Friday, January 25, 2019

Frugal Friday 280

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- The kids and I stopped by the Friends of the Library book sale. We each had a coupon for a free book from the Winter Reading Program. We also added three children's paperbacks (one comic book, one how-to-draw book, and one chapter book mystery) and two Indiana books (one local history for 3rd grade and one state history for 4th grade) and spent $2.75 on those. I was very excited to find the Indiana books as we will have to study our county in third grade and then our state in fourth grade and the books I have found to buy new have been a bit pricey. $1/each made me much happier!

- Saturday our Annual Junk Exchange was cancelled becuase our out-of-town guests couldn't get to us due to ice. We donated three huge totes instead of swapping. The kids and Mark enjoyed the special breakfast breads and cookies that we had made for friends.

- The kids and I stopped by the Library Book Sale again on Saturday for Bag Day. We got 20 books for just $5.00. Each of the kids chose five books - some random and some good ones but I tried to let them be interest led. I picked up a few novels for myself and then some classics to add to our homeschool library. Mark was especially glad that I found a few Illustrated Classics and that Owen scored a Boy Scout book!

- I mended two clothing items. We try to never let go of clothing items due to disrepair. By keeping what we have nice, we spend far less money on new.

- We spent $160 at the grocery and made big batches of quite a few things and ate them over many days- oatmeal breakfast "cookies", vegan pumpkin bread, taco soup, Italian soup, and dairy-free/processed sugar free ice cream just to name a few items. This trip will last us about a week and a half to two weeks since we also have fresh produce from Imperfect Produce.

- Mark and I had an at-home movie date night with a free Amazon movie on Monday night. We also enjoyed sundaes (one free thanks to a coupon) from Freddy's.

- We have been worried about buying certain items during the government shutdown after we saw a list of items that might easily be contaminated. Mark decided to begin only buying ground meat from local farmers. We are proud to buy from our friends at Burgett Family Farm.

- Annabeth is once again doing a cheer camp at our local high school. It's $30 for 4 hours of classes, a hairbow/shirt, and a halftime performance at tonight's basketball game. Annabeth loves this each time, we love supporting the local high school, and Owen loved sneaking in an extra popcorn snack during Tuesday night's practice.

I love his little tongue out! 
He LOVES popcorn!

- Wednesday we made our first trip in a year to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. We had the year pass in 2017, took last year off, and were gifted it again this year from my parents. Thank you all! My dad was in town and we had a great time with him!

Dinosaur Snack ;)

- Dad brought up many items from their house and a friend's house that they would have brought for the Junk Exchange. We were able to add some beautiful reference books to our home library as well as a HUGE amount of new-to-us American Girl items thanks to my sister's childhood friend Ally. Thank you Laurie and Ally for passing along books, trading cards, and more to us! Annabeth LOVES them!

We are looking forward to another fun weekend and we are hoping the weather behaves so we can enjoy the basketball game and a birthday party!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Frugal Friday 279

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- We are going on vacation this year and we borrowed a movie about where we are going from the library. We are doing our library's winter reading program and one of the tasks was to check-out/watch a non-fiction DVD so this worked out nicely. There is a similar movie shown where we are going and it would be $35 for our family to see it! Eep! We'll save the cash and borrow from the library!

- Annabeth had a dance conference in downtown Indy this week. We decided early on in the dance year that we wouldn't be paying for a hotel for the weekend - saving us hundreds of dollars. I planned to pack breakfast, lunches, and snacks for us girls and had set a budget of $20 for parking. Last weekend I found out that parking was going to be more like $60 for the weekend which just seemed insane! Thankfully a fellow dance mama works downtown and has FREE parking so we were able to carpool with them. Thanks Angie!

- I used a Starbucks gift card from Christmas to get breakfast and coffee each morning in Indy. Thank you Mama and Dad!

- Every year I splurge and buy myself a brand-new shirt for my birthday. This year I was able to get it free with a gift card from a friend! I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but I have hard time spending money on myself and many years I only buy a new shirt for myself at my birthday and our anniversary.

- We had quite a bit of snow over the weekend. Mark always takes great care of our neighbors and we were very surprised on Monday evening when our neighbor's children brought over a "Thank You" card and gas gift card. They had been unable to get over to help their mom and were thankful that we looked after her. It was not expected at all to receive such a thank you but we are thankful. Since it is a gas card we will be saving it for our travels this summer.

- The kids and I enjoyed a Homeschool Open Gym at Gymnastics Unlimited in Indianapolis. It was $12 for 90 minutes of play. I knew Annabeth would love it and I was especially proud of Owen for trying everything!! If you know Owen you know that he is very fearful and timid with new people/places/challenges and he played with other kids AND did some "super scary" things like bounce house with huge slide and rope swing into the foam pit!

He swung off the giant rope swing to get into this pit!
I didn't think he would even attempt it but he did and LOVED it!

 Annabeth had fun exploring the beams and uneven bars!
So different than her usual day at the gym of tumbling only.

- We enjoyed our monthly preschool storytime at the Church of God. Our friend Miss Kelley puts so much work into planning and we just love it. We are working our way through the fruits of the spirit this year.

- We have been enjoying Imperfect Produce for about six weeks now. We have the fruit box delivered every two weeks and have saved so much money! You can use our refferal code for $10 off your first box:

- I listed and sold many of the kids clothing items on Facebook. I still plan to do the Here We Grow Again sale in April but this was a quick, easy way to unload some items and make room in the totes. Made: $58

We are looking forward to our Annual Junk Exchange tomorrow and a three day weekend with Mark home for most of it!

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Frugal Friday 278

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Last Saturday we took the kids, and our nieces and nephew, to Disney on Ice. We gave this as a gift to all of the kids for Christmas. Owen is the youngest at 3.5 and the oldest are 8 ready to turn 9 so we felt like this was the best year to go. I also scored a great clearance deal on Mickey/Minnie shirts for the older four and Owen wore a Mickey shirt that was Annabeth's first (sorry second child) Mark's mom also came to the show and spoiled the kids with light up ears for the girls and swords for the boys. It was so wonderful to watch all of their faces as they enjoyed the show!

 This was such a fun surprise for the kids!
Annabeth loved seeing Jasmine, Owen loved seeing Mickey, and we loved
watching all of the kids' faces! 

- After Disney on Ice, we had dinner out thanks to some gift certificates to a wings place in town. The kids each had a meal and Mark and I shared one. We were able to eat, with generous tip, for just $20. Thank you to the City of Franklin for the door prize gift certificates!

- We have been doing some heavy cleanouts in anticipation of our Junk Exchange next weekend. Last year we had the junk exchange, two kids sales, and one garage sales with 20 loads also taken to donate. When we started cleaning out for this years Junk Exchange I thought "we won't have much at all" and yet there it all is! Mark and I worked through the kitchen on Sunday and I also finished doing my dresser. 

- Monday morning we kicked off the school week with a volcano and a crystal experiment. We enjoyed watching some science videos before working on the experiments. Both kits were a gift from Christmas. We love getting school books and supplies as gifts!

Volcano Fun!
Thank you Matt, Jenn, and kids!

- We are now five weeks out from Annabeth's first dance competition. I ordered her show shoes as I wanted to wait as long as we could for fear her feet would grow. They were lower price than when I looked in December and I earned 4% cashback through Ebates.

- I did a heavy cleanout of every single kitchen cabinet and the pantry over the course of the week. Monday night at dance a mom mentioned something she liked but didn't have. I had it, just sitting brand-new in the box for the past three years, so Wednesday I took it to her as a surprise. It felt great to give it to a person who will use it. Our kitchen cabinets now have lots of white space and we are excited!

- Mark and I had a serious talk about upcoming vacation and summer budgets. We have one big bill that we pay each summer (our car insurance for the year) that we have always paid with our tax check. We put the rest of it in savings but always use a chunk for that big bill. With the news back and forth about whether tax checks will be issued we knew that we would need a firm savings plan in case they don't come. Later in the week we saw that they should be coming for sure but it was still a good thing to discuss.

- Mark changed jobs in November which led to new insurance after his first thirty days. A HUGE appeal of this new job was insurance that is so so so much better than our old insurance. Case and point: Annnabeth sees her allergist at the end of December each year. Last year the appointment and medication cost us $500 out of pocket after insurance. This year? $20 copay. The emotional and financial weight of poor insurance was heavy and it feels so incredible to know that we have good, affordable healthcare for the first time in our marriage.

We are looking forward to a busy weekend, lots of snow, and time with family and friends.

Happy Savings to All!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Frugal Friday 277

Happy Frugal Friday!

Here is how we saved money/spent money wisely/made extra money this week:

- Last Friday we headed down to Evansville to celebrate Christmas with my family. My parents surprised Mark and I and kept the kids for us Friday evening! We were able to sneak out to dinner (our third date this year!!) and a little trip to Target for an item to help my Momaw with a house project.

- Saturday we had a lovely "Christmas" morning at my parents with the family. Everyone headed out to the zoo to enjoy another free day on our pass and then...the stomach fly hit. Hard. SO hard. Owen had it before we went south but seemed better so we had gone on down a few days after that. But it seems it was still contagious - it went through Annabeth, me, Mark, my sister, and then my dad. It meant we cancelled all the rest of our Evansville plans and just spent three days at my parents' house. The good news is we did recover enough to make it home for Mark to work on Wednesday. It really took until last night for all of us to feel well again.

Sick Day, Movie Day at Grandmama and Grandpa's House
My sister and I used to lay on the couch just like that when we were little

- I saw a long thread on a Mom's Facebook Page this week about what people spend at the grocery. Our family of four spends far less than most families, a fact I was aware of, but I was shocked that most people spend more on groceries than we spend on our mortgage each month! Whew! I am thankful that we shop many affordable stores, coupon, and still eat healthy and filling meals.

- We each received many gift cards for Christmas. Thank you to everyone who gave us one. We have saved all of them but did allow the children to each spend one at Target on anything they wished. I want my children to save money and spend money wisely but I also like to see them enjoy spending it a bit every now and then as well. We will save the rest for a time when they have something that they very much want.

- I listed many of Annabeth's dance and boutique items on Facebook for sale. I sold a good deal of what I listed. Made: $85 profit (less shipping prices)

- Yesterday morning I woke up very motivated, for the first time since getting the stomach bug, and did a massive closet overhaul! I took every item out of my closet and spent 2.5 hours going through everything. It was a ton of work but so worth it! I also pulled clothes to send/sell at ThredUP. I don't make very much with them but it seemed like a good time to do it as we're saving up for a few trips this year.

It's not always this crazy but post Christmas/sickness it hadn't
even been straightened for a week or more. 

I pulled nearly everything out!
I always pull my clothes out twice a year but don't always do the floor too
The totes on top are my gift totes and were organized when I wrapped gifts a few weeks ago. 

(Yes, I still have too many clothes and bags but these all sparked joy
so they stayed! I did part with 30 items)
The totes on the left are four wrapping totes, a music tote in the middle,
and then some special handmade items stored in the tote on the right

- I scored a sweet Lego deal on Groupon. I was was able to get a $50 gift certificate for just $10 out of pocket. I also earned 6% cashback through Ebates! I am hoping it will be a win for our nephew's 7th birthday later this month. 

We hope you all had a happy and healthy New Years!
Happy Savings to All!