family and friends to help plan and prepare. You will run out of time in the weeks before the wedding.
    Welcome children, who will remember attending on your big day. The relationships between the couple and their family and friends will be remembered long after the event!

  • Melonie K. January 01, 2018

    Congratulations to them!

    Years ago a friend of mine had a fall wedding - they decorated the cultural hall at the church with a fall harvest theme, putting piles of apples on the tables. When the reception was done, their family stored the apples at home for them. After the honeymoon they came home and processed pounds and pounds of apples into pie filling, applesauce, and apple butter - giving them shelves of canned food for their pantry. I've never forgotten her comment to me that they were decorating with apples, as she said "All the decorations will become food storage!" A year later they had a baby and guess what was in the pantry for when baby could eat solids! :D If they are really handy and focused on food storage, popcorn could be used as well - on the cob on the tables, surrounded by apples and other fall goodies, and then it could be shucked and kept for a nice treat on movie nights at home. Mason jar flower vases could be reused for canning applesauce etc. too.

    Another idea, if they are having a smallish reception and don't have china, is to invest in some dollar store china or pick up pretty (matched or mismatched) china at thrift shops. The happy couple then has china for entertaining guests for years to come, and there are no paper plates and plastic cutlery creating waste. Really fun if the couple has a preference for eco-friendly ideas and frugal living.

  • Maxine January 01, 2018

    Years ago I bought a couple of strings of Christmas lights on clearance and gave them as a shower gift in the spring to a cousin's daughter.

    A friend, who tends to go overboard on things, bought 100 clear glass snack plates and cups (the kind that were popular 30-40 years ago) at thrift stores and yard sales. She bought them for her daughter's wedding reception. Everyone thought she was nuts. At $1 per plate and cup, buying was about the same price as renting plates. But, here's the deal...she has used them for 3 other of her kids' receptions, and loaned them to everyone. I bought about 40 plates and cups in several different designs and have used some of them several times for company desserts. In September, I used all 40 at my son's wedding reception! It's true you have to wash them, but we took them home dirty and ran the dishwasher a couple of times. They pay for themselves at the first use, and are much classier than disposables. We bought the silver-colored plastic forks and they really do look real!

  • TJ January 02, 2018

    Maxine, thank you for the luncheon set idea. I have three sons and this is the first engagement. Those plates would pay for themselves.

  • TJ January 02, 2018

    Thank you so much for the brilliant ideas, Melonie.

  • sheeba daniel January 01, 2018

    Congrats to you!! As an event planner to some brides in the forthcoming year, please do PM me if you would like some tips on the planning. Best thing is to use colors,themes n trends that are in season so you won't be wasting time scouring all over for things to be used. my FB page is @lifeinspiredevents or https://www.facebook.com/lifeinspiredeventsstore/
    Good Luck

  • TJ January 02, 2018

    We'll be sure to look. Thank you, Sheba.

  • Rhonda A. January 02, 2018

    Congrats on the engagement and pending wedding, TJ! Here are a few frugal wedding ideas that I have. First, if you know someone who sews, it is much cheaper to have your wedding gown made than to spend thousands on a designer, cookie cutter dress. I had a beautiful, historic insipred gown made for my wedding, with a blue velvet cape for my train, which only cost a couple hundred dollars. I still love how wonderfully different it looked to all the other typical wedding dresses!
    Second, take a hard look at the resources you have available to you and use them to the max! Do you know someone who can do the wedding party's hair/makeup on the day for much cheaper, do you know someone who can help cater the meal for much less, do you or someone you know have the perfect place to host the venue that is cheaper, know someone who can DJ the reception, etc? All of these things will help keep costs down, so don't be afraid to pull from all resources.
    Third, think and plan well in advance! You have all summer to grow little pots of flowers to use as center pieces on the tables. Design and print your own wedding invitations (people will just toss them afterwards anyways, so don't waste the money!). Make as many things for the wedding as you can, such as the wedding favours, gifts for the wedding party or other helpers, build or create decorations, etc. Buy strings of white Christmas lights on serious discount RIGHT NOW to use for the reception. Watch for sales after Valentine's day for chocolates or other items that can be used on the special day.
    Fourth, think about what you already have and how you can use it for the special day. This saves the biggest amount of money for sure! Why buy special cake servers when you already have a beautiful antique set that belonged to your great Grandmother? Or maybe you have an adorable antique hanky perfect for the bride or groom to use on the day. It will be far more precious than a new one anyways! Don't forget to ask the "In-Laws" if they have something they can contribute as well. You will be amazed what people have tucked away that never gets used, but would be perfect for a wedding!
    Finally, keep your wedding party to a minimum! The more people involved, the harder it is to get everyone together and on page with the bride and grooms plans. That is one of the biggest stressers and frustration they will deal with. My husband and I had just the best man and maid of honour in our wedding party, which I have never, ever regretted! Keep it simple and save yourself the headaches!!!

  • Myra January 03, 2018

    A girl in our church just got married in December. To keep costs down, she asked several people to help, drawing on their talents. For example, for favors, she asked me to write the quote she was using on the tags with a calligraphy pen instead of having them printed. (I have a pretty decent handwriting). For her favors, she did the following: She cut out the shape of Mississippi, (where she is from) and the shape of Ohio, (where he is from) from scrapbooking paper in her theme, that she bought whenever it was on sale. She had me write a quote on them and then, for Mississippi, she hole punched and threaded a honey filled straw through it. (She loves honey and her quote said "Tis so sweet of you to join my honey and I" with their wedding date and names.) For Ohio, she tied a "buckeye" peanut butter ball to it that she had made herself. She had about 25.00 in 300 wedding favors.

    She handmade all of her corsages, flowers, arrangements, etc. and it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen.

    Don't be afraid to call on your talented friends for help. It was a pleasure helping her make her day special on a very small budget, as she had to pay for the wedding herself.

  • Bethany January 03, 2018

    A couple tips from my own wedding- 26 years ago! You dont have to feed a bunch of people a meal, the guests are coming to eat, they are coming. to celebrate your big day! We had a 2:00 pm saturday wedding, and served cake, punch, and coffee. We had one attendant each. My SIL took the pictures. We had ONE alter arrangment, and I carried a singe stem rose with babys breath and ribbons. We only invited family, to reduce the number of people. I bought a "once used" dress- with craigslist, FB sale groups, thrift stores, these should be easier to find these days. You only wear it once, theres no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a custom fitted dress, especially if theres a sewer in the famiy who can do minor alterations if needed. My husband wore a suit he already had, as did the best man. My maid of honor wore a foral she already had. We didn't have a "color scheme", or a bunch of table center pieces. The cake reception was in the church basement, we rented the china and punch bowl. I think the only new thing we purchased besides the flowers and food was a cake knife set. We ended up just as married as people who spend thousands of dollars and countless hours planning every minute detail.

  • Laurie in AZ January 01, 2018

    Happy New Year! Nice to hear you have your garden started, Brandy. We hope to get ours planted this month also.

    I had a pretty good week. I am more than ready to get back on the frugal wagon.

    • Used free tea, coffee and toiletries, washed ziplocs, etc.
    • Had leftover roast and gravy on Christmas, so I froze those.
    • Received a gift card for a brewery/restaurant here in town. I have a few gift cards that we haven’t used that we will use starting in January. I am determined to stick to our budget in 2018.
    • Found a spatula and 2 Christmas dish towels on clearance. I paid $2.18. I will put one of the dish towels and the spatula in my daughter’s stocking next year. I keep a plastic bin in my closet to store all of my gift finds all year. Also, each year I give my kids an ornament. Found all 4 I need for next year on clearance. Also on clearance I got 8 Glade candles (regularly $3.99 for 37 cents each after 75% off and having coupons) and stuffing for next year’s Thanksgiving at 75% off, so I only paid 50 cents per box. The expiration date is 2019. Also got assorted dented canned goods on clearance.
    • My niece LOVES Christmas. 12 months a year. Seriously. Her bridal shower was Christmas themed, even though it was in July. We travel to her part of the country regularly and stay with her and always give her a hostess gift. I decided to find stuff on clearance to use for her hostess gifts. I found a cute gift set of a pot holder, dish towel, spatula and Christmas ornament cookie cutter. Only cost me $3.24. She will love it! Also found a candle holder that was Christmas clearance, but will match my daughter’s décor for $3 and a Star Wars Hot Wheel for my grandson for next year for $1.50. It feels good getting a jump on next year’s Christmas already!
    • Safeway had a boneless NY strip roast on sale for $3.97/lb. I got one and we sliced it into steaks. We were able to get 16 – 2 serving steaks out of it, which worked out to less than $1.50 per serving.
    • My friend brought us back some chocolate covered macadamia nuts and a Hawaii calendar from her trip to Hawaii. She also took me to breakfast, as she stayed over during a layover. We both ordered off the senior menu, so it kept her costs down. We both just turned 55 this year and are getting a kick out of doing that!
    • Paid extra on our mortgage.
    • Had airline miles that were expiring so I got 3 subscriptions for me and 2 for each of my kids and a newspaper subscription. I will donate the rest of the miles to charity.
    • Got a free package of pasta from the store’s Free Download Friday.
    • Christmas Hershey Kisses were ½ off. I will use the red and silver ones for Valentine’s Day and the green ones for St. Patrick’s Day.
    • Kept the heater off as much as possible.
    • This may not sound frugal, but it will save us money. Each year for our anniversary, we go to Fleming’s steak house. It is what we love to do and we look forward to it all year. We bought $200 worth of Fleming’s gift cards at Costco and saved around $40. Plus when we went last year, we received a $25 gift card from the restaurant, so 2018’s $200 anniversary dinner will only cost us around $135.
    • Set up 2018 budget.
    • We received a large bottle of vodka as part of a white elephant gift exchange. I will give this to my Dad for his birthday this month. Also got some items that I will use in a different white elephant exchange next year.
    • Hubby didn’t go to work this week so we saved on his lunches out.
    • Made mincemeat tarts for Christmas. I almost bought small tart pans on line, but found I can use canning lids and rings in place of them. They worked perfectly!
    • Continued to get Ibotta rebates for things I would be buying anyway. I am going to save them all up and use next Christmas for gifts.
    • I’ve started saving all of our aluminum cans. With all the holiday events, we got quite a few. I will take them into recycling next week.
    • After Christmas morning, we saved all the gift bags and bows to use next year.
    • Refilled my dishwashing soap container and diluted it by 1/3.
    • Refilled my foaming soap dispensers in by bathrooms by using liquid soap I had gotten for free and diluting 5 parts water to 1 part soap.

    Have a wonderful week!

  • HeatherC January 01, 2018

    I love how you are making Fleming’s work! I too like nice things but rarely pay full price for anything

  • Marivene January 01, 2018

    *I am also separating out the colors from Hershey kisses to repurpose for Valentines and St. Patrick’s Day!

    *Right now I am “rescuing” curbside Christmas trees, in particular the short-needled firs, to place in my back perimeter beds, where the needles they drop will help keep the soil acidified. I have 2 thus far, but will gather more this evening when people place them at the curb. I also saved the peels from the clementines we ate, using scissors to cut the peels into slivers, which I then sprinkled over the soil for the same reason - to help acidify the beds.

    *Bought 12 one -pound packages of lean ground beef from the bargain basket for $1.99 each, along with three small hams (real hams, not turkey hams) for $2 each.

  • Amy January 04, 2018

    Wonderful idea abaout the clementines!

  • Marivene January 04, 2018

    Amy, I sliver the peels from most of the citrus fruit we eat, year round, and scatter them in the beds to acidity the soil. It works great. I have been able to snag 5 curb side Christmas trees thus far - all short needled firs - and those are positioned to drop their needles in the same beds, that need the soil acidified. Doing these 2 things works FAR better for me than adding soil sulfur, does not destroy the beneficial soil microbes, and both are free!

  • Amy January 06, 2018

    Thank you for the idea!

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