Sunday, June 25, 2017

Recent Frugal Efforts.

I took advantage of the heat and hung lots of blankets and sheets out to dry instead of using the dryer. I use this Portable Umbrella Clothesline Dryer.

I made foaming hand soap.

I redeemed an Amazon gift card from Swagbucks.

I canceled several items on my monthly Amazon Subscribe and Save. 

I made an art wall in the hallway using all the projects my son made in preschool and at the library from the past several months. It made him happy, and eh, why not?

My son and I "donated" five books to the neighborhood library shack, and he picked out five books to take home.

My mom brought over a box full of pajamas and some shoes in larger sizes for my son that she got from a garage sale.

What have you done lately to save money?

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement here.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thankful Thursday

I was having a blah day at work contemplating another cup of coffee when suddenly a coworker comes to my door and says that he brought in some stuff to make root beer floats. I have to admit that I was touched and completely surprised! It was the perfect pick me up, and I had been craving a root beer float for a couple years now.

What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, June 16, 2017

Moment of Pause #19

I love this picture. I was outside with my son getting the mail after a rainfall, and I happened to walk past this wet moss on a tree branch. The vibrant green of nature after fresh rain is so beautiful and refreshing. It makes me very thankful to live in the Pacific Northwest since greenery and rain are common themes here. And the smell--it's like the way life is supposed to be experienced.

It didn't dawn on me until just now, but before I moved into this house I never admired the environment right outside my home before. Not like this - where I want to take pictures of all the things I see in my yard. Sure, when I visited the local rain forests and Maui I would be taking pictures of nature nonstop, but this house is different somehow.

I'm thankful to be living in this space I'm currently in, and that my son has the opportunity to experience real, raw tokens of nature.

What has made you take a moment of pause this week?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thankful Thursday

I am late posting this, but for Mother's Day I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my brother bought chocolate covered strawberries for my, my mom, my mother in law, and my pregnant sister. It's such a thoughtful gesture on his part for many reasons I won't get into.

I was really touched.

There were white chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate covered strawberries to choose from. We split them up between us. They were pretty tasty, and I think I'll have to make them at home one day.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Frugal Fun - Cardmaking with a Preschooler.

My son's classmate recently invited him to her birthday party. This was his first party, and a real live pony party at that! Her mother told me she didn't want any gifts so I thought my son would enjoy making her a birthday card. 

I looked through my card stock and found a pretty, feminine sheet. I cut a rectangle out, folded it in half, and stamped a couple birthday quotes on the inside. I took the quotes from these sentiment stamps. Once he was done with the card I tied a purple ribbon around it for an extra special touch.

Then I let my son go to town. I gave him stickers, self-inking stamps, and washable markers to have fun with. Helpful hint: The blue mat in the picture is a "project" mat I got from the dollar store in the school supply aisle. I have him do his crafts on that so as not to damage the table as much. It's survived glue, markers, scissors, play doh, paint, and more. It's still going strong.

One of my goals this year is to make cards instead of purchasing them. I want to teach my son the value of handmade. I'd also rather not spend $5+ on a card for a pre-schooler. Plus, this is another excuse to spend some quality time together.

Have you made anything with your kids recently? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement here.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Recent frugal efforts.

My son and I planted a free tree that he got from school.

My husband and I signed up for texts from the local pizza place for the chance to win free pizza for a year.

I called Comcast and lowered our bill by ~$15/month.

I filled out the survey on a grocery receipt for free fuel points.

I received a decent sized free sample of laundry detergent.

I received two free boxes of pasta from BzzAgent.

I read free ebooks from the library and my free trial of Kindle Unlimited.

I redeemed points for a $5 Amazon gift card from Bing.

I redeemed $25 PayPal cash from Swagbucks.

My son and I made gluten free raspberry muffins as well as some chocolate chip muffins.

My mom has started using Facebook more and discovered her local buy nothing group. She got my son two pullover sweaters and three pairs of shorts in bigger sizes at no cost.

I scored a bunch of diapers thanks to really good price drops on Amazon. I may have 9 boxes of diapers waiting for my sister's baby shower next month...

My son picked out a couple books from the free little neighborhood library cupboard thing. I grabbed a stack of books off my bookshelf to return the favor.

I emailed a coffee company about their latest batch of coffee tasting burnt. They ended up replacing my latest purchase for free, and at their request I sent some samples of the burnt coffee for them to test.

What have you done to save money lately?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Meal Planning - Pity Party and Action Plan

This is my meal planning whiteboard. There are seven spaces - one for each day of the week. There is ample space to write out a meal idea. So why then, do I always feel the struggle to fill out those seven slots of white space?

(In case you're curious I got the magnetic dry-erase board from Amazon.)

Here are my excuses:
  1. There are three people in this house with different tastes and aversions.
  2. One spouse is on a different work and life schedule.
  3. I am battling time management issues.
  4. I don't do most of the grocery shopping myself.
What am I going to do about those excuses?

#1 I need to gather information. I need to track what food we are eating on which days for a month or more so I have evidence of what actually works. I've written about that before, but I've fallen off the wagon and need the reminder again.

My son eats almost nothing, and his tastes on certain nothings changes constantly so his meals are always a frustrating guessing game. Even if I make what he requests lately he has been saying he's not hungry as soon as it's served.

But if I have evidence of the nothing he eats I at least have a loose backup plan to use when he refuses what I make. 

#2 is a challenge. It's easy to say to plan meals that that spouse doesn't care for when he isn't home, but then if there isn't leftovers he is more apt to spend money eating out everyday, which is a huge financial drain. So am I stuck making two or three meals a day to make sure everyone eats? I need to contemplate this challenge for a bit.

#3 And about the lack of time to plan a meal? Like I'm saving any time when I stare at the pantry. I need to switch on self discipline and get a plan thought out even if it cuts into my own screen time. There, I said it. Fair or not in this family it's up to me to make a plan or money is wasted on eating out.

#4 is pretty much just an excuse even though it's an honest frustration. I can plan meals out of the food we have in our pantry and freezer.

Hey, I'm still learning.

Do you have meal planning struggles? Care to vent your frustrations or post some advice in the comments? I'd love to hear what you have to say.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement here.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Recent Decluttering.

I used to write lists of every single item I decluttered, and after getting out of that habit it's now hindering me from decluttering. I move faster if I don't have to keep track. Plus the longer I sit on something the longer it can try to change my mind to keep it or to "eventually" one day sell it.

So from now on I'll post pictures of my scheduled donation pick ups, like this:

Five boxes of stuff and a magazine holder are now gone from my house, and I never have to look at the contents again. Included in this pile are two dolls my deceased grandmother made. They harbor a lot of negative emotions, and now they are gone forever and cannot haunt me anymore. Hopefully they find their way into someone's life that will get pure joy out of their existence.

What have you decluttered lately?
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