A Shift in Mindset: Being Cheap Versus Being Frugal

The last Monday of the school year (back in June), after I dropped the kids at their respective schools, I went to Target. I bought curtains. Now, for those who either know me in real life, or I’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know that prior to blogging full-time, one of the jobs I had in the past was a historical costumer. So I know how to sew.

Why did I buy curtains? I’m frugal.

Let me explain. I got really nice curtains for each kid kids bedroom. They are 63 inches long, they are black-out curtains meaning that they are treated with white plastic that once the curtains are closed at no light filters through. Each curtain panel was $11. So for two sets of curtains, they cost after taxes about $46. Which is decent. I could not walk into a fabric store and buy all the supplies I need it for two sets of curtains for the same amount of money.

For $46, I saved myself about two hours’ worth of measuring, cutting, and sewing. Plus a trip to the fabric store. For those of you who have been to a fabric store lately, you know how dangerous it is once you get in there. So many new ideas, craft supplies, cool fabric. And I try to have willpower, but I do love to make things.

I could have in theory found cheap fabric either at the fabric store or at Walmart, or I could’ve even gone to a thrift store and look for fabric, or old sheets. That’s not what I wanted. I wanted something that looked nice I wanted something or I wouldn’t have to spend hours getting something done just to save a few bucks. And that’s the difference between being cheap, and being frugal.

Everyone’s heard the old adage “Time is money“. And it’s true. Even though I may work at home, it doesn’t mean that my time is not worth anything. When I do paying gigs, no matter what they are, I won’t take them if I feel that my time is not being compensated well enough. And for this, new curtain project, I felt that $46 was well spent.

Now I know not everyone has extra money lying around to do whatever project that is looming on your horizon. There are other ways you can flex your frugal muscles.

  • If it’s a sewing project, you can go through your fabric stash if you have one, you can find coupons online for fabric if you wanna make your own project.
  • Look online and see if there are discounts available or deals or sales on whatever your project item is.
  • Check your local buy nothing group online.
  • Hit up your local thrift store. I have gotten many good pairs of sheets sets, bedding, and even curtains at thrift stores. A lot of people change out their curtains every year and wash and donate their “old“ curtains to a thrift store. My bedroom curtains came from the Goodwill in my town. And I paid less than $10 for both of the curtains. And they’re beautiful and I love them.

Prior to hitting up Target, for the past month, I’d kept my eyes open anytime I went out to a thrift store, or when I was out shopping to see if there were curtains that were perfect for our needs. I was not successful.  So instead of continuing the search even longer for something secondhand, I bit the bullet and spent $46. Because to me, getting a project done and checked off my to-do list for $46, was worth it. I didn’t need to keep going to thrift stores every week, trying to find the perfect set of curtains or the perfect fabric.

Frugality versus cheapness is something that goes beyond purchasing home goods. Let’s look at groceries. I know back in the heyday of couponing, a lot of people would go from store to store to store to stock up on deals and bargains. I will admit that back before I had kids I would do that. Because I had lots of free time. But now that I have two kids, my free time is limited.

And couponing is not what it used to be. So I shop at the same stores every week. Unless something is free, I tend not to deviate from my usual shopping. I shop at three stores. Which, seems like a lot, however, two of the stores are in the same shopping center, right next-door to each other. And I buy specific stuff at each store because it’s the only place to find what I want within my budget. So every week I head to $.99 only, Grocery Outlet, and usually Food 4 Less.

This is just some of what we get each week!

We get our CSA box every week for $25. And it’s an amazing deal. It saves me both time in that I don’t have to try to go to two or three grocery stores that have decent produce to find exactly what I want, and it saves me money. A $25 produce box has everything we need for the entire week. And I am able to use what is in that box to plan my weekly menu. We seldom have waste from our CSA box. And what we don’t eat by the end of the week just gets rolled over into the next week. In the past, I was spending half or more of a grocery budget each week on produce, and half the time it was too much, and it will go bad or I would have to stash it in the freezer. I still stash veggies and fruit in the freezer, but not to such a large extent.

Another thing that for me is frugal but not cheap is Dream Dinners. Granted, Dream Dinners can cost upwards of $250 plus a month for a minimum order. And that’s either 12 dinners that serve 2 to 3 people each or six large dinners that are for 4 to 6 people each. I like Dream Dinners because from the time you start cooking to the time dinner is on the table it’s 45 minutes or less in most cases.

And there are times when I’ve had a long day and it’s just been so crazy that I don’t want to cook. But instead of going through the drive-through, ordering a pizza, I can just pull out one of our dream dinners and have food that’s ready to eat in 45 minutes or less. There are no difficult directions, and the food is always delicious. And one order with 12 medium meals is enough for a month for us.

I tend to use them on nights where I know that I’m going to want something that’s quick, something that’s easy. Dream Dinners are cheaper than take out for our family. If I was to do take out 2 to 3 times a week every month that would be upwards of $600. That’s based on an average of what we usually order when we get takeout.

These are just a few examples of how I am frugal. Obviously, these may not be the ways that you save time vs. doing it the cheapest way. Everyone has ways that saves time and money, and I’d love to hear from you!

August 2021: New Month, New Coupons!

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

The printable coupon market is slowly coming to an end. Smartsource no longer offers printable coupons, and you may notice that there are fewer coupon inserts in your Sunday newspaper. This is in favor of more offers available on apps. But if you love printable coupons….

  • Coupons.com (printable coupons, e-coupons, and a cashback app)

One of my favorite websites is the Sunday Coupon Review.  It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

August is back to school time! Deals on School supplies, lunch food, kids clothes, and electronics. Ibotta has a great cashback deal right now on school supplies and lunch food, check my post here. 

For a complete list of types of foods and items that will be on sale, check out this post on the cycle of sales.

Here are a few of my favorite new coupons:


Save $1.00 on ONE (1) DANIMALS® 6pk Smoothies
Save $2.25 on ONE (1) Chameleon Whole Bean Coffee, Ground Coffee, or Cold Brew Concentrates – Shelf stable packs
Save $1.00 on ONE (1) Undercover Snacks 2 oz pack of Quinoa Crisps
Save $1.00 on ANY TWO (2) Clorox® Cleaning or Laundry Products (*excludes $1, trial size and travel size).
Save $1.50 on Any ONE (1) Finish® Quantum® 22ct+, Finish® Max-In-1® 24ct+, Finish® Deep Clean 38ct+ Dishwasher Detergent, Finish® JET-DRY®
Save $2.00 on ANY ONE (1) MAUI MOISTURE® Shampoo or Conditioner (excludes all Travel & Trial Sizes)
Save $1.00 on ANY ONE (1) Garnier® Fructis® shampoo, conditioner, treatment or styling product. (exclusions apply)

July 2021: New Month, New Coupons!

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

Check out the following sites:

One of my favorite websites is the Sunday Coupon Review.  It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

June is here! It’s National Picnic Month, and it’s also time for Canada Day (July 1), American Independence Day (July 4th).  There will be deals on summer Sports Equipment & Craft Supplies (things for families to do together), picnic/outdoor foods. Examples include beverages, Hot dogs, Ground Beef, BBQ sauce, Ketchup, Mustard, Ribs (Often times there are some really great rebates WYB beer or soda)

For a complete list of types of foods and items that will be on sale, check out this post on the cycle of sales.

Here are a few of my favorite new coupons:

Save $1.50 when you buy ONE (1) Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats
Save $2.50 on any TWO (2) JUSTIN’S® Spreads products 12 oz or larger (any variety – excludes peanut butter)
Save $2.00 off ONE (1) Banana Boat® Sun Care Product (excludes 1 oz., 1.8 oz., 2 oz., lip balm & trial sizes)
Save $1.00 on ONE (1) 10oz to 34oz Bottle of Germ-X® Hand Sanitizer (excludes trial & travel sizes)
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant Veggie Spirals™
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant® New Frozen Product, Any Variety

Mid-Month Coupon Round Up June 2021

I was cruising my favorite coupon sites this morning and I found some great stuff. This is a little late, but there are some pretty cool coupons to share.

The two sites I use the most for printable coupons are:

Here are a few coupons that have me kinda stoked:

Save $1.00 On any ONE (1) Sun-Maid® Chocolate Raisins, Any Variety (7 oz Bag)
Save $0.75 on any ONE (1) Finish® JET-DRY® 3in1 Rinse Aid 8.45oz.+, OR Finish® Dishwasher Cleaner 8.45oz. or 3ct tab
Save $2.00 any ONE (1) NEUTROGENA® Sun Care product (excluding trial and clearance).
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant® New Frozen Product, Any Variety

June 2021-New Month, New Coupons!

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

Check out the following sites:

One of my favorite websites is the Sunday Coupon Review.  It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

June is here! It’s National Candy Month, and it’s also time for Father’s Day (June 20th), and Graduation season (starting as early as June 5th in some places). There will be deals on men’s wear, technology for grads (like new laptops), and of course, summer stuff like swimwear, pool toys, and sunscreen! For a complete list of types of foods and items that will be on sale, check out this post on the cycle of sales.

Here are a few of my favorite new coupons:

Save $1.00 any ONE (1) EXTRA® Refreshers® Gum Bottle (40 ct.)
Save $1.00 on TWO (2) Borden Cheese products


Save $1.00 off Two (2) C&H® Sugar Products 2lbs. Or Larger

Mid-Month Coupon Round Up May 2021!

I was cruising my favorite coupon sites this morning and I found some great stuff.

The two sites I use the most for printable coupons are:

Here are a few coupons that have me kinda stoked:


Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) Cafe Bustelo® Coffee product (excluding instant)
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) Folgers® Coffee product (excluding instant)
Save $2.00 on any (1) BENGAY® product (excludes trial & travel sizes) (Getting Back the gym has been a little painful)
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant® New Frozen Product, Any Variety
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant Veggie Spirals™
Save $1.00 off Two (2) C&H® Sugar Products 2lbs. Or Larger  For all of the baking I’ve been doing lately. 

And if you are looking for more ways to save, check out my Smart Phone App Page. It’s got all kinds of great apps to help you save and earn cash back on all of your grocery and home essential shopping!

May 2021-New Month, New Coupons!

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

Check out the following sites:

One of my favorite websites is the Sunday Coupon Review.  It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

May is here! It’s National bike month, so there will be deals on bikes, scooters, helmets, and other safety gear. It’s also the beginning of BBQ season, so no doubt there will be deals on BBQ’s and other outdoor furniture and pool toys. For a complete list of types of foods and items that will be on sale, check out this post on the cycle of sales.

Here are a few of my favorite new coupons:

Save $1.25 on any ONE (1) NEW Talenti® Gelato & Sorbetto jar
Save $3.00 ONE Venus® Razor (excludes Venus® Disposable Razors and trial/travel size)
Save $0.75 on ONE (1) 3.15 lb or larger bag of Cat Chow® Dry Cat Food
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant® New Frozen Product, Any Variety
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant Veggie Spirals™

Mid-Month Coupon Round Up April 2021!

I was cruising my favorite coupon sites this morning and I found some great stuff.

The two sites I use the most for printable coupons are:

Here are a few coupons that have me kinda stoked:
Save $1.00 on ANY ONE (1) Garnier® Fructis® shampoo, conditioner, treatment or styling products (exclusions apply)
Save $1.00 on ANY ONE (1) Garnier® Whole Blends® shampoo, conditioner or treatment product (exclusions apply)
Save $1.00 on ANY ONE (1) L’Oreal Paris Elvive or Ever conditioner (excludes any 1oz. & 3oz. product, twin packs, value packs and kits)
Save $2.00 on any ONE (1) Degree Maximum Recovery Body Wash & Soak, Massage Bar Soap, Epsom Salt Muscle Soak, Deep Clean Bar Soap, or Body

And if you are looking for more ways to save, check out my Smart Phone App Page. It’s got all kinds of great apps to help you save and earn cash back on all of your grocery and home essential shopping!

April 2021- New Month, New Coupons!

file000786402730Here is your monthly reminder!  A new month means new printable and electronic coupons!

Check out the following sites:

One of my favorite websites is the Sunday Coupon Review.  It helps me plot out scenarios in advance and I can email friends to ask for coupons in advance. Remember if clipping coupons isn’t your thing, but saving money is, check out my list of Smartphone apps that can save you the big bucks! New offers are added on the Smartphone Savings Apps all the time!

April is here! Easter Sunday is this coming Sunday, so there will be deals for candy and egg dying supplies (and don’t forget markdowns in the days following the holiday). April is National Gardening Month, keep your eyes peeled for deals and sales at home improvement stores, as well as stores like Dollar Tree and Walmart. For a complete list of types of foods and items that will be on sale, check out this post on the cycle of sales.

 

Here are a few of my favorite new coupons:


Save $0.50 when you buy TWO BOXES any flavor/variety Betty Crocker™ Fruit Shapes OR Mott’s® Fruit Flavored Snacks
Save $2.00 when you buy ONE (1) Nature’s Own® Perfectly Crafted Loaf and ONE (1) Sabra 8 oz – 10 oz Hummus (Available at Walmart)
Save $1.50 any ONE (1) Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Nutritional Product
Save $3.00 ONE Venus® Razor (excludes Venus® Disposable Razors and trial/travel size)

Mid-Month Coupon Round Up March 2021!

I was cruising my favorite coupon sites this morning and I found some great stuff.

The two sites I use the most for printable coupons are:

Here are a few coupons that have me kinda stoked:

Save $0.75 On ONE (1) Juicy Juice® product (excludes 4-pack juice boxes)
Save $0.75 When you buy THREE (3) Avocados From Mexico
Save $1.50 FOUR (4) Lean Cuisine Frozen Items (redeemable at Walmart)
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) LISTERINE® Mouthwash product (from 500 ml to 1L) or any (1) LISTERINE® READY! TABS® product (8 ct. or larger)
Save $2.00 on ANY ONE (1) Garnier® Whole Blends® Sulfate Free Remedy or Miracle Treatment product
Save $2.00 on ANY ONE (1) Garnier® Fructis® Treat Shampoo or Conditioner (11.8oz only), 3-in-1 Hair Mask or Invisible Dry Shampoo product
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant® New Frozen Product, Any Variety
Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Green Giant Veggie Spirals™

Another thing that is super exciting as of late is the Sprouts App. You can sign up here for their email list and they will send you a link to their app. They have all sorts of great in-app deals and coupons (last week it was a $5 off coupon).

And if you are looking for more ways to save, check out my Smart Phone App Page. It’s got all kinds of great apps to help you save and earn cash back on all of your grocery and home essential shopping!