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Five Frugal Things | Oy, that exam!

I know…I’m a day late with the Five Frugal Things this week. My friend left on Monday night, and then on Tuesday morning, I had an exam bright and early.

cat on desk.

Not gonna lie, I felt pretty bad when I left that exam room. It was the first exam of my school career where I felt a little blindsided.

I don’t think I failed, but I do think that I’m gonna have to study even harder for this Med-Surg class.

Especially because I talked to some people who failed it last semester, and they said this test is the easiest of them all for this class. OH NO.

Kristen looking surprised.

How we all feel at the thought of an even-harder exam

I did do a ton of studying, but apparently, I need to change strategies a bit. Or something.

I felt deflated for a minute, but then I got into my “What CAN I do?” mode and went home to dig into the prep work for today’s lectures on respiratory disorders and diabetes.

homework papers.

Because we have an exam on those next Monday.

Anyway…I’m a little short on frugal things at the moment, but we’ll see if I can come up with five.

1. I used a Starbucks gift card for a drink and sandwich

My friend Mia and I went out to Starbucks with Sonia, and I used a gift card from my Erie YourTurn rewards to pay for my purchase.

Kristen's hand holding a Starbucks drink.

2. I made a batch of granola

This is not unique or creative, I know…but homemade granola IS pretty cheap, and it doesn’t take long to make either.

granola on yogurt and fruit.

I have not done a price breakdown on my no-stir* granola recipe, but I really, really should. I am curious exactly how it compares to the price of pre-made Aldi granola.

*meaning, “no stirring while baking”. You do have to stir it initially in the mixing bowl!

I mean, if I was willing to separate trail mix into little ingredient piles, I can certainly bring myself to figure out the cost of granola. 😉

3. I used Chick-Fil-A points for a free tea/lemonade

After my competency tests last week, my mouth was as dry as the Sahara, from the nerves. And I didn’t even have my water bottle with me!

So, I broke my years-long streak of never buying food or drinks on campus and ordered a large iced tea/lemonade drink. I used my in-app points for it, so it was free, and oh, it tasted so good.

iced tea.

I regret nothing.

And now I will resume my usual pack-all-the-food-and-drinks pattern. 😉

4. I got some faux black nylon leggings at Five Below

If you have been on Pinterest at all, you’ve probably seen these…they’re fleece-lined leggings, but when you put them on, they look totally like black nylons.

So, you can wear dresses in the winter without having freezing-cold legs!

I’d been wanting to try some for a while, and the ones at Five Below are only $5, of course.

five below leggings.

They look a little weird when you’re not wearing them, but once you put them on, no one would be able to tell they are anything other than black nylons. Kind of crazy!

And since they’re leggings, they’re not gonna run and snag like nylons do.


If you get them from Five Below, I would suggest sizing up; I got the L/XL and they are not remotely loose on me.

5. I made a heels-only grilled cheese

Yesterday when I was poking around my kitchen to see what I should eat for lunch, I noticed that there were two lone whole wheat bread heels.

Soo, I put the heel sides together and made a slightly wonky grilled cheese sandwich for myself.

grilled cheese sandwich.

It wouldn’t win any beauty awards, but it got the job done. 😉

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

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Blue Gate Farmgirl

Thursday 8th of February 2024

I am currently replacing some fence boards for the fence that lines the 1/4 mile driveway, measured all the boards and the neighbor took over to find the best deal using his former contractor tricks. I cut up a neighbor's tree that fell during a wind storm for halvsies. It was equal to 2 1/2 cords. I sharpened my own chainsaw chains saving $15 ea. I bought 3 brand new full containers of rose spray concentrate. We have 65 roses, each container is $25 new and I paid $4 ea. At the same estate sale 3 whiskey barrels that were new for $2 ea, they retail here for $45 on sale. I bought them all. I picked up 2 baseball gloves for my pup, she loves them and they last and last as a chew toy. I picked up some vintage pyrex, sold it to a friend who has a antique mall booth and made $5 profit on each piece. I got an estimate for replacing my whole house a/c and furnace upgrade, now am waiting on my plumber's bil to give me a bid for the work, bartering part of it with our custom locker beef. I found a package of 7 yo elk steak, wasn't sure of the cut, so marinated it in fajita seasoning and instapot cooked it for taco salad meat. Was very tasty and tender.

Dee in AZ

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

Good luck in your class! You got this! The first test is sometimes harder because you don't know how the professor tests.

This is the prescription version of frugal things. Monday I spent a couple hours on the phone/computer trying to get the cost of two of my prescriptions into the affordable realm. I met my maximum out-of-pocket early last year and thus paid $0 copays for prescriptions for much of 2023. That was sweet, but I had forgotten how much a few of them cost. I called my insurance company and asked about coverage. Both are non-preferred drugs and tier 3, whatever that is. I gather it's more expensive than tier 1 and tier 2. So one drug is about $450 per month, and no. I can't do that. I'm only taking it because the generic I was originally taking was unavailable. The insurance person told me that if I could take capsules, they were more readily available in generic at this time. So then I called the doctor's office and asked them to send in a script for that and boom! I picked it up today for only $15! The other drug costs about $350 per month, even after a discount from the drug company. When I talked to the gatekeeper at the doctor's office to ask about samples, she asked if I had applied for the patient assistance program. No, I hadn't, because in my experience they do not provide that if you have insurance, even if the drug is still expensive with your insurance. But I found the form online and checked, and it seems that I'm still eligible. So I filled that out and dropped it off at the doctor's office the next day. I asked the gatekeeper if she had checked to see if they had some samples for me and she brought out four week's worth! Last week she very grudgingly gave me one week's worth, so I thanked her very much. I really have to work to keep my cool around her, so I was pretty proud of myself. So I had good experiences with her and also the woman at the insurance company, who went out of her way to help me. I always dread calling them, but honestly customer service people have gotten nicer and more helpful in the past few years. I also noticed that on my insurance card it says I have OTC benefits. I tried to find out more about that on their website, with no luck. I'll have to call again. That would be handy to be able to get some over-the-counter meds, band aids, stuff like that.

Today is my birthday, but my stomach was a little upset, so I didn't even try to go to Denny's. I may check to see if I can get a free breakfast in the next few days. And when I do, I'm going to finally check out Winco, which is just down the street. They sent me a coupon for free bacon with $25 purchase. I did a pick-up order at Fry's for senior discount day and got some good bargains with coupons and my 10% senior discount. And they gave me a coupon for a free carton of Ben & Jerry's! I avoided the cheap vegetable market for over a week and saved about $10 by not buying a loaf of sourdough bread and a package of chocolate covered espresso beans. Of course, I didn't have any lettuce either, but I survived.


Thursday 8th of February 2024

You are doing a great job of handling the prescription problems. Yay you!

Dee in AZ

Thursday 8th of February 2024

@Dee in AZ, I just remembered that my electric bill is due today. I paid it on my phone with 21 minutes to spare. Whew!


Wednesday 7th of February 2024

1. We made all our meals at home and used up foods. 2. We enjoyed free entertainment all week. 3. I keep using the free version of Duolingo, even though it sometimes frustrates me. 4. I picked up my reward for reading challenge through the library. It's a gift card to the coffee shop inside the library. I can't wait to use it. 5. I borrowed some books for free through the Libby app.

Katy in Africa

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

I might get those leggings for my daughter! Thanks for the tip!

1. I used Kayak to get a cheap hotel. $58 for the 4 of us. Sure, the breakfast was small, they only had decaf coffee in the room and we saw a bug...but honestly for $58, I'd do it again. 2. I got a cart full of food for $110. My strategies were to buy lots of fresh veggies and to shop a lot of the sales. Packaged pre-made food isn't very bulky and doesn't carry a lot of nutritional punch. 3. Snapped pictures of reciepts for fetch rewards. 4. My kids were each given a gift, I kept the giftbags and tissue paper the gifts came in. 5. Vegetarian day today. toast for breakfast, bean and cheese burritos and salad for lunch and grilled cheese sandwiches and carrots for supper.

Erika JS

Wednesday 7th of February 2024

Keeping my fingers crossed that your test grade will be better than you think. Either way, we’ve all been there and rebounded as I’m completely sure you will too, if needed. But, yeah…I really hope you don’t need to….

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