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Monday, February 14, 2022

Just Another Day (Weekend) in the Frugal Life

I watched a rerun of a 1970s TV show for free on Daily Motion on my laptop instead of a paid streaming service. And we watched a dvd from our local library on family night, again for free (while munching on homemade pepperoni pizza).

As we no longer have an endless supply of plastic grocery bags (bag ban Oct 2021), I lined the household trash bins with plastic and paper mailers this week. The large ones are great for the kitchen and the smaller ones work in bathrooms, bedrooms, the office and the car.

I repaired the mesh sieve. The screen material had come away from the frame. I tucked the mesh back into the frame with the pocket knife and clamped it down with pliers. I hope it holds. But I can always repair it again.

I used what we had on hand to make Valentine's Dinner. I actually tried to buy fresh strawberries to go with dinner, but our local stores were sold out of fresh strawberries by Sunday afternoon. So, for dinner I made egg and vegetable fried rice, pot stickers, steamed broccoli, and tofu-chocolate whip for dessert. The dessert has only 3 ingredients -- chocolate chips, tofu, and vanilla extract, which I already had.

My daughter gave me these great little snack containers so I can my own little snack packs. I'm a big fan of dividing snacks and treats into single portions so I can control how much I eat at one time. These snack containers will let me put together protein and veggie or dried fruit snacks for myself. The grocery store sells tiny protein snack packs for about $1.39 each. I think I can do my own for less with these containers. Sometimes, special money-saving gadgets are a waste of money. But sometimes they really do save. I think these containers will fall under the heading of those that do save.

I froze 2 very dark bananas to make banana bread when we are all out of treats.

I split open the toothpaste tube to get every last bit out.

I used half a box of hair coloring to touch up my roots and temples, saving the other half to use next month. I had saved the applicator bottle from the previous month (washed out) for mixing half of each of the components. Afterward, I washed out the bottle and the plastic gloves for reuse next month with the other half of the box. I've been doing this for several months and haven't needed to do a full head coloring since sometime in fall.

So tell me, what were the highlights of your day (or weekend) in the frugal life? 


  1. I am intrigued about using mailers for trashcan liners. Are they mainly liners or are the bags that don't leak? Also, when you open your toothpaste tube, do you do that with scissors?

    We are in the middle of construction here, so in some areas we're just trying to get by, not necessarily frugally. However, we're repainting the bathroom vanity instead of getting a new one and we're using a remnant to have a top made for it. The vanity was much better quality than what we could buy, and unfortunately, the top/sink was an odd size, so we couldn't buy one off the shelf.

    1. For me, part of the purpose of living frugally is to be able to afford things we want/need and save in areas that are of less importance to us. I know it feels like you are in spending mode during construction, but you are spending with the purpose of making your home comfortable for you for the years ahead. That's a great investment! And you are finding ways to cut corners--definitely a cost effective move!

    2. Hi Live and Learn,
      Most of my mailers have bubble wrap interiors or are all plastic and don't leak. I use all-paper ones in the bedrooms and office. Some of the paper mailers have bubble wrap interiors and do okay in the bathrooms. For the most part, the paper mailers are too small to use in the kitchen, where most of the leaky garbage may be disposed.
      For the toothpaste tubes, yes, I cut them open with scissors, a small pair that I keep near the sink for opening packages, cutting open toothpaste tubes, cutting off tags, and the occasional bang/hair trim (they're not my good haircutting scissors, though).

      I agree with you on repainting the older cabinetry rather than replacing it. Unless you're having something custom built, newer, off the shelf cabinetry is often not as well made, just like a lot of furniture these days. It sounds like you're making smart decisions for your bathroom redo. Good luck with the rest of it!

  2. I also use Natural Instincts! I don't have a lot of grey hair but it is noticeable. I tried the natural look a couple of summers ago but didn't care for it. My skin tone is very pale and I felt like I looked washed out. I have friends who look fantastic with their natural grey, but me, not so much.

    I have tried posting my frugal activities to, but for some reason, I keep getting an error message .... so I'll post them here, instead!

    1) Shopped season-end clearance for my daughter and got really good deals on a winter coat, boots, and long-sleeved shirts. She is 16 now and hopefully her growth spurts are winding down.
    2) I've been on a quest to find a good, easy, free slipper pattern to knit. I was finally successful! I have lots of stash yarn so everything was free.
    3) I hosted a tea party for family. Yes, I know that makes me sound like a little old lady ... but we had fun, my cost was minimal, and I had fun making and decorating cookies. This time of year, it seems like fun activities are hard to find, so I'm proud of myself for taking the bull by the horns and making my own fun to share with others.
    4) I did my yearly kitchen scrub-down yesterday, which is exhausting, so I bought and served a take-and-bake pizza from Aldi--and it was on sale! I know it doesn't seem like a Valentine's dinner, but we all liked it, and it was nice to have an easy supper plan.
    5) I made my husband a pie for Valentine's Day. We keep our celebrations to a minimum. He loves pie, I love to bake, we had all the ingredients at home, including the cherries from last summer's pickings, so it was win-win.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I love tea parties! They're so much fun. The food is fun and can be creative. The beverages are easy (tea/coffee/cocoa). And who doesn't like having some leftover cookies and small cakes afterward?! I think tea parties get a. bad rap. They're such a fun way to entertain. Our family had a small Christmas tea one Sunday after church using some of the lovely Christmas goodies we'd been given. It was such a fun afternoon, and my husband even participated.

      I was wondering what type of pie you were going to bake for your hubby. Cherry? Sounds yummy! For me, what makes a holiday a good one is when everyone takes the time to linger around the meal and not rush off to a meeting or something. It's not about eating in a restaurant or having something luxurious to eat, like lobster. Our simple Asian dinner last night was special because of the people more than the food. Your Valentine's dinner sounds like it followed a similar idea -- tasty food and the best company.

      Great work on getting the kitchen super-cleaned, finding clearance winter clothing for your daughter for next year and a new slipper pattern!

    2. I'm sorry you didn't find strawberries. I had a coupon and bought some for my party. Often strawberries are tasteless at this time of year but these were sweet and juicy.

      We live near several cherry orchards and my husband and kids like to go picking them every summer. We have a stash of frozen ones that I can use. Since they are red, they seem like the perfect fruit for a Valentine's pie.

    3. Hi Kris
      It was a surprise to not find strawberries this year. There are always lots and lots of strawberries in the stores on Valentine's morning. Just a surprise, but we pivoted and found other foods to use. Your'e right, most of the strawberries that have to be shipped long distance are usually tasteless. I'll be very happy when June rolls around and our own strawberry patch begins to produce. I'm glad that the strawberries you bought for your tea were good.

      You have mentioned your husband and kids going cherry picking. I didn't know if you had cherry trees in your yard or you went to a u-pick orchard. I'm not sure we have any cherry orchards near us. We do have blueberry u-pick fields and many of my friends and neighbors go blueberry picking. We have 2 cherry trees in our yard. One barely gets any cherries but the other does well. I grew up[ eating cherry pies made with commercial canned cherry pie filling. When we moved to this area, we lived in a rental with a sour cherry tree in the yard and, wow, I was so amazed at how good those cherry pies were. I hope you all enjoyed your cherry pie yesterday. Cherry always seems like a Valentine's flavor, maybe cuz Valentine's is near Washington's birthday.

  3. I also cut open anything to get every last drop out. Lotion, mayonnaise, shampoo and conditioner get water added with a good shake, ketchup, honey, and much more.

    I also cut fruits and veggies so close to the root edges that I have more to use and less to throw away. Same with potatoes, apples, etc. Shave just the bare amount of skin off. The thing that really bothers me is watching youtube videos of people "homesteading" or whatever they call themselves and watch them cut half the potato away while peeling or cut half the onion or carrot throwing a large portion away. Strawberries we tip the sharp point of the knife underneath the edge of the stem and gently slice it off. That is my frugal upbringing.

    1. Hi Alice,
      Your comment made me smile as I thought of several upturned bottles in the fridge, waiting to be rinsed out with water and added to soup or a sauce.

      I do the same with trimming produce. I've seen others trim strawberries by slicing off the top, including a large piece of red berry with the stem. I kind of gouge out the stem with the point of a knife, saving as much of the berry for us to enjoy as possible. To me, this just makes sense. I guess for others, being fast may be a bigger priority, and slicing off the tops of strawberries may be faster if you have a lot of berries to do. That's my guess, at least.
      Have a wonderful day, Alice!


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