Five Frugal Things

by Katy on May 9, 2018 · 100 comments

  1. My husband and I went out after dinner for coffees and a shared dessert. The restaurant was almost empty, so we scored the best table in the house, plus were able to shift ourselves onto couches next to a roaring fireplace once our sticky dessert was devoured. (Kind of reminded me of years gone by when we’d buy cheap Mets baseball tickets and gradually move down towards the field as the game progressed.) The total cost was less than $20 (including tip) for an indulgent splurge, which kept us on budget while still feeling like a treat.

  2. I finished my library copy of Cait Flanders’ The Year of Less, and started reading a new library book.

  3. I’m starting to plan for next week when we’ll be celebrating both my son and my husband’s birthdays. I switched over to experiential gifts a number of years ago, so I won’t be puchasing any things for either of them.  Instead we’ll do a Birthday Day of Adventures which’ll be fun for the all participants. (Unlike physical gifts which are only enjoyed by the recipient.) As always, I’ll keep a tight eye on the budget, but there will be indulgences mixed into the day. I have a few specific plans already, but won’t share them in case certain people happen to read the blog. Not one among us needs more stuff, and since studies have shown that experiences make us happier than material things, this family tradition is a keeper.

  4. I sold a small item on eBay that had otherwise been collecting dust, the lettuce that I planted using free seeds are starting to sprout, my father took me out to lunch, I bought a couple of items at Goodwill to resell and I work the next couple of days at the hospital, including one day where I’ll enjoy free food due to it being “Nurse’s Week.”

  5. I didn’t buy a Lear Jet or a vulgar gold-plated apartment in the sky.

Now your turn. What frugal things have you been up to?

Katy Wolk-Stanley    

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny May 9, 2018 at 2:27 pm

Looks like a nice place there, and you look happy and frugal and pretty!
Yeah, Nurses Week. The dumb stories I could tell about how employers “honor” us… food is always OK, though!

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Lynne May 10, 2018 at 6:59 am

We received a tee-shirt with the company logo for Health Care week to wear when we volunteer in the community…..on OUR OWN time.

I ordered it plenty big so I can sleep in it…on MY OWN time.

I don’t mind volunteering for anything but this rubbed me the wrong way! 🙂

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Jenny May 11, 2018 at 7:28 pm

For sure.

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Lindsey May 9, 2018 at 2:37 pm

1. Bought only milk at the grocery store, using cupboard or fridge items for all meals this week. Some days that meant husband and I ate different meals, since he loves beans and I detest them, but we made it work. Plan to do the same this week.
2. Accepted 50 pounds of ground moose meat from a hunter friend who is going vegetarian (??). He also gave us 10 pounds of salmon, since he fishes, too, but will no longer be eating fish. I don’t understand it but am happy to have his remains.
3. Dropped several boxes off at Good Will, and obtained tax receipt.
4. Earned my first $20 from Ibotta and two 25 dollar Amazon cards from My Points. I know people make a lot more, but I only play around on the site when the TV is on so not that often.
5. Submitted a tip to a magazine and made $25.

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A. Marie May 9, 2018 at 3:42 pm

Lindsey, as usual, I’m envious of the ground moose meat and the salmon. But you might want to clarify “am happy to have his remains.” (I know there’s a bumper sticker that says “Vegans taste better,” but…)

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Julie May 9, 2018 at 3:49 pm

Lol, best comment, made me smile on a sad day.

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Dusty May 9, 2018 at 3:59 pm

I have been a vegan for yrs and have taken a crap for it…..my blood work is great…..i have more energy than most people half my age and i have a rockin bikini bod at almost 60
.

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Dusty May 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm

Meant a lot of crap lol

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Ineke May 10, 2018 at 5:16 am

The comments are getting funnier all the time, keep ‘m coming. 😉

Lindsey May 10, 2018 at 10:26 am

Dusty, I was not disparaging his decision to turn vegetarian. I am just at a loss as to why he still wants to hunt and fish if he won’t use the meat.

Lindsey May 10, 2018 at 10:29 am

HA!! Didn’t realize the alternative interpretation when I wrote that sentence!!

I consider myself really, really fortunate to have spent my adulthood eating wild game more often than grocery meats and fish. Aside from my saintly husband, I consider spending most of my life in Alaska to have been the greatest gift of my life.

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Bee May 10, 2018 at 1:42 pm

Alaska is extraordinarily beautiful! My trip to your home state was the most memorable one that I have ever taken. There really is nothing better than fresh Alaskan salmon except for maybe Halibut or Elk.

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Dusty May 10, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Hi Lindsey…
I have to agree…i don’t understand someone hunting and fishing and not eating what they kill…..I’m a little sensitive due to years of explaining it to people….I’ve gotten to the point where i never tell people unless they ask and i never try to convert anyone….to each his own

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Liz B. May 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm

At least he gave the meat and fish to you, Lindsey….if he keeps on hunting and fishing, hopefully he will continue to share his bounty with friends and family….?
Just my $.02.

Mand01 May 10, 2018 at 6:09 pm

I understand it a little. A friend of mine is vegetarian and still goes fishing. She doesn’t eat the fish but her partner does. She doesn’t eat meat or fish from the supermarket or butcher but doesn’t mind catching fish for her partner to eat.
My brother won’t eat farmed meat but will eat wild caught meat. In Australia that’s kangaroo, feral pig, feral camel. It’s a logical moral position to me.

Jennifer May 13, 2018 at 4:57 am

If he just recently decided to eat vegetarian, he might slow down on the hunting and fishing. Also, when my dad has excess meat from hunting he processes it and donates it to a food bank. They love the have it. Maybe he has a plan, but if not you could suggest that.

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nancy from mass May 15, 2018 at 8:27 am

In 2008 I went Vegan (had constant migraines when i ate meat – even free range, purchased from the farm, meat.) The hardest thing to give up was Salmon. Man, I missed Salmon. I ended up becoming a Pescetarian (sp?) about 8 months later just to incorporate salmon again. I do still fish, but only catch and release. Now, if I caught a landlocked salmon or a nice trout, i may keep that….yum.

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nancy from mass May 15, 2018 at 8:30 am

oh, and what a nice friend to gift you all of that meat!

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yvette from down under May 9, 2018 at 2:44 pm

We are getting an arctic blast this week and snow is forecast. I gathered up firewood while it was dry and covered it in preparation also the kindling is in old dog food bags under cover, so I feel smug I won’t be caught out.
Using up food in freezer so I can defrost it ahead of soup season.
Sorting wardrobe and thinning down, pity I am not thinning down also so I can fit into some of what I am donating!!
Planted seeds of broad beans, peas, beetroot, but a forest of kale has sprung up so I will be healthy as.
Rhubarb and quinces are in season so made compote, quince paste and pies.
Winter is finally here yay and much needed rain .

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Laura May 10, 2018 at 1:03 pm

Envious – here in Sydney, we are getting the cold but not the much-needed rain.

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Mary in Maryland May 9, 2018 at 2:46 pm

1. Found a Tilex sub at the Dollar General for $1.
2. Noted that the dog food my guys eat was marked down from 53 to 40 bucks. Bought two bags.
3. Impulse buy–chard was 25 cents a pound at my local bodega. Some squishy brown leaves, but I bought two pounds, did some extirpative surgery, and cooked what remained the same day.
4. Moved on fourteen boxes of stuff–fabric to the quilters’ yard sale, yarn to the refugee knitters, and small pieces of fabric to a group that makes charity quilts.
5. Called a friend who does art quilting with heavy threads and offered her several spools that have been aging in my sewing room. I invited her to lunch (cheaper than meeting for coffee). She brought thread that she doesn’t use. I’ll be sewing with red for the next couple decades.
6. No splurges beyond the chard.

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Jenny May 11, 2018 at 7:33 pm

All very admirable, esp your splurge!

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A. Marie May 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

FFT, It’s Really Spring Edition (covering several weeks, since I haven’t had time for a full FFT lately):

(1) We were gifted a zucchini and an eggplant a while back by an older friend who admits she overbuys groceries. I grabbed two tubs of homemade chicken stock out of the freezer, plus canned tomatoes and other ingredients on hand, for an impromptu minestrone.

(2) Other than that, the meals around here haven’t been impressive, since I’m still dealing with the Project from Hell at work. But I should be done with the wretched thing by this time next week–and in the meantime, we’ve been “eating down” the pantry and freezer.

(3) My Literary Society presentation on 4/21 went very well. But what gave me far more joy was that two honored members were able to come: the 92-year-old founder of our local chapter, and a member who at last report back in January was in a hospice with leukemia, but has since experienced such a remission that the hospice actually discharged her. (I confess that my jaw hit the floor almost audibly when she walked in–and she got a standing ovation.) Miracles = priceless!

(4) Spring has finally come even to Upstate NY, and I’m taking every moment I can spare from the Project from Hell for gardening. Fortunately, DH and I did a pretty thorough job of putting the gardens to bed last fall, so there hasn’t been much prep work to do besides cutting back perennial herbs and suchlike. And being outdoors in fine weather is a tremendous boost after the winter we’ve had.

(5) All the seedlings I started in the basement under lights are now out in my old “greenhouse” (actually, one of those metal four-tier racks with a plastic cover). The plastic cover is showing its age plus UV damage, and is coming apart at various points–but I’m determined to get it through this spring. If we do get another hard frost, I’ll just stick the plants in the nearby garage overnight.

Oh, and bonus (6): We’ve won the battle on our street vs. the houseful of rowdy tenants with the huge commercial trucks. They moved out May 1. Thanks to all of our neighbors for keeping the pressure on through various city departments! (Of course, we may not yet have won the war, since we have no idea what the property owner’s future plans may be. But I think she may have realized that we aren’t pushovers.)

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Christine May 13, 2018 at 4:54 pm

Nice to hear the member of the literary group experienced such a remission. What an uplifting story!

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kathy May 9, 2018 at 4:35 pm

I’ve been adulting this week.
1. Returned a blouse (gift) and got something I needed and a small birthday gift for a friend. Zip $$ out of pocket
2. Posted an item on offer up and sold it with 30 minutes. Yeah $10 for me.
3. Eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner out of pantry/refrig since Sunday.
4. Resisted buying new shoes w/$5 DSW coupon. Instead bought shoe laces for my Keens and a marked down make up sponge. Very little out of pocket
5. Purged my closet again..yes I found plenty of shoes for upcoming grad party next week. Took 12 items to a friend and she is going to buy some of the clothing and take the rest to Clothes Mentor for me (as she’ll be going that way)

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Bethany May 10, 2018 at 11:10 pm

I love $5 coupons. My friend (shopaholic, but I still love her) says, “They are so tricky giving out coupons like that. I always buy so much more than what the coupon is for.” Haha, not me. I’m like you, shoe lace gal!

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Mand01 May 9, 2018 at 5:44 pm

1. I have a new job with a significant pay raise. I start in 3 weeks. My pay raise is going straight to my retirement fund. Operation Retire Early is going well.
2. I’ve lost 1.5 kilograms of my planned 2 kilograms. I’m very happy as it has cost me zero. Just using the calorie counter on the Fitbit app. Now my existing wardrobe will fit properly again. As I have to dress professionally for work, this will save me thousands.
3. I’m traveling next week for handover in my current job. I’ll be saving as much of my per diem as possible.
4. I will be paid a severance when I leave. I’ll use some to take a week off before I start my new job and the rest will go on the mortgage.
5. Thrifted wardrobe and packed lunch today.

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susanna d May 10, 2018 at 5:12 am

Congratulations on the weight loss and the new job!

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Susie's Daughter May 10, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Mand – Congratulations on the new job and good on you on the weight reduction! This is helping inspire me to go back to my tried and true weight loss and maintenance way of eating. I am tired of my clothes fitting poorly!

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ouvickie May 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Congratulations on the new job!!

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Mand01 May 14, 2018 at 3:35 pm

Thank you, can’t wait!

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Bee May 9, 2018 at 5:54 pm

Coffee and dessert sounds lovely. It is hard to imagine that it is still cool enough for a roaring fire. It’s already warm here in Florida.
This week’s FFT include–
1) Saturday was a busy day. We used our state park pass to visit a protected seashore, and we attended a Kentucky Derby party. The proceeds of the party benefited charity which grants college scholarships to young women in need. It was a great way to spend our entertainment dollars.

2) I receive a farm share every other week. I had a large amount of Swiss chard in the last box.. I sautéed some last week to go with dinner. I was afraid that the remainder would not last much longer in the refrigerator. So I cut the leafy part away from the ribs,cooked it and made a very good crustless quiche. It will be eaten for breakfast over the next few days. I then used the ribs of the chard in stir-fry. The chard was very good cooked this way, because it had a similar flavor profile as bok choy.

3) I took a little bit of contract work this week. I brought my lunch and water bottle with me today. It is within easy biking distance of my home, so it’s all profit. I have also sold two books on eBay and listed several other items.

4) I bought a book at the thrift store earlier in the week — 7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. I am enjoying this book immensely so far. It is laugh out funny at times as the author struggles to change her ways, but it is also thought provoking and touching. However, this book is written from a Christian perspective, so it may not be enjoyed by all.

5) All the usual things, — drinking primarily water, cooking from scratch, brewing my own coffee…

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Roberta May 10, 2018 at 6:08 am

I love 7! I just reread it again! She has a fabulous writing style! Yes, she is definitely Christian, writing for a Christian audience, but I did not find her …”preachy”… in the way I don’t like in Christian authors. I thought it felt more like “here’s something I screwed up on in my life, but I’m getting better, maybe you can take a shortcut.”

I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

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Bee May 11, 2018 at 3:45 am

Thanks, Roberta! I agree wholeheartedly with you regarding her writing style, and I find her desire to “walk gently upon the earth” inspiring.

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Susie's Daughter May 10, 2018 at 3:30 pm

Bee – I just checked my library website for 7 and we don’t have it, but I am glad to hear of it and will ask for it via InterLibrary Loan.

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Jennifer May 9, 2018 at 6:18 pm

Love your dessert idea for a date!

1) Cut my college kids hair trying to copy how I watched the barber do it last time I went to visit at college. We were all impressed with how it turned out. My first time doing anything other than a buzz cut.
2) A coworker bought a large package of sausages at Costco and didn’t like them. So gave me the remainder as we love them. This will provide 2 main meals + leftovers for us.
3) Taking our weekly coffee date tomorrow when espresso beverages are going to be half off at Starbucks. This is a low-cost way to keep some sanity with 4 teens and our weekends have been very busy lately and we haven’t been able to go. This will fit our schedule better AND be half off.
4) I need to contribute to the taco bar we are having at work Friday for 2 student teachers last day. So I signed up to bring 2 items that I already had on hand – black beans and tortillas.
5) Had a very hodge-podge dinner with 3 people eating salmon, 1 person shrimp, and 1 person pasta. I was cleaning out random bits from the freezer that would not have made a meal for all of us, but needed to be used. Paired with homemade bread and roasted sweet potatoes.

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Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early May 9, 2018 at 7:25 pm

I’m currently halfway through the Year Of Less myself 🙂 We Do experiential gifts in our family as well, even for the three year old, usually in the form of a weekend getaway. The best part is, that means we all get to enjoy each of the trips, and our house doesn’t fill up with stuff 🙂

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Mand01 May 9, 2018 at 7:42 pm

This seems like a ‘thing’ but I think it’s experiential- I love a magazine subscription. I love to receive a magazine in the mail and I look forward to the time I can sit back and read my gardening magazine with a cup of tea.

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Jennifer May 10, 2018 at 3:42 am

I love to give magazine subscriptions because it is a gift the person gets every month for a year.

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Nalani May 9, 2018 at 8:33 pm

FFT:
1. Used a gift card from my husband’s customer to treat ourselves to dinner tonight.
2. Bought gas at Costco saving 60 cents per gallon. It’s $3.69 a gallon at the station down the street.
3. Listening to audio books from the library while I drive to and from work
4. Going to Oregon next week for my little BIL’s college graduation and booked an airbnb for much cheaper than a hotel. Plus we can cook some of our meals. Mapping out thrift stores. I also get 1 checked bag free so my husband and I will take only one suitcase.
5. Playing and snuggling with my kitten, who was a free rescue and though she costs me money with food and litter etc, the happiness she brings me and my husband is priceless.

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Christine May 15, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Nice to hear you rescued a kitten. Definitely worth the costs. In turn you’ll gets lots of furry snuggles, sweet purrs and years of entertainment. Have fun with your new fur baby!

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Marilyn May 9, 2018 at 9:12 pm

1. Cleaned out cupboard and found 3 food items for local food bank. Not frugal but at least these foods will not go to waste.
2. Continued to walk for exercise and today I found a dime on my walk – a frugal two-fer.
3. Working extra hours from now until July, so bigger paycheck and less time to spend it. All good.
4. Picked up Free Friday measuring spoon set from FM.
5. Repaired leaky garden hose with dict tape. I think it will last another year.

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Elizabeth May 10, 2018 at 2:39 am

1. Began a wellness program that will conclude with much needed money being put into our HSA
2. Combined a great sale with expiring Kohl’s cash, to get three new towels for just $1.33(total price)
3. Found a used science book that I have been looking for at our homeschool co-op’s book sale
4. Made pizza at home
5. Said yes to a box of birthday cards, picture frames, and storage containers that my mom was getting rid of

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Tracy May 10, 2018 at 4:21 am

1. Been wearing cute thrifted outfits and fighting the urge to do any spring shopping.
2. Enjoying the lovely Spring weather which means no need for heat!
3. Upping my contribution to my deferred comp plan to take advantage of 3 year catch up provision which allows one to allocate more than the ‘max’ for three years if one hasn’t maxed out contributions in prior years. once that hits next month will really have to continue with belt tightening but with retirement + post-tax savings I’ll be saving over 30% of my gross income. Goal is to retire in 3 years.
4. Getting up early Friday (really early, even for me and I’m an early riser) to take hubs to airport Friday to avoid Uber or parking charges.
5. Have been reading the Red Sparrow trilogy — great page turners. Just finished second book and SO tempted to order third on Amazon but put my name on wait list at library and trying to defer this particular gratification….

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Bethany May 10, 2018 at 11:18 pm

Love good book recommendations!

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Jennifer@thefrugaldribble May 10, 2018 at 4:26 am

1. I got my daughter tickets to a show for $20 per person on Groupon for her birthday. It was a great great for the show and I know she will remember it forever.
2. I made a crockpot spaghetti recipe yesterday to keep my family from eating out last night. I knew we wouldn’t be home until late and that makes it tempting to drive thru. Of course, it took a little preparation on the front end but was worth it. I will post the recipe tomorrow if anyone is interested but honestly, there isn’t much to it.
3. I took my daughter some cupcakes to school for her birthday from the reduced section at Kroger. I’m making her a doll cake tomorrow for her party this weekend. Traditionally, I have made a doll cake for all my girl’s birthdays at some point. It cost very little to make, is fun, and all the guests love it. We are combining two birthdays and Mother’s Day so we can have one celebration for all three to save money. Basically, it will be cake and pizza. I have a good deal on the pizza and since the cake is homemade should not be too bad.
4. I ate the leftover cheese toast that my kids didn’t eat for breakfast.
5. Tomorrow, I am having a yardsale. I didn’t get to have one last weekend due to rain. I dread dragging all the stuff out but since we have a trip coming up, it will help offset costs a bit. My kids will set up a lemonade stand to make some money for them to take on the trip..but mostly to keep us all cool because it’s going to be the hottest day so far this year!

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Marybeth May 10, 2018 at 4:29 am

1. I worked on my garden all day yesterday. Too tired to go any where. Had made a large pot of chili on Sunday so we ate leftover chili on rice for dinner.
2. It rained overnight so I don’t have to water today.
3. Tuesday was free cone day at Haagen Dazs so we went and got free cones.
4. Working today. Bringing 2 hard boiled eggs, a banana and some nuts. Will also bring my reusable water cup. If I am still hungry I can always eat some free popcorn, perk of working at a movie theatre.
5. Washed a full load of laundry on the short cold cycle. Used half the amount of detergent that the manufacture recommends and everything came out clean and fresh. Hung everything outside and the sun dried it for me fro free.

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susanna d May 10, 2018 at 5:04 am

1. My husband was going to the city 30 miles from here for a haircut. Yes it would be cheaper for me to try to cut his hair but his haircut is anything but simple and I am anything but talented with a scissors or clippers. He did get his senior discount, though. I tagged along since there’s an Aldi in that town. Living in an area with a walkability score of ZERO, we always, always, ALWAYS try to combine trips.
2. Walked over to Aldi while husband was getting his hair cut rather than drive the mile there and back. Not a huge gas savings, but every little bit helps. Also got a little bit of free exercise that way.
3. Picked up the items we needed, and had the added bonus of a bit of an upper body workout from carrying the groceries back to where the car was parked.
4. Put 4 gallons of gasoline in the car while in town (very slightly lower gasoline prices than our town) and used one of the eight “$1 worth of free gasoline” coupons we get each month to drop the cost of each gallon by 25 cents.
5. Took the car instead of the truck, because 40 mpg beats 25 mpg any day. Also resisted the temptation to stop at any other store since we didn’t need anything else, and won’t need anything else from that town in the near future.

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Jenelle May 10, 2018 at 5:33 am

A huge frugal fail (which is unavoidable) for us this week is that hubby’s truck is starting to fail us. We’ve already spent thousands on this old truck and it’s time to find something newer. I hate the idea of having a larger payment, but if we want to go on any camping vacations this summer, we need a truck. Camping is our only vacation and as long as the kids love camping, we will go as a family.
But here are my frugal wins!
1. The dual DVD player that we have in our truck broke. Thankfully I was able to submit the warranty and have the full purchase price refunded! Will buy a new one with that refund.
2. Found along the road this week were four lawn chairs and two electric scooters. I have no idea if they work, but my kids are too young for them now, so I have a bit to figure out if they work or not.
3. Our church will sometimes be called by the local Panera Bread to pick up the leftovers. Apparently, Panera donates their leftovers to local non-profits every night. Our church is very close to Panera and the pastor’s sister now works there, so any evening a non-profit doesn’t pick them up, our church gets them! Last night we were able to take items home after. I took home bread, bagels, bear claws and a few more goodies. It’s amazing what is left over every night!
4. Keep your fingers crossed that our van passes inspection. Today is the day! Our camper did pass with no additional work needing done.
5. Ebay continues to sell several items each week. Any extra counts.

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Jennifer May 13, 2018 at 5:07 am

Can I suggest using the refund from the DVD player to go towards a truck down payment? I thought when my kids were little that we really needed a DVD player too. We had one for years. Before a cross-country trip when my kids were ages 2, 4, 6 and 9 ours broke, so I bought a new one (a portable one) for the trip. Once we got rolling about an hour down the road we started it up and it would not work. So suddenly we had NO DVD player for our 2 week road trip.

We all survived but more-so it went great. No one missed it, we found things to entertain them the whole way. We have never bought another one and they have never asked or wished we had one. You might be surprised at how your kids do without one.

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Lindsey May 16, 2018 at 5:22 pm

one of the best ways to get kids to talk is to be in an enclosed space going too fast for them to jump out. Something about being able to stare at scenery instead of at your parent makes it easier for them to talk. We never allowed head phones or videos or iphones to be on in the car.

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Ineke May 10, 2018 at 5:36 am

1. I only bought bananas when I went to the supermarket. This week I am eating from the pantry and the freezer untill I am all out of food. Should make some interesting combinations…
2. One of my cats did not want to eat his regular food and because he is a little ill he has to eat, so I gave him something else. I put his bowl in the fridge and fed it the next meal to one of the others, no throwing out of food, even catfood. (The bill from the vet was not so frugal )
3. I went to goodwill and found a nice skirt. But to be honest I do not need it at the moment, so I put it back and will not go back untill I realy need something.
4. My family wanted to give my mom a very expensive gift for her 80th birthday. I do not want to do that and told them my limit but even that was over budget to be honest. It turned out that the gift was even more expensive than they had thought so they changed their minds. Now I can give what I wanted, a day out in Rotterdam (I am from the Netherlands) with a museum, dinner and a movie. Museum: free with a pass from my work, dinner: groupon and movie with a discountcard.
5. The weather is nice and I am outside a lot, so no need to take vitamin D pills like I have to in winter.

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patricia May 10, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Your mom will love spending time with you! I hope you have a great time!
Patricia

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Ineke May 11, 2018 at 12:12 am

Tnx. 🙂

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Bethany May 10, 2018 at 11:15 pm

After our little vacation we just took, and the extra expenses, I’m right there with you on the freezer/pantry week.

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Cindy in the South I May 10, 2018 at 5:55 am

Love your glasses! 1. The mulberry tree is dropping fruit but the berries are very tiny this year. I am still picking them up because mulberries are what I use in place of other berries during the year. 2. I went to Dollar Tree because I happen to be working in the next town over, which has a Dollar Tree (it is 20 miles from where I normally work). I purchased flounder because I have not eaten it in years, and because it was a dollar! I enjoyed it for lunch at work. 3. I am still cleaning up and out my house. God, how does one woman have so much crap! 4. I made potato salad, and crispy dandelion greens (from my yard) in the oven. 5. I amnot buying any new clothes (I hope) and I am wearing the same clothes for summer that I wore last summer.

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Gina May 10, 2018 at 6:03 am

We have been spending money, but I’ve been be thrifty while doing so….
1. We decided to raise chickens for eggs. Hubby, the girls & i built it together so time spent together doing so, a feeling of accomplishment and we did shop for rough cut lumber for the siding from the Amish so that helped defray some cost. Overall, we still saved over $1000 by building it ourselves versus buying a premade coop.
2. Hubby had some old tire rims that he was going to throw in the scrap bin at work. His co-worker told him about a place that pays $ for them & he ended up with $70.
3. Hubby won a gun at a gun raffle & instead took a gift card to the store as the gun he really would like is $1400 more than the value of the one he won. Instead we used that gift card toward life jackets & paddles for our girls’ kayaks we bought them for Christmas, plus I used a $10 off $50 or more coupon & $10 rewards I had. We still have $113 left for hubby to use on some Keen shoes he’s had his eye on.
4. We are making our moms gifts for Mother’s Day this year. The only cost I had for my mom’s is a $3 thrifted picture frame which was perfect for my project.
5. I found $.14 in a register slot at Walmart when checking out the other day.
6. Oldest daughter is going to prom this weekend. Inlaws wanted to buy her dress, so i saved that $, I bought her shoes that were perfect & on deep discount for $13. Sister in law is going to do her makeup for free and they will grill out for dinner with us in exchange. Not going to buy a flower since I’m paying for her ticket and hairdo.

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rebecca May 10, 2018 at 6:06 am

1. The usual-library books, coffee from home, cooking meals and taking leftovers
2. Made some mixed berry jam bars to take to work on Monday. They were were made with everything I had on hand and was able to use jam that had been sitting in my pantry. The recipe was from the Pioneer Woman-free recipe from the food network. They were delicious.
3. I am down a size and donating pants to the humane society shop. I never want to fit in them again.
4. Went grocery shopping yesterday and got a few things for me. I also bought some cans of beans, rice, peanut butter and a box of pasta for the mail carriers food drive on Saturday. All items were on sale.
5. Picking my parents up from the airport tonight. I actually love doing this as I get time with them alone (once a middle child, always a middle child-lol). It makes it easier and more frugal for them. Time with my aging parents-priceless!

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Christine May 13, 2018 at 5:22 pm

Thanks for donating to the mail carriers food drive. I am a retired letter carrier and remember the people who ran our town’s food pantry telling me the food that the carriers pick up on that one day fills their pantry for the entire summer. It really makes a huge difference.

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A. Marie May 14, 2018 at 11:33 am

Glad to hear the good feedback about the USPS food drive, Christine. I took the opportunity on Saturday to donate some canned goods and pasta that I’d overbought on (all still well within their “best-by” dates).

Incidentally, while trawling through the pantry to find stuff to donate, I also found five cans of vegetables with “best-by” dates going back to 2013. Although I’m flexible on those dates within a year or two, 2013 veggies are Antiques Roadshow as far as I’m concerned–so I pitched the contents of those cans into our compost heaps. So at least they didn’t go completely to waste.

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janine May 10, 2018 at 6:51 am

1.Got two large bunches of flowers for an early mother’s day gift. Only need one so will give the other one to my cousin plus a colorful notebook. Missed valentines gift so this will be substitute.
2. Homemade chili with rice tonight for dinner. Using canned beans because “someone” forgot to prep the beans last night. Still cheaper than eating out and it can be used on Saturday for lunch when I am at a meeting.
3. Homemade beverages in the refrigerator now that the weather is marginally warmer; Lemonade, iced tea and water. Cheaper than the cokes we prefer.
4. Rhubarb is looking like it might produce this year – transplanted it two years ago and has only produced scrawny stalks so far.
5. Aldi had “seasonal” pumpkin pie on sale for $1.49 which made DH happy.

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Lindsey May 10, 2018 at 10:47 am

It takes a few years for rhubarb to establish itself. It follows the old saying for perennials: the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap.

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Mary W May 14, 2018 at 9:42 am

Also remember that rhubarb is a heavy feeder…it needs lots of fertilizer to make those lovely stalks. If you know someone with rabbits, rabbit manure is the BEST to feed rhubarb. Just pile it on – it won’t burn like fresh chicken manure will, and it needs for a long time.

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Mary W May 14, 2018 at 9:43 am

Feeds! Not needs. Autocorrect strikes again.

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janine May 15, 2018 at 7:27 am

Thanks for the good advice!

Colleen May 10, 2018 at 7:22 am

1) A accepted a new job with a slight raise. It really wasn’t about the money. It was about my happiness and avoiding driving an hour to work when my current job’s office moves.

2) On Monday it was “free pizza” day at Planet Fitness. I happened to be driving by but didn’t have my work out gear with me. I asked if I could still get pizza with my membership and they said it was no problem. Grabbed 2 pieces and ate them for lunch the next day.

3) This week I got a Blue Apron meal kit for $19.82 because of some promotions that they had added to my account. $19.82 is more than I would spend buying 3 meals worth of food at the grocery store. However, I really enjoy trying newingredients and following the recipes.

4) Yesterday I was at Target doing a mystery shop. I noticed they had packs of chicken that were due to expire the next day marked down. I grabbed 4 packs and paid $1.40/lb. Came home and put them in the freezer so now we are stocked up on chicken for awhile.

5) Combining #4 and 5, my meal kit came with something called “freekeh” that I knew my husband would not eat. So I subbed rice that I already had but didn’t want the “freekeh” to go to waste. I ended up making chicken enchilada soup in my instant pot using the chicken from Target and the “freekeh”. It made about 4 servings and I will have one for lunch today 🙂

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Linda Gertig May 17, 2018 at 3:09 am

Freekeh is wheat that was harvested while the grain was still soft and then roasted. The result is a quick cooking (and in my opinion delicious) whole grain.

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Jill D May 10, 2018 at 8:10 am

Shouldn’t it be “Nurses’ Year”? Every year? The nation’s healthcare system (such as it is these days) would collapse without you.

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Mary W May 14, 2018 at 9:45 am

This!

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A. Marie May 14, 2018 at 11:34 am

Hear, hear!

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Amanda May 10, 2018 at 8:32 am

1) I hadn’t been able to find a used pair of tennis shoes for our youngest, but then realized I could get a pair for $5 from DSW with the coupons they sent me.

2) I went through my stash of kids clothes and pulled out enough shorts, tshirts, church clothes, and bathing suits for each kid that I don’t have to do any shopping to fill out their summer wardrobes.

3) Made a salad for lunch with fresh veggies and leftovers from the fridge.

4) Planned dinner at her house on Sunday to honor my mother in law for Mother’s Day. We’ll provide the burgers, hotdogs, and veggies. She’ll provide the propane. She doesn’t drive in cities (we live in a city); otherwise we’d have her over.

5) I read frugal blogs, updated the budget, have kept the AC off this week even though it is finally starting to get warm out, called to get a refund when an item I ordered from Target arrived damaged, and went on bike rides on my thrifted bike for exercise.

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K D May 10, 2018 at 10:23 am

1. While on a morning walk I found a $10 bill on the sidewalk, not near any particular house. My husband found a nickel on the same walk.

2. Our neighborhood held its annual yard sale. We put some stuff out with our next door neighbors. We sold most of what we put out, not a lot, but out stuff found new homes, we caught up with the next door neighbors and other neighbors, and met new neighbors. The weather was perfect. We also bought a table and chairs for our daughter’s first apartment, at a yard sale down the street (which she was thrilled with).

3. I took my 15-1/2 year old Honda in for an oil change on my way back from a doctor’s appointment. I believe regular oil changes help keep a car running better and longer.

4. I’m knitting hats for seafarers (charity project) using small amounts of leftover yarn. It feels good to use it.

5. I have a book on CD going in my car, an audio book on my phone, an ebook on my Kindle, and a few print books I’m reading, of course all borrowed from the local library.

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Chris May 13, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Found a dollar bill yesterday on my way home from the library – free books plus a buck! Win/win.

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Susie's Daughter May 10, 2018 at 10:54 am

I am moving toward more experiential gifts, especially for DS who has so many toys, books etc already in his young life. I am slowly learning that enough is just right and more than enough is too much. How are people gently suggesting experiences to those generous people in our lives who wish to give us or our kids gifts?

1) Brought back all the found cans and bottles from our weekend roadside cleanup campaign held across our state. $5.50 for the family movie fund!

2) Took another pile of books we will not read again to our local bookstore and was “paid” $15 in store credit. Used that credit and previous credit to buy a gift for nephew, gift for DS and two stocking gifts for Christmas as well as a letterpress anniversary card for Dear Wife. Free shopping = a big yay

3) Last night’s dinner mandate was that everyone eat at least one thing leftover in the fridge. Three different meals, but we all ate together and the fridge remains manageable.

4) An unexpected gift from a family member is being put toward household improvements (think septic pumping and electrical upgrades– Ooo sexy!) and debt reduction. I am so very grateful.

5) I scored an Eddie Bauer cross body satchel last week at our church’s rummage sale for $1. It was dirty, but the 1:1:1 formula of Dawn detergent, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda worked wonders! I have a “new” bag which is the perfect size to carry wallet, phone and necessities (like DS’s epipens) with style.

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Ruby May 10, 2018 at 10:56 am

1. Made a slipcover for the big ottoman — the dogs think it’s their sofa — from upholstery fabric from my sewing stash. It looks nice and protects what’s left of the ottoman from dachshund claws.
2. Been having ferocious side effects from a medication prescribed for a newly diagnosed brain disorder (don’t worry: it won’t kill me or make me senile) and have not felt like eating much. Grocery spending is way down. I can fit into smaller pants. These are the plus sides! 😀
3. Packing my lunch most days, which is easy because there’s not much I want to eat. Also bring my breakfast from home to work, but enjoy the free coffee at the office.
4. Been rocking the thrifted outfits every day.

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Jenny May 11, 2018 at 7:41 pm

Hope you’re OK. Is this med Topamax?

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Ruby May 12, 2018 at 6:22 am

Diamox to reduce fluid pressure in the brain. It makes food taste weird and has an array of tummy side effects. The docs seem to think I will be okay eventually.

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Jenny May 12, 2018 at 8:55 am

I appreciate knowing, and hope your unpleasant effects get better each day.

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A. Marie May 14, 2018 at 11:35 am

Best wishes on whatever it is, Ruby. Hang in there.

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amber May 10, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Here are my five things.
1- My niece’s birthday party is Saturday. Instead of going out and buying her something I found a few new things I already had, a journal and a pair of new never wore earrings. The journal I bought about a month ago on clearance for $2. The earrings were a gift to my oldest daughter. She does not wear and offered them as a gift. I wrapped everything up I pink tissue paper that we had in our gift wrapping supplies. I used a card I already had one hand and stuck a $10. I think she will be happy with everything.

2- Went to the store yesterday and found a dress for my daughter on clearance for $1.75.

3- My husband was given a full size bag of coffee as a gift from a co-worker.

4- Sold three things so far this week on eBay. Almost $70. I use free shipping supplies my husband brings home from his job.

5- In my windowsill I have lettuce growing from the ”scrap” lettuce along with some onion.

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tia May 10, 2018 at 2:19 pm

1. I needed a cotton slip so went to Goodwill…none. But Goodwill had a cotton empire sundress that was lined with a slip so I removed and finished the seams of the slip, and took the zipper off the dress and remade the empire top into a bralette and the skirt into a summer top and saved the zipper for a pillow cover. Dress was 1/2 price so for $2.50 I have a new cotton half slip, a summer top, a bralette, and will have a new zippered pillow cover.
2. Made a bunch of stuffed multicolored bell peppers from sale peppers, hamburger, and sauce. I like making food that is easy to freeze in individual servings, easy to grab and reheat when someone needs a meal.
3. Our Amazon Prime expires soon and I’m not going to renew, we’ve been hot spotting it on all our devices. Now we will only have antenna TV.
4. Continue to whittle down the grocery list to food that everyone will cook for themselves and readily eat. No use having the cabinets, fridge, and freezer filled with stuff no one wants. We ran out of butter, potatoes, and popcorn and after asking, everyone said they didn’t want more so I crossed them off the list. On the other hand sweet potatoes, corn tortillas, apples, eggs, chicken, and squash are top favorites.

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Bee May 11, 2018 at 3:19 am

Your first frugal thing is an amazing reuse of materials. I am impressed. It makes me look at old clothing differently.

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Lisa M. May 10, 2018 at 7:07 pm

5FF: I Love the Glasses Also Edition, Super Cute!

1. Found a penny at the gas station.
2. Working longer hours at for-profit job d/t busy season. Working FT next week d/t owner traveling.
3. Continuing to pack lunches for DH as often as he will eat them and daily for myself. A necessity for me d/t providing constant phone coverage, so no other option aside from not eating.
4. Boss gifted the most delicious, premium cupcake I have ever experienced. Shared with DD. Gifted tulip plant for Admin. Day now sporting beautiful pink flowers.
5. DH & I enjoyed another free meal tonight at financial product presentation. This is #3 free meal for myself and #2 free meal for DH just this year. A perk for advancing “maturity”.

Frugal Spotlight: Had been anxious about finding a prom dress for DD. Noticed she had retrieved a lovely formal dress from her closet that I had completely forgotten. Purchased last summer at a church sale for a whopping $10. Only required a slight repair at back slit. Neighbor’s daughter tried on a $200 prom dress. So proud of my NCA-in-training DD for her willingness to proudly wear and enjoy a used dress for prom.

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Bethany May 10, 2018 at 9:58 pm

Went to San Fran for a few days. Split some meals and did some free activities. Enjoyed the sea lions and walked the Golden Gate.

Drummed up some dinner from what was left in the fridge and freezer when we got home and didn’t order pizza or go out again.

Sent husband to the store for the staples. Asked him to stick to the list. He did a better job of that than I would have.

Still working on getting some freelance writing jobs. I know this is going to take work to get something worthwhile.

Staving off a haircut. Would love to go in for one. Trying to wait for a Great Clips coupon.

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Bethany May 10, 2018 at 11:24 pm

Snuck in a Goodwill visit while I was in the San Fran area. Baby needed a nap, and my husband wanted a chance to rest too, so I took the older girls to Goodwill to give them some peace and quite. I think my husband was annoyed that I went there and got stuff on our vacation. No matter, their stuff there was AWESOME!!!!!

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Tracy May 11, 2018 at 8:15 am

Bethany thrift shopping on vacation is one of my favorite activities!

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Liz B. May 11, 2018 at 4:50 pm

I loooove vacation thrift shopping! so fun to see different stores amd the merchandice they have – whether you buy anything or not.

Years ago, some friends of ours bought a lake cottage. The guest room needed a lamp, so I bought one at the local Goodwill. Ten years later, that little lamp is still going strong.

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Roberta May 11, 2018 at 5:55 am

1. Went walking with a friend, instead of sitting on our rumps, drinking tea. We got some exercise, talked, rescues a baby turtle (moved it out of the dry path and close to the river, where it could choose water or not), and found a nickle.
2. Washed our horribly grotty shower curtain, and hung it in the sun for a couple days, instead of replacing it with “new” one I got from a garage sale. Since washing worked the garage sale one will go to a niece that is moving into her own place (with five other girls!).
3. Having a Birthday Day of Adventures with my daughter tomorrow. She turns 13! We’re hitting the early show of Infinity War, cupcakes BOGO, used bookstore, and breakfast out for blintzes.
That’s it for this week. Thrifted clothes, no a/c, etc, etc. I’ve been dealing with a bad teacher at my son’s school (“what can I do to help him improve on his homework?” “I don’t know.”), but I didn’t get arrested and have to post bail, so that’s good.

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John May 11, 2018 at 6:36 am

That’s a sweet Camp 18 mug!

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MW May 11, 2018 at 10:20 am

– Planted a garden using saved seeds, gifted seeds, and am waiting for some gifted starts.
– Saving grey water for watering said garden- with a recent assist from Mother Nature.
– Getting ready to set up my home-made and scavenged patio area.
– Helped my culinary-phobic husband plan out an easy and cheap dinner on Saturday.
– Asked for a family hike to be my gift, instead of stuff. Hauling the 4 year old on a 2-mile hike up Mt. Tabor may result in some whining, but as long as I bring snacks and water he’ll make it.

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Rosanne May 13, 2018 at 4:29 am

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. I know a big part of the reason we are all here is to make it better for our families, whether it is getting out of debt or paying tuition or having a savings cushion for when unexpected financial emergencies arise. So I am giving you all a big pat on the back ! (And giving me one too!)

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Christine May 13, 2018 at 5:39 pm

Thanks Rosanne. Happy Mothers Day to you too. It’s a gift just reading the posts on this site. I have learned so many money and earth saving strategies from everyone. A big thank you to all who contribute!

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Lisa M. May 13, 2018 at 6:00 am

Thank you for succinctly hitting the nail on the head! Happy Mother’s Day!

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Christine May 13, 2018 at 5:17 pm

1. Picked rhubarb from our patch in the backyard and made strawberry rhubarb pie with it. DH and I had both never eaten strawberry rhubarb pie before. It was…ok…but we both agreed it would never be our favorite pie.
2. Waiting for books from the interlibrary loan system I ordered online. I love this system maybe more than any other frugal aspect of my life. It’s like a perpetual free bookstore.
3. Dropped off 15 items at the consignment store and listed 6 more on FB Marketplace.
4. Yesterday and today dawned cold and damp but I fought the impulse to turn the heat on. Survived.
5. Frugal fail: Between birthdays and Mothers Day we have been eating in restaurants entirely too much this month. I cringed when I added up all the meals out on the calculator. Like looking at the scale after an eating binge. DH and I are committed to eating all meals at home for at least the next 30 days.

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Michelle H. May 13, 2018 at 7:41 pm

Frugal Mother’s Day:

Invited my mother for a picnic in the park with the kids. Playground and splashpad kept the kiddos entertained while we got in a good visit. Drinks were cold water in refillable bottles. Picked up a $7.99 large 3 topping pizza from Dominos for the kids, and paid with a discounted gift card I had. Splurged on a loaded $20 large pizza from our favorite Italian place for the adults. For dessert we stopped at Dairy Queen for Blizzards, and used buy one get one free coupons that came in the mail recently. We rarely go out for ice cream, so this was a big treat!

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ouvickie May 14, 2018 at 12:37 pm

We saved quite a bit on the monthly budget, due to my shoulder surgery, since I was resting up at home until last Thursday. I’m back at work this week.
1) I brought leftovers for lunch today.
2) We celebrated my daughter’s college graduation on Saturday and they bought my lunch, since Sunday was Mother’s Day and I was keeping my granddaughters overnight, so they could have a date night.
3) I gave my daughter and Amazon e-gift card, as a graduation gift. She wants to download some music to her phone. I had a $10 credit on my Amazon account, so I applied it towards the purchase.
4) I watched several movies while off work. I enjoy having the Prime account. I use it to watch movies and other shows, with my Amazon Firestick, which are included as part of my membership. That one time annual charge is SO much cheaper than paying for cable. Hubby watches a movie almost every evening now and I was able to watch my YouTube channels on our TV, too. The apps included are incredible. $400 savings, annually, over basic cable. I’ve heard some people complaining about the $10 fee increase for Amazon Prime, but I’m thrilled to be rid of cable.
5) The grand-girls baked chocolate chip cookies Saturday evening, so we had cookies as a treat yesterday and went to the park, where my daughter met me to pick them up. It was a lovely and laid-back Mother’s Day.

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nancy from mass May 15, 2018 at 9:05 am

Not so many frugal things this week since i just came back from vacation in AZ, but here goes:
1. reserved a car through my work perks program. reserved a full size car, unlimited miles for $17/day. ended up with a fully loaded, premium car instead for the same price because i was so kind and patient while they cleaned it. (actually, i was staving off vomiting because i went too long with no food and not enough water. I didn’t have the energy to complain about a car not being ready for me and was concerned every time i opened my mouth. i did end up vomiting right before i got the car.) after we got to the hotel, DS went for a walk and got me a gatorade and some chips to help my stomach and i ate a little something else for supper. I felt better the next day.
2. pre-paid all of the hotels months ago, so i didn’t have to worry about those expenses! (and got great rates by booking online with the hotel directly). Stayed in some 4 and 5 star hotels for, what I feel, were great rates.
3. had a long list of things we wanted to do in AZ, but crossed off a lot of things and only spent short money on things that mattered. ($30 entrance to the Grand Canyon, $ for Montezuma’s Castle and $ for the Heard Museum). Went to the Frank Lloyd Wright house gift shop in Scottsdale (?) and bought some cool things with GC. Everything else was free admission or was just wandering around both driving and walking.
4. found some great gifts for family for short money – $42 for gifts for 6 people plus bought some cool things for us with gift cards that were given to me when DH passed away (see #3).
5. SO TIRED of eating out (even though we would have a big breakfast and early supper – only 2 meals a day). defrosted steak and haddock for last nights dinner and made a boatload of rice to go with it. 2 meals each for the meats and 5 servings of rice. (it should be about 8 servings but DS eats ~2 servings at a time)

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nancy from mass May 15, 2018 at 9:30 am

OH! I have a #6 – I had to go to my CU yesterday to meet the financial advisor and brought my glass jar of change. $85.84 into my savings account!

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Sheila May 16, 2018 at 11:33 am

We have been frugal for years, putting laundry on the line to dry, rarely eating out, thrift shopping, saving for the future, and buying on sale. But . . . we just got back from a trip to Italy, as our son is studying there. He saved us a bundle by working hard to get a scholarship which entirely covered the study abroad trip (plus we didn’t have to pay for tuition or rent) so we felt like we could afford to go. I feel good about having the occasional splurge like this and we even managed to save a bit on vacation. Our FFT, vacation edition:

1. Stayed at AirBnBs and VRBOs instead of hotels. As we were traveling with my sister in law an her husband, we split the cost of the lodging. Ate breakfasts in and often dinners too. Mostly cozy places that were genuine and very Italian. Only had one place that was sub par, but I’ll take that chance.
2. Walked almost everywhere, drank the local free water from plazas in the towns we visited, and took public transportation, except when we rented a car for part of the time.
3. Got a rocking deal on airfare, brought bagels and other snacks for the flight. In fact, my husband brought so many packs of Costco trail mix that it became a joke whenever anyone was hungry as he would pull out a pack!
4. We did have wine, but since it’s often the same price or even cheaper than water ordered at a restaurant, it was a win in my book. Loved the house vino bianco without spending lots on a fancy wine.
5. Made lots of great memories with our son who is 21 and will be moving on soon enough. My thought is as long as my sons want to go on trips with us, we’ll continue to bring them.

And one frugal fail on the trip: I’d researched a nearby restaurant for lunch on Yelp which had good reviews. We came in and were seated in a gorgeous dining room. They brought bread and complimentary appetizers (which happened a lot in Italy). The frugal fail part of it? The menu had no prices!!! None of us had ever experienced this before so we ordered what looked good. Turns out it was a Michelin 1 star restaurant . . . actually the bill was not outrageous but we learned our lesson 🙂

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Joyce May 18, 2018 at 12:06 pm

1 cleared clog in toilet
2 cut DH hair
3 hung laundry on line
4 gave thanks that my probs are little ones, compared with today’s school shooting

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