Friday, April 19, 2024

Frugal Friday

This week is a mix of travel & food related savings, with a few others sprinkled in. I'm particularly pleased about the low cost for the upcoming Sedona hiking trip I'm taking with my mom. 

Saving on things we buy

  • M bought me a pair of wedge sandals for Mother's Day maybe 16 or so years ago. I love them, and wear them often. I've had them repaired in various forms 2x at a cobbler. I needed another repair, and found a cobbler close to my workout studio. He did a great job, and the full bill was only $18. I'd much rather keep these shoes in circulation (they still look great) vs buying something new. 
  • Picked up $14 worth of snacks from Trader Joes. We will use these for our trip to Lake Tahoe, and avoid buying snacks when we are there, as the food is quite expensive in the hotel.
  • We stopped for gas at Costco on our drive, and bought the boys lunch. Lunch for two under $4 is quite a deal. I ate a "brunch" before we left the house, and M doesn't typically eat lunch. 

Earning money

  • I made a few sales ahead of leaving for our trip:
    • A jacket for $20
    • Sunglasses for $9
    • Shoes for $30
  • Received our Costco executive rebate, for $523, which we will use to offset grocery spending in the weeks ahead. 

Avoiding spending

  • I was out running errands after a workout class, and was very tempted by the Mediterranean restaurant near me, but I reminded myself of all of the food in our house & came home for a free (or, perhaps, already paid for?) lunch of things we already had on hand. 
  • Nick somehow used his debit card to pay for "free shipping" of a gift, which resulted in a $19/month "" charge. As far as I can tell, this is a very shady site & makes it unclear to users that they will be charged $19/month forever (!) for one time "free" shipping. This is integrated into numerous websites, so buyer beware. Anyway, this had been going on for months, and I finally noticed & showed him how to 1) cancel the ongoing "subscription", and 2) get a refund. He was only able to get the most recent month refunded, so we discussed how to better stay on top of this moving forward, and track your accounts & purchases. 
  • I canceled a travel reward card, as we have several, and won't be traveling enough to make it worthwhile in 2024. The annual fee was free last year, but I would have been charged this year, if we'd kept the card. 
  • M needs to fly to LA for a funeral, and the last minute flights were eye wateringly high. We researched a variety of options, including driving, staying over night, etc, and the best option will be for him to fly in and out on the same day. We used a flight credit & a gift card to cover the cost. So, no out of pocket spending for the flights, although M will need to rent a car to get from the airport to the funeral service, and then to the luncheon the family is hosting, and then back to the airport. 
  • I'm going to Sedona with my mom at the end of the month for a hiking trip. I'd booked three nights using Hyatt free night awards, and was planning to pay for the fourth night. I received another free night award (we have a Hyatt credit card) & was able to apply that to the last night, making the entire hotel cost free. (Total saved on the hotel = $1436). 

Eating what we have

  • I defrosted more of the frozen lasagna (leftovers) for lunch one day
  • I finally got the pulled pork out of the freezer (some sort of Blue Apron delivery snafu from way back, when we used the service) & made pulled pork sliders for Sam. Bonus: used up barbecue sauce lingering in the fridge.
  • Continued to use lots of garden items: mint, garlic scapes & red lettuce
  • My lunch on Sunday before our drive to Lake Tahoe consisted entirely of fridge leftovers I was trying to use up: the end of a bag of salad, some chicken I'd baked up for the teens, the last of a dressing, & two crispy wonton appetizers leftover from Friday's dinner. 
  • Came home late from skiing (there was a rock slide on part of the drive) & made a very scrappy dinner for the two diners eating (me + M). I had a diced potato with an egg, M had garlic shrimp from the freezer + a salad. We were able to largely prep the meal while also unpacking. 

For others

  • My sister & I have continued on with our help for my special needs aunt. This week was sorting out some cash flow issues, and paying her property taxes. Next up will be researching a switch in cable companies, which I'm really dreading but know needs to be done. Since we've taken over (maybe ~2 months), we've managed to turn things around from a negative monthly cash flow to having $1k in her account after paying off all the bills! This has been from a variety of sources: calling to negotiate lower rates, signing her up for a few low income discounts she wasn't previously using, cancelling things she didn't need, and helping her better manage the rest of her spending (groceries, gas, etc). It's been slow to see progress, but it definitely feels like we are now more in a steady state, which has been helpful. 
  • Provided some coaching to a (previous) colleague who needed guidance.
What about you? Any wins to share? 


  1. Your progress on behalf of your special needs aunt resonates, as I just finished a multiple months effort on behalf of my recently wiowed mother. So distressing to see all the ways money was flowing out the door, but so rewarding to find umpteen ways to improve her cash flow, even while exhausting to do so.

    Regarding Nick:s unpleasant evergreen discovery. After bumping into this a few times, I now have a hard and fast rule. If you make it harder for me to cancel doing business with you than you did to start up, I am not interested. Meaning no obfuscation, and there best be a Cancel option at least as prominent as your Buy option was. Otherwise I am Not Interested!

    - Tamara R

    1. Good work helping your mom. It is hard, isn't it, to stay on top of things, and I'm sure it becomes even less appealing to track, negotiate, etc as you age. I'm glad you are able to help her, and i'm sure she appreciates it. My aunt also qualifies for a few discounts & services due to income, but those can be hard to navigate. Luckily, my dad lives nearby & can help her with those services that require a local application & support.

      I'm so with you on the cancellation vs. buy. He's growing up as someone who is by far more experienced with general availability of tech, but he hasn't had his own debit card or money to spend for very long, so learning along the way & making mistakes. Remember those CDs you could buy for $.01, with "no catch", and then you were enrolled in the CD service until the end of time!? - HP

  2. $18 is a great price to keep your shoes in good condition, much cheaper than a new pair. I've always heard good reviews from the lunch at Costco. Sounds like a great way to save money for lunch. Three sales before your trip is great! Great job showing Nick how to cancel the "". It's on all the women's clothing websites that I used, it is definitely a scam.

    1. Right, it is totally a scam! I can't believe other businesses want to partner with this company. It's definitely buyer beware. (HP)

  3. Helping your aunt is a very loving and necessary service you and your sister are providing. As Mom aged, my sister and I had to take over everything for her and we never minded doing it, but she was resistant at the beginning.
    I hope if/when it happens that I need assistance, I will be gracious about accepting help.

    1. Same! I wish there was a safe service to use that provided you with a way of managing this as you age. A financial planner seems like too much, and also not helpful for the small, day to day stuff. (HP)

  4. Well done with your aunt- helping while respecting her autonomy has to be a hard balance. Getting her to the positive is wonderful. I echo Anne's comment- very loving way to support your aunt and mom who previously did this. Nick's bad experience likely taught him a lot going forward. I took am always proud when we make meals from what seems like thin air. If course we have loads to use, but so easy to just not think, get take out, and not be creative.

    1. I'm hopeful that Nick learned something as part of the experience, because he definitely parted with a lot of money! (HP)

  5. You have done exceedingly well frugally. The highest executive rebate we ever got from Costco was $69.00.

    God bless.

    1. Travel & gas tend to be our biggest rebate categories. Our last Hawaii trip was booked via Costco, which has a higher rebate percentage. But, generally spending more isn't so frugal on our side. ;-) You are doing well to keep yours low! (HP)