Frugal, not so frugal

Rolling out dough(I saw this idea at Purposely Frugal.)

Frugal:  Mending straps on two summer dresses so they would fit my little girls this summer.

Not so frugal:  Buying every single item in last month’s Stitch Fix package.  I gave the brown dress to my 17 yo daughter as an early birthday gift– it was the perfect length for her.  Then I swallowed hard and cut 4 inches off the too-short-for-me blue ‘dress’– it  is now an adorable summer blouse for me.

Frugal: Asking my daughters to make flour tortillas instead of running to the store. Bonus = they had fun.

Not so frugal:  Taking my  kids out to lunch the other day.

Frugal:  Choosing lunch at Costco instead of Panda Express

Not so frugal:  spending $49 on a swimsuit when a daughter (who’s worn hand-me-down suits for years) fell in love with the perfect swimsuit at Costco.  (Psst:  Diviine Modestee swimwear is being featured at Costco this summer!  Cute, cute stuff!)

Frugal: Running errands in the tiny car this week even though it was hot and it has no A/C.

Frugal (or dumb?):  Buying a $500 swamp cooler for our house this summer instead of recharging the leaky A/C for $1000, or getting a new unit for $5000.  The swamp cooler worked FABULOUS in 90-degree weather– turns out it can easily make the house 20 degrees cooler than the outdoors. However, this week when the temperatures soared to nearly 110, it was 90 in the house.  Yikes.  Not loving that at all.  My hubby keeps telling me how low the power bill will be, with no A/C running.  But I’m lobbying hard to fix the A/C, just for those above-95 degree days…


How about you?  Give me one frugal (and, if you want, one not-so-frugal) thing you’ve done in the last week or so.


  1. I really like this idea! keeps it all in perspective. Kinda like my most recent post idea.. 🙂

    Frugal: brand new baby clothes at a yard sale.
    Not so frugal: out to eat several times last week.
    Frugal: drying clothes outside.
    Not so frugal: breaking down and getting a new (brand new) dryer.

    • Well, with a second baby coming, I would think of the dryer as a pure blessing. Which I am sure is why your dh bought it for you 🙂

  2. Bonnie S. says:

    Erika’s totally right! It keeps things in perspective. I can have a little splurge here and there, like getting the kids a small frosty on the way home from the library, because we choose to spend frugally in other areas! And for those times we don’t have the funds for even those little splurges we already know how to shop wisely. 🙂

  3. I love the swimsuits, but know they won’t be featured in California – nothing is modest in California 😉 Every girl needs a new suit every once in awhile. I bet it made her feel so special! We live in a very dry part of CA (NE California). It rarely gets above 100, except for this week. We turn the cooler on in the AM when it’s going to be really hot, and shut most of our windows. When it gets really warm in the house we turn it on high. I’m sure our house is a little smaller than yours but it never gets about 78 with the cooler on. We’ve also been known to run it all night and then the house is in the low 60’s in the morning and we can get by with not turning it on until early afternoon. Just thought I would throw that out there.

    • We typically turn the AC off and open windows at bedtime, then run fans all night when it is cool, shutting all the windows first thing in the morning. Then usually we don’t need to turn it on again til early afternoon as it heats up. (That’s when the AC works, anyway!)

  4. We bought a new air/conditioner this year. $3800 if I remember correctly. It is high efficiency, much more quiet than the 24 year old that it replaced (which is nice, since the unit is under the bathroom window) We got a $200 refund from the electric company, and our Budget Billing is less per month, service and parts are under warranty for a year. I’m happy with all of it.

    • I’ve wondered if a new A/C would be more energy-efficient. Our old one honestly never worked terribly well. It is just so hard to think of spending that much.

      • We got a new roof a couple years ago. We chose a light gray shingle to reflect the sun. Along with the new air system, the house is so much more comfortable than before.
        A swamp cooler couldn’t do it on the Illinois prairie– the humidity is unbelievable. I have 2 dehumidifiers in the basement to empty every morning and evening, even with the air conditioner and its little pipe into the drain.

  5. Thanks so much for linking me!!

    Frugal: Making homemade bread, I haven’t done this in a LONG time!

    Not-so-frugal: Going to a-not-so-cheap resturant and going to a movie

    yesterday (it was hubby’s b-day).

    Frugal: Trying to drive slower and more cautiosly to get better gas mileage.

  6. Frugal: eating lunch at Costco by visiting all the items being sampled. There were a ton of items out this week in preparation for the holiday so we were full after traveling around. We only bought two of the items, which we needed anyway, so it was basically free lunch.

    Frugal: except for Costco, not going grocery shopping but instead using what was already in the freezer.

    Not so frugal: I didn’t do it yet, but the dog needs to go to the vet for something that is going to cost me at least $200. It is truly necessary, and she is miserable, so I just have to bite the bullet and do it. Ouch!

  7. I laughed at this one. Last week, my boys lobbied for Power Rangers coloring books. Come on, seriously now, they color (yep I said boys) all the time. Good pre-writing and hand eye coordination, right? Enter Amazon-to-the-rescue. I somehow managed to buy $41 dollars worth of very cool activity and coloring books. How does that happen when each one is only $3-$4? Anyway, I laughed at myself because I balk at treating my 8 kids to ice cream cones in town when I can buy a half gallon for $3 and have it at home BUT I didn’t blink an eye at the coloring books when those sweet boys batted their own eyes at me. Where’s the justice? 🙂 Stay cool.

  8. Jessica H. says:

    Frugal: Buying clothes for the whole family at a thrift store during its 50% off everyday days.

    Not-so-Frugal: Taking the family to Portugal – what the clothes are for! Oh well, you only live once.

  9. I love this especially because during a week when I am not feeling frugal at all, I am encouraged that even those who do this frugal thing much better than I splurge sometimes too.

    Frugal: refusing to take the kids out to eat when hubby was out of town – that was actually last week

    Not-So-Frugal: making good on the promise to join the swim team at the restaurant where they meet for fun after meets and taking along the two kids who are not on the team

    Frugal: putting off replacing the comfortable Nike flip flops that are completely worn out and hurting my feet along with waiting on a new pair of tennis shoes to replace my 2 year old pair

    Not-So-Frugal: going away with a friend this weekend and probably doing this with the credit card as I am broke. I am justifying this one as she is recently widowed and just trying to attend a family wedding with her small children, so she needs the help with them.

  10. I forgot one.
    Frugal: switching photographers for my my son’s senior pictures and paying $150 with digital images included instead of at least $700 with no digital images

  11. Intrigued to know what a swamp cooler is and whether we have them in South Africa. We don’t have air-con at all, relying on keeping doors and windows closed on hot days and opening them at night, but a run of 40C days in summer (110F) could do with a little extra help!

    • Kit, It’s basically a fan hooked to a water supply that blows damp water-cooled air into the house. Probably very ineffective in areas of high humidity, but in a desert climate like ours (Idaho) it works pretty well, as long as the temp doesn’t creep above 100.

  12. Y’know, your A/C issue reminds me of our well issue. Have you obtained a second opinion? (That makes it sound like a medical issue. Which, OK, it kinda is, peripherally.) We had one well company tell us our repairs would run $10,000, and the second company took a look and fixed it for less than $600. Worth a mention, if nothing else.

  13. Frugal: ten shirts, one dress (that twirls), two sweaters, two cammis, and a pair of ballet shoes for daughter for next school year, one outfit each for four grandkids, a winter sweater for myself, three summer shirts for another daughter, two pairs of capris, sleepshirt all at $5 bag sale at thrift store
    Not So Frugal: bought a self-propelled mower $250 but boy was it worth it, I love walking and mowing now!!!!