Living Frugally—Week Five

Here is another weekly installment of Living Frugally where I share my frugal accomplishments for the past week. Be sure to share your frugal successes in the comments!

Ate packed lunches all week.

Used my refillable water bottle all week while I was out at work and running errands.

Renewed my cell phone service for the year through Mint Mobile. I pay $240/year (yup! A YEAR) for 8GB of data, but they have different packages. It’s one of the best financial decisions I’ve made to date. They use T-Mobile’s towers and I was able to bring my own device and keep the same number I’ve had for years. I am thrilled to sign-up with them again for another year.

Listened to free guided meditations on YouTube as a way to wind down. I like these guys, but find whatever resonates with you. Paired best with a hot bath.

Offered to bring the cake for a friend’s birthday party. I wasn’t sure what to get him (he pretty much has everything he wants). I was just going to get a gift card to Target (cause I figure, who doesn’t want a Target gift card?), but I felt the cake contributed more and gave me the satisfaction of bringing a “real gift.” I didn’t have time to make one, but thankfully our local grocery store is pretty good about gourmet cakes so I was able to pick up a nice one that was cheaper than if I bought it at an upscale grocery store, or bakery. I spent probably about as much as I would have spent on his Target gift card, but felt better about the gift.

Listened to several audiobooks on my commute, and started a new e-book from my local library using the Libby app.

Used an essential oils/massage oil concoction on my feet a few evenings this week. I made this massage oil for free when I attended a class at the local public library.

Collected all of my W2s/1099s and organized my tax info somewhat. I still have some left to do, but I find that I am more productive and peaceful when I have things orderly. Although I pay a tax professional to do the heavy lifting on my tax prep (my taxes have gradually gotten more complicated through the years), I am still able to learn a little bit more about my taxes each time I ready the paperwork to hand off to my CPA.

I picked up a short job on the weekend, and a couple evenings this week. Doing work outside of standard business hours pays a differential (aka more money) and is worth it to pick up from time to time. However, I have learned that I like to be at home evenings/weekends and I do not serve myself by forcing myself to regularly take jobs at all hours just to make some extra money. In this case though, the occasional infusion of extra cash is nice.

At a social event this week, there was a ton of pizza left over. Not only did I eat for free while there, but I was able to bring home a whole extra pizza to enjoy with my husband. 

I worked out 5 days this week. I use a streaming service for $99/year (Beachbody) to work out in my home, but Youtube also has a ton of workouts/yoga for free. Investing in my health and fitness is a huge long term frugal win (think savings on doctor’s appointments, medications, etc).

Almost made a purchase on Amazon for some free weights for my husband. We ended up being able to modify what the exercise required using equipment we already had, and did not have to spend money on an extra piece of equipment. Pausing before making a purchase really allows for the time to be creative and come up with a frugal equivalent.

I have a setting on my washing machine for “hand-wash” and I use it for some articles of clothing that are dry-clean only. I washed a heavy coat this weekend using this cycle. I don’t remember the last time I sent clothes to the dry cleaners.

A friend of mine was looking to part with some extra rubber bracelets and a mason jar mug that she got from a local indoor skydiving arena. My nephew loves that place, so I was able to receive these things for free and store them away to begin stockpiling knick-knacks for birthday and Christmas stocking this year. 

One of the entities I work for tries to host staff meetings at a local coffee shop to break up the monotony of the work day. I attended, but did not order anything or spend money. I did not even notice the difference. It is nice to not feel obligated to spend just because I am in a particular setting.

A credit card I hold was offering an additional 2% cash back for the month of January when purchasing gas (for a total of 4%). Though I had half a tank left, I filled up one last time to maximize the rewards points. Keep in mind when taking advantage of credit card rewards, it is important to always pay off the card in full every month. 

Tried a new tofu/veggie stir-fry recipe (it was sooo good) and it ended up being plenty to feed the two of us for 3 days. It was nice to not have to cook so often, and also what a great, frugal recipe to make in bulk! We used veggies, tofu, rice, and seasonings. This was the first time I have ever tried tofu in my life and it was surprisingly delicious! 

We also made burrito bowls again which fed us for 2 meals each, and also used similar ingredients as the stir-fry so we didn’t waste any produce (e.g. the other half of an onion, etc).

Doesn’t look like much but add some beans and cheese and it makes for a delicious burrito bowl!

Thought I would need to get a new phone, because my current phone (an iPhone 6s) was running out of battery quickly. I resigned myself to this, figuring the phone was pretty old and it was time, but then I remembered I just updated the operating system and perhaps something in my settings was changed that caused the battery drainage. Sure enough, after a quick Google search, I figured out what settings were changed after the update, reverted them back to my preferences, and my phone is working great. I’ll eventually get a new phone, but no sense in replacing it when it still is working great.

What are some of your frugal accomplishments for this past week?

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