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Five Frugal Things | Even though it’s Cyber Monday!

tea in white mug

I know it’s Cyber Monday today, but I felt like writing a frugal post instead of a deals post. 😉

1. Mr. FG and I made a fresh new budget.

As with all fresh new budgets, this one will need a month or two of test-driving to see if it’s right for us or if we need to tweak a few things.

But at least we have a baseline for tweaking.

2. We picked out a new healthcare plan.

Missing open enrollment at work is the opposite of a frugal move!

So we dove in, sorted through the various plans, did some calculations, and chose the plan that seems the most realistically frugal for our family.

(Realistically frugal as in: not the rock bottom plan with a gianormous deductible. Because that only ends up being frugal if you almost never go to a doctor/therapist/specialist other than for preventative appointments. And with six people on a plan, the odds of that are low.)

It’s always a bit of a gamble, picking a plan, because you can never know what will crop up healthwise over the course of a year.

tuxedo cat

completely unrelated photo inserted to avoid too much uninterrupted text

3. I helped Sonia make a pair of pajama pants.

The first pair was a little pricier because we had to buy the pack of elastic, the thread, the pattern, and the fabric (using a coupon, of course.)

fleece pajama pants

But each subsequent pair should only cost $11, and we plan to have a pajama-making party with one of the girls’ cousins.

(This was the test pair so we could figure out sizing for the pajama party.)

4. I made a PT appointment for myself.

My left shoulder has been bothering me, and normally maybe I’d wait to get it looked at just to see if it works itself out because December is not a time I look for extra things to do!

BUT we met our deductible this year, and it resets on December 31st.

So I figured that if I’m going to have some PT appointments, I might as well make time for them in December.

5. I did not buy all the Ikea Christmas decorations.

We made a trip yesterday to pick up a desk for Zoe, and they have such lovely Christmas things there right now.

But I did not buy any, since I already have plenty!

Your turn! Share your Five Frugal Things in the comments.

P.S. If you take advantage of Cyber Monday deals today, don’t forget to sign up for Rakuten (double cash back today), and also enter in the $100 Rakuten giveaway I am running.

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Tuesday 8th of March 2022

Hi Kristen Have you ever shared your budget spreadsheet? I'm trying to create one but could some tips and wonder if you might share your shell and what works for your family when setting it up each year


Tuesday 8th of March 2022

I don't actually have a budget spreadsheet. We tend to use targeted savings accounts to set aside money for non-monthly expenses (so we have a vacation savings account, a clothing savings account, etc.)


Tuesday 10th of December 2019

I've never commented before, but I find these Five Frugal Things lists so inspiring!

Hmm, do I have 5?

1. I resisted the urge to buy a breakfast treat when purchasing coffee before an offsite meeting. I even made sure to keep to the simple coffee (~$2 instead of the $6 monstrosities I love)

2. Brought a reusable water bottle (that I got for free from a free alumni event) to work so I would stop buying seltzer from the bodega in my office building. No single use plastic, and save $1.50 each day.

3. Bought a pillow I've had my eye on through my neighborhood pre-loved facebook group. $5 instead of $30 from amazon.

4. Counted and wrapped my and my SO's loose change jar. (over $100!!)

5. Bought a cheep used copy of the book for a book club I am joining for the first time next month. I am also using my library app to listen to the audiobook, but I may want to refer back and i like having a hard copy for that. (the e-book from the library has a 6 week wait list)

WOO! Can't wait for the next one!

Marisa Mitchell

Wednesday 4th of December 2019

1. My husband ran into a curb in icy weather last month and went in for a wheel alignment. When I was looking at the bill for it after he got it home, I realized that he'd paid $85 for the alignment, having forgotten that we had gotten a lifetime alignment package on the car almost 10 years ago. I called last week to ask if it could be refunded, and then went in yesterday with my card to have it processed. I'm just so impressed I remembered over the course of weeks to do it!! 2. We've kept that base model vehicle that we got used for a smoking price for 10 years. I picked it and drove it the first 4 years, but my husband has been the primary driver since then and wants an upgrade. I've been resistant since it still works well BUT we have money to pay cash, and we've gotten a great cost per use on that vehicle. 3. I called our car insurance company to find out how much insurance would be on replacement vehicles, just in case there was a wild difference that would influence a decision between them. 4. I borrowed jewelry rings from a friend to replace a zipper pull on my wristlet/wallet, and re-stitched the strap that had come unraveled. 5. We got a 5-year warranty plan when we bought our new washer and dryer ... 5 years ago. The plastic connectors on the washer knob broke this summer and I put off calling in a claim on our warranty because summer = fun time but FINALLY called it in last week before the warranty expires and I'd have to pay out of pocket. They should be coming out Friday to make the repair.


Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

I only bought stuff we needed on black Friday/monday. The kids are outgrowing their snowpants and gloves already and had no luck looking secondhand. 50% off Lands End for the win. We recieved the better part of 16 inches in the last 48 hours so non optional. I ended needing new winter clothes (also no luck secondhand) and was able to for a reasonable amount and have a $20 coupon that l will use for pajamas. We made a list of needs and didn't deviate from it so l think we made black Friday work for us.


Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

That's a fantastic way to use Black Friday sales!


Tuesday 3rd of December 2019

Very good timing for a frugal post. I could not fall asleep last night because of the anxiety of spending on Christmas. We never do anything over the top, and yet I feel the weight of expectations as we live far away from family and my culture, and I feel like it's all on my to create the magic of the season. I need to de-stress!

Frugal things achieved so far:

1. Traveled to Orlando, FL for Thanksgiving and managed to avoid all things Disney without really planning to. We skipped the amusement parks as we did not want to spend hundreds of dollars to stand in line for a couple of hours per ride, and our kids were not too disappointed as they were having a lot of fun with their cousins. Instead, we found several awesome nature parks to explore with hiking, biking and alligator and manatee sightings. Way less sensory overload, simple and natural.

2. While traveling all week, cooked mostly in-house, baked bread and packed snacks for the long car rides.

3. On our trip, we stopped to explore the Spanish fortifications at St. Augustine. We got in free (savings of $45) as we brought our 4th-graders' national park passes with us (courtesy of a friendly ranger who reminded us of this benefit at our last national park).

4. No Black Friday shopping or other shopping last week. Did buy one Lego online on Cyber Monday which was a great deal.

5. Before our trip, worked extra hours on freelance gigs, putting away all money earned for savings until I've paid the taxes on these.

P.S. I selected a high-deductible healthcare plan for myself for the first time ever, after making all the calculations. The deductible and out-of-pocket maximum limit were low enough to make the difference worth it. In my previous plan, I was paying for higher premiums plus co-payments on top of it.


Wednesday 4th of December 2019

Kristina it's hard being far from family & culture - I love listening to & singing Christmas carols - I especially love to do this when baking or wrapping presents it makes the whole house feel festive & Christmassy in the car - look up an unexpected Christmas (the Auckland N & utting up decorations ew Zealand version)

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