Friday, May 17, 2024

Frugal Friday

 As I mentioned last week, I jot down my wins along the way during the week, so it's always nice to see a reasonable list of activities come together, even when it feels like I haven't really done much!

Saving on things we buy

  • Earned $1.25 on store rewards (they are like scratch tickets) from the items I picked up for the impromptu pool party. In the parking lot, someone had left their cart. When I went to return it, I noticed two more scratch tickets, so those had another $.75 on them. 
  • Finally used the last of an old Safeway gift card (it had a whopping $.93 on it), so happy to get that out of my purse. I picked up sour cream & bread for sandwiches & to go with fajitas. 
  • Speaking of grocery store rewards, you can turn them in (they are physical cards) the next time you're in the store. They are in denominations of $.25, $.50, $1, etc. I try to save time & hand a big stack over to the cashier when there is no one behind me. Today, a cashier mentioned that you only get "credit" for one of each denomination. That was the first time that's ever been mentioned, but does explain why my points are lower than expected. I sent an email to customer service to ask about it, and they credited my account $5, which feels like a fair trade. 
  • After getting my MRI results, I was advised to take a different type of OTC medicine, so I bought a bunch of options at CVS (desperation for sure). I did upload a few CVS coupons first, saving $4.50, and then noticed iBotta had a $6 back offer, so saved a bit more there. 
  • I don't deserve much credit for this, as I always go through my credit card offers, and save any that I think I might use. I had saved one for the pizza place, so earned $6 back for our unexpected pizza party last Friday. 

Earning money

  • I mentioned a month or so ago that I submitted the last two personal expenses before I left work (we have a small budget for personal development - lessons & the like) & I submitted my pickle ball class & my last month of fitness membership. I received a deposit for $101 (my after tax amount) so I'm pretty pleased. 
  • Sold a patio set we weren't using (bought during COVID, to be able to see neighbors on our front porch) for $120. 
  • My iBotta offer above pushed me over the minimum withdrawal amount, so I was able to earn a $21.80 cash withdrawal. 

Avoiding spending

  • Not currently, but I'm planning out our meals for the week my parents are here (Sam's graduation), and while we will eat out a few times, we are also going to make dinners most nights. Less about cost, and more about logistics, but dinner for six is pricey regardless. We can't do a graduation dinner out (timing of Nick's finals & Sam's graduation event + grad night party), so we're doing a festive lunch out. Fingers crossed I can get the timing to work out!
  • Went through our decorations closet, and found the graduation items I picked up on Buy Nothing last summer (a large banner, helium graduation balloons & regular balloons). Given it will just be the four of us + my parents at the house on graduation, this will make sure the house still looks festive! I will keep the large banner for another year, and then pass it on. 
  • I bought Nick a fundraiser pizza at senior night, but didn't want the calories mostly, so I ate an early dinner before I left, & brought a protein bar in case I was still hungry. 

Eating what we have

  • M & I did not partake in the impromptu pool party pizza (it ran out), so I made us a quick dinner of salad, leftover chicken shawarma (M) & leftover chicken flautas (me)
  • I remembered to use the last of a package of sliced cheese & turkey when I made sandwiches for lunch.
  • Made enough grilled chicken (M) for two dinners, plus an additional serving for the freezer. Did the same with the chicken fajitas. This helps us reduce waste (especially for sides & condiments, like sour cream, cilantro, etc) & cuts back on the temptation to order takeout. 
  • Made lots of late lunches & early dinners/snacks to accommodate Nick's sports schedule. This helps him avoid eating out. He can rarely eat with us these days, due to school tennis practice (they are still going, due to making it to the playoffs) & club soccer, plus tennis volunteering & lessons.
For others

  • I recently signed up for a program that helps teens that don't have support for the college application process. You mentor them for a year, and help them navigate how to apply, writing essays, etc. I'm very excited, as I can't imagine going through this as a teen if you, for example, have a parent who doesn't speak English, or just has never gone through the application process before & doesn't have the time to help. Given the experience I have with Sam, and the process Nick & I are kicking off, I'm not an expert, but definitely have skills that can help out. Applying to college can be a very inequitable process, so I'm pretty excited to help even that out a bit. 
  • Picked up some supplies I need for senior night, as a donation to the (non-profit) soccer club, and also purchased three packages of soda for the fundraiser they are running that night. 
  • Volunteered for another four hours to run the concession stand at senior night, and my work on that is now done! Hurrah. 
What about you? Any wins to share?


  1. I absolutely love the idea of mentoring and supporting college applications. I'm adding that to look into as a volunteer project for retirement. Every child deserves to pursue options. We as society need kids to go on to be educated, trained, mentored to fill critical gaps so seems a perfect win win for retirees or empty nesters. You're neither so kudos for fitting more in.

    1. I spent a lot of time researching this organization, as I knew I wanted to do something along this line & wanted to work with an organization that was really organized & having good/proven results. I'll keep you posted about what I think, and can share my experience if you're interested! (HP)

  2. Besides college apps, why not mentor a kid who wants to attend a trade school too? Many kids don't belong in college but in trade schools. Our country has a critical lack of applicants in the trades. I know your expertise is in college bound applicants but if anyone out there is in the trades, PLEASE, help a kid with that leg up they need to apply to a trade school and become a plumber, electrician, carpenter, pipe fitter, etc .

    1. I'm all for encouraging kids to enter the trades, and agree we have a lack of applicants. I just have no experience to contribute to the process. Or school offers several programs for students who want to enter the trades, and I know a few folks who volunteer there. (HP)

  3. It is nice that you have found something you really want to do as a volunteer. TheHub is looking at opportunities where he can use his work skills for some organization/s.

    1. It really is so nice to have the flexibility to decide how you want to use your time. Hope TheHub is able to find some interesting opportunities that he's excited about!

  4. Well done on the frugal happenings around your home. I am glad that you found something that you would like to do as a volunteer.

    God bless.

  5. I love that you are going to be helping other teens apply to college! It's such a needed thing, I think. You definitely know your stuff and I know they will benefit greatly from your guidance.