This is a new series in the style of The Frugal Girl’s Five Frugal Things, where I’ll be posting weekly(ish) about what I’ve done lately to save money and make things stretch in order to further our financial goals, which currently include us paying off a decent hunk of debt. I encourage you to play along and post your own weekly frugal wins in the comments section below!
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I used the backside of used paper to print out coloring pages for the kids
One of my kids’ favorite activities to do at home is to print out their own coloring pages. We print out everything from our favorite free coloring site — Super Coloring — which has thousands and thousands of coloring pages to choose from. In the past, I hadn’t tried to print out on the other side of used paper because my kids would often either color the other side with a drawing of their own design or fold/crumple/tear/cut the paper after coloring.
However, my husband, who’s been writing a novel on and off since we got married nearly 12 years ago, recently printed out the latest draft of his book and has been marking it up with a pen as he reads through it. Unfortunately, he accidentally printed out the wrong version of the book the first time, but rather than waste all that paper, we’ve just dumped the whole thing back in the printer and have let the kids use it for their coloring. Crisis averted 🙂
I used up an almost expired cake mix
I posted in a weekly frugal wins post just a few weeks ago that we’d gotten a few gluten-free cake mixes from my sister that she knew she wasn’t going to use. I didn’t realize how close to (or just past) their expiration date they were, so I decided to whip one up on Sunday, along with a batch of our favorite homemade vanilla frosting recipe. (I should mention here that another frugal win is that even though our hand mixer broke awhile ago, I’ve managed to hold off on needing to buy another one either through borrowing from a neighbor or using our KitchenAid mixer when I can. While I still plan to replace my hand mixer in the next few months, it’s been good that I’ve been able to put it off during these months when we’ve had a lot of other unexpected expenses to deal with.)
Ever since I did my Zero Food Waste challenge, I’ve been much more aware of food waste, and, as a consequence, have wasted significantly less food in the months since. During that challenge, I calculated the cost of all the food I threw away each week, and trust me when I say that it definitely has reset my thinking for the better around the importance of wasting as little food as possible. Since gluten-free cake mixes can often cost anywhere from $4-7, I definitely wanted to make sure we took advantage of having several packages just gifted to us, especially since I’ll often make treats on Sundays anyway.
We made up a homemade honey lemon tea to help soothe a sore throat
My husband’s been feeling sick with a cough and sore throat for a few days now, and we used one of our favorite home remedies of hot water mixed with lemon juice and honey to help ease his symptoms (rather than just relying on expensive over-the-counter meds). While we probably will have to invest some money into some new medicine soon if his symptoms don’t ease up shortly, having frugal home remedy options has definitely helped us to save money over the years, especially because for us, it basically negates the need for things like cough drops or those all-natural remedies available for kids 1-3 (who are too young to have traditional cough medicine).
I used free ribbon and thrifted/free vases for bouquet subscriptions
I’ve mentioned before that we’re always looking for smart ways to frugalize our flower farming business, and one of the easiest ways to do that is by taking advantage of offers for free vases, ribbon, and mason jars that come our way. While I don’t always get all of the vases we use for free, I always do go a frugal route, whether that’s buying them secondhand or through a surplus or dollar store. We’ve also had very generous relatives who are constantly on the hunt for us for floristry supplies, which has saved us SO much money in the the years we’ve been in business.
Our bouquet subscriptions for the 2023 growing season started this last week, and I was able to take advantage of many of those free or inexpensive vases and ribbon we got to fulfill all those orders.
I made a scheduling error that saved me money in canceled appointments
Now, this wasn’t a planned frugal win, but as it saved us a decent hunk of money, I guess I should count it in the week’s round-up. Thanks to me mixing up dates, I had to cancel a trip two hours north of us to my specialized back rehab massage therapist (and I also had to cancel the haircut appointment I’d scheduled for the same date and city). Between the cost of the massage, haircut, and gas, I easily saved around $215 by not being able to go. Of course, this was money I’d planned into the budget (and I really could have used both the haircut and the massage therapy), but I guess I can’t be too mad about keeping an extra couple hundred dollars in our bank account.
Other Frugal Wins:
- We took advantage of the free dumpsters put out by our city for spring cleanup to get rid of some bigger things we had, thus saving us a trip to the dump
- I continue to make do with the maternity clothes I already have, even though I don’t have many warm weather bottoms to fit this stage of pregnancy. I’ve already decided not to purchase any more maternity clothes (and haven’t this whole pregnancy) and will just wear and re-wear what I already have for this final month of my final pregnancy.
- I attended a free event for women at my church over the weekend
- I enjoyed several bouquets of too-short and extra stems from the flower farm inside our home
What things have you been doing lately to save money and live by the old adage to use it up/wear it out/make it do/or live without?