Friday, September 6, 2019

Frugal Friday (the time I got a paycheck, but it was for $0)

The back to work addition of Frugal Fridays. Here's how we did!

Saving on things we buy:

  • Found 3 lbs of marked down ground turkey for $.99/lb. I try to mix it in with a pound of ground beef when doubling recipes. 
  • Picked up a package of 10 KCups (try to avoid, but my parents like them when they visit) for free on the Friday Freebie at my grocery store. 

Earning money:

  • Sold three items on eBay, and went through my listings & made adjustments to try & get more sold
  • Continued completing tasks for the focus group I'm apart of. I'm close to another $15 payout
  • Tracked down $6 of missing rewards from my grocery account. I noticed that when I redeemed an award, it deducted $7 instead of $1. I debated on the energy of emailing customer service, but sucked it up & emailed them. They are crediting my account. 
  • Filed an appeal with USPS for my insurance claim. They paid me for 1/3 of the item's value, despite having proof of the value & showing all of the details about the claim. Sigh.
  • Contacted HR at work to get my HSA adjusted post leave to ensure I hit the yearly maximum. It doesn't allow me to do it in the tool, and doesn't automatically correct, so required some tracking to make it happen. Done!

Avoiding purchasing/spending:

  • Received a replacement Jansport backpack, when mine started to disintegrate. I was hopeful they could repair it, but since they couldn't, they mailed me a new one for free. It's a $45 backpack, & I hope to keep it forever!
  • I had a crazy day yesterday (gym before work, 9-5 meeting, back home to make dinner for everyone, M to pick up Nick at volleyball, then I left & picked up Sam's soccer carpool). It allowed very little time for anything, and I strongly considered picking up leftovers. Instead, I hustled home after my meeting, made a salad & prepped the leftovers, fed myself & then left again. It wasn't my favorite day, but if I'm back to work & earning money, I don't want to waste it on meals out due to scheduling.

In the spirit of sharing, we've had some food waste this week, which always makes me sad. The adjustment of being back to work for lunches has meant that I need to rejigger food portions of leftovers. Hopefully I can rectify this for next week & get back on track.

In "earning money" news, it was definitely hard to go back to work. I checked out my paycheck so I could at least use that as motivation. I did, in fact, get a paycheck, but it was for $0. I didn't know that they would "catch up" all of my contributions that were paused while I was out on leave, so the catch up of things like long term disability, after tax 401k contributions, plus my additional tax withholdings (I do  percentage + an additional flat amount in every paycheck for both state & federal), etc meant that my deductions sucked up my entire check. And, I think that even with a full paycheck next cycle, my paycheck will be pretty small. Ah, well. At least I added to my 401K & HSA this month, right? :-) 


  1. Did you factor in the catch-up amounts in your cash flow? While great that it still went to your money, I can imagine the shock of a $0 check. While you were without an income for three months, you did say you spent an incredible amount of travelling and on your home. Have you thought what your household might be like without two incomes, if all the extra spending was gone? If not full stop, would there be any possibility of a reduced schedule? I know stepping back in the work world can have later career repercussions and will impact long term retirement savings, but you sound so unmotivated to be at work-but I know it is early after your leave so perhaps your energy and interest will get back soon. Good on you for not succumbing to eating out and used leftovers for the crazy day.

    1. Since I went back to work early, I hadn't budgeted for this paycheck (or, half of the next one) at all. So, it will all work out. i wasn't aware that they would need to catch up my long term disability or health care coverage payments, but it makes sense. I just hadn't even thought of what would happen if my taxes & 401K deductions were bigger than my check,'s never happened before!

      I'm definitely, definitely planning on scaling back to part-time. I can't do it in the role I'm in, or likely at the company I'm at. I am up for a very large promotion this review cycle. My plans are to get that promotion, & then find something else. Why the promotion? Well, we live in super expensive area, and god forbid anything should ever happen to M, I'd want the security of knowing i could take care of us if I went back to work on just my income. This would provide a tremendous amount of mental security for me.
      Additionally, I got a ton of feedback about "opting out" just before this promotion. It's something I've been working on for 10 years, so it did feel a little silly to exit just shy of that mark.

    2. No doubt you have explored all your options to a T. I wish you and your family the best with the plans.

  2. Well that was a blow, go back to work and get a paycheck of 0!

    1. Exactly - I needed the mental motivation, if nothing else!

  3. You had a great week! I love your ground turkey deal! I am glad that you got your rewards back. They are always worth going after. Yeah on the backpack! Oh no, I would have died if I saw that paycheck. At least soon you will get a full one!

    1. The kids think ground turkey "tastes weird", but I mix it with ground beef & then make it into taco meat. Once you add the seasoning (which, changes the color, as well as the flavor), no one can tell!

      Oh yes, the paycheck snafu was just funny because I'd been telling M that was the one thing motivating me to go back to work. The good news is that I did put extra money in my 401K (post tax) & HSA, so part of it went to myself. And, the other part overpaid the IRS (it's based on my standard salary), so it will help out in April, I suppose.

    2. Those deductions would have happened anyways, so you will still come ahead by working that extra week. It is really hard to make a change after many years and being on and upward trajectory. I have quit 3 years ago as we planned an overseas move, then it did not happen. Now finally I just got a permanent position after being on contract and just getting the same salary I left the other place with... Still at the time it was the best decision. There have not been any benefits while on contract, so I am a but dreading my first paycheck where pension and benefits deduction will show, biggest being the long term disability. Since hubby is self employed, it is a must-have.

  4. Back in the Stone Age when I worked as a waitress my paychecks would be enough to buy a candy bar or gum after all the taxes were taken out. The bulk of my wages was in tips so the hourly rate check just barely covered all the deductions/taxes and sometimes I owed money back to the employer if I had a great trip week. Lolz