Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

I can’t believe that we are passed the half way point in January. The days have really flown by. I hate to wish my life away, but I do long for spring and the warmer days ahead. Until then, I am appreciating the coziness of home. We have a fire constantly going, as that is our main heat source this year. I allow myself to settle in at night, with a cup of tea and a mutually agreed upon series on a streaming service with my husband. We are finally watching The Sopranos. I asked him why we waited so long. When I looked the series start date up online, I found that it premiered the week my daughter was born. That answered my question. I wasn’t doing much of anything that wasn’t kid related until about 2010!

With January nearing the end, I am already planning a grocery store trip. The annual freezer and pantry clean out continues and things are starting to clear out. Until then, here is a list of our Frugal Friday roundup:

  1. I had to give in and go to the store for some items. My daughter’s birthday dinner was on Sunday and she requested vegan cheeseburger macaroni. I did not have Beyond Beef or vegan cheddar. I also needed some eggs and bananas. The food co-op had some organic vegetables on clearance, so I threw some of those in my cart as well. Total spent was $40. That brings our grocery bill total to January to $42.57. Not bad for a family of 4.
  2. My daughter is getting an apartment this summer. I bought her a Penzey’s gift set to get started on her own spice collection. I found a 4 year old Penzey’s giftcard with $20 on it which I applied to the total. I have a pile of giftcards that have assorted balances on them that I need to be better about using.
  3. I do not understand when my husband starts giving me in depth details about anything electrical. My understanding is that a fuse blew and could not be salvaged. He knows how to replace it, so instead of hiring an electrician, he ordered the fuse and replaced it himself.
  4. Spent yesterday cooking and baking. I have mastered a whole grain flax seed bread recipe that actually seems to work. I also made a peach galette with peaches I canned over the summer and bbq glazed salmon with a bbq sauce I canned in the summer. Those foods I took the time to preserve 6 months ago are coming in handy now. Today I will be make a batch of chicken noodle soup. I have another friend with COVID and promised to bring her some.
  5. I signed up for Imperfect Foods. I have heard people raving about it, that a membership is both a money saver and time saver. I thought I would give it a try. I don’t care of my carrots are a funny shape, as long as they are edible. Our first delivery will be on January 29, just a few days shy of the end of the pantry challenge. By then, I am going to need to give in. The timing is perfect.

That’s about it for now. Today is super cold in Wisconsin, so I plan on spending the majority of the day at home. I have a couple errands to run, including taking our foster dog to the vet. But I should be settled into my cozy home by 3:30 today. Perfect end to the week.

Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

  1. I received a second payment from the Bought Milk class action settlement. It wasn’t a lot, $18.90. I applied it to our Century Springs water bill for the month. Every bit counts.
  2. Continued with the pantry and freezer clean out. Some of our best dinners have happened because I get creative with what I have on hand. Chicken breast and Boursin cheese make a great combination. I did need to go to Kwik Trip for bananas and eggs. Total spent was $2.47.
  3. Did you know that pickle brine makes a pretty great chicken marinade? I had no idea until I tried it last week. I used it to make copycat Chick-fil-a sandwiches for dinner. I won’t go to Chick-fil-a for personal reasons. But, I have heard they have a great sandwich. The sandwiches turned out really good.
  4. I asked our insurance agent to rerun some quotes for us. He did, and with a new auto insurance product that he has, our car insurance went down $200 per month! Our coverage increased and our deductible went down. Seriously, call your agent.
  5. Car rides have been reduced to driving to and from work. Until this most recent wave goes down, we are sticking to home. Again. However, I am really sick of putting my life on hold to avoid getting sick. I will keep doing it because I am a textbook rule follower. But that doesn’t mean I like it.

What did you do this week to make your money go further? Are you doing the pantry challenge? Sticking close to home? Visiting your library more? Let me know if there is something I am missing.

Frugal Living, Recipes

Korean Rice Bowl

One of the nice things about working at a library is that I see nearly everything that goes in and out our doors. Yesterday, I came across a vegan cookbook that I decided to give a quick look. The book opened to a recipe for Korean Tempeh Bowls. It looked delicious, but I quickly realized that I did not have all of the ingredients to make it at home. I didn’t let that stop though, I checked out the cookbook and decided to make substitutions. The result was a really good and healthy meal. I used only what I had on hand and kept my January pantry challenge intact. I also found out at work that I am not the only one participating in this challenge. I am not sure if it is COVID, the really cold weather in Wisconsin or the New Year, but the January pantry challenge seems to be a thing!

Korean Tempeh and Rice Bowl

1.5 cups white rice


8 ounces tempeh

1/4 cup soy sauce

4 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tbsp brown sugar

1.5 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp pepper flakes

1 tbsp vegetable oil


1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 bag frozen stir fry vegetables

1 bag frozen broccoli


sesame seeds, siracha, pepper flakes, chopped peanuts.


Cook the rice according to instructions. While rice is cooking make the marinade for the tempeh. Cut tempeh into cubes and let marinate for about 15 minutes. Once done marinating, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Remove tempeh, being sure to reserve the marinade. Put tempeh in skillet and cook until all sides are crispy, turning often. This will take about 5 to 6 minutes. Put finished tempeh on a plate. Add a little more oil to skillet and add vegetables. Stir frequently and medium heat. Once vegetable are tender, add marinade and let simmer about 4 minutes.

Serve over rice and add desired toppings.

Frugal Living

Frugal Friday

Well, the new year is off to a great start as far as saving money. Here is the roundup of what we saved.

  1. We spent New Year’s Eve at home. Dinner was frozen pizza and salad. I watched reruns of Sex and the City. My husband and daughter played board games. I was asleep well before the clock struck 2022. I do like to wake up early on the first day of the year in order to get a jump start on things.
  2. I paid my Mint Mobile bill for the year. $165 for 12 months. Seriously, if you don’t have Mint Mobile, you are overpaying for cell phone coverage.
  3. My daughter being home for Christmas break means that our free supply of coffee is back.
  4. I have a gym membership that also offers streaming and on demand workouts. I am taking advantage of that service as well as visiting the gym. I do yoga and meditation at home. I save time and gas money, in addition to utilizing even more of the services provided by my gym.
  5. I mended three pairs of jeans instead of throwing them out and buying new. Back to my goal of not buying new clothes and getting off of the fast fashion carousel.

What did you do this first week of 2022 to save some money?

Family Life

Happy New Year

Well, here we are, entering year three of a pandemic that I believe we were told would last two weeks. I should make it a point to never listen to politicians or people in power. My family has remained COVID free, but I feel like our luck may be running out as the virus creeps closer and more and more people I know have it. Thankfully, we are all fully vaxxed, so I expect that if we get sick, it will be mild.

Like with every new year, I try to come up with a list of goals that I want to accomplish. This year, I am trying something new and skipping the lose weight and go to the gym more. I already go to the gym regularly. I have been very slowly losing weight the last year and while I wish it was more, it’s better than nothing. So, I am going to keep that status quo for now. Instead, I have some other goals that don’t involve my physical health.

  1. I am going to attempt to not buy any clothes for one year. As my daughter has pointed out many times, the textile industry is one of the main causes of global warming. The fast fashion industry has made it too easy to purchase cute clothes for cheap. But we need to ask ourselves, what is the true cost of buying that $15 sweater that won’t even last that long. I have more than enough clothing to get me through a year. I went into 2022 prepared. In December I purchased a pair of workout shoes (my old pair was literally tearing away from the sole), the summer work shoes I will need and new socks. Unless some kind of special event happens where I need a dress, I am set for one year. This challenge shouldn’t be too hard for me. I hate shopping and am so frugal that I do wear things out before replacing them.
  2. My reading goal is 135 books for the year. I keep track of my books on Goodreads. Last year’s goal was 130 books, finished 10 days ahead of schedule. Reading is my escape from the real world. It also the activity that grounds my daily routine. I read every single night before bed for at least an hour. This is a routine I have followed since second or third grade. I have always been a patron of my local library. It is no shock that I now work at a library.
  3. I am going to order our state park sticker this week so that we can start visiting the parks sooner. Wisconsin has some really beautiful state parks that we need to utilize more. Since a long distance vacation appears to be at least one more full year in the future, sticking close to home is our only choice.
  4. I am going to learn to say “No” more often to requests. I am terrible about saying no to pretty much anyone. I only hurt myself when I do that.
  5. In January, we are going to challenge ourselves again to eat from the freezer and pantry without going to the store (eggs and bananas will be the exception to that rule). By starting the year with this goal, we save money and clear out the freezer and pantry of food that was lost over the past year.
  6. This one is a big one for me. I need to stop cancelling and rescheduling appointments. I do it all the time. There is no reason for it, just procrastination and laziness. I am starting today. I have a 10:00am doctor appointment, that I considered rescheduling for absolutely no reason. I will go and then it will be done. This will be a good goal to test my saying no goal. “Can you work on Thursday?” “No, I have an appointment scheduled”. Sounds easier than it is.
  7. We need to remodel our kids bathroom. It is in DESPERATE need. I think this summer is the target date. When that happens, we will only have 1 of our kids still here. She will only be here for summers and breaks though. It was something that has been backburnered for years because it was always in use.
  8. We also need to finish replacing the moulding and doors. That has been slow going because my husband has been doing it. Target date of summer for that to be done.
  9. Replace a couple pieces of our furniture. Again, I let things wear out until the bitter end. Our couches are in serious need of replacement. My understanding is that furniture everywhere is on backorder. I am going to start looking in the summer when the inventory has hopefully been replenished.
  10. Finally, finish a couple of crafting projects that I have sitting around. I like doing them when watching TV, but forget to pick them up. Should be an easy goal.