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  1. I forgot my lunch at home on Friday. Normally I would have just purchased take out. However, I decided to have a “scrounge” lunch. I had pistachios in a bag in my desk, so I ate those. I had an orange in the fridge from yesterday’s lunch that I hadn’t eaten, so I ate that. You get the idea. I certainly didn’t starve and I saved myself $15. I’m glad, too, because it’s been an expensive week otherwise. Sometimes life hits you with unexpected expenses. It’s the other frugal weeks that allow you to save the money to get through!

  2. I received my auto insurance bill, and it was more than double the previous one at $1400. I about blew a gasket! I started hunting for new insurance companies, but I wondered why in the world they bounced it up so high. Our cars are 13 and 6 years old, we have no accidents, and we only drive for pleasure or to work. So, I called them! The insurance agent said they had neglected to apply our “whatever” discounts, and he took it back down to a more reasonable $625 for six months. That, I can live with. So, I saved $775 ($1550 annually) by making a phone call and protesting (which is not my nature)! So, that was my frugal accomplishment for the week.

  3. I think the main way we have noticed saving money in the past couple years is that I rarely use the oven. I use our little toaster oven for almost all baking or warming up etc (we do not have a microwave here nor do I want one). That little thing was on sale for $40 about 5 years ago and we have been very happy with how well it cooks too.

  4. I use the Walmart pickup and order only what we absolutely need. This saves us tons of money because I’m not browsing around the store picking up things we don’t need. I can’t believe how much we’ve saved doing this. I try to place my order once a week! Love and hugs!

  5. I love corned beef an cabbage. I made one last week from a brisket on sale and it fed 3 of us for several meals. I wanted some pink Himalayan salt and saw some at Dollar Tree. Bought 4 bags for the price of one bag at Wal Mart. It will last a good long while and I’ll share extra bag with my daughter. Trying to cook meals that will feed us for at least 2 days so I don’t cook as often.

  6. Hubby and I do try to combine errands, to save gas and time, when we go out. Today we went to the PO for our mail, then to Trader Joe’s for a few items (got a couple of their excellent GF Cheese Pizzas made with Cauliflower crust), then across the street to Haggens for a couple items, then to Walmart where I stocked up on one item that was in stock (it is much cheaper there, plus I want them to stock it better…so I got all but one on the shelf), then then to the Costco Gas station (if you live near one, my hubby says their gas is the best and will save on engine repairs even), then to Fred Meyers for a few items and to take back a couple pants for my daughter, then to eat at Taco Time. Costco sells cards from time to time that will save you 20%…so when it is Taco Time, we buy all those cards we can afford. Then back by daughter to get our laundry I left washing on the way to town, drop off food I got for them, fold some of their laundry and finish drying some too…then off home. That is typical of how we try to save some time and gas etc. Also, we now have a Chinese restaurant and a Mexican restaurant where we can split a meal and still be full enough. I actually give him the taco that comes with my meal at Taco Time too, as all I can eat there is the black beans. I do cook some, but hubby loves to eat out. He needs to be gluten free now too…so now tis easier to share meals.
    So glad the friendship with Nathan is going so well…how nice he loves to cook and you enjoy that food!! I am sure he must appreciate your kindness to him too. When divorcing, it can be so hard. I know from watching my daughter go through this recently.
    Tomorrow I am cooking a turkey breast on a bed or onions, carrots and celery…with added water and the drippings it will make stupendous gravy…plus the mashed potatoes, and other veggies we eat with it (corn and broccoli or green beans probably). Should get at least 2 or 3 meals from that too. Maybe even a soup meal of the last of it.
    Enjoying reading everyone’s ideas…thanks for this place to share Brenda!!

  7. We sure are a creatively frugal group! So many great ideas and practices. I’ve always considered myself pretty frugal but I have to say some of you have left me in the dust, so to speak! I’m thinking hard about what I’ve done to be frugal this past week. Of course I don’t use any gas since I don’t have a car and use my daughter’s only infrequently to buy groceries. Plus, that keeps me out of the stores where I might spend more money. Do those count? Marginally, I agree. Let me see…I do turn out lights religiously when I leave a room. I don’t run a load of clothes in my washing machine unless I have a full load but I do wash in hot or warm water and cold rinse. I almost never eat out, especially at fast food restaurants. Well, that’s about it for thrift this last week. Maybe next week I’ll do better if I put some of the suggestions and practices offered above into practice!

    Take care, Brenda, and thanks for posting about this topic.

  8. I made my own Roman shades for 2 bathroom windows. I used a curtain I already had for the fabric. Only needed to buy the dowels, screw eyes, and cord. Followed directions I found on the internet. They look great and cost about $5 each.
    Also hemmed previously used curtains for my dining room.
    I only buy food that I’ll use in the next 3 or 4 days, that way nothing goes to waste, but I do stock up when I find a sale or good buy on staples/pantry items.
    I hang my laundry out to dry on a clothesline in my backyard. If rain is in the forecast, I plan ahead to wash on the dry days.

  9. First time visitor..all great ideas. I live in Central Florida where weather is nice most of year. Am a single senior on a limited budget so my tip is one I’ve done for years. I hate paying the electric company for electricity not used, so I turn as much off as possible at the breaker box. I know this won’t work for all but I live in a 1-story home with breaker box in garage. It’s March and I have not used heat pump since November and won’t till summer when AC is absolutely required. Only turn on stove/oven when needed; same with dishwasher, W/D, and microwave. Hot water heater operates for 2 hours only when washing clothes (hang most to dry in garage, occasional dryer usage) and 30 minutes only for daily shower. Lights and TV off as much as possible. (Cellphone has a very strong flashlight.) Standup freezer/refrigerator/ water softener/security lights always stay on. Bill for February for 1,700 sq.ft. house was $47.86. Fans keep house cool. Did this when I lived in colder Maryland. Money stays in my pocket, not in electric company coffers. I also run shower water in a 5-gallon bucket while it heats and then that’s used for making coffee, watering plants, washing dishes, filling reusable water bottles, pets’ water bowls, etc. Money saved is travel money!?

  10. Thanks, Jan, for your decorating (refresh) ideas and your frugal meat spending & baking ideas.

  11. I only purchase markdowns for produce, so this week ended up with Dole salad kit bags for 99 cents each. Every day for either lunch or dinner I had salad – Southwest, Mexican, Cesar, and Pomegranate. I also reuse paper towels twice if I have just dried my clean hands. And I am trying to only buy needed items. That means of there is an older bottle of shampoo in the cabinet, I need to use that up before buying a new one, etc. I get very tempted by cosmetic and seasonal items but sometimes treat myself to a dollar store item.

  12. Good evening Brenda, there are so many great ideas here and each week I learn something new. One of my frugal tips is to use what you have, if you have stuff in your pantry use it up before you buy more otherwise it gets lot in your pantry or at least it does in mine. Shop for groceries more often just as the Europeans do, that way you only buy enough for a few days and the food does not go to waste. Most homes in Europe have small refrigerators so they do not have room for a lot of extra food, and they also believe in eating fresh so this method works great for them.

    I hope that you have a great weekend.

  13. My husband and I are both on soc. security and that means one payday a month. We have had to be frugal for years! Our town as a Grocery Outlet store that has many good deals.. so we do most of our grocery shopping there, and buy only things on sale or at a very good cheap price. If meat is on sale, we buy extra and freeze it. Always have done that.. or buy a big bulk package and go home and separate it into smaller packages. We have had to cut out “luxuries” such as cheese, sour cream, nuts and raisins for baking, things that aren’t a complete necessity. I buy produce when on sale, and in the summer, always go to a produce stand that has “seconds” at very cheap prices. At home, our electricity for heat is on a yearly average plan, so every month is the same so don’t have to face the winter months with $300 heating bills. Our water in the summer goes up, so I’ve started watering way less. One thing we learned is that baseboard heaters continue to draw power, even when they are off… the elec. company said to shut them off at the breaker if we aren’t using them (which we don’t)… so that has saved quite a bit. We too keep the house about 67 degrees during the day.. bundle up when we need to, and almost all heat is off during the night, even when outdoors it gets down to zero! We keep one small radiant heater on low in our bedroom if needed. I do get tired of being cold alot of the time, but oh well. I wear 3-4 shirts sometimes and if I sit to watch TV, I cover with a blanket and get cozy and warm.. otherwise, keep moving in the house! I always do errands so that I’m making about 5-6 stops on one day, and then I’m done for the week, so our auto gas bill is very very low. We are even thinking about getting rid of one of our vehicles to save on car insurance, maintenance and tires, etc. We hardly ever use our little older truck, but still pay insurance on it. I love all the other tips here!

  14. My dentist gives a discount to senior citizens, so I reaped the benefits of that generous at my cleaning/exam this week. My sister and I also saved money by ordering one large sandwich and splitting it rather than ordering two small sandwiches. In addition, we took advantage of the senior citizen discount, so the sandwich was only about $5.00, or $2.50 each for the meal.

    1. Speaking of dentists…we also just found one we really like and they have also saved us money already (I am very picky as my mouth does not open well so I need a dentist with small hands…finally found one!!) The lady up front told my hubby that the best insurance to help with dental costs (better than what we had and better than even what the dentists office had) was to go through Costco, if we were members. Yep, we are…and had no clue about getting essentially the same dental coverage for a fraction of the cost!! Maybe this will help someone else on here find a cheaper insurance too!!

  15. I always shop the sales on food and stock up when there is a good price on something I would be buying anyway. Yesterday when buying groceries I found my favorite tuna on sale for 49 cents, limit four. I went ahead and bought four because I knew it would keep and I would use it. You can’t beat that price for a protein food item! Our grocery bills sometimes fluctuate because we do shop the sales but it levels out in the long run and there are many items we never pay full price for. We always watch for coffee sales and usually get it at $4.99 or $5.99 at the most and just stock up. When not on sale it is often in the $8 or $9 range and I am happy to say we have never paid that price!

  16. I’d decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to do something different in my living room to jazz things up a bit this year. I’ve been seeing a lot of pink used lately in the magazines and decided since I already have my pink elephant collection, why not introduce some pink into the decor this season and use some of my pink elephants – on display inside a glass enclosed hutch where they’re not readily noticeable. I also like free art. I search the internet for prints, etc. I like, save a “snip” of it and then print it out on photo paper (one pack lasts me quite a while). So I spent some time searching around for pink abstract prints and printed off several I liked. I re-use frames I already own (I’ve collected a lot since buying my first home in 1986) and I ended up painting two to cover over a sort of gaudy gold to an “antiqued” black with some acrylic craft paint I had on hand (I have black accent pieces in my living room), with some of the gold peeking through. This past Christmas season I also tried for the first time the layered rug look, using a long-owned red “oriental” style rug over the rug I have in my living room, as I introduced red accents into the room over Christmas and kept some of them after all the Christmas decor was put away. I loved the cozy feel and look of it and the cushy luxury of having the extra sink-in softness beneath my stockinged feet in the living room with rug layered upon rug on top of wall to wall carpeting (which has seen better days). So I thought – let’s keep the layered rug comfort going. So I shopped online for a rug with pink in it that would coordinate with the existing 8×10 black and white flamestitch shag area rug in the living room. I settled on a geometric print that has a “quiet” trellis design of black, two shades of pink (blush and a deeper tone) on a cream background that I layered over the existing area rug. It arrived yesterday and the packing slip said the cost of the rug was $115! It arrived quickly a full day early and was shipped from the vendor’s warehouse in Kentucky, so I knew they’d already had it in stock. I was shocked because I paid $157.23 online (before shipping and taxes). So I went online and had a long “chat” with three different people at the vendor and after more than an hour online in that chat, succeeded in getting a reduced price of $115 (they refused, however, to reduce the sales tax charge and since it would have been a couple extra dollars at the most, I let that pass). I received a credit for $42.23 on my credit card. Hooray! I also splurged and bought two new throw pillows on sale at Society6 and three pillow covers in varying shades of pink from H&M online – they’re my go to sources for great prices on throw pillows and pillow covers. The results look – to me – like a million bucks. The two new throw pillows and the three new pillow covers, all either in pink or containing pink, cost about $107 and the rug was about $142 (including cost of shipping and sales tax) after my $42 credit. Best of all, the art cost zero, I already had the pink elephants and some other pink “accessories” I brought in from my basement storage stash. All items will have future life in my home, and I swear the five pink elephants I took out of the china hutch to display on the fireplace mantle from my collection look pleased as punch, LOL! I also scored today on a sale of ground beef in 3 pound packs. I got 3.15 pounds for about $5.50 after the discount! The normal cost for a pound of this hamburger is $3.49 to $3.79. So I picked up some green peppers and fixings and will make a large dish of stuffed green peppers tonight. Two servings will be frozen. I’ll be using less than a pound of ground beef for the three peppers I’ll be stuffing (with a mixture of the meat, rice and whole kernel corn plus the sauce I make), so the rest of the burger pack will be divided into roughly equal sized rolls in aluminum foil, dated and labeled to be used for future meals. This was a good savings week, despite spending for some new decor items. I don’t often buy new things for my home. Normally I just “shop my home” to change things up for the seasons and do my usual “free prints” online scavenging when I’m in the mood for new “art.”

  17. I gathered the overipe bananas, slightly spoiled strawberries and left over yogurt and made a large smoothy, which I put in a jar and took to work for lunch. Trying to cut back on waste and never buy my lunch.

  18. Cleaning glass: Don’t buy “branded” anything….. White vinegar and water together, put into a plastic spray bottle will clean your windows. Squirt on, clean with a soft rag, and dry with screwed up newspapers. Sparkling windows.

    Saving soap: Get yourself a magnetic soap holder from Amazon or similar at very little cost. When it arrives, after attaching to wall, take the metal ring, push into the bar of soap and attach to the magnet. A bar of soap will last MONTHS, honestly…. because it dries straight away, And of course, no more plastic bottles of liquid soap, either. My last bar of soap for the handbasin in the bathroom (and just a small one, not bath size, lasted two of us six months with this method).

  19. This week, Aldi has corned beef for 1.99# herein Ohio. I bought one last week for 2.99. It was especially goo, and tender. I plan to freeze a couple to make Ruebens next summer when my daughter visits.
    Ok: this one is embarrassing, but I will stick my neck out, since I’m so happy about it.i have a partial plate with a couple teeth on each side. I was cleaning it with a purchased, ( and expensive), product. It didn’t clean well at all. When I would visit the dentist, they would clean it in their sonic cleaner, but not all the brown stain would come off. I’ve discovered the magic of baking soda. When I take my bath, I shake soda on both sides of it, a couple drops of water , and let it set. Voila! Stain free, and fresh smelling. I also shake soda into the bath water, which prevents having to clean tub as often!

    1. Baking soda is great for cleaning a lot od stuff and I have decided to use it more. I recently found a #5 bag on Amazon for $3.88 as an add-on item if you order $25 from Amazon.

      1. Costco has a very large bag of baking soda I get for laundry and cleaning for a good price too.

    2. great idea about the baking soda but our newspaper today had an article from the “People’s Pharmacy ” talking about being aware that taking baking soda can raise blood pressure b/c of all the sodium. This is just an FYI in case you start having high numbers at the Dr. office…I think a little is probably ok, just know this is a ‘hidden secret’ on BP problems…

      1. ps: on the baking soda and blood pressure comment from the People’s Pharmacy article. Their focus was on ppl taking baking soda for HEART BURN…even so, it was an eye opener for their Cardiologist.

    3. I also have dentures, upper and lower,I use peroxide in the container I keep them in.
      Keeps them fresher and whiter than efferdent.

  20. I am working on using a lot of canned goods from the pantry, also mystery frozen items in the freezer. Husband received some very discouraging news medically, so that has resulted in him realizing he will not need a “reliable” vehicle (that means new, oversized, and overpriced) to go out of town because he will now need to be taken. As a side note, if you know of anyone who has recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (a virtual epidemic in the US), don’t tolerate that person not aggressively managing it. This may truly be the end of a 40-year marriage because I can no longer deal with his continual poor choices.

    1. Peg it must be so frustrating! And confusing. I hope things will settle down soon. Xx

    2. It is frustrating when diabetics are not helping themselves enough…we fall into this catagory some too. However, even when we eat exactly the same things, often one or the other of us will have a high blood sugar reading and the other one will not. It is NOT consistent either. Drives me crazy…I really do not know how to keep the numbers super low, other than basically not eating at all!! And we cannot do that. I feel that science is still terribly behind in helping with this disease. And by the way, when my hubby got it, within 6 months so did about 5 others in his very small office. Go figure…all different ages, different sexes, different races, different eating styles. Some of this simply must be due to a virus. I got it a couple years after Hubby did. Neither of us have many in our kin with this problem either. I wish you the best in helping your husband. I have noticed it can very much fuzzy the thinking, which also does not help us cooks in helping them. I have noticed that lately, as my Hubby avoids gluten (which is getting to be more of a problem with him now) his numbers go down…just a thought. The best “find” we know of is the Cheese pizzas from Trader Joe’s that have a cauliflower crust. My hubby does NOT like veggies either…but he happily will eat these pizzas. Excellent for a carb addict!!

  21. Here in Southern Ontario, Canada, hydro is very expensive. If we use more hydro in the ” discount ” hours from 7 p.m to 7 a.m. weekdays, and all weekend, one can save almost half. Of course one cannot do anything about the furnace running, and I use the computer and tv when I want to, but I use the crockpot at night, and I only vacuum or do laundry during the discount time.

    I also keep my house cooler than some people might, but I bundle up wearing a good wool sweater, and use wool throws over my legs when I am seated. This also results in less gas used for the furnace, which is also expensive. I am still comfortable.

    I try to watch my water use too, and when I am running water to get hot water, I usually catch it in a plastic pail and use it to refill the humidifiers, water houseplants, or even flush the toilet. It all adds up to saving more than one hundred dollars a month.

    With regards to grocery shopping, I always shop the sales, and fortunately I am only about 1 Km. away from my stores, but I agree that just staying away from the stores is a great way to save money. I find it hard to resist good food when it is discounted. I always use loyalty cards, and a credit card that gives me points that allow me to buy things like other groceries, or garden supplies free of charge. It is of course very important to pay the credit card off completely every month so you are never paying interest. I read that people who do that are considered ” dead beats by the credit card companies ! ”

    Keep the good ideas coming ! I really look forward to reading your blog, but especially Frugal Fridays ! Working every angle you can to save money will make a big difference in your quality of life. It has for me for more than 50 years !

    One suggestion I have for a Frugal Friday Topic is : Inexpensive or free entertainment. I love to work in my garden. The produce even saves me money.

    1. All your tips are excellent ones! I am grateful I live in a rent controlled senior apartment which includes electricity and heat, but I have used some of your ideas in the past.

      1. As for “free entertainment,” Brenda, don’t forget to mention those 2 little flufferoos you share your home with! They entertain you for “nearly free” (vet and pet food bills) and us for “totally free!”

      2. Inexpensive or free entertainment is a great topic, especially since (I hope) we will have warmer weather soon! This winter has given me cabin fever!

    2. I love being a dead beat to the credit card companies! You have many good ideas and I’ll be working harder to save more money. A few weeks ago we turned our heat (electric) down to 66 and keep it there. The house is quite cold (at least to me, as I’m colder since I got older) but I spend most of my time in the den, with all the doors closed, which keeps it pretty comfortable. If it’s an especially cold rainy day, I turn on our gas logs which can make it unbearably hot, so I don’t run it long. Our gas bill (fireplace and stove/oven) is never over $25. Wish the whole house was run on gas!

  22. I went to my local odd lots discount place for seed starter kits and seeds. The kits were only $5 and already have the potting mixture included. I also got a stained glass birdbath with iron stand for $10. I am so ready for Spring here in Upstate NY!

  23. I am a senior living on social security. My payday is once a month. I have figured out that by alternating my grocery list every other month I am able to have all I need for both food and cleaning supplies and personal needs. One month I buy regular grocery items and no meat and the other month I buy the cleaning and personal items. This month was the meat month. I shop the sales as well as my favorite store, Winco, and then I come home and portion out the large bulk packages of meat and re-wrap them in cling wrap and then put them into freezer bags and store them in the freezer compartment of my refrigerator. If I plan it right, I can store two months worth of meat in the small freezer compartment. (And sometimes the meat will last me even longer, depending on what I cook.) I only use about 1/2 lb ground beef in my chili and spaghetti dinners, and I eat 4-6 times on each prepared meal, freezing the leftovers for later on.
    On the month where I am purchasing cleaning supplies, etc, I have learned the hard way that buying cheap cleaning products is not practical. I now buy laundry pods which is actually saving me money in the long run since they are already portioned and they keep my clothing from getting dingy. Same goes for the dishwasher soap. I thought my rental unit’s dishwasher was not getting the dishes clean enough, but switching to the pods resulted in really sparkling clean dishes and one tub lasts me almost 3 months since I do not run my dishwasher every day.

    1. Patrice I really like your ideas. I was impressed a few weeks ago when you posted about keeping your pantry well-supplied and I have been trying to stock up my own pantry with items on sale at the grocery store. I have learned to look in every aisle for savings when I shop.

  24. I’m going to Dollar Tree to buy parchment paper. How clever!!

    I talked to my neighbor who was in the process of having men take down a bunch of trees in his yard and asked him if he could ask the guys how much it would be to take down 2-3 oak trees on our property line(on My property). I knew it would be more if they had to come back just for me. Well, by the time I ran an errand and came back, the trees were down and the neighbor will be carting away the wood and doing the cleanup.
    What would have cost me probably around $600-800 or even more ended up costing me $300, PLUS free cleanup. I’m so thrilled.
    As much as I love trees, these were outgrowing their space and endangering my garage if they fell. Plus I was picking up piles of oak leaves up to my knees.
    So my frugality was being nice and not passing by an opportunity. This had been on my mind for some time. Sometimes, opportunity is knocking; we just have to be ready and listen.

    1. So glad to hear you saved so much on the tree disposal. My daughter has a neighbor whose tree was leaning over the fence and in the storms around here was leaning more and more. He gave HER permission to take it down…was not willing to do so even though the entire trunk is in his yard. So even though she is a single mom with 2 little kids, and not a lot of money, she had it taken down. I was there when the tree folks came and told the man who was in charge that the neighbor refused to even help her pay for it, and thus she was (for months) sleeping on the couch, as if the tree fell, her bedroom would be where it fell. They felt bad for her. They know she is single. So instead of charging her over $3K, they did it for $2400. We are so appreciative!! Be sure to tell folks of your circumstances in such events. Often they will help you out by charging less (we never ASKED for a lesser charge either). They spent 3 days cleaning out that and debris caused by the heavy snow last month from 2 other trees in her yard. Now her yard is the nicest looking in her little neighborhood too!!

  25. Tuesday I did my grocery shopping for the month….and I saved $120 on my groceries, bringing the total for the month to just over $200, which is my goal every month. The biggest trick to keeping monthly grocery bills down? STAY OUT OF THE STORE!!

  26. Hi Brenda, This week was a very productive ‘frugal’ week for us! I have been making my own yogurt for almost 40 years now and have recently been making Greek style without any additives other than the starter from a previous batch. I also have learned to make my yogurt in the Instant Pot. Since it’s just my husband and myself, we have the three quart Instant Pot which makes 1 quart of Greek style yogurt. I also have been making my own vanilla for many years. It was time for me to make another pint so I fill up a pint canning jar with vodka then cut, scrape and put three vanilla beans in to infuse. It usually takes about 2 months to be ready to use in my baking and every time I open that cupboard, I give the vanilla a turn or two. I always have a fresh pint to open while one is infusing. We live north of Fort Collins, Colorado, so when we run errands in Fort Collins, we plan our route and usually it is possible to make a circle without backtracking. I find I hate the waste of gas, time and miles more and more when I could be home walking my two rescued Irish Setters! That’s about it for this week—I love the term frugal and have been enjoying these Friday posts very much. Thank you!

  27. I use tracing paper to do some arts and crafts but it can be kind of expensive. Parchment paper can work just as well for tracing and Dollar Tree has 25 ft rolls for a dollar. I was also going to buy a small Lightbox for tracing but I found a diy for that online. Someone took a small white plastic storage box and put one of those small stick up lights that you can buy inside it. They use the lid of the box to trace on.

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