This is a new series in the style of The Frugal Girl’s Five Frugal Things, where I’ll be posting weekly(ish) about what I’ve done lately to save money and make things stretch in order to further our financial goals, which currently include us paying off a decent hunk of debt. I encourage you to play along and post your own weekly frugal wins in the comments section below!
Note: There are affiliate links to the books, products, and services mentioned below.
We got rid of our hot tub!
We moved to our house, which included a hot tub out on the back deck, over two years ago. Now I’m sure a hot tub would be a selling feature for a lot of people, but I wasn’t super enthused — for one, it made me really nervous to have one with young kids, and I also have really sensitive skin that tends to react to being in hot, chlorinated water for too long. And, as time has gone on, I’ve seen just how expensive it is since you have to run it year-round (especially in the winter), not to mention the upkeep of keeping the correct chemical balances and such.
When it came down to it, we’d used the hot tub maybe ten times since moving here, and I personally only used it about 5 or 6. Sure, it was kinda fun sometimes, but the rest of the time, it was just a headache — I’d much rather just look forward to using hot tubs at hotels when we go on vacation.
The trick was finding out how to get rid of it.
Hot tubs don’t hold their value super well around here from what we could tell — often people would try listing them on Facebook Marketplace for relatively low prices (like around $500), only to have them sit for months unsold. Because of that, we decided to just see if someone was willing to do a trade with us, where they would get our hot tub in exchange for purchasing the materials to fix our deck underneath.
After posting our offer, we got someone who accepted within about ten minutes who lives in our neighborhood, and he and his family removed it this last week. Since our energy bills are astronomical for this property, I’m REALLY hoping that we’ll see them decrease here real soon since that was taken out.
We got the zipper on Matt’s favorite coat fixed
About three years ago, I put on Matt’s favorite coat to go outside real quick while I was hugely pregnant with Hyrum, and the zipper busted. Ever since, he’s made do with lighter jackets or just an unzipped coat because he really didn’t want to buy a replacement since he loved that one so much.
This year, he jokingly-not-jokingly said that a great Christmas gift idea for him would be to see if anyone could fix the coat. While I wish I had the kind of skills to fix it myself (and maybe I’ll work on acquiring those kinds of skills at some point), I knew I didn’t have the time to figure it out now, so I took it to my mom to see if she could handle it.
She was able to completely fix the zipper and a broken snap for the grand total of $10 (the cost of the replacement parts), and he’s been wearing it ever since. A big win!
We started making more oatmeal for breakfast
The way I do my grocery shopping is that I do one massive haul near the beginning of the month, then much smaller weekly-ish trips throughout the rest for milk and a bit of produce. For this last week of the month, I had about $8 left in the budget, which I ended up spending on fruit since we still have an unopened gallon of milk.
However, since we normally go through about a gallon and a half to two gallons of milk per week, I knew that in order to make sure it lasted, I’d need to make a few tweaks. The easiest change? Just switch a couple breakfasts from cold cereal over to oatmeal (made with water). Cold cereal is definitely one of the pricier breakfasts you can do, but it’s a price I’m usually willing to pay because of the convenience factor when we’re doing our normal rushed morning routine when Raven is in school. Now that she’s on break, though, it’s not a big deal at all for me to do oatmeal or some other option a few times, and it should ensure that we’ll have enough milk until the end of the month, no problem.
For a price comparison, a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios (one of our cereals of choice, as it’s gluten-free) is 21¢ (cereal) + 24.8¢ (for 3/4 cup milk) = 45.8¢. Our kids usually have at least two bowls, if not three, which then costs between 91.67¢ and $1.37 per person. One serving of oatmeal, on the other hand, costs 5.7¢ if you buy in bulk (like we do). Even if you add brown sugar (3¢) and a splash of milk (4.7¢ for a quarter cup), each serving still costs just 13.4¢. A pretty far cry from the price of cereal!
We got free (for us) ribbon for our flower farm business
One thing that has been amazing to me is how much support we’ve gotten from so many different people when it comes to our flower farming business. From the get go, we’ve had family, friends, and neighbors who have helped us out with everything from labor to transportation to buying our flowers to giving us vases and other such things that we need.
One particularly noteworthy supporter has been Matt’s aunt, who has been an amazing resource for us. Not only has she purchased our flowers, but she’s also helped to fund many of our flower arrangement supplies, including vases and ribbon. Since we were at extended family parties over the holiday, we got the chance to see her in person, and she had a(nother) huge stack of ribbon for me, which I use to tie around the mason jar arrangements I do. She’s able to get them for a steal at a discount warehouse up by where she lives and then doesn’t charge us a cent for it (though I’ve offered many times).
I feel so fortunate that we have so many good people around us who support us in so many ways!
I cancelled our Pandora Plus subscription once the holiday was over
I don’t listen to music nearly as much as I used to (preferring to listen to an audiobook or church talks instead), but I do like to listen to a lot of Christmas music when the holidays roll around. I was getting super annoyed with dealing with all the commercials though, so I decided to buy a Pandora Plus subscription for a couple months this year, at $4.99 per month. (Note: If you’re new to purchasing a subscription, you can get cash back through Rakuten.)
Now that Christmas is over, I went ahead and cancelled the paid subscription since I won’t be listening to music nearly as much now.
Other Little Things:
- We ran out of bows for Christmas gifts, so I used either curling ribbon or nothing at all on the ones missing a bow. No one even noticed, not even the kids!
- Speaking of gift wrapping, nearly all of the wrapping paper used this year either came 1) from us picking it up on clearance after the holidays last year, or 2) from a massive stash of gift wrapping supplies I picked up at an estate sale for just $5 this last spring. No point in paying full price if you can plan ahead and avoid it!
- I earned $22.68 cash back from using the Rakuten app whenever I did Christmas shopping online.
- Matt needed a memory card to go along with his Christmas gift (which I got for a steal on Black Friday) and was about to order a more expensive version until I found him this alternative, which was just as highly rated but about $10 cheaper.
Now it’s your turn – What are your frugal wins this week?