1-22-2017 A Few Frugal Things – A Frugal Trip to Austin

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A Few Frugal Things-

– We planned a trip to Austin to visit my brand new nephew!!!! By switching our visit from December to a 4 day weekend (MLK day) off of work in Jan we saved over $500!

– We booked our own hacker fare by flying there on Frontier and home on Southwest to take advantage of the best prices and times.

– We didn’t pay for any bags or snacks on the flight. We only took free personal item bags on the way there and we were able to bring a few extra bags home for free because of Southwest’s free bag policy.

– Instead of booking the closest hotel for $110 a night we price shopped and stayed a few minutes farther away in a Hyatt House Suite style room for $75 a night. We loved it and would definitely stay there again.

– The hotel included the amazing continental breakfast pictured above! So every day of the trip 5 people ate a huge hot breakfast included in the price. We also ended up with a lot of free fresh fruit including bananas, apples and oranges, free tea, creamer and togo cups.

– I forgot my toothbrush so the hotel gave me one. It was the second worst toothbrush I have ever used but I made it work for the weekend. They also gave us free bottled water at check in.

– Entertainment while we were there was not expensive either as it mostly consisted of spending time together as a family enjoying the new baby, trips to various thrift shops including the $1.49 per pound Goodwill and we also ate out a couple of times enjoying famous Austin tacos and BBQ.

– My mom made a huge pot of amazing split pea soup to feed the entire family while we were there and my brother in law made spaghetti and meatballs. My mom also made us ham and egg sandwiches so we saved a lot of money eating out and the ham was given to them by some friends.

– Almost our entire family sells items on eBay so it’s really fun to see what everyone is buying and reselling.

– We bought a Jeep brand carry on rolling bag at the Goodwill outlet for $2.99 to bring our purchases home.

– It was a horrible weather weekend during our trip so B ended up having to buy a jacket and I bought some sweaters (for $1.49 a pound at the Goodwill Outlet) and we borrowed some stuff from my sister and her husband. Still not even a small fraction of what we would have paid to bring more luggage not to mention the pain of hauling it around the airport.

– Because the hotel was like a little suite we ended up with left over paper towels, tissues, toilet paper, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, coffee, etc. I loaded it all into a bag when we checked out and brought it to my sister’s house. I showed her the bag of loot to which she replied “Awesome!” That’s why we are best friends!

– My dad got my sister a free sewing machine when a friend moved. I slowly and frugally bought her everything she needed to start sewing. With a brand new baby she doesn’t have much time but I taught her to use the machine and we made her reusable nursing pads that she liked a lot better than the disposables.

– We enjoyed free snacks and drinks on our flight home with Southwest but unfortunately their free cable wifi wasn’t set up on that plane so we didn’t get to watch free cable.

– When we returned to our car at the airport our tire was flat and after a short wait Airport parking services put air in it for free.

Not So Frugal-

– Traveling isn’t cheap but it’s so worth it!

– We blew a tire on the side of the highway on the way to the airport!!!!!!!!! Thank god we had an extra tire under the SUV and YouTube to show us how to lower it to the ground. We didn’t miss our flight but we did have to skip the cheaper satellite parking and park directly at the airport for almost twice the amount per day but this was a good call because we arrived at the gate as the plane was boarding.

– I now have no spare tire and need to get a new one. The good news is the ‘spare’ tire wasn’t a spare but a full sized tire.

– I finally mailed myself an ancient Milk Crate that I had bought in Austin a year ago and my sister had been storing ever since. I wanted to take it home for free on the plane but the ancient nails proved a deterrent. We underestimated the price of shipping. Oh well it’s a really cool décor piece (according to me, not B).

– We didn’t remember snacks for the flight home so I treated us to ice cream at the airport that actually was a very inexpensive snack before a long flight.

– I am very thankful that one of my best friends watched Gimli our puppy while we were gone and we paid her the going rate for in home pet sitters even though she said she would do it for free. He had two loving people to play with and take care of him and I consider it worth every penny. They even bought him snacks and a toy.

Extra Income

– I sold a couple of things on eBay right before our trip and had to mail them out at the last minute. I wasn’t excited about adding the post office to my list of stops but extra income is always appreciated.

– I made a mistake in the title of an eBay listing saying there were 7 books instead of the 5 listed and pictured and didn’t realize until after someone bought it. I told the person and they wanted a refund. I ended up relisting them for more money and they resold right away so I made more in the long run.

Chemical Free

– I had to bring some of my own products to the hotel like shampoo and conditioner. Then we used some of the hotel’s non-chemical free stuff. This doesn’t bother me because it was only for a few days.

Swagbucks Sponsored Post: Swag Slopes Team Challenge (US)

Here’s another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks! For those of you who don’t know what Swagbucks is, it’s a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online.

Swagbucks wants you to join in the fun! Pack your warmest snow gear and pre-register today! The Swag Slopes Team Challenge begins Monday, January 23rd.

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate! Members of the 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Swag Up Rebate will be made available by 5pm PT on Friday, January 27th and will expire on Sunday, February 12th at 11:59pm PT

Swagbucks Sponsored Post- Swago: Winter Wonderland

It’s time for you to unwrap your SB bonus this holiday season courtesy of Swagbucks. This month’s Winter-themed Swago board offers a possible 300 SB ($3) Bonus!

What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. When you complete a task, watch that square change colors. You can then redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you’ve never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great way to learn how to use the site, and it’s a lot of fun!

Here’s what you need to know to get your 300 SB Bonus:

  • Swago will begin on Monday, January 16th at 9:01am PDT/12:01pm EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Monday, January 23rd at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

My Sewing Projects- Flying Squirrel Baby Lovies

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I was really excited to stumble across a pattern for free Flying Squirrel baby lovies. I know babies love these but they are usually just a head and small blanket which I find kind of odd. These are the same principle but have full bodies and feet. I made these out of scraps that I already had and I can’t wait to give one to my new baby nephew!

Click HERE for a link to the free pattern. Thanks, While She Naps. 

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Swagbucks Sponsored Post- Snow Much Fun Collector’s Bills

One of my favorite things about using Swagbucks is that I can get rewards for searching the web through their search engine. Every now and then they have “Collector’s Bills” worth bonus SB points that you can collect by simply searching the web. Collect them all, and you get an SB Bonus! Once you’ve collected enough SB, you can redeem them for gift cards to stores like Walmart, Target, and many more!

Here’s all the information for this week’s Snow Much Fun Collector’s Bills:

Search the web through the Swagbucks search starting Monday, January 2nd through Sunday, January 8th, and when you get a search win, you may get a special Collector’s Bill valued at either:

  • 5 SB
  • 7 SB
  • 9 SB
  • 11 SB
  • 16 SB
  • 22 SB

When you get a Collector’s Bill you’ll receive the value of the bill and the bill will be added to your “Collector’s Bills” ledger. Collect all 6 Collector’s Bills and you’ll instantly earn a 20 SB Bonus!

Keep searching til you find them all!

Swagbucks Sponsored Post- Get $5 When You Sign Up For Swagbucks in January!

Now that the holidays are over, a lot of us have gone into savings mode again as we rebuild our bank accounts from all that gift buying! Some of us have already started saving for the 2017 holidays! If you’re looking to extend your budget or just say within it, Swagbucks is a great resource for that.

You’ve probably seen me write about Swagbucks a lot on here. It’s a site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

Here’s how you get your bonus:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 2/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned hundreds of dollars in Gift Cards and used them to buy gifts.

*You must receive your shopping SB before March 1st

How to Make Un-Paper Towels

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I love the idea of Up-paper towels! We are all about reducing waste and saving trees. We have been using rags instead of paper towels around the house for years but now you can bet I will be making some of these!

Un-paper towel how to:

Step 1: Cut squares of prewashed flannel and terry 12×13 inches.

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Step 2: Pin right sides together.

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Step 3: Stich all around the outsides with a ½ inch seam allowance. Leave about a 2-inch hole to be able to turn the towels right side out.

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Step 4: Clip the corners and push your finger into each corner to make sure it is pushed out all the way.

Step 5: Turn the towels right side out.

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Step 6: Top stitch around the outside of the towel with 1/4” seam allowance and once through the center of the wipe. Make sure to fold in the area where you left the hole to turn.

Step 7: Add snaps, if desired.

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Step 8: Add the following message!

Tutorial Created by @supereatingbaby on Instagram and supereatingbaby@gmail.com

Thank you to @supereatingbaby for the awesome work and for sharing with us! 

Made My Own Retractable Dog Leash with Light and Bag Dispenser

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(Gimli wanted to show you his favorite mouse next to his new leash)

We are trying to save money to buy and house but I really wanted to buy the below dog leash off of Amazon because having a small puppy that needs to go out all the time was a lot of work. I was always trying to remember his leash, bags, flashlight and pepper spray, oh and the puppy! I thought having the items combined would be less to gather up while the poor puppy waits by the door having to pee.

It seemed like a lot of money to spend on a leash when we already owned flash lights and doggy bag holders. I ended up finding the above dog leash for $2 at the thrift shop and I taped on a small but bright, free, promotional flashlight. I tied a small cloth makeup packaging bag (also free) to the handle which has the added bonus of holding regular grocery bags instead of the rolled ones you have to buy and voila we had our dog leash! I love these kinds of frugal and practical solutions!

I Made $87+ Decluttering and Organizing at Home

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Anyone who works in the education field will tell you that there are often a lot of things that get postponed until semester breaks. My giant closet in our guest bedroom has been driving me crazy. It stores all of my professional dress clothes, shoes and accessories, many eBay business inventory items and all of my eBay packing material.

I didn’t have a plan to clean out that entire closet and room but once I started I was on a roll. I got rid of a bunch of outdated inventory and other stuff that is just taking up space. The picture above is off a pile of stuff I’m getting rid of. I figured out how to get paid for my decluttering! 

I also went through a bunch of textbooks that had been given to me by a colleague, my sister and from a pile of books our former neighbors dumped by the curb outside our townhome. I used bookscouter .com the website to see where they would sell for the most money and chose two sites to ship to that took the most books for the most money (and they pay for the shipping). And I had $87 worth of textbooks and classic paperback books to sell!

I also got more organized with the eBay items sitting around and waiting to be listed. I’m not earning any money by letting them take up space. I can’t wait to get even more crap out of my house. This was definitely motivating.

Below are the two packages of books I mailed out to sell. Hopefully more packages to come!

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Dec 2016 Recent Thrift Finds

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One of the fun things about winter break is having more time to do some thrift shopping! With my sister and good friend both expecting babies I had a lot of fun looking for baby items! Thrift shops are great places to get baby items because they don’t usually get worn for long and people tend to buy a lot of nice stuff for baby showers. Thankfully both my sister and friend don’t care if items are brand new or not.

In the above picture you can see:

  • Burp cloths on the left
  • Cute baby clothes in the middle
  • Some cute dog clothes on the right

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One of my favorite local thrift shops sells shoes for $1 on Fridays and I was very excited to find two basically brand new pairs of ballet flats and then a pair of 9 West Black Sling back heels that I have been search for forever!

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I’ve wanted a closet hanging jewelry holder for a long time and this one was only $4 and I love the color and pattern.

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I was excited to find this Boppy Pillow cover for my sister for $2 because I know they are usually $15-20

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B found these Timberland boat shoes for $1. This isn’t a great pic of them but they are comfortable and he can wear them to his office job.

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More cute baby clothes with Gimli testing them out.

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I was excited to find the adorable basket on the left with the tags still on it and the queen sized sheet set for our bed in green. The cow pot holder will be a gag gift.

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We use all towels in this house until they are falling apart and then use them as rags. The hand towels were 75% off because they are Christmas themed and the other two towels were in great shape. I’m really picky about towels.

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More cute, cute baby stuff!

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