Five Frugal Things 8/18/2017

As usual, we did most of our big shop at Costco.

This week it’s mostly felt like all we did was hold the line . . .

  1. WenYu received an email on Tuesday from Hotmail letting her know that a scheduling problem had come up with her winter break itinerary. It took five tries and five different agents, but we finally got a new itinerary that worked for WenYu and did not involve any extra cost or inconvenience.
  2. There was a container of chicken broth in the refrigerator that needed to be used, so I put it in the slow cooker along with odds and ends of vegetables I found in the crisper and some chicken I found in the freezer, and we ended up with a delicious chicken soup instead of leftovers for our dinner this past weekend. No waste, and the fridge got a good clean out!
  3. We skated right up to the edge of our budget with the big shop, and were only able to get two of our planned stock-up items. We realize this is going to take a bit more work to get right. Still, we are well set for the rest of the month.
  4. We drank loads of filtered tap water and made pitchers of sun tea this past week. Both are refreshing, and don’t cost anything to make or enjoy.
  5. We put $7.29 into the change/$1 bill jar this week: $3.00 left over from the farmers’ market, $3.70 left after the big shop, and 59¢ that WenYu donated to the cause.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

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Five Frugal Things 8/11/2017

Fried okra

  1. Eddie Bauer had a 40% off sale last weekend, so we went ahead and bought YaYu her suitcases for college next year. She already has a small rolling duffel, so we bought the extra large and medium size duffles to complete the set. Full price for the two additional pieces was $478, but with the discount we paid $286.80, a savings of $191.20. Shipping was free.
  2. Our favorite farmer gave us a bundle of okra this week when we bought our other produce – I’m going to make fried okra tomorrow to go with our cheeseburgers, and will save the onion rings for later.
  3. I realized we did not have cashews for Thursday’s chicken dish, or cornmeal for tomorrow’s fried okra. Rather than change the menu, buy a package of cornmeal that might spoil before we used it again, or buy an expensive container of cashews, Brett stopped at the natural foods store when he was running errands on Thursday and bought just the amount needed of each from the bulk bins – total cost: $2.16.
  4. Three days this past week WenYu was given burritos from the restaurant where she works to bring home, each a $14.95 value. They had been made for someone else but not needed, and were offered to her at the end of her shift. YaYu took one for lunch on Wednesday, and has another one in her lunch today. Brett ate the third one for lunch over the past two days.
  5. We put $21.02 into the change/$1 bill jar. Although we got back $23.18 total – $7.09 from a return we did at Costco, $9.76 change from our cable bill, $2.73 from recycling, $3.50 from the farmers’ market, and 10¢ found on the ground – Brett spent $2.16 of the change on the cornmeal and cashews.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

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Coming Apart At the Seams

That would be my clothes, not me. They are quite literally starting to fall apart on me.

I am still wearing, for the most part, the clothes that I brought over with me to Kaua’i in 2014, and some of the pieces are more than five years old. They have been worn day in and day out for all these years – they don’t get put away here for a few months like they did back on the mainland in exchange for a fall/winter wardrobe. The elastic is wearing out or worn out on a couple of pairs of the linen capris I wear, the fabric is getting thin, and even outright disintegrated in one case. To tell the truth, I am beginning to look somewhat shabby, although that’s not a big deal here on the island. Thankfully no one here really cares what you’re wearing.

I do have several pairs of smaller-sized pants waiting for me, if I can somehow get rid of a few more extra pounds. I’m getting close, but am not quite there yet. In the meantime my current everyday linen pants that are still wearable have become very baggy and look more and more like something a clown would wear (although they are very comfortable).

So, why not buy some new things? Why not go to a thrift store and see if I can find some pants to tide me over until I can get into my smaller-sized wardrobe?

Money isn’t the issue, but there are things I have to get before we travel next year, like walking shoes and such, and I’d rather save my money to purchase those items. And, because we’re trying to save as much as possible anyway this year, I’m having a hard time justifying an expenditure on what would be for the most part “temporary” clothing.

So, I’m currently in a frustrating in-between spot where I know there are nicer thing waiting for me if I can hold out another two or three more months, and where I hope that what I have left to wear now doesn’t completely fall to pieces before I can get into those smaller items. It’s very much a first-world problem, but I do feel like things are (literally) falling apart around me.

An added note: My smaller pants are just one size smaller than I am wearing now! I can get most of them on but they are tight. I just want my current pants to last until I can comfortably wear the smaller size (all eight pairs of them). I’m willing to be a bit shabby at times rather than buy pants that I won’t need in two or three more months!

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Five Frugal Things 8/4/2017

YaYu tees off at the 18th hole

  1. Last Sunday was “Kama’aina Day” at Kaua’i mini golf, up in Kilauea on the north shore. Locals are invited to play for free on the last Sunday of each month, and our schedules finally aligned so we could all go for a family outing. Money saved: $42.30.
  2. I bought a huge bunch of fresh basil at the farmer’s market last week, and used some when we had Caprese skillet eggs last week. Fresh basil spoils quickly in this heat, but I had everything on hand to make a double batch of California herbed butter. Half went in the fridge and half to the freezer for future use. We didn’t throw away any other food this past week either.
  3. I earned 708 bonus Swagbucks in July – not as much as the previous two months, but still a good haul.
  4. Brett and I both continue to take advantage of the free Kindle downloads offered through the public library. Another book came off my hold list this week, and I’ll get started on it this weekend. I honestly can’t remember the last time either of us bought a book.
  5. We put $7.35 into the change/$1 bill jar: $7.25 left over from the farmers’ market, and 10¢ we found in the car.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

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Five Frugal Things 7/28/2017

Home for Christmas . . . and earning miles!

  1. This past week I bought WenYu’s and Meiling’s tickets to come home for Christmas. I found the same itinerary for WenYu as the one she flew last year but for nearly $200 less. Meiling’s ticket was around $60 more than we spent last year, but for a much better flight itinerary (she almost ended up having to spend the night at the Honolulu airport last year). Plus, both girls will add miles to their Hawaiian airlines accounts, and the mileage they earn will be almost enough to cover one of the girl’s RT flights between Honolulu and Lihue.
  2. I initially found WenYu’s flight(s) on Kayak, but the offer was actually through Expedia. However, when I went there to check the offer and itinerary. Expedia said there were no seats left at that price, and wanted $134 more! When I went back to Kayak the offer had also gone up by $134! Hmmm. As I suspected, Kayak and Expedia had installed cookies because I been checking out flights between Boston and Honolulu, and figured I might be willing to pay more for that flight. But, I used WenYu’s computer (no cookies) and found the same itinerary on Hotwire for the original low price.
  3. WenYu was able to switch a prescription over to mail order, which means she will get it at no cost versus paying $30 every time from the pharmacy. The girls stay on our military medical insurance until they graduate from college, and not having to purchase the college plan at Wellesley saved WenYu over $2000 this year.
  4. We have an amount set aside for monthly movie rentals (from Amazon), but have not used it for over a month now, and have put that savings into our travel fund. We’ve been enjoying lots of “free” stuff we can stream otherwise.
  5. We put $11.21 into our change/$1 bill jar: $3.20 from recycling, $3.50 change from the farmers’ market, and $4.51 change from the post office.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

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Five Frugal Things 7/21/2017

His & her Kindles!

  1. We had plans to buy Brett a Kindle before we go on our Big Mystery Adventure™ next year, but this past week YaYu offered him the one we bought for her in 2012. She doesn’t use it any more (she bought herself a Kindle Fire last year), and it still works great.
  2. I had a pair of Birkenstocks and another nice pair of flip-flops that I rarely wore any more, and was thinking of taking them to the thrift store. I asked WenYu though if she wanted them, and she snapped them up. She’s been wanting some Birkenstocks, so saved some $$, and the sandals fit her well and look great.
  3. On the positive, frugal side of things, we kept to our shopping list when we did our big shop at Costco, and didn’t buy anything not on the list. On the not-so-positive side, we were left with only $61.54 to finish our shopping today, and buy more fruit later this month. We will finish up our monthly shopping later today, and fingers are crossed that it’s less than $61.54!
  4. It’s been hot and humid here this past week (quelle surprise!), and a couple of times I’ve almost talked myself into us buying an air conditioner for the house (I tolerate this weather less well than anyone else). But, I’ve instead imagined myself on our trip next year, and decided I’d rather put up with a little discomfort now and save our money for later – it will be worth it!
  5. We put only $3.03 in the change/$1 bill jar this week: $2.00 in change Brett got back from YaYu, $1.00 left over from the farmers’ market, and 3¢ Brett found on the ground. Every little bit adds up!

What frugal wins did you have this week?

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Five Frugal Things 7/14/2017

Winged beans

  1. The suitcases we had decided on for the Big Mystery Adventure™, Eagle Creek’s Gear Warrior 32″ rolling duffels, were 30% off on Amazon Prime Day so Brett and I each bought one. The bags were regularly $289 and $279 each before tax, but we purchased both for just $416, tax included. Shipping is free of course. I’m getting a blue duffel with orange trim, and Brett’s is black with bright blue trim.
  2. WenYu paid the bill for her fall term this week. She declined the federal student loan that was included in her financial aid package because she’s saved enough and doesn’t need it, and wants to graduate from college with no debt. She has enough saved as well to cover the spring term bill when it comes due in January, and is now saving to pay her expenses for the following year.
  3. Our favorite farmers at the market, Dang’s Fresh Farm, sold us three big bundles of bok choy for $5 versus the regular price of $6, took 50¢ off the price of the cucumber we needed, and gave us a bag of winged beans for free! We shop their stall every week because they always have beautiful produce, so this was a special treat for us. We’d never tried winged beans before, but they are delicious, and can be eaten either hot or cold.
  4. We cooked all meals at home (except for breakfast at the Tip Top Cafe to celebrate YaYu’s testing success), ate all the leftovers, drank filtered tap water and sun tea, were careful about turning off fans and lights when we weren’t using a room, watched our water usage, did all our laundry on one day and dried half of it in the sun, combined trips whenever possible when we had to go into town, took advantage of free entertainment (i.e. the beach) and did all those other small things that don’t seem like much but really do increase our savings.
  5. We put $14.29 into the change/$1 bill jar: $9.76 left over from the cable bill, $1.50 change from the farmers’ market, and $3.03 from recycling.

What frugal wins did you have this week?

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Five Frugal Things 7/7/2017

It’s that time of the year again: new running shoes for YaYu

  1. Prices can be high here, so YaYu checked out running shoes at local stores and then we ordered the pair she wanted from Zappos – free shipping and returns, and a lower price!
  2. I earned 1132 bonus Swagbucks in June, and have reached my goal for Amazon credit to use at Christmas (I originally thought I might get there in late September). I’m now earning Swagbucks to put toward a secret goal, related to our Big Mystery Adventure.™
  3. More tourists in summer unfortunately mean more cans and bottles left on the beach path, and Brett picked up several this week, making a cleaner beach path for everyone, and change in our jar when we recycle them.
  4. Although we had to throw away some cucumbers that for some reason froze in our refrigerator, we didn’t throw away any other food, and drank filtered water and sun tea all week. Brett ate some interesting leftovers combinations, but everything got finished up.
  5. We put $28.42 into the change jar over the past two weeks: $5.72 left over from the gas bill, $8.50 from the farmers’ market, $3.50 from recycling, $6.00 change from YaYu’s school fees, $4.57 in change from the hardware store last week, and 13¢ Brett found on the ground.

What frugal wins did you have?

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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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