Frugal living is not about deprivation. Instead, I look for creative ways to save my family money in all aspects of our lives. My goal has always been to live well on less while achieving our big financial goals. Some months are more successful than others. This update includes how we frugal-ed in April, May, and June.
This Month’s Frugal Shenanigans:
1 – We sold stuff online and made $800
My husband has been a selling machine on Facebook Marketplace. Since April, he made over $800 by selling 3 old bikes, unused furniture, a college fridge, a camping grill, a TV, and other misc stuff. We put the funds towards new furniture for our sunroom to replace a 15-year-old set that was outdated and very uncomfortable.
When my husband hung a smart TV in the sunroom back in April, we started spending more time in the room–even our teenage daughters started hanging out with us. However, we all agreed that the existing furniture was not comfortable, especially to watch movies. So we started shopping around and were shocked to find how expensive outdoor furniture has become.
We found a really cute set for a great sale price at Big Lots…of all places–I had no idea they sold furniture. At the time, Bed Bath & Beyond was going out of business and Big Lots was accepting their coupons, so we scored an additional 20% off discount. I accessorized with some clearance finds from Target and Sam’s and we are really happy with our new sunroom.
2 – We opened up high-interest savings accounts and earned $250 in interest.
We are in what I call our “shovel season of life”. Our oldest daughter leaves for college in the fall of 2024 and we have a big savings goal to hit before then. We got a late start on saving for college so a large portion of our college savings has been sitting in our checking account earning zilch.
You may have heard that interest rates on some savings accounts have gone up, so I pulled my head out of the sand and transferred the cash portion of our college savings to two separate savings vehicles: a 15-month CD and a high-yield savings account. I locked in the CD at my local credit union where it will earn 4.75% during that time frame. My plan is to use this cash first as it will come to term around the same time we will need to make the first college payment.
As for the high-yield savings account, I transferred a smaller portion of our cash to a Capital One 360 Performance Savings account that is currently earning 4.15% APY (annual percentage yield). This account interest rate could change at any time, but I didn’t want to lock all of our cash college savings into a CD, just in case I would need some cash before the CD termination date.
I also opened another Capital One 360 account for our emergency fund that was also sitting in a zero-interest savings account. In total, we have made $250 in interest since April. I kick myself for not moving these savings to more productive accounts sooner, but better late than never and I will ride the wave of higher interest rates for as long as they are available.
The amount of interest earned will depend on the account balance, but if you have cash sitting in accounts earning zero, start shopping around for other options ASAP. Both our CD and high-interest savings account are FDIC-insured and are at banks that we trust. I was leaving money on the table before April and I’m glad I researched for opportunities.
3. Ask and ye shall receive! Airlines Refund of $400 + $200 credit
We flew to Florida in March to visit family. Coming home, the flight from Florida to Philadelphia was delayed causing us to miss the only flight from Philly to Harrisburg for the day. We had two options: wait a day to leave Florida or rent a car once we got to Philly and drive to our parked car at the Harrisburg airport. As much as we would have loved an extra day in Florida, it wasn’t an option, so we rented a car.
Once home, I wrote American Airlines a polite letter with the flight details and I asked for reimbursement for the car rental, a $200 unexpected expense, along with a request for a refund for the unused Philly to Harrisburg flight. I received a quick response that they would reimburse us for the unused tickets from Philly to Harrisburg, which equaled $400 and more than covered the rental car. The money hit our account in April.
While they would not reimburse us for the rental car, they also gave each of us a $50 credit to be used within a year. We have already used one of the credits for my daughter’s flight to the Midwest later this summer.
The moral of this story is to always ask and always ask politely.
4 – Credit Card Rewards – $241.78
- I redeemed a $100 Target gift card from my Discover card’s Cashback bonus program.
- $70.89 was transferred to each daughter’s 529 account from our Upromise card. For more info, read: How We’re Saving for College with Upromise.
5 – Saved hundreds of dollars on outdoor chairs.
We had an outdoor dining set that was about 13 years old. The table is still usable, but the chairs were all shredded after years of use. Outdoor dining sets are really expensive right now at prices up to $1000 or more. Instead of replacing the entire set, I started looking for chair replacements. I found a cute set of two chairs for $192 at Target, but I wanted six and didn’t want to spend $600.
So I kept looking and found 6 new chairs at HomeGoods for $40 each (see above pic). Two hundred and forty dollars is way better than replacing the entire set, and the cute option at Target. The nice thing about the new chairs is that they’re stackable which will make winter storage so much easier. Hopefully, they will last a long time, we shall see.
6 – Gas points – 60 cents off gas!
I took advantage of the June gift card promotion at GIANT and bought four $25 gift cards and earned 6 times the gas points. This converted to sixty cents off of gas. The gift cards were for Father’s Day and some June birthday gifts.
7 – Last but not least…
In the “tuck this in your back pocket for the future” segment of this post, I found a place for meds disposal. I cleaned out our medicine/supplement cupboard and ended up with a bag of expired medicines and prescriptions. I know you’re not supposed to just throw the stuff in the garbage, so I googled, “where can I dispose of medications near me” and found out that CVS pharmacy has a med disposal service.
And how is this frugal? In my messy cabinet, I found many duplicates, so I’m hoping to eliminate unneeded purchases going forward now that the cabinet is neat and organized.
Share in the comments how you have been frugal-ing lately! Check out previous How We Frugal-ed posts.