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!
We’re in crunch mode over here with fall flower farming chores, which is why you might have noticed a lack of any other posts besides Weekly Frugal Wins over here. Autumn where we live is extremely short-lived, and in about a 4-week span, we have a LOT of fall prep that absolutely has to get done before our ground freezes for good until about April.
On the docket this last week:
- Selling extra tulip and daffodil bulbs that we’d sourced from our wholesaler
- Setting up our final compost delivery so that we have plenty in early spring (since they can’t often make it out to us until late April otherwise because of frozen ground)
- Digging up all our dahlias
- Dividing all the dahlia tubers and packing them away for next year
- Prepping the beds where we’ll be planting all our own tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs
- And so on 🙂
I always feel like Halloween comes at a most inconvenient time, but I guess it’s good for us because it forces us to take a break every now and then to actually do some fun things together as a family instead of just hyping up all our farm chores as our family fun time, lol.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday tonight, and stay safe!
Note: There may be affiliate links to products, books, and/or services mentioned below.
We used Halloween costumes we already had on hand (or borrowed)
I am definitely not one who goes all out on planning Halloween costumes…quite the reverse. I basically wait until the last possible minute most of the time and then throw something together from random odds and ends we have in our dress-ups or closets, or I paw frantically through all our costume hand-me-downs at 10 a.m. the morning of. This year was breezy though because we visited my mom a few weeks ago, and she had the foresight to pull out several costumes she had in my kids’ sizes and lent those to us to use, and then I just pulled out the little bin of Halloween costumes I had put in our basement and found one that (sorta) fit Naomi.
Cost: $0 (and with minimal amounts of stress = major win)
And because we went to my mom’s annual Halloween party last weekend (pictured above), everything is totally ready to go tonight with no further planning on my part.
I compared prices while shopping for moisturizer online
I had to put in a Sam’s Club order for diapers and was out of my nightly moisturizer anyway, so I decided to see if Sam’s Club carried it. They did, but the price seemed high, so I used Coupert and then did some digging on my own and discovered that Walmart.com had it for about half of what Sam’s Club was selling it for.
Coupert is a relatively new browser add-on for me, but it’s already saved me quite a bit. I didn’t think I would use it that much because I already have Rakuten (which has a similar function, although it focuses more on cash back), but Coupert also searches other major retailers for you to see if you can get a better price elsewhere and then notifies you if you can. If you end up signing up for Coupert and using their free browser extension, they’ll give you a free $10.
Side note: I used to exclusively use Mary Kay moisturizer for years (which I still love), but my MK consultant went super flaky and started taking 5-6 months to send me stuff I ordered, so I stopped buying from her. Since then, I’ve been trying out other skin care products from the basic drugstore brands. I like the one I’m using fine (L’Oreal Revitalift), but if you have a moisturizer you love that isn’t insanely expensive (aka, not more than about $30 for a 1.5-2 oz size), let me know!
In addition to using Coupert to find the best deal, I also used Rakuten to get cash back on the purchase.
I chose a cheaper color combo when ordering shoes
I’d mentioned a couple weeks ago that I needed to replace my everyday walking shoes, but because I kinda hate clothes/shoes shopping, I kept putting it off.
Then this happened (see above pic).
So because I couldn’t keep putting it off any longer since I’ve minimized my entire shoe collection down to literally four pairs (boots, running shoes, black flats, flip flops), I can’t easily just go without replacing immediately at this point. Lucky for me, I happened to have kept the shoebox from this last pair (which I’ve adored — so comfortable!), so I just hopped online, searched by the model number, then chose the cheapest color combo in this style that I could find ($40 rather than the almost $80 I paid for these ones in store last year).
We dug and divided all the dahlias
As a flower farmer (or as a gardener), there are so many ways you can save money from year to year on what you’re growing. Sometimes you pay for that savings with sweat equity (as is the case here), or sometimes you pay for it in time/convenience. Now that we’re scaling up significantly, I have to weigh the value of our time a lot more, but there are some things that are still worth going the more “inconvenient” route just because they pay off so huge.
One of those things is in digging/dividing our dahlias each year.
Because we live in Zone 6A, dahlias will not survive in the ground over winter for us, so if we want to keep the tubers from year to year from our same plants, we need to dig them up and store them. If it was just a matter of getting the same number of plants every year from what we dig up (aka, I plant 100 and dig up 100), I might only keep some of the more expensive types and just buy new stock of the cheaper ones every year.
However, because dahlias divide like crazy every year (aka, one tuber will usually produce 8-12 more tubers) and I can sell those extra tubers, it is definitely worth my time to dig and divide each year because it not only saves ME several hundred dollars a year from needing to replenish my own stock, but it also gives me a good revenue stream as I sell tubers to other gardeners.
(Note: We do ship our specialty dahlia tubers and things like our fancy tulip/daffodil bulbs, if you’re ever interested in getting some for your own garden! Just follow our farm on Facebook or Instagram to see posts on when stuff becomes available and DM me.)
I continued to track my net worth, blog + business stats
Last week, I talked about looking for more of the “out of the box” frugal things that we do, and I thought of another one today as I started filling out the monthly spreadsheets I’ve been tracking for years now. I’ve always been a spreadsheet and tracking nerd, but I guess I never realized how it’s also a “frugal” habit, in addition to just being a good financial/business habit.
Every month, I update spreadsheets of things like our net worth (including the value of all of our current assets/liabilities), our flower farm stats (everything from social media followers to miles driven to business expenses), and our blog stats (affiliate sales, page views, etc.). I’ve been doing this for years, and even though it only takes me about an hour to update everything, that hour gives me a pretty accurate snapshot of what our businesses and family financial situation look like from month to month, which helps me to make “big picture” decisions that are data-driven, not emotionally-driven, if that makes sense.
It also means that come tax time, I’m super organized and have everything already together and calculated by month, so our tax preparation is only about a 3-hour beast in February instead of a weeks-long beast.
I think that sometimes with frugality and saving money, we can get caught up in the little day to day, nickel-and-dime type counting, and we forget about reflecting on the bigger picture things that are actually moving our financial needle the most. Having this built-in habit on the last day of the month has definitely forced me to take that time regularly to see if things are heading in the direction I’m wanting, or if I need to make changes.
If you want to see the post I wrote about why I started tracking my net worth (and how I do it), you can check that post out HERE.
Other Frugal Wins:
- We saved some of the seeds from the pumpkins we carved to plant next year
- I didn’t eat all of the Halloween candy I’d purchased earlier in the month so I had plenty for trick or treaters (ha ha)
What are your plans for Halloween tonight? Any frugal wins for your holiday?