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Five Frugal Things (and a fail)

I’m switching up the order of posts this week a bit; I have a post I’m doing in partnership with Purex this week, and I think they want me to publish that tomorrow.

Purex laundry detergent.

Soooo, you get Five Frugal Things today instead of our usual Tuesday.

1. I signed up for the max retirement match at work

Since I have largely been self-employed in my adult life, I have never had an employer-sponsored retirement plan. But I found out that my hospital matches 50% up to the first 6% that I contribute, so I immediately selected that amount.


It’s not gonna be oodles of money because I am just a $20/hour part-time employee, but hey, it’s free money and I am not about to leave that on the table.

(My 6% amounts to $1.20 for each hour I work, and my hospital will be adding on $0.60. It’s not a lot but over the summer it’ll be about $60/month extra. And I know all of us would stop to pick up $60 if we found it somewhere!)

2. I ordered a better lunch box

I realize that at first glance, this is a spend rather than a save. But given that I will have to pack a lot of lunches in the future, I consider this to be a very good investment.

After all, it doesn’t take many packed meals to pay for the cost of a lunch box.


I have been limping along with some small bags that my kids used to use, but I could use something bigger for long shifts. Plus, I will need to pack meals for upcoming nursing school days and clinical shifts.

metal lunch containers.

the small one I’ve been using

Soooo, I feel like this is a solid spending move on my part! Anything that helps me stick with a lunch-packing habit is probably gonna be worth the price.

metal container of salad.

(Plus, whatever I pack is likely going to be healthier than what I’d buy at the cafeteria/restaurant. Double win!)

3. I did some Altra-stalking on eBay

Since I can wear whatever shoes I want for working at the hospital now, I’m trying to get some backup pairs of Altras for cheap.

Altra Provision shoes in blue.

I already have a pair for walking and a pair for working, so I can take my time and wait for a really good deal to show up.

Patience is the name of the game!

Why am I stuck on Altras? Well, they’re foot-shaped (no pointy toes here) so that your toes can spread out as they’re designed to do.

foot shaped shoe.

As a person who prefers to go barefoot whenever possible, I love love love this design. Free the toes. 🙂

4. I got a free rotisserie chicken

After I worked that one overnight shift last Friday, I came home and napped for a bit, but obviously I was still tired. And everything in me wanted to do something like…eat an entire box of donuts.

A box of doughnuts from Portland, Maine.

But I knew my body was not gonna actually feel a whole lot better if I did that, so I used a $10 credit in my Safeway app and got a chicken, some bananas, and some blueberries, and my total was $2.30.

And then I scanned the receipt in my Fetch app, of course.

Fetch app screenshot.

I ate the chicken for dinner along with some kale salad I’d prepped a few days before. No donuts were consumed. 😉

kale and chicken salad.

5. I cashed out TopCashback for a 2% bonus

Remember how I used TopCashback when I ordered tires for my van?

dirty tire.

Well, I earned $40.47 back on that purchase, and I redeemed it for an Amazon gift card because that gives you an extra 2% back (whereas if you cash out with Paypal, there’s no bonus).

Amazon money is basically as good as cash, so that works for me.

Maximizing these little savings makes my frugal heart happy; it doesn’t make the tires free or anything, but it helps soften the blow a bit!

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

P.S. A small fail: my Otterbox case for my phone needed to be replaced, so I ordered a refurbished one from Amazon. But…they sent the wrong case. Close, but definitely not meant for my iPhone 11. So I returned that one and decided just to pay full price for a new one. Like a lunchbox, a phone case is a good investment! $24 pales in comparison to the cost of a new phone.

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Martha O.

Friday 28th of June 2024

Since my husband and I ( and sometimes our daughter) enjoy salads so much, we have them frequently for our dinners during the week. I used to try to put loads of different veggies in the salads to make them more healthy and attractive. Of late, however, I’ve been more intentional about just adding one or two veggies along with a protein and just changing up what I add to a spinach/ lettuce base. So one night we may have lettuce/spinach with cucumber and tomato; the next night may be carrots and red or yellow peppers; the next may be broccolini and sprouts. I don’t know if this is making sense but somehow we’re using less produce and not spending as much money but also feeling like our salads are more interesting and just as satisfying. When I was growing up, if we had salad, it would just be a side dish to whatever the main dish was a as d the salad would only be iceberg lettuce.

I’ve mended a couple torn shirts this week. That ensures a bit more wear.

I shopped my closet for an event , found a perfect dress so avoided buying something new.

Mary McMichael

Friday 28th of June 2024

I just completed a week of house/pet sitting for a colleague (I’m retired3yr) I prepare and pack all my own meals. Breakfast is cold or hot cereal; or avocado toast(of course prepared at site); or yogurt/granola all with a serving of fruit Lunch is always a salad w/chix, hard boiled egg, avo, low sodium Cottcheese,dried cranberries, tom, mushrooms tossed with spring mix & romaine and topped with my fav:Ken’s Lite Honey Mustard dressing. Dinners are a choice of quick fajitas (use frozen veggies) or rice stir fry or penne pesto …again all made with chix. Aldi tortilla chips on the side! No desserts… Very little driving once I arrived, as the dog stays on property. I brought my bike to use for errands and exercise(on the local rail to trail)


Tuesday 25th of June 2024

It’s been a post vacation reset week here (back to normal eating, sleeping, exercising, and life maintenance schedules) - it’s been great frugally too: -we have not gotten any take out since we returned from vacation last monday -I have been using up our cucumbers in the garden - pickles, cucumber lemon water, lots of pickle snacks -we decided to use some soil and native wild flower seeds that we already have to fill in a large stump area where we had a tree cut down instead of using sod on it. Less money, time, and water intensive (and better for the environment too). Also spread the mulch from the tree around the yard and did the work myself instead of hiring someone to do it. -I sewed the clothes and stuffies in my mending pile -used the library - free indoor kids event on Sunday, books for the kiddo for the week, signed her up for a reading challenge with prizes, and got my book club book there Some weeks I am crushing frugal life! (Other weeks not so much ;))


Monday 24th of June 2024

Those of us with wide feet never consider anything pointy toe - unless one is sooo vain to wear "in style" footwear and waste money (IMHO) on shoes that are too big. Which is a lesser sin than a woman whose toes hang over the end of an open-toed shoe. Question - the food storage in the new lunch box (carrier) don't look microwave safe to me - are they? I'm picky about what donuts I eat - hard to find French twist anywhere these days. I reserve my donut eating until apple season as the local apple farm has the best apple cider donuts. And occasionally consume donuts made by an organization in the small town where Dad lives. And I have to brag - my Dad made turkey broth out of his turkey carcass - he likes to cook a turkey around February. Then used it (and some chicken broth as he didn't have quite enough) to make himself a couple dozen servings of soup. Plus used poultry meat he'd saved in his freezer as well as veggies - generations of farmer genes persevere. Dad is in his mid-80s.


Monday 24th of June 2024

1. I had to buy a new black dress for a funeral. I found one on clearance that I'll be able to use again. 2. Kid B borrowed a plain black shirt from Kid A for a photo for a performance group. Kid B is also borrowing plain jeans from Kid A for another event. No purchases necessary. 3. I bought only necessary clothing items for the kids to attend the funeral. One kid (Kid B from above) loves to wear neon colors... and had recently outgrown their shoes. Everyone else was either set or needed only 1 item. 4. I accepted a brand new humidifier and a gift card to a gas station that the person didn't think they would go to. 5. I cooked our meals at home. We made coffee at home. We ate food before it could go bad. We accepted a box of gluten free girl scout cookies.

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