Sunday Conversation #1 with Frugal Dad

I hereby declare Sundays a day for random ramblings from Frugal Dad. I’ll share a bit about what’s going on personally and professionally, but I can’t promise any of it to be ground-breaking news. It will likely be entertaining, and occasionally I’ll throw in a bit about a few frugal living ideas. Let’s even make it interactive – read on to find out how.

homemade-birthday-cake.jpgHomemade Birthday Cake

This is an especially tough time for us guys, financially. It’s even worse when your anniversary, wife’s birthday and Mother’s Day all fall within two weeks of each other! I’ve learned over the years to take it one financial hit at a time. In the spirit of frugality the kids and I baked Mom a birthday cake. I handled the mixing and the baking, and the kids handled the decorating. Not bad, if I say so myself. Mommy was awfully proud of her kids, and her husband, for managing to operate a mixer and an oven on the same day without causing structural damage! And yes, honey, that is a big 3-0 on the cake. I told you that you would catch up with me eventually.

The Square Foot Garden Graduates

Our popular square foot garden project has been very successful. So successful in fact that we had to find new homes for several of the vegetable crops because they were crowding out the adjacent squares. We decided to dedicate a little plot of backyard to in-ground gardening, and spent much of this afternoon digging and preparing a soil bed. We transplanted two large tomato plants and two rows of squash and cucumbers. I added a few tomato and cucumber seeds back to the square foot garden box to grow additional starter plants. We also dropped in a salsa pepper mix seed pack to start a few pepper plants for some homemade salsa. No pictures yet as I wanted to wait until it is more presentable. A threatening thunderstorm had us moving fast just to get the plants in the ground!

Frugal Freelancing

I had my first freelance writing proposal accepted by a major publisher this week, and I’m now off to complete the manuscript. More details to follow, but this will make a significant dent in the debt snowball! Hopefully, I can land a few more of these over the next couple months and knock out my remaining debt while building up our emergency fund.

Still No Economic Stimulus Check

Still no sign of the economic stimulus check. We plan to spread it out over our accounts at ING Direct, and put some on debt, so it it not like I’m waiting for it to make a big purchase. However, I would like to see that balance increased soon.

Your Turn

For next week’s Sunday Conversation I would love to answer a few of your questions, sort of in a mailbag format, but less formal. Just leave your questions in the comments and I’ll respond to them during next week’s conversation. If you would rather email me that’s fine, too.  If you do email me, indicate if you would like to remain anonymous, otherwise I’ll mention your first name and/or your website if provided. Any topic is open for discussion (well, almost any topic – this is a family-friendly environment!). I look forward to hearing from you.


  1. I’m turning 30 on May 28–a big happy birthday to your wife!

    And CONGRATULATIONS on the freelance project–that’s awesome!

  2. Would you recommend changing your blog’s name after it’s been up and running on for a few months? I have a blog with a (very) modest following- I chose the name rather haphazardly and now I’m not at all happy with it because I don’t feel that it represents me well. I’m thinking about migrating to WordPress from Blogger and contemplating a name change at the same time- what are your thoughts?

  3. Congratulations on the freelance project! I can’t wait to find out what it’s about, who it’s for, how you got it – and, of course, when we can read it!

    Happy birthday and Mother’s Day to your wife!

  4. @Chief Family Officer: Of course I’ll share more details when the project is finished. This particular assignment lines up well with Frugal Dad readers’ interests, and hopefully I’ll be able to market it here in some fashion. More to follow…

  5. My sister b´day is may 1st. My brother the 12, my father´s 16th and my wedding annversary the 19th. and mothers day too. this year, the gifts will be send along the year before december.
    my question: where (do you mark) is the line between being frugal and being cheap?

  6. Hello-
    I would be interested in learning a few things to do with kids over summer vacation that doesn’t involve big bucks for camp. Kids 13,9 and 2.

    Also if you use a filter like brita or pur with kids in the house & do you find it’s as good as getting the gallon refils @ 49 cents each. Our water here in chicago is horrid.

    Any suggestions for those of us with kids who rent & can’t do much in the way of fixes to the house other than cfl’s?

    What are your grocery bills looking like these days with inflation (a question possibly for your wife) and how are you combating them. Going to aldi vs big name store only shopping sales etc?

    If you were bequeathed 20K with the note that it was either to be used as a partial down payment or for kids college funds & you were still trying to pay down debt & property taxes in the area start at 6-8K would you keep for college funds (currently non existent) or save for a house. We are happy renting at the current time.

    On that same vein how do you get family & friends to stop telling you to buy a home when you don’t have a down payment & don’t want to have two incomes currently just to pay for a house. A flip of keeping up with the Joneses I guess.

    I love your blog & can’t wait to read what you all do in the summer time. I came from paid for this twice & Mrs Micah’s blogs.

    Aloha & Thanks

  7. I like the idea of a question and answer time. I’m curious whether you are in the midst of all this tornado weather and storms? (in other words,
    where do you and your family live? (if you mentioned it already, sorry, I missed it.)

    We’re also waiting for our rebate check, and thought it would be here the 9th. I’m curious if there’s a lot of us out there who haven’t received their rebates when supposed to.

    Also, what role does your faith play in your life? Just curious, as a Christian myself. Do you have favorite charities or organizations that you donate to? We sponsor children with Compassion and give to “Right to Life” and “Feed the Children”, as well as other ministries that we feel we’re supposed to. Again, you can answer as you feel comfortable. Some people don’t want to get too personal.
    Thanks for your blog…I enjoy reading it alot.

  8. Great job on scoring a freelance gig. I hope they keep coming your way so that it can help you accomplish that snowball!

    Happy Mother’s Day & Birthday to your wife! I hope it was a wonderful day for her!

  9. Just want you to know that on Friday, I did get my stimulus check. It was deposited directly into my bank account, just like my tax return was.

    Mere minutes after it was deposited, I transferred the whole amount to one of my outstanding credit card balances.

    I cannot lie, it hurt me to do that. There are so many things I would love to get with that money, a flat screen HD TV for one, but I didn’t. I just kept thinking about those hot dogs and how I want to change myself.

    Thank you.

  10. Okay, my question is as follows (it’s a fun one!):

    George Bush offers to give you $2 Million in exactly 3 years from now (signed contract and all), BUT in order for you to get it, you have to give up EVERY PENNY you have right now – all savings, retirement, etc.

    Would you do it?