Have you ever looked over your week and made an assessment of your frugal successes and failures? Sometimes a thing or two might stand out without having to ponder too hard. Other times you really have to think to come up with your frugal wins and flops.
This week’s frugal line-up includes thrifty but thoughtful Christmas gifts, cheap wrapping paper, bulk meat, and primitive tools! Share yours frugal feats, flops, and funnies in the comments.
Frugal Feats of the week
Thrift store Christmas scores
I had the unusual experience of going to the thrift store without my three older kids this week. I took advantage of the time to scout out some Christmas gifts. I realize for some, shopping at the thrift store for gifts is totally taboo.
Would you give a gift from the thrift store?
In our family we are fine with it. Thrift stores are just another normal shopping venue where inexpensive treasures sometimes hide. Of course there are a few things that I don’t buy used, but there are lots of other options that are great.
That said, there are plenty of gifts I buy brand new, both for my immediate family and others. I usually conform to social norms of giving new when the gift is outside of our family. We know that the price of a gift is no indication of the thought and heart behind it, but not everyone gets that.
At the thrift store, I picked up quite a few kids books and a game. Books and games are great second-hand options. Often books have only been read a time or two and are in excellent condition. I always check games to make sure they have all of their pieces. I even found a brand new Settlers of Catan game for seventy-five cents once.
There is a lot of value in buying books used, especially if your little book worm is likely to read the book just a few times. It’s also a great way to go green: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
In addition to some gifts for the kiddos, I stocked up on wrapping paper. Seriously, if you need wrapping paper, now is the time to hit up your thrift store! I got six rolls of wrapping paper for $2.25 total. They’ve got lot of paper on them too, certainly more than the cheap rolls at the retail store.
Before Christmas last year, I spent $10 for four rolls of wrapping paper at Target which just about killed me. I normally buy wrapping paper in the post-Christmas 75-90% off sales, so to have to buy it at full price before Christmas was painful.
Stocking up on meat
I made an exciting discovery this week and my deep freeze can hardly wait. I placed my first order with Zaycon Fresh! Zaycon is a company that takes the middleman (grocery store) out of meat-buying by letting customers order in bulk online and pick up their order from a refrigerated truck in a local parking lot. If you want to try it, you can use code BL20 to get 20% off your first order!
I’m all about saving money by buying in bulk, so this is right up my alley, and the prices are much better than what I can get at the store. The only downside is that you have to order pretty far in advance. No craving a roast tonight and picking it up tomorrow.
For example, my order won’t be delivered until February! Actually it’s perfect. That gives me a couple of month to jam all of the blackberries that overwhelm me every time I open the freezer. Once I’ve canned blackberry jam and razzleberry jam, I’ll have enough space in the freezer for 40 lbs of boneless, skineless chicken breasts.
What am I going to do with 40 lbs of chicken, you ask? Well, I’m going to flash freeze some of it (freeze individually first, then package together, that way they won’t freeze in one big mass), cook and shred some of it, and make lots of yummy freezer meals with the rest of it!
If your family eats meat and your food budget and storage capacity allows you to buy in bulk, you’ll definitely want to check out Zaycon Fresh!
Frugal Flop of the Week
We are leaving this weekend to go to Arizona for Thanksgiving. All week long I’ve had a huge to-do list hanging over my head. Between getting our basement abode presentable for the out-of-town family who will be coming for Thanksgiving while we’re gone, packing the van for a 14 hour road trip, planning outfits for family pictures while we’re there, getting posts scheduled for Six Figures Under, and getting some upcoming projects squared away, I should not have had much down time.
Well, this past week we saw a house that I didn’t think we would be overly interested in, but after walking through, we found ourselves actually considering it. It doesn’t fit all of our criteria, but we could both still see ourselves being perfectly happy there.
Not wanting to jump into anything without checking out the other options on our list, I started pouring over the list. I created a detailed spreadsheet to easily compare the dozen houses on our radar. I spent lots of time reviewing listings, recording details, digging up the history of every property, and mentally moving into each one.
Because my husband was super busy at both of his jobs (compounded by the fact that he’ll be taking a week off for Thanksgiving), we didn’t have time to visit any of the houses. My house-hunting efforts were not time well-spent at this point, especially since I had a huge list of pressing things to do. Honestly, I knew that there was no way we could do all the looking and actually make any offer before our trip.
So if you consider “frugal” to mean “not wasteful,” then my use of time this week was definitely a frugal fail.
Frugal Funny of the Week
I’ve been blessed with kids who are incredibly content (even thrilled) by entertainment that costs absolutely nothing. When you live in the sticks and choose not to have a TV, you spend a lot of time playing outside. And amazingly, it never gets boring.
My seven-year-old is our resident project man. He is the most determined and persistent little boy you ever met. He doesn’t give up until the project is finished. He wakes up each day with an itch to create something. And it’s never something simple.
His most recent project was a stone axe. He didn’t use any modern tools to do it (he loves watching Primitive Technology on YouTube for inspiration). In addition to sharpening his stone by grinding it against another stone for hours, he was super patient in softly blowing on a coal pressed against the handle of the axe to burn out a hole for the stone to sit in. I am constantly in awe of his focus and determination.
So this week’s frugal funny isn’t as much “Ha-ha” funny as it is “Wow-that’s-funny-that-a-seven-year-old-can-be-entertained-and-engaged-in-such-a-random-free-project” kind of funny.
Now it’s your turn!
- What were your frugal successes and failures?
- Any funny frugal moments?
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