Operation Frugality (Plus This Week’s Frugal Moves)

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I honestly cannot believe that it’s Friday….again.  Seriously, where does the time go?  I feel like I was just depressed about the onset of Monday 5 minutes ago and now it’s already time for the weekend!  Anyway.  On Monday, I invited all of my readers to participate in Operation Frugality: Save Money by Eating Old Food.  And as promised, I’m ready to report how I did and check to see if everyone stuck with the program!  Here’s how we did:

We totally demolished a few of our misfit foods:

  • Amish Noodles- Gone.
  • Generic Mac-n-cheese- Gone.
  • Success Rice.  Gone.  Kind’ve.
  • Trader Joe’s Bean Soup- In my belly.

The only misfit foods that we’re left with is a giant jar of northern beans.  Oh, and the damn Kashi pizza.  Fortunately, I have a plan for the MOST DISGUSTING PIZZA ON EARTH.  My super secret plan is to disguise it with extra cheese and toppings and pass it off as Greg’s dinner….tonight.  He working late so he’ll be tired…and hungry.  And, he should be happy that I made him anything at all.  DAMNIT.  Hopefully, he’ll wolf it down before he realizes that it tastes like the box it came in.  Fingers crossed!  As far as our other surplus food goes, I ate several Boca burgers and we had spaghetti for dinner one night this week.  So, we’re on our way!

This Week’s Frugal Moves

Even though we’re on FALL FINANCIAL LOCKDOWN, we had a few small failures this week.  First of all, I broke my one and only pair of sunglasses on Sunday by sitting my fat ass on them.  I don’t have any others so I absolutely had to buy a new pair.  Fortunately, I was able to find a pair I liked at CVS for $15.  I’m also disappointed to report that I accidentally paid a $6 water and sewer bill for one of our rental properties into the wrong category on online billpay.  So, I ended up with a $6 late fee.  Totally preventable, totally my fault, but those kinds of things just happen from time to time, am I right?  Anyway, here are the frugal moves that I made this week:

Frugal Move #1

I have decided that I’m not going to go see Pearl Jam after all.  I know, I know, I suck.  But, let me explain!  Decent tickets for the Pittsburgh concert were going to run at least $150 each.  Then I added on a hotel, parking, a possible taxi ride to and from the concert venue, food, and gas for the ten hour round trip car ride.  Of course, I could totally splurge and indulge my selfish Pearl Jam concert desires, but that wouldn’t be a frugal move.  So, instead of seeing what would probably be the best concert on Earth, we’re going to turn the lights down low, have a few cocktails, and watch the awesome Pearl Jam documentary, Twenty.  Ever seen it?  If you haven’t, you totally should.

Frugal Move #2

I signed up for the Drivewise program with Allstate Auto Insurance after finding out that I could save up to 30 percent. All I had to do was hook this little thingamajig into my car that keeps track of things like my speed, driving habits, and time of day and night that I drive.  As long as I don’t drive in the middle of the night, drive over 80 m.p.h. or slam on my breaks all the time, they will give me 30 percent off of my insurance premiums.  Since I work from home and rarely drive, I thought that this was the perfect program for my adorable periwinkle minivan.  Of course, the downside is that I had to give up some privacy in order to sign up.

Frugal Move #3

I only went to the grocery store once this week….and only to get milk and bread!  Other than that, we’ve been feasting on all of the food that we’ve been staring at for what seems like forever.  We’re making some serious progress on our pantry, fridge, and freezer, and I love the fact that we’re eating all of it up.  My kids, on the other hand, aren’t very happy about it….which I think it HIL.AR.I.OUS because that’s life, folks.  That’s life.

What were your frugal moves this week?  And, how did you do on the challenge?  Did you create any unfortunate concoctions with your random misfit food items?  Please make a full report in the comments below!

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  1. I’ve got a habit of buying fruit which sits in the fruit bowl on my table until it rots, you’ve actually inspired me to go eat a pear that will be on it’s last legs shortly!

    A big problem I have is buying a big package of 3 bean mix because I’ve decided that I’m making chilli, but more often than not I never get around to it. Next time I want to make chilli I go and buy a whole new bag because I forgot I even had the first one. Not only does eating up the misfit foods ensure they are used up, but it unclutters the cupboards and makes it easier to tell quickly what you already have!

    1. Yep! Totally! Been there. I did a thorough cleaning of my pantry a few months ago. It’s made it much easier to see what I really have!

  2. This was NOT a frugal week as we sunk some money into the rental property. We have a renter moving in TODAY so we finished literally the night before, but it’s nice having new tile/trim/paint etc. in the unit and we raised rent $50/month for this year so the income will be nice!

    Nice job resisting the concert, not sure I would have been able to say the same!

  3. Do you find the AllState program creepy and big brotherish? Just wondering how it actually feels once you have it in your car. Do you forget it’s there, or feel like you’re being watched every time you’re behind the wheel? =)

    1. It is super creepy but I forget that it’s there now. I wouldn’t do it if I only saved 5 or 10 percent but I agreed because it’s a 30 percent discount!!!

      1. I should do that…as long as they aren’t listening to me sing at the top of my lungs in my car….which I almost never drive. I’ve never had a moving violation or an accident that was my fault. My insurance is already very low. Would love to knock it down even lower.

  4. Never heard about that Pearl Jam documentary, I’ll have to check it out! We used to go to a lot of big name concerts as well, but at $80-$200 a ticket it started to get insane. Now we hit smaller shows or local bands. You end up seeing some great performances for a great price!

    1. Yes, I’m sure…. I’ll get over it. I really wanted to go but I think another (cheaper) opportunity will come along.

  5. Oh, I don’t know that I could’ve made that concert decision. I am a sucker for a good concert, but that is a chunk of money! We’ve been scraping the bottom of the barrel with our food this week which has not made our kids happy either. The only fruit we had left in the house yesterday was plums which our kids absolutely hate. Of course it didn’t help matters much when Dad was laughing at their reactions. 😉 We’re going to the store today though, so it’ll be interesting as the generic mac & cheese is on sale. 😉

    1. Ha! You sound like me! I like making them eat things they don’t want to eat sometimes. That’s life…it shouldn’t be easy all the time!

  6. My biggest frugal move this week was brought to you by my husband and I inadvertently draining our chequing account on the weekend: We ran out of coffee and didn’t have money for groceries till Thursday so I drank the kinda sorta free coffee at work (we all contribute to the k-cup bowl, except me because I bring my own coffee from home).

    1. Ha! I have to have coffee so I would be willing to lie, cheat, and steal for it. You have to do what you have to do sometimes!

  7. sigh, no PJ for you either, tear. but you did make the right financial decision. They are fantastic in concert, but there will be others. Another thing to help scratch your PJ itch, is the awesome Live from NYC at Madison Square Gardens DVD, it’s about 8 years old or so. But awesome! though Eddie has short hair, so it’s a little weird, lol.

    we’ve had a busy week, the kids have been doing swimming every day after work, so our dinners have been rushed and not fancy but we’re eating up a lot of the fast misc stuff, so a lot of my ‘dinner’ stuff like meat is still in the freezer so that should cut down on our groceries next week. I’ve been watching the sales for back to school shopping and did a big inventory/clothes try on day with the kids last sunday (which 2 year olds love by the way) so i know exactly what they need, what can wait, and what’s still good.

    1. I am really hoping that they tour again next year and add some additional cities in the Midwest. I’m in Indiana and would be willing to go anywhere in Ohio, Louisville, or even Chicago. Just not Pittsburgh….too far. Plus, all of the hotels within walking distance are sold out and the closest one is a Holiday Inn that was $200 per night. I cannot bring myself to pay $200 for a night at a Holiday Inn.

      Glad you are eating some of your old food!!!

  8. Sounds like a sweet deal with the car insurance. This week my free time has pretty much 100% revolved around finding a new car. We may have found a sweet deal off craigslist. Trying to see if I can close on that today or tomorrow. Fingers crossed…

  9. I still have so much food that nothing seems out of the ordinary! I think it’s going to be like that for a while, at least until I clean out all the produce. Then I can get in the freezer and see what’s lurking in there.

  10. I went to happy hour once (Wednesday), lunch (Thursday) and dinner (last Saturday). For me, that’s a big improvement! I’m trying to do dinner out once every two weeks and am allowing lunch out once a week.

  11. My biggest positive frugal move this week:

    Went to the grocery store thinking I needed stuff, realized I had everything I needed besides some bananas, got the bananas and took off. Typically, I would make excuses as to why I needed to “stock up”, but made the conscious decision to get the hell out of there as fast as possible.

    The Warrior

  12. Well, I don’t have anything positive to report with any great frugal moves, as this has been a rough week and I need to vent: my wife had a very minor 30-minute sinus surgery a week ago and we just got the hospital bill and we owe $2,000 in cash!

    They had the audacity to charge $25,000 for the procedure and her four hour stay, but due to the magical “negotiated rates”, it got cut down to $3,000 of which we owe $2,000.

    I am in absolute shock…

  13. You should totally call and explain and ask if they can refund you that $6! That would be a frugal move, so long as it doesn’t take longer than $6 of your time…

    How did the mac and cheese go over?

    1. I didn’t think that $6 was worth my time to call them. It takes forever to talk to anyone and everyone at the local utility office always seems crabby!

      Oh, I mixed the generic mac-n-cheese in with a box of regular and made a double batch. (Nobody noticed!) Served it for dinner the other night (Isn’t that classy?)….with some fruit and vegetables on the side! I felt very Martha Stuart.

      1. Hahaha. Martha Stuart loves cheese whiz, she said so on NPR. She never buys it herself, but she always gets some when someone else is serving it.

  14. There’s something about those totally avoidable costs (late fee) that really drive me crazy.

    Oh sure, I’ll think nothing of getting fried mozzarella as an appetizer at a restaurant for just as much money.

    But dammit, that fee will bug me for days.

    1. It bugs me too…..especially because it was my fault!

  15. There’s a car insurance monitoring/privacy post at GRS today too. There’s no way I’d ever be comfortable with consenting to that – not even for a discount. I don’t have anything to hide, but I just can’t stand the idea of having someone “look over my shoulder.”

    1. I don’t blame you…I wouldn’t put it on Greg’s car but I don’t mind putting it on mine since I drive so infrequently.

  16. We also made a big dent in the old food that’s been hanging around. I had to put cream of mushroom soup into my casserole instead of cream of chicken. It tasted a little off but was not terrible. We also opened the bag of pretzels that has been in the back of the pantry for probably a year. The family is getting desperate for snacks. I did have to get some supplies for a camping trip this weekend. I’m sure marshmallows will be much more appreciated than usual. I plan on green bean casserole next week. I have about 5 cans of green beans and more cream of mushroom soup. It must have been on sale.

    Daughter and I had a girl’s day out this week. We used a gift card for a pedicure, had a picnic, and went to the park. I did spend $7 for ice cream at Baskin Robbins but cheaper than lunch out.

    I’m so sorry about Pearl Jam. You need to join the fan club. I got two tickets for $155, which is still not frugal, but holy cow, I live in BFE. Gotta go to the city sometimes.

  17. Kashi is to food what Steve-O is to safety. I have gone to one concert in the last five years, which is pathetic. A frugal concert going move: discover young, “underground” bands who are amazing, tour, and offer tickets for under $20 bucks.

    1. Yeah, except that I’m old and don’t really want to sit in crappy bars with a bunch of hoodlums!

  18. I LOVED pj 20 but damn it made me feel old because I just graduated from college when they first came on the scene. I was seriously obsessed, but that is a lot of money to spend on a concert. I did a not-so-frugal move myself when I deep cleaned (frugal) my apt I think I might have accidentally thrown out the charger for my electric toothbrush. Gahhh!

    1. I know. It makes me feel like a dinosaur to know that that album is over twenty years old!

  19. Good luck with the pizza! It’s good that it’s not you who has to eat it since you don’t like it at all. Good frugal moves, too, but I really think you will be sad sometime in the future about the Pearl Jam concert so… maybe replace that move with something else?

    1. Nahhh….I’ll be fine. I could go if I really wanted to.

  20. How does the drivewise program work? I considered it but I have a long commute and I drive kinda fast…not too fast =) I don’t do much lane changing, zigging in and out of traffic like some other crazies out there but I’m scared that the program might RAISE my rate!

    1. You just plug this little thing into your car…it isn’t hard!

  21. Wow, what a great deal on your car insurance. Thank you so much for sharing that. We don’t drive at night, but I’m not sure we would pass the slamming on the breaks thing. We have some horrible drivers here in Houston!

    I hope Greg gobbles up his dinner! We didn’t do the challenge because we only buy exactly the same thing every week and eat it all up. If I were to do the challenge, we would have had to survive on three year old frozen peas, condiments, and spices. I do love how you all did it though!!!

    1. Ha, condiments and spices. That wouldn’t last long, would it?

  22. Sounds like the challenge you set for yourself went pretty well! My wife and I need to follow your advice and eat a bunch of the stuff we’ve already bought. It’s amazing how it can just pile up over time if you don’t eat it. Then it either gets too old or you just never eat it which makes the purchase a waste. We just bought 1/4 of a cow, though, so that will keep our freezer full for quite a while.

    1. A 1/4 of a COW??? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………………………

  23. Ugh. I hate late fees. We’ve incurred one or two. It’s just so annoying since it’s normally a very human mistake on our part, but money I hate giving up over something dumb I did! I found some random canned goods that I have no idea why I bought or what to do with but I’ll figure out something. I made my husband eat a couple cans of soups for lunch, which is sort of mean since soup is so warming and we don’t have air conditioning (he works from home). 🙂 It’s still probably less mean than tricking my husband into eating a kashi pizza. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  24. The Allstate program sounds good. It would be a great fit for me. We only drive a few times a week and never go over 80 mph.
    We need to clean up our pantry too. There are a ton of miscellaneous stuff in there…

    1. It’s not bad. What annoys me is that noon-4:00 p.m. is considered a “moderate risk” time to drive and I get points deducted for driving during that time.

  25. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says:

    One of my tricks for jazzing up boxed mac ‘n cheese is adding seasonings to it like onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. When people taste it, they can’t believe it’s generic.

    we were bad this week but we kind of had to: for our upcoming wedding we bought all the snacks we’re putting in hotel guests greeting bags (one bag per person), plus beer for the after-party which was about $100 total for everything. But outside of that, we’ve been good about eating at home. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Uggghhhh……I dunno about adding spices to mac-n-cheese. That sounds a little scary! But, hey. It’s worth a try!

  26. Your plan for the pizza is hilarious – you’ll have to let us know what the reaction was, if any! That’s pretty cool about the Allstate thing (at least the discount part).

    1. Oh, he won’t care. When he was in college, he would have a bag of Doritos and a banana for dinner. Ha!

  27. My summer has been a total bust, too. I’m getting back under control in September! Since I can see Eddie Vedder’s house from my living room window, I kinda feel like I see Pearl Jam all the time so I don’t have that temptation at least!

    1. No, it was gonna be like $800 total for everything. I just don’t want to see them that bad!

  28. Nice job! I still haven’t made that dang salmon chowder, but my frugal move this week was not taking the car…only scooter this week.

    Sorry about Pearl Jam but thanks for the documentary recommendation. I’ll have to see if I can find it somewhere. I think I’m going to go to the garage and find that copy of Ten (the first album I ever purchased…along with like 7 others from BMG, I think.)

  29. Honey Smith says:

    You’ve totally inspired me! I know we have a bunch of food that we won’t eat. We did get rid of some recently by going to a birthday party with a “no presents, bring canned goods so we can donate them to a food bank” theme, but there is MOAR. If I could make 2 items per week of weird, random food, that would be great!

    1. If someone invited me to a “bring a canned good” birthday party, I would fu&#king kiss that person. What a great idea.

  30. This is my first time hearing about “Operation Frugality”, what a great idea. We definitely have some food in the cabinets that could be eaten to save money. Will give it a shot!

  31. I made salsa out of my tomatoes that looked like they were ready to start rotting. Saved them just in time!! BUT as of now we have not ate any of our surplus Ramen Noodle stash but that sounds like a good lunch plan for the girls this weekend!

    1. Ugh….Ramen. That is something I can’t bring myself to eat anymore.

  32. I hear you on the late fees. Oops!

    How is driving in the middle of the night bad? Some people work third shift or are night owls that like shopping in the middle of the night to avoid traffic and people.

    1. I don’t know…drunk drivers maybe? They categorize 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. as a “high” risk time to drive.

  33. Cancelled NFL ticket which was free my first year. I don’t like the dolphins that much to pay 200 bucks to see them.

    We have a free home phone promotion with our internet provider, once that expires I am cancelling that.

    1. Good job! Yeah, the home phone is going the way of the dinosaur.

  34. Jaclyn @ Debt Free Dreaming says:

    It’s funny that you mention it’s already Friday – it couldn’t have come any sooner for me! Sounds like you did a great job this week. Have a good weekend!

  35. Well done on all fronts, Holly! Even the Pearl Jam concert. I am a guitarist who rarely sees concerts because they are just too damn expensive and I am too busy playing and teaching anyhow. I like the sound of that Allstate thingy. Must see if Progressive has one. Have a strawberry banana weekend!

    1. I heard that Progressive does have something similar….forget what it’s called though!

      1. Snapshot is the Progressive version of it. It does make you more mindful and you can check online to see what your “scoresheet” is and what the expected discount would be.

  36. After you go through these frugal moves, you may want to plan your menus and use a shopping list. It avoids many of the problems of having items in home which are unnecessary.

    1. I know. I am TERRIBLE at making meal plans. I usually do have a list though.

  37. You will have to let us know how the kashi pizza went over with Greg – great plan you had there. We’ve been doing well with eating most of our food. The freezer looks almost as empty as it was when we moved in. I haven’t been to the store since last Saturday, although we are running low on milk so we might have to make a small stop. I really like the alternative plans you made instead of going to the concert. Nice thinking!

    1. Haha! What? Getting drunk and watching a documentary instead? Brilliant, isn’t it?

    1. Yeah, I know. I’ll probably go see them if they tour again and come closer to Indiana!

  38. Great job! I hear you with complaints from the peanut gallery with eating out of the pantry. Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Haha! My kids always want something other than what I make….never fails!

  39. We made it two weeks without buying groceries other than a gallon of milk and a bunch of bananas from the gas station, as we are getting ready for vacation. You wouldn’t believe how bare our cupboards and fridge are….literally down to pasta, rice, and canned goods. Fortunately, with the help of what’s ready to pick from our garden and some way old chicken breasts buried way back in the freezer, we’ve managed to eat fairly well. Also scored a pair of nice Columbia sunglasses at the local thrift shop for $3 to replace the pair I left on an airplane on my work trip last week. All in all a very frugal week!!!

    1. 2 weeks is awesome! I went to the store today…we were out of basics like bread, milk, vegetables! I finally had to break down and go. My goal for the next two weeks is to eat at least one thing (side dish or whatever) out of the freezer for dinner each night.

  40. In your honor I am defrosting two chickens today for meals tomorrow. I will also use some frozen vegetables and bread and add some fresh veggies from my small garden. Thanks!

  41. I seriously laughed out loud at the “Greg’s dinner” comment. I’ve been so uninspired in the kitchen lately that I haven’t had the wherewithal to do what you’re doing. I really need to take a page out of your book and use the stuff I already have!

  42. Well done on going to the grocery store and only buying bread and milk! Great job on your challenge too! I’m on a diet (well, trying to be) and back at the gym (and not paying a penny for it!) so I’m not eating as much and still have plenty of food in my fridge/freezer. Diets kinda rock! 😉

  43. Hey there, Holly!:-) I´m back from my long summer blogging hiatus!
    My frugal moves this week was that I made a homemade lunch everyday to bring to work; yeah, got a new job the other day, which could also be considered as pretty frugal since I´m going to save most of the money I earn:-)

  44. Good for you for deciding to skip the concert; huge money savings there! How did the zzaa go over with Greg on Friday night? 🙂

  45. My frugal move of the week was to call comcast and threaten to quit my service if they didn’t lower my internet prices. I’m back on the introductory rates!

  46. Anything becomes edible with melted cheese on top, I get rid of old veggies on pizza, it works like a charm. We are going through the pantry too as the house will be rented in a month and everything must go!

  47. Sorry to hear that you won’t be attending the Pearl Jam concert…but I understand your reasoning not to and at the end of the day, it is your choice 🙂

    I had a few no spend days and yesterday, while I ordered out from a restaurant – not frugal – I saved half for tonight dinner – definitely frugal!!

    As for misfit food items. I had a piece of cooked chicken that I mixed up with some remaining angel hair pasta, along with a small bit of spaghetti sauce that was on it’s fourth day and about to be tossed. And actually, it was quite enjoyable.

    Take care and all the best.


  48. OH man I really need to do this…when I first went on maternity leave we did really well for about 3 months (eating out of the cupboard/freezer), because we quite honestly had no choice (broke until hubby got a raise). I need to buckle down and do it again. It will require some meal planning, which requires time, but I have no excuses.

  49. WOW! Well done! We also went to the grocery store only once. We have been eating everything from the back of the pantry to the freezer. It felt very good, just like spring cleaning LOL.

  50. Nice frugal moves!

    My thing at the moment is using “buy one get one free” vouchers for meals when I eat out.

  51. Great post Holly, I was actually looking for a UK policy like Drivewise earlier today. There was some good prices available, but I would hate not being able to drive through the night and the Big Brother spying isn’t ideal either. Hope you had a good weekend.:)

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