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!
You might notice that this post is getting up a day late, but I had a pretty good excuse — because I won the grand prize in our local college’s business pitch competition, I was sent to compete at the statewide competition that happened yesterday and Monday. And much to my surprise, I ended up making the finals! I didn’t take home any of the huge grand prizes, but I did win two of the judges’ prizes and took home another $3000 for my business and two mentoring sessions with Utah’s Entrepreneur in Residence, which was incredible. Doing the pitch competitions has put me waaaaay out of my comfort zone, and I was terribly, terribly nervous (I cried for hours before both competitions!), but I was proud of myself for just going for it, and the prize money is going to help us quadruple production on our flower farm next year, which is our goal.
Speaking of the flower farm, we’re officially winding down our season now as we’ve been getting hit with more and more frosts, and we’re now easing into fall prep work, which is one of my favorite times of the year. I love getting to just relax into the weeding, amending, and planting process again rather than having to spend so much time harvesting, arranging, and marketing.
Let’s get onto the frugal wins for the week though, shall we?
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I put myself out there
I think because self-reliance and self-sufficiency is such a huge thing in the frugal world (and I love both of those virtues!), I think that sometimes we forget that there is great value in asking for help and putting yourself out there. I am so passionate about flower farming and know that I could make it into much more of a full-time thing for both me and for my husband, but we’re just not there yet — we need help with the upfront costs to really scale up. We’ve had three seasons to prove that we have a business model that works, and now we’re ready to nail production…which is where these pitch competitions have come in. The $6000 I’ve won over the past couple of weeks will be invested into things for the farm that should (hopefully) generate much more than their value in the first season alone.
But I never would have won this if I hadn’t have just gone for it. It was nerve-wracking, it was uncomfortable, it was beyond terrifying at times, but I did it, and it’s already opening up so many more doors than were open before. Frugality to me is about so much more than just wisely managing our financial resources — it’s about leveraging our skills to live an abundant life well within our means, and to look for ways to increase that abundance so that we’re able to be generous with others.
I booked the cheapest hotel + took advantage of free food
As part of my ticket to the One Utah Summit (where I just did the final business pitch), I was given a $200 travel voucher. I chose to only stay at the hotel for one night instead of two, I drove our more gas-efficient car to the conference, and I took advantage of the free meals that were included as part of the conference. Because of doing all that, I was actually able to stay under the $200, and will pocket about $50 of the money to use for something else.
I also brought my breast pump with me and continued to pump while I was out of town so that I wouldn’t lose my milk supply, which is saving us a huge amount every month since we don’t have to buy formula.
I used birthday gift money + clipped Amazon coupons to replace household appliances
Matt and I are so fortunate to have generous parents who are in a position to give us birthday money each year (both Matt and I have September birthdays). This year, I used mine to get this highly-rated vacuum to replace our 12-year-old model that broke, and also this hand mixer and this can opener, which also broke. Apparently when you’ve been married 12 years, all your wedding gifts start to bite the dust 🙂
My strategy when buying all things like this is to go for models that have several thousand ratings and are over 4 stars, and then I price compare different brands. I don’t always go with the cheapest, but I tend to favor ones with the highest ratings in the highest price point I’m willing to go. I was lucky that this time, multiple items that fell within my criteria had extra coupons you could clip on Amazon, which saved me an additional $22.
We accepted an offer of more land from a neighbor
Since we’ve been virtually selling every usable stem from our flower farm for two years now, our focus now is on how to scale up production in the most cost effective way. As is often said about business, it’s not always about WHAT you know, but WHO you know, and as we’ve been putting it out there more and more that we’re wanting to expand the farm, we’re now making more connections and getting more offers for possible land to grow on.
A fabulous option came from a neighbor who has about a quarter acre of totally undeveloped land in their backyard that has its own separate road access and is about to be hooked up to irrigation (since they’re planting trees and other landscaping nearby). They’re letting us rent it for an insanely low amount, and it should help us to meet our goal of quadrupling production for next year.
We continued to enjoy plenty of fresh apples from our trees
I’ve been insanely busy with everything going on, so I haven’t had the chance to start harvesting our fruit in bulk and attempting to preserve any of it, but we’re regularly sending the kids out to pick several for snacks, which has been amazing.
I’ve also been enjoying having fresh tomatoes for snacking and cooking, as well as a few other odds and ends we have. The peach tree that was newly planted on the property before we moved in seems to have been a variety that takes an especially long time to mature, so I’m not sure we’ll get much from the hundreds on there, but we’ll pick the ripest-looking today (hopefully) and cross our fingers that they will ripen fully inside.
Other Frugal Wins:
- We picked our pumpkins to decorate our porch
- We reused decorations I’d bought in previous years to decorate for fall
- I baked two loaves of GF bread so I only had to preheat the oven once (one of which was a cinnamon raisin swirl bread from this favorite gluten-free cookbook that was AMAZING)
- I used Rakuten to get cash back from my online Sam’s Club grocery order and from an Old Navy order I made using rewards points and the rest of the birthday money
- I used Coupert to compare prices to other stores while shopping on Amazon
- We had to turn on the heater this week, but we still kept it at our usual cold weather normal (65-66 during the day, 63 at night)
How have you been pushing yourself to “just go for it” lately? Big or small, all things that drive toward personal growth count as major wins!