Very short list this week. It was…a rough week, both stress-wise and spending-wise.
- Started brainstorming what sorts of simple gifts I can make for Giftmas this year, with an emphasis on gifts that I already have materials to make.
- Ordered my favorite teabags in bulk from Stash Tea using a $10 off coupon I got for taking a survey. I normally buy catering packs through Amazon because it’s a little cheaper (though I buy several other flavors directly from Stash), but thanks to such a generous coupon, I ended up paying even less than usual — including the shipping charges.
- We needed some new furniture due to the awkwardness of our new place — and couldn’t wait to find it anywhere but regular retail. (There is no usable kitchen storage for daily items. Like plates. Seriously. There is nowhere to put plates, let alone a microwave. There are no utensil drawers, either.) We managed to find a perfectly acceptable piece on clearance at Target, which was sheer luck, as I am very picky. I guess I am only counting this because we managed not to pay full price? Like I said, rough week.
There are still a few things we need to “throw money at” to solve, but fingers crossed that next week will be better.
This week has been stressful in a monumental way. First of all, packing for a move is bad enough — and always takes longer than you’ll think — but the actual move itself is generally a terrible upheaval. Thankfully, our physical move went very smoothly (we lucked out and hired great movers), but our new apartment turned out to be a little…problematic. We’re going to make it work (and the new landlord is going to fix several things), but it has been a bad week.
And we have been spending like crazy. Ugh. Moving sucks!
Still, little things do add up over time, and though my money saving list this week is all small stuff compared to our moving costs, it still counts.
- Put book on hold at library instead of spending $7.99 on a very tempting ebook. (Also read an additional four ebooks from the library.)
- Used a piece of leftover fabric to make a reusable furoshiki style wrap for Lennox’s present instead of buying a gift bag.
- Dumped my piggy bank into the CoinStar machine and got a $10.30 Amazon gift card (which had no CoinStar fees). I know that I could roll my own coins and deposit them at the bank, or even…you know…spend them. But I have long had the habit of regularly dumping my coin purse into a piggy bank of some kind, then using the money on some kind of treat after it fills up. (I often used it on a movie ticket back when I could rarely afford to go.) Self-care is important, too. I’ll probably use the gift card on an ebook or two. Gotta support my voracious reading habit!
- Had a free hot tea at IKEA because of my IKEA Family membership. Hey, free tea is free!
- Decided not to replace our bathroom trash can. I’ve wanted a new one for a long time now (our current one is 16 years old!), but after I really thought about it, I realized I only wanted to replace it because I have trouble keeping its exterior clean. It’s a metal bin with a spring-loaded opening, but it has grooves around the lid and at the bottom of the bin that trap dust. I decided I would just try to clean those grooves a little better, and now it looks fine enough to me.
We still have to get our new washer and dryer and a few pieces of furniture before things calm down, but we’ll get back to normal soon.
We are spending a pretty penny on our upcoming move, both by hiring actual movers (a first time thing for us) and by replacing some of our worn out furniture — as well as purchasing a washer and dryer.
In order to remind myself to stay focused on longer term financial goals during this time of intense spending, I’ve decided to share a weekly list of frugal things I’ve done to creatively stay under budget or to create a little extra income. (This was pretty obviously inspired by The Non-Consumer Advocate’s “Five Frugal Things” lists.)
This week I…
- Took a few boxes of books, CDs, DVDs, and a few old videogames to sell at Half Price Books (a local discount/used book chain). They paid us $45.00 — and they almost never pay that much!
- Sewed a birthday present using a pattern I’ve had for years (and have used three or four times before), leftover thread and elastic from other projects, and $13.00 worth of fabric that I only paid $7.00 for out of pocket because I used $6.00 I earned taking surveys online. $7.00 plus two and a half hours of effort is a pretty cost effective gift, IMO.
- Spent only $26.00 on groceries this week as we’ve been cooking from the pantry and freezer to minimize waste when we move next week.
- Read 6 ebooks and 1 physical book from the library — also watched a DVD from the library. The library is a holy place. And it saves me hundreds of dollars every year (no exaggeration).
- Used a “Star Reward” to get a free chai at Starbucks. I love loyalty programs that actually pay off.
- Remembered to (finally) bill a client for her quarterly bookkeeping.
I’m not a black belt level tightwad or anything like that, but I’m pretty frugal. It’s easy to throw money at a problem — in fact, it’s sometimes unavoidable — but very often a flexible mind can find a more creative, and a more cost effective, solution.