Five Frugal Things

Raspberry-white chocolate glaze over a $1 chocolate cake tastes might fine (and it looked better after I cleaned up the glaze)

Leftover raspberry-white chocolate glaze over a $1 chocolate cake tasted mighty fine (it looked better after I cleaned up the runny glaze)

As our big goal this coming year is to save as much as possible, I am going to shamelessly steal this idea from The Non-Consumer Advocate and post five frugal things we’ve done each week, if nothing else to keep me motivated.

Here’s five frugal wins we had this past week:

  1. We put the $85.18 that would have gone to the electric company this month into our savings account.
  2. YaYu and a friend baked lemon cookies with raspberry-white chocolate filling for the swim team’s annual holiday cookie contest a week ago (they won second place). There was filling left over, so I baked a chocolate cake ($1 cake mix bought on sale at Big Save), and put the filling between layers and on the top of the cake for a fabulous Christmas dessert.
  3. We used brown paper bags, leftover tissue paper and ribbon, and Japanese furoshiki to wrap our Christmas gifts. Everything will be reused or got recycled, and we spent nothing on wrapping materials. Everything still looked lovely under the tree.
  4. I almost bought a book for my Kindle from Amazon, but remembered to check the library first and it was currently available to download – for free. Amount saved: $10.99.
  5. I made Meiling two ham sandwiches, and also packed some cookies for her to take along on her flight back to the mainland so she didn’t have to spend on food. She used the Starbucks card she got for Christmas to purchase drinks in the airport.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

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18 thoughts on “Five Frugal Things

    • Laura says:

      I think being more mindful of the small, daily frugal things we do will help me stay more focused throughout the year, and also have the benefit of making me think of additional frugal ways of doing things.

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  1. Natalie says:

    Your cake looks yummy! My frugal wins this week:
    1) I walked everywhere, except spending $10 for public transit to visit my family out of town for the holidays.
    2) I had all of my meals at home, except the family holiday potluck dinner. I brought all the veggies for the dinner and had no waste.
    3) I used last year’s leftover wrapping material for this year’s gifts.
    4) I received some cash rewards from my credit card which I used for groceries.
    5) We used our camera and tripod to take our own annual family holiday photo.

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    • Laura says:

      I’m convinced that fixing your own meals is the biggest way to save money, especially if you have a family.

      We get cash rewards from our credit card too. We used them last year to help pay for Christmas, but so far have no plans for them coming up – we’ll just keep saving and see where we end up (we don’t use our card much though).

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  2. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    This is a great idea – instead of negatively thinking “Oh, I can’t spend any money”, you’re making a positive that makes you want to keep going. And after we see what happens this year, we’ll hopefully be able to plan a trip next year!

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  3. Libby says:

    I love reading the “five frugal things” on The Frugal Girl! Also the weekly frugal post on The Prudent Homemaker.

    My five things:
    1. Made all meals at home this week and took packed lunches to work.
    2. Kept the thermostat at 58 at night.
    3. Hung up two loads of laundry to dry inside the house.
    4. Paid a huge medical bill with my Visa rewards card. I should earn enough back to pay for two nights in a hotel in France this spring 🙂
    5. Scanned and uploaded medical receipts – even the prescriptions for $2.20 and maxed out my FSA account.

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    • Laura says:

      I had a flashback when I saw that you put your thermostat at 58 at night – we used to keep ours at 58 all day back in Portland, and just bundled up (we did turn it up when we had guests over). These days if the temperature drops to 68 degrees we’re reading to put on a parka!

      Medical expenses are one of the few things we pay with our Visa rewards card, and then pay them off each month. That’s great that you will be able to get such a great reward!

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  4. Hawaii Planner says:

    Wish I was close enough to stop by for some cake! Yum. 🙂 We did similar things – packed food for our flight, brought leftover fruit & veggies home after our trip, avoided eating out on our vacation, chose free activities, etc. It was a great trip & now we’re home stocking up again.

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    • Laura says:

      The cake was absolutely delicious – the combination of raspberry and chocolate was almost decadent.

      We’re going to follow your steps as much as possible when we’re in Japan in March. We know how to eat cheaply when we’re there, and other than train transportation we plan to do lots of free activities when we’re not spending time with our grandchildren/niece & nephew. We have one big splurge planned while we’re there, but we like to take our son and his family out at least once because they will help us so much while we’re there.

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  5. Jan says:

    Haven’t convinced hubby to look at the library first for his books, but you tipped me on this one about a year ago. Excellent way to get something new to read.
    We don’t have brown bags, but I found that Dollar Tree had some excellent prices on wrapping paper. I looked back. Saved over $100 on not buying from Target!
    My daughter and I found some great buy/sell/trade sites for baby clothes. That has helped my budget- a lot. Last baby, clothes are going out faster then coming in!
    Happy New Year!

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    • Laura says:

      I always prefer to use the library, mainly because I have to “return” the download in three weeks, so it’s motivating. I bought a few books last year when the hold list was way too long, but my goal this year is to strictly get books from the library (although I early ordered a couple of books last year that won’t be released until this month so they will be arriving in a couple of weeks).

      I was very surprised by how lovely we could make brown paper, tissue, etc. look under the tree! If there were Dollar Stores here in Hawai’i, they would definitely be my go-to store for many things!

      Resale was not a thing when our son was a baby, but we did get stuff handed down from friends. With the girls though, the majority of their clothes came from resale, or were handed down. I don’t think any of them suffered for it ;-).

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