Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Frugal Activities #3
I sort of like keeping track of what I did to be a little more frugal ... so much so that I've started to really track ALL my spending ... I created a spreadsheet in excel and have categories like "entertainment" which covers dinners out and Netflix, "booze" because I wanted to move that out of the food budget (seriously, I spent about $50 or so a month on beer/wine) and a few other categories I wouldn't normally have set up ... I'm hoping I can get a better grip on the spending and really get refocused on being more frugal.
Here are a few things that we did this past week:
1. Hosted a last minute 23rd birthday party on Saturday night ... Hubby made the cake and frosting with what we had on hand, opted to make blackened chicken sandwiches because I had lots of thin cut chicken breast and we also made Italian taters (boiled red taters, marinate in Italian dressing and finish off on charcoal grill) ... I made the warmed onion dip and salsa for appetizers and served with bread rounds and chips. Only thing we bought were the onion buns and baguettes.
2. Opened all the windows in the house to air out during our cold front. Layered on clothes and blankets at night to keep warm. Yes, it was 45 degrees 3 mornings in a row which is COLD for us.
3. Menu planned and posted on the fridge for Hubby to try and follow along on :) Stuck with the plan about 75% of the time.
4. Did all my shopping on Saturday when I went to see my dad. Unfortunately, he fell on Sunday and they took him to the ER which meant I had to drive out to the hospital (15 miles there, 5 miles to dads home and then 10 miles back home) to bring him home. He never should have went to the ER as he banged his knee and that was his only complaint. It wasn't a medically necessary situation but I understand the facilities point of view in protecting themselves from a wrongful/neglect suit. Uggg.
5. Hung 50% of the laundry to dry in the guest bedroom (it's dry here with this cold front!).
6. Continued with the Pantry Challenge, skipped my planned Costco run (to get my $32 credit back for the coupons I couldn't use the last time I was there. Did you know that if you bring your receipt back during the coupon period, they will credit you back?) ... instead, made a stop at Aldis with Hubby in tow for eggs ... ahem, NOT a smart idea as he got sidetracked in the snack/chip aisle.
7. Did my own manicure again.
8. Had Monday off so made my dr's appointment instead of having to take time off work. I used a gift card (this was 'non-medical related') ... thank you Hubby!
9. Went to the gym with Hubby and the Boy as their "guest" ... worked harder than I've worked in quite a while which makes me think I need to do convince them to go in the evenings after I get home from work.
10. Moving forward with arrangements for my current SEP IRA to be moved to my financial planners office. The funds are currently not invested and are straight cash. I told Hubby to make this an aggressive account to see what kind of return we can get.
11. Hubby and the Boy are fixing up a beach cruiser bike that they picked up for ME! Actually, it's one of my seasonal neighbors (Canada/Florida) and she put it out on the corner for someone to pick up as the back wheel bearings were going bad. The Boy and Hubby are fixing it up ... funny as I had requested a bike for Christmas but they were just really expensive to Hubby ... so this is PERFECT! I figure they have spent $20 maybe on parts :)
12. Made my breakfast and packed my lunch the 4 days I worked. This is what I normally do but will occasionally fall off the wagon. Oddly enough, if I do it one day, I somehow feel I'm "entitled" to do it again the next day ... strange.
13. Looked at the American Express points and have determined I can get about $500 worth of AE gift cards if we cashed in a lot of our points. Hubby wants to hold them til something really cool comes up, he's thinking like a vacation or something. I'm thinking we could stretch out a months worth of groceries a LOT better with these. I will continue to work with him on that.
14. Started shopping around for auto insurance that comes up next month. Currently, 6 month premium for 3 cars is $1318. That's a lot. And especially since only 1 car (mine) is driven 5 days of the 7 ... So far we've not had much luck in finding a lower quote. Where we live and what we drive are huge factors :(
Some of the not so frugal things we did this past week:
1. Shopped at 4 stores total. Target had me filling up the full size cart when all I was picking up was 2 items. This prompted me to re-evaluate my shopping habits ... and was a very big eye opener!
2. Turned the heat on one morning to 73 to take the chill off. It really wasn't necessary as 68 in NOT cold by most standards!
3. Ahem, took Hubby to the store with me and let him throw stuff in the cart. What should have been $20 or so cost almost $40 ...
4. Had a weak moment on Tuesday and convinced Hubby and the Boy to go out to eat at the Japanese buffet place ... $75 later and my "grocery cash jar" has $20 left for the month! Oh Oh. This is what happens when you "borrow" from one account to feed another!
5. Went to Costco on FRIDAY night after work. So not a good idea as I was in a hurry. Got my $32 back and then proceeded to spend $402. Uggg.
6. Friday night, Hubby and I decided to walk down the street for one drink. Ummm, we went to the first place, kept walking to the 2nd place, ordered some food and drinks for a total of $75 (with tip) and walked to the 3rd place and spent $30 (I can't remember how much I put in the jukebox). We walked home at around 1:30am ... um, I suppose I could say at least we didn't spend money on a cab?
What have you been doing to be Frugal lately?