A Frugal Saturday: Twelve Ways We Saved Money Yesterday

Quite often, Saturday is my worst day of the week for spending money. My wife and my son and I almost always wind up doing something that costs money. Yet, I recognize that the parts of the weekend that I’ll remember on Monday are the parts where we merely spent time together, not the parts where we spent money on stuff we didn’t really need.

As part of our attempt at an ultra-frugal May, we decided to just spend this Saturday around the house – with all of the house-hunting excitement, we thought it would be a fun way to unwind. Here are twelve things we did that we probably would not have done on a normal Saturday that saved us money.

We had banana pancakes for breakfast. We had three overripe bananas, so we just mashed them up with a fork, mixed them with two cups of flower, two teaspoons of baking powder, half a teaspoon of salt, an egg, and a cup and a half of milk. We just mixed it all together and suddenly we had pancake batter out of just the stuff we had sitting around the house. Banana pancakes are delicious.

My wife and I each pulled out three CDs we hadn’t heard in a while and played them in a small CD/clock in the kitchen. It cost only a penny or two of electricity and my wife got to hear me sing along badly with The Smiths’ “Girlfriend in a Coma” while my son danced.

We wrapped graduation gifts in the comics pages from the Sunday paper and old New Yorker covers. They looked bright, visually interesting, and kitschy, and the cost was less than a penny’s worth of tape.

We had homemade soup and sandwiches for lunch. The sandwiches were merely some leftover grated cheese from a meal earlier this week between two pieces of bread and cooked on a grate over wood. The soup was just chicken boullion with some leftover pieces of chicken in it and a few chopped-up vegetables. Cost: minimal. Taste: great.

We deep-cleaned things. Mostly, just things that we skip over because we often don’t have the time. Lots of window-spraying and such with our homemade cleaning supplies.

While our son napped, we went through every house that we looked at and made a final ranking of all of them. This was actually really fun, because we were largely on the same page with everything. We have one house that we love and one that we really really like and everything else falls in behind. Basically, this was good conversation.

We walked to the park and back. This burnt multiple hours, as our son wanted to swing on the swings and go down the slide and laugh and play and all that good stuff. Lifting him up to the top of the slide (he can’t quite handle the ladder yet) over and over again was a good workout, too – lifting a twenty five pound toddler from the ground to well over your head every fifteen seconds for most of an hour can be exhausting.

We had fresh asparagus, homemade poor man quesadillas, and grapes for dinner. The asparagus was out of a friend’s garden, picked only a day or so ago. The poor man’s quesadillas was just using the remaining cheese and putting it between two flour tortillas then grilling them. The grapes were easy, too. Another really cheap and rather quick homemade meal, but that was because we were all worn out.

All of us wrote letters to people. I wrote a letter to an old friend, as did my wife; our son went crazy with crayons on a sheet of paper writing a letter to his grandparents.

My wife and I had a very romantic evening after our son went to sleep. Hey, that’s a free activity!

We spent an hour reading together. My wife and I just cuddled up near each other under a down comforter and read. I finished off a book; she got part of the way through one.

We never turned on the television once. It didn’t come on all day, even after our son went to bed.

The entire day was incredibly fun and it cost almost nothing at all. Who needs to spend a lot of cash to have an enjoyable, happy, memorable Saturday?

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