In an attempt to keep myself accountable to frugality and to inspire readers, I present Five Frugal Wins. FFW is a collection of things I did in the previous week to save money.
(Btw, FFW will become a regular feature ’round these parts, in case you’re interested.)
Real quick though, let me declare that I consider myself a valuist, not a cheapskate. Meaning, I spend money in alignment with my value system, and go cheap on things that don’t matter to me.
It’s an important distinction, I think. Because being frugal for its own sake, without a philosophy or goal, can get hard and depressing.
One: We Ate At Home
I’m forever grateful to my 18 year old son for showing me the “food at home” meme. I giggle every time I think of it.
Seriously, though. Taking 9 people to a restaurant means we drop $100, EASY, on something that’s over in 7 minutes. Even cheap pizza puts us back $60+. Restaurant meals just aren’t pleasurable enough to make the expenditure worth it. We save them for special occasions (vacation, anniversary, graduations).
Recently, we put a big Mason jar in the kitchen. When the kids ask for fast food, we say no but drop a $20 in there. (We explained this system to them beforehand.) Once we get enough to buy a new vanity and mirror, the money will go to a simple bathroom renovation. Hopefully the kids learn from this that money is fungible.
Two: I Got a $30 ThredUp Credit
ThredUp is this awesome online consignment shop. I use them to find clothing for myself and my girls, both little and big. I placed an order last month and requested a free ThredUp bag (postage paid!). I filled it with stuff we no longer wore and shipped it back (did I mention free postage!?).
A week later I got an email saying I had a $30 credit. Lovin’ it. I didn’t have to schlep it to a consignment store! (Disclosure: affiliate link.)
Three: We Joined Costco
It was my eldest son’s idea. He owns a hybrid car that requires premium gas. After a little calculation, he figured that he would save at least $40 a year if he bought gas at Costco. So, we split the $60 membership.
I quickly went to Google to research what the best deals at Costco are, and what to avoid. Looks like we’ll make that $30 back in maple syrup purchases within a couple months. (Their price on that one item is less than half of Aldi’s.)
When you have a ton of kids, you go through stuff like peanut butter, mayonnaise, toilet paper, cheese ridiculously fast. It would save me some hassle to buy large jars/quantities of these items.
I just have to be careful about this psychological effect:
Buying in bulk presents a tremendous temptation to also consume in bulk. You squeeze out way more shampoo in the shower; you make twice as many trips to the pantry to eat snacks; you drink two sodas a day instead of one. Sure, you saved on the per unit price, but your out-of-check consumption habits led you to spend way more money in the long run.
Four: I Helped 18 Year Old Cut His Hair
18 year old son decided he was fed up with nobody cutting his hair the way he wanted. And he’s also frugal as heck. I bought him a “Universal Men’s Grooming Device” as (my idealized man internet crush) Mr. Money Mustache calls it. He’s used it ever since, with a teeny bit of help from me, to cut his own hair. (Disclosure: affiliate link)
I also used it to cut 5 year old’s hair! Woo!
Five: Hubby *Finally* Switched to Mint Mobile
After gently suggesting for ages now that paying Verizon over $120+ a month was sinful, hubby finally switched to Mint Mobile. (Disclosure: affiliate link) And now he loves it! He says his coverage is better than ever.
I love being right almost as much as I love saving money. Double win! I recently paid my ANNUAL bill. Grand total? $155. Insert shock-faced emoji. It just doesn’t get much better than that.
I also: snagged several boxes of Nespresso-compatible pods for .99 each at Sprouts. WHUT!? My Nespresso machine has been one of my best purchases because it keeps me out of coffee shops. And it makes me happy. (I have this one. Affiliate link.)
What frugal wins did you have last week?