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I gotta say, it was a pretty fun weekend, y’all. We celebrated Mr. Picky Pincher’s birthday in style and snuck in plenty of frugal fun. Here’s how we spent the weekend while (trying) to keep it frugal.

How was your weekend?

Birthday shenanigans

Mr. Picky Pincher’s folks came over on Friday evening and we hung out. There was plenty of excitement around here this weekend, but we had great family time, too.

We hosted a cookout here at the Picky Palace in Mr. Picky Pincher’s honor. He grilled steak fajitas, which we served with guacamole, pico de gallo, homemade beans, and (of course) dulce de leche cake and bunuellos.

Can you tell we’re from Texas? ๐Ÿ™‚

birthday cookout meal

We chilled at the house and played board games while sipping on some beer.

Our family generously brought some very nice (and frugal!) gifts for Mr. Picky Pincher, too. Since he’s been running so much, Picky Nikki got him a few items to make running safer and more comfortable, like a reflective vest and a protein bar. I got him the weighted blanket (Amazon link here), which I made him open a week early so we could try it out (spoiler: it’s amazing). ๐Ÿ™‚

My dad sent him a nice flashlight with extra batteries. Mr. Picky Pincher’s parents gifted him a badass meat grinder (Amazon link here)!

Sausage party!

Mr. Picky Pincher is not one to receive a meat grinder and then leave it unused. His dad had the foresight to bring a giant pork shoulder and slab of bacon so they could make ground pork and ground breakfast sausage.ย 

meat grinder

The fellas went to town with grinding every meat they could get their hands on! The big upside here is that it’s usually cheaper to buy whole cuts of meat and then grind them yourself. Now that we have a meat grinder, I can smell big savings on the horizon. ๐Ÿ™‚

And hey, it’s nice to know what’s in our ground meat and sausage, too.

meat grinder

A spendy Friday

We coined last Friday as “The One Thousand Dollar Day.”

Mr. Picky Pincher’s phone was on the fritz and, despite all our best resuscitation efforts, it was toast. We talked to Google about other repair options, but since the phone was out of warranty, we were screwed.

We weighed our options here. We could have bought a used Googe Fi-approved phone, but then we’d risk the hazards of owning a used phone. We bit the bullet and bought the $700 Pixel 2 phone (Amazon link here). So there went $700 …

The other issue was that the toilets in our home were nearly non-functional. They flushed only when they felt like it, and one toilet constantly ran, day and night. It was a nightmare dealing with it, and we knew we needed to get these fixed before hosting Thanksgiving. Earlier in the week a plumber gave us a $1,200 estimate for the job.ย 

We said, “Screw that,” and did it ourselves, with a looooot of help from Mr. Picky Pincher’s dad. The two fellas spent Friday and Saturday removing the old, horrible toilets and installing the new ones.ย 


toilet replacement is finished!

Just look at the new throne.

It feels like a lot of stress is off our shoulders now. We spent about $270 on both toilets, which means we saved nearly $1,000 by doing it ourselves. Yeesh.

It’ll be interesting to see if our water bill improves. Yeehaw!

Sunday shopping

Mr. Picky PIncher and I painted the town red today. He wanted fried okra and gravy for his birthday, so we picked up lunch at Bush’s Chicken.

Afterwards we swung by REI, where Mr. Picky Pincher bought Tech Wash for his nice clothes. He also found a mondo-discounted running hat for $10 during REI’s Garage Sale.

Hell, I even found a pair of nice yoga pants that were on deep discount. It was a pair of Brooks pants that normally goes for $60 – $70, but we got them for $30. I’m trying to slowly build my repertoire of high quality yoga pants. I’m sick of buying thrift store pants that get holes in them in a matter of weeks.ย 

purchases from rei

We also went by Whole Foods. I’ve been wanting to start growing our own potatoes, so we bought several pounds of organic russet and fingerling potatoes. Here’s the tutorial I’m using to sprout these potatoes.

We also picked up a few treats, like mochi ice cream, to enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚


I wanted to do more cooking this weekend, but I wasn’t feeling super hot. I did two fun baking projects, though!

Pumpkin rolls

We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year and I’m super pumped!

I’m trying to pre-cook as much of Thanksgiving dinner as I can to ease the stress of the day. I’m going to serve these savory rosemary pumpkin rolls and they’ll go very well with our turkey. I don’t have the sanity to cook yeast rolls the day of Thanksgiving, so I made two batches and froze them for later.ย 

pumpkin rolls for thanksgiving



I let out a squeal of delight when I realized a new season ofย The Great British Baking Showย was on Netflix. We were really intrigued by the dampfnudel recipe. Mr. Picky Pincher said, “Dude, that looks so good” so I decided to make it for his birthday.

Dampfnudel is a sweet German dessert of steamed buns with a caramelized bottom that you serve with plum sauce and vanilla custard.

I used this recipe for the dampfnudel. It’s always kind of funny using European recipes that call ingredients different things, but I made it work. It wasn’t too hard to make the dough itself; it was a standard yeast roll.

I did want to share a baking hack that I discovered. When my dough is rising, I put it in a measured plastic container and mark where the dough falls with a rubber band. This way, I can tell precisely when the dough has doubled.

clever dough rising hack

The funky part about the dampfnudel was cooking it. They’re steamed, so you can’t really remove the lid to check on them. I did end up burning the bottoms on most of them, but a few came out edible. Womp womp!

dampfnudel cooking

They look raw, but the buns are actually fully cooked by steam on the stove.

I didn’t have the ingredients for plum sauce, so I just served the dampfnudel with homemade vanilla custard. Once I make my custard, I let it cool in a glass dish with Saran wrap on it. The cling wrap prevents the custard from forming a most unappetizing skin.

dampfnudels after baking, with vanilla custard

It was definitely not an overly sweet dessert; it was very subtle. Mr. Picky Pincher wasn’t a fan of the dampfnudel, but I thought it was all right. Would I make it again? Nah. It was a lot of fuss for very little yield, in my opinion.

I’d rather spend the effort on macarons!

dampfnudel after baking, with burnt bottoms

Poor burnt little bottoms.

Zap’s Adventures

Poor Zappo. Mr. PIcky Pincher’s parents brought Sophie the Shih Tzu this weekend to hang out. Zap despises most people and any dogs, so he was not thrilled. He and Sophie hissed and growled at each other all weekend. I got a pretty hilarious shot of them having a stare-down.

Zap has an uncanny ability to sit on me in uncomfortable positions. He decided to sit on my legs, where he wobbled unsteadily for the evening. Little sploot.

But then he moved to a good cuddle position, where he gave me a hug. It’s fine, my heart’s just melting.

We want to know: How did you save or spend money this weekend?

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