Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Little Bits of Frugality

We're on a theme this week with Works for Me Wednesday. Kristin has picked frugalness as the theme. I think that I've kind of done a post on this anyhow, but let me think some more . . .

1. We handle doing our own lawn work. I realize that many people do, but we don't hire in the killer spray people, either. The dandelions and assorted weeks happily live, carpeting our bit of earth. That's okay with us. Well, that is until my lovely neighbor decides to share his weed and feed on our front yard. (We really do love him!)
2. We have a little garden. In our garden, we grow many plants that I have grown from seed. If it is something that I have not grown, we stop by roadside stands or Mom and Pop vegetable markets to make up the rest.
3. You've heard tales of line drying. I line dry in the basement in the winter/bad weather days. I dry outside when the weather permits. That includes our sheets, but not the towels. When the pollen settles down, I'll launder all the blankets and hang them out, too.
4. We run to the thrift store for clothing for all of us. Hubs ruins his pants at work by slogging through mud. K- doesn't typically ruin her clothes, but she does have a fondness for making "mud soup." She loves dresses and loves to play in the sandbox. The thrift store (AKA in my house as the all year yard sale) give me an opportunity to buy cute little dresses for about a buck that if trashed, I'm not so sad about it. As for me, my main job at work is display. I'm not really delicate with display. I've burned my hair with halogen lights (it smells horrible BTW), scraped my arms all up with metal Christmas trees and blown out knees of jeans from all the dragging around the floor that I do (among other things). I can get quite dirty doing my job and I'd hate to pay a lot for jeans that I wear the knees out on.
5. We're dinner re-servers. K- doesn't have to finish her dinner at dinner, but if she wants something else to eat later, she needs to finish her dinner before she can have something else. My mother-in-law will attest to the fact that K- can take two bites of this, three bites of that and decide that she wants something else. She had my poor mother-in-law so buffaloed that she seriously thought that K- only wanted junk. I told her that she was giving her a bail out option and too many options on top of that. She started doing what we do and voila! K- stopped doing it to grandma, too.
6. We use the heat and A/C only when needed. Seems weird that I say that, but when my parents turn their A/C on, it is on for the rest of the season. My neighbor NEVER opens his windows-- ever. We have a programmable thermostat that regulates the heat/cold according to the schedule we put in. I'm a fan of the open window, though. When we replaced our windows about 3 1/2 years ago, we put in the kind that will open from the top or bottom. This is helpful with rain. Typically, it won't rain in the windows when they are opened from the top.
7. Coupons and reimbursements. Yet another duh! but I've saved a lot over the years. Just recently, I received a check from Airborne for $65.00 from their class action lawsuit. We had saved the UPC's and receipts to get free Airborne, but it turned out that the lawsuit settlement was more worth our money. Besides, we like Oscillococinum better.
8. Fresh Step Scoop paw prints rebate. We've earned several free boxes of cat litter from just saving the points on the side of the box.
9. Being a My Points member. When we order something online, we run through the My Points site to see if it is a rewardable purchase. I also get their e-mails to click through to websites. It takes very little time. There have been times that I've been behind on the My Points and needed to ditch them because of expiration, but I'm pretty good at keeping up with them most of the time. I've been a member since 1998 (eek!) and have gotten more gift certificates than I can tell you. Typically now I use them for Christmas gifts. I work to save the points for certificates to restaurants, home improvement stores or to put towards more Christmas gifts for K-.
10. Discover Cash Back Rewards. We have been fortunate enough to be able to continue to pay our full balance off on our credit card monthly. By doing this, our interest rate is a little higher, but we earn cash rewards and we don't use the interest rate anyhow!
11. LL Bean Rewards. When you purchase with an LL Bean credit card, you get free shipping (returns, too), free monogramming and purchase rewards. Recently, we purchased boots for my husband with his work allowance. Their most recent promotion was when $50. or more was purchased, you would earn a $10.00 coupon to use at a later date. You could earn only one per day. We purchased each pair of boots on two different days, so now we have $20.00 in credit to use towards our little fire ring that we'd like to purchase. LL Bean is also just a great value in general as their items are guaranteed for life. Hubs called about a rain jacket that his father had purchased for him 16 years previous. It had shredded in the wash. You know what? They returned it. They also returned the sandals that ate big blisters into K-'s feet-- no questions asked.
12. We clean our own carpets. I know that the big boys do a lovely job, but we pull together and in an afternoon, we get the job done and nicely, too!
13. I wash the RAV in the driveway, as opposed to running it through a car wash. Well, I'll give it a run in the wintertime (this past year just once), but I've gotten the washing down to a science, so it isn't too bad.
14. We mulched heavily last year, with some in reserve, so as not to have to do the yearly mulch. We might even be good for next year!
15. I trade plant splits with friends. I've traded plants back and forth with people that I know. My sister has given me wonderful houseplants (she admitted to me a week ago that she gives me parts of her plants so that she can come back to be to replace if she kills hers). In return, I gave my sister more tomato plants than she could possibly plant (that year I accidentally had 80 seedlings), Yarrow, Obedient Plant, Echinacea, Lime Green Nicotiana and Basil. My friend Irina (hey Irina!) who has moved to Montreal (we miss you Irina!) traded me chives, Lily of the Valley, Brown Eyed Susans and Shasta Daisies for tomato plants. Hubs' aunt and uncle have gifted me cast-off's, as their gardens have been well established for quite sometime. Thanks to them we have Goosenecks, Forget Me Not*, Sedum, Rose of Sharon and Choral Bells*. (*Not coming up anymore! Eeek!) They also gave us peonies that came from Hubs' grandmothers garden. We have a whole slew of Day Lilies, Sedum and a large bush that came from my mother-in-law. My friend Cj has gifted me more Sedum (yes, I have several varieties as my backyard is unshaded and can use drought tolerant plants) and Wild Yarrow from her field.

That's all that I can pick out of my brain for now. Good luck on saving! :)


Hollie said...

I use alot of these same frugal ways.

Kaycee said...

We do a lot of these things to. I love sharing plants with my mom.

I actually have some Iris that came from my Great Grandmother's lawn. I just love looking at them everytime they bloom.

Rach said...

Whew! Field trip today and I'm only now having a moment to catch up! :o)

We do SO many of the same things you do! What a great list. Number five is one of my all time faves and we did it with Han and now with Lil. I don't think my m-i-l gets it as she doesn't want to seem like a "hard nose". Too bad. You ask for it, you munch on it, you can eat it again later.


Jamie said...

Great list! I do a lot of the same - as you know, minus the credit card rewards, as we don't have any CC.

I do plant trading too, mostly with m mom. But, I'm mostly on the receiving end since she gives me all of her extras and thin-outs. I'm getting more Cannas and Elephant ears in a few weeks which I am looking forward to. I gave my mom some Gerbera daisy seeds last month when she was here.

You might be pleased to know I am starting some seeds, after all. Way late, but I found several pounds of pumpkin seeds that I harvested last year and those Gerbera daisy seeds that I split with Momma.

We have the same "If you don't eat it now, you will later" rule. It works and now that they are older we rarely have an issue with them eating everything. I also refuse to make a separate meal for them. We don't eat anything crazy or exotic that they can't eat what we we're having.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Yeah, we don't make a separate meal either. My aunt used to make at least 3 separate meals for her family. It was ridiculous! She basically had a restaurant going on. I couldn't imagine shopping for all of that!

Jennifer said...

Great tips! I love the LLBean reward system. In fact we have the credit card so I can get free shipping and earn more rewards. We don't use it for much other than LL Bean stuff and pay it off right away, so it works well for us.

Bailey's Leaf said...

Oh yes, we only by LL Bean merchandise on the card since we score big rewards with Discover. Still, every little bit helps!

Bailey's Leaf said...

Okay, I can spell but can't keep up with the typing! We BUY LL Bean merchandise on the card.

Oy. It's late!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

wow that was a whole lotta info in one post! great stuff