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!
The summer seems to be hurtling towards a close as we hit August. My oldest starts third grade in two weeks, and my second starts kindergarten soon after that. My third will be going to preschool for the first time in September, so for a couple days each week, it will just be me and the baby here at home! But in the meantime, we’re trying to soak up these last couple weeks of summer by enjoying lots of pool time in our own backyard (thanks to this $40 find at Sam’s Club), painting at the kitchen table, playing board games, and spending lots and lots of time outside. This past week or so has been magical with the kids — the three older ones have gotten along better than they have in months, and they’ve been making elaborate forts and playing Hogwarts and basically living out half the day in their imaginations. It’s been amazing.
Financially, however, this wasn’t the best of weeks. Our clothes dryer totally gave out on Friday, and when we looked up what it would cost to fix it, it wasn’t worth trying to repair it. We thought about going the used route again (since both sets of washers and dryers we’ve had in our marriage have been pre-owned), but there was an extremely limited selection out here in the country where we live, and I needed a dryer ASAP since the baby goes through several sets of clothes and burpcloths daily. So on Saturday, I ended up getting my first new clothes dryer ever, and while it’s super nice, it definitely wasn’t in the budget.
In other (not) fun financial news, here is the bill we got from the hospital this week:
Clearly the insurance snarl we’ve run into with our newborn STILL hasn’t been resolved, even though I’ve been calling at least every other week (sometimes every other day) since she was born back in April.
Additionally, we also found out this week that the local farmer’s market we count on for selling a lot of our peak summer abundance has been canceled this year due to permits not coming through in time.
However, we’ve been in tight spots financially so many times before that I know better than to wallow or stew or pity ourselves. Somehow it will all work out (it always does), and we’ve seen so many miracles the past few months that I would feel silly indeed if I let myself think otherwise. God always takes care of us and always has, so, as the saying goes, “this too shall pass.”
But, financial disaster of a week or not, we’re still plugging away over here at trying to live our best frugal lives, and here are some of our (little) wins lately:
Note: There may be affiliate links to books and products mentioned.
We called around and got the dryer we wanted from a (fairly) local shop
We originally planned to pick up a dryer from Home Depot, which is an hour away. Thankfully I called before Matt got too far on the road to verify that they had it in stock, since I learned from the call that they actually don’t supply dryers in store at all — they only have floor models and then expect you to order online. Since we didn’t want to have to wait over three weeks for delivery, I started calling around to more local places. I ended up discovering that a local(ish) appliances shop carried the same model for only a few dollars more, and we’d also be saving ourselves quite a bit of gas since the store was only 25 minutes away rather than 60.
Gas money saved: around $10, plus over an hour of driving
My husband installed the dryer himself
Matt’s decently handy and dryers aren’t that complicated, so we passed on the store’s offer of installation and just did it ourselves. We also called a neighbor over to help us haul the old one out, so we ended up saving on the cost of having someone else do that, too. Had we asked the store to do those things, we would have paid an extra $50.
We also just used the dryer cord we already had, which saved us another $15.
We got free fries a couple times from McDonald’s
We don’t get fast food often, but sometimes when we’re driving in the town next to ours to run errands or go grocery shopping, I’ll see if there are any good deals in the McDonald’s app and then get myself a $1 large Diet Dr. Pepper. This last week there were two different deals on two different days for free fries, and so since we happened to be in the area anyway, I got those for the kids to enjoy while I got a drink for myself.
Seriously, if you EVER go to McDonald’s for any reason and you’re NOT using the app, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
I waited for a Kindle Points bonus day to buy some books I was wanting
I talked last week about my personal money philosophy and how it relates with books (my one big “treat” for myself), but just for some quick info, I usually give myself $20-30 per month to spend on books. It’s my only “fun money,” and I look forward to it every month that we’re able to squeeze it into the budget.
Since a good portion of each of my days currently is spent pumping milk and then feeding the baby the milk I just pumped, I’ve started trying to get into a better habit of reading books during that time rather than just scrolling my phone or watching YouTube videos. Since I started doing this, I’ve started flying through books again, so I was in need of something new. I’d had my eye on several nonfiction books for a long time, but I was just waiting until a good deal came along. Finally last weekend a Kindle bonus deal came up, which was that if you spent $20 on Kindle books by the end of the month, you got an additional 400 Kindle bonus points. I ended up buying this parenting book and this one on Swedish death cleaning to get the deal. Since I already had almost 300 points before that, it basically gave me $6 off the third book I was also wanting, which was this (other) parenting book. Since these were three titles I was going to buy anyway, I was happy to get $8 off when all was said and done, since one of the books was also discounted slightly that day.
We started saving some of our own seeds for the flower farm
This is now our third season flower farming, and other than the seeds that some of our bloomed out annuals drop anyway, we weren’t in the habit of saving seeds ourselves — it just seemed like a lot of work at the end of the season when we’re already burned out and exhausted.
While I’m not sure that this is the year to go crazy on saving seeds for everything, we have started saving some seeds and have plans to save others. We’ve already started saving some of the sweet pea seeds (which will save us $5.95 x 3 varieties we’d have to spend in the future to get those same kinds), and I also plan to save some seeds from some of the cross pollinated amaranth and cosmos we’ve gotten, which look different than anything I’ve seen anyone else offer. I don’t know if the seeds we’re saving from those will be true to the parent (because of the open pollination issue), but if they are, it will be amazing to have two or three basically “new” varieties to use year after year.
Other Frugal Wins:
- I made my own homemade gluten-free bread again since we had reached our $500 grocery budget and we were all out of other GF options at the end of the month
- Our kids continued to enjoy raspberries from our yard, and they also pointed out that we’re about thisclose to the first of the plums being ripe. Nice!
Make sure to drop five of your own frugal wins below! You all help to motivate me to keep going with this series 🙂