Thursday, June 26, 2014

Frugal Housewarming Gift

I have a friend that lives in my hometown that is about to move to another state 12 hours away. She is leaving her entire extended family to move with her husband and two of her three children. I know it is emotional for her.

I will be visiting her next week and wanted to have something to bring to her to help with the moving adjustment. I did some looking on Pinterest and found lots of great ideas. Some of them included dinner in a basket, or wine glasses, or new kitchen towels. All of those are nice ideas, but they were not right for this friend in this situation. And some of those can get pricey!!

I opted for a sentimental gift that cost me nothing out of pocket because I had everything on hand to make this frugal gift. I needed a frame, a blue piece of paper, a pencil, a heart shaped cookie cutter and a glue stick. Any ideas what I making?

I made this Pinterest inspired art of her hometown map cut in the shape of a heart and mounted in a table top frame. The truth is it may not match her decor, but I think the idea behind it will be felt. She could also make her own, or re-frame this one to fit if she chooses. Again this cost me no money at all because I had a frame and map I was willing to give up to make this gift a reality.

I think if one really wanted to bring a gift to a housewarming party that anything homemade, such as cookies, a salad, or even a full meal would be appreciated. It is stressful and tiring to move! The situation with my friend doesn't warrant seeing her in her new home for awhile, so this is the best I can do since I will be seeing her after her home has been packed but before she leaves for the new state.

Have you received a housewarming gift that you especially liked? Do you have a gift you always give to those moving into a new home? Have you actually been inspired to do something from things you have seen on Pinterest?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Frugal Computer Maintenance

I did a little computer maintenance last night that I consider frugal.

My Dell Inspiron 1545 was getting pretty hot and I could tell the fan was running quite a bit. I discovered that this is caused by the vent getting blocked. I found a You Tube Video that explained how to open my computer and pull out the cooling assembly, so that I could get all the cat fur dust out. I have done this in the past so I did have the thermal compound on hand, as well as a can of air. I did have to go buy rubbing alcohol since I had recently discarded ours. The new bottle was $2.54 at Target.

I was able to complete this little maintenance task in about 10 minutes. And now my computer is running much cooler and likely using less energy running the fan to cool it! According to the man in the video, I likely saved $25 to $50 by doing this task myself.

Do you use YouTube for any home, computer or car maintenance tasks?  Do you do it for frugal reasons?

Monday, June 23, 2014

No Shopping Means Less

I am behind on getting to the grocery store. I really need to go to get groceries. I almost went today, because I was sure I would need to get something to eat for dinner tonight.

As it turns out I remembered that we had everything we needed to eat breakfast for dinner. And I don't mean cereal! A couple of us had eggs, toast and turkey bacon. And the other two had pancakes with syrup. No money spent and it was a filling meal. And the dishes are put away in the dishwasher, which I will run tonight!

I will likely get to the store tomorrow, but if I can find something for us to eat in the freezer or cupboard, I might be able to stretch it one more day. There sure isn't anything wrong with eating what we have on hand. I also don't mind that we might not all eat the same thing for a night or two. It keeps the food from going to waste!

My only spending today was for two half hour flute lessons: $40.

Do you eat breakfast for dinner? Do you try to delay going to the store by scrounging for things you can make without going?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Frugal Saturday Task

I did laundry today. I washed clothes for three people in two loads, lights and darks. I always use cold water to save the energy and cost of heating the water. I have found that I really don't have any issues only using cold water. I currently use traditional mid grade detergent, not the least expensive and not the most expensive. I know that I bought the current detergent on a sale at Target. 

I have recently stopped using using dryer sheets. In the past I would rip them in half to save and make them last longer. However, I heard about how the chemicals on those sheets stay in our clothes and then rub against our skin. Yuck, I don't like that idea at all. It turns out, I have not noticed any difference by not using them! Interesting. I call that another frugal move. One less thing I need to buy with our hard earned money.

The day wasn't entirely frugal though. The girls and I ate out at Subway today, primarily as a treat for summer, but also because there really wasn't much food to eat in the house. I ended up at the store to purchase dinner, which was cheese tortellini, salad and croissants. We had the lettuce, tomatoes, pasta sauce and dressing. I did need to buy the pasta, bread and a cucumber. That was today's only spending.

Do you use dryer sheets or fabric softener? Did you do anything frugal on your Saturday? 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I Was Frugal Today

Oh, I did spend money today. I was not planning on it. In fact, I was expecting to run errands and actually return things today. This would have put more money back into my pocket. Unfortunately, a child stayed home sick. The money was spent on a smoothie and lotioned tissues.  I had no coupon for either item. Boo.

I did make lunch at home today. I even lured my husband home to eat lunch when I told him what I made. I used a canned of black beans, about a 1/4c of red onion, 1/4 c of feta cheese, 1 T olive oil and 1 1/2 T balsamic vinegar to make a little salad. We like to eat this with chips or put in a tortilla. Today, I added a small tomato that I knew should be used soon. I just recently threw out three of a similar size that were moldy. Ick! Anyway, I had it all on hand and it was quick to put together.

I cleaned today, since I was home with the sick child. I first stripped the girls beds of sheets to be washed, but I stopped before I started because I realized I could probably add more to the washer. So I headed off with my micro fiber cloths to clean the bathroom. I used a little bit of glass cleaner with the cloths too. I have found I can use far less when I use micro fiber cloths. Once done in there, I thew all the clothes I used in with the sheets. I made sure to grab the wash cloths and towels from the kitchen as well.

I'm also helping another child get ready for an art fair. We realized we needed to put some cardboard in some frames we purchased to display and sell the art. I found paper board mailers that I was able to cut into nine 8x10 backing pieces for these frames. Free! We also want to have a way to transport the frames without scratching or breaking to the art fair, as well as providing a safe way for customers to get them home. I have a large bag of thin Styrofoam material that we kept when we bought our dining room table. Again free to us! I try not to save a lot of packaging for shipping, but if I know I have an event on the horizon I will make an effort to keep some. In the two cases above, it was a good choice.

What did you do that was frugal today?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Save On Home Phone Service with Ooma

With cell phones it seems people are calling home phones less. It is no different at our house. I was determined to find a less expensive way to have a home phone line since we were spending nearly $40 a month to have that home phone service with the local telephone company. 

We found Ooma! It is a device that allows you to send and receive calls over your home internet line. All long distance and local calls are free. Each month we pay about $3.75 in Federal taxes. We are able to call 911 because we pay those fees, so no complaints on that. 

It is very user friendly to set up. You can generally keep your home phone number (for a fee), or chose a new number for free. We went with a new number since our phone company would not allow the transfer. The nice thing about that is we have very few, if any calls from telemarketing companies. Bonus!!

The Ooma telo system retails for $149 most of the time. Right now, through April 28, you can buy a new Ooma system for $99 shipped. To get the $50 discount on the Ooma system, click here to use my referral link. I will receive $20 for referring you, which ends up lowering our phone costs. As a Ooma user, you will eventually (maybe 3 months after sign up) get the opportunity to tell your friends about your Ooma phone and be eligible to earn up to $100 in referral credits per promotion. This ends up making the Ooma telo system free. 

And don't forget the savings you will see each month by not having to pay your local telephone company! Do you still have a land line? How much are you paying? 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lose Weight Spend Less

My husband and I have both been watching our food intake (calories) for over a month now. We are clearly spending less money. I have in the past bought three bags of chips for our family to consume in one week. Now we are not even going through one a week. Chips really were never my thing, but they sure are for my husband. Of course, when we watch our food intake he realizes that there isn't much satisfaction in only eating 8 highly caloric chips. 

The food is lasting longer. I might buy a package of cheese, but it takes longer to consume, since we aren't putting it on as many things. I know we are using less butter, in fact, I think only one of my daughters is actually consuming it every day. We are buying more fruits and vegetables, but those are a big portion of our diet now. We consume them up pretty quickly, but we aren't eating them in excess, just appropriate portions. I also try to find the fruits and veggies that are in season and generally less expensive. 

The interesting thing about counting calories is that it is a similar habit to watching your dollars when you are trying to save. They both require attention to the details and regular effort. I think if you can lose weight you likely have the skills to manage your money wisely if you choose. I think the opposite is true. If you know how to manage and save your money, you can lose weight and get healthy. They both take work and at times we falter, but the payoffs are highly satisfying. 

Do you think you spend less when you are watching your calories? Or do you think you spend more because you are buying healthier food?