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!
Not much different to report from over here this week. The weather’s still insanely hot and dry, the kids are still doing swim lessons in the morning, and I’m still working intensely on decluttering our house whenever I can.
It HAS been an excellent week for saving money, though! Here are some of our frugal wins for the last seven days:
Note: There may be affiliate links to books, products, and/or services mentioned in this post.
We signed up for our state’s WIC program
Since Naomi’s birth, we’ve had a lot of contact with various professionals and case workers because of her Down syndrome diagnosis, and basically every single one of them told us to look into the WIC program, especially when they heard that I was having to pump and bottle feed (and wasn’t planning on doing that for twelve months). I looked into it not knowing hardly anything about the program (and mostly just looking to see if we could get some vouchers for formula), but it turns out that due to our family size, we actually qualified. (I also learned that over half of the babies born in the U.S. qualify for WIC due to its more generous household income allowances. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have children under the age of 5, it’s definitely worth looking into.)
I also didn’t realize until I talked to someone about the program that not only will they help with any (eventual) formula costs for Naomi, but because I’m currently pumping and providing basically 100% of her food right now, I also qualify for pretty substantial grocery benefits. AND, since my son Hyrum is under the age of five, he also qualifies for additional benefits. All told, WIC is giving us about $200 of grocery benefits (which are just loaded onto a special debit card), including $75 that just goes towards fresh fruits and vegetables. We’ve been dealing with some tight budget restraints the past year and a half or so and the crazy inflation and all our unexpected medical bills lately haven’t helped, so this is a nice relief right now.
I asked for a discount on my medical bills
I actually learned this trick from my mom years ago, but if you call the medical facility or doctor’s office directly when paying your bill and ask for a discount if you pay in full right then, many places will give you one. Now that so many medical bills are more automated, this is harder to do, but I still tried it on a few of our bills this last week. I got the bill from my OB’s office reduced by nearly $50 from doing this.
I went off gluten to pull out of an autoimmune flare-up
Years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called dermatomyositis (you can read the full story HERE). In the beginning, I treated it with corticosteroids and methotrexate because I was told there wasn’t another option. However, after being on the medications for several months and absolutely hating it, I started desperately looking into alternative solutions. I came across the book The Immune System Recovery Plan, which talked about using diet as a way to not just treat your AI disease, but to heal it. I was skeptical but willing to try just about anything since my doctor was about to have me start giving myself shots because the medications didn’t seem to be working.
Long story short, I ended up going on the elimination diet the book recommended, and all of my symptoms cleared up in a few weeks. Ever since, I’ve been able to entirely manage any flare-up I have by diet alone. In fact, I recently started going to a new dermatologist, and he was skeptical that I was able to treat the disease just by cutting out gluten whenever it flared up. He asked if I’d be willing to do some blood work just so he could check that my levels were okay, and when it came back, he said (with obvious amazement), “If I hadn’t been told you had dermatomyositis, I never would have believed that you’d ever had it.”
Anyway, it’s not uncommon for changes in hormones (like pregnancy) to trigger flare-ups, and sure enough, giving birth a couple months ago seems to have triggered my disease again. But since I now know what to look for and how to recognize early signs, I just started going off gluten right away when I noticed symptoms this last week, and I’m already seeing improvement after just a few days. I can’t tell you how much money this has saved me over the years because it means I don’t have to go see a doctor or go on medication every time it flares up again; I can just manage it entirely on my own through tweaking what I eat.
We streamed two family movies for free
We recently finished reading both The Secret Garden and A Little Princess together as a family, and we thought it would be fun to revisit some of the old movie adaptations of the books as a Sunday family activity. Rather than pay to rent or buy the movies, I simply did a few Internet searches and was able to find out how to stream both for free using our Roku device (which, for the record, might have been one of the most frugal purchases we ever made in recent years, as it’s saved us so much money since we don’t have to pay for streaming services).
We did have to put up with watching ads about every 20 minutes, but it was worth it to save the cost of having to purchase both the movies.
I went through my toiletries stockpile
I’ve been continuing on my decluttering/minimalism journey, and this last week I went through our master bathroom. I’d noticed that my stockpile of extra toiletries was starting to overflow and I wanted everything to fit into one box, so I decided to go through everything for the first time in a couple of years. Not only did I visually and literally simplify our bathroom shelves (which was a great relief in itself), but I also discovered that 1) I don’t need to buy toothpaste again perhaps ever because of all the samples we’ve gotten from the dentist that I’ve been stockpiling for years, and 2) I discovered that I’d kept buying duplicates of some things simply because I wasn’t aware that we already had some, which should save me money down the line.
I’m telling you, pursuing minimalism and a life of significantly less is one of the most frugal things you could possibly do for yourself.
Other Frugal Wins:
- We started harvesting some of the raspberries from our bushes
- I bought rotisserie chicken parts at a discount
- Sam’s Club was selling rotisserie chicken breasts three to a package for only $3.98, which I’d never seen before. It was a TON of meat at an insanely good price, and now I’m only wishing I would have bought more and frozen it! We used it in at least four different meals.
- I cut my daughter’s hair
- The home haircutting kit we purchased a couple years ago continues to pay off huge in the money it saves us regularly!
- I bought some more inexpensive breastmilk storage bags so that I could continue pumping and storing all the milk that Naomi isn’t currently drinking. This should yield us huge savings down the line on formula.
- I avoided library late fees
- Thanks to having a newborn who I’m really not supposed to take out in public, it’s been hard for me to run my usual errands, like taking the kids to the library. I’m in the habit of checking our library deadlines every Monday when I’m emailed a list of everything we have out, and I simply renew everything online when needed to avoid late fees. Two of my books didn’t renew this week because we’d reached the limit, but since they were books I hadn’t finished reading yet, I simply called the library and asked if they could manually override and renew them again, which they did. I saved both the cost of gas and the cost of avoiding late fees by doing this.
- I used Ibotta to get cash back from a recent grocery receipt
What are some of your frugal wins lately? Go ahead and share below so we can all learn from each other!