5 Frugal Wins & 2 Frugal Fails – June 23

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I am so excited summer is finally here in DC. In my mind, summer means picnics, potlucks, ice-cream cones, community activities, and FUN!

It was still freezing cold in the city just 2-3 weeks ago. Now the sun is scorching hot in the 95 degree weather, making me enjoy the AC maybe a bit too much (oops!).

Now on to our frugal wins and frugal fails of the past two weeks.

5 Frugal wins

1. Buy used toys and books for Baby FAF

As summer is here, many of us are decluttering our house after a long winter.

Mr. FAF and I re-organized our storage shed a couple of weeks ago and gave away a lot of items to our neighbors.

We had a yard sale in our community this past weekend.

Since Baby FAF turned two a couple of months ago and is ready to learn the alphabet and numbers, I have been checking educational toys at the store but balked at the prices.

We already got a lot of hand-me-down toys for him like cars, trains, and superman figurines. I wanted to buy games that can teach Baby FAF something new and are useful for his development. In other words, I wanted to invest in toys that will yield an educational return.

The community yard sale was a great opportunity for me to get what I needed at low prices. And it didn’t disappoint.

I got a Fishing for Phonics game, a domino set, and six books for $8.5. I consider this a frugal win since I can easily drop that amount on a brand-new book at the store. I used soap to wash all of the toys.

Books & toys for $8.5 displayed on a hand-me-down couch

My uncle taught me how to play dominoes and chess when I was about 4, and I really enjoyed the logic and different strategies of playing those games. I want Baby FAF to have the same experience.

2. Not do grocery shopping

Mr. FAF and I blew our May food budget with a series of restaurant dinners. But a good chunk of the expenses also went to groceries for June.

I didn’t go grocery shopping at all the first two weeks of June since I had lots of food in the fridge. I also tried to finish what we had in the pantry. It’s summer – decluttering time!

It also saved me about 3 hours I’d normally spend on two shopping trips. It takes me about 40 minutes to walk to the nearby grocery and back, not to mention at least 30 minutes at the store.

3. Prepare food for road trips

Mr. FAF and I had two big road trips last week: one to Philly and one to New York. And as any other frugal couples would do, we prepared food to eat on the way.

A scene from our road trip

We prepared the following:

Corn: We got 8 corn heads from Costo and boiled 6 of them in the morning before we left.

Trail mix: I got the low fat generic brand from Shoppers in case we got tired of the other foods. We ended up not eating it at all. I guess we can save it for the next trip.

Croissant: We got a big box of 12 counts from Costco for $5.99 but didn’t eat any. We had a big breakfast that day, and it definitely helped curb the craving for snacks.

Water: Simple and healthy drink.

We had to drive through lunch time, so we heated up the food at home before the trip and ate it in the car in a rest area.

Some people saw us eating through the glass windows of the car. Mr. FAF and I joking said they might have thought we were a weird Asian couple not wanting to spend money at the food stalls nearby (i.e. McDonalds). We were totally fine with it because that’s exactly what we are: married, Asian, weird, and frugal.

4. Fix the soap holder in the bathroom

The soap holder in one of our bathrooms fell off the wall. This is the second time it’s happened. With Mr. FAF living more than 10 hours away and not being a handyman, I took the matter in my own hands.

The first time the soap dish wanted to say good-bye to the wall, I freaked out. As a new homeowner who’s clueless about home repairs, my first thought was to call a maintenance man.

Then I started thinking about how I’d need to spend at least $100 on the job and decided to look up an easy fix on Youtube. A light bulb went on in my head. I used the construction glue I had gotten from Home Depot a while back to stick the dish soap back to the wall.

$100 saved.


Construction glue & the soap holder covered in plastic for the glue to dry (blue tiles, I know)

5. Wedding at a country club

Mr. FAF and I went to a wedding at a country club this past Tuesday. It was three hours away from our house.


Beautiful scene at the country club golf course. Even the bathroom was pretty. 

At first, we thought about taking a bus and then Uber to the wedding venue since Mr. FAF had driven almost 20 hours the previous 3 days. I was willing to spend a bit of money to not undermine his health.

However, as a frugal family man, Mr. FAF decided to drive six hours both ways (he wouldn’t let me drive since my driving skills are not great for long trips). We had a great time meeting old friends, catching up, and sharing the special moment with the bride and the groom.

Though frugal, Mr. FAF and I sometimes fancy visiting luxurious places and eating delicious food we normally can’t afford. We had never been at a country club before. For us, it’s a place for wealthy people, and we are not one of them.

I remember picturing the fancy amenities and food at a country club a long time ago, thinking hopefully I would be able to check it out one day. And it happened this past weekend.


Seafood & duck with jam


Salmon & steak (main course)

I consider this a frugal win because we waited until the right occasion to enjoy what life has to offer. We enjoyed the great company, the good food, and the beautiful scenery at the venue.

We could have tried to create a similar experience ourselves, but it would have cost us an arm and a leg. And I’m not sure if it would be as memorable as us being at our friends’ wedding.

2 Frugal fails

1. Waste food

The sad-looking cucumber

I threw away one whole cucumber last week. I cut the cucumber into small pieces and put it in the fridge at work.

I totally forgot to eat the cucumber for 3 days. When I opened it, the cucumber was slimy and just wasn’t good for consumption anymore.

Remember the corn we brought on the trip? I threw away 3 corn heads since we had forgotten them in the bag.

When I checked on them, they just didn’t smell good anymore. Forgetfulness costs money!

2. $8 WiFi on the plane

Mr. FAF purchased a $66 one-way ticket from DC to his city and left DC two days ago. He had driven for almost 25 hours within one week, so we both agreed that a plane ticket was a good option this time.

Mr. FAF later told me he spent $8 on WiFi connection on this 2-hour flight back to his city. I was not super happy when I heard that. What could he possibly do on the plane with such expensive WiFi service?

Mr. FAF said he watched documentaries about Putin on Youtube during the flight (?!). I have suggested he bring a book with him next time he flies somewhere.


I’m pleasantly surprised to see that we had only two frugal fails these past two weeks. Wasting food wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I had to since I couldn’t deal with the discomfort that it would cause. However, I need to be more careful about saving leftovers after a trip next time.

Overall, I’m happy with the 5 frugal wins that we had. I hope you had a lot of frugal wins these past weeks too! 🙂

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27 thoughts on “5 Frugal Wins & 2 Frugal Fails – June 23”

  • Wow, Mr. FAF drove 30 hours? That is dedication to the frugal lifestyle! I also feel sad when food goes bad before we can eat it. It’s the worst when you’re trying to pack lunch in the morning and you realize that your leftovers have gone bad.

    But hey, on the bright side, no non-dairy milk went bad this week!

    • Haha thank you, Ying! I have been super careful about the milk expiration date, so yes no wasted milk this week!

      Now that I think about it, Mr. FAF drove about 19 hours before the trip to the wedding. It was 25 hours after the wedding trip (close to 30 in total)! 😀

  • I’m with you on the used kid toys and clothes! I rarely buy anything new because the thrift and consignment stores in our area have a plethora of good quality, used items! Recently, AR Jr. needed new shoes… he got a pair of new light-up athletic shoes for $5.50 and a new pair of Keen sandals for $6.99. These would have been $25-40 retail (which is insane to me! He would wear through them in a few months!).

    • Wow sounds like you got some great finds there! I love Baby FAF, but I think at this stage when he’s growing every day, investing in new expensive clothes is not really necessary. Kudos to frugal moms! ^.^

    • I also had a hard time understanding why Mr. FAF would feel happy dropping $8 on Putin videos. @_@ Oh well, the life of a married couple!

  • I really enjoy how often you post! It’s so refreshing to see that everyone else makes mistakes sometimes too – I threw away half a cucumber last week as well. It got slimy really fast. We like to pack small healthy lunches for our road trips, but I’ve always termed it as more of a health thing and less as a frugality thing. I feel like society is more accepting that way for some reason. How anyone can eat all that greasy fast food and then drive for hours is a mystery to me. I would feel queasy and be in a food coma. Also if Mr FAF has an ipad and you have a streaming service like Amazon Prime or Netflix, he can download movies from those services ahead of time to watch offline.

    • Thank you for the great suggestions, JM! I had no idea you could download movies from Amazon Prime and Netflix in advance. I will definitely let Mr. FAF know. I don’t think I can stand seeing him paying $8 for another 2 hours of wifi connection again.

      I have to admit I feel a bit embarrassed sharing my frugal fails. I wish I didn’t have them at all. But sharing such stories holds me accountable. I’m glad you enjoyed the series! ^.^

  • Do you and Mr. FAF take advantage of any credit card rewards for all of the driving and traveling? One of my cards gives me 3x points for all travel and gas purchases. We are close to having enough points on that card to afford a 1 week vacation for two including airfare. We do pay a fee in order to have the card but I have found that the perks that the card offers and the amount we are earning in points far exceeds the fee.

    • We do! Mr. FAF has a Discover credit card. I think he mentioned at one point he does get 5% back for gas. We like growing our credit card rewards too! 😀

  • Great job finding all those toys for Baby FAF!

    I also strive for zero food waste but there is always something that falls through the cracks.

    • Wow zero waste is hard! I saw Youtube videos of people having a tiny can of trash after one year. I just can’t picture how it’s even possible!

  • Wow, Mr FAF is a trooper…that is a lot of driving! And if my wife and I saw you guys at a rest stop eating in the car, we’d give you the fellow Asian head nod…and we’d be eating in the car too! Lol. I was going to ask the same as Counting Quarters. I have a long commute to work so I used to have a card that gives me 5% cash back on gas…it’s been discontinued but I think there’s another out there.

    • Haha thanks in advance for the head nod. We do have 5% back. I think Mr. FAF has a Discover card for that. I like getting cash back A LOT heh heh.

  • I was nodding along to everything until the WiFi part. That’s expensive to waste on Putin! Lol! There food at the wedding looks good – I’ve never been in a country club either. What is it used for and who owns it (like pay taxes on it)? What a mystery @_@

  • We’re pretty big Costco people too. We haul a lot of stuff home every time we go there. $8 Wifi? In today’s day, seems absurd. Hopefully we can get to free global wifi in the next 5-10 years using a swarm of mini satellites orbiting the earth. I read Zuckerberg is working on it, and some others.

    • Every time we go to Costco, I feel like we’ve gotten enough food for the whole month! I can’t wait until we can get free WiFi one day. Mr. FAF has talked to me about that at one point. I don’t think Verizon and other carriers would be too happy about that. Oh well, too bad. Technology wins!

  • Shucks, that’s a lot of driving!! I always bring food on road trips as it is a habit for me to bring food on the plane for work. I have it so wn to a science now and, like you, I hate to waste so I make sure I eat everything I bring. Don’t sweat the cucumber. Those things grow like weeds and are relatively inexpensive. I used to be a real freak about wasting food but we have to be kind to ourselves when we mess it up. There’s a difference between being an over consumer and wasteful as a result. You are definitely not that. 🙂

    • Thank you, Miss Mazuma! I honestly still feel bad about it, but you’re right! We need to move on and not sweat the small stuff! 😉

  • Way to be your own “handyman”! Sometimes fixing things yourself is more fun too . I think lots of people would love to trade their frugal fails for yours – great job holding it together these last couple weeks!

    • Aww thank you, Matt! I wish I didn’t have those frugal fails at all, but all well, I guess they’re not too bad heh heh.

  • I’d say $8 of entertainment on the plane isn’t terrible. Every once in awhile it’s nice to take a break doing something you wouldn’t normally do 😉 I wouldn’t give Mr. FAF too much grief on that one 🙂 But maybe it’s b/c I’ve done that from time to time.

    • Haha totally understandable. And yes, I agree that we all splurge on something we enjoy every once in a while. I won’t give Mr. FAF a hard time about the $8 WiFi. 😉

  • Excellent job on the used books and toys. I have recently started saying that if and when we start a family, I want my shower gifts to be largely my friends recycled hand-me-downs. I hate the culture of fast fashion and new when it comes to babies and children. Yes, I will buy those few things I cannot resist, but I really don’t want my friends and family to go out and buy new items when they have beautiful things wasting at home. Sterilize that mess and give it to me.

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