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Posts tagged with: cheap

When Frugality Bites…

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I’ve been known to be cheap, err, frugal. We don’t have a lot of cash and I’d prefer not to go into debt so I’ve been caught acting ridiculous a time or two to save money.

I knew it would catch up with me.

I made a fresh batch of cookies the other night and grabbed my husband’s Charger football oven glove from the drawer to pull the cookie sheet out. As soon as my gloved hand touched the hot metal, I screamed and dropped the cookies on the floor. Upon further examination, I found a rather large hole in the thumb finger of the glove. My hand suffered a nasty burn.

I angrily threw the oven mitt in the trash and used another one from the drawer for the remaining cookies.

Last night, hubby made a yummy dinner and I heard him shuffling through the oven mitt drawer while the baby and I were playing on the living room floor.

‘Hey hon? Where is my Charger mitt?’ he asked.

‘It had a hole in the thumb and I burned myself so I threw it in the trash.’ I called from the living room.

Silence.

I picked up the baby and walked into the kitchen. He was staring at the drawer, deflated.

He looked up at me, ‘I know it had a hole in it. I just didn’t use the thumb part. Things have been kinda tight lately and I didn’t want to spend the money to replace it. And aren’t you always saying we need to make things last longer?’

Sigh. He caught me on that. He should be allowed to have at least one crazy frugal holdout. Plus, I should have known not to throw out a man’s football anything.

Looks like the first thing I’m buying in debt free March is a Chargers oven mitt. Sorry honey.


Wine Corks and Teeth Grinding?

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My husband grinds his teeth in his sleep. If you’ve ever had the ‘joy’ of sharing a bed with a grinder, you know the noise can keep you up just as easily as snoring.

We purchased a $5 mouth guard from Walmart… which worked for about 2 days before it fell apart.

We purchased a custom mouth guard from the dentist at a whopping $350… which works a little, but still keeps me awake since it the sound he makes while wearing it resembles a dog chewing an annoying squeaky toy.

Since my husband is an aggressive teeth grinder, his mouth guard needs replacement every six months. I’m not looking forward to squeezing another $700 annually out of my budget.

I was watching Dr. Oz while getting ready for work a few mornings ago and he was discussing the dangers of teeth grinding and cheap solutions to fix it.

All he had to do was say ‘cheap’ and he had my attention. Since a few of my family members and friends are also teeth grinders, I figured maybe some of you might save a few bucks with his tips.

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/1-habit-destroying-your-health

One of the tips is to relax your jaw by using a wine cork to stretch the muscles. Jazzed about the idea of preventing painful head and tooth aches, my husband carries a wine cork everywhere now.

This is what I found in the shower this morning…

I may have trouble convincing folks he doesn’t have a drinking problem when there are wine corks on the patio set, on his bedside table, near the television, in his truck, in his office, and in the shower. But hey, it has helped a little so I’ll just have to deal with the questions about my husband’s apparent ‘alcoholism’.


Change in Spending Habits?

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When I found out we were going to have a baby, I was fearful about this news affecting my spending habits. I was terrified I would run to Gap or Old Navy and buy cartfuls of cutesy outfits for our future progeny.

A few months passed and I still found myself easily able to walk by any and all baby sections without even a slight draw toward them. I thought, perhaps it’s because the baby didn’t seem real to me and after we actually saw the first ultrasound, that was when I would go crazy with spending.

Four and a half months in, an ultrasound and a heartbeat later, and I still have yet to spend a dime.

Sure, I glance around Craigslist for killer deals on baby furniture (I haven’t found anything) but I have yet to feel the need to spend.

I thought it was just me. Maybe I’m simply too cheap? Then, late one night as my husband was rubbing my little belly, he said, ‘I hope we have a boy.’ I smiled at my ‘macho’ man who wants his ‘manly’ boy until he said, ‘We can get way more hand-me-downs if we have a boy.’

The realization that he’s becoming fearfully frugal brought a tear of joy to my eye *wink*.

Maybe things will be different when the kid arrives. Maybe I’ll feel the need to spend, spend, spend. But for now, I’ll keep plugging away at my debt and worry about cartfuls of clothing later.


The Rebate with Strings…

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After months… OK, over a year… of delaying the inevitable, I finally caved and bought a new cell phone. My phone is several years old – which in cell phone years equates to centuries. I would have kept it, but when the reliability of actually being able to make calls sinks under 50%, it’s simply time to move on.

I went into my local Verizon store and pulled out my phone to show the salesman the level of phone I wanted – aka, a cheap one. He looked at me, looked at my phone, and then replied, ‘They don’t make phones like that anymore. Exactly how OLD is that thing?’

He was incredibly helpful and walked me over to the section of phones that don’t require data, internet, or gps plans. He didn’t pressure me to purchase accessories and helped me choose a phone that worked for my um… ‘discriminating’ taste. Some like to call it cheap, but I think ‘discriminating taste’ sounds more refined.

My phone was ‘free’ after a mail-in rebate.

Today, I received my rebate – a Verizon Visa card. Sure I can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted but what happened to the good ol’ days of checks I could cash? Now I have to figure out where in my budget I can use the card and try my best to spend it all at once so I don’t have to keep a record of how much is left on the card. If I only use part, I have to record the amount remaining and charge the exact amount on the next transaction, otherwise the card will be declined.

They make it nearly impossible to complete the rebate submission information correctly and now spending the rebate will be equally as difficult?!?

It’s a good thing I have another 5-7 years before I need a new cell phone.


Computer Help…

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Saturday morning, I woke up and tried to click on my favorite internet news site.

‘YOUR COMPUTER HAS LOST CONNECTION WITH THE INTERNET’ blared across my screen.

A five minute phone call to my internet provider later, I discovered my wireless router had died. Sure, my router is older than most sixth graders but I had hoped it would hang on until I was debt free – such a selfish router not to consider my finances before dying. But alas, in government terms, the router has ‘reached the end of its useful life’.

So, I did what I do best when it comes to broken things in my home, I kept my mouth shut and hoped no one would notice. In a crunch, I could bike to our local library to write the blog.

Thirty seconds after I made my decision to hide it, my brother shouted, ‘The internet is down! Do you want me to call the cable company? I’ve got a report to write for work.’

Darn.

I dragged my desktop computer halfway into the hallway and the Ethernet cable the other half distance to serve as a makeshift internet station. My brother isn’t necessarily pleased since he usually surfs the internet from the comfort of his room and given the fact that he pays half the bill, I need to fix it.

I am writing this blog from the ‘comfort’ of my makeshift internet station with my body jimmied between the hallway, the office, and the bathroom. I’ve tripped my husband 14 times and I have a nasty bruise on my leg. My brother keeps asking when I’m getting off the computer so he can write his work report. For my sanity and the sanity of those I live with…

Where is the best (code word – CHEAPEST) place to get a router?


Learning from the Financial Wisdom of Family…

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My sister is visiting from Kansas City with her husband and four kids for the next two weeks. I’d love the fact that she visits more if she wasn’t… so… well…

Perfect.

She’s debt free other than her mortgage – and even then, she’s paying it aggressively. I’d love to tell you that her husband makes loads of money and that’s how she’s able to be a stay at home mom to four kids and remain debt free but…

He doesn’t.

My sister has found ways to live below her means and actively seeks new methods to spend less. She purchases clothing and toys for the kids at garage sales in nice neighborhoods then resells them when the kids outgrow them (sometimes, she actually MAKES money on this!), doesn’t waste money on cable TV or other ‘necessities’, drives an older yet reliable car, and she cooks fabulous inexpensive meals at home (my home cooked meals are inexpensive but they are far from fabulous).

She’s the annoyingly good at being frugal but not cheap.

Naturally, I spend this time around her basking in her infinite financial wisdom, asking questions, and learning from her example…

…and I am also the queen of England.

Sorry folks, sibling rivalry is alive and well.

So, I do the second best thing, I make my mom ask the questions and I pretend not to listen.

My advice, befriend someone frugal – even if it is your sister. I find that I don’t learn as much from the books or the internet as I do from those who may not have it all figured out, but they do a pretty darn good job.


Let’s talk about hidden cruise costs…

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My husband went on one of those cheap cruises to Mexico for my brother’s bachelor party. It seemed like a really good deal – $99 for the three day trip.

‘SEEMED’ being the operative word here.

Would you like a towel to use at the pool? Sure, that will be $22.99 – and he didn’t get to keep the towel. He didn’t realize the towels had to be returned by 9:30 at night and was fined the full $22.99.

Endless soda with your meal? $4.99

Oh, and let’s not forget the mandatory gratuity of $150 per cabin.

What started as a ‘cheap’ bachelor party turned out to be quite a zinger to the pocket book… a $230 zinger to be specific.

Be very careful when cruising and be aware of any rental fees and times. You can check your tab at any time to see what you are being charged for, so it’s a good idea to check it daily.


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