Sunday, September 24, 2017

Third Frugal Week of September


Here is a photo of our new staircase leading into the upper section of our home. My brother-in-law built the stairs for us and the amount spent on the wood was $700. The old stairs were 31 years old and it was past time to replace them. So happy to have this item checked off our to do list. 

Even though I was scheduled to sub four days this week, I ended up subbing all five days. I'm very happy about that. I was going over my budget this week with a fine tooth comb since this is my first big paycheck of the school year. Last month I only had one day on my check. 

I went to town today to get some oil for my daughter's car and picked up a few groceries. I found a dime on the ground when I walked into the store and picked it up.  :)

I found 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes in the crash and burn section for 50¢. There were five of them, so I picked them all up. Such a great deal!

Food City had some great sales this week on canned tomatoes (50¢/14.5 ounces), corn and green beans (50¢), canned beans (50¢), cheese - buy one get one free,  sour cream - buy one get one free. 

I am really enjoying my new smartphone and learning new ways to use it to save me money on a regular basis. 

If you have a smartphone and install the McDonald's App you can get a free large sandwich when you buy one, so if you have someone with you, you can eat inexpensively. It's a good deal if you are out and about and get hungry and did not bring something with you to eat. 

Checkpoints is another new to me app that allows you to check in at various places you do business and turn them into gift cards. I have enough right now for a $2.00 gift card to CVS, which will pay for one of my prescription co-pays. 

What kinds of ways do you find to save with your smartphone?


Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Second Frugal Week September 2017

Monday was a full day of work after which I came home and made a batch of Sticky Sesame Cauliflower for dinner. It was easy with the prep work I'd already done over the weekend. 

I filled up my gas tank on Monday using both my Plenti card and EZPay card. I saved 10¢ per gallon using the EZPay card and earned points towards my next purchase of gas with the Plenti card. 

Tuesday the school system was concerned over Hurricane Irma, so we had a two hour delay, which worked for me as I still get paid for the whole day even on a two hour delay. 

I worked all five days this past week. Four of those days was for special education, which meant I traveled from classroom to classroom helping students with special ed needs. I was bone weary tired at the end of those days, but it was especially an satisfying experience. 

On Friday I was able to stay in one classroom. And if you are a regular reader you know  that I finally have a smart phone, which means I am able to use the Wi-Fi at school.

That's great, because now I can use it to earn points playing videos on Swagbucks. (Playing the videos is often a inattentive activity) So, not only was I earning money for subbing, but I was also earning money from Swagbucks, a win-win situation. 

Today I cashed in some of my Swagbucks and earned a $25 Walmart gift card, which I will combine with the $10 one I redeemed a couple of weeks ago. Walmart.com offers free shipping on any orders over $35, so I'm going to use the gift cards to order things we need around here including dry beans, so this will help me save money on groceries too. Another win-win situation. 

Yard Sale Saturday


On Saturday we went to multiple yard sales. I found a real metal gumball machine for $3.00. I've been wanting one ever since I saw this in one of the classrooms I subbed in last year.

 
The teacher has erasers inside this one, so students can buy one for 25¢. Isn't that a cute idea? I thought so and knowing me I would keep a stash of quarters just in case they needed one.  :)

Switching Gears

By now you've probably heard about the Equifax data security breach, but if not you can read about it at the FTC website here. Turns out 143 million American consumers personal information was exposed to hackers in a data breach. 

Equifax has set up a website where you can go and input your last name and last six digits of your social security number to see if your information was impacted. 

You can go to the website here: Equifax 

Click on the Potential Impact button. 

Trouble is the information given may or may not be accurate. I keyed in my information two different times and the first time the website stated my information was impacted and the second time it told me it wasn't impacted. 

I've read information about putting a freeze on your credit and how to do that, so it will be a good idea to keep an eye on your credit report for a long time. Some sources are saying this could have an impact on your credit for years to come. 

Beverly Harzog weighs in on the debacle here if you'd like to read up further on this issue. 

That's all the news I have to report from here. I hope you had a great frugal week and that this next week is even better for you. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, September 10, 2017

First Frugal Week September 2017

Sunday: Dad brought me O-Ke-Doke cheese popcorn, Jay's potato chips, and lots of tomatoes grown in good Illinois black dirt. They also treated us to dinner that evening. 

Monday we had a cookout with my Dad for Labor Day. We had hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, shoepeg salsa, and chips. The food was delicious and the company even better. It has been over a  year since I saw my Dad, so it was good to catch up with him.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I worked. I took my lunch on all of those days using up some leftovers from dinner I had made earlier in the week. I also took an orange each day that I had picked up on the reduced produce bin from Food City. 

Swagbucks 
On Monday I cashed in some Swagbucks to earn a $10 gift card for Walmart, and I already have enough Swagbucks to earn another $10 card for this month. I'm going to save them up this month to see how many I can get. It would be great if the things I need monthly from Walmart can be obtained free by using Swagbucks. 

My daughter gave both of us a haircut this week, so free to us. I love saving money this way as I usually save around $20 having our hair cut at home versus getting our haircut at Great Clips. 

My daughter made a run to Aldi on Friday to pick up fresh produce while I was working. She picked up carrots, watermelon, cauliflower, potatoes, bananas, lemons, and naval oranges. We shop from their "Produce Picks of the Week" section, which saves us money. The total amount spent was: $20.00. 

On Saturday I woke up early and started cleaning and making stuff for the upcoming week in the kitchen. I had some bananas that needed using up, so I made green smoothies for breakfast also using up some fresh spinach. The rest of the bananas went into the freezer. 

I cut up all the cauliflower, watermelon, and cantaloupes for the upcoming week. I had some corn on the cob, which I shucked and cooked. I also made a batch of vegetable egg rolls. 

Prep time on the weekend saves me time during the week which helps to ensure that I takes meals from home for our lunches and that saves me money. 

We stayed home this weekend, not venturing out and not spending any money or using up the gas in our cars. 


Today I was able to cash in some reward points for a free bag of cat food from Purina My Perks reward program. 

How was your week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Final Frugal Week of August 2017

Hello to all my frugal readers. This week I was able to work Monday & Thursday and then a surprise 1/2 day on Friday. Next week we are off on Monday for Labor Day, and then I'm scheduled to work Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

On Tuesday I woke up and started working in the kitchen. I picked grapes off the vines from three packages of grapes and washed them and divided them up into twelve individual containers. We picked these up at Aldi where they were on sale for 79¢ per pound. These went into lunch bags this week until they were gone. 

I also cut up a watermelon, made some black bean burritos for dinner and baked some sweet potatoes for the week.

Our washer stopped working this week, so we went to Lowe's to replace it. We bought the lowest priced Roper model they had because of planned obsolescence. I figure I might as well go with a basic, no frills washer since they are designed now to not last as long.  

This is a high efficiency washer without an agitator. The employee told me that's how all washers are made nowadays. She said they only use one to two tablespoons of detergent, so looks like we will be saving money there as well. 

The reviews were very good on the model I chose and the price was $299 plus new hoses, taxes and delivery fee, which made the price come to $420.97 and that is with a 5% discount for using my Lowe's card.  I will pay that off as soon as I receive the bill. The savings amounted to $17.14.

We could have bought a Maytag or Whirlpool machine online for $279, but I didn't want to buy one online. I'm glad I didn't too because when we arrived at the cash register the employee had just gotten off the phone with someone who was having trouble with her online order, so she told me to never to buy a washer online. LOL

On Wednesday I found a penny on the ground while I was dropping off garbage. It reminded me of something that happened when I was subbing one day last week. 

One of the students found a quarter behind the door and picked it up to keep. He told me there was also a dime back there, but he didn't bother to pick it up. I told him he should get it too and he said it wasn't worth it. I found that odd. 

It was cool on Saturday morning, so much so that we didn't need to turn on the a/c and I even put on a sweater to keep warm. Very odd for this time of year here. 

We have family visiting us today, so we will be busy visiting with them all week. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fourth Frugal Week August 2017




Two ways I save money on gasoline are to use both my Plenti card and my EZPay card when I fill up my car. The EZPay card allows me to save 10¢ per gallon on gas while the Plenti card allows me to earn points towards free gasoline. 

On Sunday I filled up the car and went ahead and used the $12.00 that I had in Plenti points. Using the EZPay card allowed me to pay $1.89 per gallon instead of the $1.99 pump price, so using both cards together saves me the most money. 

On Sunday I cooked a pot of Cranberry Beans in the pressure cooker for meals this week. I also made a batch of Unfried Rice for lunches this week. 

I earned another $5.00 gift card to Amazon this week from Microsoft Rewards. 

One of our local grocery stores, Cooke's, is doing away with its current rewards program and asked customers to cash out, so I earned a $10 gift card from Cooke's this week.  

I used it today to buy some fresh produce like tomatoes, oranges, sweet potatoes, grape tomatoes, beans, and pickled beets. 

I was able to work two days last week and have two days scheduled for the upcoming week as well, but hope to add more days as the week moves forward. 

How was your week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Third Frugal Week of August 2017

As I mentioned last week, I was scheduled to sub five days this week. I brought my lunch to school every day and didn't succumb to any take out. On Friday one of the teachers gave me some chicken salad & bread from a local deli, which fed me and my daughter for breakfast Saturday morning. 

I came home Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and my daughter had dinner already warmed up, which was so great after working all day. On Thursday we went to Chattanooga to pet sit for a friend, making $40 in the process. 

Friday was payday already and since I worked 1.5 days prior to the tenth of the month, I received a paycheck as well. That doesn't happen every year, but it's great when it does. My renter's insurance will come out of the 25th of the month, so now I won't have to pull money from my savings to cover the amount. 

On Friday night we decided to have a pizza delivered since we were in the city, which is something we don't have where we live since it is rural. Having a pizza delivered is a real treat to us. 

And guess what? 

Pizza Hut sent us a text on Saturday that they were sorry our pizza took too long to be delivered and offered us a free one topping pizza as compensation. I didn't even think it took that long to be delivered, but what a sweet offer. 

Monday we will be going to a free event for the eclipse and schools are closed here, so this will be a four day work week and I am already scheduled to work two of those days. 

You may have read in the comments from my last blog post that the principal gave me two free pairs of eclipse glasses for Monday, one for me and one for my daughter. 

We picked up red grapes at Aldi this week since they were on sale for 79¢ a pound. 

Several free magazines arrived in the mail this week. Women's Health, Weight Watchers, Money, Time, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Parents and This Old House. I mostly use Recycle Bank credits to earn free magazines. Some of them even have free coupons in them, which is another plus. 


On Sunday we went to the mall as we both had a coupon for $10 off $10 at Yankee Candle and wanted to use it since it expired that day. We both bought a car air freshener and a candle melt and paid 52¢ each. We also picked up our free pizza at Pizza Hut and had that for dinner. 

I picked up one of my prescriptions at CVS on Sunday and we were given two free bottles of water. 


We watched a couple of episodes of Parenthood on the Internet for free while we were in Chattanooga. It is one of my favorite tv shows and I love so much of the music they chose for it. 

That's it for our frugal week here. How was your week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Second Frugal Week of August 2017

Several days turned out rainy this week. Mostly we stayed home and spent no money, although I did work three days this week subbing and have every day scheduled for the coming week. 

Speaking of school, Len Penzo has posted his 9th annual cost survey of 10 popular brown bag sandwiches. You can read all about by clicking the link here

I saved 10¢ per gallon when I filled up my gas tank on Saturday paying $1.95 per gallon. I earned triple points on my Plenty Card with the purchase and now have over $12.00 that I can use from those points, which I am saving until I can buy a full tank of gas for free (around $25 or so). 

We did a small amount of grocery shopping on Saturday also. I spent $42 and stocked up on frozen vegetables and fresh produce for the week. 

How was your week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, August 7, 2017

First Frugal Week of August 2017

Image Credit
School started back here on Friday, August 4th and I am already scheduled to work three days this week and every day the next week. I'm definitely grateful to be back to work and earning again. 

On Friday I made a pasta salad for lunch and dinner for a few days at least. I had so much fresh produce on hand like cucumbers, tomatoes, and broccoli that it just made good sense to use them in something refreshing. 

Friday  night we went swimming and spent about an hour exercising in the pool.



On Saturday we went to several of our local Goodwills for their 50% off sale. I found several pairs of curtains for the house for both the kitchen, hallway, and bedroom. I've had them on my yard sale list, so it's nice to cross that off the list. 

I found a gallon bag about half full of pencils, pens, highlighters, mechanical pencils, erasers, and lead for 50¢. I've already put this in my sub bag as you can never have too many of these. 

I found another Vidalia Chop Wizard like this one: 


I love mine, but if you have one, you know the bottom will break easily. The tops are made very well, but the bottoms are not made as well. We find the tops and middle green parts at yard sales regularly, and I have extras of those. The bottoms are not as easy to find, so I was tickled to find this one marked at $1.00, so we paid 50¢ out the door for it. 

I also found a vintage quilt for $2.00. It is hand quilted and you can tell from the prints that the fabric is from the 1950s era. I bought it with the intention of flipping it, but my daughter wants to keep it, so we are going to keep it instead. 

I found one movie ($1.00) that I've watched, but did not care for so that will go into our McKay's box to be traded. 

We came home on Saturday and I made Salmon Patties, Fried Potatoes, and Soup Beans for dinner. Afterwards we played a board game for more free entertainment. 

We made another exchange at McKay's Used Books during the week with the scientific calculator and more board games we bought at yard sales and realized over $100 in trade credit. I picked up a couple of books, but we mostly saved it to spend on another day. 

Sunday lunch was the rest of the pasta salad while Sunday dinner was leftover salmon patties made into salmon burgers with tartar sauce, cheese, and dill pickles. 

We went to the local apple orchard on Sunday and bought apples. It's that time of year again.  :)

How was your week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Friday, August 4, 2017

Frugal Workshop is Back Up and Running!

First off, our internet is back up and working today! 




On Thursday we went to the 127 Yard Sale and started our day in the town of Pikeville, Tennessee. 

The vendor booth in this picture is selling paper hornet nests. This is something my Dad has done. You wait until winter when the hornets have left the nest and then you cut them down from the tree. Dad had two one year that he sold for $25, so this can be another source of passive income. 


Some of my readers know we lived in the town of Pikeville when my daughter was first born, so I took her around to various places to show her the first house she lived in and some other places and things. 

Here is a photo of one of the houses we lived in and a tree I planted back in 1992, so 25 years ago. Visiting there was a sweet walk down memory lane. 



The sale was so much fun, and miles and miles of yard sales. We stopped at many of them and found some great items. 

One of the things I bought was this aloe vera plant. You can see it already has babies and I'm going to replant them and sell them as another passive income source. 




I also bought a new bottle of hand gel and a cute yard of fabric for $1.00. 

Another one of the places we stopped at was The Country Cupboard in Crossville, Tennessee. I used to love to visit the store when we lived in Pikeville. They have the best prices on spices there. We even found pints of flax seed for 99¢.





The cucumbers and apple were free as one store was giving away the cucumbers for free and we picked the apple off of a tree, with owner permission, that was loaded with them. 




The rest of my blog post is from last week, before the Internet went down here. I wasn't able to post a blog post, but here it is for you to read now. 



Pictured above is cloth pad number 30 for my daughter so I've finished that project for the summer. 

I cleaned and organized my sewing area and made one tub for fabric. 

On Wednesday I took off two loads of garbage to the garbage dump including one broken chair that needed gone. I also cleaned off the back porch, which looks much better. 

I put an ad on Craigslist this week for one free chair and a free rolling file cabinet and these were picked up already. 

I sold one living room chair this week for $100. We had too much furniture in the living room, and getting rid of this chair has made a big difference. I should have done it sooner. 

I  earned another $5 Amazon gift card this week from Microsoft Rewards Points this week and added it to my Amazon gift card balance. 

Tomorrow is the Goodwill first Saturday of the month 50% off sale, so if your local Goodwill is participating you may want to check it out. 

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Update

Just wanted to post a quick update to let you know our Internet is down and won't be back up until Friday. I'll be back as soon as I can.  :)

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Frugal Weekend


The temperature hovered around 95° over the weekend, which made it around 118° in the car when it was closed up during the day. Needless to say, it was hot!

We spent Friday and Saturday morning at multiple yard sales and rummage sales, which is one of our favorite things to do. 




One of our best finds was a graphing calculator for $1.00! The lady who sold it may not have known what it was worth. We plan on trading this at McKay's Used Books.



We also lucked out on several free things such as a Vera Bradley Purse, The Mummy Movie on Blu Ray, and a 8 quart bag of Miracle Grow potting soil. I was very surprised to find these things in a free box, but they were ours for the taking.







We also stopped by an Mennonite roadside produce stand and picked up some terrific grape tomatoes for $2.00. They are so sweet that they taste like candy.   





I made four more cloth pads for my daughter this weekend. This material came from the scrub shirts we bought at yard sales this summer. This makes pad #26, 27, 28, and 29 so far this summer. Only one more to go to make our goal of thirty pads.




We had a mystery shop for free pizza, after reimbursement, on Saturday night. We brought the movie home and turned it into a movie night and watched Disney's The Parent Trap

How was your weekend?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Third Frugal Week of July 2017

     

Last Friday we both went to Starbucks and got a free sample of Teavana's new teas. She got the Pineapple Black Tea and I got the Strawberry Green Tea.

On Friday we went to 13 yard sales and 2 church rummage sales. Three of the yard sales either decided not to set up or had already closed up for the day. 

One of the items I found 81 pencils for 75¢ total. One of the teachers on my Facebook page said to get someone to cut them in half for me, which I thought was a great idea. I can't have too many pencils for when I'm subbing. 


I took my kitchen fan apart and cleaned it with hot soapy water to get it good and clean. It cools so much better when it's cleaned well, which helps it cool more efficiently, which saves me money. 


Pictured above is the cell phone I bought new in January 2012 and blogged about here. This was a good phone for me helping me to earn money for over five years. 

I endured many comments from students about my phone and how I needed to upgrade. One of them even went so far this year as to call my phone a throwback phone. LOL

One of the hinges even broke on it this past winter and made it unable to stay open to use the keyboard, but I continued to use it as it still worked fine. 

This week I finally went with a smartphone, but did not have to pay any actual money for it. It is a iPhone 4, which my daughter was excited for me to finally get as she wants to Snapchat with me. LOL


I didn't pay any money for the phone, but traded for it at McKay's Used Books like we did when we needed one of those expensive graphing calculators

We bought ten board games at a yard sale the weekend before and traded them and received $51.95 in trade credit. The phone cost $49.95, so almost an even trade. 

I even worked out a deal with Verizon, so this phone won't cost me anymore than the cell phone I had before. That was the one thing that held me back from getting a smart phone for so long. I didn't want to pay more for it each month. 


We stopped by a new spice & tea store in Chattanooga and my daughter checked in on their Facebook page, which entitled her to one free item. She picked this Spiced Ham seasoning, which I think will go well in some of our 15 bean soup recipes. 

Today is Saturday and we are going to more yard sales. 

What are your plans for the weekend?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Second Frugal Week of July 2017


Last week we found a full length mirror at a yard sale for $1.00. It had been on our wish list for some time, but I hardly ever see full length mirrors for sale at yard sales. The one we've been looking at @ Lowe's is $14.98, so we saved $13.98 on the mirror. 

We went to Jo-Ann's Fabrics over the weekend. The reason I went was to get a cleaning brush for my sewing machine and sewing machine oil. Mine did not come with these since I bought it at a yard sale and I've used mine a lot since I bought it, so it was time for a good cleaning and oiling. 

I had sticker shock while I was in Jo-Ann's. We used a 40% off coupon, but even with that the prices were very high, even double in some cases when compared to other stores. This makes me happy for my frugal ways as I find other sources for fabric that don't cost me as much as stores like this. 


I made one more cloth pad for my daughter this week. This fabric came from one of the scrub shirts we bought at a yard sale last weekend. 

I figured the cost of ordering 30 cloth pads from Etsy, and the total cost would have been $610.50. I did not pay anywhere near that amount for the materials I bought. 

I used good quality fabric obtained second hand and bought PUL and Zorb to make these pads, which ended up costing less than $3.00 each to make, which saved me over $500. And now that my daughter has a sufficient supply we are saving money on electricity via less laundry as well. 

On Tuesday we went to McKay's Used Books and traded books and games again. We received right at $50 in trade credit and picked up several new to us books & movies in return. One of the movies I picked up was Simon Birch, which I had seen years ago, but enjoyed watching again this week. 

We also went to the Samaritan Center on Tuesday. I picked up a couple of fabric bundles inexpensively (88¢ and $1.36) and also some pretty cloth napkins for 25¢ each.

We went to the Mennonite Farmer's Market on Tuesday. We picked up tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, red cabbage, cantaloupes, and potatoes. For dinner that night we had soup beans, cabbage, and tomatoes & onions. Delicious!



I'm not sure if you can see that, but I ordered Redbook, Woman's Day, and Woman's Health magazines for free from Verizon Rewards this week. I also ordered Rachael Ray's magazine free from Recycle Bank this week. 

On Wednesday I drove Mom to a doctor's appointment. We stopped at the Peach orchard and bought peaches. These are so delicious that the juice will run down your arm when you eat them.  :)

I sold an item on Ebay this week that netted me $36.55 after all Ebay and Paypal fees. 

What frugal things have you been up to this week?

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~