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!
After the whirlwind that was last week, the last little bit has seemed positively tame, even though we’re still doing a ton of fall prep on the farm and trying to figure out next steps with our employment situation. We had originally just planned on Matt finding another full-time job working for a different company, but now we’re seriously looking into what it would take to turn flower farming into a full-time business for our family. We don’t know if it will go that way, but we’re now at least pursuing it as a definite possibility.
So now, in addition to applying for any jobs that seem like a good fit, we’re also researching farm loans and grants and seeing if anyone is willing to sell us land. Should be interesting to see how this pans out, at any rate.
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I started washing more cycles on cold
Being the mom of four small kids, I’d started washing pretty much all our clothes in warm water because I was nervous about the stains, dirt, and spit-up not coming out otherwise. Now that so many laundry detergents are meant to work well even in cold water, I’ve been trying to switch more loads over to cold, especially if the clothes aren’t particularly dirty. I have had to rewash a few things here and there, but by and large, the switch has worked just fine! Our gas bill is always so unbelievably high that anything I can do to try and reduce it is worth trying.
We switched out the kids’ soap dispenser for a foaming model
If you have kids, do they use insane amounts of soap every time they wash their hands? Matt and I have been trying to show our kids that they only need to partially push down the pump to get some (and not pump it all the way down three or four times until they get a mound), but it’s a work in progress. Anyway, Matt finally decided this last week that he was going to work around the waste by giving them a foaming soap dispenser in their bathroom (which is about half water/half soap), so at least that should cut down on some.
I’ll note here that we’re still reaping the benefits of me deciding to just purchase huge soap refills rather than new disposable soap dispensers every time.
We enjoyed free and cheap family entertainment
Now that flower farming season is basically over, we’ve had more time freed up for longer family activities again, like going on hikes. We love living by so many canyons, and it felt wonderful to be out hiking again this last weekend (which is what most of these pictures are from). The canyons we visit are free to enter and only cost us the gas to drive there, and I notice that all of us are in much better moods for hours (and sometimes even days) afterwards. Nature is powerful!
We also wanted to support the school fundraiser last night, so we chose to spend the $5 per kid to get them each an activity wristband, but we chose to opt out of buying any food or treats and ate at home instead. A good balance for us I think, and we all enjoyed ourselves!
I started to read some of the (many) unread books on my shelf
If you’ve been around for any length of time, you know that I adore books and reading, and that it’s one of the areas that I’m consciously LESS frugal about, just because it’s something I value and enjoy so much. However, I’ve now gotten to the point thanks to my Book of the Month subscription and buying several books with birthday money that my shelves are filling up with unread titles much faster than I’m able to read them, so I’m making an intentional choice to ease up on buying new titles until I’ve started to make my way through some of what I already have.
First two on the list: finishing Simplicity Parenting on my Kindle app (which I bought several months ago at a discount using Kindle credits), and reading The River We Remember (which was the free Book of the Month selection I got in September because it was my birthday). If you’re interested in trying out Book of the Month, make sure you go through my referral link so you can get your first title for just $5.
We’re wearing things out!
This year seems to be the year that seemingly everything is going out — our dishwasher, dryer, hand mixer, vacuum, can opener, and now, my running shoes (which I wear pretty much every day). On the one hand, this is a (sometimes frustrating) reminder that I should always be setting aside money for home repairs and replacements, but on the other hand, when I look at it from a better perspective, I’m proud that we’re using things until they have nothing left to give! Every appliance that went out, we’d DIYed repairs for years, and there’s something to be said for the frugal habit of truly using up something until you can’t anymore, rather than just upgrading to the newest, flashiest model whenever you get tired of your old one.
So even though I’m now looking at (yet another) item to replace in the next couple weeks, I’m at least happy with knowing that I’m not buying new shoes just to buy new shoes — I’m buying them because I’ve literally worn holes through my other pair.
Other Frugal Wins
- We combined errands on a four-hour round trip up north to save money on gas
- We filled up our car halfway between home and our destination to take advantage of the best gas price (about 60 cents cheaper per gallon than where we’re at)
How are things in your corner of the world? What have you been enjoying lately?