This is a series in the style of The Frugal Girl’s Five Frugal Things, where I post weekly 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!
Another busy week, although we’re finally hitting the point where we’ve *almost* gotten all the very most critical farm chores done before winter hits. Just in time too, since we’re supposed to get our first snowfall this weekend!
Since things haven’t felt quite as frantic this week, a lot of my frugal wins were just back to doing the basics — eating from our pantry/freezers, trying to conserve electricity and gas, etc. As we officially go into winter and we can’t spend as much time on active flower farming work, I’ll have more time and bandwidth to devote to homemaking and “frugalizing” other parts of our lives.
For now, we’ll just stick with the basics until we have a bit of a slowdown.
Here are a few of our frugal wins this last week:
Note: There may be affiliate links to products, books, or services mentioned in this post.
We enjoyed a free date night
It’s been a LONG time since Matt and I have been able to go out on a date (since Naomi was in the NICU, in fact, so it’s been about six months). This last week, I was invited to be the keynote speaker and a judge at a business pitch competition put on by our local college, and I was asked to bring a plus one. We have a good neighbor who has been offering to watch our kids ever since we had Naomi so we could take a date night, and we finally took them up on the offer. So Matt and I ended up getting a free meal and entertainment, and the kids were all watched for free (and had a blast while they were at it!).
Can’t get much better than that.
(Also, while we were at the competition, we made some great networking contacts who might prove instrumental in our business scaling up over the next several years. Time will tell!)
I searched for a promo code before buying some clothes
Truth: because I’m flower farming 6 days out of 7, I pretty much live in athleisure wear 90% of the time. I kinda hate spending money on clothes, but now that I’m actually down to a smaller size than I’ve been in several years, I realized that I’m going to have to actually buy some clothes that fit.
My current favorite athleisure pieces actually came from me doing en Ellie subscription awhile back, and when I looked into doing that as an option again, I really liked the current winter styles available, so I decided to prepay for 3 months upfront (which saves money over just doing it monthly) and get three full outfits. I didn’t know if the site would let me combine the prepay discount with any other offers, but I decided to run my Coupert browser extension anyway just to check all possible promo codes. Much to my surprise, a 40% off promo code worked, which made it so that I only paid something like $83 for three full outfits (that’s 9 pieces total, and the quality of everything I’ve bought from them over multiple years has been excellent).
Almost all of my favorite joggers and active leggings have come from Ellie, so I’m super excited to be getting some new ones!
I don’t know if the 40% off deal is going on anymore, but you can always get 25% off by going through my referral link.
I made up a recipe to use up a cut of meat I don’t typically use
My mom and stepdad got a whole quarter cow of beef or something like that awhile back, and they were nice enough to stock us up with a bunch the last time we were in town. Several of the cuts are more unusual and not stuff I’m used to working with, but I decided to give it a go this last weekend.
Sunday morning I woke up feeling like I was on the verge of getting sick, so I wanted to make something that was nutritious and packed full of iron, but that was also relatively simple to prepare. I ended up making up a recipe that turned out delicious. I pan seared a thin cut round steak that had been sliced into strips, then added it to a basic brothy soup. Basically the soup was a full onion (diced) simmered in a half stick of butter for about 12 minutes, then I added one tablespoon flour (gluten free, but you could obviously do regular), 3 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water, a teaspoon of thyme, a teaspoon of garlic powder, a dash of salt, and two bay leaves. I peeled and chopped 4-5 medium potatoes into that and then brought the whole thing to a boil for about 10 minutes. Once the potatoes were soft (but not mushy), I mashed a few with a fork to thicken the soup, then I added the steak. It was simple but delicious, and I was happy to report that after having two bowls of it (one for breakfast, one for lunch), I felt significantly better.
I went through the kids’ dressers to change out sizes
I’ve been a lot more on top of changing out kids’ clothes this year than in years past, and it’s a practice that generally saves me a lot of money because then I know exactly what we have and don’t end up overbuying or getting duplicates just because of my disorganization.
I’ve also found that going through their drawers with the seasons also helps me to make mental notes of things I might need to watch out for (like new rain boots), so I can be keeping an eye out for those and try to find a good deal.
The biggest benefit of regularly going through their wardrobes though is that it gives me more time — because their drawers aren’t overstuffed with clothes that no longer fit, I’m not having to do needless laundry (since they would usually just try to put those on and then throw them on the floor, and then I would wash them because I thought they were dirty). We also keep pretty minimal wardrobes for our kids too, which helps with both time AND money.
I started researching out Christmas options
I’m a little more behind than usual on my Christmas planning, but I did at least start to research out options this last week, which is how I found a good off-brand choice for the large beanbag-style love sac that I’m thinking of getting the kids (since a real Love Sac would cost me five times as much). I’m also looking into sourcing our other big Christmas gift for the kids on eBay.
Other Frugal Wins:
- I returned library books on time to avoid a late fee
- I made a batch of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (pictured above), which are amazing and which you can find in my favorite gluten-free cookbook of all time
- I accepted an offer of free vases
- I used Rakuten to get cash back on my usual online grocery order
How did your last week go? Anything fun or out of the ordinary? And what are your go-to sources for figuring out how to cook with different cuts of meat than you’re used to?