So the kids are all home for the summer, and I am finding it hard to find my writing groove. Finding quiet, uninterrupted moments to write have been a challenge, so instead I’ve been catching up on frugal reading and tackling all those little projects I promised myself I would have accomplished awhile ago.
Instead of a traditional post on “how to save money on (fill-in-the-blank),” I thought I’d share with you a little bit of what I’ve been thinking about and what I’ve been working on around the Northern Cheapskate house.
It’s been two weeks since I participated in a family garage sale, and I’m thrilled with what that little sale has jump-started! I brought a minivan FULL of stuff to sell at the sale and returned home with one small little bin of things that didn’t sell. And I made $130. I was pricing garage sale items to move, so I was more concerned with getting rid of stuff than making a buck (although that’s nice, too!). The success I had there has motivated me to tackle even more clutter as I follow my less is more theme. I’ve since tackled more toys in the family room and cleaned off the kitchen counters. I deep cleaned the house and am working on my boys to do a better job of picking up after themselves. Progress!
My local Kmart went out of business this past week, and I was able to score some pretty good deals. I wasn’t an avid Kmart shopper by any means, but I did like having it as an option in my area (which doesn’t have a lot of options). I was glad I had read All You Need Is Less before I went to the clearance sale. I was able to focus intently on what we really needed (like socks and underwear for the boys) and was able to avoid any impulse buys.
My mom left a six-pack of bush beans on my door step. Apparently she had a miscalculation of how much space she had and I got the benefit of the bounty! I finally got my garden put in this week (spurred on by the bean plants!). I branched out beyond some of the usual things I plant because I had a gift certificate to a local greenhouse that my son had won in a raffle. If my garden survives, we’ll have tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, green peppers, oregano and thyme. I still have a little space left in my garden. I’m still trying to decide whether to plant more herbs or more veggies. Rosemary? Or lettuce? More beans? Decisions, decisions.
I finally (YES, FINALLY!) made it my goal at Weight Watchers. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers on a budget for awhile now, but let’s face it – even on a budget it was expensive! The good news is that because I was a lifetime member 12 years and three kids ago, I am done paying for Weight Watchers as long as I stay within two pounds of my goal weight. Talk about motivation to do well!
I did a little gentle complaining this week about a couple of products (one had a quality control issue and another had a broken part), and both issues were resolved by the companies with no expense to me. All it took me was about 15 minutes of my time.
When I first started my journey to pay down debt, I was a follower of Dave Ramsey. I devoured Total Money Makeover and watched him on TV. I have friends who have gone through his Financial Peace University. Much of what Dave Ramsey says is sound personal financial advice. But after I read his book EntreLeadership, I felt differently about him. I didn’t agree with his leadership strategies, and the attitude expressed in the book made me realize that here was a guy who made millions of dollars off of desperate, broke people, all while using “tough love” on those very same people. So when Daily Beast’s Spies, Cash and Fear: Inside Christian Money Guru Dave Ramsey’s Social Media Witch Hunt started being shared among my fellow frugal living and personal finance bloggers, I wasn’t all that surprised. And if what the article says is true, it makes me terribly disappointed that so many good ideas can get washed away by power, greed, and paranoia.
I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled across this article I found on Slate entitled Levi’s CEO Says to Never Wash Your Jeans- Is That Sanitary?,but it did leave me thinking about how much we wash clothing, and heck, even ourselves. I wear a few things multiple times before washing, but I don’t think I could ever go a year without washing jeans. Could you? Would you? Somehow I just like smelling and looking clean a little too much.
If you’re ever tempted to spend money on things you don’t need, you should read The Simplest Budget/Savings Plan Ever at Work to Not Work. Brilliant approach to keeping a hard line on excess spending!
My kids are in love with Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Bars. I’m not a huge fan of their content or their price. I’d love to find a healthier alternative – either a granola bar or fruit bar type of thing – that I could make at home for a lot less. Any ideas? If you have a great recipe for something quick and easy they can grab and eat on the go, I’m all ears.
What frugal things are you thinking about? I’d love to hear what’s new in your world!