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 in this post.
We celebrated Valentine’s Day on Feb. 15 to take advantage of everything being half off
This is a hack we’ve been doing for years and years. Since it’s not a huge deal for us to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th (and since our kids love when they get to spread out a holiday across multiple days), we just have a standing appointment to celebrate it the next day so that we can get everything at 50% off.
This year, we budgeted $30 for gifts for everyone, which covered packages of treats for us all and balloons, notepads, stickers, and stuffed animals for each of the kids. Of course, you could do a similar hack and still celebrate on the normal day if you plan a year ahead and just get all your clearance items a year in advance, though I guess that wouldn’t work super well with the candy portion.
We gave a secondhand toy for a birthday gift
Our whole family was invited to a birthday party this last weekend for the son of two of our friends, and the mom specifically sent out that no gifts were expected at all, but if we still wanted to bring something, they openly accepted secondhand gifts. (For the record, this is exactly how we feel about birthday presents for our own kids as well!)
Our boys hadn’t been playing with this Tonka Steel bulldozer as much as they play with their other Tonka toys, so we wrapped that up and gave it to the birthday boy. Considering that it retails at around $40, I’d say that’s a pretty nice birthday gift, plus we got something out of our house that wasn’t being used frequently.
I decided to put off ordering any seeds until the fall
Running our flower farming business is always a fine line between wanting to invest in things that will hopefully bring us more income in the future and also staying in the black budget-wise. While it is necessary for us to buy seeds every year, I’d bought enough last fall that I was pretty much set for this season. However, as any flower farmer (or avid gardener) will tell you, companies are always coming out with new seed varieties and new plants you just really, really want to have.
While there were a couple types of seeds I could really use this season, the majority of the seeds I was looking at were just purely “wants.” In other words, I have other varieties of the same type of flower and was just wanting to add something new and exciting to my lineup. Since we’re not sure how much energy I’ll be able to devote to flower farming this season with expecting a new baby in late May, I decided to just hold off on any new seed purchases until the fall.
Amount saved (for now, anyway): $215 (since to get free shipping at Johnny’s Seeds, you need to purchase $200 minimum). Even though I’ll put in a fall order for sure, I still think I’ll save money by doing just one big purchase this year rather than two, mostly because I’m always adding “a few more things” into the cart to hit the $200. In the fall, I should need to replenish enough seeds that I won’t be adding things just to add things. In other words, if I’d split it into two orders, I would have spent around $430 with tax, but this way I’ll probably spend more like $300-350. Progress.
My husband fixed our toilet flusher
The flusher on the toilet in our main bathroom has always been a little quirky, but it finally gave out completely the other week and broke in half. I’ve never hired someone to fix a problem with a toilet before, but I assume this fix probably would have run us around $50. Since it was something my husband could figure out, the repair just ran us the cost of the part, which was $9.60 at our local hardware store.
We put the majority of our tax return towards paying off our credit card
We got both our federal and state tax returns this last week, and while I would have loved to use them for something super exciting, we put almost all of it towards the credit card debt we’re trying to pay off by August before it starts charging interest. (For more of the backstory of why we even have any debt on a credit card to begin with — which isn’t a usual practice for us — you can check out this post.)
If we were only to make the minimum payment, we’d be paying something like $1,000+ per year in interest until it was paid off, and paying it off would take more than ten years. Considering that this credit card debt is one of the major motivators behind our frugality at the moment, it was nice to have such a big win this week towards paying that off and getting it behind us!
Out of curiosity, what are your thoughts on using secondhand items for birthday or Christmas gifts? And what are your own frugal wins for this week?