Five Frugal Things 6/23/2017

It was a good week for the change/$1 bill jar!

  1. Even though we’ve added WenYu back into the household, and have had to water the lawn a few days this month, we’ve all been careful about our water use, and there was no increase in this month’s bill.
  2. Our  propane tank gets a fill-up every three months. Previous refills have been over $300, but we’ve also been watching our gas usage, and this month’s refill was only $175. We use gas for our (on demand) hot water, stove/oven, and dryer.
  3. Rather than throw it out, we combined the seasonings that were left in the bottom of the otherwise empty yellow rice container with regular rice – no waste, and we almost couldn’t tell the difference.
  4. We had to buy a 12-pack of paper towels at Costco this week but it should last for a while – the last package we bought lasted for over 18 months. We mostly use rags and old towels instead of paper.
  5. We put $31.67 in our change/$1 bill jar: $18.48 after purchasing Brett’s Father’s Day treats; $1.40 was the change from Monday’s lunch; we had $7.00 left over from the farmers’ market; and $4.79 in change from our monthly big shop. Three $5 bills were set aside this week.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

Five Frugal Things 6/16/2016

Costco is calling us once again . . .

  1. Although we won’t be doing our monthly big shop until next week, we’ve already made our list, so that we have plenty of time to get it right, and not forget anything (like we did last month) or buy something we really don’t need.
  2. I had a moment of panic on Monday evening when Brett couldn’t get the newly-filled propane tank for our barbecue to open (the valve on the tank was broken), and we couldn’t grill the chicken and vegetable skewers I had made. All of us were feeling very hot, tired and frazzled, and my first thought was that we were just going to have to go out for dinner because there were no leftovers and we had nothing ready for back up. But, I took a deep breath, went through the fridge and pantry to see what I could find, and the girls ended up making the pad thai that was scheduled for Tuesday. We enjoyed the chicken skewers the next day.
  3. Rather than throw away a pair of linen slacks in otherwise good condition because the elastic in the waistband is shot (and not able to be repaired – I tried), I decided to pin the waistband to fit with a safety pin so I can hopefully squeeze several more weeks of wear from them.
  4. We did “everyday frugal” all week: dried the laundry in the sun, didn’t throw away any food, cooked and ate all our meals at home, drank filtered tap water, made homemade sun tea, washed out and reused plastic bags, recycled, etc.
  5. We put $23.76 in the change/$1 bill jar this week: $9.41 was left over from filling the barbecue’s propane tank, $3.35 from recycling, and we had $11.00 left over from the farmers’ market.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

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Five Frugal Things 6/9/2017

I roasted a mixture of vegetables in order to use up odds and ends in the fridge.

  1. I earned 1,038 bonus Swagbucks last month! I was very, very surprised (and pleased) that I did so well because that’s an additional $10 in Amazon credit on top of the other points I earned last month.
  2. A couple of months ago I submitted records of the past two years of my student loan payments to Wellesley’s financial aid office, and they adjusted WenYu’s aid award by several hundred dollars, reducing the balance she has to pay.
  3. We cooked every meal at home, used up leftovers and other odds and ends of produce so there was no food waste, and drank lots of filtered water and sun tea.
  4. We put $23.06 into our change/$1 bill jar. $15.56 was the change from another trip to Costco, and $7.50 was left from our farmers’ market shop.
  5. We suffered a frugal fail this week: We had to make a second return trip to Costco for more things that we had run out of, although we still managed to leave the store with just three items (peanut butter, nuts, and fruit). This is the second time we’ve run out of things, most likely from poor planning on my part when I made last month’s shopping list. Fingers are crossed now that we don’t have to step foot in Costco or Big Save until our regular big shop toward the end of the month.

Hopefully none of you had any spending fails this week!

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Five Frugal Things 6/2/2017

  1. We signed up for the free trial for HBO on Amazon and watched movies that we’d otherwise have to pay to rent, then cancelled the subscription before we were charged.
  2. I made the first goal on Swagbucks every day in May, and will earn at least 300 bonus Swagbucks plus the daily lower goal bonus (I made the second goal on a few days too). I’m banking the Swagbucks I’m earning now – they will be turned into Amazon gift cards later and used to beef up our Christmas budget.
  3. WenYu picked up a second job as a part-time server at the restaurant where she worked last summer. The shifts there complement the ones at her other job, and provide big tips. She has enough in her savings to cover expenses this coming year, but wants to get a head start for the following year.
  4. We heard that we might possibly be able to get a better rate on our car insurance with another company, so we requested a quote. At first it looked to be lower than what we are paying now, but we did a  comparison with our current insurance, and discovered it was actually more per month with less coverage and higher deductibles than we have now. So, we’re sticking with our current insurance. We’ll still keep checking once a year though to make sure we are getting the best deal.
  5. We put $13.09 into the change/$1 bill jar: $8.09 in change from a trip to Costco last weekend, and $5.00 leftover from the farmers’ market.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

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Five Frugal Things 5/26/2017

  1. We drank lots of sun tea, and filled our Brita pitcher over and over and over for filtered water. I was curious to know how much we save by making homemade iced sun tea so I priced it out: a big glass is just three cents.
  2. We cooked every meal at home, and had no food waste except for a small bit of fresh basil, which went brown overnight and had to be tossed.
  3. It’s been raining almost every night for the past couple of months, unlike in February and March when it stayed pretty dry, so we turned off the automatic sprinklers in our yard (our lease requires us to keep the lawn watered). Our water bill dropped an amazing $57 last month, and the lawn looks terrific.
  4. Other than a trip to Costco for gas and our weekly trip to the farmers’ market (money already set aside for both) we had another no spend week.
  5. We put $21.33 in our change/$1 bill jar in the past two weeks: $6.13 change from our big shop; $5.50 left over from trips to the farmers’ market, $7.12 left over after paying our annual car registration, and $2.58 from recycling bottles and cans. Small amounts, but they all add up!

What frugal things did you do this week?

Five Frugal Things: 5/19/2017

  1. Instead of paying to park when we picked up WenYu at the airport on Tuesday evening, Brett dropped YaYu and me off at the terminal, and then waited in the cell phone lot until WenYu was off the plane and had her luggage. Savings = $5.00.
  2. Brett and I limited ourselves to just two items when we got together with Renee and friends last Saturday for lunch at Street Burger. I ordered a bacon-blue cheese burger, which I split with Brett, and he ordered the Texas Poutine (otherwise known as fancy chili fries). We drank water instead of ordering beverages off the menu, and our bill came to just $24. Brett brought home over half of the poutine as well as the fries that came with my burger, and those leftovers provided dinner for him and YaYu that evening, and lunch again for Brett the next day.
  3. The big roast chickens from Costco, at $4.99 each, are the best deal around. We bought two of them this month: one is in the fridge and is being used for meals this week, and Brett stripped the meat off the second one, which went into the freezer for meals in the future. We’ll get seven main dishes and lots of chicken salad for sandwiches from the two chickens for less than $10.
  4. We cut back our weekly farmers’ market budget from $20 to $15, because we’ve discovered that we can still get an awful lot of beautiful produce for that amount. Also, now that the heat and humidity are with us again produce has the potential to spoil faster, and we don’t like to keep any more than a week’s worth of produce on hand, even if it’s in the fridge.
  5. We received word this week that YaYu’s round-trip flight to and from the Honolulu airport in June for her trip to China will be covered by the organization sponsoring the tour, a savings of $160 (or 15,000 frequent flyer miles, which is how we were going to purchase the tickets). YaYu and one other girl from Kaua’i are the only two students not already living on Oahu, and the organization did not think it was right that they had to pay more than others in the group to make the trip.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

Five Frugal Things 5/12/2017

The only place we spent money last week, and less than $10.

More frugal happenings at Casa Aloha:

  1. We realized that other than our weekly trip to the farmers’ market, we had a no-spend week last week, and the only spending we did this week was for the farmers’ market again, gasoline for the car (less than $20), and breakfast with Marji and her husband on Monday. Money for the farmers’ market and gasoline had already been set aside, so breakfast was the only discretionary spending.
  2. Brett carries a bag along when he walks, and picks up any cans and bottles that are littering the beach path, taking care of two things at the same time: the beach path is cleaner, and we get to recycle the cans/bottles, with the money going into our travel fund.
  3. I went through the J. Jill site the other day (my favorite place to buy clothes), and put four items in my shopping bag . . . and that’s where they still are. I need some new warm weather clothing, but I still can’t bring myself to buy anything this year.
  4. YaYu took leftovers every day for her lunch.
  5. The group sponsoring the trip to China that YaYu will be on this summer recommended students bring $300 – $400 in yuan along for spending money. We asked YaYu how much she wanted to bring and she said $100 – “I know what things cost there. I’m not planning on buying anything other than street food.” That’s our girl!

What frugal wins did you have this week?

Five Frugal Things 5/5/2017

No-carb chicken salad lunch

Some of the frugal happenings at Casa Aloha this past week:

  1. I earned 779 bonus points in April from Swagbucks, enough for another $5.00 worth of Amazon credit and then some.
  2. I keep a stainless steel soap pad in a Ziplock bag in the freezer in between uses to keep it from rusting. Also, cutting the pads in half before I use them not only makes them last longer, but it helps sharpen our scissors as well. A regular size box of soap pads lasts us for nearly three years!
  3. We had been putting our monthly cable/internet payment on our rewards card (and then paying it off each month), but we switched to paying with cash this month, rounding up to the nearest $5.00 and putting the difference in our change/$1 bill jar. The reward card gave us around 9¢ per month for a reward; by using cash we’ll be putting away over $4.
  4. The roasted chicken we bought last week from Costco for $4.99 was used in four evening main dishes (Chinese three-color salad, pad thai, curry and egg foo yung), two chicken salad lunches, chicken fried rice for YaYu’s lunch, and as an addition to some soup.
  5. We had no food waste, made sun tea, and filled our Brita pitcher over and over and over.

What frugal wins did you have?

Five Frugal Things 4/28/2017

Here are five frugal things from this past week:

  1. We realized last weekend that the shorts Brett was wearing were purchased in 1999! I bought them from the Gap, along with three other pairs, on sale for $6 each. Other than being a bit faded they’re still in excellent shape. His Reyn Spooner aloha shirt was purchased from Goodwill for just $6.99.
  2. We of course brought home the complementary toiletries that were in our room at the Hotel Coral Reef. The soap and shower gel are being used now, but the shampoo, conditioner and lotion were set aside for future travels.
  3. We always combine trips whenever possible to save gas, so made a loop of Walmart, Big Save, Cost-U-Less and finished up at the farmers’ market on Wednesday, and then on Thursday morning stopped at Costco on the way home from my appointment at the Barking Sands PMRF base (on the far west side) to get my military ID card renewed.
  4. Before we shopped at Costco, we went carefully over our list one more time and were able to remove four items that we either didn’t really need, or that can wait until next month.
  5. Rather than buy pre-cut pineapple for kabobs next week ($12.99), we again bought a whole one for just $2.99. The pineapples sold at Costco are from Maui and they’re huge – we’ll get twice as much fruit as a package of pre-cut. We’ll also plant the top and keep our fingers crossed – the chickens have dug up the last two.

What frugal things did you do this week?

 

Five Frugal Things 4/21/2017

It was another frugal week here at Casa Aloha:

  1. We used some of our Hawaiian Airlines mileage stockpile this last week to book WenYu’s ticket from Honolulu to Kaua’i in May. Total out-of-pocket cost for her flight: $5.60 (the taxes).
  2. As usual, we washed only three loads of clothes this week, and hung many of them out in the sun to dry. We wash in cold water, except for the white load when we use the ‘Eco-warm’ setting (our towels are white, so they’re in this load).
  3. YaYu needed a long dress for one event at the Key Club convention this weekend, and the dress code is fairly strict. She spent several hours looking online for something both appropriate and affordable, but ended up buying a simple black dress and ‘gold’ necklace at Ross this past weekend for just $10.88! A friend will loan her a pair of shoes to complete her outfit.
  4. Brett and I have decided that rather than ordering off the regular dinner menu at the restaurant tomorrow evening, we’ll order three or four small plates instead and share those – less money, fewer calories.
  5. We were very close to having a no-spend week: Other than our trip to the farmers’ market (money already set aside), the only other spending was for the tax on WenYu’s flight, and $8.80 to send YaYu’s Chinese visa application over to Oahu via FedEx. Necessities only!

What frugal wins did you have this past week?