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Five Frugal Things | I have a new painting project

1. I picked up a free bookshelf for Sonia’s room

Which means…I have a new painting project.

bookshelf before painting

The original owner started to do chalk paint, so I’m gonna have to remove that.

I am a glutton for punishment.

And also I cannot say no to free, paint-able furniture. 😉

In my defense, I had been actually shopping for a paint-able bookshelf to buy on Facebook Marketplace. So when a free one popped up, “yes” was the obvious answer.

2. I made some skillet croutons

I wanted something crunchy for the top of my carrot soup and so I cut up a dry bread end into cubes.

We had two little packets of butter from a muffin one of my girls had gotten from Panera.  I melted those in a skillet, added the bread cubes, and toasted them until they resembled croutons.

melted butter

Apologies for the grainy phone photos here. My SLR battery was dead!

They’re not quite as crunchy as oven-baked croutons, but they worked out just fine.

croutons on top of carrot soup

Again, a non-SLR photo.

3. I packed a lunch and coffee for my parent duties

Zoe’s tutorial requires two parents to sign up each week to do sanitizing, temperature checks, and mask enforcement, and this week it was my turn to be there all day. 

You can get food (and coffee!) delivered there, but I packed a sandwich and put some coffee in my travel mug.

And I was reminded how nice it is to eat lunch at my own house almost every day. Food freshly made is always better than packed food.

4. I painted a shelf for Zoe’s closet

Mr. FG is working on redoing Zoe’s closet storage and he bought a big board to be her main shelf.

I primed and painted it with the same materials I used to paint my kitchen cabinets and also the furniture in Sonia and Zoe’s rooms.

(Namely, Zinnser primer and Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Cloud White.)

white painted closet shelf

So, that one gallon of Advance paint I’ve bought has covered two beds, a dresser, two nightstands, and a shelf now.

A gallon of this paint costs $80-$90, so it’s pretty expensive paint. But obviously the coverage is pretty darn good if I’ve painted this many items with it.

Compared to the cost of new furniture, an $80 bucket of paint is a seriously good deal.

Sonia's white bed

I mean, even one new white twin bed would have cost far more than $80!

5. I came up with a last-minute dinner plan

On Monday night, I intended to serve a chicken dish that required marinating for 24 hours.

But on Sunday night, guess what I did not do?

(Marinate the chicken.)

So on Monday night, after spending the day at Zoe’s tutorial, I poked around my fridge and pantry to see what I could come up with.

We had pasta alfredo with chicken, a salad, and homemade French bread left from Sunday night’s dinner.

leftover French bread

Sonia had her pasta with tomato sauce, since I have not figured out a good milk/cheese/nut-free Alfredo sauce for her yet.

What frugal things have you been up to lately? Share your frugal five in the comments!

P.S. When I mention it, people always wonder, “What’s a homeschool tutorial?”

Basically, it’s like college classes for homeschooled kids. You go once or twice a week, depending on the tutorial, and then you do the assigned work at home for the rest of the week. Tutorials are very popular for high school classes such as chemistry or higher math. My girls usually take a couple of classes at the tutorial and then do the rest of their classes at home.

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Friday 13th of November 2020

1. I’ve been making Christmas gifts. This year I want to make all my gifts. So far I have completed 10 gifts for under $80. That’s a great savings in my book. 2. My dryer quit working the other day. I looked up the troubleshooting guide on the internet and we were able to repair what was wrong without calling a repairman. 3. We have not been eating out at all. I’ve been cooking more at home and I’ve been more intentional about using leftovers. 4. Not only have I been making Christmas gifts, I’ve been. making Christmas decorations. I love crafting. 5. I have lost quite a bit of weight due to a medical condition. (I’m not complaining about the weight loss.). I altered my pants and jeans to accommodate the loss instead of buying new clothes.


Wednesday 11th of November 2020

I (finally) sold something on Craigslist! After the effort it takes me to list something, I get discouraged at the lack of responses, the flaky responses, being stood up, and the outright lies from people who respond (you really expect me to believe that you got a flat on the way over and then decide to never talk to me again?). I sold 4 sets of canning-related items to one dude for $200 total.

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I saved most of a melon. I lost it the back of fridge; when I found it it had lots of moldy spots. But I resisted the temptation to throw the whole thing out, instead cutting out the bad spots.

The usual brown-bagging, programmable thermostat, inventorying fridge, freezer, and cabinets, and so on.


Wednesday 11th of November 2020

It's such a good feeling when something sells, isn't it??


Wednesday 11th of November 2020

In reference to the need for Dairy free Alfredo...we use the Daiya brand. Yes, it's pre-packaged & not cheap but it's the best I've found over years of living dairy free. And if I only use it once or twice a month it's not horrible cost wise.


Wednesday 11th of November 2020

1. Working on the mini habits that save money over the long term like if the water is too hot turning down the hot instead of upping the cold, going to bed earlier - this isn't to save money but to get more out of life, but a side effect is not using lights/heating /cooling for as long. Working out how little I need to use for products to get the result I want e.g. I only need 1 squirt of shampoo or conditioner (mine come in a pump pack) 2. Buying less groceries is really working for me; I have a much better handle on what I've got & I feel way more motivated to use it which is great 3. Wanted KFC but came home & nuked a plate of corn chips with cheese, topped with red beans in chilli oil, avocado, blobs of greek yogurt, & drizzled with sriracha, was really yum. 4. Came home to find a neighbour had anonymously mowed my overgrown nature strip; so grateful - I do have a manual mower but it had got too long for that so I was going to pay someone to mow. 5. Took bottled water to work 5.


Wednesday 11th of November 2020

Oh, yay for a helpful neighbor!


Tuesday 10th of November 2020

1. I sold a hanging light I found in the trash for $120. I also sold some hiking boots for $25. I found some vintage planters in another person's trash this weekend that look to be worth about $250. I listed a Kayak carrier and a vintage toy we weren't using on Marketplace. If they sell that will be an extra $70. 2. Picked up a pair of Nike sneakers off Buy Nothing that won't fit my son for a few years, but are in great condition. 3. Signed up for benefits through my employer during enrollment period, which means comparing my benefits to my husband's. Why do they make it so hard to compare plans?? 4. My daughter turned 2 today. We made tacos for her birthday dinner (using some homemade salsa I had frozen) and brownies for dessert. We hung birthday signs, from Family Dollar, that we have been using for years. And gave her 2 toys I had gotten from Buy Nothing. She had a blast! 5. Found a large mum at someone's curb that I will plant in my garden


Wednesday 11th of November 2020

Corrine, so impressed with your whole list. You have quite the eagle eye for scrounging and reselling or reusing.

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