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Five Frugal Things | in which I load wood and rip my jeans

I know I skipped Five Frugal Things last week; I just had nothing to share!

A bout of Covid is not conducive to frugal activities, unless you consider that staying home and doing nothing is fairly frugal.

A view of an icy river.

But, financially responsible as that may be, it is extremely boring to write about so I figured I’d skip Five Frugal Things for a week.

I still am working on getting back into the swing of life, so I don’t know if I’ll come up with five this week either.

a partially frozen river.

I’ll just do my best, and you guys can feel free to outshine me in the comments this week. 😉 

Let’s see what I’ve got…

1. I got a free Starbucks coffee

I had to wait 2.5 hours for Zoe while she was at a class a half hour from home and I decided it made no sense to drive home and back (such a waste of gas and time!)

So, I redeemed some of my Erie YourTurn rewards and got a free Starbucks latte.

Starbucks coffee cup on table.

I brought my laptop and my schoolbooks and got some work done while I waited.

Even if I had to pay for my drink out of pocket, it still would have been cheaper than using gas to go back and forth and back and forth!

And since the drink was free, it definitely made sense for me to hang at Starbucks.

In other news, Starbucks finally has cinnamon dolce lattes again (they were out of stock for a long time last year). Lisey introduced me to this treat, and she said I should recommend it to all of you too. 😉 

2. I borrowed a copy of The Screwtape Letters for Zoe

She needed this for her Brit-Lit class, and my mom happened to have a copy in her rather extensive personal library. Yay!

Now I don’t have to buy a copy.

3. I mended my back jeans pocket

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I was helping my dad load firewood into his crawlspace.

Kristen loading firewood.

(I made a Reel showing how he used a repurposed factory paint can conveyer system to make a firewood transportation system.)

Anyway, while I was helping him, I had my phone in my back pocket, and when I stood up, it got caught on the side of the house and made a small tear around the corner of the pocket.

A ripped pair of black jeans.

It’s hard to see, but trust me, it’s there!

We all know what happens to small tears if we let them be (especially in a spot that gets so much stress), so I made a quick little inside patch to reinforce the spot.

A patch inside a pair of black jeans.

I just sewed over existing seams to attach the interior patch, so from the outside, you can’t see the mending at all.


A mended pair of black jeans.

4. I mended a side seam on a pair of jeans

This is actually a pretty new pair of jeans, but for some reason, the threads on one of the side seams came apart.

two pairs of folded jeans.

Guys, I swear I don’t do anything weird to my laundry. I really do not understand why my clothing/linen seams keep dissolving!

Anyways, this was a very easy fix since I had the sewing machine out already, and now I don’t have to worry that this hole will spread.

A mended blue jeans seam.

I do, however, have to worry about more of my laundry seams coming apart in the future. It seems to be my lot in life. 😉 

5. Ummm…

I’m gonna have to go with the boring, “I mostly stayed at home, so I spent almost no money.” bit.

I went to class, I went for walks in the neighborhood to build my strength back up, and other than that, I was home.

Creative? No.

Reliably frugal? Yes.

What frugal things have you been up to this week?

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Wednesday 2nd of February 2022

Don't know how frugal but: 1. Finally after years & years, I got a rather large back child support check for over $6k...he still owes me $20k 2. The check allowed me to pay from stepfather's cremation. He passed on 1/18. My dad told me to go direct to the crematorium. They take care of everything & it was a fraction of the cost of a funeral/burial. My mom opted to not do any of that due to financial restraints. 3. Her sister in law, my stepfather's twin, held a celebration of life party at her house. Cost was : $0 for us. 4. I have been giving stuff away on our Facebook Buy Nothing group. Not frugal but no longer in my home.

I didn't get 5 but 4 is better than none.


Wednesday 2nd of February 2022

Made croutons with old dry bread

Used the juice from a can of mandarin oranges to make orange waffles

Made muffins with frozen berries from the yard.

Have been eating out of the freezer for the base of our meals all month.

Went to the library, county park, and free winter festival for free family entertainment this month.


Wednesday 2nd of February 2022

Finally used up the last two cans of coconut milk I got from a Dollar General clearance haul about two years ago, when I snagged 13 cans for $1 each. These last two cans went into a big pan of baked oatmeal on the weekend, which made lots of leftovers for weekday mornings.

Some instant powdered milk that had been languishing in my kitchen pantry got turned into creamer to fancy up my morning coffee. I used the Tightwad Gazette formula for making evaporated milk substitute: 2/3 cup of milk powder per 1 cup of water. I added vanilla-flavored liquid stevia drops to give it a flavor boost.

I bought a big jar of Knorr chicken bouillon powder at Sam's Club: 40 ounces for $4.68. Our local grocery store charges $3.39 for 8 ounces of the same bouillon (!).

We have a few boxes of basket-type coffee filters that turned out to be the wrong size for our coffee maker. Last night I experimented with using one of these filters to brew homegrown mint tea. I trimmed, folded, and stapled the filter + mint leaves into something that was more "misshapen bundle" than "tidy tea bag," but it worked great.

The zipper slider had come off the cover of our rectangular dog bed. I watched a YouTube video on zipper repair and spent 30 minutes wrestling with the zipper to get the slider back on -- then I gave up. Instead, I took a needle and thread and make three or four big stitches in four different spots along the zipper path, enough to close the gap and keep the cover on. The stitches will be easy enough to snip off and re-sew when I need to wash the cover.


Wednesday 2nd of February 2022

1). We were looking for a way for our girls to get pool time while their swim team was on a break. Originally we planned to join the YMCA, but then decided to take advantage of open swim at a local high school. We now pay $4 for them to swim vs almost $90 for a monthly Y membership.

2). My middle schooler took the bus during midterms week. He goes to school 30 min from our house and I could have picked him up after his exam. However, he had fun waiting with his friends and I saved time, gas, and miles on my car.

3). Took advantage of our local nature preserve and went snowshoeing. We already had snowshoes, so it was a free activity.

4). Used up odds and ends from the freezer to make a quiche for dinner last night.

5). Checking out both physical books and ebooks from the library.


Wednesday 2nd of February 2022

How is school going??

My frugal wins :

* School : parking in the streets, 20 min walk from Uni, saves 180$ for the trimester. Borrowed textbook from school library, saving 60$. Got a laptop bag in Goodwill for 8$. Bought a good quality laptop on sale (200$ off), hoping it will last me for the next 6 years of schooling ahead of me (no upgrading for me unless it dies). Packing lunchs and water bottle.

* Home/food : bringing thermostats down and using the wood stove saved us 100$ in electricity fees in January. Did freezers and pantry inventory to minimize food waste. Eating more beans, less meat. Always on the look out for sales/loss leaders, reduce racks, etc. Doing price matches at the grocery store. Doing online surveys in exchange for grocery gift cards. Going to Costco twice a year with friends instead of paying for a 70$ membership.

* Entertainment : Board games, DVDs and (lots of!) books from public library. Walks outdoor. Youtube videos/at-home exercice routine. Basic Netflix subscription (1 screen) for our family of 4 : forces sharing and compromizing, minimizes screen time and saves us 90$/year at the moment compared to the ''standard plan''. No other streaming services, no cable, no gadget. Covid put a dent in everything ''entertainment'' for the past 2 years (places keep closing/opening/closing in our areas) so I'm kind of done with it all, thus not missing it and saving us money. Same for travels.

* Personnal : I'm very low maintenance : no haircuts and hair dye/fancy products (long hairs/poney tails), very minimal makeup (I used to love lipsticks, but with all the masking...), no aesthetic routine apart from shower/deodorant/cream. Clothes are bought at thrift stores or on sale, and I keep a small wardrobe. Where I splurge is on good quality shoes, always.

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