Frugality, Weekly Frugal Wins

Weekly Frugal Wins // Seasons Collide

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!

Late winter/early spring is an expensive time around here since it’s when we do about two-thirds of the spending for the year for the farm, so it hardly feels like I’ve done anything frugal lately, even though I have. It’s also a tricky time financially because the farm isn’t making much at the moment (considering we are mostly a seasonal business), so the budget has felt like one large Tetris game of moving around all the pieces in order to make everything fit.

I also got sick this last week (my first time all winter!), which meant I couldn’t work as much as I normally would have, but luckily Matt still felt fine, so he was able to really take advantage of the beautiful weather we had last week.

Currently, we’re under almost a foot of snow though, which means that all further projects will have to be put on pause for about a week. It worked out, though, since now Matt’s started to feel sick with what I have, and I’m starting to feel a bit better (and since most of my work at this point is on the computer, I suppose it worked out for the best).

Here are some of the frugal wins for last week:

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

I used a promo code to save 10% on our huge fall bulb order

As silly as it is, flower farmers have to order tulip and other fall bulbs in late February/early March for later planting that year, which is super inconvenient because you haven’t even had a chance to see which varieties will do well for you that spring yet. However, if you wait until after spring, it’s highly likely that a lot of the most popular varieties will have already sold out, and your selection will be much more limited.

I’ve always chosen to put in my orders in late winter and take my chances (although I’ll often update my tulip order around June, if the wholesaler lets me). Because of that, I can take advantage of the 10% early bird discount they offer, which means that I basically get my shipping price reduced by two-thirds. Considering I order thousands of dollars of bulbs, this is a pretty significant savings!

Since we’re expanding our farm a lot this year, we also had to increase our order by a lot. You guys, to say that I’m doing this run-your-own-business thing scared would be an understatement — it’s terrifying to put it all out on the line and literally have no idea how everything is going to pan out! Days when I’m spending several thousands of dollars we haven’t made yet definitely make the terror even more intense, lol.

My mom helped me file our taxes

One big frugal win was that my mom was able to help us file our taxes for one more year, which saved us from having to pay an accountant. This might be one of the last years we can do that since our farm expenses and income streams are only getting more and more complicated and varied, but it was so nice to have the free option for this year again! My mom graduated with a degree in accounting and has helped us file taxes for years, but she isn’t a licensed CPA, so that’s why the option might not work in the near future.

At any rate, it saved us several hundred dollars (if not more) by going through her for this year, and our tax return is going to be pretty nice too, which is exactly what we needed right now.

I did a free craft project with Raven

Raven is hugely into art of all kinds, and her love language is basically sitting down to do arts or crafts together. I don’t mind sitting down and coloring and painting occasionally, but I’ll admit, crafts are one of my least favorite things ever. Nevertheless, she really wanted to do one with me last week and it was a very easy one, so I went ahead and spent 20 minutes with her one evening to work on it.

We made the little paper “Easter lilies” pictured above, which we ended up mixing in with some of the foliage that was leftover from the arrangement I did almost a month ago (!) for my cut flower gardening class. It’s super simple if you’re wanting an easy craft to do with kids–you can find the basic tutorial HERE.

I slashed our budget down when some expected income didn’t come through

When Matt lost his job last August, both of us were completely new to the unemployment world, and we realized this last week that we’d misunderstood the length of time we could take unemployment insurance. We thought we could take it for up to a full year (and had been planning on taking it for less since our season starts in April), but it turns out that you can take it up to a full year OR up to the full amount, whichever comes first. Well, in our case, we drew the full amount first, which means that we no longer have unemployment insurance to help us until our season starts.

Luckily, between our savings and the tax return mentioned above, we should be okay, but it does mean that things have to get even tighter around here. Once we got the news, I immediately went and cut down this month’s budget wherever I could, and I also made up the next two month’s budgets too, just to make sure we’d have enough to cover all our bases before income (hopefully) starts to come in from the flower farm.

A pretty stressful way to start our week, to be honest, but I’m really grateful we still have some resources to fall back on.

We went with more frugal options on several farm projects

We’re doing a lot of expansion and changes on the farm this year to drastically increase our production while we look for a more permanent farm to purchase. A lot of what we’re growing will be on rented land, but we’re also making a lot of changes to our own yard to accommodate for more crops.

Two big projects we just did:

1- We tilled up three new beds in the backyard (each measuring 4′ x 34′), largely to fit in the perennials I ordered in for this year, and

2- We took down the three scrubby pine trees that border our neighbor’s driveway (at their request) and will replace them with a double hedgerow of shrubs and perennials that are good for cutting.

We didn’t have the ideal tools for either job, but we were able to do both fairly frugally. For the first, Matt ended up renting a sod cutter for $75 last week, which saved him hours upon hours upon hours of trying to hand cut the grass out, and then he used our small hand tiller to break up the rest. Admittedly, our hand tiller really needs to be replaced with a significant upgrade, but as it just isn’t the budget right now, he made do with what we have (although he was seriously tempted to purchase a nice used one he found on a local classified!).

For the second task, our neighbors brought their chain saw, and together we made quick work of the three trees. It’s a little weird to have them gone, but I think I’ll like the new hedgerow a lot better anyway, plus it will give me loads more cutting material in the next 2-3 years or so (as long as we’re still living here, anyway).

Other Frugal Wins

  • I scanned a receipt into the Ibotta app for cash back
  • I made some homemade gluten-free baked goods
  • Because I’m at BFF status in my Book of the Month subscription, I got a free book this month, since they released the winners of their “Book of the Year” nominees
  • I used the Rakuten extension on my internet browser to get cash back when I did grocery shopping online

How are you holding up in your corner of the world?

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