This week has been a long one. We had a great time camping last weekend, but we didn’t get home until 5PM Sunday night, and then we’ve had something going on in the evenings every night except for Tuesday. All good things, but it meant that this past week went by in a complete blur. Thankfully, we don’t have too much on the agenda this weekend so we’ll have some time to catch up and breathe a little bit.

I did somehow manage to get in multiple runs this week though, and that’s something I am going to start making more time for going forward. As much as I enjoy my 6 miles to work on Wednesday mornings, running just one day a week isn’t enough. Running for me is as much for the mental and emotional side of things as it is a good workout, and I’m committing here to continue to run at least three times a week in the future. Even a twenty minute run makes my day one hundred times better, but somehow I’d let that part of life slide. I have to keep it in my head that taking care of myself is a very important part of life, because it’s too easy to let everything else take over.

1. I got another $5 Amazon gift card from using Bing as my search engine. It might be a little silly that I bother with this, as it maybe earns me $50 a year, but since I’m using a search engine anyway, I may as well get a tiny kick back from it. I’m not a local user to any one platform, so Bing works as well as any for my needs. Just like using Ebates and Ibotta, I’m all for any extra cash that comes from something I’d do/buy regardless. I earn about one $5 gift card from Bing every 30-45 days. I then transfer the gift card to my Amazon account, where it sits until I’m ready to make a purchase there, and then it feels like I’ve gotten a $5 discount when I do.

2. I broke my brown bag lunch streak this week, which has lasted since at least October when I first started documenting my Friday Frugal Five. My husband was around my office at lunchtime and we were both able to take a break at the same time, so we went out to a quick meal together. It might not have been a long break, or anything special, but we were able to treat it like a mini date since it was in the middle of the work day and our son was at preschool. It was a deliberate break of my streak, and completely worthwhile. While I’m working on mindful spending this year, I’m not against bending or breaking rules if the situation arises.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I had almost broken my no buying lunch ban when a coworker brought Wendy’s back to the office, so we ended up walking there. Not a healthy lunch, but quick and cheap, and something I had been craving for a while. Hopefully now that we had that lunch out I can go back to eating leftovers or oatmeal for lunch like usual.

3. We lucked out camping last weekend at the weather was actually pretty nice, considering it was supposed to rain the entire time. Instead, the weather was dry all Saturday until about 4pm and then dry again on Sunday. We were all hanging around the campfire Saturday afternoon and I was admiring our friend’s fancy new camping cups he’d gotten as a Christmas present. I then looked at the three we had brought (for my husband, myself, and our roommate – the kiddo had his own cup), and all three were ones that we had somehow gotten for free in the past.

One was a cup I had gotten from a coworker when he attended a golf tournament and passed out a bunch of the free stuff he’d gotten there. One was a Walgreens cup that an employee had given our son randomly for just being cute one day. And the third ended up in our possession last year when we found it floating down the Wenatchee River during a trip to Leavenworth. Our son used it as a digging tool while we were down at the beach, and then we took it home with us. Maybe not new and fancy, but totally free, and again we kept something out of the landfill. We had a good laugh at the situation because no one was surprised that we were the ones with random free stuff that we’d pulled out of the river.

4. Not quite the same as the expired yogurt I ate a couple weeks ago, but I think I may start getting a reputation of being the garbage can for expired or questionable food. I was at my parents’ house last night for dinner, and we went to open a bottle of wine, only to find that it had been opened some time before. No one knew how old it was, and their friend decided to open a new bottle anyway, so I ended up taking it home with me instead. My husband and I both had a glass of it last night, and it tasted completely fine. I can’t imagine that wine “goes bad” very often though anyway, other than just turning to vinegar at some point.

5. My mom now reads my blog (and if yours doesn’t, you should probably let her know), so she knew all about my Luna bar score last week, and when she saw them on sale for $0.88/bar, she picked up a pile of them for me. Not quite the same discount, but they also aren’t expired, and now I have Luna bars to last me for months.

Even at 30 years old, she will occasionally spoil me with some random little gift, and I so appreciate it. While spending $9 on ten Luna bars won’t break the bank, the purchase means a lot to me because it means she’s thinking about me and cares enough to pick up something that will make my day a little bit better. Thanks mom. You’re the best.

How was your week? Any frugal wins you want to share? I love to hear them! It’s the little incremental things that add up to big ones over time. 

44 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 16)

  1. Yay, love when moms spoil us with food! (Mine is visiting this weekend and maybe she’ll have some goodies for me 😉 ) Is that the universal love language of parents? I don’t hate it at all haha.

    Mmmmm Wendy’s. Definitely my fast food of choice, and how awesome you got a mini-date during the week!

    I’m glad you’re prioritizing running right now <3

    1. I can see that my future will be the same with our kiddo once he is one day out of the house 🙂

      And keep me accountable with running – I need it!

  2. Oh wow. I didn’t know you can get Amazon gift cards for using Bing!.

    My wife started using Ecosia as her search engine. It’s pretty cool because after a certain amount of searches, they pledge to plant a tree for bettering the environment. Have you heard of them before? And if so, what do you think about Ecosia?

    1. Oh that’s really neat! I’ve gotten a few blog referrals from Ecosia but had no idea what that was about. I may have to look into that 🙂

  3. “depository for expired foods” you could have business cards printed with that title. that’s hilarious you’re using a cup you found floating in the river, but as we don’t have a dishwasher in our house, we can’t sterilize that kind of stuff. keep up the running!

    1. Ha, that would be some kind of business card to pass out 😉 We may not have a microwave (or a working tv) in our house, but we sure do have a dishwasher! Won’t give that thing up for anything.

      And if I don’t mention running much in the future, call me out on it! I need more of it in my life.

  4. Ah, I just told my mom about my blog a month ago. She subscribed and I kind of freaked out! But moms really are the best and do love spoiling us. We’re on their phone plan and I have to go into the Verizon store and prepay their phone bill to contribute. They already give us a substantial discount!

    1. Oh, and yeah, we are the pre-dumpster dumpster for foods people don’t want. We frequently leave family/friend gatherings with more food than we brought. But we hate seeing perfectly edible food go to waste, so we gladly accept it.

      1. Ha. Pre-dumpster dumpster. So accurate. This occasionally extends to neighbors for us as well 😉

    2. Did you get the stern talking to that I did for not sharing right away? 😉 Moms really are the best.

  5. Nice you got away on the camping trip and it was a fun time. As for the runs, if you can do more fine….if you can’t don’t worry as just focusing on walking or riding a bike instead. The important thing is being outside. LOL have fun with all those Luna Bars 🙂

    1. I do quite a bit of walking on a regular basis, but running is really what I need more of in my life 🙂

  6. Bing is great. I make sure to search for websites that I go to all the time (and could easily type in myself) to build up points. DGal also takes their daily quizzes to earn points.

    We also use the Walgreens app where we get points for just tracking out steps (synched up with our phones) and inputting blood pressure and weight daily. We probably get a few $$ a month from doing those basic things.

    1. Not a big amount of money by any stretch, but considering it takes no extra time or effort, it’s worth it in my book!

  7. Your brown bag lunch streak was awesome! So you def deserved to break it. 🙂
    I hate when we go out of town, and don’t have Sunday to prepare for the week. Makes the week SO much harder, doesn’t it?!

    1. Yeah, we usually get back home from weekends a little bit earlier on Sundays so we have more time, but the weather was soooo nice so we took our time getting home.

  8. Aww, that’s so cute that your mom reads your blog. 🙂 Also, I had no idea you could get paid for using Bing! I’m almost tempted, but I’m a brainwashed Google-lover, so oh well. Careful with the expired food – I’m guilty of doing the “sniff test” on things way too much. And I usually pay for it. :/

    This week:

    1. I just picked lemon balm from my herb garden. I mixed it with coconut oil and placed it next to the stove. It’s a great burn salve and stops the itch from bug bites.

    2. Today I also made homemade pomade for Mr. Picky Pincher. I just melted down some shaved beeswax (bought a block of it for $10 on Amazon). I combined the beeswax with an equal part of coconut oil, melted, and stirred it together. Once it cooled slightly I added patchouli for scent. Hopefully this will be a better alternative to storebought pomade. 🙂

    3. I ate homemade yogurt for breakfast yesterday.

    4. I finished a book I got for free from my boss. I also finished reading a book I rented for free from the library. I’m so happy that increasing the amount of reading in my life has dramatically slashed my TV time.

    5. I brought in a little more freelance work, which is always a welcome addition to the budget.

    1. The sniff test seems to be holding up well for me so far, but I have a stomach of steel thanks to the food my (loving) grandmother fed us growing up 😉

      Totally jealous of how much you have growing in the garden right now. The perks of being in a warmer place, I suppose.

  9. Good for you lady, taking care of yourself is the most important! You keep inspiring me to be better… I did one run this week, which is one more than… a long time haha And lunch dates are the BEST! It’s such a big departure from the norm (for people who work regular hours and nowhere near each other) I would without hesitation buy lunch if they boy was able to be near me. Worthwhile breaking of the streak indeed.

    Hey, if you get a rep for taking ‘expired’ food… free food! No shame in that, as long as you follow actual food safety rules. My thought exactly re: wine being good until it’s vinegar. And then you have free red wine vinegar! AWwww moms. Mine used to do little things like that all the time when I was still in OH. Now it’s a blessing and curse to be so far away. No more random clutter, but also no more free food… Moms are the best. 🙂

    1. You know, we could always try and find time to go on a run together next month… 😉 And lunch dates are totally the best.

  10. My partner and I work at the same company. We very rarely eat out and we both bring our lunches 99% of the time, but we recently decided that it’s totally worth it to go out for lunch together on a date once a month since it’s the best chance we have to get out just the two of us!

    1. Another option, since it sounds like you two could grab lunch together more often, would be to brown bag it but then have a picnic lunch at the park, or go for a walk together 🙂 Once a month lunch dates sound like a great idea though!

  11. I love using Bing. Just recently I used my Bing points to purchase an Xbox live membership for my son, as a gift. He was beyond thrilled and it was FREE. I eat so many expired yogurts at work. My coworkers know of this character flaw of mine and bring them to me when they find them in the shared fridge. I have had no ill effects. More probiotics for me.

    1. Oh yeah, they do have other redemption offers! I just go for Amazon because I don’t have a use for the others, but I don’t think I get the best use of the points. Glad to know I’m not the only one with a reputation for expired foods!

  12. I didn’t know you could do that with Bing. I use Swagbucks to get money back for my searches but I wonder if Bing gives you more per search. Swagbucks only randomly gives out SB when you search and it can be 2 SB or 22 SB. Different every time.
    Also, moms are the best. I hope I can be half as good as my momma was and still is to us.

    1. Yeah I’ve given up entirely on Swagbucks. Too variable for me. I like the regularity that comes from Bing (and it really isn’t an awful search engine).

  13. Yes, my mum still does that occasionally too! In reality I think she has too much money and doesn’t know what to spend it on!

    Running more will be good fun, what are you thinking of adding in? Can the little man ride a bike yet?

    1. He has a balance bike (the kind without wheels), but I’m hoping in a few more years he’ll want to run with mama! And we do go on hikes now.

  14. Frugal five for me:
    1. worked one extra shift eventhough i was reluctant at first.
    2. prepped and ate home made food the entire week
    3. ibotta and checkout 51 “spavings” $3.00
    4. plastic bottle returns $1.30
    5. skipped out on takeout pizza, went straight home and ate instead

    Woohoo, frugal me!

    1. Shoot! I need to remember to input a couple of receipts into Ibotta. Thanks for the reminder (apparently I need a few of them). Those all together add up to some serious savings! Nice job!

    1. Not big money, but hey, I don’t complain about the random $5 every once and a while!

  15. Running = Mental Health for me too. Also offsets my absurd food consumption, but that’s a side benefit of getting me through life

    1. Unfortunately, even in half marathon training, I could never eat THAT much. Downside of being 5’1.

    1. Oh! I like the idea of saving them up for Christmas! That would feel like a significant savings all at once versus $5 here and there.

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