This is a story from my teen years.
I was clothes shopping with my mom and sister at a department store. I had brought a purse, which contained my wallet, holding $60 in cash. I believe I had started working a part time job at a movie theater around this time. I would cash my check, usually along with my coworkers, in full. It's possible this story was before that, and the money I had with me was babysitting money.
I went to try on some clothes, hung my purse on a hook in the dressing room. Once I decided what I wanted I went back out to meet my mom. She was buying these items. A minute or two later, I realized I didn't have my purse. I went back to the dressing room and my purse was just where I left it, BUT the cash was gone! Thieves are quick when they see an opportunity.
It's hard to put into words how this impacted me. I remember the sinking feeling when I realized my cash wasn't there. I was quite upset. I felt violated. However within a few days, I got over it and I moved on and made more money. It wasn't an experience I would want to have again or want for anyone to have, but when we think we have lost something it is temporary. Money still keeps moving and flowing into and out of our lives in many different ways.
Have you ever had money taken from you?
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This is a story from my teen years.
Here's some frugal things that happened here this week. I'm not saying everything we did here was frugal, but these are the ones to inspire me to continue to do better.
My daughter went to the housing office to pick up a free donut they were offering on National Donut Day. I skipped as I'm not wanting to eat much sugar lately.
I did freeze the tomato paste and used up 3/4 cup of pureed pumpkin to make an 8x8 pan of chocolate brownies.
We went to a museum yesterday that offers free admission to active duty military families. It's under the Blue Star Family program they offer every summer. I think it saved us $7.50. I was thankful for plenty of free parking nearby.
I reused a glass jar that I cannot recycle for bacon grease. We don't cook a lot of bacon, but I will use the bacon grease for something in the future.
My husband washed both our cars here at home this weekend. Water is free or at least included in our rent. He did want to invest in a long handled brush, rather than use a sponge. It can be attached to a hose and had a dispenser for soap. So he also bought soap. The cost was less than $20, which was equal to washing both cars where he currently goes. He did discover it was a pain to keep taking the soapy brush off the hose so he could rinse when doing the first vehicle. So on the second he put the soap in a bucket and dipped the brush in there. He has always avoided washing cars at home and I honestly really don't care if they are washed at all! I think the only reason he was willing to DIY is because he saw someone else do it living here. I didn't ask, but I think he's had an aversion to doing it at home because of what people will think. I think (and could be wrong) that he's not wanted to do it because he's never seen anyone do it in our old neighborhoods! I really don't want to ask, I'm just happy he will have clean cars and it won't cost us more than the cost of soap going forward.
I picked up brand new item in the box from a neighbor that I hope to sell on eBay. The company sent her the wrong one and told her to keep it and still sent her the correct one. I think I can make at least $20 on it once I get it listed. Someone was offering free plants, but I didn't see in time...looks like someone else gets that joy! I am hoping to get some free plants at some point.
What did you do that was frugal that might inspire someone else?
Despite the recent food waste, I mentioned in a previous blog, there have been some food successes. Last week, I used the bones from a rotisserie chicken to make bone broth in the crock pot. It turned out pretty well. I have already used about half, with another quart still in the fridge. I also have some frozen chicken bones in the freezer to make another batch sometime in the future.
I used up the frozen peas in the freezer this week finally when I made fried rice. This week I plan to make potato soup to use the last three potatoes in the house, some bone broth and frozen celery in the freezer. And that will help use the milk up a little faster, too! I used up 1/4 of a cabbage and two carrots to make a simple coleslaw which I ate as part of my lunch today.
My daughter wanted manicotti for dinner tonight. Instead of making an entire pan using all 14 manicotti noodles for three of us, I made half a batch! We ate each one I made and have saved the remainder for the future...potentially next week if we don't eat the cottage cheese this week. When there are four of us home we definitely eat more than seven but we always have leftovers, which I, along with my older daughter would eat. Since she is not here this summer to help with leftovers, I simply didn't make any! This is especially helpful since I'm trying to keep my processed carbs to only three dinners per week at the most.
Now going forward this week, I need to freeze some tomato paste that is in the fridge. I usually scoop it out in 1 TBS drops, freeze on a pan and then put in a container for future soups and sauces. I also need to start eating down the frozen grapes I have in the freezer. I think I'm the only one that will eat them. They are really good when it is so, so warm out. I just forget about them in the freezer. Oh, and there's one apple that I need to remember to cut up at dinner and use up. I think I can do that tomorrow night.
A few other frugal wins for the last week:
I found $0.14 on the ground. I actually found most of it in the middle of a soccer field when I walked out from the track to pick up some trash, a duty I find myself doing to keep the area looking somewhat clean. I guess I get paid to clean up!!
When getting the mail at our community mailbox, I glanced in the nearby trash can and saw one of those blue and white Amazon bubble mailers right on top and snatched it up. I've been shipping things due to eBay sales. I primarily use mailing supplies I have from things mailed to me. I'm starting to run low, so this was a nice addition to my stash. I will keep an eye out for other such items that are still clean that I can use.
My husband went to get a haircut this afternoon and they were already closed. I suggested I trim his hair this week instead of a $9.50 haircut with his usual $5 tip! He agreed. Maybe I can do this once a month at least, because he is going twice a month to cut probably 1/4 inch off his very short hair. This is why we have a trimmer in the first place to save money!
My husband has been doing well buying his soda and gum in bulk packaging rather than going to pick up individual servings several times per week. I'd prefer he not buy any of it, but that isn't where he is right now. I'm happy with the change though financially.
I'm going to try to keep posting about frugal successes, feel free to join in with what you did that helped save you money!
Today, I'm reporting our food waste. It's one thing so many of us, or at least many Americans, find themselves doing. And it really is just money in the trash!
My daughter went to eat breakfast to find the milk had soured, despite an expiration of three days later. I went to make Apple Spiced Pork Chops last night only to find that three apples were starting to go bad, one worse than the others. I cut the bad parts off two and tossed the other in the trash. Oh, and I also had to toss 1/2 cup of fresh broccoli that had turned.
One way we can avoid produce and dairy from spoiling is by making sure we aren't buying too much at one time from the store and also making sure we make a point to eat these items before they do spoil. I usually check to see if we have anything that needs to be used up soon, before I make my meal plan, so I can incorporated it into our eating in the next few days.
Food waste isn't just from spoilage. It can come in the form of making too much of a food that you cannot eat in one sitting. I also did that this week. I doubled a recipe and then we had too much. It was the first time I made this homemade macaroni recipe, so I will let myself off the hook a bit. I did end up eating the leftover for a couple lunches after, but I really regret that part too as I'm trying to stay away from processed carbohydrates. I made it at my daughter's request since she is home for the summer.
Buying in bulk at those big warehouse stores can also cause overbuying and then as a result of not being able to consume that much, the food goes to waste. We generally don't buy fresh produce in bulk for this very reason. Onions, apples and potatoes would be the exception, where we buy in 3-5 pound bags. This food spoilage can even occur in packaged/processed food if you don't eat the food by the expiration date. That means the good deal you got at the warehouse store was actually a waste of money.
Knowing portion sizes can help us plan how much to buy so we do not overeat or overbuy. We really usually do pretty well, so it was surprising to have to throw out what we did this week. I think there were a couple of other things that I can't remember, it was more than the milk, broccoli and apples.
We did also adjust our fridge temperature, as we wondered if the cause was due to the warmer temperature here, but not cool enough inside the fridge. Hopefully, that will help us, too!
How do you do in the area of food waste? Do you have any tips or tricks that help you avoid throwing out food, or in other words your hard earned money?
It's so sad. The flooding happening in the Midwest. I have friends and family there. One friend did have water in their unfinished basement, but she says it is no big issue. They did have to evacuate for one night. However, a niece has two coworkers who lost their home. They are completely displaced and lost everything. My niece is fundraising for them, so we decided to donate to her friends and will also send in a donation to the Red Cross, which is our charity of choice usually since they are a neutral, independent and impartial organization that can help respond quickly in crisis situations.
It was quite disappointing to the people of those states that news coverage started so late on this. People think that these flyover states don't matter, but these are the people that supply the beef and corn (among many, many other products) that go into other products in our food supply and the grain used to put ethanol in our fuel. This will affect you financially is some way.
Please pray for those affected by the flooding.
I don't know if any of you juice or have wanted to, but you have a chance on February 14 to win free Champion brand juicer. You can enterhere.
I've always wanted to try one myself. I do use my basic blender to make green smoothies. Do you make juice or smoothies?
James, the site owner, has emailed me that the tech will work on the blog issue later today. Fingers crossed we can get quick resolution!
Hello fellow Saving Advice bloggers!
Many of us are pretty good about writing about our year end in some way or another. I'm going to be writing about our financial wins and fails for 2018 before the end of the year. I'd like you to join me and write a specific blog post about your wins and fails for 2018.
While it's important to review for ourselves, sharing our financial wins and fails helps inspire others. Will you join me? Simply title your post 2018 Financial Wins and Fails, post before the end of the year and invite others to join at the end of your post.
And if you are new or a lurker, we would love for you to join in and post your own financial wins and fails! Goal setting and review is helping in making progress and changes for the year ahead.
I just told this to a friend today, who was complaining about the long wait at the post office.
Did you know that the US Postal Service offers pickup of packages*** you are mailing during your regular mail delivery? You do not need to be home and it's free!
The first step is to pack your items and weigh it. As you know I've done eBay selling for over 10 years, so I have a food scale I use to get the weight of my packages up to five pounds. The US Postal Service charges you by the pound, so as long as you know it's weight is between 1-2 pounds, the cost will be the same. Another alternative where you do not need to know the weight is to use the free Flat Rate Priority mail boxes provided by the post office. The cost is the same regardless of the weight.
Log on and make a free account at USPS and follow the directions for Click n Ship. At the end of this process you will have a prepaid mailing label to affix to your package with packing tape. The address you are mailing to and your return address will be printed on the label. You will pay for the cost of postage with a credit (or debit card).
At this point you can simply drop off at the post office. This time of year, you are likely to see an area at the counter filled with packages. You can leave it there, or wait in line to get a receipt and hand it to the postal worker.
The other option is to Schedule a Pickup from your USPS account. You must do this the day or night before pickup. It doesn't work same day. This service is free. It may not be available for all address, but you will be told that when you go to schedule. Once scheduled, set your package out in the morning in the spot you indicated on your delivery instructions. You will get an email once your package has been picked up. I have used this service before and had no issues.
I hope this helpful information may save you time this season. If you have questions, leave them in the comments and I will try to answer as best I can!
***Only for Priority and Express Mail packages.
We just finished up 32 hours without power in our home. The Hurricane left days ago so it was quite a surprise to have it turn off yesterday morning. Not sure what the cause was. Possibly a tree that final fell and tore down the electric line. The estimated time was 54 hours, so it is a blessing it was corrected as quickly as it was considering many have been without power longer.
I guess we can say that we saved some money on electricity, except that we did go out to eat last night for dinner and spent $24. I'm sure we didn't save that much in electricity!
I have a potential buyer for a small patio set we are getting rid of. It's super faded, but metal so could be repainted. If the buyer comes through, we will have another $30 in our pocket. I'd repaint it but I'm ready for something different. Tomorrow night we will list some more items for sale. Downsizing really takes a lot of effort, even if you just donate it.
After four days of staying inside, we ventured out to the nearest open grocery store. Technically, we didn't need anything. But we spent $51 on pepperoni, lunch meat, mixed greens, tortilla chips, large bottle of wine, 12 pk of soda, cookies, cheese slices, tomato sauce, dressing and prunes. An odd assortment for sure! I feel robbed by the prices at this store compared to the commissary! We don't have their savings card, so we didn't get the discounts. Easily spent 20% more than we normally would.
The drive over was mostly non eventful. We drove through standing water. I told my husband not to. Two people in front of us turned around, while at least three cars coming the other direction plowed through. We avoided that area on our return to trip by going through the high school parking lot.
Honestly, the rain keeps falling and the flooding threat just keeps getting worse. My husband is working from home tomorrow and schools are closed through Wednesday. Our very local lake is releasing water downstream to avoid damage to the dam and overflow above the dam. We expect things to get a bit worse before they get better.
I sold an item on eBay tonight, but had to tell the buyer that I can't mail immediately. Our post offices are closed and not delivering mail until further notice because of road conditions. I'm hoping by Wednesday they will be open again.
I managed to dust all the blinds here in our rental home in preparation for the move. Tomorrow I will probably touch up paint the nail holes on the upper level of the home. I could have probably done it sooner, but I didn't want to deal with paint cleanup if the power went out in the middle of the project.
It's been an interesting four days to say the least. Thanks for all the prayers, well wishes and support!
We have made it through the high winds and still have power. The next worry is the amount of rain moving through our area. We expect to be fine in our home as we are not near a body of water that would flood to the point of affecting the house. The county is encouraging people to stay home since trees falling could be a bigger possibility with the amount of rain saturating the ground.
There are tree branches down in the yard, a small tree (12 feet) that is leaning in the backyard that will probably need to be staked at some point. A vent cover on the outside of the house is broken. Our neighbor next door has a pool with a white fence that lost a few panels that connect to our yard. The other neighbor lost part of their fence when a rather large tree fell down just outside of it. All minor really compared with what those on the coast are dealing with.
No spending here the last few days, since there is no where to go or reason to spend. I did sign up for free 7 day trial with Hulu so we can watch our football team play today.
An update, since I'm sure you are curious.
Our area still has yet to go through the brunt of the storm. We are getting a lot of rain and the wind gusts are getting stronger. The worst is expected over the next eight hours or so. We still have power, but we appreciate any prayers for us and all who are in the path of the storm.
I bought a cute Columbia Skort from the Exchange a couple weeks ago for $31. I was able to squeeze into a Large. I went looking on eBay to find another color for less. I found one for $20.99 in grey, size Large. Turns out the seller had an error in their inventory and didn't have what I ordered. So their solution was to refund my money and send me a pair of Columbia shorts in the same size. Amazing!
I received the shorts today, new with tags. They are black size Large. I can squeeze into them, but they are actually a little small. I guess I will hold on to them for awhile and see if I can lose some more weight to make them comfortable...otherwise, I have some shorts I can sell and make some money!
I'm impressed with the seller. I would have been fine with simply a refund. I didn't need them to spend money on shipping and send me another item from inventory they could have sold for cash.
I did give them a good review!