Tag Archives: Frugal Inspiration

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!

 

How to Get Ready for the Goodwill Outlet

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I think it’s safe to say that my sister Candy and I LOVE the Goodwill Outlet in Austin Texas as proof by our hours long shopping trips two days in a row! We got so many amazing bargains! We literally found designer purses for $1.39 a pound!

Click HERE to read about our Austin Goodwill trips and see our finds! 

I don’t want to downplay the fact that Goodwill Outlets are intense places. It is probably only the most hard core, pirate level thrift shoppers that go there. You literally have to be willing to get a little dirty but with some persistence it’s totally worth it. I makes me not want to shop anywhere else because everywhere else is literally 100s of times more expensive!

However, there are a few things that can make your shopping trip even better. A little preparation can help you make sure you are getting the best bargains.

Here is the list of what I like to bring to the outlet:

  1. Gloves– They don’t have to be heavy duty gloves but it is nice to have your hands covered when going through mountains of stuff.
  2. Hand Sanitizer– If you pick up something and you wish you hadn’t, it’s a quick way to wash your hands.
  3. A luggage scale– I’ll post the link below but they sell on Amazon Prime for $7 and mine works great for my 50lb suitcase and smaller items too
  4. A large reusable bag– You want to have your hands free and reusable bags are the way to go. IKEA Bags were the bag of choice at the Austin Goodwill.
  5. A tape measure– One problem we were having at the Austin Goodwill was guessing if something would 1. Fit in the car, 2. Fit on a plane.
  6. Small Purse/Pockets- If you are going to bring a purse make sure it is over the shoulder and small so that you have your hands free
  7. A phone– So that you can take pictures and look up the value of times you might want to sell.
  8. Comfortable, close toed shoes– You will be on your feet the whole time so you want to be comfortable and you also want to protect your feet.

Other Items You Might Want- 

  1. A phone band– If you don’t have a pocket to put your phone
  2. A stain stick– like the tide togo pens in case you see a mark on a piece of clothing that you really want but don’t know if a spot will come out.
  3. SaniWipes– again in case you see a mark on something that you really want but don’t know if you can clean it.
  4. A Small Over the Shoulder Purse– like the one above if you don’t have pockets to put your stuff in so that your hands will be free

Check back soon to see what we bought on our most recent trip!

Setting Myself Up For Success- This Spring I will be teaching 9 classes at 3 colleges at 4 campuses

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By Ney 

The new semester started last Monday and I am teaching 9 classes at 3 colleges at 4 campuses. Yes, that is the life of an Adjunct Professor. I will be well compensated for it and none of the classes are classes that I haven’t taught before (Setting up a new class takes a lot more time than reteaching it).

Don’t get me wrong that is a LOT of classes! However, I am a planner and I am literally OCD organized. And part of that is getting ready for the semester. I am working on streamlining my life and a process I am calling setting myself up for success.

Here are some of the things I have been doing-

  1. Stocking up on groceries for at least the first couple of weeks of the semester so that we have easy to grab breakfasts so that I can get out the door quickly in the morning and other food for dinners so that we don’t end up wasting money on take out
  2. Filling everything that needs to be filled so that I don’t run out of anything for a few weeks
  3. Doing as much as possible before the semester starts so that I have less to worry about in the middle of craziness
  4. Cleaning and Organizing the house
  5. Getting rid of junk so that I’m not trying to clean a house full of stuff I don’t want/need
  6. Organizing my clothes especially my dress clothes to make it easier to pick out professional dress outfits 5 days a week. I have plenty of clothes and accessories to get through the semester so I’m trying to buy as little brand new clothing as possible and instead continue to buy 2nd hand.
  7. Putting a set of everything I need to get ready in each bathroom
  8. Setting up a better office area so I’m not always working at the coffee table and dining room table and also so that everything I need when I’m working from home is within arms reach so that I’m not always having to get up and grab things I need
  9. Putting away the Christmas Tree and Christmas stuff
  10. Stocking up on Pet supplies
  11. Getting as much set up for my job as I had time to do ahead of time
  12. Trying to be as efficient as possible with my time
  13. Buying products such as Dry Shampoo, fantastic conditioner and 4 in one makeup that makes it much faster for me to get ready in the morning
  14. I have been setting up the best possible online class sites for all of my classes because having those set up from the beginning of the semester can really help your semester go much more smoothly as a college instructor. Students can find all the materials they need, take quizzes, turn in assignments and generally be a huge help to instructors and students alike.
  15. I’m really setting myself up for a successful and also frugal semester; however, I also know that there will be occasions where I will have to spend money on extras just to get myself through some difficult weeks because I get paid a lot more to work than I do to do some money saving activities. However, I’m still going to try to be as frugal as possible while earning as much money as possible.

So far things are going very well. I have some great class and I’m sure this is going to be a great semester. One huge advantage of teaching at the college level is that I can take the summer off if I decide I want to!

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