Saturday, March 9, 2013

Our Frugal Ways!

I've started to keep a running list week to week, to help me realize all the ways we save on day-to-day expenses.  Here's this week's list - yikes, it's long!  Let me also say - we got a LOT of free stuff this week.  It's not typical for us to score so many freebies, but hey, some weeks are just good! :)

We hired a good friend to hang all this drywall, but guess who's going to tape it?

I completed two surveys and earned $6.  I also learned this past week that I will be scoring essays for Pearson again this year.  It is temporary and short term, but also very flexible and done from home, so I am excited that I've gotten in again.  I believe this is my fourth year.

I got an email from Kmart saying that they were giving me $3 worth of reward points, but they were only good Fri-Sun (this past weekend).  I found a big bottle of Snuggle fabric softener for 3.29.  Apparently I had a few points on my card already, because it ended up being free.  Pretty excited about that one, because Husband is very patient with me and my homemade adventures....but he really prefers Snuggle.  :)  And then, you know what?  I just got another email from Kmart about another $3 credit for the coming weekend.  I'm thinking soap for the shower this time.  :)

On the way to Kmart, Daughter and I stopped at Panera.  I had filled out information online for a rewards card, so I took the printout in and got the actual card.  It came with a free 'treat' loaded onto it.  I let daughter pick out any treat she wanted, just for her.  She chose a pastry with a cheese filling and a cherry topping.  She said it was wonderful!  I did not get anything (which probably makes me cheap) but I wasn't hungry and really didn't need any of the things that were tempting me.

We also went to Goodwill while we were in town.  We got Tallulah a (faux) fur lined wicker kitty bed, Daughter got a book about cats with her money from Grandma and Grandpa, I got them a jigsaw puzzle (we buy puzzles at Goodwill and mail them to where they live) and myself one of those cast iron cookbook holders.  I've wanted one forever, and I do a lot of scratch cooking.  I've used it already and I am really enjoying  it.  I can also see other applications, like using it to hold a book if I'm reading and doing something else at the same time - I'll let you know!  Everything we purchased was in new condition, and after looking some items up, about 90% less than retail. 

I cooked a pound of dry black beans in the crock pot.  It was enough to make nine black bean burgers, plus two containers of beans for future use.  I put six of the burgers in the freezer (that's two meals for our family), froze one container of the black beans and used the other this week in bean, corn and tomato salad.  That's a lot of food from a pound of beans and a few other add-ins. 

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I planned a menu primarily from the pantry.  I'm allowing $20 a week for milk, produce, and items to round out meals, but we are using plenty from the pantry, which is good.  The menu is here if you're curious.

On Sunday when the ad changed, Walgreens had tuna for .49 a can.  I was able to get some free, because I have a $25 gift card we got from them when we transferred a prescription.  While I was there, I realized that they had Snicker and Milky Way 'eggs' (for Easter) 2/$1.  I had coupons for $1/2, which made those free.  They are stashed for Easter and will be the main 'treat' in the basket. 

We got a free pizza at Papa John's this week, from the superbowl coin toss game.  That was our Sunday dinner. 

I got a couple of free samples in the mail.  I use some at home and others to help round out the blessing bags for the ministry at church.

I'm listening to a book on CD when I'm in the car - I got it at the library along with books, movies and other media. 

On the cold days we dressed warmly and used wood to heat the house.  I dried clothes on drying racks to save electricity. 

Husband changed the oil in our car.  Also, he continues to drive it to work (it gets better mileage) and daughter and I are using the truck for our closer-to-home jaunts.  We expect this to save us at least $25 a month, possibly more.

We took advantage of a deal on Living Social to get a Sam's Club Membership.  We've never had one before, because with just three people, there isn't as much opportunity to buy in bulk.  With this deal, it was $45 for the card, but we got a $20 Sam's gift card plus almost $20 in food vouchers.  Sweet.  Even sweeter, I pestered encouraged my friends to join, and I had enough friends sign up with my link that I got our deal for free!

I ordered sheetrock for Husband's garage workshop.  They were busy when I called, and they forgot to call back.  I called in the afternoon, and as a form of apology, they took $25 off our order.  I wasn't even bothered - they initiated the discount. :)

I swam for free two times at the pool, while Daughter was in her swim lessons.

I recieved a free product prototype to try.  I cannot tell you what it is.  I cannot share it with anyone outside immediate family.  It's all very 'secret spy', don'tcha know.  heh.

I played a game on L'Oreal's Facebook page and won free hair color.  They are mailing me a coupon.  I'll get to pick my color in-store.  Maybe green?  Fuscia?  Or maybe something that's pretty much the same color my hair already is.  Yeah...probably that one. :)

Our Friday town trip for this week ended up happening on Wednesday, because that made more sense this time around.  We took in recycling - free, took 10 empty ink cartridges to Staples for recycling ($20 store credit), got 4 jars of spaghetti sauce at Target for .25 each and got Altoids for free w/a coupon.  I took a box of books to Goodwill - they gave me a soda and Daughter a tootsie pop to thank us for the donation.

When we completed our errands and he got off work, we met Husband at Chili's and had supper there.  He and I got one of those $20 deals - an appetizer and two entrees.  They were all full size - it was plenty of food.  We used a 'kids eat free' coupon to get Daughter her cheese pizza, fresh pineapple and chocolate milk.  Since we had a $10 Chilis gift card someone gave us for Christmas, the meal was really affordable - just $10, tax and tip. 

I used approximately $25 in coupons this week.  Of the $20 for groceries and household items, I still have about $4.25.  This is good, because really, it's not $20 a week - it's $80 a month, and a little spare is good for those spare days!

Did you have a good week?  What frugal things did you do?

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MaryAnn said...

Wow Laura you did great this week!! You are inspiring me to get even more deals! If you don't mind me asking, how do you get Kmart reward points and what surveys do you do? Do you find them online?

Ok this week was not very frugal- had to renew my license, which I accidentally let expire so I had to pay a late fee, total was 72.00! Next time I'll be more organized.
- Saved errands for when I was on that side of town
- Started staying home all day on Thursdays so I am not tempted to buy anything
- Was able to make 2 full meals (plus 2 more with leftovers) with my last 2 lbs of ground beef
- Only shopped for eggs, bread, and milk this week, ate out of stockpile and freezer for meals
- made homemade cleaners
-cut up rags, saved buttons and lace for future mending and crafts
- made muffins for breakfast during the week and brownies for dessert during the week, all homemade with stuff on hand
- had to wash two comforters because upcoming house guests. really tried to go the cheap route at the coin laundry but all the machines were old, musty and moldy. Had to resort to dry cleaning. The owners at the dry cleaners know my husband so they didn't make me prepay like usual, so Ill pay when I pick them up next week which will be on my new credit card cycle,perfect! (We pay for everything on credit card to get points and pay off the bill entirely each month. We've gone on full vacations with using just the points!)
- Starting to get my husband to come around on the choosing things more frugally

Thanks!! Have a good weekend!

Laura said...

Great job, MaryAnn! I'm sorry about the license renewal - those things happen sometimes, though. We are implementing at-home days too. Daughter has swimming M/W/F, so we stay home T/R/S and just enjoy being home. (Sunday is church.)

As for the Kmart thing, they have a loyalty card - you can get one right in the store. I got one back before Christmas when I was there buying our TV (it had been 20 years since we'd bought one, so it was our family present this year). Anyway, when I bought the TV, that earned me some points...and you get points for your purchases. I hardly ever shop there, truth be told, but for some reason, they are emailing me every week or so (just lately) to tell me that I have $3 in rewards points that have to be used in just a few days. If it works out to be a day when we are already in town, I stop in and use the points. Hope that helps!

Sandra Girouard said...

Very impressive, Laura. You almost made me wish we had more (um, any) stores like KMart near by!

Beyond the groceries, I think it's very impressive how much else (audio book, swimming, etc) you were able to do at no cost.

My husband & I have split that $20 deal, too. You're absolutely right -- it's PLENTY of food. IIRC, we have shared the appetizer with our children and still have enough to eat.

Sandra @Smart Food Storage

Laura said...

Thanks for stopping in, Sandra! We do have the best of both worlds here - a rural setting where we live, but we're not far from lots of bargain opportunities.

At Chili's we brought home leftovers - it really was a lot for three people! :)

Laura said...

MaryAnn, I just realized I didn't answer your question about surveys. I do surveys for Pinecone Research. :)


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