Friday, January 16, 2015

Frugal Friday - January 2015 So Far

We've been so busy here since school started again last week!  I've made a huge amount of progress on getting some things crossed off my to-do list too, which I love.  I'm definitely a list-type person and it makes me feel good to cross things off my to-do lists.

We are in the penny-pinching mode again for a while - between beginning of term expenses, a break in paychecks, and a few other things, I am trying NOT to shop unless I already have the cash or a gift card in hand.  I'm also hoping to defrost our chest freezer before summer comes  - I had hoped to do that this fall but that didn't happen so spring it will be!  That means we need to eat out the freezer before then.   I'm also hoping to refine our spending habits so we can work on some big goals we have coming up!

Here's what we've done since the beginning of the 2015 year in terms of frugal things:

* Spent New Years and John's Birthday with the in-laws this year.  We used a credit for a hotel room and enjoyed just spending time with family.  It was terrific! 

* We used the pool and the weight/workout room at the hotel to exercise while we were at my in-laws.  They came "free" with the room and we got a great workout! 

* We draw names for Christmas presents in my husband's big family and I got three bags of gourmet coffee and an iTunes gift card for Christmas as well as a pastry cutter from my brother-in-law this year. All will be used and I'm honestly pretty excited about the gourmet coffee, since I rarely splurge on that myself.

* We ate most of our meals at home or took lunches.  John and I were each treated to one meal at work and John and I had one meal out.  I was also treated to wonderful snacks - fresh fruit, muffins, and other pastries - during a workshop at work. I was tempted to ask where they got the delicious pineapple from!

* For John's birthday we used tickets to a special museum exhibit we had gotten through a fundraiser raffle at church.  We paid $6 for parking and then treated ourselves to lunch at the museum too for about $25 for both of us.  A friend watched the children for us.  We had budgeted for everything (including paying the sitter!) and we had a very lovely time. We spent about 5 hours at the museum total, including lunch. This museum is one we don't go to often but it was a wonderful change of pace and a nice Birthday date for us.

* I made biscuits, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, waffles, cake, and pizza from scratch.

* We used a pre-paid punch card to get a loaf of bakery bread.

* I attended a sale at my favorite consignment store and used my Christmas gift card to buy a pair of slacks, three tops and a necklace and earring set that I can wear to work.  I have $12 of $50 left on my gift card that I will use at a later date.

* My daughter made birthday decorations for my husband using things we already had on hand.

* I cleaned out several drawers and cupboards in the kitchen, washed the shelves and drawers and put down new shelf paper that I already had (leftover from last time - I had purchased way too much!).  We threw away some broken and unusable things and donated several others.  We did end up with short list of things we need to replace, which we'll do as we can, but mostly we are just enjoying the extra shelf space!

* I updated our Budget Book and my husband and I redid our budget for the next few months.

* I used a new option to direct pay my student fees from last semester rather than having to put them on a credit card and then pay the credit card.  I love that new option!  And no interest paid!

* My children have been playing in the snow and I'm really enjoying that!  They have Monday off school and we're hoping to go sledding at a nearby park!  I'm so glad it's warmed up and we can go outside without fear of getting frostbite quickly.

* I cleaned out and donated some Christmas decorations I don't think we will use again.

* A colleague brought in workout wear she no longer wanted and offered to anyone who could wear it.  I brought home two new workout tops and a pair of workout capris.  I'm particularly excited about the capris because I need new ones! 

* I've been finishing up some sewing projects that have been half-done for far too long.  A birthday present for our nephew, pajamas for me, and a new curtain for the bathroom.  Hoping to have some photos of those for you soon!

* A friend moved overseas and gave Buddy his guitar.  He hasn't played it in years and didn't want to ship it. Buddy is ecstatic!  He's wanted a guitar for years.  Now he just has to find the time to learn how to play it!  We offered to pay for it but our friend refused.  He's just excited that someone will actually play it!  John has wanted to learn the guitar too and can have free lessons through the seminary.  So, the plan is for John to take lessons and then come home and teach Buddy. 

* We went back to the cash envelope system at the beginning of the year.  We had done this in the past but we'd gotten lax about it this past fall.  The fancy paper envelopes we had used were falling apart and I hadn't had time to make the fabric ones I wanted.  So we just kind of threw the cash in the desk drawer and pulled out what we needed.  We didn't overspend but there were a lot of "Oh, I was planning on using that for..." moments.  Stressful!  Hopefully we can avoid that now again!
What have you done lately that's frugal?

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