Frugality Friday

Heather says:
Times are tight and we’re starting to feel it here. My husband works in the steel industry which is being hit fairly hard by the economic slowdown. We’re very lucky that he works for a company that pays on a sliding bonus scale, otherwise he may have been laid off like so many others. However, there is a downside to this pay scale, when they aren’t producing much steel, paychecks just aren’t what they were. 

So of course, now is the perfect time to have company, lots of company. (Please note there was some sarcasm there.) My house is packed to the gills with a total of seven children and four adults. I won’t lie, right now it feels as though my life is revolving around preparing a meal, refereeing said meal, cleaning up the meal, and then starting over.  Normally early mornings and late nights are mine to use for writing.  Here are five things we’re doing to cut costs while family is visiting:

  1. Taking advantage of local parks. The kids run off some of their energy and sometimes we adults have a chance to chat.
  2. We’re eating in.
  3. We’re sucking it up and not using paper plates, as tempting as it might be.
  4. Backyard campfires help the kids unwind in the evening, get rid of some of the tree debris in our yard, and provide free entertainment.
  5. Our guests brought their reusuable water bottles, which help cut down on extra dishes and plastic water bottles.

What do you do to help cut costs when guests invade?


  1. Judith on March 21, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I haul out my big crockpot ……….. easy meals with less on-the-spot prep. Things like chili ……. and soups…….. and stews. Then we add biscuits and salads or raw veggies and a 9×13 cake and we’re good to go. Lunches I put out sandwich fixings for a make your own, along with cut up apples/oranges/baby carrots. The kids love it if I put out peanut butter and stuff to go with …….. like bananas, honey, chocolate chips (!), raisins. They really like making their own. Cupcakes can be a big attaction, too; bake ’em and let the kids frost and decorate for everyone. They help feed us …..AND they learn to clean up together (all-kid cleanup crew)
    I will use paper plates for lunch (or even paper towels, which we call our “family plates”!) but not for supper.
    Sugar-free drinks (like iced tea mixes) substitute for soda, with milk served only with breakfast (or lunch)
    Everyone helps either setting up or cooking or cleaning up ……. or taking the kids out to play or walk while cooking is going on (the men would usually do that!)
    We LOVE intergenerational walks all over the neighborhood (and if there is a basketball hoop or play area along the way, so much the better). We play card games, board games, charades, and Yahtzee. We also tell family stories around the table after the meals….. good for all of us to hear/remember!
    Good luck, Heather. ENJOY amidst the chaos!

  2. Jenni on March 21, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Walks! Some of my favorite memories of visiting my aunt (really the only traveling visits we made growing up) I remember everyone going for walks. As us children got older, sometimes we’d ride out bikes while the adults walked. Many times we just walked around the neighborhood, sometimes we went to a specific destination, but I remember those walks. The adults did find much time to talk, us kids got our energy out, and even as we hit high school, it was still a lot of fun.

    We’d also spend the evenings playing basketball until it got too dark and too cold and then coming in for board games.

  3. Diaper cakes Becca on March 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Bring on the board games…..we drag out the old classics for both the adults and kiddos. Cheaper than a movie rental!!

    There are hooks on the inside of the bedroom doors so guests are encouraged to reuse towels…..cuts down on laundry!

    Shop the sales at the grocery store…..the meat on sale is the meat being served, etc. The local farmer’s market is a great place to stock up on produce, too!

  4. jennifer on March 20, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Everybody works, everybody works. This doesn’t necessarily cut costs tremendously, but it helps some as it removes as much as possible the temptation to rely on prepared foods, throwaway plates/utensils and other convenience items; plus, it helps keep the host(ess) from feeling overworked and abused and generally makes for a nicer time for all. Cuts down on entertainment costs because, with everyone working, there is less time for sitting around wondering what to do!

  5. Tina on March 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    When we invade other family members, we share meal plannning/prep. This is to prevent the hostess from feeling trapped in the kitchen and to help with costs. This way we all bring what we need for our meal (or buy it there), cook it and clean it up. This doesn’t help you now, but it does keep prices down for everyone. I guess that works better with family then with guests–though if we’re guests at someone’s house I’d offer to do the same thing.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.