A frugal life doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, sometimes being frugal means you choose the more adventurous road.
Each week I like to reflect on some our frugal successes, failures, and times that make us laugh. I love hearing your experiences too!
Today’s post represents two weeks worth of frugal excitement since we missed it last week in favor of sharing our monthly budget report last Friday.
Please chime in with your experiences in the comments!
Frugal Feats of the Week
Frugal family fun
Frugal fun is the standard kind of fun around here, but for us the standard is anything but boring. Every time we go to a beautiful place to hike (and there are lots of gorgeous places really close), the kids are full of energy and excitement! They run and start ascending the first rocks they see. Before we’ve even made it a hundred yards down the trail, they’ve already started planning hide-outs they are going to build and looking for edible plants to subsist on.
My sons are a aspiring fisherman. They have never caught a fish in their lives (we aren’t great teachers), but they aren’t deterred. They always want to bring their fishing pole on our outings if there will be water in the vicinity. They patiently cast and cast again.
In addition to hiking and fishing, we did some rock climbing and picnicking too!
Saying no to a microphone
I had a podcast interview last week and another two coming up in the near future (everyone wants to hear our debt payoff story). My husband asked if I wanted to get a microphone (he picked out this one), since I would be doing several podcasts and potentially more in the future. It was tempting because I really would like to experiment with some video content on the blog once we move into a place that has light and an uncluttered background (in other words, not our basement abode).
My laptop has a built-in microphone, but built-in microphones aren’t great because they can pick up noise from your computer. I would also need some earbuds or headphones for the recording. I don’t have any decent ones right now.
We talked through the possibilities and came up with a frugal solution using what we already have. I used my husband’s bluetooth ear piece to listen, and used the webcam from our desktop computer for its microphone.
Wait for the wipes
We ran out of baby wipes last week in a hurry. I won’t go into detail about why, but let’s just say there was a change in processes that meant we went through more than a month’s worth of wipes in a week (poor baby). I ordered some more (I get these on Amazon), which were scheduled to arrive in two days.
My husband was in town when I told him we had exactly two wipes left. Naturally he asked if he should run into the grocery store to buy some. Being an adventurous cheapskate, I told him no, that I would make it work. He laughed and assured me that he was willing and able to purchase baby wipes.
I told him that I already ordered a box from Amazon that might just take us through potty training, so I didn’t want to buy anymore. Plus, I’ve told you before, I enjoy a challenge!
Back in college I used to play the “how far can we go on empty” game with my car’s gas tank until I learned (from my mechanically-inclined little sister who replaced my car’s fuel pump) that all of the sediment from the bottom of the gas tank gets into the engine when you do that. I’ve (mostly) stopped doing that now.
So this was the baby wipes version. I didn’t worry too much because I could always use cloth wipes (even though this “change in processes” meant we were using mostly disposables at the moment). My real plan, though, was to hit up our 72-hour kits. Last time we updated them, I noticed that the zip bags full of wipes were completely dried out. I didn’t replace them because I figured I would just rehydrate them if we needed to use them in an emergency.
Well, this wasn’t an emergency, just a pinch, but they rehydrated perfectly. I just put warm water into the bag until the stack of wipes was moist and good as new. I was glad we had plenty because of a late delivery, Labor Day weekend, and then delivery to the wrong address, the wipes were delivered 5 days later than expected.
Frugal Flop (and Funny) of the Week
This week I’m combining my flop and funny.
So my husband finally was able to take his car into the shop this week. Not only did he need to get the issue fixed that caused him to fail the smog test, but he also needed an oil change and wanted to see if his flat tire could be repaired. What are the odds that he would get a flat tire less than two weeks after I got mine? He came out of work (job number one) and was greeted by a completely flat tire (and our son wasn’t there to do the dirty work, so he had to change it alone).
The total came to $280, which fortunately was within the amount I put in the “car repair” category of the budget this month.
Our mechanic uses a rewards program where they send us random coupons and customer bonuses. Most of them go unused just because of the timing of things, but whenever we get some work done, there is usually some coupon or discount that applies.
Even though this appointment was scheduled way ahead of time, I didn’t even think to check our car coupon stash to see if we had any valid coupons he could use. It didn’t even cross my mind! That was my fail.
The funny part is that when we got home that evening, in the mail, there was a reward certificate for the mechanic for $44.95! If we had done our repair a day later we could have saved $44.95! Oh well. We’ll just add it to our stash (and be happy if we don’t need to use it)!
It’s your turn!
- What were your frugal successes and failures?
- Any funny frugal moments?
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