Ok I'll start this month. We went to our favorite Mexican fast food joint, Taco del Mar, in the next town over last Thursday. We ordered our usual, 2 small burritos and a coke to share. When we got to the register they only charged us for the soda. Turns out it was their annual free burrito day! On the first Thursday of April the first 100 customers get a free small burrito. I have made a note to mark my 2018 calendar when I get it so we can do this again next year. Very nice surprise!
I don't know if this counts as a frugal, but I took a corporate job that starts this coming week despite being attracted to nonprofit work. For the two jobs where I had full data on pay and benefits, it was a difference of $15,000 a year. Maybe nonprofit work will be my retirement job someday.
I am between contract gigs again. I have some nibbles so between meeting with potential clients, I'm just catching up on some things on my to-do list.
I have a gift card for Jamba Juice that's had .53 on it for a while. Went to use the card and register couldn't read it. Called them and cashed out.
Was excited Denny's had an app and loaded it. It was limited to certain stores elsewhere in the state. Somehow, Denny's Rewards saw redundancy of email, stopped getting coupons good at my usual location. Called to resolve this and learned the app program is being discontinued with a new one coming good nationwide. Yeah!
But I'll still get Denny's discounts because I finally feel old enough to join AARP. Members get 15% discount everyday. 20% coupons are better but those aren't everyday. Also re AARP, Cricket is one of their partners. Had to get a new phone, still had the receipt, submitted it as it's within the timeframe for $20 rebate. Fingers crossed.
I had four tubes of antibiotic cream that appeared empty. Cut them open and scraped the bits off and filled a little pot. Combined, practically a whole tube's worth.
Thinking through how to save here and there within my lifestyle, which is already quite simple. So many books talk about these major savings buying used cars over new, diversifying investments, etc., which is useful but not daily stuff. That's what I'm challenging myself with right now: my lifestyle, already simplified, digging deeper.
I am a Big Sister to a young girl through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and was really starting to feel the pinch of paying for outings involving "events" like movies. I did a little digging and discovered a local chocolate factory that offered self-guided tours and a free sample at the end. We went there, and afterwards toured the factory's extensive cactus garden. We used our respective smartphones to take pictures, and she was thrilled to see a few small lizards run across our path. Cheap and very cheerful!
Congrats to Yppej! You can always stockpile the extra money for a few years and then go do what you love later.
Meezer Mom: I do that cutting open the tube thing with my hand cream. It's amazing how much is left in a supposedly empty tube! Good deal on all the restaurant deals. Lately I've been going to KFC once a month. I get the "go cup" which has potato wedges and chicken strips. When the receipt comes it has an invitation to go on line and fill out a survey. Once the survey is complete you get a code good for, you guessed it, a free "go cup" with purchase of a drink. You have to use it within 30 days. So I go back, pay $1.69 for a drink, get my free lunch and another receipt with a survey on it. Lather, rinse, repeat as the old saying goes!
Selah: Sounds like a fun outing and you're teaching her the valuable lesson that fun needn't be expensive!
Selah, bless you for being a Big Sister. For many children, the only lifeline they have out of the poverty cycle is a mentor of some type, generally someone outside their immediate geographic and socioeconomic group. It is tough to find people who are willing to take on mentor-ship and be a role model for children who desperately need such. This is especially true for young and teen males... Check with other non-profits that work with children. Some of them offer financial assistance to people who volunteer their time with kids - free passes to museums, discounts to movies/theme parks, etc. Our local library has passes to some local sites. Or maybe you could contact the manager of a local theater, and see if they have a discount program or if you could negotiate a discount on a book of passes, etc? We seldom go to movies, due to the expense, so I understand where you're coming from.
On the frugal front, it's been thin. I'm doing the same old stuff, but we've been eating out a little more, due mostly to my lethargy and not being at home at mealtimes. Last Thurs, I had an off-site meeting in the morning, and didn't have a way to refrigerate (yes, I do have a cooler bag) or warm up my lunch. I could have brought a PBJ sandwich, but didn't, so I spent $5. on food. After work, Dsis and several cousins when to an art exhibit (free for me, I'm a member- which is NOT free...) and then got hamburgers after. I bought Dsis's as she drove, so - another $15.00. And got coffee later, but at least I had a BOGO for it. Still, another $4. Those small expenditures are a drain! I had a wonderful time, but can't do that often! So back on the wagon, after this afternoon's regularly scheduled coffee out w/DH... Ah.
So I DID manage, w/DD's help, to get all of the plants I ordered into the ground before they died. That's a major issue I've been working on - buying plants and not having a place to put them, so they languish. Over the last few years I have improved, though! Live plants = frugal, right?? I get gas at the cheapest location on my route, as usual. I have the Goodwill stuff and the plastic bags to recycle in the car, so they can be dropped off when I go past their destinations. The furnace is turned off (for the season, I hope!!) Yesterday I washed two loads of rugs and cat bedding. I have laundry on the line now - due to the above mentioned lethargy and general laziness, I've used the dryer much more this past winter than ever before. And really, I didn't notice a bump in my electric bill. Of course I seldom have more than one load of laundry every 4 - 5 days, unless I'm catching stuff I've been holding for a full load and a good drying day - like the rugs and cat blankets I did yesterday. So, I'm headed back to the frugal track, and I'm going to get some sort of tracking software that doesn't drive me nuts! I think not tracking is really one of my biggest problems at the moment, I so miss my quicken program!!
early_morning, keep tracking simple. I use an inexpensive notebook I've sectioned off into a daily calendar. Once a month I add up my spending by category dictated by MY lifestyle. I write things in pencil so I can adjust things as necessary. Logging receipts to an online app, for me, resulted in a lot of clutter and too much time typing so I'd wait resulting in more clutter.
I'm maintaining my monthly category totals on google docs.
Simple. Simple. Simple
Meezer Mom, thanks for the advice and your thoughts on the matter of tracking. How many categories do you track in? I like the idea of simple, I'm just not sure I can handle it. I started with a spreadsheet I kept by hand years ago, and always found I wanted more and more info. How much of our grocery bill was for fresh produce? How much did we spend on coffee? Beer? How much of our vacation money did we spend on food, hotel, gas, entrance charges? How much cat food $ was spent on inside vs outside cats? Which is how I ended up with Quicken, where it was easy to add categories at any point in time, but I have to agree, was FAR from simple. When my old computer died, I was putting transactions into probably over a hundred categories and sub categories... I'm not OCD or generally nit-picky about other stuff, I just have a real hard time saying "We spent X amount on our vehicles last year", for example, and leaving it at that. My brain immediately says "but how much of that was gas? for which car? Oil changes? Tires?" GAHHHH! Perhaps I need a "therapy" column, lol.... But maybe since I've not been tracking at all, I can ease back in with just a few major categories... I'm thinking Groceries, food/drink while out, general household (cleaning, batteries, incidentals, toiletries), vehicles, utilities, home improvements, yard/garden, animals, work related, clothing/shoes, subscriptions/memberships/entrance fees, gifts/holiday spending, charity, other entertainment, capital purchases? I will let you know if I'm able to maintain at that level, thanks for the encouragement! That would certainly be more frugal than purchasing Quicken....
I've been in Boston for 8 days so nothing frugal there. I did a focus group and got $50 for my time and as I was packing I found an envelope labeled Feb 2011 that contained $80. So that's $130 of free money for my trip!!
NOW I am home. Cooking in. Yesterday we had eggs/toast for breakfast. i thawed some of my garden Ratatouille, a package of shredded zucchini and some frozen precooked meat (mix gr beef and It sausage) and let that simmer for a few hours to bring out the flavors. Then I cooked up some quinoa pasta, tossed it all together and that was dinner....and lunches for today!
There are carrots in the fridge from before I left for Boston. Will roast those tonight and we'll grill some fish. Also pulled a piece of whole grain bread loaf from the freezer. Tonight we will also grill some chicken for tomorrow night's dinner.
Back to frugal!