Tag Archive | frugality

things that are worth the money.

At the risk of sounding like a grandpa, when did things get so expensive? I’m pretty sure I filled my car up with gas in high school (my suburban, mind you) for twenty bucks or so. I’m always shocked now when McDonalds cheeseburgers aren’t $.49. Why in the world does it cost $4.95 to buy a simple birthday card? And don’t even get me started on life insurance, chicken breast, or baby shoes. It’s crazy.
It doesn’t help that I’m frugal by nature. For me, spending money always seems to feel wrong, like eating the last oreo at a guest’s house, or texting in church. But there are a few things, a few wonderful things, which, even in these inflated times, make me feel happy, and smart, and righteous even, for buying. Here is my personal opinion, for shoppers or scrimpers, of things priced right and worth the money.
– Victoria’s Secret yoga pants. My use of the word “righteous” earlier now seems a little misplaced. But seriously. The $29.99 I spent five years ago made initial appearances in the gym and mall. Those pants followed me on my honeymoon, through years of saturday house cleaning, and yes, even into the hospital to deliver a baby. Or maybe it was a few weeks later. Whatever. They are beyond comfortable without looking comfortable.
– Our internet. Random, yes. But I feel the need to share that for $19.95 a month, Time Warner supplies us with perfectly acceptable fast speed of wireless access. And hours of time wasted. So thanks. (?)
– Harris Teeter. Yes, Bilo is cheaper. But at Bilo do they put my groceries in the car? Do they reward me for my frequent shopping with free cookies at Starbucks? Do they offer me random terrific deals like this week’s 24 water bottles for $1.88? And most importantly, do they make me feel, for one hour of the week, like I am good enough to deserve organic raspberries that are not moldy in the bottom? No, they do not.
– Pampers wipes. Sam has all but told me in his own words, please only buy Pampers wipes. They are the right amount of moist, soft, and thick.
– My Electrolux vaccuum, my kitchenaid mixer, and my Pampered Chef utility knife. Still as wonderful as the day I got them (all gifts, but I’d buy them if I had to).
– Turning on the gas fire when it’s really cold in the morning. Enough said.
– A nice dinner on your birthday. Pretending you’re more wealthy than you really are, when done discriminately, is actually very healing. My local preferences are the North Harbor Club and 131 Main.
– Mary Kay eyemakeup remover. There is no substitute.
– Going to Chick-fil-a on a really bad day to buy a small lemonade. It has made many a rough day bright.
– A caramel frappachino. Like once a season, in the afternoon, with whipped cream.
– a king-sized bed. Being the cold one/one who likes to cuddle, I was very dubious of this buy, thinking it threatened our marriage and my warmth. Oh, how I was wrong. I will never go back.
– a family vacation. We didn’t plan to travel this year, but we did. It wasn’t long, expensive, or exotic. It was Myrtle Beach, people, how could it be. We were SHOCKED at how many wonderful memories we made, how refreshed we were, and how fun a time we could have on basically a short and lame vacation. We are now determined to take one every year, and enjoy it.
– The pansies on my back porch. I was shocked the day I discovered people bought flowers that died every year. What is the sense in that. But I take it back. I am slightly happier everytime I see them in my backyard, even if it reminds me that we still haven’t sold our house and no one has even seen them yet. Oh well.
– a year’s subscription to Cook’s Country. I don’t get this magazine anymore, but thankfully I saved them all, and I read them over lunch, before menu planning, during evening wind-down time, and anytime I am curious what the best way is to make something. How many magazines do you read, save, and re-read? For me, not many, but this one I do. It’s a gem.
– And finally – can I say this without sounding like a nerd? Disability insurance. I feel obligated to remind everyone to check and made sure what your family’s coverage is in case you need to add to it.
So there! Hope you enjoyed my list! I’s love to know what some of your worthwhile buys are!

Money Saving Tips

Every time I pray, I can’t help but give thanks for being able to stay home with my little Sam. I consider it the most amazing blessing of my life to be able to do that. I am so grateful! When Todd and I looked at our budget two years ago, staying home seemed an impossibility. God has provided in so many ways, and we have figured out more ways to save money than I ever thought we could! I am indebted to many different people and websites for some our ideas.
Here are a few easy things we do now that I should have started a long time ago!

  • Home make laundry detergent, household cleaners, chicken broth and baby food (stay tuned for an entire post on this!)
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper, and stop buying paper towels, plates, cups, and toilet paper (JK on the TP!! haha).
  • Coupons! Coupons are the new black. Or something. I used to think cashiers made fun of people who use coupons. Now I think they make fun of those who don’t. It’s way popular. As evidenced by the fact that it took me five visits and three stores to find my $.24 turkey bacon. What the heck people!!!?!! Who is it out there who is obsessed with bacon?? Anyways. The link that helps me the most is here. I purchase the local paper (Sunday only because I HATE the Charlotte Observer) and the rest of the coupons are printable.
  • CVS shop. I am indebted to my two friends Libby and Sylvia who embedded me with enough courage to learn the “ECB” system (extra care bucks = free money) at CVS. No lie, it took me about three hours to figure out what I would buy the first visit and if it would save me money. It does though. As an example, this week I spent $8 and got two packs of diapers, toothpaste, shampoo, and a $6 ECBs. WHAT??? Crazy, right.
  • consignment sales for Sam’s stuff. Hello.
  • air-dry clothes. Yes, I am that tacky neighbor who drapes the sheets on the porch for a few hours. Luckily my Gestapo-like HOA has not discovered my green practices yet.
  • meal plan according to the Harris Teeter specials. I signed up for EVIC and when I receive the week’s deals on Wednesday, I plan our meals for the next week.
  • produce co-op – have yet to start this but can’t wait. You can get so much more produce for so much less! (Thanks Megan!)
  • make a monthly and yearly budget and track purchases accordingly. Like Dave Ramsey says, budgets give freedom and not constraint. We use the program Microsoft Money, but many people I know use the free mint.com and love it.

Here are things we got rid of that we don’t even miss:

  • going to the movies. That’s a lie. Todd probably does miss this. I, however, who think that theaters are germy and most movies are trash, do not miss this. (Wow, do I sound like an old person or what.) Luckily for Todd, people who feel sorry for us have given us movie money quite often.
  • Magazine subscriptions, new music, new books. Whatever. There’s always the library.
  • Name brand products. I have found Harris Teeter products to be satisfactory in most every category I have tried. Exceptions: baby supplies, oats and honey cereal (weird, I know) and hot dog rolls. Just FYI.
  • Going out to eat a lot. You deal. And there’s always in-laws.
  • Wireless internet. I mean, what did we do in the old times, people!?!?

Things we got rid of that we do miss but it’s worth it.

  • cable. Todd and I both agree DVR is the biggest loss. We press the “pause” button a lot and mourn the loss. But I say, if you can still watch “The Office” and NFL, rabbit ears can’t be all that bad.
  • Expensive dates. Oh for the days when you could order an appetizer (gasp) and dessert. Or wine instead of water. Or when Panera didn’t count as a restaurant. But whatever, small price.

So there’s a few of my tips. I’d love to know some of your tips or resources!