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Lately it has occurred to me that some of my frugal ways have been slipping.

It’s never more evident than when I get an electric bill in the mail and it’s twice as high as it was a year ago.

Or when I pick up my 5 grocery bags after swiping the card to pay $150.

I know I should try to get used to this new way of spending money (double for everything), but my mouth falls open in shock a lot more than it should.

Anyway, all that to say that this series…the 5 Ways We’ve Saved Money Series…the one I used to write up faithfully every Friday…is becoming a necessity for me again.

It’s my way of reviewing our family money for the week. What went right? What didn’t?

It’s a great way to celebrate small wins, and to notice patterns in spending.

So if you missed this series, like I have (I can’t believe I’ve only written a couple of these in the past two years!), let’s jump back in!

5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week (The Fresh Start Edition)

5 Ways We've Saved Money This Week #169

Family Trip

Let me clarify that taking a family trip to Cedar Point isn’t necessarily the most frugal thing you can do.

But our family didn’t get to take a vacation this year. So this was one of two weekend trips we were able to take together.

Cedar Point beach

(After having 2 kids graduate high school in 2 years, I know you have to grab time together when you can!)

There is a blogging conference up there in September every year. I get to learn about the latest in blogging (and find some motivation to work on the blog…hope you like the new home page!) while the rest of the family enjoys riding everything they can.

With the conference, we get great rates on a combination of hotel stay and tickets for everyone.

I packed tons of food so we wouldn’t have to buy much. We used the Upside app to save on gas, plus Hubby stacked that with his Speedy Rewards points.

Honestly, getting a pass to a park like this is going to be a lot more cost effective than taking a big trip as a family for next year.

Canning and Freezing Food

My parents went on a trip and let me have at their garden.

Boy, I got a lot of produce from them!

And then…a friend also offered me two big buckets of green beans.

We have hit the produce jackpot this year for sure.

snapping green beans

Tomatoes and green beans for ages. Jalapeno peppers and bell peppers.

Plus, my neighbor had a baker’s dozen ears of corn for $6.

My shelves are full of canned goods and so are my freezers.

It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it.

What’d I make? Tomato sauce, pasta sauce, salsa, pickled green beans, peach preserves, peach core and peeling jelly, hot sauce, hot pepper jelly.

I also froze several bags of jalapeno poppers, corn (using my easy method for freezing corn), leftover watermelon for smoothies, and tons of green beans.

Buying Ingredients

I know kids really want to walk into the kitchen, grab something, and start eating.

But that stuff is expensive.

pesto and shredded zucchini

So they’re getting weaned off of the easy stuff.

If you want a snack around here, now you can pop some popcorn. Cut a slice of cheese. Make cookies.

Heck, if you can stir two things in a bowl and turn on an oven, you can make these Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins.

And if you gotta grab it and go, think ahead and hard boil some eggs. Or wait until meal time. You won’t starve here.

Thrift Store

One thing that shocked me was checking my Mint app and seeing how very much we’ve started spending on shopping.

And when I look at what we bought, hardly any of it is silly things I just wanted.

It’s legitimately things that have broken. Or a kid had the nerve to outgrow their shoes (ha!). Etc.

But you know what? I’m rediscovering our local St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop.

United States map
One of my fun thrift store treasures…

That place has tons of stuff. And if I add something we need (or “need”) to a shopping list and wait, I can find it there for way less than the cost of new.

Lately I’ve gotten dresses, belts, books (so many books), furniture, etc. just by being patient and looking through the shop.

You’d have thought I was a hero for bringing home a couple of 50 cent wiffle ball bats one day.

Try it! Be patient, take some time to look through what’s there, and resist the temptation to have it delivered right away (if you can).

#YearofNo Renewal

Ok, not a full renewal.

(Our family bought nothing frivolous at all for two years while we paid off a ton of debt a couple of years ago. We probably won’t go all the way back to that just yet! Read more here if you want.)


I am starting to think about how simple things were during our #yearofno.

It’s time to rethink what we spend our money on.

After a weekend trip to an amusement park, do the kids also need a souvenir?


(It’s gonna end up broken or lost within a week anyway.)

Do we need the air conditioner running when it’s barely in the 80s anymore?


We get used to all of these modern conveniences, but somehow people lived thousands of years without any of them. We can too, if we want to.

It’s something that’s been on my mind quite a bit, and I think we’ll be re-evaluating everything in the coming months.

Those are the ways we saved this week!

What have you done to save money this week?

Check out the entire 5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week series right here.