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Five Frugal Things | $30 for a truck of mulch

1. I got a $30 truckload of mulch compliments of my dad

Pink azalea bush in bloom, with fresh mulch on the ground.

We do not have a truck, but my dad does. And he was kind enough to bring over a whole truck load from the local sawmill.

The entire truckload cost only $30, which is such a bargain compared to the mulch that comes in bags.

Plus, the mulch in bags is sort of annoying because you have to empty the bags one by one.

And of course, a truckload of mulch produces no plastic waste.

So, yay for a dad with a truck! 

My dad and Mr. FG and I all worked together  to get it spread around and now our beds look so, so much better. 

2. My dad brought over a board for our deck

Another one of our deck boards started to rot out, and at first, he thought we might just be able to flip it over.

But once we removed the rotten material, the board turned out to be awfully thin in that spot.

A brown deck with a single rotten board removed.

So, he picked up a new board for us (again, a handy dad with a truck is a fabulous thing) and even nailed it in, with a better type of nail than we had before.

And once the pressure-treated wood dries out, I will just give it a coat of deck paint so it matches the rest of the deck. 

Since a hot and dry time of year is coming up, the board should be ready to paint in fairly short order.

(Most of you probably know this, but: you can’t paint or seal pressure-treated wood at first because it is super wet straight from the factory. It has to air-dry for a while first.)

3. I CVS-ed some contact lens products

I ran out of saline, so I checked to see if it was on sale at CVS.

It was buy one, get one 50% off (for double-packs of saline) but then I saw that my app had a coupon for $4.50 off a $20 eye care purchase.

So, I picked up a box of on-sale Clear Care too.

I had another $5 coupon in my app, so my total was $19.43.

But then I got $8 more in Extra Care bucks in my receipt, so it’s really more like my total was $12.

And $12 is a really good deal for four bottles of saline solution and two bottles of Clear Care!

4. I redeemed my TopCashBack earnings with a bonus

I had $66 payable, and I chose the Amazon redemption option, which added another couple dollars to my amount.

Every little bit helps.

Which is really my philosophy when it comes to cashback sites anyway; it’s tiny amounts that you get back when you shop, but it’s better than nothing!

You can open up a TopCashback account here; it’s free and there’s often a signup bonus.

5. I planted some marigold seeds I saved from last year

marigold seeds drying in a half sheet pan

the saved seeds

I have so many seeds saved; I need to plant some more of them.

Marigold seedlings in a black plastic pot.

I’m obviously going to need to separate these.

Marigolds are such an easy flower to grow, even from seed.

Which is why they are on my list of plants for frugal black-thumbs. 

Your turn! Share your five frugal things in the comments.

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Saturday 15th of May 2021

Mostly food related savings --

1. Ate in all week except for Friday treat night and that was cheap fast food takeout. Also ate up lots of freezer stuff -- chicken thighs for soup, discounted frozen "Grillers" ground soy meat for tacos (then eked out a second night of taco leftovers adding in potatoes and refried beans), frozen ground turkey, and lots of salad fixings and mixes in the crisper.

2. Checking the grocery every other day or so instead of a single big weekly shopping -- cheaper or more expensive? I do need to figure it out. Since I am back to breezing thru the store more frequently, I have been able to find lots of things we love marked down before someone else nabs them -- salad mixes, marked down bags of perfectly good produce, marked down meat with a near sell by date that we toss in the freezer, etc. I guess as long as I remain disciplined and remember It's Not A Bargain If I Don't Need It, we should be fine.

3. Last food related entry, promise. Saved more money than I spent at VONS, using coupons, special sale items, discounted meat to freeze, and my J4U points ($7.00 off my meat purchase) plus other discounts (including some I hadn't anticipated -- they just showed up on my receipt ;). Was able to get a pound of fancy-shmancy grass-fed ground beef for 1/3 of the orig. cost by combining my J4U discount and other discounts with 30% off the sale price since the sell-by date was close.

4. Okay, I lied. Used multiple discounts to get a jar of good salsa for 49 cents. Exciting!

5. And the usual -- wearing all my old stuff, eating in, reading library books or ones we already own, etc.

Heidi Louise

Saturday 15th of May 2021

I understand your dilemma on #2, priskill! I have time to shop every few days, and I do find more things on clearance than I ever would if I only did periodic big trips. I also get a little thrill from finding markdowns-- cheap entertainment. But only for stuff we need. Or will need very soon. Or use before it goes bad.

Rachel R.

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

1. Found 4 clearance bread/bagels items to use some now + freeze the rest.

2. De-cluttered upstairs, and found several books to re-sell.

3. Cancelled 2 subscription orders of things we had plenty of.

4. Making all my coffee at home.

5. Saving all good cardboard boxes/bubble packaging for donation boxes/moving boxes when we'll need them.

Katy in Africa

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

1. My kids planted some flower seeds a friend gave me. 2. For lunch I made Stir-fry with meat I was given and leftover cooked rice. 3. My daughter and friend made these cookies, that use oil instead of butter, much cheaper. 4. I'm using the old toothpaste tube my husband gave up on.

Vallie D

Wednesday 12th of May 2021

Worked a golf outing and took home 2 extra box lunches nobody needed

Turned soft/browning apples and pears into fruit sauce for a side for a dinner

Weekend wasn't frugal as we went away for our anniversary, but friends treated us to drinks and we bought dining package w our hotel room, so slightly better deal

I've now listed 6 larger items on marketplace this week and so far have sold 2. I'm pretty happy with the turnover and no middleman involved

Cleaned out my purse and car and found a bunch of random change. Everything helps, right?


Wednesday 12th of May 2021

Your first two are nailing the reason I want our next vehicle to be a pick-up! We'll only have kiddos at home for about another 8 years (won't need another vehicle for at least a few more years yet), but I would really like to be that person who can go get some mulch for a neighbor, haul furniture to/from a first apartment, etc.

1. Collaborated with our neighbors across the street to get compost and topsoil delivered (one delivery fee instead of 2, and then we tip the driver a decent amount to dump in our 2 driveways).

2. New windows. While not a short-term "frugal" thing, this has already made a noticeable difference in our house's temperature stability. Without the super-leaky old windows with rotting trim (more than half our windows had broken seals), our home stays cooler in the heat of the afternoon, and has been warmer when the temp has dropped at night. We thought we were going to need to buy a bigger (more expensive to install, more expensive to run) AC, since last summer our current AC couldn't keep up (house would never drop below 78 if it was over 85 outside). I'm hopeful we've fixed one of the major underlying energy leaks!

3. Leftovers! I managed to plan well this week, and we haven't eaten out at all for dinner or lunches. This isn't always a "sure thing" the weeks I work onsite instead of from home, so it's definitely a win!

4. I fixed the bin my kids use for storing sidewalk chalk. I thought it was broken, but the hinge had just popped loose. Snapped back in place, no need to buy a new bin!

5. My son (age 12) completed a Young Eagle's flight a few weeks back, which only cost us about $40 to take the pilot and his wife out to breakfast, and received a coupon for a beginner ground school on the way towards his goal of becoming a pilot. The course costs exactly the value of the coupon, $200, so it was basically free, minus the cost of breakfast!

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