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Five Frugal Things | a mailbox flag refresh

This first one is making me unreasonably happy. 😉

1. I spray-painted my mailbox flag

The mailbox here at my rental is past the flower of its youth, and the flag in particular was showing the mailbox’s age.

Mailbox with a faded flag.

I looked at it one day and thought, “Hmm, it would be sweet if I could paint that.” and then I looked inside the mailbox and saw that the flag was just held on with a screw.

Inside of mailbox.

Oh yes.

A faded mailbox flag.

Look at the bottom! This thing used to be red!

Amazingly enough, I’d gotten an almost empty can of red spray paint in a bin of spray paint from the Buy Nothing group.

Kristen holding a can of spray paint.

So serendipitous!

I cleaned the flag as best I could, gave it some coats of spray paint, plus a coat of clear gloss (also from the Buy Nothing bin), and reinstalled it.

red mailbox flag.

The plastic was rather degraded, so the flag is not perfect even with paint.

But it’s improved, which is what matters.

Before and after:

Mailbox with a faded flag.

Bright red mailbox flag.

You can see I also used some black spray paint to freshen up the flag holder.

I love $0 projects. And I also love that I was able to use up the random almost-empty can of paint.

2. I picked some wild blackberries

Kristen's hand holding a bucket of berries.

On my walk, I spied a patch of blackberries. So, later that day I walked back with a bucket and picked them (don’t worry, they weren’t on private property or anything!)

Blackberries in a bucket.

I did get a few scratches in the process, but I enjoyed the blackberries for several mornings on my bowl of cereal, so it was worth it.

Blackberries in a bucket next to a sink.

3. I listed SO many things on eBay

The other day, I tackled the job of organizing my office.

It was sort of a catch-all room when we moved here, so it definitely needed some organizational help.

In the process, I found a lot of books and other odds and ends that I wanted to sell. So, I made a big ol’ batch of eBay listings.

And now I just have to patiently wait for it all to sell!

4. I did more furniture sanding and painting

The side of an old bookshelf.

I’m close to finishing four more free-to-me pieces: a tall bookshelf, two shorter bookshelves, and a nightstand.

Tall white bookshelf in carport.

I might finish these all in the next day or two. And then my carport will get slightly less cluttered. 😉

(That is, as long as I don’t pick up more free furniture.)

One of these days I will actually be able to park my car in the carport!

5. I helped Zoe get some CVS deals

She wanted a few beauty products (lashes and nail polish), so we chose some items that had ExtraBucks offers, and I let her use the ExtraBucks that were already in my app.

Her total was initially $26.68, after my ExtraBucks it was down to $11, and then I got another $8.22 in ExtraBucks in my app for next shopping trip.

I’m always happy to help my kids stretch their dollars. 🙂

Your turn! What frugal things have you been up to lately?

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Sunday 10th of July 2022

Your mailbox flag fix up was great. Just one thing: Your flag is attached with a nut and bolt, not a screw.


Wednesday 6th of July 2022

1. Hubby needed a new battery for his truck so I cashed out a $75 gift card from Ibotta to put towards it. I got $2 instantly back. 2.I traded some herbs with a friend. My thyme , oregano and sage are going crazy. She had lots of parsley. So we swapped some. 3. Pork butts were 50% off at Aldi so I got 4. They came to 99 cents a pound. Hubby smoked one over the weekend so we had leftovers for several days. 4. I got 4 boxes of free ice cream pops from a coupon online. They only had strawberry left so my son is very happy. 5.All the work in the garden is paying off. I got our first eggplant, some cherry tomatoes, lots of lettuce, beets and snap peas. My friend's garden that I helped her set up is also doing great. She gave me 2 zucchini and 1 yellow squash.

Julie from GJ

Wednesday 6th of July 2022

I...switched my credit card. Maybe I already mentioned this, but I'm just amazed at the difference and the "cash back" feature. Wow!

I presented a confident suggestion for a way to add more business to a client that also comes with a slight increase in his monthly retainer. He went for it!

We came home to eat leftovers after our bike ride on July 4 instead of going out to any place for lunch. Tonight we're having an impromptu gathering with some friends and guess what? I told everyone to bring something sweet and BYOB and we're ordering pizza using coupons. The end! The whole point is for us to all hang out. I've got a giant bag of carrots I can cut up for veggies! And I'm so grateful to be able to provide a great backyard space for us all.

I updated the freezer inventory. I'm always happy to see what's there and grateful for the abundance of space I'll have for all the garden stuff I'll need to freeze and preserve too!

We...RSVP'd NO to a wedding. How is this frugal? We'd planned to camp that week in the area of the wedding, but it was Labor Day weekend and the camping sites were more expensive. By choosing not to go to the wedding (which, believe me, is such a stress relief for us) we were able to switch our camping trip to the following weekend when prices were lower. We can use that money saved to get the couple a nice gift.

Thanks Kristen for the Five Frugal Things! I can't wait to see how all the furniture turns out.


Wednesday 6th of July 2022

I picked up a piece of furniture on the roadside. I don't think I can restore it if it is even worth the effort. I will talk with my son-in-law for his opinion.

You have done so well making things beautiful and useful again.

Lindsay B

Tuesday 5th of July 2022

Well done on the mailbox flag revamp! I need to do something similar, if I can find a similarly almost empty paint can!

1. Family friends visiting brought us multiple jars of homemade jam and spicy mustard. Oh and 2 pounds of lovely fancy chocolates.

2. Found a dime when out walking.

3. Frugal, but not cheap: tried to batch getting tires rotated with an oil change. The tire rotation was free, but the place tried to first upsell me on an engine cleaner (no thanks) and then didn’t tell me they were going to do synthetic oil (almost $100!). Fortunately I checked my email where they had sent the work order, and after texting with DH he called them and they hadn’t done the oil yet, so they agreed to do regular. Then another person from there called me, told me what DH had done, and said that he MUST do synthetic as it was required by manufacturer, blah blah. Which wasn’t true at all per our manual or past experience. Anyway, this was all frugal in that we avoided paying for the synthetic oil, but after three hours of sitting around waiting for the vehicle I still need to get the oil changed. **Update: before posting this today, DH got the oil changed at another place. It ended up still being synthetic, but at least it was only $55, so we saved $45 over the other place.

4. Cleaned some key windows after company and little-kid griminess. It’s frugal to maintain what you have, and it helps my mood to not see all the grime and fingerprints.

5. Using it up: a solid lotion bar, an SPF sample, and deodorant that wasn’t my favorite but that still worked. In the food department (from recent company): lime juice, broccoli stalks (diced and sauteed with our regular lunch veggies), iceberg lettuce, carrot sticks, and taco shells. I’ve also made a list of things that are in the freezer so I can start working on those- freezer burn is not frugal, ha!

6. Looking through my closet I decided to wear a couple of cute but too-low-to-wear-in-public shirts to bed and retire some of my admittedly unflattering/ratty sleep shirts. I’ve also decided to get rid of some shirts that are not fully cotton as they always make me feel sweaty.

7. Gave away rhubarb via Buy Nothing to someone who had asked, hopefully building community. I’ve received such amazing things from others via BN (in particular, new Apple earbuds come to mind!) that I was pleased to be able to help someone out when they asked!

8. Reminding myself that the routine things are also frugal: eating beans and veggies for lunch (beans are cooked from dried), eating steel cut oats or scrambled eggs for breakfast, and eating mostly vegetarian dinners cooked at home. Using Libby app for ebooks from library, and returning books as soon as possible to let others read them too. Washing full loads on cold and hanging to dry when possible.

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