Friday, February 27, 2015

Crossing the 400 Mark!

It's Friday again, time for our weekly check in on the efforts to purge 2,015 items from our home. Thanks to a new technique, the grand total of items gone is 409!  An increase of more than 100 items in a week.  What is that new technique?  Pile stuff in boxes, call Travis at Wise Owl Auctions, and greet him with a smile when he shows up to cart it all off.  This week it will be sorted, photographed, and put up for auction on-line.  He'll handle questions, packing, pick-up, and take a cut of the proceeds.  We'll receive a share of the sales price, and it is far easier than selling this and that on Ebay.  No search for a box, no trek to the post office. We'll reserve Ebay for higher priced items.  For now, batches of smaller miscellaneous items will be handed off to Travis and his team!  The flip side of donating items was to recycle stacks and stacks of personal papers.  Most were items I had inherited from my parents' home.  Far to numerous to keep, I enjoyed a final look and put them in the recycle bin.  Old cards, obituaries of their friends, report cards from the 1950s and 60s.  Slowly the piles are being reduced in size.  Some I will mail to relatives, a few that are special to me will be framed and enjoyed, the rest my husband added to the recycle bin for this week's collection.

How go your efforts to be more frugal in 2015?  I'd love to hear about your stories.  Post a comment, share and inspire!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Living Frugal Thanks to Amazon Prime

Image result for image amazon music

Yes, yet another post on the upside of Amazon Prime.  Many of you may know that with $99/year Amazon Prime delivers "Prime" items in 2-days (Sundays included) to your doorstep with NO shipping cost.  Then there is Prime Streaming -- from movies to TV series, the offerings are plenty. And then this week Amazon sent me an email announcing Prime Music.  Yes, that is correct.  With my Prime membership comes access to 1 million songs.  I have a playlist going at the moment as I write, taking a break from legal work this afternoon.  And there is an app to install on my phone. Timing could not be better. In our efforts to purge 2,015 items in 2015 my pile of CDs and DVDs needs to shrink or disappear all together.  Amazon Prime makes that much easier.  Why store all that media when Amazon will do it for me!

How about you?  Are you frugal?  Do you use Amazon Prime on your frugal journey?  If not, why not?  I'd love to hear some feedback!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Guess What I'm Thinking?

Who introduced or exactly when escapes me at the moment, but this question starts each round of this fun verbal game ideal for anyone exploring simplicity parenting.  No batteries, no wrapping, well suited for long car rides, waiting for a meal to be put on the table (home or out) or in the doctor's office.  It easily matures with your children, evolving along with their vocabulary.

Guess what I'm thinking?

Person, place or thing?


Real or fake?


Is it tangible?


Is it portable?

And it goes on from there.  We do not limit ourselves to just 20 questions, but let it go on until it is either guessed or the guessing parties give up.  Everything from President Obama to volcanoes to subdermal medicine patches (what our 6 year old was thinking off one night) -- we laugh, flex our brains, and bond.  No cost, just an investment of time and love.  Give it a try with your little ones, ify you have them in your life.  If not, try it with any loved ones.  Unplug and connect!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Closing in on 300 Purged Items!

It's Friday, which means it is check in time here at Frugal Upside. Loyal readers know that my frugal family is working to purge 2,015 items from our home in 2015.  The goals: decrease clutter, raise a little cash, and minimize the number of things that need attention (i.e. cleaning, etc.).  Since the first of the year we have now tossed 298 items overboard.  Most have been donated or sold via Craigslist or Ebay, earning us just shy of $325 (the bulk of which came from selling a laptop computer on Ebay).

In order to keep on track we need to find a new home for an additional 38 items in the final week of February.  I think we'll make that goal thanks to a new strategy I am putting in place this coming Monday.  Tune in next Friday for an update, and more on yet another way to lessen our load here in a frugal home.

Photo: Our son this past Christmas at his grandparents in Florida.  The tower of presents started on the floor and was at or over his head.  Yes, the time to purge was upon us!  We are nearly buried under "stuff".

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Frugal Food Ways!

Food -- the amount we spend is equal to our mortgage. Paying attention to frugal food ways needs to be larger area of focus in our lives given that dollar amount!  Loyal readers will remember a recent post about my attempts to save freezer peaches, and I gave frozen peach yogurt a whirl.  The results? Both kids turned their noses up at the final product, and I was not overly thrilled either.  It was better before it was frozen.

Earlier this week I pulled out a piece of paper, not for listing items to get at the store, but rather to construct a meal schedule based on what we have on hand.  To my surprise, it went for two weeks!  Until I peeked into the chest freezer in the garage I had forgot about the ground turkey -- turkey burgers are one of the many items listed.  Others range from Walley (again, the freezer) to eggs with veggies to soup.  The effort to purge 2,015 items from the house also motivates me to use up what we have here, make a meal from it, and buy only the essentials.  My grocery bill is about 2/3s its normal expense.

How to you maximize use of food in your kitchen?  What are your frugal food ways?  Leave a comment, share and inspire.  And thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Time to Admit, It Does Not Fit

Colorful Plastic Pegs Stock Photo

We all have them.  Well worn clothing we just cannot let go of. Our kids may still sport their favorite pants from last year, even though at least one growth spurt has occurred since  the clothing received the label of "favorite".  It is time to admit, it does not fit.

Maybe it is faded from years of wear.

Maybe it fit a child 2 summers ago, but today a stomach protrudes.

Maybe it has held up over the years, unchanging in shape, but you likely have changed shape.

Each new day brings a new batch of laundry.  There is the pile that goes into the washer.  The pile that leaves the washer for the drying rack or dryer.  And there is the pile waiting to return to the close of its owner.  During this last phase I have begun to pause and ask -- does it still fit?  This mainly holds true for the kids' clothing.  Favorites are worn again and again, but in a year to purge 2,015 items from our home, and closets bursting with free or near free clothing, we need to be selective. Here and there the stock pile of clothing dwindles.  Setting it aside for donation to either a family with younger children we know, or off to a nonprofit for resale.

Last week I said good-bye to over a dozen pieces of clothing, most of which as been with me for awhile.  And by that I mean pre-marriage.  Yes, it may have been a favorite of mine or the very sweater I wore the night I met my to-be husband.   But, times change, people change, styles change, and well, bodies change.  Out they go!  Next up, my husband's side of the closet.  His t-shirt pile alone contains relics of Turkey Trot Races from his college days in Florida.

In your efforts to purge items from your life, pause during the mindless laundry sessions and ask yourself - is this still a good fit?  Some may wonder why care?  The answer - simplicity.  The more we have, the more we are responsible for.  Items need a home, and space is not free.  What is the price per square foot of your living space?  Imagine if you cut your space in half?  Then there is the little issue of maintenance.  Items must be cleaned.  Your space must be cleaned.  The more there is, the more complication there is. And that is why we are on quest to rid our home of 2,015 items this year.  Three more textiles joined the donation pile this afternoon after I was done folding laundry.  Item by item we are working towards that goal, easing the burden of "stuff" in our lives.  In the end we'll be surrounded by that we truly love and use, the rest will have relocated.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Run The Numbers...

Hatchetman Green Run Sign

At Target last week I had a stack of soon to expire coupons, the ones the check out machine spits out based on your shopping habits.  Of the many things Target knows about me due to my use of their Red Card is that I am an allergy sufferer.  And that I prefer the Target brand of Claritin.  And there it was, $1.50 off a box of their brand.

Stopping in the allergy aisle I scanned the boxes.  One would think buying 90 pills at a time would be more cost effective than buying 30, but it wasn't.  Oddly, the smaller package was a few cents less per pill than the 90 count box.  Puzzled, I used my Smart Phone to confirm.  Yes, the 30 count box was a better deal.  Into the cart it went, and I handed over the $1.50 off coupon at check out.

In the frugal life one must question the price per unit or use.  The focus is not on the cheapest, but rather the quality or overall buy.  In this case the cheapest box, the 30 count, was the frugal buy. Never turn your brain off when shopping, at least don't if you want to be frugal.  Assumptions that the larger box is a better buy can trip you up on the frugal path.  Now I know these are mere pennies we are talking about, but applied daily, over years, this practice can allow one can rack up significant efficient buys, and amass a nice little rainy day fund.

Thanks for reading, and have a great frugal week!