This unsolicited post was written by our recent house guest. She didn’t tell me she was planning to write it, but after the visit, she submitted this post. She thought it might help you guys get an outsider’s observations on our daily life.

Guest Post by my friend, Cortney Witmer (and member of the Cheapskate Cooks Facebook Group).


Last weekend, I made a surprise visit to Steph Jenkins, a.k.a. the Cheapskate Cook. We have been friends since we were born, thanks to our moms getting together on a weekly basis our entire childhood. But even after 30(+) years, I still learn something new from her every single time.

Without further ado, here are 5 things I learned from a weekend spent with the Cheapskate Cook.

Cortney and Steph
Me, my youngest son, and Steph!

1. Kids Eat Breakfast Outside

No cleanup!

Every morning, the boys bust out of their rooms at 8:00 am on the dot and serenity turns to chaos (I’m so thankful for her strict morning curfew!). But the tidy home was not immediately decimated; rather, the boys grabbed breakfast and ate it outside on the patio, enjoying the temporary coolness of a summer morning.

This is brilliant, and I WILL use this tactic next year when my boys are older.

2. “Most Guests Only Require…”

“Most guests only require a clean bathroom, a comfy place to sleep, and to hang out with people they care about.”

This was a direct quote from her, and it is so true. She was in the middle of a minimalist makeover and had no decor up in her home. (This was a surprise visit, remember) But she didn’t stress and I didn’t care. It was a beautiful weekend!

Steph with a goat balancing on her feet during goat yoga.
I brought Steph to a goat yoga session for her birthday. It was so funny, but very fitting because she raised dairy goats when we were growing up.

3-5. Three Simple Dinner Hacks

Don’t stress about dinner in advance, and on weekends, don’t slave in the kitchen for hours. Meals can be made quickly with what you have in the fridge if you simplify in 3 ways:

1. Keep Ready-made Meat in the Fridge

This chicken recipe is probably always in her fridge, haha! It goes on literally anything.

(Steph’s note: And this beef recipe!)

2. Dress-Up or Remake your Leftovers

We went out for Mexican food, and the next night she used our leftovers and fresh veggies to make some bangin’ nachos!

3. Eat the Same Thing as Last Night

This feels like breaking some cardinal homemaking rule, but it’s a great idea. We don’t have to be ingenious masterminds every night. Make something delicious and feed it to them twice. Brilliant!

Anyway, I know Steph didn’t think I could possibly have learned much from her because she didn’t meal plan or save money intentionally on the weekend I visited. However, simply watching her natural flow showed me what weekends and hosting can really look like in a relaxed, frugal home.

real food fruit tart
We ate a bunch of this Real Food Summer Fruit Tart too!

What You Can Do Now:

Who do you learn from by simply being around them and watching them do life?

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