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Five Frugal Things | the small things aren’t pointless

1. I filled out a Nielsen survey

I got an envelope from them with two visible dollar bills in it. Soooo, I opened it and found a little survey to mail in.

nielsen survey envelope.

I took a minute to fill it out, popped it in the mail, and I will get another $5 from them for my time.

two dollar bills.

Sometimes these small frugalities feel pointless to me because I am currently hemorrhaging money in the direction of my lawyer.

Like, ok, great, I’m getting $7, but I have paid my lawyer WAY MORE than $7.

However…what I know is that I will not need to pay a lawyer forever.

And my frugal habits are part of what will help me to rebuild financially after all this is over.

So. It is not a waste to still be frugal. It’ll all pay off eventually!

2. I got some blue plates for free

Someone on my Buy Nothing group was offering some blue dishes and I said, “Oooooh, yes please!”

blue and white dinner plates stacked on a shelf.

So now I have a few blue plates to go along with my white ones, and I’m pleased about that.

3. I got some candleholders from my Buy Nothing group


I didn’t need these. But if I’m gonna obtain something I don’t NEED, then the Buy Nothing group is a good place to do it!

lit candleholders.

I’ve gotten a lot of necessary things from my Buy Nothing group, of course…like silverware. And the afore-mentioned plates.

flatware in a drawer.

But sometimes I pick up things that are just nice to have.

Plant pots.

rehabbed free pots.


(here’s the post that has a “before” photo of this bookshelf that is rather shocking.)

shelf in Kristen's house.

That blue bowl is also from my Buy Nothing group! And do you spy the Buy Nothing white pot up on top?

A wall mirror.

Wood-framed wall mirror above bed.

These are things that just help make my house feel a little bit more cozy and homey.

It’s a slow way to decorate, but over time, my patient watching and waiting has gotten me a lot of lovely things for my house.

4. I softened some hardened honey

I had a bottle of honey that had gotten crystallized, so I put it into a bowl of hot water, with a bowl on top to weigh it down.

honey-softening apparatus.

And after a few minutes, the honey was soft enough for me to pour it into a bowl for future use. Sweet!

5. I made lots of use-it-up breakfasts

My last Hungry Harvest box gave me quite a few jalapenos and avocados, so I’ve been eating scrambled eggs with jalapenos, with avocados on the side.

I’ve also used up several sauce odds and ends on my eggs. Good thing I bought those damaged cartons of eggs recently!

marked-down eggs.

Don’t worry, I didn’t buy ALL of these.

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

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Sunday 4th of June 2023

I drove out to help my sister for a week - I packed all my lunches & snacks for the drive there and back, including some iced coffee for a mid-drive caffeine hit (it's a 7-hour drive), so my only expense was gas for the drive.

(I stayed at my parents' house, and my whole family prefers cooking/eating at home, so we didn't go out at all during the visit.)

I cooked up 2 roasted chickens for dinner one night, then pulled the meat off the bones and turned it into taco meat for another meal for my sister & her family, and made stock from the bones for them to use for soups later in the week.

I helped my mom identify a much lower-cost option for some necessary yard work at their home (they need to remove landscaping installed by the previous owner that they just can't keep up any more, and replace it with something lower-maintenance, and my mom's original ideas were pretty pricey simply because she wasn't aware of some options available for her specific needs - I love gardening and landscaping, and have done quite a bit of research on my own, so I was able to help her figure out some other options that are more within her budget.)

I made a graduation card for a friend's son, instead of buying a card, so I could put more of the "graduation gift" budget towards the gift.


Thursday 1st of June 2023

1) I paid one doctor bill online and saved another to pay in the office when we went for an appointment today. I have no idea how much stamps are now, but this must have saved me at least a dollar.

2) I had a bunch of cheese dips that came with crackers in a box of free food my mother in law gave us a while ago. I used up the last handful of cheeses in a casserole last night. Casseroles are such good ways to use up little bits of food.

3) I decided not to take our older boys on a business trip with me this summer. I know they would enjoy it, but I have already taken them on one work trip this year, and I would have to buy them soooo much restaurant food since I am staying in a hotel.

4) Years ago when our oldest was three we bought a really nice second hand swing set. Many years and four kids have destroyed it, so my husband cut it up and took it to the dump a couple months ago. (At this point the wood wouldn't have even been worth giving away.) I have been looking around for a trampoline and one of those big, round net swings to replace the play set. This past weekend Walmart had some pretty good sales, so we were able to get a trampoline, a swing, and a swing frame for $350. Not bad.

5) Last night we finished scheduling the big things in our summer. We picked a day to go to a local baseball game. Before we bought the tickets we looked around for deals we could get through our current memberships. We ended up getting our tickets half off through our neighborhood association AND going on a night where they have free food set up for, again, our neighborhood association members. Woo hoo!


Wednesday 31st of May 2023

It's very sad that you couldn't use a mediator. I'm very sorry to hear expensive lawyers were needed to settle after 25 years. Heartbreaking. There should not have been much to fight over with grown kids. Sorry to hear there still was.

My parents wasted over 50K on their divorce attorneys. Still sad about how much money was wasted. They were also married 25 years.

Prayers for this to be settled soon and for peace to return.

Elaine B.

Wednesday 31st of May 2023

I just wanted to write a quick comment to thank you for your review on the American Giant brand tops a few months ago. I just bought one for myself from ThredUp and I am very pleased. I've always had trouble finding long enough t-shirts to fit my long torso. Now I know where to go! Thanks Kristen!


Wednesday 31st of May 2023

Thank you for sharing. This is a worry I have been having on behalf of my neighbor, who is working to recover from a nasty divorce. She is paying a lawyer, and also working two full time jobs, to recover from the disaster. I am worrying that she will not be able to step back or define when she has recovered enough, and will work herself to death. Any helpful perspective? Not sure if I should say anything.. Frugal loss this week: celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary by renting a woodsy cabin, and packed all the food we needed for the weekend, but DH was in the mood to eat out. We were surprised by all the businesses that were open, and I was not happy to spend money on pizza and sandwiches when I had planned to cook much healthier options, which I did. But maybe I should have just relaxed? Cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen is not really my ideal. But it was cheaper than staying in a really nice hotel would have been, and included a really good dinner on a small scenic train at 10 mph! I am about to launch into a restrictive diet for weight loss that will be expensive: no carbohydrates. Bracing for it, I am watching meat sales. Found some wonderful rubber shoes at a factory outlet that are wide enough, and promise to be excellent, washable shoes for gardening and for cooking, 25% off retail prices. Every penny does count, in the long run. Even if it feels small in the short run.

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