Monday, January 4, 2016

How Mike And I Saved Money By Not Doing Things This Past Week

So when I was writing up this list of frugal things I did this past week, I realized that there was a theme. It was less frugal by action, but rather, frugality by inaction. All the things that I didn't do, which ended up saving me money, instead of active things that I did that were frugal.

So, instead of writing this my usual way, I'll share about what I did and didn't do.

Mike and I had a date night- we went to see Star Wars. (Really enjoyed it.) We usually end up having 2 dates a year- one for our anniversary and one for our birthday, but they usually end up happening months later. So this one was "in honor of our anniversary"... that was in September. Ha... Usually for our dates we go out to dinner, and I strongly was looking into restaurant options near the theater, but I couldn't find any that weren't super expensive that would have good I could eat. So instead, I went to the grocery store and bought some easy travel foods that we'd enjoy and would be a treat (brie, lox, canned hearts of palm, a box of baby greens, alcoholic drinks, and some chips- potato for hubby and sweet potato chips for myself) and spent far less on food than we would have at a restaurant, for foods that I knew we'd enjoy and wouldn't make my body feel badly. Instead of paying for a babysitter, I left my kids with someone with whom I do babysitting swaps- we take turns watching each other's kids for free.

I did go grocery shopping this past week, but (other than buying the food for our date) only at one store, and only bought the stuff that were very cheap there- potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes, as well as ground chicken, ground turkey, chum salmon, and aluminum foil. I didn't go out shopping again, not to buy any fruit, even though we were running low on them, and not for vegetables, even though we didn't have so many in the house. So what I did do was supplement the produce in my kitchen with a lot of foraging- more foraging than I do most weeks. Since I prefer my greens fresh, I went out almost every single day to forage greens- for the most part I picked chickweed and sow thistle, but also some mallow and wild mustard and eryngo and nettles. I then used these wild greens in nearly all my meals- either as a salad, in stir fries, in soups, creamed with homemade cashew butter, or even mixed with my cheap ground chicken from the sale in my shepherd's pie. I also made some muffins and cookies and other baked goods for my kids to snack on when we were running low on fruit.

In other frugal kitchen news, I made some porridge from things sitting around my house- leftover rice, some broken rice cakes, raisins I bought in bulk, and eggs that I bought super cheaply. I know it sounds weird but the kids actually loved it and were disappointed when it ran out- and meanwhile I only made it to use up what needed using up, so I had limited amounts. I also made homemade coconut milk. I took leftover tomato soup, mixed it with chicken drippings, leftover green beans, wild greens and wild allium and made a really delicious leftovers soup.

Lastly, my supply of xylitol sweetened Glee Gum was running low (I buy that because of a kid's sensory needs to chew, in addition to it being good for the teeth being xylitol sweetened), as was my supply of Coconut Aminos, so I made an order from Vitacost.com, keeping in mind a few things. First I can get up to 3.6 lbs of products for 10.99 international shipping, so I compared the cost of the coconut aminos- the two smaller bottles were actually cheaper than one bigger one (for the same amount), but weighed more, which meant that I might not be able to fit some of the other things I was getting into the same order, which would mean that I'd need to do another order with additional shipping fees for the rest of the stuff... however, in the end it was close but I managed to get both the coconut aminos cheaper by buying the two smaller bottles and not need to pay extra for shipping, so that was cool. And then, after all that, I was able to get $30 off my order because of Vitacost reward points so the entire order was very cheap- really awesome.

So did I actually actively do so many frugal things? Well, actively frugal was cooking up leftovers, foraging greens (right outside my front door, so less than 5 minutes active "work" each time), and that's about it. The rest was just by "not doing" which, in my opinion, deserves as much credit as actively doing things, and is much more doable for those short on time and/or energy.

Hoping this coming week is also a very frugal one!

Did you do any frugal things this past week? Do you find your frugality tends to be more in terms of frugal things that you did do, or expensive things that you did not do?


  1. I think the very most frugal things are the ones where nothing is bought, but creating meals or other things from what we have around the house.

  2. I made spaghetti and kept the sauce separate from the noodles. I intend to use the sauce again to make meatball subs & unstuff pepper casserole (yeah, I had a lot of sauce.) Going to use the leftover noodles to make a recipe I saw today, beef macaroni soup since we used rigatoni noodles, not strings.

    I saved a ton of money by not buying stuff at Kroger when I was there due to seeing the dates of the sales ending after my next payday. I got a coupon for $15 off $150 purchase, so by waiting to get more groceries, I'll have enough to use the coupon. Plan to stock-up this week on non-food items which I'll use even more coupons. Plus Kroger just had 5 days of freebies, gonna get those too to add to the total cost. - M


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