Frugal Friday Week #45

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Here on the blog, I post a lot of how-tos and recipes, but I’ve often thought that it might be even more helpful for my readership to get a better glimpse inside of what my simple/homestead/from scratch/frugal life really looks like. This series was started in 2023 to provide more of a peek into our regular everyday life and how we put things together.

Hiking for a desert sunrise. I love it! But maybe I just love all wild areas. 🙂

In 2024, I’m changing things up a bit to fit better with our community here at Little House Living. Here’s what I’d like to do!

The format of Frugal Friday will be changing a little. Yes, I will still show some pictures and things from our everyday lives, but this blog isn’t just about me; it’s about the community that we’ve created here! So from here on out, Frugal Friday will also feature your frugal tips and everyday things as well.

Exploring in Mexico this week.

Each week, I need you to go to the Forum and post in the most recent Frugal Friday post about your frugal and simple life for the week. Make sure you share a picture with it! Each week when I post Frugal Friday here on the blog, I will feature a handful of the posts from that thread on the forum. I will also use to select one of the posts to receive a prize for posting. This might be a great book, a homesteading tool, or anything else I can find that we love using.

Scroll down for more details and to read about our frugal week!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken that I served with fresh broccoli and rice.

Meals We Ate

This week was a mixture of eating at home and with family so it looked a little different. Some of the meals I made were:

  • Sweet and Sour Chicken (shown above, I just mix ketchup, ACV, maple syrup, and a bit of water to make the sauce…it’s easy!)
  • Meals that were a mixture of fresh local fruits and veggies.
  • Quesadillas with Mexican tortillas.
  • Sandwiches
  • Sloppy Joes and Roast (meals made by a family member…so nice of her to feed all of us!)

I’ve come to realize that it’s just too hard to cook anything too fancy in our teeny tiny home on wheels and that it’s ok for me to stick to simple things for now. Also…I forgot my Dutch Oven on this most recent trip and don’t have room for my Instant Pot. Perhaps someday I’ll have more space for more things! For now, I won’t feel guilty about simple meals. Everyone still gets fed and is healthy. 🙂

Date Farm
Touring a date farm. One of the many local field trips we were able to have this week. The dates weren’t frugal but 100% delicious!

How We Lived Frugal This Week

This was an incredibly fun week as we continued our exploration of the American Southwest. Quite honestly, we are LOVING it down here! We have used our National Park pass for free entrance to several more places to get in for free.

We’ve also been taking advantage of the amenities that we have available to us. While visiting some family this week we were able to go swimming and play many games of pickleball.

We had the opportunity to take a quick visit across the border to Mexico (a first for us!), and we loved that as well! It would be wonderful to spend more time in the culture and with the local people. What I learned was that items in Mexico are not frugal! We purchased a few things for the kids, and even after they bargained with us, it wasn’t as cheap as I envisioned it to be. Perhaps it was because it was in a more “touristy” border town. Either way, it was a great experience.

Deals FF 45

Deals I Found This Week

I updated my list of deals from Auguson Farms. You can find that here. Any other sites or brands that you want me to watch for deals on?

This DIY Gift Guide ebook is free for Kindle right now. You can also download the Kindle app onto your computer (for free) to read it for free.

Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets 44pk (Maple and Brown Sugar Lower Sugar) are as low as $10.77 shipped. They are on sale for 20% off and then you can get up to an additional 15% off with Subscribe and Save. I like to have these on hand in the back of the pantry for fast breakfasts. The lower sugar ones are made with Monkfruit.

The Blue Aquatainers that we use to hold emergency water storage are back down to over 30% off. I paid more than that for them when I bought ours a few years ago. I keep one of these on hand per person in our household.

You can still get a pack of Vanilla Beans for 15% off right now. This is a good deal for this brand (this is the exact brand I buy). They are organic. Both the 10-count and 25-count are on sale. I use these to make Homemade Vanilla.

Do you need to add a packet of onion soup mix to your recipe but don't have any? This very simple gluten-free Onion Soup Mix recipe is a great one to mix up and store in your pantry!

New Blog Posts I Wrote This Week

I’ll admit, there was a lot of adventuring this week that kept me off the computer! I’m ok with that. 🙂

One of the many, many tiny shops in Mexico.

Your Frugal Tips/Life This Week

This is where your post and picture could appear next week!

Post over on THIS THREAD on the forum. Next week, I’ll select several posts (from the forum) to feature here on the blog, and one person will even win one of my favorite Blue Aquatainers just for sharing!


This week was much warmer than our frigid lows from last 2 weeks. We’re still eating lots of warm stews, soups & the like. My frugal highlights this week are.
*I hand washed 3 wool sweaters, making some repairs to two.
* I collected 3 bags of clothing and craft items to donate to thrift store. When we dropped off the items, the clerk told us to take all the Franz bread we could use. We gratefully received hoagie rolls, English muffins, a loaf of sourdough and Hawaiian rolls. All these were double wrapped for the freezer as I had just made homemade wheat bread.
* I started a sweet potato in a container to get slips. I should by Mid March have plenty of slips which I will separate and put individual slips in glass jars with water. This will allow 2 months of root growth before I put them in the ground at the end of May.
* I wrote on paper my garden plan for my raised beds in the vegetable garden, carefully making sure I was rotating crops from last year and also utilizing the best companion plants in each bed. – Jen B.


I love your blog, Merissa, and especially your Frugal Fridays. They are a highlight to my week.

My frugal offering: This week I was able to finally finish AND mail gifts to my brother’s family. I had Covid at the beginning of December and that wrecked my pre-Christmas sewing schedule. From patterns I have on hand, I sewed a button down shirt for my nephew for Christmas, using free fabric I’d been given, and for my niece, a sundress from fabric I found for $8 at a local quilt show sale table. For my niece’s January birthday, I made a matching purse using a free online pattern from sewingtimes.

I love the idea that my niece and nephew will have these memories of receiving homemade items made especially for them. Sewing is one of the best skills I learned from school (8th grade home economics) and my mom.

Inside the purse, I put some seashells I had on hand from long ago trips, a pad of paper (free from a charity mailing), plus a couple of other freebies. I included some seashells and paper pad for my nephew, too. I mailed everything using my online PayPal account. This gives me a postage discount. After I weigh the package (my daughter had gotten me a handy battery operated scale), enter in the package particulars, I then print the label (on my printer). You do need to have a credit card tied to the account.

I dropped the package off at the post office in town. The entire gift package with fabric & shipping was less than $15. – Elaine M.

JenB is our winner for this week! Jen, could you please email me at [email protected] to claim your prize? I’ll get that mailed right out to you!

What have you been up to this week? Feel free to comment here AND copy and paste your comment on the forum as well!

Me and Kady

Merissa Alink

Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple and frugal life on Little House Living since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to freedom on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.

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  1. Thank you Merissa. I always love reading your post and emails. Always find them full of great information and so peaceful. We’ve been busy preparing for spring. We’ve already ordered and received our seeds. This year our daughter, Marissa, is planning on planting an herb garden. My husband has been cutting trees for next seasons wood. Our cows will go to market this month and we will receive our next order of broiler chicks along with a few new layers. We’re still waiting to hear from a local farm about getting a couple pigs.
    Trust you and your family have a good weekend.

  2. This week we used scrap lumber to add ‘legs’ to the handmade bed frames we’d made for our kids 4 or 5 years ago… this now gives them nearly 11in up off the ground as well as some wonderful under-the-bed storage for notebooks, journals, off season clothing, and to corral my daughter’s doll house items. (Our home was built in 1920 and the closets are small and narrow, so we have to get creative when storing things in addition to paring down belongings over time.) The only expense was a drill bit, as we needed a bigger size to use the bolts given to us via a work trade. We’ll need to purchase storage containers, but those can be found secondhand, or I can use gift cards that I receive via online surveys, rebate/receipt apps, and other ‘point and click’ style apps.

    Frugal meals have included hand-breaded fish fillets (shopping our deep freezer), homemade chicken sandwiches, rice & veggie dishes, and using up items from the pantry like canned veggies and boxed mac & cheese. I’ve also baked biscuits, made homemade sugar cookies, and cinnamon “pancake bites” for additional sides/snacks. We also made two meals out of a family pack of boneless ribs bought on markdown for $7.98. We did half of them as ribs, the other half we cooked down further in the crockpot and made shredded pulled pork for sandwiches.

    Planning on continuing our No-Spend in February, especially as we have two additional expenses this month — reserving a local park facility to host our son’s graduation party this summer (reservations opened yesterday), and celebrating our daughter’s birthday this month. She wants ‘experiences’ instead of gifts so we are spending a day at an indoor recreation center with family, and then going out to lunch with a friend for a “girl’s day” next month to celebrate that friend’s birthday.

    January was a rousing success for our No Spend, we only had a couple of things come up and both were under $20 each time. Hope everyone has a wonderful and successful February ahead!

  3. I just found you from Rebel Homesteaders. I’ve already made a screenshot of your dry onion soup mix and bought some discounted water storage. Thank you.
    This week I worked on canning some produce. I made Meyer Lemon Marmalade and Sloppy Joe Mix. On the plan for today is applesauce.
    Not a frugal project, but my fence needs replaced and I got three quotes to consider. I’ve been procrastinating on this project for months. Part of the fence fell over, so it’s time to act.

  4. Man, this last month was rough. Was I EVER GLAD we were on a minimal-spend month, because our water heater died. That was an unexpected blow!!! Now, my hubbie’s 4Runner is throwing a code; if there’s a silver lining, it’s that he replaced the part a month ago, so it’s possible that the replacement part was faulty; he’s exchanging it, but if that’s NOT it, we’ll also be looking at an unknown car repair, plus being down to a single vehicle.

    Our next-door neighbor had a barn fired; it was absolutely tragic, animals were lost… BUT, we had canned beef, tomatoes, beans, squash, and I’d processed and frozen 40 lbs of bananas, so could bake loaf upon loaf of banana bread to contribute, also, as the entire tiny community came together to get the debris rebuilt (it’s been a week and the burn pile still flares up…), and an entire new barn built. The neighbors were out of State when it happened, but this is what we do, so they DON’T have to face the destruction, alone… neighbors brought animals home, to stable/feed them, themselves. In Disco, WI, we pull together… So, while I lament the water heater (it was a cold few days!!!), and even the potential car repair, the steps I took last year have set us up to be able to be generous with our neighbors, and to move into the NEXT couple of months with grocery stores, needing only fresh produce/dairy. Feeling very, very blessed that the damage wasn’t worse, that it was contained and they/we didn’t lose the house/s, that no one was injured, etc. And feeling extraordinarily grateful for such amazing neighbors… It is amazing what God can accomplish, when we’re not worried about who gets the credit!!

  5. We are doing the pantry challenge to empty the freezer before hurricane season. During January we had house guest for 8 days so I am still continuing the declutter challenge. Meals were from leftovers and the pantry. Having been using some fabric that I have had for a while for a quilt. Thank you for the insight into the South West.

  6. When my daughter lived in Yuma, AZ, we visited and went to Los Algones (sp?), just over the border. We did however find deals. They had things I never would’ve thought of, we didn’t get them because I hadn’t budgeted for it and we would’ve had to ship them home, but the deals were there!!