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!
Autumn is definitely in the air, especially since we got our first light frost last Friday, which took down several pumpkin plants and damaged or killed about half of my dahlias and celosia. Mentally, I’m totally ready for the break it will give me, but I actually have a ton of obligations to fulfill this week both to florists and to bouquet subscription members, so I can’t take a break quite yet. Plus all of my tulip bulbs and fall-planted plugs are arriving this week, so there will be no rest yet for this flower farmer!
It was a fun and busy last week though, between celebrating Matt’s birthday (I got him this super exciting gift, ha ha…but he’s actually been wanting one for awhile!), entering a local business pitch competition (more on that below), having my mom and stepdad stay over one night, and attending a neighborhood potluck. Busy busy with so many good things!
Here are some of our frugal wins this last week:
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I entered a business pitch competition and won!
I’d mentioned in my post two weeks ago about how I’d attended an inexpensive business conference as part of meeting a requirement to enter a local business pitch competition (and to also gain the education/insights from the conference itself, of course). Well, the actual pitch competition was last week, and much to my surprise, I took home the grand prize of $3,000!
Not only did it mean a lot to win the competition period because I was competing against several other very talented local entrepreneurs, but the amount I won especially meant a lot because it was basically the exact amount we’ve been needing to invest in a floral cooler, which should greatly help me to have a better flow of flowers next year, especially during the spring where it’s sometimes kind of a feast/famine thing during certain weeks. I’m so incredibly grateful to live in a place where competitions like this are even an option!
And now, because I was one of the top winners, I’m actually automatically going to the state competition next week, which, uh, I’m terrified about (ha ha). Everyone please send good vibes my way for that! I’m super nervous.
We did a trade-out to get our kitchen floor finished
In last week’s post, I mentioned that I’d offered to do a trade-out with a fellow small business owner who was looking for some social media help. I offered to help him draft some posts and get some good photos in addition to giving general pointers to improve his current page in exchange for him coming and helping Matt to finally finish our kitchen floor after nearly three years, which was one of our house project goals for this year. Now, after working on it all weekend, Matt only has two transition pieces left to put in, and then I can’t believe I’ll finally have a finished kitchen floor!
Now we just need to get on with buying and installing the baseboards, and I won’t even know what to do with myself 😉
We went the free route for a last-minute birthday gift
One of my good friends here invited my oldest son to her son’s birthday party a couple days before it was going to happen, and I didn’t really have any time to take him to the store to pick up anything. I’m not against giving secondhand gifts at all, but I’ll often still go the “new” route with birthday gifts for my kids’ friends, but when I know the families well, I’ll usually get a feel for how they are about secondhand things, and I know my friend is definitely in favor. So, rather than worry about trying to fit in a trip to the store (a 30-minute drive round trip), we ended up just gifting some homemade things that Mathias had made for his friend, along with an interactive book in near-new condition that my kids had gotten plenty of use out of and were done with.
I actually make it a point to put directly on any party invitations we give out for our kids that we don’t expect any presents (and are perfectly happy with secondhand gifts), just so that people don’t feel obligated. Social pressure is a funny thing, though, because I definitely feel some of that pressure (and guilt, maybe?) if I go that route for someone else’s kid if they didn’t expressly say they were fine with it. I knew my friend wouldn’t mind at all, but I just mean in general. I’d love to know your thoughts on giving secondhand gifts at kids’ birthday parties!
We accepted generous food offers from friends
After that same party mentioned above, my friend actually ended up gifting us the rest of the birthday cake she’d made for it because she’d expressly made it gluten free just so Mathias could eat it (which we thought was beyond thoughtful of her! People around here are the best). Considering she’s been leaning into learning how to bake and decorate cakes, the cake was definitely better than anything I’d ever tried making! We ended up just saving the cake for one more day and using it for Matt’s birthday cake, which saved me the effort of needing to make one myself.
I also had a different friend who was over at the store in the next town over who offered to pick something up for me while she was there. Because I actually didn’t know how I was going to have time to pick up ice cream for Matt’s birthday, I took her up on it. I tried to pay her back, but she didn’t let me, so we essentially got Matt’s birthday cake and ice cream for free. Our friends are amazing.
I made several baked goods for snacking, parties
While Matt’s still out of work, we’re doing all we can to make our savings stretch as far as possible, so I cut our typically $550-600 grocery budget down to $400 for this month. It’s been a bit of a challenge this part of the month, not because we don’t have plenty of food (because we do, thanks to us aggressively building up our food storage a couple years ago), but because now basically all our food requires that we actually prepare it, since we’ve run out of many of the more convenient options.
We had a lot more opportunities to feed people this last week, but rather than just go above budget and grab easy options from the store, I was stubborn and decided to just make a bunch of things from scratch (like muffins, cookies, bars, homemade french fries, etc.) so that we always had options to give. Everyone seemed to enjoy the homemade goods, and no one complained about being hungry, so I’m counting it as a win!
Other Frugal Wins:
- I seasoned ground pork we already had on hand so that it tasted like breakfast sausage to use in a breakfast burrito recipe instead of going out and buying premade sausage
- We harvested apples from our trees
- We filled up our gas tank in a neighboring town where gas was cheaper by about 30 cents when we ran an errand out that way
- We drove our smaller, more gas-efficient vehicle everywhere we could instead of taking our minivan
What are some of your frugal wins this last week?