Tag Archives: Frugal Inspiration

6-16-16 A Few Frugal Things

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-The three toys above are the three our cat Pickles pulled out of her toy box and dragged into our room. She has way too many toys for one cat and yet of the three she chose none are actually cat toys. One was given to us and the other two were clearance Christmas ornaments. They are:

  • An alligator
  • A pink elephant
  • A coffee cup

-Taking a Frugal Trip to Texas. I’m flying a discount airline, received a $50 rebate for the flight, staying with my sister so no hotel costs or rental vehicles, and I’m packing all of my stuff in a personal item bag (more on how to do that will be posted soon).

– I made a huge pot of split pea soup (Mmmmmm my favorite!) using leftover ham my mom gave me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything besides the spices and ham so I had to buy carrots, an onion and the peas. Thankfully that only came to about $4 and B was given a gift card. We have soup for lunches and dinners for a week for FREE!

– Downloaded some free Kindle books to occupy me on my flight this week.

– My dad was given a free sewing machine for my sister, packed it up and wanted me to mail it to her in Texas. Instead I figured out how to take it on the plane as my mom’s personal item bag for free! I can only guess but I’m sure a sewing machine is expensive to mail and I feel more confident it won’t get damaged if I can deliver it directly.

– Got $200 worth of free Publix groceries thanks to 2 gift cards B was given for his Bday.

– I skipped the 50% off day at the thrift store today because I need to work since the Summer B semester starts on Tuesday and I fly home Sunday.

– I am now teaching a 4th summer class which is great because it’s only 6 weeks long and little additional planning mostly just more grading but nothing too bad. This will also raise my income for the year if when we start trying to buy a house.

– Did another sponsored Swagbucks post

Dear Abby Weighs in on Shopping Sales for Gift Giving and Gift Exchanges

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I love Dear Abby! I have been reading her advice since I was a little girl. Today when I was reading her column she addressed something that my family has addressed but I always wondered about it.

If a gift exchange has a gift limit of $20 but you find an item on sale for $10 that was originally worth $10 then it is perfectly acceptable to buy the sale item and she calls it smart!

In my family we do a $10 gift exchange limit. However, getting items on sale, secondhand, free or bargains is considered part of the fun. We usually end up spending the whole $10 on each person but the gifts are usually worth a lot more!

Click below to read the full article-

http://chicago.suntimes.com/lifestyles/dear-abby-the-man-i-love-has-a-secret-girlfriend-baby/

Preparing For a Summer of No Income

Preparing for a summer of no income

Having summers off represents one of the greatest advantages of some professions, but also one of the greatest stressors.

Many people in the education field, including college professors, work approximately 8-9 months out of the year and have 3-4 months off. Not all employers provide the option of extending paychecks over 12 months. Many other professions are also cyclical in nature and after months of intense work you might suddenly find yourself without an income and with nothing to do.

The more prepared you are for the summer, financially and otherwise, the more stress you can remove from your life and enjoy the time off as it is meant to be enjoyed.

  1. Calculate your monthly expenses and then calculate exactly how much money you will need to get through the summer– Calculate the absolute minimum amount of money you will need to get through the summer (We are talking beans and rice diet and not spending a penny) and also calculate a realistic amount you need to continue your current standard of living. Don’t forget that most people don’t get paid as soon as they go back to work. Some people will be back at work for 2 weeks to a month before they receive their first paycheck. Also, don’t forget that you may have additional ways to save money in the summer like less commuting costs, less convenience food, etc.
  2. Save, Save, Save– Every extra penny you have needs to go into savings to help you get through the summer. If you do not have the absolute minimum amount of money to get through the summer you need to start making some plans now. How can you currently save more money? How can you work over the summer?
  3. Set yourself up for extra income during the summer– I have been buying items to sell on eBay when I happen to make it to a thrift shop or yard sale but haven’t had the time to list them. I will be listing them this summer. I also plan on indulging my hobby of scouring thrift shops for more items to sell online. This usually provides extra income and I love doing it. I also picked up a few 6 week summer classes to teach that I wasn’t planning on but if the classes don’t fill up that income is not guaranteed. Let friends and family know they can pay you to babysit or pet sit if you are interested. I also plan on trying to earn more Swagbucks for extra spending money.
  4. Be realistic about your summer plans– We had been planning on going on a cruise to celebrate a milestone birthday but unfortunately we had unexpected expenses present themselves during the year that meant that we couldn’t afford the cruise. However, we ended up renting a couple of condos on the beach with the price split between family and friends. We are going to have just as much fun and save a lot of money! I also knew that I needed to buy a couple of plane tickets this summer so I ended up factoring that into the amount I would need to get through the summer. However, if you are wondering how you are going to pay your bills this summer knowing you haven’t saved enough money you might have to cut any activities that aren’t free from your summer plans.
  5. Plan Free/Frugal summer activities – We live in Florida so our main summer activity is hanging out at the beach which only costs us a little bit of gas. There is also the discount movie theatre which is .75 cents on Tuesday nights. I plan on renewing my library card this summer and catching up on some reading. Exercising at beautiful, local parks is also free. There are tons of fun, free summer activities that you can take advantage of.
  6. Spend time with family and friends- Priceless but free! I never feel like I have enough time to spend with family and friends during the work years so I make sure to have plenty of time for them during the summer.
  7. Plan on doing frugal things you didn’t have time for during the rest of the year– If you aren’t working then your job is to save even more money. For example cooking more meals at home, hanging your clothes to dry instead of using your dryer, planting a garden, etc.
  8. Adjust your mentality– Summer is a time to rest and recharge after working the rest of the year. Take time to be outside and enjoy the little things. Don’t think that spending money is a requirement for having fun. You know that novel you have always wanted to write? Now might be the time.
  9. Get Organized– Get rid of things you don’t want/need, clean and organize the entire house.
  10. Try to take care of things that you didn’t have time for during your work year– For me, this list includes getting new glasses (mine are currently so scratched after 6 years of use that I can barely see through them), going to the dermatologist (a must for Floridians), detailing my car (my labor not paying someone), finishing sewing projects (I have clothes that need mended and pants that need hemmed in addition to other projects I plan to tackle) , deep cleaning the house, any store returns I have been putting off, etc. This is also a good time to fix things that need to be fixed.
  11. Travel frugally– I happen to believe that travel is good for the soul and I sacrifice in a lot of other areas so that I have the money to do it. There are some inexpensive ways to travel including house sitting, camping, road trips, cheap plane tickets, visiting family, etc. If you believe in doing this enough you can figure it out.
  12. Stock up on bargain basement deals– If you have the extra money and storage space, stock up on items you will use throughout the year at bargain basement prices when you find them. Having a stockpile of basic food goods that won’t go bad quickly saves me tons of money throughout the year. Over the summer I have time to follow the grocery store loss leader sales more closely.
  13. Set yourself up for success before you go back to work– Put systems in place to make it easier to adjust to returning to work. I will fill my freezer with drop and go crock pot meals, stock my pantry with the basics, clean and organize the whole house, take care of appointments and car maintenance all so that the transition back to work goes much more smoothly.
  14. Put a plan into place for the next year for your next summer- Three months of summer always seem to fly by. However, planning ahead makes a huge difference. If you are transitioning to only working 8 months of the year it usually takes a little while to perfect your system of saving for summer. If what you did this year worked great then implement it again for next year. If you wished you had saved more during the year then adjust your system for next year.

Best tips from others who have had summers off:

Mandy- “Don’t mindlessly shop. Only go to the store with a list and stick with it. That’s what I did when I wasn’t working. Take advantage of free things like your apartment pool or gym.”

Leanne– “I would make sure that I had things lined up ahead of time. I would look toward industries that gear up in the summer, rather than slow down. For example, teachers and professors could always look to teach a specialized program at a summer camp.” She also suggests that before you make a purchase from a store, Macy’s for example, you check eBay. She recently bought a $60 Macy’s blouse on eBay for $8 including shipping!

Fate- “I did an auto deposit of 1/3 of my paycheck into a savings account during the work year at a different bank so I never see it. That’s what I’m living off in the summer.”

Karin– “I would probably get really creative with food and try to have fun with it. I know an adjunct who made it kind of a project to eat everything in her pantry and not buy groceries (aside from milk, bread and eggs) for a few months. And I’d pick up a fun, cheap hobby like painting and/or writing to make good use of my free time without spending money. So basically I would focus on saving money and having (almost) free fun instead of trying to figure out how to earn- that is, if you have some money set aside to get you through!”

Tiffany– “Play on your strengths with a part time job as a tutor, SAT prep, or nanny. Produce something of value in your free time like a blog or a self-published book.”

Maureen– “No dryer, hanging clothes. Using air conditioning units only until the room is cool. Buying only dry cat food. Staying away from stores because if I go to the store I buy something.”

 

Do you have any great tips for surviving a temporary period of no income? Share your story with us!

 

3-27-16 A Few Frugal Things

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– We were going to meet my Mother at Cracker Barrel for Easter today but instead Mom decided to make a big Easter dinner. She only spent $33 for a whole ham dinner because of discounts she receives from working at Target. We are bringing dessert. I wanted to make a Peanut Butter Pie but our Dollar Tree was out of all natural peanut butter so I am making a Devil’s Food Cake with chocolate icing for $2 from Dollar Tree. Cheaper and I didn’t have to make another trip to the store. And Mom said she is sending us home with leftovers!

– We have been using paper towels instead of snake bedding and a cardboard box with a door hole for her house for the snake’s tank because we are trying to get rid of mites. This is also significantly cheaper than her regular bedding. (See picture above)

– I continue to give my college students paper that was printed on one side but blank on the other to write their in class essays. This way the paper gets used on both sides and not thrown away. While this doesn’t actually save me money I feel that it is a good life lesson for my students and it does save the colleges a small amount.

– I was completely out of blank paper for copies but several of the schools I work for give us free school supplies. I asked about paper and although they don’t normally provide it they did give me an entire unopened ream of paper because I asked. Another school gave me free expensive pens. I LOVE new office supplies, something about being a teacher maybe! I try not to buy any that are provided for free from my jobs and I actually end up buying very little.

– I have really been enjoying reading a few free Kindle books. Amazon offers so many books for free that I am trying not to buy any. It’s been a long time since I have actually purchased a kindle book.

– We really get a lot of use out of our Netflix and Prime Video streaming services and I just signed up for a free week of Hulu. Even if I keep the HULU subscription it’s still much cheaper than cable and I can cancel at any time.

I'm a Swagbucks Influencer - Start Earning Now

– I just received another free $5 Amazon.com gift card from Swagbucks and did an activity that will earn another $5.

– I lost my nice stainless steel reusable water bottle so I have been using a disposable Gatorade bottle until I get another.

– I ran out of my chemical free toothpaste so I have been cutting open the ‘empty’ ones and this lasts a lot longer than you think.

– I wore out the wheels on my professor rolling bag, my father has some I can use to replace them, and in the meanwhile I am using my back up rolling bag that was less than $1 at the Goodwill Outlet in Austin

– There are a few things that I would like to buy to add to my teaching wardrobe but I don’t NEED NEED them and I am committed to not buying any NEW clothing for a year. So instead I looked on eBay but didn’t find what I wanted so I added them to my thrift list.

– I have realized that a gray pea coat jacket would make my life a lot easier because it doesn’t have to be lint brushed as much as my black one (I have a white cat and her hair is very, very noticeable on black). The exciting part is that I bought one at the Goodwill Outlet in Austin, TX when I visited my sister. I couldn’t bring it home on my last trip but she saved it for me.

– We bought a few things for the same price or cheaper on Amazon Prime. This saves even more money because then we don’t have to go to a store and possibly buy even more. We also get free shipping materials for our eBay business.

Men’s Suits from Goodwill

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I’m very proud that my father completed a 9 month very intensive training class and is transitioning to a new job. He already owns several suits but needed a few more. We had a huge amount of luck on the same day that I found all of these clothes. The suit on the left fit my father so well he doesn’t have to have it altered in any way!

Starting a new job can be stressful and buying a new wardrobe can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be. I’m proud to have a father who is a thrift shopper like me!

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We also found this human to dog radio to play with his dog. Apparently, his dog can tell the difference between the radio and his normal voice so after being startled by it at first he started ignoring it.

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Dad also found this Hard Rock cafe jean jacket! Apparently these sell quite well online but I think he might keep it.

Free Birthday Gift Items from Sephora and Ulta

My birthday as this past weekend so I decided to pick up my yearly freebies from Sephora and Ulta. If you are a member of both of their free rewards program you are eligible for a free gift for your birthday. These gifts are typically sample sizes of higher end brands. It is a nice way to try out an expensive product without spending any money. image2-22

This year Sephora is offering a mini Marc Jacobs lipstick and eyeliner or a facial cleanser with a face mask. I chose the Marc Jacobs mini gift.

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Ulta’s birthday gifts change every 3 months. If your birthday is in January, February, or March you will receive a sample size of Benefits Roller Lash mascara.

Remember to get your freebies this year!

 

Recent Salvation Army Thrift Store Finds

Every Wednesday the Salvation Army Family Store near my house has a 50% off clothing sale. I think most Salvation Army stores across the country do this. When I was living in Florida the stores participated in this sale too. Ive been trying to go every Wednesday since one of my goals this year was to only buy my clothes from thrift stores. Here are a few of my finds. Some for me and some will go up on eBay!

 

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Victoria’s Secret Yoga Pants $2

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A Gap T-shirt Dress $1.50

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Romeo & Juliet Couture Shirt $2. This brand can be found at Nordstrom. It is one of the new to me items I have bought to wear to my new job!

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A sleep dress by Maidenform $1.50

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A cardigan from The Limited $2. This is for my new job also. As you can see the back is almost transparent.

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An As u Wish dress $2. This dress is from Dillards.

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Kenneth Cole Reaction Flats $5.99. Also for my new job!

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$2 Massimo dress for my sister. I actually own the same dress just in a different size. It is the perfect go to summer dress!

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.99 Cent Wide Mouth Ball Mason Jar. I’m not sure if this is a good deal of not, but I am trying to redo my pantry and use glass jars instead of plastic.

 

The next few items are things I found I am planning on selling on eBay!

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A PJ Salvage pajama top.

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I bought a grab bag full of stamps for $2.99. There were 17 total. Here are a few.

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Blanket Binding found in the grab bag.

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I didn’t buy this couch, but I thought it was a really nice couch in great condition. They were selling it for $400.

What have you found thrifting lately?

Frugal Review

1.My husband has a month free membership to high intensity work our class. He has been going about twice a week and comes back drenched in sweat!!
2.Last weekend my husband and I went to the discount movie theatre to see Krampus. Although it lacked most of the frills of the new movie theatre in our area, you can’t beat $2.50 for a movie ticket and the movie was actually really good!
3.I baby sat this morning for a friend and made some extra money.
4.I sold my first three items on eBay this week and have listed a few more!
5.Although it is around 45-50 degrees everyday here in Austin, TX I have yet to put on my heat. So far I’ve gone the past three months without using my A/C or heat! It has also been fun exploring my new town in nice weather!

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A local park near my house! Texas is much more beautiful than I thought it would be!

-Candy

 

16-01-26 Thrift Finds Goodwill Shopping Trip- Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

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I had a really fun trip to Goodwill today after I stopped at the post office. I found the above ugly Christmas sweaters for a few dollars each. I plan on A) wearing them to a Christmas Party or B) selling them on eBay next year. Apparently this is the time of year to buy them.

 

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I also had some great luck in the shoe department! I bought-

  1. Pair of Blue Sperrys Boat Shoes
  2. A Pair of decorated black heels
  3. A pair of herringbone shoes
  4. A pair of blue heels

The last three pairs I will wear to teach and the first pair I will either wear or sell on eBay.

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In this picture I got a White House Black Market Skirt (also in the photo below), a teaching skirt with hot air balloons on it, a white knit sweater, a thermal men’s shirt for B and a flannel shirt for B.

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I found the above black motorcycle style jacket but it’s all cotton and really soft and comfortable, I also bought a Gators shirt for a friend, a blue flowered infinity scarf, books and a candle holder.

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I also found this Dooney & Bourke Duck Purse like the clutch we found here for $6.99 but I didn’t end up buying it. I wasn’t sure how well it would sell on eBay so $7 seemed like too much to pay.

Orlando SkyView Goodwill Outlet Finds and Shopping Trip

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At the beginning of January, before the semester started we were lucky enough to get to visit the Goodwill outlet in Orlando at the below address. Anyone who is familiar with Orange Blossom Trail aka OBT knows that it’s not a great area to be in and it wasn’t. However, the plaza that the outlet was in wasn’t that bad and even had a Publix in it. We were very excited to find out that this place existed half an hour from where we live after our great success at the Austin Goodwill Outlet!

Skyview Goodwill Outlet Center Florida

7915 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, Florida 32809

Click HERE to read some tips for getting ready to go to a Goodwill Outlet Center.

The price was actually cheaper at the Orlando outlet at only .99 cents per pound! We were disappointed to find that it was almost entirely clothing and textiles where the Austin Goodwill Outlet had an equally large section of housewares which we actually were more interested in than the clothes. However we still had fun and above and below are pictures of our finds.

In the first picture above we found

  • A Lucky Brand Men’s Shirt
  • An Express sweater
  • A converse designer jacket
  • Some other really nice clothes
  • All of the nice flannel shirts I could find in a variety of sizes that I want to use for a sewing project.

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The above rug was so thick and nice I had to buy it even though it doesn’t entirely go with our decor. However, the cat seems to love it.

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We found the above embroidered quilt. I weighed it and at about 6 lbs it cost about 6 dollars which I thought was a steal. That isn’t the best picture of it draped over my drying rack but you can really see the beautiful embroidered flowers.

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The above two double sided towels looked brand new and spotless. I’m very picky about buying used bedding and towels and they have to look brand new. Goodwill does receive new items from Target and I believe that these are one of Target’s higher end brands.

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B actually found the above vintage Dooney & Bourke purse and expensive garment bag.

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B also had excellent luck with the shoes. He desperately needed running shoes because we go running at a local park and he has been running in flat, clunky Vans. He found-

  • A pair of work boots for when he works remodeling houses with his father
  • A brand new looking pair of light jeans shoes
  • Blue running shoes that fit him perfectly
  • Suede NewBalance shoes

Overall, we had a blast looking for bargains and all together we spent about $30. Next time we are planning a trip to another semi-close outlet that reportedly has 48 bins of clothing and 48 bins of housewares. Check back next month to see what we find there!

 

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