Saturday, April 14, 2018

Watching the Loose Change

I like a good deal and I like getting good value for my money. I'm not patient though to go through adds regularly and match coupons and offers, nor do a invest much time in sourcing the best price for everyday items. I could be better about stockpiling ultra bargain priced products I know will get used. I hope to do more of that over the next year since just recently changing my grocery challenge philosophy from monthly targets to an overall annual target. I appreciate simple meals that are tasty and made with inexpensive ingredients, with occasional splurges. I bring my lunch from home 90% of the time, though indulge DH in his more frequent lunches out and use the school lunch program for DD2. I like to think I am thrifty-not a cheap skate. I like to give generously to causes and the community that I feel make a positive difference. We treat ourelves to the occasional meal out and first run movie in a theater. I like my girls night and a happy hour drink or coffee with collegues. We give gifts to family and friends. Still, I enjoy seeing our savings grow or at least see our money invested into our priorities.To these ends, I look for ways to be frugal, some weeks better than others. Here's a recap of some frugal wins in recent weeks.


  • I bought a huge package of chicken drumsticks, I think 13 or 14 in the package for under $5. After dinner, there were still 9 left. Four will be cooked into broth and deboned for chicken noodle soup, and the others for a chicken hotdish. Both the soup and hotdish will yield leftovers for future brown bag lunches or another dinner so potentially as many as 4-5 meals from the package.
  • Creative brown bag lunches save me time and money. Before grocery shopping Wednesday night, my kitchen was looking a bit empty, usual lunch suspects missing. I got creative resulting in meals like a melted cheese and apple sandwich on skinny round breads with a makeshift salad of shredded carrots, craisins, and celery. Another day was leftover salad, that I added  undressed coleslaw cabbage to add back some crunch. It takes me just a few minutes to scour what looks like bare cupboards and fridge and create something that will keep me going through the day. It might be at my expense, but  but there is a running joke in the office to guess what creation will appear in my lunch. I say, let them laugh while they are working past 67. 
  • I filled up my nearly on fumes gas tank with a $ .15 of per gallon discount, timing it after my grocery shop. $2.10 isn't a fortune but it off set the morning coffee  I had  for a coffee meeting. 
  • DH  did the annual maximum contribution on our Roth retirement fund for both of us on Thursday. With us both over 50, we can put $6,500 each. This is after taxes, so once we draw down, we will not face any taxes on the interest earned. It will be important to have some untaxed long term savings to bridge us as needed while I still work and DH retires. This expense was offset with the planned $13,000 from last years savings as part of this years financial priorities. 
  • I did an inventory of various gift cards with balances. I'll make a plan on how to use them instead of cash to help top up savings in April and May. We have $15 in Target, $25 in McDonald's, $45 in Green Mill, $25.71 in Caribou Coffee, $10 in NAPA auto parts, $25 in Kohls,  $50 in a local bar and grill, and $25 in VISA. $220.71 that we can use as cash, reserving funds for savings. 
  • Discovered in a box I had set aside a shirt I had bought at a rock bottom price in the brand and color scheme our nephew/God son loves. It was bought for Christmas but then we decided to give him a skateboard because at the time, I was stuck for ideas to go with the shirt as not much fun to just get clothes when you are 10. I'll find something to go with the shirt or just give him $11 with some movie theater candy, keeping the average between Christmas and his birthday more in  line with what we might otherwise spend since the skateboard was a bit of a splurge. He is saving for some new sports gear, stuff I couldn't begin to pick out so money would be a good gift I think. 
  • Bought DD1's best friend from high school a baby gift combining clearance and Kohl's discount. Baby's do not care if things are previous year fashion. I bought in a 12 month, perfect for next late winter/spring. She knows she is having a boy, so I found Mickey Mouse character clothes and  books (I always give books as part of baby gifts), and spent under $12. I have some spa product to throw in for mom as well, of course bought after Christmas sales. 
There's my recent attempts to watch my funds while still living a full life. It is easier  to save money if a person socially isolates themselves. Granted, when trying to tackle debt and get to a place of norm, it probably is a necessity to pull back from the world, and only focus on not spending. More power to those that are winning that battle. 



12 comments:

  1. Social isolation. That is what has happened to me. Mom and Hub's are just not cutting it.

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    1. You are in a tough situation and focused on your family. More courage at circumstance than choice isolation.

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  2. Like you say, your colleagues can laugh at your lunches but you will have the last laugh. I take my breakfast and lunch 99% of the time and am always amazed what my colleagues spend on (inferior) food. I prefer my own cooking anyway and I always have leftovers. I reckon my ex easily used to spend $600/$700 a month on cafeteria food - and then complain about it!

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    1. It's just silliness and I admit I've had some oddball lunches.I just don't see the point of spending so much in good that isn't thoroughly enjoyed.

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  3. Hmmm, I bristled at your last paragraph. I think I might be what you consider "socially isolated." I don't, as a rule, get all dolled up and go out for meals, work a job outside the home, (though I taught a pointe and tap 2 evenings/week for many years) or enjoy things like Girls' Night Prosecco Parties. I loathe sitting in a movie theater--I feel like I am being held hostage, so I don't go. ("Harry Potter" movies are the exception.) Yet, I feel as if my life is VERY full. I have travelled extensively, sometimes alone. I have had my fill of gourmet restaurants, and have a closet full of quality shoes and clothes, thoughtfully purchased. My house (s)is (are) decorated so that every room (well, maybe not the kids') pleases me. I am rarely idle, and never bored. I enjoy being with my family, but also cherish my time alone in the house. Also, I am not friendless. If I were to pick up the phone with a need, I would have no fewer than a half dozen people rushing to my aid, as I would for them. We might now get together for Prosecco parties, but we do socialize, perhaps in a way that you might see as isolating. I've canned, pulled weeds, crafted, baked, and quilted side by side with friends. I am very content in my life, and so are others like me. We choose to live this way, because we enjoy it.

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    1. *not* get together for Presecco parties, not *now.*

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    2. I was thinking of people so consumed by not spending, anything beyond basic life necessities is a no. With a large family, you are far from what I might think of as socially isolated. You describe a vivacious and full life focused on your nuclear family.

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    3. I hope I didn't offend you or others. I think my words were meant to convey the difference between choosing priorities for spending money as opposed to just being so tight fisted, spending is shunned.

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    4. Not offended at all. I am in a way socially isolated because getting to events hurts me so. Plus, now I cannot afford much. Still, I was not offended

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    5. Linda, You get out to your community things and have your friends in your life. Im sorry you experience pain that keeps you home when you'd like to be out.

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  4. I guess I read it as you intended. I think some people who have frugality blogs are so obsessed with being frugal that they never use their money to live. I can't imagine not taking a vacation or visiting far off family member because it would cost money. I am not talking about those who use every penny for necessities, with nothing left over for luxuries, but those who choose to allow themselves no room for life's enjoyments. I know it costs more to make cookies for a group of kids coming over for a get together, than to serve popcorn, but every family who can should allow for some indulgences like homemade cookies for guests. Kids grow up and you don't want every waking memory of childhood to be about doing without.

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    1. Thanks, Anne. You described my intent perfectly. My favorite blogs to read share money savings and splurged spending, prioritized to their own preference including time. I love Meg B.'s connectedness to her friends via hobbies and life tasks. Quite frankly I'd like more opportunity to socialize like that (not quilting though-I'm horrible)

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