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Our second born graduated high school this spring, and we had a big bash at our house to celebrate.

And now that the party is over, I can finally breathe easily again!

Getting the house ready for the party took up the lion’s share of work and expense, but you can bet that I found plenty of ways to save money.

5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week

Don’t forget to grab your frugal copy of the 500 Ways To Save Money book. It’s 100 weeks worth of tips right at your…uh, finger-tips. ha!

In the meantime, here are the newest ways we’ve saved.

Picnic Table Paint

We have a picnic table my dad made for my Hubby and I about 20 years ago.

It was in kind of rough shape. But we discovered that some of the rotting boards had plenty of extra life left if we just flipped them over.

So we put our 15 year old to work with the drill.

A good coat of paint is all that was left to do.

Somehow my local Walmart had a gallon of the barn red color I wanted in a “stone and wood replenishing” paint sitting in their oops bin for less than $20!


(The can had definitely been dropped and lacked a handle, but that didn’t bother me any.)

Had the color been a little off, I would have even bought that for half price.

So not only did we save money by replenishing the table, but the paint worked out to be a bargain, too.

Flower Pots

I bought lots of flowers this year to try to make the yard look nice for the party.

After my dogs dug up a lot of them last year (not to mention kids stomping on them), I decided pots were a better option than planting in the yard.

But I filled up all of the pots we had on hand and still had some flowers leftover.

What to do?

Well, I got creative!

The mason jar drink dispenser that had been leaking all over my kitchen (even after I bought a replacement spigot), became a cute container.

And an old metal chicken waterer that had busted works great for dirt.

Of course, I have had to give them plenty of water this year! But so far, so good.

Window Trim

Sometimes I think our home addition is never going to be finished.

A lot of the detail work still needs to be done.

Like trim work.

I finally decided that I wanted a super simple trim around my windows, and got the Hubby to install some 1x4s. That allowed me to finally paint the backsplash in my kitchen.

The look is wonderful, I think! Although the only comment my kids made was “Gee, it’s white in here.”


Rag Curtain

Well, it was obvious that I needed something to break up all that white.

I had planned to try to find a good deal on a couple of wreaths for the windows, but was complaining about how much that would cost to my mom.

She suggested I just make a rag curtain instead.

Initially I had planned to find some pretty sheets or curtains, some kind of fabric, at the thrift shop.

But time got away from me. So instead, I just grabbed some small rolls of cloth from Walmart.

I was blown away by how cute the finish look was! Especially because I am NOT crafty or creative about things like this.

Heck, it wasn’t my idea. But I’m so happy that I stole it!

To make your rag curtain, rip your cloth into 1 inch strips. Loop each strip around a rope of jute, clothesline, or whatever you have on hand until you have enough to cover the length of your window.

Grad Party

The party itself was so much fun!

I served pulled pork (found pork butt for less than $2 per pound, which I didn’t even think was possible in 2023) and pulled chicken with several bbq options.

(By the way, if you need cheap grill recipes for a crowd, I put together a new post of delicious, affordable ways to host a backyard bbq this week. Check it out!)

We had tons of leftovers, which I froze and can’t wait to pull out in the next couple of weeks for an easy weeknight meal.

We had individual bags of chips (which weren’t cheap, maybe I should have done large bags with bowls instead).

Several people brought food to share, which was so sweet. Gotta love midwest hospitality!

I bought two large cakes from Sam’s Club for $40. The cookie cake was gone in a flash!

Decorations were largely from Dollar Tree and pictures I had printed.

It was a great success, and everyone had so much fun!

Those are the ways we saved money this week.

If you like saving money, don’t forget about the cheap book version of this series!