My husband has never really truly been frugal. Not by my definition. He doesn’t necessarily like to buy things but he doesn’t budget either. For most of our marriage the bills (and budget) have fallen on me. Lately though, I have been too busy with work to stay on top of it. And now with my husband changing careers (going from one self-employed business to opening another), we really need someone to watch the cash flow. Oddly enough, my husband has fell into the roll of grocery shopping for the family. That means he has to do the shopping, figure out meals, and do it within a budget.
I can’t tell you how funny it is to hear him come home and brag about his day grocery shopping and all the deals he found. Or how he got all 10 bags for $125 that week! I just sit at my desk and roll my eyes. His new revelations crack me up. But really when I think about it, it’s been the best way to get us on the same page. He now is more aware than ever where we are financially. I don’t have to be the only one to take on the burden of the budget. And I think that is great especially now because the belt has been tighten due to his career choices. So only fair, right? This way there is no resentment. I already think frugal and now he is being frugal. What a difference it is making in our marriage.
Couldn’t ask for anything better than that! Now if I can only get my kids on the same page!
I personally have a love/hate relationship with vehicle recalls. Hate the inconvenience of having to take my car to the shop but love the fact that I am aware of the issue before there is an incident. However, unless you buy a new vehicle or for some reason have let the automaker know that you now own a used vehicle of theirs, you might not find out about a recall until it’s too late.
That is exactly what happened to my husband a few weeks ago. For his 40th birthday, we had bought him his dream motorcycle. Something he had coveted for over 20 years. We purchased a used Ducati in excellent condition. And up until a few weeks ago, the only problem with the bike he had was it went too fast! One morning while riding the bike to do an errand, my husband notice the bike was acting funny and was tried to pull of the freeway when his front brake gave out locking the front tire and causing the bike to come to a dead stop at 65mph. The bike laid down and slid across the lanes while my husband slid the other way off the shoulder of the freeway and, after a few flips, landed safely on gravel.
Now why is this a frugal issue you ask? After the accident, which he so very luckily got up and walked away, he found out that there had been a recall on his bike. Had he known… we wouldn’t have an ambulance bill, x-ray bill, doctor bill, etc. Instead, he could have had the bike fixed for free without us spending a dime. The moral to the story is always register your used vehicle with the maker. Once you are in there system they can send you any recall notices necessary. And do an inline search for any previous recalls on vehicles before you purchase them. It might just save you money, your beloved vehicle, or even your life. ~Cassandra
I was visiting with some friends the other day and sharing a “frugal failure” on my part and the question was raised, “Are you going to post that on your blog?” Hmmm….. should I or shouldn’t I? After some discussion, laughter and shared stories of ”frugal failures” we decided that I should. As important as it is to be a positive role model it is also equally important to be honest. I think that sometimes people get frustrated and give up because they feel like other people have it so much more together than they do. It’s easy to feel like you are the only one making stupid mistakes. But honestly, we all have frugal failures from time to time (at least I do). And being her best friend I know that Cassandra does too lol! So here’s my most recent frugal failure.
For someone who writes about saving money, uses coupons from time to time, and will do quite a bit to save a dime, paying the mortgage on time should be a no brainer… but not this month. Gasp! Yes, I was late (by a few hours) paying my mortgage and had to pay a $50 late fee! Because my husband and I are both self employed I don’t have too many bills scheduled to be payed automatically. Our income varies month to month and sometimes I’m waiting until the day the mortgage payment is due to pay it. The kicker this month was that I actually had the money sitting in my checking account for several days and could have paid it… I just forgot. If I didn’t have the money I wouldn’t have felt that bad, but having it sitting there definitely rubbed salt in the wound. Oh well… I will do better next month (because I really don’t want to have to post this again)! ~ Stacy
My family and I love to rent movies. So much so that we have a package deal at our local rental house. But there are times when the deal is still not enough for our movie cravings. Since my mother lives near us and we have good friends right across the street, we have taken up sharing our rentals or newly purchased movies with each other to save a buck. As long as we return the rented ones before the due date, it’s been a money saver. We don’t plan our video rental or purchase choices based on what others haven’t seen but if we know we have a good movie/new release, we offer it up to others and vice versa. Just recently, it was fun to come home to Lincoln on our doorstep. I had been eager to see it but hadn’t had a chance to rent it. It was a perfect treat to end a day by watching a free movie with my hubby.
Not only does this save a few dollars from having to rent the movie yourself but it saves you time and gas money from having to go get it as well. It’s a small savings but remember…a whole bunch of small savings add up for a bigger impact on your monthly budget. ~Cassandra
As I was cutting out some of my box tops (you know, the $0.10 coupons you turn in to your school and they get paid for them) I was thinking about how my kids were getting older and pretty soon I wouldn’t need to cut them out anymore. Then I remembered my neighbor Mara and how she is so good about saving hers, even though her children are grown and in college. Once in a while she will pop in with a baggie full of them and give them to my kids to take to school. I’ve always admired her thoughtfulness and commitment to supporting our local schools.
I know it can be tempting to just toss them, because after all, they’re only worth $0.10 and sometimes it’s a pain to stop and cut them out, but think of it this way. If you saved 10 a month that would be $1 x 12 months = $12 a year. Not really a fortune I know. But just looking at my street (one block only) there are about 8 households. That’s $96 just on my block (and I know that I’m the only one with school age children right now).
So long story short… I guess I will never be off the hook for cutting out those dang box tops (and neither will you now)! ~ Stacy
As part of my thrifty habit when clothes shopping, I try to check out the consignment stores besides discount stores and sales. One particular morning, I was feeling pretty good about watching my budget by perusing the clothes rack at a consignment store. As I tried to beef up my wardrobe, I couldn’t help but over hear the young women next to me. “Ya know, we should have a clothes swapping party, ” one said. “Ya, that would be totally cool!” the other agreed. They continued to discuss details of how many participants should come and how much clothes they should bring . This brought tears to my frugal self’s eyes (O.K. not really but I was proud of them)!
Clothes swap parties are nothing new but often overlooked. It can be a great time to have you and your girlfriends get together, have food and drinks and acquire new (to you) clothes with out spending a dime. Hopefully, the host would make it a potluck and B.Y.O.B, so they have no costs from throwing the party. You might want to make sure that you invite a few friends in each size bracket (i.e. small, medium, and large). The last thing you want is for the participants to not be able to swap because no one fits in each others clothes. It can also be good to let your friends know if they should bring just one type of season (i.e. summer) or style of clothes (i.e. work attire). If you need more suggestions on how to host a clothes swapping party, search online. I did and found many resources that describes exactly how to hold such an event.
Now go and throw a clothes swapping party! Make me proud!
If your kids are anything like mine, they look for any excuse they can to get out of chores or trouble. A couple of years ago on St. Patrick’s Day a leprechaun left my kids “get out of trouble” cards. They loved them! The funny thing is that they’ve all been “saving them for when they really need them” and they haven’t been used yet. You could also do gift cards for chores. It gives them a break from something that they dislike and costs you absolutely nothing! On a side note… as my 15 year old saw me working on this he frantically started searching for his old card (from 6th or 7th grade) so he could use it now to get out of trouble for his grades… as luck would have it…. his room is far too messy for that card to ever be found! So, I would advise an expiration date so that you don’t get yourself in trouble! Happy Easter ~ Stacy
Two birds with one stone: re-manufactured ink cartridges are eco-friendly and less expensive!
Between the popular trends of trying to be green for the planet and watching our pocket books, there are new alternatives popping up everyday that achieve both goals simultaneously.
After running out of ink at the office, I made a stop in to purchase a new ink cartridge at the local office supply store. Now just for arguments sake, I do want to let you know that I already know that you can buy ink in bulk both online and at warehouse stores like Costco to save. However, I needed ink right that minute and I was no where near a Costco. That being said, I perused the ink aisle. To my surprise, I found not only the name brand ink cartridge but I also found re-manufactured ink cartridges as well. Re-manufactured means a company takes used cartridges and re-fills them with new ink and then puts them out on the market making the re-manufactured cartridge both green and a few dollars cheaper! Two birds with one stone!
The downfall you might ask? Some printers are more picky than others and won’t read the cartridge as new and will reject it thinking its still out of ink. But if your printer isn’t the “sensitive type,” you should be good to go. Eco-friendly and less expensive! I’m good with that!
This time of year can be expensive for my family. Last weekend was the beginning of a long line of out of town events. As I was getting ready for our first road trip, I decided that I would be more diligent about preparing snacks and food ahead of time. I gathered food to take with us for breakfast and lunch and snacks for the car. Part of the fun of traveling is of course the eating out, so I planned for us to go out to dinner on our way home. The only thing I was missing was junk food. Knowing my kids, they would want to buy candy, soda and other random things. I considered going to the store and buying some junk food that I knew they would like (at least this way I could get it on sale) but then a thought occurred to me… Why not have them bring their wallets and spend their weekly allowances and other money that they’ve accumulated? After all, what’s the point in giving them a weekly allowance if they don’t ever have to pay for anything?
I showed them what I had packed for food and told them that if they wanted anything else they would need to bring their own money. Without batting an eye, they both ran into their rooms and got their wallets and we were on the road. Throughout the day they made choices as to where and when to spend their money. I really think they enjoyed the freedom of not having to ask (or beg) me for things. The funny thing is that they were actually considering prices and discussing how expensive things were when you buy them from a mini-mart versus on sale at a supermarket. I saw them put things away because they were too expensive! Now trust me… if I was paying they would not have been checking prices.
The next time we are going out of town I will take it one step further and try and give them a little more notice so that if they want to they can buy stuff ahead of time. They may or may not choose to take advantage of this, but the seeds will be planted and eventually they will figure it out. But the bottom line is that not only did this tactic save me money, but it was also a learning opportunity for them. ~Stacy
Cassandra, in her $20 dress from Ross Dress For Less, at work Oscar Party.
Since I work for a non-profit, I am definitely frugal at work besides at home. So when my organization decided to throw an Academy Award party last month, we immediately started brainstorming on ways that we could have the Hollywood pizzazz but without dollars.
Everything from the invitations to the decorations to the menu went under scrutiny. As a non-profit, we were able to make donation requests for things like flowers, miscellaneous groceries, and beer from local breweries. We contracted a caterer to make the bulk of the menu and then each board member of my non-profit brought a platter to supplement. The wine was purchased at our local grocery outlet ($12 bottles for the price of $4). We even roped in volunteer talent to pretend to be famous actors and were lucky enough to have a professional photographer volunteer his time as well.
Don’t get me wrong, we spent money on necessary items: chocolate Oscars, liability insurance, and renting tables and such. But this was all affordable because of our due diligence in being thrifty.
It was especially important to watch our spending because this was our first time out with this event. We were not sure how well received it would be. In the end, our guests were so happy they asked for it to be an annual event! We were able to pull off frugal without looking cheap! And the award goes to… ~Cassandra