Five Frugal Things

by Katy on February 8, 2020 · 87 comments

  1. I sold a few items, mainly on Facebook Marketplace as most items would be tricky to mail. This included a midcentury end table from the Albany, Oregon Goodwill, (my current favorite Goodwill location!) a delightfully groovy vintage lamp, a midcentury footstool and a faux-wood piece of wall art shaped like a big ol’ bonsai tree.

    The footstool was a $3.99 Goodwill find that I reupholstered, (ha!) by stapling on a rectangle of red velvet. It took an hour or so and turned a dated piece of furniture into an on-trend item that quickly found a new home. Click HERE to see the before-and-after.

    On eBay I sold five more Mary Engelbreit magazines, a length of lovely wool fabric and a pair of 1950s pink hand towels that I listed back in April. I call this “playing the long game.”

  2. I roped my friend Lise into going to Winco with me, as I was feeling unmotivated for the dull task of grocery shopping and thought a friend would help the situation. We also snuck in a quick trip to Goodwill as well as the Fubonn Asian grocery store.

    I thanked her by driving us through Best Baguette for their egg, cheese and avocado croissant sandwiches, which are what I’m currently craving morning, noon and night. Great . . . now I’m craving them again!

    I’m not really a “let’s meet up for drinks” kind of friend. Want to be my friend? You’ve been warned!

  3. The tailgate handle on our Prius had been broken for a couple months, which was an annoyance but wasn’t affecting the functionality of the vehicle. My husband ordered the $73 replacement part, which then sat for a couple weeks until he found a time when he wasn’t working/it wasn’t raining/he could force himself to install it. These factors finally coalesced a few days ago, and we can finally open up the back of the car again.

    I don’t know how much it would have cost to hire a mechanic, but I’m sure we saved at least $100. Whether it’s darning a sock, cooking from scratch or doing minor home and car repairs, we save thousands of dollars per year by choosing to hire out as little as possible.

  4. I finished one library book and started another, I binge watched the new season of Shrill through my friend Lisa’s Hulu account, my mom washed my daughter’s huge comforter for us in her large-capacity machine, (I then thanked her by inviting her and my step father over for a burrito-buffet night) I thrifted two more glass bottles, (with lids!) for our Soda Stream, a blog reader gave me a mostly full container of laundry detergent that didn’t work in her machine and we lent our Sawzall to our neighbor, with whom we have a symbiotic moochy relationship.

  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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{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Heidi Louise February 8, 2020 at 12:14 pm

1. Packed some, though never enough, food and water for unexpected out of town car trip. Husband prefers to drive without stopping and doesn’t get hungry even for real meals when away; I want to eat All The Time. We respect each other’s choices.
2. Found adequate jacket and pants for job interview in my closet, and a skirt for follow-up interview at thrift store that worked with same jacket and new-from-yard sale black tights. Having somewhat-classic taste is good for me, as my clothing is generally all old but not especially dated, (except to people I wouldn’t want to work with anyway!).
3. Grocery store produce section used to have mark downs indicated with large bright orange 99 cent stickers; has now changed to small white stickers. Irritating to search these out, but I continue to find clearance organic greens and to slowly but surely lose weight.
4. Beginning process of finding new-to-us used car. Fortunately, we are not in a hurry and can wait for what we like, and pay cash. “Low mileage” is a key criteria, as we keep our vehicles as long as possible.
5. Enjoying the beginning of the year coupons in the Sunday papers, as I know they will taper off and be almost non-existent by summer. Don’t understand why manufacturers seem to think no one buys groceries in the summer.

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lulu February 9, 2020 at 8:40 am

Heidi Louise, there is an older post on “Frugalwoods. com” about buying a used car–brought up some ideas that I’d never heard of before. You might want to look it up on that blog.

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Heidi Louise February 9, 2020 at 11:18 am

Thanks, Lulu! I’ll check it out.

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Lisa February 8, 2020 at 12:38 pm

I’ve had a frugal week.

1. Went to dollar General and they were having an in-store clearance of items for .10 cents. I bought underware, bras, and tshirts . I stopped myself at 2.00.

2. We had a high wind storm and some free damage. since it am the keeper of the neighborhood chainsaw my yard was cleaned up by the guys borrowing the equipment for their yards.
3. Our local savealot closed and was able to get cheese and butter for less than 1.00. They move all the non perishable food to another store. Unfortunately I no longer have a store in walking distance.
4. We had a power outage last week and I used a battery operated string of Christmas lights around my neck to keep my hands free.
5. My savings at my local library is at 9,845. I think I will have a party at 10K.

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Susan February 8, 2020 at 6:03 pm

I’m curious-how do you calculate savings at the library?

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Patricia Koernig February 9, 2020 at 3:07 am

Susan,
I live in South Florida, I do not know if all libraries provide this information. At the bottom of the receipt of your checked out books is the price of what each book/movie/game would have cost if you had purchased them instead. It is amazing information.
Patricia/Fl

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Lisa February 9, 2020 at 7:27 am

The library calculates the cost of the item new and puts it at the bottom of your printout

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Heidi Louise February 9, 2020 at 11:21 am

On some tax form, I once saw the breakdown of our county taxes by where the money went. The amount to the library was TINY, like maybe ten-fifteen dollars for our family. And yet so powerful.

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Lisa M. February 8, 2020 at 12:52 pm

5FF: Looking for Signs of Spring

1. Discovered a bug carcass & wing in DD’s sealed packet of instant hot cereal. Contacted the company & will receive manufacturer coupons in the mail.

2. Received a clinic bill for DH that did not reflect whether insurance had been billed. Contacted business office for verification prior to payment.

3. With careful planning, redeemed 4 separate bonus certificates at card store to use towards a pair of earrings making them crazy inexpensive & redeemed an offer for a free mini card that will be used as a Valentine for DD.

4. While my optical store (20+ miles) is focused on selling new frames & is unenthusiastic about replacing lenses only, DD’s optician (1 mile) office goes out of its’ way to provide consultation & free services. After DH bent my glasses recently, staff at DD’s office were more than happy to straighten them. They recommended that my frames have bushings replaced as well. Recently took advantage of that offer & my frames feel like new. With genuine customer service being a rare commodity these days, I plan to bring my business to DD’s optical store the next time I need new lenses.

5. Made Zesty Pinto Bean Soup from dried beans & gifted ham hock. Delicioso!

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K D February 8, 2020 at 1:16 pm

1. Our internet router was dying, after more than a decade of service. Verizon did not offer to replace it so we bought a new one. They wanted us to rent one but doing the math it was a no brainer. We have an older laser printer but after some reading we figured out how to get it connected to the new network.

2. Last summer I submitted a claim for glasses coverage to our insurance. I knew they would not cover it but wanted the EOB so I could request the money from our FSA. They lost the receipt but I emailed them my copy. After months of waiting I finally received the EOB and submitted a claim to our FSA.

3. I sterilized all my shoes with Steri-Shoe that I bought used on eBay years ago. It uses UV light and keeps me wearing my shoes longer, since it gets rid of odor.

4. I have been buying organic chicken at Lidl since they keep giving out coupons to save $5 on a $25 purchase the next sales cycle. I bake the chicken, using various flavorings then freeze most of it for future consumption.

5. I did not eat out at all the past week. I joined friends for a couple crafting gatherings that did not involve eating.

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Cindy in the South February 8, 2020 at 1:47 pm

1. I have cleaned and sort of organized my bedroom. 2. I donated some clothes to Salvation Army. I am now working on organizing and cleaning my living room. I have a huge amt of books to donate and I did donate several to the Little Free Library at my laundromat. That is all I have. Back to cleaning…..

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KJD509 February 8, 2020 at 1:48 pm

1) Last weekend’s family celebrations provided a lot of leftovers, which I ate all week for breakfast and lunch. Pound cake for breakfast? Dip for lunch? No problem.

2) Answered an ad on Nextdoor for a long haired person willing to go shoulder length for a beauty college lesson. Took 3 hours, but I have a fabulous free haircut and the stylist’s entire life story, which was a fascinating saga of pluck through disappointment. She was nervous and hesitant to start but proud and confident at the end of the time (as she should have been, because frankly the un-frumping she accomplished was miraculous).

3) Littlest’s social schedule is leaving hubs and me on our own for dinner pretty regularly. We did get a beer and split a small pizza one night with a friend, but we also cooked at home several nights, in spite of the temptation to go out near wherever we took the kiddo. Enjoyed the quiet time at home to get through a couple of library books, too, like the latest Deborah Crombie, for which I was on the hold list at the library for what seemed like FOREVER.

4) Daughter and some friends have tickets to a traveling Broadway show this weekend. She had hoped we could take them all out to eat ahead of the show. We’re cooking them dinner at Grandma’s downtown condo with a view, using the fancy plates and napkins, and calling it good. Grandma is delighted.

5) Poorly timed work deadlines will have me working ridiculous hours from right now until well past dinnertime on Valentine’s day, so looking forward to a no-spend holiday with my pillow.

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Jann in Maine February 8, 2020 at 1:49 pm

Attended a funeral this afternoon with my DH. Told him to skip lunch and eat up as it would be a late lunch/early dinner. We did and there was way too much food for the size crowd so we did not feel guilty eating a healthy serving.
Hung laundry in the 29 degree day and they dried nicely. The pellet stove is providing warmth and drying to the pieces that were not totally dried.
Did errands on the way to the funeral–post office to mail the ebay sold items, library to pick up reserved books,and the dumpster to check for packing materials. Most of which I do every time I am in town,
Katy I really enjoy your column and sense of self. Thank you for doing what you do so well!

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Lindsey February 8, 2020 at 1:55 pm

1. Made cards for February and March birthdays. I am slowly working my way through supplies I bought or received from other card makers no longer interested in doing it, which saves me a lot of money—more than I ever spent on supplies.
2. Apparently, my towels have been mating in the closet because when I sorted out the shelves I found 51 extra towels! I emailed a few friends that I was going to take a trip to the animal shelter to give them the towels and offered to take any they wanted to donate. Over the following week, I ended up with four more bags of towels left on my porch. No one wanted a tax receipt, so I got a huge one for all of our donations.
3. Cut the husband’s hair.
4. A friend had an overload of guests and we offered to take in one couple for a week. They were perfect guests—were gone from dawn to dusk, ate with friends or in restaurants, and did not need/want to be taken to the usual tourist places. They left this morning, leaving behind an immaculate room, a lovely card, and a $250 gift card to the grocery store! Plus, there was a bag of snacks they could not fit into their luggage for the plane, so I will not have to buy pretzels or crackers for months. We expected nothing but for them to clean up after themselves, so the leftovers and the card and gift were a really pleasant suprise.
5. Three mystery shops, so a payment plus free gas and pop.

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A. Marie February 9, 2020 at 10:26 am

OK, first the mugs multiplying on another commenter’s mug rack, and now Lindsey’s towels mating in the closet. I know Valentine’s Day is coming up and all that, but this activity is getting out of hand. (But I’m glad that all the towel babies went to the animal shelter.)

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Lindsey February 9, 2020 at 1:19 pm

A. Marie, my mugs and towels have both been mating behind my back. Then this morning I went through the shelves of sheets, and darn if they, too, have not been up to something. Another trip to the animal shelter…

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Katy February 11, 2020 at 10:51 am

I wish my towels would mate. I haven’t bought any new ones since 2008 and it shows.

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Katy February 11, 2020 at 11:15 am

Hey, it’s a frugal activity!

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Bee February 8, 2020 at 2:22 pm

I love those simple upholstery projects. Katy, changing the fabric on the midcentury footstool made such a huge difference!
This week’s frugal five include the following:
1. I am still recovering from the flu and pneumonia, so I am staying close to home. I am taking advantage of this quiet time and listing the back log of items that I have bought for resale. I listed 22 items on eBay this week and sold 10. Most of these items were small, so it was easy to put it off. Now I have magically turned this stuff into money!!!!
There were a few items that I decided not to list. I have boxed these items to either sell at the spring vintage sale that I participate in or to donate. All my junk is now organized. 🙂
2. Our library offers free digital content via Hoopla. I figured out how to download the app on our television and now have dozens of new movie and video choices. I have watched several episodes of the British crime drama, Vera. Easy and free!
3. I worked on my March budget, updated my financial records, and paid bills using our bank’s online service. I also applied for a $200 contact lens rebate and applied for a $35 refund through an appliance warranty program
4. I went out of the house today for the first time in two weeks – except trips to the doctors — and took a short, easy walk on the beach. It was a beautiful, sunny day. It lifted my spirits and made me feel so much better. Sunshine is so good for the soul! Best of all, it’s free —absolutely free.
5. I’ve been doing all the usual things: drinking primarily filtered water, home-brewed coffee and herbal teas. Wearing thrifted pjs and enjoying easy homemade meals. Reading library books and listening to downloaded audio books via Libby (overdrive app). Nothing exciting but it keeps the budget in check!

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Linda February 9, 2020 at 12:34 am

So pleased you found the great TV series Vera, based on the books by Ann Cleeves which are set in the beautiful city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the staggeringly beautiful county of Northumberland. I’m British and for the first 10 years of our marriage lived in Northumberland. You must read Ann Cleeves’s books, lots of different series including one set in the Shetland Islands (off Scotland). In two weeks we’re going to a talk given by Ann Cleeves in a nearly church – she has a new book published.

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Patricia Koernig February 9, 2020 at 3:16 am

Love Vera, And Shetland.
Hope you continue to recover, Bee. Rest well.
Patricia/Fl

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Bee February 9, 2020 at 2:53 pm

The setting for Vera is spectacular! Northumberland is simply beautiful. I have watched Shetland also and must admit I love Jimmy Perez. I have never read a mystery by Ann Cleeves. Do you have a favorite?

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cathy February 10, 2020 at 11:57 am

Ditto. And the Shetland character Tosh is badass.

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Katy February 11, 2020 at 11:41 am

Simple projects are the only ones I seem to get to.

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tracy February 12, 2020 at 6:35 am

Bee — so glad you’re feeling better — finally! I love Vera.

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Kathy February 8, 2020 at 3:11 pm

1. Using my birthday freebies: $5 off lunch, $10 off at a boutique, free desserts. Treated to dinner out and 2 lunches over the past week
2. Sold 3 items off of various sites
3. Worked part time on call gig
4. Donated magazines to library
5. Gave succulent clippings to a friend

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Madeline Kasian February 8, 2020 at 3:45 pm

When we worked we often took a cruise ,almost every January or February. We’re retired now.We do travel some but not as much as some retirees. Combo of not wanting to spend the money and also we find we don’t like being gone that much from our cozy home and hearth! Also,local day trips are very fulfilling.

Some weeks I recreate the “vacay” experience right here at home:

Soo– this past week I treated my home like a cruise ship:

I stocked my freezer and refrig with tasty items from Trader Joe including some candy and cookie treats, dark ground coffee, and hawaiian BBQ potato chips!

We have a hot tub, and we go out in the morning and evening. Bird watching out there is fun and we also have an airforce base not too far away, we get to see some awesome military formations!!

Our pool has a waterfall I put on and we go outside and read on the patio (I live in Arizona it’s warmish.)

I play Cool Jazz on the radio and we discuss books we’re reading.

I sit in my own nicely furnished living room and sitting rooms and read novels.

I go into my art studio and do some drawing.

We watch musicals on netflix in the evening.

We trade back massages.

I put out a “happy hour” of yummy TJ treats and sparkling waters.. smoked fish,etc..

We take naps.

We sit and talk about stuff.

We take a long bike ride in the neighborhood.

So–voila, A “CRUISE” vacation in my very own home.

I found that everything I like to do on a ship is just as much fun here at home, and NO CORONAVIRUS or NOROVIRUS!! No wait in the buffet line!

We do have some short trips planned during the year, but I am not missing the travel/airplanes/airports/expense of those cruises,lately.

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hdmclark February 8, 2020 at 4:55 pm

Brilliant!

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Bethany M February 8, 2020 at 10:17 pm

Those viruses have us washing hands uber often. I’ve been downing the garlic and vitamin c too. I’d totally like to avoid all of them!!!

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Patricia Koernig February 9, 2020 at 3:18 am

Sounds like heaven!
Patricia/FL

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Patricia Koernig February 9, 2020 at 3:20 am

The cruise at home…not the virus! 🙂

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Mary in VA February 11, 2020 at 9:47 am

I love day trips–especially the fact that they end with me sleeping in my own bed.

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Katy February 11, 2020 at 10:06 am

One’s own bed can be a special treat!

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MB in MN February 8, 2020 at 4:43 pm

1. Volunteered to set up and clean up monthly lunch-time potluck for elementary school teachers. I enjoyed honoring the teachers and was able to enjoy delicious food with them. This month I brought dozens of eating utensils that I had purchased cheap from the thrift store to avoid single-use plastic ones and provide a more civilized way of eating (to me anyway).

2, Spending nothing on groceries over a two-week period while my husband is out of town. Challenging myself to eat only what we have in fridge, freezer and pantry (granted we were well-stocked before he left, but it still feels good to see how creative and rewarding it can be).

3. Enjoying some treats made by a recently retired friend. She loves to bake (and she’s extraordinarily good at it) and gives away much of what she makes since she and her husband can’t eat it all.

4. Went to estate sale of my childhood friend’s mom who recently moved to assisted living. Her mom said to give me anything I wanted but I just couldn’t accept that, so we settled on reduced prices for items I will use with love and gratitude. A freebie from her cupboard was white truffle grapeseed oil with a “best by” date of 2006! Using it for stovetop popcorn with no ill effects (and not much flavor either, but oil is oil in this case).

5. Basking in this wonderful community of kindred spirits. Thank you, Katy, for bringing us together.

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Marybeth February 8, 2020 at 5:07 pm

1. Hubby’s birthday is this week. We had my parents, his parents and another couple over. Cooked a turkey I bought at Thanksgiving for 39¢ a pound, carrots that were 50¢ a pound, mashed potatoes 29¢ a pound, 2 cans of corn that were on the marked down rack for 49¢ and homemade gravy.
2. Dessert was homemade cherry cheesecake, brownies and cookies. My mom brought the cookies.
3. Cooked the bones to make turkey stock. Leftovers will be several days lunches and snacks.
4. Decorated the house for Valentine’s day with colored paper that I already had. Hearts are everywhere.
5. Sold Hubby’s old truck. He just upgraded to a 2011. Got triple the $ then the dealer offered us as a trade in. Put it right into our car fund.

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Ruby February 8, 2020 at 5:18 pm

1. Used CVS Extra Care Bucks and a coupon to get a free jug of laundry detergent and a free small bottle of dishwashing liquid.
2. Bought 40 pounds of clumping cat litter at Ollie’s Outlet for $7. It works fine and is unscented.
3. Bought a pair of leather dress shoes for job interviews off Swap.com. Even with shipping, they are $15 less than what I could find elsewhere. I wear a hard to find size and was thrilled to find the right one.
4. Scored a second set of new without tags pajamas from the Salvation Army thrift store for $5. Having had a desperate need for pajamas, this is great!
5. Have been doing extensive cooking with the bits and bobs of meats and vegetables in the freezer. We’ve had some lovely meals with no waste and a lot of ingenuity.

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Lilypad February 8, 2020 at 7:39 pm

I have a 2006 Prius and the same thing happened to the tailgate handle—I was quoted $600+ by the dealer to fix it, just for a stupid piece of plastic and a bit of labor! I was so angry! I refused to pay that and ended up driving it for 3 years with the handle duct-taped on, although I couldn’t access the hatchback that way. (For me, being stubborn is a big part of being frugal. 😉 ) If anyone said anything to me about it (and my parents did, for sure) I just joked that I was starting a trend with my silver duct tape. (Later, I did see another Prius duct-taped in exactly the same way, I was so proud of those people LOL.) Finally, a friend had the exact thing happen to his 2007 Prius, he did the research and sent us the links for how to repair it and where to get the part. (I think we paid $95ish for it.) My husband was able to fix it. It was such a relief to finally be able to put groceries in the hatchback again. Congrats to you and your husband on getting yours fixed in a more timely fashion! 🙂

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Christine February 11, 2020 at 2:21 pm

I think being stubborn really paid off in this case with over $500 being saved for you and your husband. Although it’s often associated with a negative image…stubborn as a donkey…so and so is so stubborn…etc. I think it’s a trait that goes well with frugality.

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Nan February 16, 2020 at 2:16 am

Funny- same thing happened with my 2005 Prius! I duct taped it too and occasionally got a why do you have that question LOL? I bought a new Prius in 2016- yes, I know but I drive my cars a long time and need a very reliable car for out of town home visits with my clients. Thankfully they changed the trunk access. Yesterday ‘she’ turned 44444. Old one had over 230,000 miles and the air conditioning no longer worked.

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Bethany M February 8, 2020 at 10:04 pm

Ordered a cake decorating kit through my kids’ charter school. I will 100% let them have at it for applied arts, and I’ll make use of it taking our blah cakes up a notch. It might arrive before the next birthday.

Wanted a Redbox, but watching SNL instead. Lol!

Hubby was gone this week. We used the opportunity to work in some vegetarian days.

Volunteered 5 hours of my day to help my friend get contact paper in drawers and cabinets. They were the ones that gave us a leather recliner and moved the old peeling one out to the curb. She’s also willing to babysit, so it feels good to give back. She has rheumatoid arthritis, so I was glad she reached out.

Guys I’m down 120 lbs. I can jump on the trampoline with the kids now and my knees don’t hurt. Free fun and exercise, and it makes my kids day to get out there with them. Also it’s a great place to do extra math pages. Do three long division problems with my 10 year old, do 20 jumps, 3 more problems….

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Momma L February 9, 2020 at 7:24 am

Good for you!

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Lisa M. February 9, 2020 at 8:58 am

Bethany, your weight loss journey is so inspirational! If you can lose 120#, why in the world does 10# seem daunting to me? Back on the recumbent stationary bike I go. Thank you for the motivation!

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Christine February 11, 2020 at 2:24 pm

Congratulations on your success!

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tracy February 12, 2020 at 6:38 am

Bethany congratulations! I love the image of the new lighter (in spirit and body!) you jumping on the trampoline with your kids, pure joy…

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Mand01 February 9, 2020 at 12:00 am

1. Received several bags of peaches from my good friend, and poached them for the freezer. Future me will be very happy with present me.
2. Made two excellent pasta dishes over the past two nights using garden produce and food already in the fridge and pantry. Everyone really enjoyed them, and I used up a box of cannelloni tubes that have hanging around for about a year.
3. Spent the morning in the garden. Harvested tomatoes, chillies, summer squash, capsicum, berries, onions. Prepared jalapeños for fermentation.
4. Making myself work tonight even though I really don’t feel like it. I will be glad I did when I am getting close to deadline time, and when I send out invoices.
5. Have cut eating out back to nothing after a very spendy Christmas and new year holiday period.

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rebecca February 9, 2020 at 5:17 am

1. Gave away a bunch of clothes to someone who could really use them as the clean houses in the area and a newcomer to the US.
2. I saw a penny on the ground but left it for someone else who might need the good luck more than me.
3. Used a $10 off $50 coupon from wegmans and stocked up on their toilet paper and laundry detergent. Bought some other of their housebrand items. Their bakery is very tempting……..
4. Seeing a client this morning (Sunday). Sometimes a day off isn’t a day off.
5. Wanted Chinese food very badly last night but airfried some trader joe’s dumplings. Thank you past self for thinking of this!

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Alexandra February 9, 2020 at 5:37 am

I love the fancy dinner at grandma’s condo idea. There’s so much you can do to make that a memorable experience. Flowers, music, candles. We’ve done similar things where we even wrote up a menu and printed it out and handed it to each person which was a lot of fun. We also had one or two of us dress up in black-and-white to be waiters. We still talk about it to this day! Oh and doing everything in “courses” makes it more “grande”!

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Stephanie February 9, 2020 at 7:19 am

1. Food prepped for a busy week today. No takeout will be needed.
2. Bought lunchmeat and pork loin roasts buy 2 get 3 free. Before I do those kind of deals I ALWAYS crunch the numbers. Lunchmeat ended up being 1.60 per pack. Roasts ended up being 3.10 each.
3. Cooked up wilted not looking great Veggies yesterday morning. Froze them for future quiches or casseroles.
4. Walked 74000 steps for free last week while listening to free podcasts.
5. Went to a corvette exhibit but did not purchase a corvette and will never purchase a sports muscle car. Fun exhibit tho !

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Momma L February 9, 2020 at 7:22 am

1. After going through printer ink way too fast, I changed the settings to draft, everything still prints fine and hopefully the ink will last longer.
2. Made a sweet treat for a sweet lady care box for my elderly mom who lives a few states away. Went through some valentines that were given to me and put one in the box.
3. I found a sketch pad and some art pencils that I only used once. I added that to mom’s care package.
4. Got ready for a fancy event, used a coupon to get some fancy fingernails for cheap at CVS. Two popped off before the end of the night, so I’m not sure how frugal this was, but it was fun to wear them, and I didn’t go to a salon.
5. Wore a tux to the event I put together from sale items. This is my new dress up outfit. I can reuse it over and over again like the guys do. Pearls and nails glammed it up, and I got compliments. No more dresses for this lady!

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Danielle C February 9, 2020 at 8:12 am

1. Went online to renew our DMV registration and noticed that they now charge a 2% fee for credit or debit card payments. Didn’t take much math to know that a stamp would be much cheaper so I dropped that check in the mail.

2. Promptly followed through on the paperwork to submit a claim for reimbursement for a medical expense that occurred while on vacation. Hopefully our health insurance will send a check.

3. Batched errands to return a library book in the nick of time, get gas at the cheapest station, and pick up groceries in a tidy loop.

4. This cold snap hurts a little extra as we just got back from a very warm vacation. Made the effort to bring up firewood and keep the house warm this way rather than run the HVAC 24/7.

5. Visiting family is coming to our house this weekend. We’ve scheduled the visit to a time where snacks and wine will be the main feature, not an expensive restaurant meal. They’re also bringing old family photos that I can scan in and keep for my children.

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Kate Homer February 9, 2020 at 10:04 am

1. Cooking from my freezer and pantry. I made stuffed acorn squash and it is enough for two dinners. I also washed and roasted the seeds for a snack. And saved the guts to give to my dog. I used eggs and the second half of the sausage and onion mixture from the stuffed squash, and tomatoes from my neighbor that she was getting rid of, to make egg muffins for the week.
2. My boss wanted to walk to the coffee shop on campus to get out of our office for a meeting. I made free tea in a travel mug and brought that with me instead of buying anything.
3. I was traveling for work earlier this week and was careful to stay under my per diem for food expenses. I used to go over just to treat myself. But my travel is becoming more frequent so I’m trying to break the habit.
4. I was traveling Monday-Wednesday and knew I wasn’t going to want to make lunch for Thursday. So I meal prepped on Sunday and got 5 meals out of a pound of ground beef. Had one for dinner Sunday, one yesterday and today for lunch, and the other two are in my freezer for when I need them.
4. I had 2 sets of plans tonight but cancelled them both, feeling run down after my travel. Frugal with my money and my energy!

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Jenzer February 9, 2020 at 10:36 am

1 – Lots of “Adventures with Soup” the past ten days …
* Made a big pot of vegetable soup last weekend with cleanouts from the vegetable drawer (onion, carrot, celery, cabbage), plus some additions from the pantry (barley, tomatoes, bouillon) and freezer (corn, peas, blobs of tomato paste). That provided lunch for two people for most of the week.
* Yesterday I unearthed a box of lasagna noodles that had only four noodles left it. I broke them into small pieces, cooked and drained them, and added them to canned tomato soup for lunch.
* Today I have leftover chicken bones simmering in the crockpot with water, salt, and a splash of vinegar. The broth will become the base for sauerkraut soup later this afternoon.

2 – I’m on season 2 of the TV show Northern Exposure on DVD. MANY years ago, a friend gifted me DVDs of the first three seasons, and until this winter I’d never watched them. Our library has seasons 4 through 6 available should I want to keep going after I finish with the ones I own.

3 – DD and I sold a vintage Tupperware pitcher on Ebay that we’d listed back in November. I’d bought a boxful of plastic kitchen items at a garage sale a while back, and paid $1 for the whole box. The pitcher sold for $13, which made for a satisfying flip.

4 – One of our homemade candles sputtered out last night, even though the containing jar still had plenty of wax on the sides. DH put the jar on our coffeemaker’s warming plate and heated it gently to get the wax melted off the sides and re-solidified at the bottom. That collected enough wax around the wick to re-light the candle.

5 – DD asked if I could pick up a small, lined notebook for her the next time I was out shopping. I rummaged through my stash of extra school supplies and found one that met her needs, no extra shopping required.

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Bee February 9, 2020 at 2:57 pm

Northern Exposure may be my favorite television program of all time! It is not readily available on any of the streaming services. I hope you enjoy it.

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Jenzer February 10, 2020 at 10:17 am

Bee, I think I saw about 50% of the episodes when they first aired (I was in college back then, so I had precious little free time for TV watching). I look forward to seeing new-to-me episodes as well as old favorites.

Also, I still have a crush on Chris-in-the-Morning after all these years. 😉

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cathy February 10, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Bee, I’m beginning to think we have all the same favorites (LOL). Have you got any PBS/Passport mystery (or drama) recommendations? I’m not thrilled with the ones my local channel is running right now. Have previously loved Sherlock, Poirot, Bletchley Circle, Shetland, Grantchester, Endeavour, and Foyle’s War. I just can’t seem to get into Sanditon, and Happy Valley is just too edgy for me.

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A. Marie February 10, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Take it from a proud Life Member of the Jane Austen Society of North America: Don’t waste your time on Sanditon. It’s about 1/16th actual JA and 15/16th sex-crazed screenwriter.

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cathy February 12, 2020 at 7:30 am

Thanks A. Marie. I couldn’t even stay with it long enough to get to the sex (LOL).

Bee February 10, 2020 at 1:58 pm

It’s funny, but I have watched and enjoyed many programs recommended by NCA readers over the years. Besides the shows you have listed, I have enjoyed Durells of Corfu, Poldark, I forgotten and Wallander on PBS. On Netflix (BBC), I have watched Hinterland and Broadchurch — both intense but not as dark as Happy Valley. I have also watcher Midsommer Murders and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. These are a bit corny sometimes, but well done. The clothes in Miss Fisher’s are amazing!

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Bee February 10, 2020 at 2:00 pm

That is supposed to be Unforgotten – spelling correction

tracy February 12, 2020 at 6:42 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE Miss Fisher’s wardrobe!

cathy February 12, 2020 at 7:28 am

Have seen Hinterland (good, but a bit dreary) and enjoyed Wallender. Agreed on Miss Fisher costuming. I do like Father Brown for light and corny. I’ll give Durrells of Corfu another go. I’m hoping the station will bring on The Blake Mysteries (written for Jean Blake, now that the Dr./Craig MacLachlan was sent packing). I don’t seem to have the attention span for Poldark (though the scenery and costumes are beautiful). Thanks for suggestions!

cathy February 12, 2020 at 7:32 am

Forgot to say that I think I saw some Unforgotten, but not much. I guess I’ll have to try that one again. All the Midsomer Murders seem to be reruns.

A. Marie February 9, 2020 at 2:08 pm

Don’t have enough energy to do an FFT this go-round. I’ll try to do one next time.

But I just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed both Madeline K’s “cruise ship at home” idea and KJD’s “fancy dinner at Grandma’s” idea–both of which are excellent ways of vacationing at or near home. Believe me, since I’m not likely to be going anywhere for the foreseeable future, I’m completely open to all such ideas. And think of the gas, personal energy, and money you’re all saving–not to mention the fun, teaching the younger generation the social graces (in KJD’s case), etc. Kudos!

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tracy February 12, 2020 at 6:43 am

Hang in there A. Marie, caregiving is exhausting…

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Jennifer February 9, 2020 at 5:20 pm

1. Dd has applied to do CCP next year. This will provide college credits at no cost to us while she is still in high school. Older dd did this and went to college with 18 credit hours already.
2. Ds got a job. This means he will cover his own gas now as well as some wants. We were covering him the past 6 months due to him completing his Eagle project and studying for the ACT. But he wants to go on a rugby trip to NC and to Quebec with French class. He needs to chip in for those things. I paid for the Quebec trip – he covers spending money. I paid for him to play rugby – he pays for the optional NC trip.
3. I made a meal plan for the week! And I finally found whole chickens on sale. We have been out of chicken broth for awhile now, so I will make sure to get my money’s worth out of this.
4. Worked the Lumineers concert this week. Listened to great music and made a lot of money in the process. Ate dinner for free there and brought home a salad for later.
5. Fighting insurance bills. We hit our max last year, so we received many bills for almost $1000 that we will not have to pay after MUCH going rounds with the insurance and the dr. Sigh – it doesn’t do much though as my dd about to have major back surgery which all of the money we just saved will go to help pay for.

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Christine February 11, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Glad to hear your persistence with the insurance company and doctor paid off. Wishing your daughter the best with her upcoming surgery.

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Liz B. in Lebanon (Ohio) February 11, 2020 at 4:46 pm

Jennifer, I *LOVE* The Lumineers! I’ve never seen them in concert. Lucky you!

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Pattilou February 9, 2020 at 7:53 pm

1. Back to work after an 8 week pay off.
2. I was given two free theatre tickets and one for half price. I took two friends for a night out. They drove and paid for parking.
3. I spent less than $25.00 on groceries this past week. I’m a little tired of the chili I made but it I will finish it up for lunch tomorrow. We had a nice veggie and fruit tray at work this week. I’ve been snacking on that the last few days. I put some of the veggies in my salad the last two days as well.
4. I got a cookbook I was interested in from the library instead of buying it. I picked out recipes that use spices that I usually have on hand.
5. I have a friend who likes to shop online and sometimes doesn’t want the bother of returning things. I benefited from that this week when she gave me a nice warm flannel shirt that didn’t fit her properly.

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Pattilou February 9, 2020 at 8:28 pm

Oops, lay off not pay off!

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Lindsay B February 10, 2020 at 12:13 am

1. Had some bloodwork done and when I received the bill it had been run through expired insurance instead of as self-pay. After calling the doctor’s office I emailed the lab’s representative and was able to bring the bill down to the expected cash pay amount—saved $140!
2. Received a dubious-looking postcard in the mail about a $20 Amazon gift card for leaving a review for a product I’ve purchased several times. Checked it out with company- it was legitimate- left review, and now have $20 in Amazon credit.
3. Mended the holey fingers of a cheap pair of knitted glove liners. Won’t buy cheap liners in the future, ha.
4. Used up two skin care products that I’d had for way too long, and will not replace them. One trick I have is to use them on my chest/décolletage or hands, if I don’t like the texture on my face. I figure I need anti-aging in those places too.
5. Will stop by drop-in hours at local job assistance office (I’m temporarily living in Scandinavia) so that I can register as a job seeker and perhaps get some help. The few jobs I’ve applied for so far have not panned out.
6. Bonus- still enjoying free roses from 1/29- can’t believe how long they are lasting! Maybe because it’s so cold here and we keep our apartment cold?

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Michelle Hawkins February 10, 2020 at 8:14 am

1. Husband did some backhoe work for one neighbor that paid him with tasty adult beverages, and tractor work for another neighbor that paid him. He helps out to be neighborly and build up goodwill for when he needs help in the future, but everyone insists on giving him a little something.

2. Prevented food waste by making a sheet pan dinner one night and a pasta dish the next night to use up fresh vegetables. Feels like a win when I don’t throw anything away!

3. All leftovers were consumed for lunches this week, another food waste win.

4. Managed to make it another “no spend” weekend. We hit the library twice for activities, went to the park, and ate all meals at home.

5. Made my own coffee at home, brought my refillable water bottle everywhere, ate at home, and batched errands to save gas.

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Jenelle February 10, 2020 at 11:07 am

1. I worked both days this week and will combine those over time hours to make myself a four day weekend next week.
2. Did not buy anything at JCPenney’s last night during a Suit Up event for my college students (I work at a university). I only buy thrifted (minus undergarments) and was shocked at retail. Even the clearance rack hurt! I did use a rebate gift card to purchase some make up at Sophora. (I haven’t purchased from there in 7 years!)
3. My daughter (a Daisy girl scout) saw that Build a Bear had a new girl scout bear…for the low low price of $55! Yikes. I easily went to Ebay and found last year’s version for $5! I was even able to get the Daisy vest for it! She loves it and plans to take it to school for show and tell!
4. My kids wanted ice cream, so we opted to stay home and make milkshakes.
5. Sunday’s weather was very nice here in PA. We took the opportunity to take the kids outside, ride bikes and fly our drone. We might have accidentally flown the drown over our house and crashed it in our neighbors yard, but they weren’t home some they didn’t see us tromping around!

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Christine February 11, 2020 at 2:42 pm

Great find on the Build a Bear! I caved and took a few of my grandkids there for their birthdays during my working-and-making-a-really-good-salary days but I can remember even back then I was in sticker shock. $5 is more my speed nowadays too.

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tonyatawana February 10, 2020 at 12:03 pm

1. Didn’t eat out today. Came home and made mock tuna sandwiches instead.

2. Am reading the daily free Blinkist (which summarizes non fiction books) and while I haven’t really found anything I would want to read in long form, I have learned some other stuff and that’s cool.

3. Watching stuff on my Netflix shared subscription.

4. Watching Chernobyl and The Outsider on my nephew’s HBO GO since he’s in Ukraine and can’t use it.

5. Am eating oats for breakfast and potatoes for dinner. So cheap, so delicious!

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Katy February 11, 2020 at 10:25 am

I’m a little scared to ask what a “mock tuna sandwich” is. Perhaps just some light bullying?

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tracy February 10, 2020 at 5:55 pm

1. Continuing to bring our grocery bill down by shopping sales, stocking up when things are on sale, buying rewrap produce, making own yogurt and granola…
2. Made a tuna noodle casserole using up ingredients from cupboard that were at/near expiry dates.
3. Reading library books and watching Amazon Prime and Netflix.
4. Didn’t buy the beautiful blooming hellebore that tempted me in front of grocery store this eve, but did admire its beauty and resolve to find a small start in the spring or fall to plant.
5. Still haven’t bought any clothes/shoes/accessories in 2020! (This will be a frequent entry on my FFT!)
6. Got a refund from dentist and my in-laws reimbursed my husband for the flight cost he incurred going down to visit his mom in the hospital, that’s $900 going straight to my credit card which has a rare balance due to a couple of unexpected expenses. Will have it paid off in a month or two without touching our savings.

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Roberta February 11, 2020 at 9:29 am

1. Woke up to the smell of gas one morning! The gas company same out, said it was probably the stove being old (or, possibly, we had a burner bumped open). We could buy a new stove or pay someone to service it. I ended up cleaning it REALLY well, and we’ve been making sure the knobs are really off, and no more gas smell. I didn’t know gas stoves needed to be serviced, but there was black buildup in the pipes from the pilot to the burner, so now I know…
2. Sold two more coffee cups from my wedding china. We have never used these! I’m glad we can stop storing them, but I am regretting purchasing the sets in the first place. We thought that sort of thing was important when we were young.
3. Worked a half day Friday, and carpooled with my husband. We had lunch out, instead of dinner, and went to the zoo (membership) instead of sailing.
4. Went through my yarn stash, to find projects for the yarn I have. I will be selling some on ebay, because I could not come up with any projects I like for them. I also am now working on a rug for the bathroom out of fabric yarn (from old jeans) and some cotton yarn I got in a grab bag at the thrift store. I also found a bunch of yarn to use for socks for my dad. (I knit when I’m subbing, so having something in queue is frugal.) They will be part of his Christmas gift next year.
5. Hurt my back lifting *empty* totes, so we couldn’t go to Disneyland as planned. We will put it off for a couple weeks. We have not purchased tickets yet, and we are open to discount suggestions! Everyone valiantly put aside their disappointment, read library books, ate homemade brownies, built things with Legos on our day off.
Bonus: my son was notified that he will be receiving a Cal Grant, either for a UC or for community college. He is still leaning toward community college, but it’s nice to have a choice, financially. And it would be really nice to have additional money to put toward expenses, even if he does stay here.

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Jill A February 11, 2020 at 11:35 am

The past week has been very unfrugal. My oldest daughter surprised me with a visit. We ate out multiple times.

1. We took advantage of restaurant week for some discounted meals. Expensive yes but my kids enjoy eating out and we are rarely all together.
2. I used discounted and xmas gift cards to pay for two meals.
3. I had free credits from Amazon that we used to watch the documentary Wasted one night.
4. My girls made dinner one night using some gifted walnuts to make tacos. They were delicious.
5. I filled my car with the cheap gas from Costco, purchased beautiful birthday cards for $1 at Trader Joes. My daughter treated me to a delicious and inexpensive wine from Trader Joe’s. I left my thermostat where it normally is set as it turns out my daughter doesn’t turn on her heat so her house is a similar temp. I’m washing my laundry in cold water and hanging it to dry.

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Jill A February 11, 2020 at 11:37 am

We also visited the Goodwill Bins for some frugal entertainment. My daughter likes to buy things to sell on Poshmark. Family and friends gathered for a memorial for my husband and we spent a nice day volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.

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MB in MN February 12, 2020 at 9:41 am

Your husband’s memorial… I’m so sorry. Know that this stranger will be holding you close to my heart as you mourn. How lovely that you paired that with a volunteering event with Habitat for Humanity.

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Jill A February 13, 2020 at 4:53 am

Thank you

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Patricia Koernig February 12, 2020 at 3:30 pm

Sending you love, Jill.
Patricia/FL

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Jill A February 13, 2020 at 4:54 am

Thank you

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Christine February 11, 2020 at 2:16 pm

1. DH, my partner in frugality, found 20 cents the ground. Into the Found Change mug it went.
2. I painted some rocks with Valentine messages and other positive affirmations to leave on the trail DH and I walk in the nearby woods. Not only free after the paint is purchased, on sale of course, but gets us outside to “hide” the painted rocks.
3. I just returned from the library with a requested book Secondhand I saw recommended here and an Ann Rule book I saw while there. Since I saw the docuseries about Ted Bundy on Amazon Prime, my interest in true crime has surged. Love to see how they nail the bad guys! A great docuseries, too.
4. I am going to see the movie “Judy” this Thursday at the library. I see Renee Zellwegger just won an Oscar for her performance in it so I think it will be good. Not only is the movie free, free popcorn is provided. Yum!
5. Building up our emergency fund as recommended by Dave Ramsey.

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Lauren February 11, 2020 at 8:19 pm

1. I used a store voucher to buy a new mascara. No out of pocket expense.
2. I bought a chicken from the store and have made several meals out of it.
3. My friend gifted me some clothes, I have gone up a size so needed a new wardrobe.
4. I watched true crime YouTube videos and listened to music with my 3 month free Spotify trial.
5. I made coffees at home and packed a lunch, water and snacks for a 5 hour training session

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Susan February 13, 2020 at 4:23 am

1- Listed and sold a few more items on eBay. Reused packaging on hand. Money in, crap out.
2- Used a gift card and early bird special for a date night out. Grams babysat for us. I gave her some extra banana muffins, she gave us extra chocolate cake. Win win.
3- Dropped off several toner cartridges that were gathering dust at Staples for recycling and a few extra bucks
4- Using in laws Audible account to listen to books
5- Trying to keep the grocery budget down until taxes are done as we may owe more money. We often buy snacks, sweets and coffees while out, so trying to make snacks on hand at the house like muffins and popcorn. DH was whining for Chinese takeout and I made homemade lo Mein and venison stir fry. Also making vegan cheesecake for Valentine’s Day.
6- Cashing in forgotten about credit card points for gift cards for home improvement projects and more date nights.

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Lauren February 18, 2020 at 1:38 am

1. I used up some freezer pumpkin and veg on hand to make a batch of pumpkin soup.
2. I received a heap more clothes from my friend who was having a throw out.
3. I decided to stay and watch my daughter at one of her classes. Usually I would run an errand as I didn’t know there was space for parents to sit. Saved on fuel and any unnecessary spending and enjoyed watching what she has learned so far.
4. I went out to lunch with a friend and the meal was so big I took half home for dinner. Two meals for the price of one? Don’t mind if I do.
5. I was offered and accepted a cleaning job that may become a weekly gig. I also gained a casual job working around 20 hours per week. Cha Ching!

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