The Frugal South Year-In-Review + Gift Card Giveaway!

on December 29, 2016

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It’s hard to believe 2016 is almost under wraps! This year has been one of growth for me personally and for the blog, so I’m reflecting on that here today. Plus read on to find out how you can win a $25 gift card of your choosing!

This was my second year of (very part-time) blogging, and this blog has become such a source of enjoyment for me. I love to share inspiration for living a rich life on a budget, and I’m so happy y’all read what I write. 🙂

Looking Back


This year I chose “intentional” as my word-of-the-year. I focused on making my words, actions, and finances consistent with my ideals. This ended up being a significant challenge, but I feel as though I’ve made tremendous progress!

For example, I have struggled with being distracted when I’m at home with my daughter (which is a lot of the time). I felt like I was always multi-tasking when I was with her, since there were seemingly so many things that needed to be done.

I’ve learned to work some intentional and focused time with her into our daily schedule, and it has helped so much! For the first 20 minutes or so after she wakes up in the morning and after her nap, I set ALL other things aside and focus on totally being present with her. I found I had to automate this by making it a habit, and it then became an easy and natural part of our day.

I experimented with a “no-spend” month this year as a challenge to be more intentional with our money. It really opened my eyes to what I feel compelled to spend money on and helped me rein in any spending that wasn’t consistent with our goals.

I also discovered the 50/20/30 principle of budgeting, which REALLY helped me align our budget with our priorities (Watch for a blog post in early 2017 about this awesome approach to budgeting!)

Tidying my wardrobe

This year I documented my tidying efforts here on the blog and am happy to report that I haven’t done any backsliding – at least not yet. The spaces that I de-cluttered in earnest (my closets, bathroom, office and kitchen) remain tidy…. hooray! However there are a few lingering spaces I haven’t tackled yet, and they are still a frightening mess. I plan to get to those in early 2017 but I’m not looking forward to it!

I also decided to not buy any new clothes this year, and purchase only second-hand if I found I needed something. This actually ended up being easier that I anticipated! I was able to find gently used clothing at Schoola and any time I needed something. I liked the results so much that I plan on continuing this in 2017.

It has been a year of growth here at The Frugal South. I published two eBooks this year, one as a Kindle book on Amazon and one exclusively for email subscribers. They were a lot of work but I’m so glad I took the dive and wrote them!

I’ve also seen huge growth in traffic to the blog. In 2015, my first year of blogging, pages on The Frugal South were visited about 6,000 times over the course of the year (this number is referred to as “page views” in blogger speak). This year I saw page views jump to about 230,000. My brain hurts thinking about what percent growth that represents, so I’ll just say that’s a big increase!

Looking Ahead

I’ve been working on choosing my word for 2017 and I’m having a hard time making a decision! I definitely want to work on my focus and productivity. While I have gotten better about using my planner, there are still tasks that I want to do that either never make it in my planner, or that get moved from week to week and never accomplished. I also still feel like I am FAR less productive that I could be when I am in front of the computer.

I’ve also been thinking hard about how I want to contribute and give back this year. I want to contribute more financially to our family this year through money earned on the blog as well as what I earn from side jobs, such as watching/teaching other little ones at our home.

I want to really focus on the positive contribution I make to the lives of you, my readers. I want to help you in any way I am able, from sharing money-saving advice to helping you plan an incredible family vacation on a budget. When I put anything out there on the blog, I really want it to contribute in a positive way to the life of anyone who reads it.

And last I want to give back to myself! I am one who can (if I’m not careful about it) run myself into the ground and ignore my own needs. When there is an opportunity to take care of myself and contribute to my own well-being this year, I want to take it. I want to work on  treating myself to a cup of tea in the afternoon and asking my husband for a evening off so I can do something nice for myself, like take a hike or read a book.

And of course we will be doing a bunch of traveling in 2017! I shared some of our travel plans in this post and I am working on the details for more. We continue to travel for little to nothing thanks to my points & miles hobby and I plan to keep that up as long as possible.

In 2017 I’ve decided to be more transparent about the blog and how it works. I’ll be sharing my first income report soon (yikes!) along with a detailed explanation of how bloggers make money. The number one question I get asked about blogging is “How does a blog make money?”, so I’m going to answer that right here.

How to Enter the Giveaway

To celebrate my second year of blogging, I’m giving away a $25 gift card. I’ll even let you pick where you want to spend the money!

Just use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. You can enter up to 5 times to increase your chances! If you already are a subscriber or are already following me just click the “Enter” buttons and you are all set!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again for reading and following, I appreciate each and every one of you.

Want to learn how to do Disney on a budget? Check out my Disney-only site, The Budget Mouse here!


  • Breanna Pollard


    January 4, 2017 at 10:54 pm Reply
  • Erica B.

    I love all of your posts! So helpful! 🙂

    January 4, 2017 at 9:06 am Reply
  • Lisa Brown

    How to save money shopping
    following as

    January 4, 2017 at 7:37 am Reply
  • Kelley Roach


    January 3, 2017 at 10:27 pm Reply
  • Adriane

    Tips on how to start a new life over 50!

    January 2, 2017 at 4:24 pm Reply
  • shirley

    Anything to save on kid items.

    January 2, 2017 at 2:26 pm Reply
  • LauraB

    Happy New Year Leah, and thanks for a great year of blogging! Your travel tips and tricks have made it possible for my family and I to go on some awesome trips. I’m especially thankful for your Disney World travel advice!!

    January 2, 2017 at 2:01 pm Reply
  • Breanna Pollard


    January 2, 2017 at 1:41 pm Reply
  • Sheila Vives

    You can help me by highlighting great shopping ads and deals on your blog.

    January 1, 2017 at 8:03 pm Reply
  • Natalie

    You posts on deals and freebies helps me to save money! I need to save money in order to have an emergency fund!

    January 1, 2017 at 4:22 pm Reply
  • Jen

    Tips on saving money are always appreciated.

    January 1, 2017 at 12:42 pm Reply
  • Carolsue

    I followed you on Facebook as Carolsue Anderson
    Instagram & Pinterest as @Cezovski9
    And I subscribed
    I would like to see recipes for recipe makeovers — high calorie/fat meals turned into healthier versions!

    January 1, 2017 at 3:46 am Reply
  • Wanda

    I need a little inspiration on getting back on track with bicycling every morning. I was doing so good and slacked off.

    January 1, 2017 at 2:47 am Reply
  • Laura

    This is my first time visiting your blog, and I look forward to reading more in 2017! Another great website to check out for secondhand clothing is Poshmark…I’m obsessed! Happy new year!

    December 31, 2016 at 8:21 pm Reply
  • Emily

    Your tips on frugal travel are great. I also love your recipes!

    December 31, 2016 at 6:45 pm Reply
  • Kim S.

    I feel that I use your blog to keep me more aware and more intentional in my actions. Your blog aIways makes me think about things from a new perspective. I really appreciate the Amazon Prime updates and I always love your recipes. 🙂

    December 31, 2016 at 6:05 pm Reply
  • Traci

    I absolutely love this!! Congrats on an amazing year for your blog! ?

    December 31, 2016 at 3:46 pm Reply
  • janetfaye

    I like to read help about grocery store and online deals and ways to save.

    December 31, 2016 at 11:14 am Reply
  • JohnAE

    I like the different ways you have Disney experiences without spending a lot of money. Inspired us this summer to go on a mini-Disney vacation using free waterpark tickets (and no parks) we were given on a previous trip.

    December 31, 2016 at 9:39 am Reply
  • Steve

    Find me ways I can double my coupons to save the most money in Wisconsin.

    December 30, 2016 at 8:23 pm Reply
  • Rachel

    I would love easy week night dinners and crockpot meals.

    December 30, 2016 at 6:38 pm Reply
  • Rosie

    I love the DIY & recipes – I’d love more, more more!!! Never get tired of them!

    December 30, 2016 at 3:39 pm Reply
  • Allison Kelly

    Well… I am not sure what I need help with the most. I am recently starting on a journey of living a frugal, simple life. I want to simplify to create more time for my boys and my husband and my faith. But what actually brought me here was your tips and tricks on Disney 🙂

    December 30, 2016 at 11:48 am Reply
  • Leave a Reply

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