Frugality, Weekly Frugal Wins

Weekly Frugal Wins // Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

This is a series in the style of The Frugal Girl’s Five Frugal Things, where I post weekly 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!

I felt like this was a hard week to come up with five frugal things. December is pretty much always a spend-y month for us, so it feels like I’m just watching money fly away rather than having no-spend days be my norm. I was able to get creative and come up with a few things, though.

As far as news goes, it’s been a weirdly warm December. By this point last year, we were under snow and frigid temps that didn’t let up until April, but so far we’ve gotten almost no snow and temps regularly in the 40’s and even 50’s. It was so warm this last week, in fact, that we got a few hundred lily bulbs transplanted (a task we thought we’d be forced to do in spring, although it wasn’t ideal) and some seeds direct sown. While my mental health is loving the warmer days, the flower farmer in me is praying for snow and cold to come real soon, since so many of my crops depend on having a reliable cold stretch (not to mention enough precipitation).

I’m also terribly behind on my Christmas preparations. Normally by now I have everything planned, bought, and sometimes even wrapped, but this year I haven’t even finished planning, not to mention buying and wrapping. Part of that is from the stress of needing to do a million things now that we’re going full-time with our flower farm, and part of that is because I got sick this last week, as did pretty much all of my kids.

‘Tis the season.

Anyway, I did manage to scrape the bottom of my mental barrel and come up with at least five frugal wins, so I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that and treat myself to a few pieces of chocolate for good measure 🙂

Note: There may be affiliate links to products, books, or services mentioned.

I used a promo code and rewards points to get new clothes for a steal

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m now at the lowest weight I’ve been since I started having kids, which means that almost none of my clothes really fit anymore. I’ve slowly been adding pieces here and there in my smaller size so that I can have stuff that actually fits, and I’m trying to be as intentional about it as I can be, both with WHAT I’m actually purchasing and also how I go about buying it (to see if I can get the best price).

Old Navy is always a go-to just because I’ve been using my favorite credit card hack through them for years. Basically they give you reward points every time you use the credit card (more points for certain purchases, especially from their brand families, and just a standard one point for $1 on everything else), and so I have put all my random one-off expenses (like car repairs or Christmas gifts) on that card for years and paid them off again right after. This guarantees that I pretty much always have large amounts of rewards points, which then can be used to get clothing for almost free.

I needed some dresses in a smaller size, so I was able to pick up this one for a steal thanks to combining rewards with a great promo code. I ended up loving it so much that I turned right around and ordered another one in a different print. I also ordered some pink joggers (which I also love) and a couple more basic tees in one of my favorite cuts/styles.

And, as always, I used Rakuten while checking out to get even more cash back on my purchase.

I attempted to get my insurance to extend my breast pump rental

I’ve been pumping milk since my daughter was born back in April, and the pump I’ve been using is actually the one I rented from the hospital during her 6-week NICU stay. Normally most health insurances won’t cover the hospital grade pump once your baby is out of the NICU, but we had my doctor’s office put in an appeal since Naomi has special medical concerns and my milk supply dwindles markedly when using most standard home pumps.

Anyway, we’d gotten my insurance to agree to cover it for awhile, but they set their cut-off day for Christmas (so nice of them). I had a special doctor appointment with my PCP to try and see if we could get them to extend, but it was a no go. So now our plan is to just pay the out of pocket rental fee (around $60 a month) and have me just pump until about a month before she hits a year old, at which point we’ll just use up the very large stash of milk I’ve put away in our freezer.

So not totally a frugal win, but hey, I at least tried. In the end, paying for formula would cost us at least $60 per month, so I guess we’re still saving this way, plus she’s getting all the other benefits of breastfeeding because of it.

We threw a frugal birthday party for my youngest son

We keep birthdays pretty simple over here. We invite the grandparents that live in the state to drive over to our house, we feed everyone dinner, we open presents and spend quality time together, and we have cake and ice cream.

That’s it.

And now, since we’re officially moving toward full-on minimalism, we’re getting even choosier about what kinds of gifts we’ll buy, too. Before, I often felt like I needed to get several things for birthdays just to make it “exciting enough,” but I’ve noticed that after the first few things, the kids seem to just get overwhelmed by the process of opening gifts and no longer have the bandwidth to appreciate what they’ve already been given. Since I knew the grandparents would be bringing him gifts as well, we just purchased one thing for him — his own kid camera, since his older siblings each have one of their own and he was feeling left out. That, combined with two more gifts from grandparents, seemed to hit the sweet spot. He was super excited about everything, he wasn’t overwhelmed or getting the gimmes, and all toys have been loved and enjoyed by all three older kids for many hours this last week.

I called to try and fix our insurance bills. Again. Sigh.

If you’ve been around for awhile, you might remember the insurance saga nightmare we dealt with for months after Naomi was born, including the oh-so-fun bill I was getting for $350,000 from the hospital for her NICU stay. Well, I *thought* we were totally done with all that nonsense, but then…I started getting more bills this week for procedures done back in the summer that were now all getting processed…incorrectly.

Oof, I wish I could convey how much stress and headache this has caused me this year, but I’m sure you can imagine. Anyway, I spent literally four hours today and yesterday on the phone until I finally found a supervisor who I *think*? has now figured out the issue (for real, this time…hopefully, hopefully), so although he warned me that I can expect more bills to be coming over the next couple months, I now have the exact information to give everyone to hopefully fix it for good.

Or so we can hope.

At any rate, if the two bills I called on today are finally processed correctly, that’s at least $1,100 I saved, not to mention further headaches with those providers.

We’re having our kids share an advent calendar they were gifted

We’re not ones to really do advent calendars, but my mom gave us one for our kids, so we’ve been letting them have fun with that. I think most parents would probably go out and purchase two more just so all the kids had their own and weren’t fighting, but we’ve just been dividing each little piece of chocolate into three pieces and having the kids share that way, ha ha. Since it’s partly the fun of just punching out the window and seeing what shape the candy will be in that the kids care about, they totally haven’t minded sharing.

It’s good for them, besides — builds character. Plus now they can say when they’re grown up and swapping stories, “Our parents made us share ONE advent calendar and cut each piece of chocolate into THREE PIECES!”

Yep 🙂

Other Frugal Wins

  • I had my mom deliver a thank you card to her neighbor for me, saving the cost of a stamp
  • I accepted more free vases and ribbon from Matt’s aunt for our flower farm

Are you all ready for Christmas? How behind am I, on a scale of 1 to 10? 🙂

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