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Five Frugal Things | Vans washing

1. I washed my old Vans

I’ve had this pair of black vans since probably at least 2016/2017. They were starting to get a little dingy-looking, so I threw them into the washing machine, air-dried them, and now they are looking quite fresh and new.

Kristen's feet in black vans sneakers.

To wash sneakers, I usually just put them in the washer along with a few old towels (for a little cushioning) and they come out nicely.

Disclaimer: wash your shoes at your own risk! I only do this with shoes that are made of washable materials. I would not, for instance, put my suede vans in the washing machine. 

By the way, I learned from Lisey that a magic eraser works quite well if the white rubber part of shoes needs some cleaning. 

2. I found two clearance bottles of Maui Moisture

Maui Moisture products are a favorite in the curly hair community, so that’s what Sonia uses on her hair.

Unfortunately, their shampoo and conditioner is quite expensive; usually $6-$7/bottle. And the bottles are not anywhere near enormous.

So, when I saw a bottle of shampoo and conditioner on the clearance shelf at the grocery store for $2.25 apiece, I hastily put both of them in my cart!

Maui Moisture shampoo and conditioner.

The sad thing is that there were only two bottles; I would have bought 20 of them if they were available. 

3. I started a free Kindle Unlimited trial

I came across a book I wanted to read, and I noticed it was free with a Kindle Unlimited membership.

So, I signed up for the 30-day free trial and read the book promptly. 

I have a reminder in my phone to help me remember to cancel the membership before I get billed! Otherwise the free trial will be…not free. 

And I KNOW I cannot trust myself to just remember to cancel. I have screwed myself over too many times for me to trust myself. 😉 

4. I ate two heel grilled cheese sandwiches

Heels of homemade bread are quite tasty, in my opinion. In face, I often purposely give myself a thick fresh heel slice when I bake bread.

The crusty delight! So good.

A slice of homemade bread.

This is, um, a little thicker than I usually slice a heel

But when it comes to store-bought bread, the heels are the least-desirable piece.

So, twice this last week, I took one for the team and made my grilled cheese sandwich with the heels.

half a grilled cheese sandwich on a plate.

5. I…

  • listed another pair of Sonia’s old glasses on eBay
  • sold and shipped a cookbook I didn’t need
  • followed up on some health insurance claims 
  • continued to batch errands as much as possible

What frugal things have you been up to? 

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Amanda P

Wednesday 16th of March 2022

I love reading through everyone's comments, laughing and getting ideas! The foot cream story especially made me giggle.

We're headed out of town today for a speech/debate tournament, so I feel like it's not been an especially frugal week. But, I'm hoping that the investment now pays off in the future as our kids learn to communicate with poise and thoughtfulness. The oldest was just accepted into a government youth leadership program that includes 2 all expense paid trips to our state and national capitols, with lots of activities and meeting legislators, and he credited the speech prep with helping him interview favorably, so maybe it counts as a current frugal win?

One of my sons needed a big piece of fabric as a prop for said speech tournament, and of course I didn't have exactly what he needed in my stash. Really didn't want to spend $15-20 on it, plus an extra stop at the craft store. I was able to find a sheet set at a thrift store I was already dropping some donations off at with enough yardage to make 2 pieces and keep the extra sheets for our beds, all for about $6.

All of the tournament suits were purchased secondhand or passed down. A few needed alterations, but they all look quite sharp and for being able to fully outfit 3 teen boys well in business formal for 3 days of competition at under $100 feels like a coup.

We chose a hotel (Drury Inn and Suites) that offers both a full hot breakfast and supper. For a family of 6, food adds up fast and this will save us $125 daily easily.

This fun one was my husband's: he recently read a vendor email all the way to the end, and it had a raffle entry for anyone that actually read that far. Apparently not many folks do it, so he won a huge box of goodies tailored just to him. It included framed 3 Stooges artwork so he was grinning.

Found a brand new Cuisinart Pro 11 with all the extra blades for $2 at a Goodwill outlet! My old one has a cracked bowl and leaks. It wouldn't work in the store, but I figured for $2 I'd chance being able to fix it. Turns out the safety release was sticking that allowed it to engage. 1 minute fix and it's running great!

Was able to put together 2 fun birthday gifts from the contents of the "gift closet" and not run to the store. They included 2 pillows that I filled with stuffing from disposable hospital pillows after a recent stay, and handmade note cards from vintage ephemera and thrift store envelopes.

I wanted more cotton yarn to make crocheted dishcloths as gifts, but decided it wasn't a real need. Was making conversation with my grandmother and mentioned it. She had a big stash of lovely yarn she was happy to see used, and I didn't have to spend a dime. Hooray!

Heidi Louise

Wednesday 16th of March 2022

@Amanda P, Good luck to everyone for your tournament! Speech and debate were a crucial part of my high school and college years, (you can find scholarships for participating at the college level). They very much made me more confident and better able to read, think, and solve problems, as well as gave me a team of good friends.


Wednesday 16th of March 2022

You guys are hilarious here in the comments. LOL! Kristen heading out for a late night on the town with that cat tat showing...

I don't know that we've been particularly frugal or spendy this week. It's just been a week...we've enjoyed warmer days outside biking and golfing, working (me), cooking. I'm limiting myself to once-a-week grocery trips just because that's about all I want to do! We've eaten at home, I've clipped some coupons and started my garden seeds...those will be money savers when my tomatoes and squash start coming in!

I will say Kristen has put me in a mood to make bread. That's on the list for today.


Wednesday 16th of March 2022

Haha, me and a late night?? I went to bed at 9pm during all of my teenage years. Heh.

Come nighttime, you will always, always find me in bed, unless it's some sort of emergency.

Lindsay B

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

1. Found 11 cents while cleaning our new house. 2. Using light bulbs my mom gave me when they replaced their CFLs with LEDs. Also, it looks like the previous house owners left us some light bulbs. They also left some cleaning supplies and various brooms and dusters which we will happily use rather than go buy new. 3. Thoroughly cleaned our previous duplex and will have our landlord walk through early, so if there are any issues we can fix it and get our full deposit back. Even though it is technically our money, it will feel like a bonus since we haven’t had it for about a year. :) 4. Friends visited to see Baby E, and they brought us dinner and two ripe pineapples. New parents love food, what can I say! 5. Batched errands today to make two additional stops that were on the way home, saving gas. Otherwise we are mostly staying at home these days due to Baby E.

Corrine Wilson

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

1. Used our Science Museum membership to take my daughter to the museum this weekend 2. I used leftover goat cheese and frozen grilled chicken to make chicken salads for my lunches. 3. I used my FSA card to pay some medical co-pays 4. Last week I made apple bread using homemade, frozen applesauce. It made 2 loaves, which I froze. It is feeding my kids breakfast this week and next. 5. Our Maple trees are tapped and we have quite a bit of sap. This weekend we will boil it down into syrup.


Tuesday 15th of March 2022

Got a couple good ones this week that are both long stories and show how it can really pay off to be friendly and polite.

I went into the Starbucks near the Aldi on my way home from work today to use up four gift cards I had been carrying around forever and I wanted to get bags of beans since I always make coffee at home. I wasn't sure how much each card had on it, so I grabbed four bags that were each about 15.00. After ringing it all up, the very nice cashier let me know that they were each worth 10, so I would need to pay about a twenty dollar difference. I asked him if he could take off one bag so I would be closer to the value of the cards. He said he would, but it would mean he had to ring everything up again, and since I wasn't in a big hurry, I said ok. He rang it all up and then said I owed about 15 which I paid on my credit card because a line of a couple people were now behind me. I was tired and still needed to go to Aldi, but the numbers just didn't seem right to me, so I looked at my receipt in the Aldi parking lot and realized he only put three gift cards on the second time he rang it up, so I overpaid and should have only needed to pay about 5 dollars. I thought about it for a minute, and then I was like "ten dollars is ten dollars," so I went back and waited until he was free and then told him I was almost certain that I had four gift cards. He was immediately apologetic and said "I'm so sorry! You definitely had four cards! Let me figure out how to creatively fix this!" I guess he had already tossed the cards? So he ended up refunding TWO of the bags to my credit card even though I was like "are you sure?" But he insisted it was for my trouble. SO super long coffee story short, I got rid of four gift cards bulking up my wallet, have three coffee bags in the freezer for making coffee at home which should last me at least a month AND I ended up with an extra fifteen dollar credit on my credit card on top of the fifteen I was originally charged! I feel like a mystery shopper because I literally made money on this trip!

The second story shall be known as the saga of the foot cream. I was prescribed a special cream to be used twice a day for four weeks by the podiatrist. When I initially filled it, they gave me three tubes of 30mg each. After about a week, I realized I was going through a tube in about six days, so I emailed the Dr to tell her I was going to run out before four weeks were up. She said "no worries, you have three refills on it." So, when I took my son to have blood work last Thursday, I was like "let me refill this to batch errands." I chatted with the pharmacist about how I was trying to save on gas by not having to come in twice and mentioned how I was burning through the cream really quickly. She started to ring it up and then said "uh-oh, your insurance won't cover it until Tuesday (today)." So I asked her how much it would be to just buy one of the tubes out of pocket. She came back and was "nope! You don't want it! It's ringing up at 186.00! Come get it on Tuesday, but call the prescription in on Monday so I can make sure we have it in stock for you." So, I went home, dug the old tubes out of the trash and cut them open to get like 6 dollars worth of cream out of each of them and then followed her instructions exactly ordering the prescription yesterday. My husband got a strange call telling him to let me know it won't be in until tomorrow (today) and I was like "oh, no problem. I have to wait until Tuesday for it to be covered anyway." Today...I go to the pharmacy, pick up another prescription and then say "do you have the other cream that I ordered?" The pharmacist brings out two tubes of 100mg each (so much bigger!) and then says as he rings it up "oh, are you ok with that charge? 186?" And I was like "Yikes! No! It's supposed to be covered by insurance as of today!" So he goes "oh, let me check the date. Oh, ok, now it's ten dollars." I guess the computer was on yesterday's date...but also, I got more than twice as much with this refill and I know it was because that first pharmacist on Thursday hooked me up with bigger tubes. When I told my husband this whole story he said "you know you're over forty if you have a really long story about foot cream." Sigh...but at least my foot cream is frugal!!!

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