Frugal Life

Repair, Don’t Replace, or, My Dog Has A Drinking Problem

Let me set the scene for you… it was a beautiful Saturday morning in San Diego. The window let in a delectable breeze. I sat on the bed with that heavenly first cup of coffee. It was blissfully quiet. I plopped down on the bed and leisurely drank my coffee and opened my laptop, ready to dive into my freelance work. And then…

the dog puked on me.

No kidding. Puked right on me. On my arm, on my leg, and on the bed.

Talk about ruining my writing groove.


The dog is fired.

Worry not, the dog is fine. (He drank too much water at one time.) The silver lining is that he missed my laptop by mere inches. (I’ve been known to spill the occasional coffee on my laptop, but dog vomit would be a new one, even for me.)

The bed was stripped and I was left with dog vomit on my mattress. I googled and found an article on using regular ole table salt, which actually worked! (I’ll admit I had my doubts.)

The whole vomitpalooza on my mattress thing got me thinking… I wasn’t going to replace the mattress because of one wayward canine hangover. That would be ridiculous. I would clean it. But, did I have that same line of thought on items that may be less expensive and easier to replace? I have an office chair that I would like to replace, but now I think I’ll take a few minutes with a screwdriver and make sure it isn’t just needing some screw-tightening TLC.

Boom! Saved some chair money right

The moral of this whole stinky story is to keep an eye toward repair instead of automatically replacing soiled or broken items. Bring your things back from the brink of the landfill and give them a second chance. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how much life is left in them, and your wallet too!


Fast Money: Sell Your Clutter

We are big fans of Craigslist and eBay. We love the idea of purchasing gently used items without paying full price for the brand new versions. This way someone else pays for the depreciation on new purchases and we still get the same item we could have paid full price for in a store.

By Vectorink (for sale by owner sign) [Public domain], <a href="">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

It’s easy to forget, though, that the web goes both ways. For instance, just yesterday I spent about a half an hour total taking a few pictures, posting a few ads, and meeting up with a couple Craigslisters… I walked away with $16 from two of my items. eBay isn’t too shabby either. (Just remember to take into account shipping costs, listing fees, and paypal fees.)

Take a hard look around your home. I guarantee you have something worth selling. Do you have name brand jeans in decent condition that no longer fit? DVDs you’re no longer crazy about? Books you’re not going to read again? These types of items are prime targets for selling.

Furthermore, you might be surprised by the type of items you can turn into cash. I’ve sold things that I was sure no one would want, like my husband’s old scratched phone case, but it sold. (The best bet for these types of items would be Craigslist with its free listings.)

Moral of the story: Don’t let your clutter sit collecting dust. With just a bit of effort, you can turn it into money in your pocket!

Military Tip

Many of our military installations, like MCAS Miramar, host swap meets on post where you can sell items. Check with your FRG leadership or in-processing center for more information.

Also, don’t forget that online swap meets might be another option for your post, like the online yard sale site for Camp Pendleton. A simple Google search with “(your post name) online yard sales” should aim you in the right direction.

Thrifty Thursday: Coupons, Simplified

Coupons are not as scary as you might think. I promise.

In a nut shell, coupons are best used when used strategically. Clip them then save them until you can find a sale on that item. Eat what’s on sale. It’s that simple.

By Julie & Heidi from West Linn & Gillette, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

This is how I use coupons to slash our spending on groceries:

I subscribe to three Sunday-only newspapers for three sets of coupon inserts. This allows me to take better advantage of a good sale by being able to stock up at a discount.

I clip them all and file them in a 3″ binder so they’re easier to find when I need them.

Before I go to the store, I visit and to check the matchups where some wonderful bloggers spend the time and effort to match the available coupons to the store sales. (God bless those ladies!)

For more information, visit

I pull the coupons I plan to use, then I head to the store with my list. Easy peasy.

Don’t let yourself be intimidated by coupons. Yes, you can save even more money by investing more time (and newspaper subscriptions) and joining the ranks of the as-seen-on-tv variety of extreme couponers. As for the rest of us, smaller-scale strategic couponing means minimal effort and maximum savings.

Déjà Vu

You might remember a post from last month wherein I SWORE I would write a post every day of November. It was a lofty goal that I absolutely tanked on. I blame it on equal parts the flu, a particularly notable case of writer’s block, and, let’s face it, rampant time mis-management. Thank you to the readers that have stuck with me with multiple stop-and-go spurts. I promise I won’t leave you hanging again!

Good Judgment Rita Mae Brown

Moving the blog forward, I’d like to put it out there into the universe that the mission of Our Camo Covered Life has officially evolved as our own Camo Covered Lives have changed.

As a military couple working our way back from financial catastrophe, we have become quite skilled at making the most of what we have so that we can live below our means and subsequently build a brighter financial tomorrow.

It is our sincere hope that others can benefit from our hard-learned lessons. Therefore, moving forward, Our Camo Covered Life will be geared toward frugal living, with cameo appearances of DIY and food in a frugal context.

If you happen to be further interested in money-wise writing, you may want to consider liking my Facebook page over at Whenever I happen across a great frugal living/personal finance article, I tend to share it there.

I truly look forward to sharing this journey with you and I hope you’ll consider coming along for the ride. After all, carpooling is a great way to save money!


Mission Zero Spending, Day 6: The Field

We’re almost a week into our zero spending challenge and the hubby is due to leave for the field tomorrow evening until Sunday night.

Now, normally when the hubby takes off for the field, he takes cash with him for coffee or snacks to take with him. But, this month is a zero spending month.

The solution? A good old fashioned CARE PACKAGE!

care packageSo, what exactly is in there?


field care package

Homemade fruit snacks, instant coffee, pistachios, granola bars, saltines, and MiO water enhancer. (Plus some oranges.)

Oh, and a little bit of love from home. 😉 </cheesy>

What do you/would you include in your field care package?