Frugal Friday- June 20, 2014
June 20, 2014, 10:04 PM
Filed under: Frugality | Tags: , , , , ,

It’s been a lucrative week in my household, showing once again that frugality, in some cases, can be a decent substitute for a paycheck. The idea that making sure that we aren’t spending more than we bring in isn’t  ‘a job’, but I do liken it to ‘a calling’. The first, and best, way to answer that calling is to track expenses. For 14 years, we have tried faithfully to track every single penny that comes into, and goes out of, our household. Doing this shows us exactly when we’re spending too much in one category or another and then allows us to make adjustments when needed. Food, gasoline, energy and entertainment are all examples of expense categories that allow for some flexibility and seeing what we’ve spent over the previous thirty days (or thirty months!) helps us make those adjustments with ease, both mentally and financially. The idea of tracking expenses came to us via “Your Money or Your Life”, a book we both happened to read at the beginning of our relationship. Both the tracking, and the relationship, have stood the test of time.

Monday: We needed a brighter bulb for a table lamp, and decided to pay a bit extra to get the better lighting quality of an LED bulb (instead of the ‘old’ compact fluorescent type we were replacing), so we bought one at Lowe’s while we were picking up some other home repair items we needed. Not a good shot, but here it is:


Cost: $27.00

There were a few things on our shopping list that we couldn’t find at Lowe’s, so we went down the street to Home Depot. We found another bulb there with the same watts, lumens, and amperage as the  one we’d just bought from Lowe’s- for $20.00! Cree bulbs have the highest ratings available for residential LED lighting by the way. So, we returned the Lowe’s bulb. Savings: $7.00.  PS Save the receipts and package from these bulbs so that if they don’t meet the promised warranty period you can get a replacement.


Just an aside: while at Lowe’s we had priced an outdoor flag holder for $9.95, and rejected it as too expensive. While at Home Depot, we found a completely acceptable one for $2.50!  Savings: $7.45. Has Lowe’s gone ‘upscale’ on us? It pays to shop around, whether it’s for lightbulbs or lawnmowers.

Tuesday: After months of eating ice cream during Michael’s chemo treatments, we’re trying to find healthier substitutes, so I’ve started making yogurt once again. Summer time is perfect for this since it produces very little heat in the kitchen and the availability of fresh fruits to add to it are at their peak. I like mine creamy and thick, with ‘real’ chunks of fruit, and local honey as a sweetener. A small container of Greek yogurt is about a dollar. I use powdered milk to make mine in a $10 yogurt maker I’ve had for many years. It holds 8 ‘cups’ and depending on the fruit I use, costs me about 50 cents a cup at most and is delicious. Savings: $4.00


Just heat the milk to 190 degrees, then let cool to 120 degrees…


      then add a few Tablespoons of plain yogurt as a starter, pour into cups, and let the magic happen!

Wednesday: My dentist, whom I trust completely, advised me to get the two ‘major’ repair jobs taken care of during this calendar year while I have dental insurance, then to drop the insurance at the end of the year. I take good care of my teeth, getting them cleaned by hygienist students at my local college for free, four times a year, and doing the recommended brushing and flossing daily. My new dental insurance paid for a full set of xrays and will pay 80% of the needed work, after which, I shouldn’t need any more expensive stuff done. (It doesn’t cover ‘false teeth’ should I need those in the future). So, I had the first procedure done this week and will have the next done next month, leaving me still with almost 6 months of coverage before I cancel. My annual premiums are $360, and since this is the first year in my life I’ve ever had dental insurance, maybe I’ll go the next 60 without it again! Savings: $360 a year


Thursday: Our toilets began having trouble flushing completely. After much plunging, I heard the man next door out in his yard, and, knowing he owns a lot of property around town, went outside to ask him if he could recommend a decent plumber. Turns out, he was in the side yard with his plumber-guess what? His toilets weren’t flushing either, so he had called Roto Rooter to clear his clog. Amazingly, our two houses connect in the side yard, then run out to the city’s sewer lines at the street! So, we agreed we’d split the bill. Of course, Roto Rooter couldn’t open the blockage with their ‘normal’ equipment and said they’d return with their BIG guns. Estimated cost: $350. So, I told the neighbor I’d split the cost with him. Roto Rooter guys returned, and in less than 5 or 10 minutes they’d uncovered the problem, rather smugly announcing that the problem was “feminine products”. I rather smugly pointed to my gray hair and told them then it wasn’t my fault since I’m the only female in my house and I haven’t used “feminine products” in almost ten years! I offered to pay $100 towards the final bill and neighbor man quickly agreed to that deal. Savings: $75.00! just for speaking up!


                    “Onion” may use feminine products…but I don’t!  Color me happy 🙂

Saturday: That’s right, I didn’t do a damn thing frugal today but I did take some herbal teas and crossword puzzle books to a friend in the hospital, cut my own grass, and bought one of those rotisserie chickens on sale for $3.99 from Krogers to have for supper (with enough leftovers for 2 more meals). But tomorrow I’ll take my cat to the annual vaccination clinic at the nearby high school, where I’ll be able to get his rabies shot then for $10. Savings: $20  Simon is not any happier that he’ll get it for a third of the normal price, but I sure am! (picture above applies to Saturday too)

simon 1

As always, frugality is not about being ‘cheap’ but smart. Living well on less keeps us long on time and lean on ‘stuff’, but absolutely FAT on all that matters! Please won’t you share your frugal matters too in the comments section below? I’m always inspired by what my readers are doing to stretch their incomes- hey, that means YOU!


8 Comments so far
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Sam, I’ve noticed several similar cost comparisons in which Home Depot was a better source than Lowes. So I’m looking at HD first.
Great photo of you!

Comment by Deanna

Yes, what a lovely picture of you! Hey I did a good one! I have a kitchen window under a porch that is enclosed on both sides and under a roof. It’s the only window in the house that didn’t have a storm window. I knew I was losing heat, but it never bothered me enough to consider doing something about it till last winter, when we had the polar vortex winter from hell! During that awful cold, I told myself I wasn’t going thru another winter without a storm window on there. So a month ago I measured the window, and went to order a storm window with 2 glasses and a screen, at Lowe’s. The window was $75. The guy told me there is a warehouse supply and demand thingee, that if he got it for me in 2 days, it would cos $75, but if I could wait two weeks, the price would be $60. Well yea, I’ll wait, to save $15. I picked it up a few days ago and my son asked me when I was having the contractor who does work for me (when I absolutely need it) come to put it on. What? No, it’s hold it up to the window frame and caulk under it, screw it in place with about 10 screws, then caulk again around the edge. I don’t need a man for that! So yesterday I installed my lovely reduced-price storm window myself, and will save money and be more comfortable in my kitchen all winter. Savings for the contractor, $100, to appear here and do a small job. I’m excited! I was the carpenter’s daughter, and he taught me I’d better learn how to figure things out, and this was an easy one. I thought of you as I was turning screws, having the plan come together…I gotta tell Sam about this one!

Comment by sarasinart

Nancy that’s about the coolest thing I’ve heard e-ver! We’ve never even met, but I do feel like we’re friends already. I’m so pleased you were able to install the storm by yourself-you GO gurrrllll!

Comment by simpleintn

Yea, I really wish we lived up the road from each other! We would share all kinds of great ideas. Thanks, it was really easy.

Comment by sarasinart

Dang it! We have to drive 20 miles to get to Home Depot and 10 to the Jonesborough Lowes. Greeneville does not have a HD. Seems like every time we need an item, we needed it YESTERDAY so scurry to Lowes. I have certainly seen the difference in prices at the two. Oh, well, guess that is one of the sacrifices we make to live in the Boonies! AND, maybe not enough planning ahead on our part.

By the way, one day when we WERE in JC, we stopped and looked at the Carver Community Garden. I had never seen one before and was amazed! I didn’t want to leave. I could almost feel a neighborhood there as there was some folks working.

Comment by Karen in East TN

Karen, I am so pleased you stopped to see the garden. It is so lovely this year and we’re actually experiencing some real community there now! Come back for a tour anytime!

Comment by simpleintn

Sam, I’ve been subscribed to this blog for so long I don’t remember how I got signed up. I have a friend who wants to receive it too.

Comment by Deanna

Go to the ‘About’ page in the top left corner of this spring, click there, then scroll all the way down to the bottom of that page, and in the left hand corner you’ll see a ‘follow’ button. Have her click there again. Thanks for sharing it Deanna. PS Here’s a link to follow it too if you’d rather just send this to her: https://tennesseetransitions.wordpress.com/about-tennesse-transitions/

Comment by simpleintn

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