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Five Frugal Things | snap!

See item #5 for the snapped-key situation. 😉

broken key for honda civic.

1. I cut up some bread odds and ends

You know how that last bun, or the ends of a loaf of bread often sit there, forgotten and neglected?

I cut those up and froze them, and I will probably turn them into croutons one night this week, to go on top of a salad.

bread cubes on a cutting board.

Freezing food is a great strategy to prevent waste, as long as you remember that you actually froze the food and that you need to use it up.

So that’s why I’m planning to make the croutons this week. I will remember my bread cubes for at least a few days.

In a few months, though? I might forget!

By the way, to make croutons, I usually saute the bread cubes with butter until they’re slightly toasted and well coated, and then I bake them in my toaster oven until they’re crispy. You can also use other fats, such as olive oil.

2. I made pudding with my extra milk

I do sometimes employ other milk-waste-avoidance strategies (like buying half gallons), but this time I’d bought a whole gallon from Sam’s Club, and the last bit was smelling very slightly off.

chocolate pudding.

Sooo, I made a batch of this fuss-free chocolate pudding.

Zoe and I both love chocolate pudding, and as we have established before, the slight milk sourness is totally undetectable in pudding.

Also: I’m gonna put in another plug for dark chocolate cocoa powder. (Amazon link, but you should be able to find it cheaper at your local grocery store)

Dark cocoa powder improves everything I make with it, like:

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

If you are the sort of person who likes their chocolate ice cream to be so dark brown that it’s almost black, you are gonna love this cocoa powder!

3. I baked my sweet potatoes in my toaster oven

Typically, I try to bake a batch of sweet potatoes when my oven is already hot from something else. I know a grand portion of the electricity an oven uses is consumed by the initial heating process, so it’s not a big deal to keep it running once it’s already hot.

sweet potatoes in a toaster oven.

But this week, I didn’t have any other oven plans, and I thought, “Hmm, I could probably bake these in the toaster oven!”

I did some googling to confirm that it is, in fact, cheaper to keep a toaster oven on for 45 minutes as compared to an oven, and I was right.

(Part of me wondered if the toaster oven only has an electricity advantage for short baking periods!)

pan of baked sweet potatoes.

Anyway. This is pretty small beans in terms of cost savings, but I thought I’d throw it out there, just for information’s sake.

Right now, I’m not concerned about heating my house up from either the toaster oven or the regular oven, but…in the summertime, I’m gonna try putting my sweet potatoes in the crock pot.

Crock pots are stupid cheap to run, and they do not heat a house up, which is important when we’re running air conditioning.

4. I made chicken broth

I was getting tired of having to move the two rotisserie chicken carcasses out of the way every time I wanted to go freezer spelunking (which we know I do on the regular!)

So, I used my tried and true method to make a pot of chicken broth, and now I have containers of broth in my freezer instead of bulky chicken carcasses.

Much better for spelunking purposes. 🙂

5. I ordered a cheaper replacement key for Zoe

When she and I first got the Civic that she drives, it only came with one key. So, I ordered a new electronic key to have as a backup, and man, those things are expensive (like, over $100!)

Also, it took months and months to come in, because they were having supply chain issues.

I’m really glad I ordered that, though, because Zoe’s original key broke the other day! I think the plastic was just old, so when she tried to remove the key from the ignition, it snapped in two.

broken Honda civic key.

Luckily, she was still able to remove the key part from the ignition!

So, she’s using the replacement key that I bought a while back. I went to our mechanic and had them place an order for a plain key, without the remote.

That’s gonna be way cheaper, and since it’s just a backup key, it doesn’t matter if it has a remote built in.

Also, I’m going to keep the broken key around because the remote part does still work and that means it can be useful if Zoe locks her keys in her car.

(In case you were wondering: you cannot just go to Home Depot and have a replacement key cut for a key style like this. I have explored that option before!)

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

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Friday 29th of March 2024

Try can plug in your make and model and get an off-brand FOB. We do this for all of our cars...each is over 5 years old so I don't know if this makes a difference.


Friday 22nd of March 2024

Have you considered using superglue to glue the key back together?!

Chris b

Thursday 21st of March 2024

1. I made a big kettle of chicken soup after a meal of chicken and 2 work lunches of chicken for son. This is using 5 lbs of 79 cents per pound leg quarters. The soup lasts 3 meals. 2. I did my son's and our taxes...all those forms, but big savings. 3..I love volunteering for days for girls making liners and making disaster relief quilts at churches. 4. I listen to lots of free books on Libby app. 5. I make flavored rice with spices and flavored cheese. 6. Got free Doritos with coupon at Pick n Save.


Thursday 21st of March 2024

I don’t know if someone else has mentioned/can’t remember if you own a microwave, but you can also microwave sweet potatoes! I’d be curious how that lines up for power use with the toaster oven. Poke them all over with a fork, put them on a plate, and cook for…usually I do 5+ minutes for a medium potato, more like 7-8 if I have 2 or 3, can always stab with a fork to see if they’re soft and then give another couple minutes if not.

Heidi Louise

Thursday 21st of March 2024

@Kristen, I haven't experimented with any of these; just writing to note that starting potatoes in the microwave, then switching to the oven or toaster oven might give you the texture you want, as well as some time savings.


Thursday 21st of March 2024

Yes! A microwave is def a cheap option and I've done that a lot in the past. But I do feel like the texture of the potato is better when it's actually baked. Do you notice a difference?


Thursday 21st of March 2024

Follow up for anyone curious: microwave ovens appear to generally be less power per hour to run than toaster ovens AND you’re using for much less time, so the actual power use for something like cooking a sweet potato is substantially lower. Fascinating!

Becca C

Thursday 21st of March 2024

Thankful for our mini vacation to the indoor waterpark. March in Wisconsin is cold, wet, windy, and brown and gray so a little break to splash around and ride water slides is so much appreciated!

Thankful my kids are getting old enough to enjoy chapter books. We are reading the Little House series aloud and it is just such a joy to experience the stories together and talk about them.

Thankful for this blog and community. I appreciate your writing so much and I hope you know what a difference you make.

Thankful that my dad’s PSA level came back really low. No more treatments for him so far. He does have to have it checked again in the future but for now he is good.

Thankful for black coffee. It is such a simple little thing but the routine of a hot cup in the morning is so comforting.

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