Tag Archives: Frugality

Socially conscious…and frugal, too

In August, I decided to add Target to my (sadly) growing list of stores that I boycott. Target joins a venerable list which includes Wal-Mart (shady treatment of women, and, well, they’re gross) and Whole Foods (the CEO said WHAT? about health insurance).

I decided to boycott Target because of that whole “we took your money and made a giant donation to an organization that you would NEVER support if you had the choice thing.” Check it out here.

Truth is that I’m totally sure Whole Foods could care less, considering that I never liked the feeling that I had to refinance my mortgage in order to shop THERE anyway. Target, though – well, now, that’s another story. I was surprised that the first month I didn’t drop at least $100 there that I would get a “we miss you” postcard. I used to joke that I should have a portion of my paycheck direct deposit there.

The problem, though, is that I buy stuff there. Lots of it. Makeup, food, toilet paper, you name it.

To start with, I buy 6 Luna Bars a week there. They’re cheaper at Target than they are anywhere else. I’m sure, too, that when I pop in there to buy the weekly Luna Bar stash (and they get kind of stale, so I buy them once a week) I spent at least another $30 on impulse purchases – stuff that I used like, well, food. But impulse purchases nonetheless.

Target’s not stupid, of course.

So – now that I can’t shop at Target… what to do? I actually kind of panicked for a while. Then I realized that, well, there are other options. I know Target’s the closest (I could walk there if I wanted to. I don’t, of course, but I could), cheapest and all-around most convenient.

Here’s what happened in the last two months since my own little boycott began:

School supplies. Now that wasn’t hard at all. In fact, it was easy. Staples? Hello? Back-to-school supplies sale? Cheap cheap.

Food. Back to the grocery store. Not my favorite by a long shot. I hate grocery stores – the big ones. I hate the lines, the parking, the people (I mean the other shoppers who leave their damn carts in the middle of the aisles and talk for hours to neighbors). I did, however, discover that grocery stores can be pretty affordable if you do two things: read the ads instead of recycling them (since I don’t get a daily paper I don’t get them that way but I realized that the newsapery stuff that comes in the mail every week is actually useful if you plan to do grocery shopping) and only buy stuff on sale. There’s lots of it. I buy soda, um, kind of frequently and it’s almost always on sale somewhere.

Luna Bars. Know what? They’re like a dime more expensive for 6 of them at Trader Joe’s than they were at Target. And I pretty much hit Trader Joe’s once a week anyway for my lunch provisions.

Toilet paper. Two words: plan ahead. Bought it at Sam’s Club (yes, I know that Sam’s Club is just Wal-Mart in disguise but there are some things that I just have to buy there like the super-cheap chicken that’s probably hormone-laden and will eventually kill me, and the cheap-cheap (ha ha) eggs that thankfully didn’t kill me). I bought a giant package of toilet paper there that, considering I live alone, will probably last me 2 months or more.

And, finally, make-up. I’m not a big make-up buyer, but there’s stuff I do use. Well, now, have you considered drugstore.com? OMG… here’s where being generous paid off as well. I had a boatload of cash left in my FSA this year and encouraged younger daughter to use some FSA money at drugstore.com to buy her first load of over-the-counter meds for her new apartments. Anyway, that earned me over $6.00 in drugstore.com money that I could use starting this month. That, combined with free shipping and some sales got me the following for just a little over $30: foundation, powder, blush, mascara, eye shadow and a new hair brush. Are you kidding? That would have been at least $20 more at Target, not to mention the five other things I would have bought on impulse.

Socially conscious and frugal? Can be done.

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The greening continues

Green updates: The compost bin is assembled and sitting in its corner of the yard. Wow. Me composting… I can’t believe how excited I am to have stuff rotting in my yard.

I ordered – and received in two days – two collapsible rain barrels from Woodland Direct. Unfortunately, they didn’t send me the diverter kits that were supposed to be included. Um, I can’t use ’em if I can’t divert the water from the downspout into the barrel. I’m excited, though, to be starting my rainwater saving. It mostly started because of my frugality (didn’t want to pay a bigger water bill) and because the idiots who built my house didn’t think it would be important to put a water spigot in the back. Really…why would you want a water spigot where the yard is? I have one on the side of the house, but that’s on the outside of the gate, which is locked from the OUTSIDE because I have a highly intelligent border collie who know how to open the gate (really). So, in order to use the water I have to go in the house, walk through the house, go out the front door, open the gate, make sure the dogs don’t get out… not worth it. I’ve been shlepping water in a watering can from the laundry room (which actually is only a few steps from the back door, but then there’s the whole spilling of water as I carry the heavy can…) so I’m excited to use rainwater. And I understand rainwater has the added benefit of being better for plants; it’s softer (which I’m sure is true in my case since I have very hard water), and it’s freeeeeeeeee.

I chose collapsible barrels because I will easily be able to store them over the winter, rather than leave them outside to possibly crack. I put them together with no problem. I’m a little nervous about installing the diverter kits, but I’ll ask a man for help if necessary.

Hypertufa…

Do you know what hypertufa is? It’s a combination of cement, perlite and peat moss. You mix it all up, add water till it feels like (ew) cottage cheese and then mold it into planters and stuff like that. It’s going to be my summer project; learning how to use it and make stuff out of it. It appeals to me because it has a lovely, rustic quality about it; it’s a little different; and the materials aren’t expensive. Of course I mentioned it to some colleagues, who all want to come play in the mud, so I thought, once I get good at using it, I’ll host concrete camp (it’s technically not concrete, but I like the alliteration). I’ll serve a mud-inspired cuisine; mudslides, Oreo mud pie… Go ahead; Google it – it’s cool.

What I’m reading right now – thank you to my adorable younger daughter who sent me the link to The Jew and the Carrot. What a great blog!

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I’ve discovered the key to doing home repairs

I’ve been a crafter my whole life. I love to buy new craft toys, play at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or Joann Fabric… The Internet changed my crafting life by exposing me to new ways of seeing and doing things.

This is it – the key to doing home repair. I just have to look at it the same way I look at crafting. Here’s what I found:

1. doing home repairs give me an excuse to buy new tools and play with new materials.

2. If you think of Home Depot as just another craft store, it’s way less threatening. It even has a cutting station, just like Joann.

3. Google anything, anything at all – you’ll find somebody on the Internet showing you how to do it.

4. Crafters have that “it’s more fun to do it myself” mentality. Just like home handypeople!

5. Doing my own home repairs takes advantage of my artistic ability, too. My heart just sang when I read that good grouting is more about artisitic ability than home repair skill. YES!

See ya later – I’m off to Home Depot (again!).

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Filed under Creating a new life, Empowerment, Finances, Fixing stuff, Haven for one

More on single frugality…

Last week I discovered that my beloved Luna bars were recalled due to the peanut butter issue. This was a crisis – I eat a Luna bar (Peanut Butter Cookie, to be precise) every day. I buy them by the box at Target and take them to work so I don’t have to think about breakfast in the morning. Well, I went to Target and they didn’t have any. They had Lemon Zest and other flavors, but not mine. Later in the day we checked the peanut butter recall online and discovered that my Luna bars were recalled. I don’t like any other power or energy bars, so I had to figure out what to eat in the morning. I grabbed a handful of instant oatmeal packets (that, I believe, have been in the pantry since the somebody came home from college, and I’m not sure that it wasn’t the older daughter… so they’ve been there a while) and brought them to school. I have a microwave in my classroom so it’s easy to heat the water. Know what? I ate those oatmeal packets every day and lost three pounds last week. Now, I can’t be sure it was the oatmeal, but I didn’t really do anything differently, so it’s worth continuing. And, I saved somewhere around $5.00 on Luna Bars and ate stuff that was already in the pantry.

I also didn’t have any 100-calorie packs of chips for my lunch, so I used snack size Ziploc bags and took 100 calories worth of the Roasted Gorgonzola Crackers from Trader Joe’s instead. If you haven’t tried those crackers, give them a shot. They’re really flavorful and you get a good amount for 100 calories. And they’re around $2.00 a box, which makes them waaaaay cheaper than pre-bagged 100-calorie packs. One box is good for lots of lunches (well, it is if you don’t eat them when you get home from work and you’re starving — not that I ever do that), which also saves on trips to the grocery store.

Trips to the grocery store – I just hate ’em. Mr. Ex used to do that (I think he really loved it), but I do not love. More on that next week – how the frugal single avoids constant grocery store runs.

Kerasotes Theatres
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One more thing – did you know about the five-buck club from Kerasotes Theaters? You can sign up online and get a card that gets you a ticket for $5.00 at selected shows. The catch is that you can only buy one ticket per card, but that’s perfect for the frugal single! Since that’s the theater that I usually go to on Saturday to meet girlfriends, I’m lovin’ it. They even send you an email wth participating theaters and times.

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Stayin’ Frugal

If you’ve been reading here for any time at all you realize that frugal spending is somewhat of an obsession of mine. I think it partially because I’m totally anxious about money and it’s also part of my whole taking charge of my life thing.

A big thanks to Glblguy for hosting this week’s Festival of Frugality. I haven’t had a chance to read all the articles but I really enjoyed The perqs of pinching pennies by Funny-About-Money.  It’s amazing how small changes make such a difference.

To that end, I’ve decided to take enough out of my savings to pay off my credit card this month. Now, that isn’t going to help much with my anxiety, since I’m sure that less money in the savings will mean more anxiety in me. But it just doesn’t make sense to continue to accrue finance charges when I’m getting bupkis (you know that means nothing, right? Not that it doesn’t mean anything, it means nothing. Makes sense?) from the savings account. And I’m just going to focus on looking at that zero balance in the credit card statement. It hasn’t been at zero since the summer, so I’m excited.

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