Monday, November 16, 2015

Last Week's Frugal Efforts

My toddler's food scraps that are suitable for the wild birds (muffins, waffles, bread, crackers, etc.) are put outside on the deck railing instead of being thrown away.

I've been entering the Dave Ramsey $100,000 Christmas giveaway daily. It's free to enter, and I signed up for reminder emails. You can enter here.

I've been using SwagbucksBing Rewards, and Perk TV as much as possible so I can earn Amazon gift cards for gifts, household needs, and food items.

At work I've been listening to Dave Ramsey's radio stations for free.

Friday night I checked out four ebooks from the library so I'm set on reading material for awhile. I chose The Happiness Project and the first four books of Game of Thrones.

I signed up for It's a free budgeting software. I still need to finish entering everything, but so far so good. (I feel like a broken record here. haha. It's also from Dave Ramsey. I'm not affiliated with him at all. I'm just a fan!)

I enrolled in online college classes for the Winter quarter. Yay! Officially a college student (again.)

I continue to try to be diligent about recyclables. Both at work and at home. It can be tedious to sort, rinse, and separate things, but it's good for the environment. And recycling is free at the local dump.

I've been taking coffee and food to work and putting in more of an effort to prepare my husband's coffee and food for work on my days off so he doesn't eat out as often.

My husband and I went to a free parenting workshop. We learned a few things, the toddler got some social interaction, and they gave him a book and two toys. I already signed us up for the next free workshop.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Things that have left my possession.

I've been following three places* where people post about items they've gotten rid of, and those random internet people have inspired a new sporadic post series for this blog. I will, from time to time, post a list (and maybe some pictures) of things that have left my possession.

Decluttering for me is a long process because I can't do a full sweep in one go. I have to strategize. I have to muster the energy. I can't let my husband watch me do it because if he sees what are in my boxes he questions things or takes them out. I'm not touching his items; just mine...or maybe a kitchen item from time to time.

What has left my possession recently? (well in all honesty many items are still being possessed, but are humbly waiting in boxes until I can donate officially.)

  • At least two boxes of books. 
  • Our old collection of kitchen utensils. We were gifted with an all metal set so we took our cheap crap to the breakrooms at work.
  • A few coffee mugs.
  • More than three pairs of pants.
  • A small mountain of socks.
  • A pair of slippers.
  • A mirror.
  • A few brooches.
  • A watch with spare bands.
  • A few kitchen gadgets.
  • Some shirts.
  • A jumpy chair.
  • A baby activity chair.
  • Two canisters of baby food.
  • Vanilla beans. I'm not making vanilla extract this year like I wanted to so I brought the beans to work. They were excitedly taken.
  • An ice cream scoop.
  • A random assortment of office supplies.
  • A pair of shoes.
  • 2 Nail files.
  • Expired medication.
  • A scarf.
  • Various stacks of paperwork.
  • A cardigan.
  • A dress.

*Those three places are:
  1. Becoming a Minimalist
  2. Annual Declutter Challenge Facebook Group
  3. Getting rid of stuff / Clearing out the clutter

What has left your possession recently?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

3 Small Acts of Giving.

I'm not a high income earner in this season of my life. It makes me feel bad when I can't write checks to local organizations and programs that I know can really use the money to make a difference in the community. There are many families here that need help. I wish I could help them all. So until I get my own financial house in order here are three small acts of giving that I currently do:

  1. Donations of used clothing and household items. Decluttering is a continuous process in my house. I have stacks of boxes of things I no longer need that I will be donating to local charities. I've also been able to catch good deals for new clothing and toys for almost free! I'm especially excited about donating the toys when I see local businesses advertising toy drive drop offs.

  2. Amazon Smile. I recently started using this service. Basically for every qualifying purchase I make on, Amazon will donate 0.5% to a charity of my choice. I chose a local community that does so many wonderful things in my area. Read more about this free service here. I just use Amazon like I usually do, but I make sure that the website address says first.

  3. Donations of food and toiletries. I've been slowly learning about couponing here and there, which has resulted in some free or low cost items that I can give to food banks in my area. Food banks are always in need of shelf stable food and toiletry items.

These three things are small acts of giving. I hope in the future that I can afford to give much more. How do you give?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Last Month's Frugal Efforts.

I dried sheets and comforters in the sunlight. I found a way to hang my clothes out to dry too. (toddler logistics) I'm looking forward to a lower power bill.

I used up the last of my free sample of body wash.

I have windows open all night and close them in the morning before it starts getting hot so I can avoid using the AC when possible.

I gave my brother some sweet potato chips nobody liked so they wouldn't go to waste. He also received some random foodstuffs I no longer wanted or needed.

My toddler started eating pizza (he's a very picky eater so this is huge!) so while his consumption of organic snack foods will go down, I'll have to come up with inexpensive ways to serve him healthy pizza.

I used some gift cards earned through Swagbucks to buy the toddler some books that were on sale.

I bought my sister's birthday gift for $10 using a promotional credit from Amazon. I'll pair it with some fresh ground coffee from my coffee stash.

I read some awesome free Kindle books. I used a promotional credit from Amazon to purchase the next book in a series.

I signed up for free 3 months of Audible, which means I get three free audio books.

I signed my toddler and I up for the library's summer reading program. I borrowed some books and movies there for free too.

I finally was able to drop off several boxes of donations! They provided me with a receipt so I can write it off during tax time.

I placed an order with the new website (I scored a free 6 month membership, and they just went Live in Beta.) The savings were pretty good. Very comparable to Amazon and Vitacost so it will be a fun challenge to see where I can get things the cheapest.

I saved a bra by pulling out the pokey under wires.

My mom came over willingly to mow our property. Our lawnmower is broken beyond repair, and the grass was at least 2 feet tall. My husband did a dump run for her (and us) in exchange.

I print coupons via Swagbucks, I download coupons to my Fred Meyer/QFC card, I collect coupons from BzzAgent and what I receive in the mail from QFC, and I look for coupons in the local grocery ads and magazines. I try to pass off the ones I don't end up using, though often my toddler usually winds up with them. I've heard about military families being able to use expired coupons so I really need to look into that.

Life insurance through work is ending. I got the ball rolling on getting some elsewhere. And still nagging my husband to do it too.

I talked myself out of some purchases.

I put out the toddler's crumbs and leftover bits on the railing for the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks.

My husband gave the unused moby wrap to his pregnant coworker.

MIL offered us some silverware that her friend didn't want. Instead of throwing out our still somewhat usable utensils My husband and I are taking them to work and donating them to the break rooms.

I gave two packages of diapers to my sister's friend because my toddler outgrew them.

I gave in to my year + long desire to get a Kindle Paperwhite, however, it was used, and it cost me $21 out of pocket (after an Ebay gift card and PayPal cash). I've been reading the Kindle app on my tablet a lot lately, and my eyes are getting strained.

And the usual...bringing coffee and food to work from home.

What have you done lately to be frugal/save money?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Things I Got for Free. Haul #2

See Haul #1 here.

What's pictured?

  • Blue spatula
  • Cashew milk
  • Candy bar
  • Deodorant samples
  • Disposable razors
  • Shaving gel
  • Bath poof 
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Lotion
  • Coffee
  • Baby rash cream
  • Seasoning
  • Top 'ems
What isn't pictured?
  • Chocolate truffle bar
  • Sriracha ketchup
  • Hot dogs
  • Box of fruit bars
  • Cheese slices
  • Organic tortilla chips
Estimated value of above items: ~$38

How did I get them for free? A mixture of choosing from the list of available free samples when I placed orders on, the weekly free item from Kroger stores, and being a BzzAgent.

What have you received for free lately?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Declutter Challenge Weeks 2-4

(More than) two weeks ago I started the declutter challenge. I went out of order, but each day had a different total item count. Here's what I got rid of before I stopped:

April 8th:  7 items one glove, one receipt, one coupon, one bottle of essential oil, two cans of soda, one postcard.
April 9th: 20 items two boxes of magazines, one shirt, one charm, one key chain, one hair tie, two rubber bands, two pairs of scissors, ten paperclips.
April 10th: 19 items two pins, one pen cap, one pen refill, one rubber band, one razor blade,one pencil, one hook, one card, one broken pen, three tacks, two nails, two tags, one business card, one index card.
April 11th:  17 items 5 cans of soda, four necklaces, one pair of gloves, five packages of candles, one package of knee highs, one pair of unmentionables.

I stopped because I had a health emergency situation, and after that ended I was too far behind to catch up.

Initial Thoughts:

It's almost absurd how when I'm looking through things I haven't seen in years that I feel resistance to get rid of them. Things that have not served me in any way, and I suddenly don't want to part with them!

The amount of crap that I've been holding onto --intentionally and unintentionally-- is crazy!

Total number of items gone: 111!

After Thoughts:

As fun as these number challenges are, since this isn't the first challenge I failed...I've come to the conclusion that these challenges just aren't for me, and that's okay. What's important is the desire to have and want less. At this point in my life I just need to declutter at my own pace.

Overall I have been decluttering for over a year. Sometimes it's slow going, but I always keep going. I can see vast improvements. My living room takes less than 5 minutes to pick up my toddler's toys and books at the end of the day. It takes about 10 minutes to hang/fold my husbands clothes, my clothes, and the towels. (it takes 45 minutes to put my toddler's away because he loves playing with his clean clothes)

I did enjoy keeping track of what items I purged. It's motivating, eye opening, and kind of terrifying. I plan to post occasional updates with my decluttering. I still have several trouble spots (linen closet, pantry, kitchen, laundry room, etc.)

What have you decluttered lately?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Meal Plan for May 31st - June 6th


Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
Lunch: Chips and salsa, leftover yogurt parfait
Dinner: Scrambled eggs and pressure cooked yellow potatoes


Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
Lunch: Leftover hamburger surprise, mashed potatoes, and corn
Dinner: Salad


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Sandwich and chips
Dinner: Burgers and salad


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Leftover burger, chips
Dinner: Salad or ?


Breakfast: Oatmeal or muffins and coffee
Lunch: Homemade pizza
Dinner: Roast, potatoes, and carrots


Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
Lunch: Waffles
Dinner: Leftover roast, potatoes, and carrots


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Leftover pizza
Dinner: Leftover waffles

What is your meal plan this week?

Last Month's Frugal Efforts.

While waiting for the price to go down on a water table for the toddler I used things already on hand for him to have "water fun" outside. He loved it!

Using up the free body wash sample I received. I also used up a free coffee sample.

I have had a wireless mouse for my laptop on my Amazon wishlist for a couple years. It just so happened to be a Deal of the Day so after using a gift certificate earned from Swagbucks I saved 72%!

On Mother's Day my mom took the toddler and I to the playground for free fun. He had a great time! He loved the slide and the play fire truck.

Instead of buying my mom a Mother's Day card I had my toddler make one.

I made waffles to use up the yogurt I got on a Manager's Special.

My husband and I enjoyed the free Lindt milk chocolate truffle bar we received from the grocery store.

There's a new movie coming out soon and instead of paying to watch it I put a request on it at the library. It will be a pleasant surprise when it's available to watch. It's not a movie I'd pay for.

My mom's Mother's Day gift was paid in full from using a gift certificate redeemed via Swagbucks.

I started planning the rest of the year's special occasion gifts and cards. I bought my sister's birthday card (20% off) using PayPal credit from Ebates. I'm going to have everyone sign this card instead of them each getting her a card.

I looked into Amazon Mom's 20% off diapers and Subscribe and Save. I can get diapers there for $0.17 each instead of the $0.24+ each via Costco. I previously though you couldn't get cheaper diapers than Costco.

I also found organic low acid coffee for $9.12lb. That's a lot cheaper than I was paying elsewhere.

Oddly enough my new smartphone from Republic Wireless is $10 a month unlimited everything, whereas my previous Verizon flip phone cost $20 a month for unlimited texting plus $0.25 a minute. Plus with the smartphone I can take great pictures of my toddler, which brings me joy, I can read even more by using the free Kindle app, I can use a free notepad app to take down things to look into later, etc.

I fell off the meal planning bandwagon a little bit, but I'm going to get back on. My husband neglected grocery shopping for a little bit so we really ate down the food we had on hand. This works out because now we can be more mindful of our food purchases.

I discovered the perks of Amazon Subscribe and Save of 15% off (with 5 subscribed items) plus coupons = major savings. I can change up the subscriptions each month, and many of the items are paid for via gift cards.

I "bought" several free Kindle books. I borrowed many ebooks from my library. My toddler has been enjoying the free kids music videos via Amazon Prime.

I made sure my husband used all possible coupons when he went grocery shopping.

I dragged out the drying rack from the closet, put it outside in the sun, and dried my huge king sized comforter. I've had a hard time getting it properly dried using the dryer, but hanging it outside worked like a charm. I hope to get back into hanging clothes to dry this summer. (toddler logistics)

I have an upcoming dental surgery, and as luck would have it I was able to get on my husband's dental insurance at his work so now I'm double insured, and I won't pay nearly as much out of pocket. Huge savings!

I have been listening to Dave Ramsey's radio show for free at work and via an app on my phone.

And I did the usual of taking my coffee, snacks, and meals to work.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Last week's frugal efforts.

I inventoried my son's clothes so I know what to buy. I was going to stock up on sizes, but I've been advised to not do that past size 2T due to a multitude of that saves me a lot of money! I'll buy as needed, and I learned that I can get new jeans for $3 on sale at Children's Place with a free shipping coupon. So when I am in need of clothes I'll check that side out.

I purchased a reusable Swiffer duster "refill" on Etsy instead of buying disposables. It was cheaper too (even with a coupon!) No more buying refills!

I bought toddler books that were on sale and sippy cup replacement parts using Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks and PerkTV so it cost nothing out of pocket. He loved his books, and I love that the replacement parts were cheaper than buying a new cup, and they will last twice as long.

I carpooled to/from work and brought my coffee/food from home.

We found that using coconut oil on little one's itchy skin soothed it so now we don't have to buy "anti itch cream" per MIL's request.

I've been enjoying free ebooks from the library.

I have been using up things in the pantry that have been living in there for awhile. This saves on the need to spend more on groceries. I made some orange crush jello that was kind of gross, but my MIL liked it so I gave her the other two boxes. We've cut down on soda to practically zero so I brought all the Hansen's brand cans to work for people to enjoy. I did keep the root beer so we can make root beer floats as special treats as the weather gets hotter.

I'm using up my various products (moisturizer, etc.) so I can use more natural and simple items as well as make my own.

I took my toddler for a walk to see the cows and goats on the mini farm down the road. He loves watching them, and sometimes they will come right up to the gate.

What were your frugal efforts last week?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Last week's frugal efforts.

I really didn't want to make my mom's birthday cake. I just really, really didn't feel like it. So I gave my brother some cash and asked him to please buy an angel food cake. He bought me a mix! I ended up making the cake at the last minute. Luckily it was easy, and everyone loved it. I'll either keep the mix for use in the summer or return it.

I've been reading free Kindle books and ebooks from my library. I signed up for BookBub so I get daily emails with free or reduced ebooks in genres of my choosing. I "buy" the books that sound appealing. I have hundreds of books waiting to be read. (and they aren't physical copies cluttering up my house!)

My toddler has great interest in coupons and magazines and other paper-like things. I handed him a stack of expired coupons, and he played/studied/stacked them for a long time. He also took great joy in playing with the box of magazines I was decluttering. I'm glad he loves to play with random things so I don't have to buy a lot of toys.

I've been using old shampoo that didn't work well with my hair as a body wash instead of just tossing it.

I've been using the heaters less. I'm tempted to put the bedroom space heater away until next Fall.

A few months ago I accidentally bought tons of organic coffee that was on sale from, and my husband doesn't like it that much. So he came up with the idea of me taking some to work to share with everyone. (yes, I could return it, but this way I help coworkers escape the Folgers)

A couple months ago the bulb went out in our bedroom salt lamp that we used as a night light. We still haven't replaced the bulb. Before we kept this thing on 24/7 (shudder) but now it hasn't been on at all.

On our date night (first one in months!) we went to a theatre, and we saved at least $5 by accepting their free rewards card. I didn't even have to register any info. They just handed me the card. Score! With this card we can see movies for $5 every Tuesday. Not that we'll be going there every Tuesday, but it's nice to know that for future date nights we can have a cheap date.

What frugal accomplishments have you achieved this past week?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Declutter Challenge Week #1

It's been one week since I started the declutter challenge. I decided to do it out of order so I wouldn't get stressed out because of my busy daily life stuff. So here are the seven "days" I tackled:

April 1st:  1 item rabbit doll.
April 2nd: 6 items one pair of slippers, one slipper, one box of magazines, one belt, one box of writing utensils, one small plastic container.
April 3rd: 4 items two rugs, one pair of headphones, one bracelet.
April 4th:  11 items one pair of slippers, one pair of shoes, one package of wax melts, one light bulb, one pair of sunglasses, one stuffed animal, one ad, one perfume sample, one pencil, one pen, one battery.
April 5th: 2 items one bottle of soda, one pair of toddler shoes
April 6th: 21 items four cans of soda, one gadget, one chocolate bar, two notebooks, one headphones case, one printer software CD, one ribbon, one bookmark, one bracelet, one blank card, one toy, one card stock envelope, two pairs of shoelaces, two pairs of gloves, one single glove.
April 7th: 3 items one card, one tool, one bracelet


It's easier to declutter when my husband isn't home so I don't have to listen to him ponder and/or disapprove of my choices and try to rescue things. It's hard to fill a box when there is a toddler taking things out of the box.

I'm so glad I got rid of those ugly rugs. They were a Christmas gift a couple years ago, and I "used" them for awhile so I wouldn't feel guilty. Now I'll never feel guilty about them again.

Total number of items gone: 48!

What have you decluttered lately?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Meal Plan for 4/5/15 - 4/11/15


Breakfast: Cereal and coffee
Lunch: Caesar salad
Dinner: Easter Dinner (ham, potatoes, rolls, pie, corn, angel food cake)


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Sandwich and chips
Dinner: Leftover breakfast rice


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Leftover breakfast rice
Dinner: Date night...eating out?


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Sandwich and chips
Dinner: Pizza


Breakfast: Cereal and coffee
Lunch: Leftover pizza
Dinner: Burgers and fries


Breakfast: Cereal and coffee
Lunch: Leftover pizza
Dinner: Sausage and pasta


Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
Lunch: Leftover pizza
Dinner: Leftovers

What is your meal plan this week?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Last Week's Frugal Efforts

Technically the past two weeks since I didn't make a post last week. Here are things I did to be frugal:

I made dinner using the free vegetarian crispy tenders I received. It was pretty good! I'm not sure I'll ever give up chicken tenders, but these would be just fine on occasion.

I kept the thermostat low and the bedroom space heater off. Warm weather is creeping up here.

I keep fighting the urge to buy a Kindle Paperwhite because the Kindle app on my three? year old tablet works fine. I set up the Overdrive app so now I can borrow all ebook types from my library.

I brought food and coffee to work instead of buying takeout.

I fixed my W4 withholding and upped my 401k contribution to 14%! Once my husband's withholding changes go through we are set to pay off our medical bills by the end of 2015!

I made my mom's birthday card instead of buying one.

My mom bought my son some pants and shorts so he's definitely set for clothing for awhile.

How were you frugal last week?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Declutter Challenge Starts Today.

Have you heard about the 30 day declutter challenge? It's a game I discovered over on The Minimalist's Blog. The rules are super simple. On day 1 you get rid of one item. On day 2 you get rid of two items and so on.

I have attempted this game a few times before and failed because it's hard to manage a full time job + toddler + house duties + etc. But this time I won't fail. Because I'm going to go out of order. I will declutter as many items as I can each day, and I'll mark that number off on the calender so by the end of the month I will have decluttered a total of XX items.

There are already things on my mental list that will be gone once the challenge starts. That pair of shoes that doesn't fit anymore. That little stuffed rabbit I received as a gift one year that doesn't bring me joy. That cute toddler hat that my son refuses to wear that he will soon outgrow anyway.

What's the point of decluttering? Why would I bother waiting to declutter just so I can partake in a silly minimalist game?

  • Because it makes me feel accountable for getting things done.
  • I can go at my own pace while not feeling overwhelmed with day to day life.
  • I can make a small difference to my household and mental self each day.
  • Having less stuff means I have less to maintain and clean.
I came across this article: Everything in its Place, Finally and Forever and wow, it blew me away. You need to read it so that you can be moved too. Here are a couple of snippets:

There is an indescribable weight on your conscience that is released when you give something up. Every item you get rid of frees you, it really does.

I never realized the agitating effect that homeless stuff has on the mind. There’s this mild but always-present feeling that something is unresolved, because we only leave things lying around under the pretense that they’re only going to be there temporarily. But the resolution never comes, because the homeless objects have no place to go.

Have you participated in the declutter challenge? Will you try today? Surely you can part with one item. Post your declutter efforts in the comments. I'd love to read them! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Things I got for Free. Haul #1

I thought it would be fun to show the things that I get for free and share how I obtained them. Receiving free things helps me stretch my money further and allows me to put more into savings for other things.

Below is my first haul. Not pictured: bamboo spoon and coffee creamer.

What's pictured?

  • two bags of vegetarian entrees
  • one package of applewood smoked bacon
  • two yogurt cups
  • one bag of organic banana chips
  • one bag of ground coffee
  • one package of tortillas
  • one jar of salsa
  • one container of liquid water enhancer
  • one piece of Easter candy
  • one bag of pasta
  • one package of brownie mix

Estimated value of above items: ~$48.97

How did I get these things for free? It was really easy actually. It was a mixture of a buy one get one free coupon I received in the mail, being a BzzAgent, and loading the free weekly item from Kroger.

What is a BzzAgent? The website is a word of mouth marketing company. I signed up to be a product tester in exchange for writing reviews and talking to people about the things I received for free. They have different campaigns, and they offer them to you depending on the short surveys you take.

What free weekly item from Kroger? I have two local Kroger stores: Fred Meyer and QFC. Every Friday I log in to my QFC account, go to the coupon section and load the free item to my card. Then when I go to the store the cashier scans my QFC or Fred Meyer card (they're connected) and the item's price is automatically deducted to zero.

My local small grocery store chain also does a free weekly item (with a $5 purchase) that I used to take advantage of, but I don't get out that way much anymore. If you haven't been paying attention to the weekly grocery store ads you receive in the mail you should take a look to see if they are offering any free incentives.

It didn't take much effort for me to get the above free things. I hope this post has inspired you to the possibility of free things to help stretch your food budgets further.

What have you received for free lately?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Meal Plan for 3/22 - 3/28


Breakfast: Waffles
Lunch: Flat bread pizza
Dinner: Tacos


Breakfast: Parfait
Lunch: Tacos
Dinner: Leftovers


Breakfast: Parfait
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Burgers


Breakfast: Parfait
Lunch: Sandwich and baked chips
Dinner: Leftovers


Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Bacon, eggs, toast


Breakfast: Waffles
Lunch: Vegetarian "mandarin chicken" and rice
Dinner: Asian pork and rice


Breakfast: Parfait
Lunch: Sandwich and chips
Dinner: Leftovers

What is your meal plan this week?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Last Week's Frugal Efforts.

I got my toddler's shoe/boot size completely wrong for the rain boots I ordered last week. I'm going to keep the pair I received until he's bigger. I ordered a smaller pair using an Amazon gift card I received from Swagbucks.

I froze the leftover pizza sauce before it went bad. I usually forget to use it up so it gets wasted. Not this time!

My mother in law brought donuts so I had one of those for breakfast on the way to work this morning.

My husband surprised me by making a good and creative dinner using stuff we've had on hand for a long time.

We combined errands yesterday so we were able to "go into town" to get cat food, bird food, squirrel food, groceries, and take the toddler to his checkup. We followed my grocery lists! I picked up a bunch of free items. (future post about the free stuff)

I bought some yogurt at the store I didn't end up liking so I gave it to my brother so it didn't go to waste. (he's like my personal garbage disposal!)

I finally found something my toddler will eat that can be manipulated! Waffles! So I ordered a waffle maker using Amazon gift cards from PerkTV, InstaGC, and Swagbucks. I'm going to find recipes that use fruits and vegetables. I'm pretty excited. I love waffles, and this waffler maker has ceramic plates instead of toxic non-stick teflon.

I also ordered a permanent coffee filter for the coffee maker. My husband thinks the paper ones we got from Costco (one package lasted years!) makes bad coffee so now that we're almost out of paper filters we can try this permanent one out. I purchased on Amazon through Ebates so I was able to save 3%.

I brought leftovers and coffee to work instead of buying.

I mended a rip in my sweater.

I mended a pocket on my brother's jacket.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Last Week's Frugal Efforts.

Below are the ways I have been frugal and/or saved money over the past week. Feel free to comment with your own. I love finding new ways to save (and earn) money.

It's getting to be that time of year that my power bill gets lower because we can open the curtains up to let the sunlight in to warm the house instead of turning on the heater, and we don't have to keep our outside lights on as long.

I deposited an ebates check and Sprint settlement check into savings for a whopping $15! (savings = $15.00)

I borrowed books from the library on melt and pour soap making so I can find some simple recipes to make future Christmas gifts. Once I find what I'm looking for I can start pricing out the best supplies.(savings = $30+)

I used ebates to buy vanilla beans on Ebay for future Christmas gifts. I also used PayPal cash I received from an online writing gig so I spent $0 out of pocket. (savings = $16.33)

My husband and I are trying out a new cell service and phone. So far it looks like we will be switching. (savings = ~$43.65/month)

I brought food and coffee to work.

I didn't use the space heater at night for several nights. For the nights I did I kept it low.

Kept thermostat down day and night.

Used Swagbucks gift card to buy toddler rain boots via ebates for an extra 3% savings. (savings = ~$16.80)

Borrowed mil's angel food cake pan instead of buying one. (savings = $10+)

My mom kindly bought my toddler three pairs of new jeans that he will grow into very soon. (savings = $15+)

Took toddler to a playground for the first time. (savings = Priceless)

Sent some soon-to-expire yogurt and not-so-fresh spinach to brother to get eaten (technically didn't save me money, but it meant the money spent didn't go to waste.)

Tried out a free coffee creamer. I didn't like it (understatement!) so I brought it to work instead of dumping it.

Taught my toddler to hand me his snacks that he doesn't want to eat instead of throwing them on the floor. Crumbs were put outside for the birds to eat.

I printed two coupons for things I actually buy. (savings: $1.50 + $.20 for the $.10 redemption credit via Swagbucks = $1.70 savings)

I raised my 401k contribution to 8%! (my goal was to bring it up from my original 4% by the end of 2015) I also had a free financial advising appointment at work.

What did you do this past week to be frugal?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Last Week's Frugal Efforts.

Over the course of the last seven days here are some small things I did to save money. Big or small, these things add up over time.

I purchased a used copy of The Tightwad Gazette off Ebay using my Ebates account and PayPal cash I earned through a writing gig. I can’t wait to read it and be inspired to save even more.

I brought my meals/snacks and coffee to work (from home) every day.

I kept the house thermostat low and only used the space heater in the bedroom at a lower temperature than usual. Last night I didn't have it on at all.

I ordered a Republic Wireless cell phone (their cheapest phone at $99 plus their $10 per month plan) for my husband and me to try out. If my husband decides to go with this plan we will save about $35 a month. After 3 months this change will have paid for itself. If I decide to go with this plan, it will balance out against my current phone plan after 6 months, with a savings of $10 a month. Total potential savings: $40 a month.

The thought of two unlimited smart phones for $20 a month (plus tax) is amazing.

I ate the free oatmeal I received for breakfast a couple of times. I signed up for BzzAgent a few months ago, and I receive free products in exchange for spreading the word through social media, word of mouth, and reviews.

How did you save money last week?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Meal Plan for 2/22/15 - 2/28/15

My last meal plan didn't go as planned. But alas, I am trying again. It will get easier the more I practice.


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
  • Lunch: Rice, corn, and kielbasa
  • Dinner: Pancakes


  • Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
  • Lunch: Spinach pasta w/red sauce
  • Dinner: Soup and crackers
  • Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
  • LunchSpinach pasta w/red sauce
  • Dinner: Chicken and rice
  • Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
  • Lunch: Sandwich and chips
  • Dinner: Chicken and rice
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
  • Lunch: Salad
  • Dinner: Flat bread pizza
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal and coffee
  • Lunch: Salad
  • Dinner: Flat bread pizza
  • Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
  • Lunch: Sandwich and chips
  • Dinner: Leftovers
I hope this works out! Feel free to comment with your meal plan for the week. I'd love to see it to get some ideas for future meal plans.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Just take my stuff please!

I have two boxes of books, two boxes of misc. things, a garbage bag of stuffed animals, and a mile long list of other things to donate that are just sitting around...waiting.

I don't drive. It's awkward to have someone else donate my stuff and get a receipt and/or take me to do it myself with a toddler in tow, and it's complicated to coordinate a time for my husband to do it since he doesn't wake up early enough to get to the local thrift shop before they close. I'd rather donate stuff there because they do so much for the community, they need donations, and they would appropriately take care of my former things.

I have a porcelain doll that my grandmother hand made especially for me when I was young. It's beautifully made...but it's ugly. (there, I said it!) I don't want to display it or store it somewhere forever. I want the local thrift shop to have it because I just know they will find it a proper home.

But the other things. I'm about ready to pack up hubby's car and politely demand that he drop them off at the local Goodwill truck on his way to work one afternoon. Having these things hanging out in my house for over a month in purgatory is starting to stress me out. Ugh! And the free magazine subscriptions! Why did I sign up for so many? These dead trees full of ads sit mostly unread on bookshelves in "I'll get to it one day" skewed piles, and I feel a twinge of guilt when I look at them.

Alas, no donation centers pick up at my location. Giving stuff away is complicated.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Meal Plan for 2/8/15 - 2/14/15

What better way be motivated to actively meal plan than to blog about it every week? So here is my first installment weekly meal plans!?


  • Breakfast: Cereal and coffee
  • Lunch: Spaghetti
  • Dinner: Corned beef, yellow potatoes, broccoli & cheese


  • Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
  • Lunch: Cheesy pasta and kielbasa
  • Dinner: Soup and crackers
  • Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
  • Lunch: Spaghetti
  • Dinner: Tacos or ?
  • Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
  • Lunch: Leftover corned beef and yellow potatoes
  • Dinner: Soup and crackers
  • Breakfast: Cereal and coffee
  • Lunch: Pita pizza
  • Dinner: Pancakes, eggs, sausage
  • Breakfast: Waffles and coffee
  • Lunch: Pita pizza
  • Dinner: Homemade "KFC Bowls"
  • Breakfast: Parfait and coffee
  • Lunch: Leftovers
  • Dinner: Soup and crackers
This is a rough draft. Things might get mixed up. Sometimes my husband will cook something at random when he gets home from work because he works different shifts than me.

I'm also trying to eat through my pantry and freezer. I try to bulk cook to make working full time + keeping house + raising a toddler + being a wife somewhat manageable.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Financial Goals for 2015

My husband and I are not high earners so my goals might not seem like a big deal to you. We are both searching for better jobs, but in the meantime my goals are based off of what we currently make.
  1. Save 3 months worth of expenses. We already have 1 1/2 months saved.
  2. Pay off 3k medical bill. (on an interest free payment plan)
  3. Pay off $1,100 home maintenance bill. (on an interest free payment plan)
  4. Buy a new used car. (with the help of trading in our current 1995 car and selling our old dead car probably for scrap)
  5. Open Roth IRAs for both of us. If not both than just my husband, and I'll bump up my currently 4% 401k contribution.
We don't have student loans or credit card debt. We don't have cable. We have one 1995 car (bought with cash) that's seen better days. I just started my 401k at the end of December. I immediately signed up for the 4% because that's what the company match is. Once some of the above goals are reached I'll bump it up.

We will be getting a tax refund this year. I'm hoping it makes a big dent in my goals. I'm researching some side hustles to enable more cash flow as well as ways to lower our expenses further. On the list so far is:

  • Republic Wireless. We're deciding on a phone (buying used on Ebay) to try the service out. If we both like it we will switch, potentially saving ~$48 a month.
  • Getting a different car that gets better gas mileage and doesn't require premium fuel.
  • Preparing meals in advance to hopefully stop my husband from buying as much takeout and convenience food.
  • Lowering the thermostat and using a space heater in the bedroom with the baby.
  • Eating out of our pantry and freezer.
  • Look into being a virtual assistant.

So this will be an exciting and fulfilling year.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Meal Planning 101 - The First Step to Meal Planning

I am on a mission to simplify my life, and one part of that journey is learning to meal plan. I've looked on Pinterest and read threads on various message boards. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the information out there.

If you are feeling the slighest bit overwhelmed, then I recommend your absolute first step to learning to meal plan is to simply write down what you are already eating for 2 weeks to a month.

That's it!

You can print out a blank calendar and write out your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. You can do this when you're brushing your teeth at night so you don't forget.

Then once you have completed your "food log" you have a basic idea of the foods you eat so you now have a foundation to work with.
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