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Five Frugal Things | I almost didn’t write this one

I almost did not sit down to write a blog post today; it has been a WEEK on the school front for me.

Today I have my fourth exam in a week’s time, so I haven’t really been doing anything terribly impressive on the frugal front…I have just been studying and doing homework.

Kristen, looking tired.

This was last fall, but it’s an accurate depiction of how I feel after this many exams.

Also, I feel like I have been hemorrhaging money lately because I had to pay quarterly federal and state taxes, plus a $1000 annual blog expense bill came due, plus I’m gonna have to fill my oil tank (see below)…annnnd then I took my van in for an oil change and got the news that I also need new front and rear brake pads.

(Because OF COURSE.)

Costco gas pumping opposite side

Weeks like these make small frugalities feel a little bit pointless, but I know it’s true that long-standing patterns of smart spending are what make you able to weather clusters of bills.

It’s annoying to have all these expenses at the same time, but I have the money to cover them and I feel thankful for that.

Anyway! Let’s see what I can come up with.

1. I made cinnamon bread with milk I’d frozen

two loaves of cinnamon bread.

We had somehow gotten two containers of milk open at the same time, and the one in the back of the fridge had gotten slightly old, so I threw it in the freezer.

This week, I thawed it out and made two loaves of cinnamon bread with it, and that made my girls happy.

2. I got a free vintage soap dish from my Buy Nothing group

I thought it might be interesting to try using bar soap instead of liquid soap (it seems like it’s a cheaper option, and also less wasteful), so when someone listed a free soap dish, I picked it up on my way home.

3. I used a Chipotle gift card for a free takeout meal

I had enough Fetch reward points for a gift card, so I redeemed them and got a free meal for the girls and me.

chipotle bowls

(Fetch is a receipt-scanning app like Ibotta. Click here to sign up, and if there’s a spot to enter a code, try QG8V2 and you might get some more bonus points as well.)

4. I called around for oil prices

I’ve never had oil heat in my life before, so this is a 100% new experience for me. But my tank is at about a quarter full, and winter is coming, so even I know I need to get it filled.

So I have been calling around to different companies to check prices and I was surprised that the price per gallon can vary as much as a dollar. That’s a big difference if you are getting 100 gallons of oil!

5. I switched to a cheaper business checking account

I initially had one with PNC, but man, it seemed like every time I turned around, they were charging me fees.

So, I reached out to Joel and Matt from How to Money, and they recommended a Bluevine business checking account.

Kristen with Joel and Matt from How to Money.

Me with Joel and Matt at Fincon 2021

So I opened one up and I have been much happier with it. No more random $15 fees!

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

P.S. In case you are worried: I am definitely not getting sold a bill of goods when it comes to my van’s brake pads. The shop I go to is super honest; I would trust them with my life.

Ok, maybe not my life. But I feel a million percent sure I can trust them when they say my car needs some kind of service. 😉

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Monday 31st of October 2022

I switched to Dove bar soap a couple years ago and found that I liked it better than liquid soap. It's much cheaper, lathers up nicely with my loofah sponge, there's little, if any plastic waste, and the paper box it comes in can easily be recycled or composted. The only downside is that I find I have to clean the shower floor a little more often due to some soap residue, but it's not a drastic difference from how I was cleaning before.


Tuesday 25th of October 2022

So I have never heated with oil, but let’s say there is still your oil in the tank when you move. Do you as a tenant get reimbursed for it? Just curious how that works


Tuesday 25th of October 2022

Yep! They made a note of how full it was when I moved in, and they will buy back any difference from me when I move out.


Thursday 20th of October 2022

Five Frugal things: 1) I made a VAT of minestrone soup (enough for a week) from a "garbage dump" from emptying my fridge Soup has fennel, garlic, onions, carrots, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, peas, kale, celery, summer squash, zucchini, in a veggie broth with a can of whole tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Served with homemade rosemary bread-- 2) ended a Starz subscription we were not using Thinking of using that app that finds subscriptions for you and deletes unused ones. Called Rock something? I HATE paying for stuff we do not use that I am unaware of-- 3) got a small grant to cover entry fees for manuscript competitions 4) Got the last ? three tomatoes from the garden 5) Baked bread ($2 flour, pennies for yeast, free water) Saved maybe $10

Julie from GJ

Thursday 20th of October 2022

I like five frugal's a good reminder to myself that I am making good decisions when I can! We...did not buy anything except gas and a round of golf (with a discount!) on our recent camping trip. We took all our own food and drinks.

I have been comparing prices at Walmart/Sam's/City Market lately to make sure I'm getting the best deal. I love being able to open the Sam's app while I'm in Walmart or City Market to see the cost difference!

We had leftover roasted brussels sprouts with our pizza last night because they needed to be eaten. No food waste!

I am making pesto today with what is almost the last batch of herbs from the garden. Yesterday I roasted and froze some tomatoes that were getting wrinkly and some peppers too.

Used $5 rewards at PetCo last week when I bought kibble for the kitties.

Heidi Louise

Thursday 20th of October 2022

@Julie from GJ, "it’s a good reminder to myself that I am making good decisions when I can!" What you wrote is so true-- being frugal is making decisions, not just letting things happen to you.


Thursday 20th of October 2022

One frugal thing, I suppose! Last night I found a packet of filet mignon marked down half price due to the date, so $16 instead of $30. I brought them home and broiled them for dinner and it was SO GOOD. Maybe not totally frugal, but I don’t do that often so win win for me and my son LOL!

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