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Five Frugal Things | a menu-planning hump

More on the menu-planning hump in item #5!

1. I redeemed more birthday freebies

Let’s see…I got a huge iced coffee for free at Starbucks.

Kristen with a starbucks coffee.

I got an almost-free salad from a local restaurant.

chicken salad.

I got a free deluxe chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A and gave it to Zoe.

I got a free bear claw pastry when I met a friend for coffee at Panera (and I also got a free coffee since I have the unlimited sip club membership).

2. I dropped my eggs, but rescued one

Not frugal: I accidentally let my carton of eggs slide onto the driveway as I was unloading my groceries. One egg was a total loss, but another one was just cracked.

So, I dumped it into a Pyrex container:

egg in a pyrex dish.

and then I cooked it to add to my breakfast plate the next day.

breakfast plate.

Also on my plate: leftover grilled chicken, plus potatoes, tomatoes, and green onions from my Hungry Harvest box.

And the sauce is a bottle my neighbor gave me because her family didn’t like it and she knows I like sauce.

(“I like sauce” = understatement of the year. SAUCE IS EVERYTHING.)

3. I sold three things on eBay and listed several more

I’m nowhere near as active on eBay as my friend Katy, but as I routinely declutter (and as my girls do!), I have a small but steady stream of things to list.

This time around, I sold two books*, plus my most recent pair of glasses.

*one of these books was an eBay purchase in the first place!

Kristen with three packages.

And then I listed a jumpsuit, a book, and a Lego set.

4. I got a few good deals at Safeway

I got this package of sparkling water for just $0.99.

sparkling water.

I got 3 cans of tomatoes for $0.40 apiece.

Safeway canned tomatoes.

I also got a package of bacon for a decent price, using the app…so all told I spent $7.15 for the sparkling water, the tomatoes, a pound of bacon, and some bananas and lettuce.

And that’s NOT too shabby for Safeway.

5. I made a menu plan

Guys, I seriously think I have not made an actual menu plan since January of 2022. Somehow, I have just been flying by the seat of my pants all this time.

cat's paws on paper.

She was trying to help, I think.

I have kept thinking, “I really should make a menu plan.” but then it’s like my brain kept hitting a wall and I just could not sit down and do it.

Kristen with her cat.

The only meal idea she offered was kibble. So helpful.

As I was sitting here thinking about this, a hard memory surfaced that’s related to meal planning (something specific that happened shortly before I left), and I started to cry.

I hadn’t even really put two and two together until then, but I think I understand what my block has been around meal planning. Until that moment, the “why” had felt more like a vague fog.

Maybe, just maybe, I am over that hump now. We shall see.

Kristen with her cat.

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

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Lindsay B

Thursday 4th of May 2023

As others have said, hugs to you, Kristen.

I'm a little late this week but enjoy reading everyone's FFT and posting, so here are my own. A few more than usual for some reason...

1. We had routine maintenance done on the car. We shopped around for the best prices, and were also able to use a $10 coupon that had come in the mail. And we received two free car wash passes too, a nice surprise. 1B. Frugal car things: used one of the free car washes immediately, so I can space the other one out two weeks from now before it expires. I bought gas at the only cheap(er) place in town (it’s by the highway) when I was up that direction running other errands, and remembered to use my $5 gift card I received previously. We also had the tires rotated for free recently thanks to the tire warranty.

2. I’ve been getting great satisfaction from returning a few misc items out of the house. For example, some glass food storage containers back to their owner, and a receiving blanket back to the hospital laundry pile (it came home with us when Baby E was born, and it wasn’t supposed to!). Also some old glasses to the donation box in Walmart eye department, and expired medications to a medication return bin in the local hospital. Not really frugal, perhaps, but still worth the effort and helps clear out the house.

3. I recently discovered FreeVee (I think from Katy at NCA?), free movies with ads on Amazon. I’ve enjoyed being able to watch a few good movies, including The Aeronauts.

4. I was at the local coop mid-day last week, and bought a lot of discounted organic produce for great prices! For example they had a box of cherry tomatoes with two peppers for $2, all because one or two of the tomatoes were a little wrinkly. Lots of organic blueberries and strawberries, and a head of cauliflower for similar prices. Such a great score!

5. Hubby and I walked to a local outdoor gear swap where we spent $10 on two vintage, sturdy folding camp chairs. They won’t last forever, but the price was great and we needed camp chairs. The newer ones seem to always fall apart so quickly so I was glad to have some sturdier vintage ones.

6. I mended several baby items and sewed down the hook on the hook and eye closure on a bra.

7. Continue to use freezer items, including finishing last year’s rhubarb, some sour milk, and the occasional deer meat. Oh and sour cream that was accidentally frozen– strange consistency but the flavor is fine in a soup that was too spicy for my tastes.

8. I worked on Tuesday and at the end of the day was able to take home the remnants of an aged pizza from the fridge. It would be thrown out otherwise, but of course it was fine when microwaved and it was nice not to cook one evening!

Susan Schainblatt

Thursday 4th of May 2023

Hi! I appreciate your honesty and that you are working through the tough stuff. I want to sell things again and feel stuck bc I’m not a fan of Fb market place and Craig’s list seems obsolete. Do you have a blog post on how to set up and sell on eBay? For some reason, it seems daunting to me. I just want to purge, not make a living but get a little money for items. God Bless


Thursday 4th of May 2023

This post might help you!

It's about books specifically, but the process is very similar for anything else you want to sell.

I use FB marketplace for large things (like if I need to sell a bike) but for small things, ebay works great!


Wednesday 3rd of May 2023

I’m really frugal but I never do coupons or freebies. If I have to sign up or give my phone number or email to get a perk I never do it. I’m not sure why partly the intrusion and partly complicating everything. I’m also old enough to remember when your phone stayed at home like it was supposed to.

Heidi Louise

Wednesday 3rd of May 2023

@Tiana, I am in overall agreement with you. I think companies are much better now than when the internet was new, so it is less likely to get email spam and fairly straightforward to unsubscribe. But I also don't like my information and shopping habits being made note of by entities I don't know. My cell phone is only for traveling, if my husband isn't going with his phone.

Hawaii Planner

Wednesday 3rd of May 2023

I love your cat helping you get over the memories of menu planning. I have been in a major menu planning slump, shall we say. I think, for me, it's related more to the fact that it's a lot of work to plan, & then execute, I have a variety of diner taste/preferences/allergies. And then, my teens are super busy, and it's rare we get more than two days per week all eating together. That frustrates me, and diminishes any value I see in meal planning. I mean, I logically know that we all need to eat, but it bothers me to not have it be an actual family affair. Anyway, I've been using four weeks of meal delivery service (last week is this week). It was actually pretty frugal, but not environmentally friendly, and I've told myself that after this week, time to put my big girl panties back on & find meals that are more flexible to where we are in life right now. We'll see what I come up with. :-)

Other things: 1) Used a $10 Rite Aid reward to buy a few cards I needed. 2) Spent time on the phone with Hyatt, chasing down missing points from our stay in Dubai. 3) Prepped a huge batch of taco meat for dinners this week, plus the freezer. 4) I've been super into Starbucks iced tea recently, which is not frugal. I discovered these drop in cold water tea sachets (by Twinings, I think) & I really, really like them as an alternative. They are about the cost of one iced tea, come with 8 sachets, and I can use them in at least four large water bottles before they use flavor. They are on sale at my grocery store right now, so I will likely stock up for the summer. Wayyyy cheaper than Starbucks. 5) My teen wanted to use some of his money on a pair of Adidas shoes. I used Rakuten, and found a discount, plus signed up for their "club" to get free shipping. I saved him about $20, all told.


Tuesday 2nd of May 2023

Whether or not you return permanently to meal planning, I hope you feel better now that you recognize the connection with what happened.

My Frugals are all food-related. I started getting serious about using up food before I move. I realized that running out of things to cook with isn't a problem because I don't feel like cooking.

- Made risotto that used up arborio rice, sherry vinegar, parmesan, and some of my home-made chicken stock. I now have over half a gallon of mushroom/ham/onion risotto for the freezer.

- Simmered leftover office holiday party turkey (vacuum-sealed in the freezer since them!) in a jar of Thai chili garlic sauce (why did I have that?!?), then portioned it out with rice for future meals.

- Will be making turkey soup with the rest of the leftover turkey, along with turkey stock (from the carcass of that same office holiday party turkey), too-thick carrots, quinoa bought on sale, and whatever other odds and ends I find in the fridge.

That holiday turkey has been the gift that kept on giving. Over the winter of often added some of the dried-out bits to canned soup to boost the nutritional profile.

- Used half a jar of pizza sauce as the basis for pasta sauce, and portioned that out for future lunches as well.

- Used the last of the cashews to make the cauli "hummus" that my dad loves. Forgot to add the parmesan. Tastes good anyway.

- The store-bought pico was unusually liquidy today. I saved the drained liquid to cook beans in later.


Thursday 4th of May 2023

@Lindsay B, Thank you. I find it so satisfying as well.

Lindsay B

Thursday 4th of May 2023

@WilliamB, nice job with all the food frugality! Somehow I find those to be the most satisfying because you can really be creative. Well done.

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