2
Sep

The Art of Frugal Hedonism

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

frugal hedonismTo be frugal is to be sparing or economical with regard to money or food. Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.

At first it seems like these two words or concepts are at odds with each other but they actually aren’t. Not at all.

I wrote an article some years about this very subject titled Frugal Luxuries…about how frugality and simple living allow you to enjoy luxuries you may not other wise be able to enjoy. A few frugal and money wise choices here and there allow you to direct money towards other things that you value more…things like self indulgent pleasures, or life’s small luxuries.

I recently read another book about this very subject over the weekend… The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More. I devoured every thoughtful morsel and thoroughly enjoyed it. The about section really sums it up. You will want to read this book if…

  • You think your current spending habits are not intentional…aka shaping the life you want and believe in.
  • You suspect that consumerism is detracting from your goals and having unpleasant side effects on your wellbeing.
  • You feel as though your spending is often times obligatory or done to make you feel like you are doing what you are supposed to do…what everyone else is doing.
  • You feel like the amount of time you are working doesn’t leave enough time or energy for the things you love/desire.
  • You feel overwhelmed with all the choices and expectations of modern society.
  • You recognize that modern choices and lifestyles can be sabotaging the future of our planet.

The book really makes you analyze your life choices so you can figure out what you value most. Without so much noise and “stuff” you identify the pleasures you want to pursue. Some of these self indulgences are free. Some require you to get creative and direct money intentionally to the areas that will bring you more happiness and satisfaction.

It made me want to make a list of some of my favorite frugal indulgences so that I can be intentional about making them happen more often. It also helped me identify those that may require me to be more thrifty so I afford them.

  • I love wine and savoring a glass outside on my patio
  • I love taking walks in nature
  • I love shopping for cheap treasures at thrift stores and also finding items to “flip”
  • I love yard sales
  • I love listening to nature sounds spa music and lighting a candle when I take a shower
  • I love reading outside
  • I love meditating outside
  • I love sitting outside on the patio when it rains
  • I love eating a really good bar of dark chocolate
  • I love diffusing essential oils in all areas of the home
  • I love decorating my home
  • I love the changing of the seasons
  • I love climbing into bed with luxury hotel quality sheets and comforters
  • I love making my bedroom and master math feel like a luxurious resort retreat
  • I love art and finding ways to display it in my home
  • I love Buddha statues and figurines
  • I love the teals, turquoise, blues, and greys
  • I love prisms and crystals
  • I love movies
  • I love travel
  • I love really, really good food
  • I love eating out

When you identify the things that matter most to you and that enhance your life experience the most you can see that some are free and some are frugal. Other things need to become goals and making frugal choices can help you begin to afford those things. Do you really care if your running car has 100,000 miles and hail damage dents if the lack of car payment means you are putting $300 a month in your bi-annual beach vacation fund? Do you care if you need to make coffee at home in the mornings and pack sack lunches if it means you get to eat out with your family once a week at your favorite restaurant? Likely not.

This is being frugal with a purpose….being intentional with your dollars and making them go where you want them to go. When you do that…you can feel good about all your frugal choices because they are not depriving you, they are instead allowing you to pursue the life pleasures that matter the most.

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

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6
Jul

How Being Organized Can Save Time and Money

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

So are you bad with money or are you just disorganized? So many folks who think they just aren’t “good with money” are in actuality lacking good organizational skills. Being good with money is more about having a good mindset and good habits. Those habits need to be rooted in a very organized system. It is time to release your inner nerd and GET ORGANIZED! Once you do that, the money stuff will flow a whole lot easier.

The same applies to time mismanagement. You have all the time you need, you just need to allocate things better and organize your life better. Organization is beneficial for everyone and can be easily adapted to suit individual needs. Being organized in your everyday life actually saves you time and money. Here are a few of the reasons why.

Efficiency Creates Stress-Free Living

If you keep your belongings organized…if everything has a “home” (ie KonMari), you don’t need to spend time looking for them when needed. This is especially handy in the case of important yet rarely used items, such as that immersion blender you only use for homemade soup or insurance or tax information that you need once a year.

The key to keeping things organized is to come up with a place to keep something and stick to it. If you want to keep important mail in a desk drawer, make sure you keep all of your important mail in that drawer. Don’t be afraid of sorting your things too much. The more categories of things you come up with, the easier it will be to find exactly what you need when you need it. Imagine tax time without having to search through piles of paper or multiple filing cabinets. Imagine knowing exactly where that birthday cake pan is. Everything (and I do mean everything) needs a home.

organized to save time and money

Organization Keeps You From Wasting Money

Being organized keeps you from buying items that you already have, but you’ve forgotten about or lost in your household or workplace. How much food have you thrown out because it was expired and yet you kept right on buying more when you needed to use up what you had? It used to happen to me all the time. I also had to keep buying new items to replace ones I could not find. You’re more likely to forget about a pack of batteries you bought several months ago and never opened, than your car keys or your wallet. Combined, these types of purchases can end up costing you a significant amount of money for items that you already have or never needed in the first place.

Fortunately, this is a very fixable problem. By cleaning and organizing the designated “junk” drawers in your home or office and creating an inventory list of all the items, you will easily find the item you’re looking for the next time you go searching. This prevents unnecessary purchases and impulse buys at the store.

Organization Keeps You Sharp With Details

It can be hard to keep track of every detail when you have a lot going on in your life. Sometimes, bills can get lost in the shuffle and go unpaid, or household maintenance gets overlooked. By keeping all of your activities organized, you can get them done in a more efficient manner and you make sure that every detail is taken care of. Mail needs a home, unpaid bills need a home, bill payment needs a process and a place on your schedule, think about the processes you go through and organize them. Never pay late fees because you forgot a bill or run the risk of damaging your furnace because you forgot to add filter replacement to your calendar. You really can tackle all these little life details with better organization.

I love the ListPlanIt website for all the little details. They have a collection of lists that are so helpful. Do you need a weekly cleaning checklist, a fall cleanup or winterization checklist, a coupon inventory, or a car maintenance schedule? They have all of these and hundreds more.

Being Organized Saves Money on Shopping

If you plan out a menu for each month, you can buy many of your groceries in bulk, saving you time and frequent trips to the store. If you prepare a list ahead of time, you can also look for coupons or rebates ( I love iBotta!) that offer savings on the things you plan to buy.

The same applies to non-food items, which can be bought in bulk and stored for later use. Staying organized and keeping essentials stocked up saves you the stress of running out to make a special trip for more. You can also plan out birthday or holiday gifts well ahead of time, so that you can keep an eye out for a good deal AND start saving for bigger ticket items by putting money aside every week.

While it may take a bit of effort (or alot), organizing your life allows you to use your time more efficiently and to take full advantage of your finances. You become the master of your time and money and not the other way around! Not only that, but the more thought-out your budget or schedule is, the less you will worry about them.

30
Jun

Frugal Friday – Feeling the ibotta Love

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

Here are my recent wins with money…

ibotta – So I am a bit late to this game I think. I joined the app about a year or so ago and quickly decided that the rebates offered where not for stuff I would normally buy. So just like coupons for random stuff you don’t need, this app was not a good fit. Fast forward to NOW and there are some rebates here and there I will use. The weekly .25 cent refund for buying anything and the .25 rebate for bananas…sure. I will take .50 cents every week. Oh but then they offer $2.00 for coconut water when it is already on sale for $2.99 and $2.00-3.00 off craft beer, which my husband buys every week. Yep, sign me up. In three weeks time I made…$27.25. Download it, redeem two different rebates on branded items, and get $10 back immediately.  Oh and from the rank section of my app I can see how much my Facebook friends are saving. A local friend has earned over $8,000 from this app. Good golly!

Admittedly it seems like an invasion that you can even see this info but you can see how much your Facebook friends “earn” from ibotta. One of my friends has made over $8,000. Good golly!!!

Facebook Marketplace – I LOVE that Facebook now has a marketplace. In addition to local buy sell groups on Facebook I have been selling off unused or unwanted stuff with great success. Every little bit helps because we just renovated our master bathroom!

It is also great for buying stuff cheap. My daughter and I have started playing tennis and we got two rackets for $5. We could not have done any better at Walmart.

Menards Rebates – We love Menards for all the rebates they offer, including their famous 11% on everything offer. We bought kitchen counters during one of their 11% events. Booyah! Anyway this month we used $46 in rebates to buy stuff for our bathroom renovation, making all the paint (and not the cheapy stuff) pretty much free.

Focus Groups – Did two focus groups this month and got paid $215 for three hours of my time, which was spent sitting and chatting. Nice.

How are you winning with money right now?

14
Apr

Frugal Friday and Craigslist Love

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

Whew! It has been a long while since I did one of these posts. Truth be told I don’t feel as though I have been very frugal or smart with my money lately. I never even got around to making a budget for last month, let alone sticking to one. That said I did have some frugal wins, even if it meant I spent a wee bit too much.

Got two loft beds on Craigslist. I was about to buy a loft bed for my daughter from Ikea for about $300. The one she actually wanted was from Pottery Barn for $800 so the Ikea one felt like a deal. At any rate I checked my local Craigslist ads and found two loft beds for $100 each. One was brand new and the other barely used. They both retailed for over $400 new. Now both of my younger kids have new beds. Score!

loft bed

My husband meets tons of people through his line of work and awhile back he met a man who empties out the apartments at an assisted living facility when they are vacated. Thanks to this connection we got two free exercise bikes we paid $100 for a barely used washer and dryer set.We turned around and sold the set for more than double our money. I sold one bike for $60 and the other we are keeping.

My Goodwill meanderings have paid off recently too. My fave Goodwill is next to a Target store and I am always finding brand new Target merchandise there. I got a 5-Shelf Trestle Bookcase ($69.99) new in the box for only $29. I had been admiring this style of bookcase for years! I also scored some storage baskets from target there for only $1.99 each and then later saw them at Target for $8.99 each.

I was desperate need of some new shoes and pretty much the only kind I buy are Reebok Nanos. They last, they fit my wide feet, and they are super comfy. The last time I bought some, Reebok was selling the 2.0 version of my beloved shoes. When I looked this time they are selling 7.0 versions. Knowing nothing about the 7.0 and not liking any of the designs I was not about to buy any for $130. They are seriously ugly! So I looked on eBay and found some new in box 3.0 Nanos in pink for $75 shipped. I adore them!!

I discovered a consignment furniture place near me and sold three older lamps we had laying around and made $15.

Earned $11 cash back this month via Benefit. Whenever I buy on Amazon or go out to dinner with my hubby to Texas Roadhouse we buy a gift card on Benefit first and pay that way. Then I print out a check for my cash back and deposit it through my bank’s app on my phone. Easy peasy!

Earned $25 through Ebates last month.

Lastly we bought new stainless appliances for our kitchen remodel. Did you know Lowe’s negotiates? I didn’t! We got a $2500 fridge that was a floor model and had a dent so they discounted it to $1400. Then they mentioned that one handle would not attach properly so we offered $1000. They agreed. With an energy rebate and selling our current fridge we ended up getting it for $700. So you never know. Oh and we fixed that handle issue in two seconds and covered the dent with a magnet. We also got a refurbished dishwasher allowing us to get a $800 dishwasher with bottle jets for only $311. Amazing!

See what I mean about spending?? I need to do a spending freeze.

11
Nov

Frugal Friday – The Rebate Shopping Game

by Tiffany in Frugal Green

the-rebate-shopping-gameLast week I started to make some gift purchases. I knew I wanted to maximize every dollar by playing with rebates and cash back offers and so far it has been quite profitable.

I started with my Amazon wishlist where I had been keeping the long list of the stuff the kids had mentioned wanting over the past few months. I created a general budget $600 or $200 for each child. I used Amazon to collect the wishlist items but I also shopped around at other places to compare prices and make sure Amazon was actually the best deal, sometimes they are not but usually they are.

I eventually decided that I would need at least $500 for Amazon purchases. Rather than add the items to my cart and spend the money immediately I went through a couple steps to ensure the most bang for my buck.

I checked my Benefit app to see what the rebate was for buying a gift certificate (GC) through them (3% or $15 cash back). Just by going through them and buying a GC first I save $15. Not bad right? Well, I also decided to do the math and see what I would get back if I bought the GC at Giant Eagle or Kroger. The rebate would be fuel and not cash but if it was more savings than its a no brainer since buying gas to run my car is kind of essential. Giant Eagle came out ahead. If I bought the GC there than I would get $1.00 in fuel perks. That $1.00 can used for up to thirty gallons of gas so that is a $30 rebate.

So 3% with benefit or 6% with Giant Eagle? I chose 6% with Giant Eagle. Also the 3% with Benefit is contingent upon you using your checking account via direct draft and not a credit card. By going with Giant Eagle I was able to use a rewards credit card with 1.5% cash back. I don’t carry a balance so the cash back is just butter on the biscuit.

So….now I am up to 7.5% (or $37.50) off my $500 purchase just because I took 20 minutes to go to the store to buy a gift certificate. But the story does not end there. Now I am ready to make my purchase and there are options for earning rebates there too. Ebates offers up to 7% back and there are a host of other sites that offer options like this. You simply go to Amazon through their link on their site and they earn a commission on your purchases which they then share with you…usually 50% of the commission.

What I tend to do is use Hubpages for my Amazon purchases. I have a number of articles I published to the site and whenever someone clicks on the affiliate links I get 50% of the commission generated and this counts for my own clicks and purchases as well. I just got a check this month from them for $56 and quite a bit of that was cash back on my own purchases made in the previous three months. I use Ebates or Giving Assistant for other online stores.

So far I have only ended up spending $446 dollars of that $500 but by going through my hubpages account to make the purchases I earned $21.86.

Here is the breakdown:

  • $30.00 earned by getting a gift certificate
  • $7.50 earned by using a cashback credit card
  • $21.86 earned by shopping through a source that offer rebates or commissions

I got that $500 gift certificate for $433. Booyah!