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Five Frugal Things | paint, water, binders, shampoo, salad!

1. I got my Benjamin Moore paint for $10 cheaper

I’d have thought Benjamin Moore paint was about the same price wherever you go. But nope!

gray paint.

A Benjamin Moore retailer near me apparently sells it for $10 more per quart than a local hardware store does.

I’m glad I called around before I bought it, because now I know never to buy my Benjamin Moore paint from that first paint store anymore!

2. I watered my plants with dehumidifier and salad spinner water

It’s actually been a bit dry here of late, so even my bigger outdoor pots were getting a bit dry.

So, I dumped my salad spinner water in one of the pots.

waterp ouring into a pot.

And I carried my dehumidifier water upstairs from the basement and dumped it in the other pots.

I don’t know exactly why, but this ol’ house I’m renting seems to get more muggy than other houses I’ve lived in.

So I’m grateful to have this dehumidifier. It regularly fills the big holding tank, and I am amazed to think about how all that water was just hanging around in the air. 

3. I got Maui Moisture products for a total of $4.72

I wrote a whole post about my CVS strategies here, in case you want a quick peek at what I do.

In this case, I bought two Maui Moisture products on sale for buy one, get one 40% off.

shower shelf.

I picked the bottles that had 50% more product free (so that’s like getting a whole free bottle when you buy two!).

two bottles of Maui Moisture.

Then I used my $10 Carepass and a $5 prescription reward, so my out-of-pocket was $4.72 for the equivalent of three bottles of Maui Moisture shampoo/conditioner.

Even if you add in the $4/month I pay for my Carepass, that’s still only $2.90/bottle, which is much cheaper even than you can pay on Amazon.

And this took me only a few minutes; the deals were in my app and the CVS is right by my house.

4. I bought Zoe some Better Binders

She needed some school supplies (her semester starts today!) so we stopped by Staples. I went there on purpose because I know Staples sells some very sturdy binders.

Better Binder on the left, obviously

They’re called Better Binders, and they used to come with a lifetime guarantee. I think Staples decided that was a bit much to offer, so they no longer come with that guarantee.

However, they ARE still really good binders; the two I bought years ago are holding up very well. Zoe needed some skinnier ones, though, so now she’s got a set that will carry her for years.

You know how the vinyl-coated binders peel, and then your only recourse is to try to hold them together with tape?

taped vinyl binder.

Better Binders are made of a thick, solid piece of material, so there’s no thin coating to peel off. So much better!

Also, you know how typical vinyl binders come apart at the sides of the spine? I’ve never had a Better Binder do that!

(See the photo above.)

They’re about $10/apiece unless you find a sale, but I think they’re worth the extra money since you don’t need to replace them repeatedly.

(I am not affiliated with Staples or their Better Binders. I just think they’re an awesome product.)

5. I cobbled together a salad dinner for Zoe and me

I’d made chicken fingers the previous night, but I left some of them unfried in the fridge for future use. Fresh-fried is always better than reheated-fried!

breaded chicken strips.

So, last night I fried those up (using the strained oil from the previous night, of course) and sliced them on top of a salad made of greens, the last of a cucumber, some cheese cubes, and the last of the cilantro.

salad in a white bowl.

And to add some more crunch, I used some of my freezer-challenge hot dog buns to make some croutons.

croutons on tin foil.

Zoe and I ate our salads while watching Pride and Prejudice together (the 1995 version OF COURSE). And Miss Shelly joined us. 😉

tuxedo cat.

Bonus: I have enough leftovers from dinner to pack a lunch for a long day at school today.

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

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Wednesday 30th of August 2023

My frugal things this last week, including today. Swell is having another 25% site wide for Labor day weekend & the Rose ice cream chiller was back in stock & got limited edition emerald green tumbler was still on sale (& then took additional 25% off also) free personalization for teen for xmas gift. Then used Racketen and my Swell reward points for additional $40 off & got total down to 50+% off. Now have few additional ice cream containers for teen on own items when moves out after college. Sucked it up & paid full shipping on hard to find swell large snack container found for half off retail. Perfect size for fruit or side salad.

Used Subway coupon for 3 foot long subs for $20 (instead of $30) because both us so tired & nothing quick except PBJ (teen doesn't like but I love). Teen ate 1 1/2 sub & saved rest for quick after school snack while cooking other food. He eats lunch at 11am & fitness training last class so starving at 3pm when get home.

Had my teeth cleaned (paid $5) & scheduled next appointment for filings (paid $25 each for 2 out of 3 because need additional appointment). Been cool (40-50 degrees at night) & only 70 daytime so no central air or fans. Have not turned on heat, instead got out blankets & kept doors closed after dinner. Cooked from home most days so used stove which warmed up inside house.

Have not gone almost anywhere this last week so not much gas usage. Good since gas almost $4/gallon. Also have not been to grocery store in 2 weeks so less spending there also. But got great deals online on upcoming gifts for holidays.

Teen birthday last weekend & didn't want to go anywhere. Already had his gift & ended up taking steak out of freezer & grilled (warmest day) with pie from freezer for dessert.


Wednesday 30th of August 2023

We had family stay with us which put a dent in grocery budget this week. Also a dent in my coffee budget (they caffeinate!).

1. Got 2 self-watering planters for $25 & Gent plans to build one at some point, but for now this is very in budget.

2. Got 3 plant pots for $10 from a neighbor, for the front (flowers only). And a free planter from my trip last week. It needs some love & mending but otherwise sturdy.

3. Revamped my Autumn wardrobe, got 5 sweaters at Goodwill & found a tall size gap dress for under $4! Tall dresses are hard to find at thrift stores.

4. Used stale bread to make 2 French toast casseroles for migraine days.

5. A friend mailed me a wall calendar & a pocket calendar which were both things I needed!

Love seeing the cat pictures!


Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Seems like all I've done lately is spend, BUT I am being mindful about it. I got a bonus at work so I replaced two very scratched and wonky frying pans in my kitchen, ordering some that were highly rated. I'm still making 99% of my meals at home and keeping my thermostat at a reasonable temp. But I'm also driving a lot lately, so I think its all evening out. ):


Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Making your meals at home is a HUGE win. And good pans are an investment in that effort. I approve. :)

Cindy Brick

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Has anyone ever told you how much we love your 5 Frugal Things posts?? I do! :)

And yes, I liked the 1995 version of P & P (that Mr. Darcy makes my heart flutter) -- but I really liked Pride & Prejudice with Zombies! You and Zoe would, too. Honest.

5 frugal things: *Did an appraisal session -- exhausting. Six items. But I still didn't stop and buy a drink/lunch/snack. And it was hot here. *Got a number of kids' books for our nephews & nieces (50 cents each), a whole set of Harry Potter videos for Daughter's Christmas ($2/$3 each)...and a thrift shop painting for myself for $10. I'll be asking a friend to paint in a few Bigfoot in this snow scene. *Several treasure hunting books in the mail -- $5 each, plus free shipping. (These usually run about $15 each.) *Some fabric from Ebay -- $6-7 yard. (Have you SEEN how much cotton prints are going for, nowadays?) *Came home and made boxed mac & cheese, livened up with a can of chicken I got on sale. It was delicious -- and I didn't have to cook much, because I was tired.

So there you go, Kristen. Here's hoping your nursing classes are not only easy, but stimulating!

Heidi Louise

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

@Cindy Brick, Having a small cluster of Yeti together is very unusual! Will make your painting even more valuable.


Wednesday 30th of August 2023

1. I posted some items to sell on our local FB garage sale group and sold a few more things totaling $60. 2. Used the Too Good to Go app to buy a couple bags of day old cookies and scones/muffins (from 2 different places) for snacks and breakfast, saving at least $13-19 for what was in the bags vs. regular price. 3. Bought 2 books my son needed for English class from the library book sales for 50 cents each! Ordered the rest of the required books (used) from Better World Books, signed up for their mailing list for an extra 20% off code then later unsubscribed. 4. My husband had to mail a large envelope of papers to his mom and I found some old 37 cent stamps while cleaning out my parents' house, so I used 4 of the stamps and paid less than 50 cents in the difference (although I should have just added one more stamp and would have covered it all!). 5. Dropped off several loads of donations to several local charities last week. Most of them were things I'm still cleaning out from my parents' house but I'm happy to send it where it can be used.


Wednesday 30th of August 2023

@DebbieR, my mother-in-law passed away over 30 years ago leaving a stamp collection that had been decades in the making. We sold what we could, nothing valuable, and gave a chunk to my friend's teenage son for his collection. A lot of what was left had gotten damp and stuck to the envelope so I carefully soaked them off and used them up for the next couple of years, even the one cent stamps.

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