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!
It’s been a busy week over here! I always forget that once we hit peak flower season, I’m basically doing flower farming sales or major tasks (like harvesting or prepping arrangements) every day but Sunday, so I’ve been a bit behind on publishing my blog posts, like my goals for the new month or my final update on my 101 in 1001 list (which I hit the final deadline on in July). It’s a good kind of busy, though!
This week is also our last full week before the kids start school, which is just insane to me. Seriously, where did the summer go? We’re trying to squeeze in a few last-minute fun family activities before that day comes, even if it’s a bit tricky because we’re still not supposed to take our baby out in public yet. We’ve still found some creative ways to have a lot of fun though, which I share more about below!
As far as financial matters go, this week was…okay. The massive insurance snarl I mentioned last week (along with the $343,000 hospital bill) hasn’t been fully taken care of, but it’s at least in the process. We also found out this week that my husband won’t be getting the long-anticipated raise we were planning on, which means that it’s now been over two years since he’s gotten one. It was frustrating, to say the least, but we keep on plugging along.
Here are some of our frugal wins this last week:
Note: There are affiliate links to the products and books mentioned below.
We picked several pounds of apricots from a neighbor’s tree
Years ago, I started a “harvest swap” group on Facebook where people in the community could post extra produce they had for the taking, and where people could ask around for anything they were looking for in particular. While I haven’t started another one yet for our current location (although I probably will), I have been following the local Facebook pages regularly for anyone who posts anything like that.
This last week, a woman posted that she had a tree loaded down with apricots that were free for the taking, so we went over twice and filled two huge buckets full. Apricots are one of my favorite fruits, so I was especially excited! Our kids have been snacking on them like crazy ever since.
The experience also had the unexpected frugal(ish) benefit of making me decide against planting our own apricot tree, which I’d been planning on doing since the original apricot tree we planted upon moving to this house died. When I saw how loaded down and crazy that tree was (not to mention several other apricot trees around town), I decided to just rely on the generosity and desperation of our neighbors for future apricots to enjoy, lol.
My kids threw an inexpensive birthday party for our dog 🙂
We got our dog Onyx two years ago, and my oldest kept asking me when his birthday was, especially since she was upset that we didn’t celebrate it last year. I checked the records from his breeder, and found out he was born on August 5. The kids spent several days eagerly planning out a whole afternoon-long party for him, complete with streamers (which I already had on hand), games (my daughter made a “pin the tail on the Onyx,” which was basically the cutest thing ever), and gifts that they’d purchased with their own money from the dollar store.
I also made a birthday cake (for us humans to enjoy) using cake mix we’d gotten for free from my sister and leftover frosting from the fridge, then gave Onyx his own special treat of extra rotisserie chicken. It was a pretty fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon, and the whole thing cost us all just $15 or so (once you factored in the kids’ gifts and the ice cream I had my husband pick up).
I got a new backpack for less than $1
I used my usual Old Navy credit card hack to get my son, who’s about to start kindergarten, his first “real” backpack. With my rewards points (which I got from charging things to the card that I then paid off right away), I was able to get it for less than $1 since they’re currently running all sorts of back to school specials.
I also used Rakuten to get additional cash back, though it only ended up being a few cents since the purchase price was so low 🙂
We picked the first peppers from our garden
Not only are we starting to reap the benefits (literally) from our garden now, but I’m feeling especially frugal about it because I grew all the plants from seed this year. Pictured here are these mini bell peppers, which are super fast to mature, not to mention adorable. I also have several tomatoes that are on, but I’m still waiting on them to ripen.
In years past, I always bought our vegetable plants from the nursery, usually spending $30-40 or more. While I did spend that in seeds initially a few years ago, each packet contained enough for me to start my own for several more years yet.
I figured out a technical glitch and canceled my Amazon replacement order
The other night, both my wireless mouse and keyboard stopped working. Since I absolutely need those to use my desktop computer, which I rely on daily, I knew I either needed to figure out how to fix them quickly or purchase a replacement ASAP. After doing the obvious things like replacing the batteries, trying out a different wireless mouse, etc., I finally just put in a replacement order. Then today, I looked into the issue again and found a way to reset the little piece that syncs them to the computer, which I tried. Much to my delight, it actually worked! I was lucky enough that the replacement hadn’t shipped yet, so I was able to cancel the order before I was charged.
Other Frugal Wins:
- I used up all our brown bananas in our favorite gluten-free banana bread recipe (out of this amazing cookbook) and in these gluten-free muffins
- I got cash back again through Rakuten when I put in my usual online Sam’s Club order. Most stores won’t offer cash back on groceries, but Sam’s Club does, so I always make sure to activate my Rakuten cash back whenever I do an online grocery order. (If you sign up for Rakuten and then spend $30 at any online retailer that supports it, which many do, you’ll get an additional $30 cash back by going through my referral link.)
What kinds of produce/fruit are you enjoying from your own (or someone else’s garden) this week? And what other frugal wins do you have to report?