Five Frugal Things

Two of my favorite bloggers, The Non Consumer Advocate and The Frugal Girl both have a series of posts they do called 5 Frugal Things.  I love reading these posts to get a glimpse of what they do in their every day lives to live frugally.  If there is one things I’ve learned, it’s that living a lifestyle of smarter spending is more of a marathon and less of a sprint.  Yes, there will be days and times where you will get a big rush from significant savings, but the race is won by the series of smaller, everyday choices and decisions you make without too much effort.  Here are my latest 5 Frugal Things:

  1. I celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago and this past weekend my family went out on a “family date” to see if we could score some free stuff.  We ate dinner at Which Wich using a free 7″ birthday sandwich and an expired Asheville Deal I had.  Even though the Asheville Deal was expired, the value you pay for a deal like that doesn’t expire for 5 years.  My family of 4 ate an awesome dinner for less than $5!
  2. Barnes and Noble has a really great free kids club that sends kids a coupon for a free cookie or cupcake in the store’s bakery on their birthday.  Since my daughter also just celebrated a birthday I was able to treat her to a free cupcake while we browsed the store.  We left without buying anything, which is always a frugal win.
  3. A perk of so many places having your personal information is the free stuff they give you and their loyalty programs.  I took my dog to our fabulous local groomer a few months ago and was told that his normally $35 grooming would be free since it was his 10th visit.  This past weekend my husband and son both got free haircuts at Great Clips because it was their 1oth visit.  What should have cost us $26 was free except for the tip.  Always check with stores you frequent regularly to see if there is a loyalty program available.
  4. This past week was a very hectic one where I missed dinner and bedtime with my family three out of five nights.  Instead of relying on fast food to feed them while I was gone I fixed quick make ahead meals and relied on what I had in the freezer.  I spent about 10 minutes making hamburgers to be grilled one night and another night just defrosted some chili I had frozen the week before when I cooked a double batch.  If spending a whole day freezer cooking sounds overwhelming, a good place to start is by simply doubling up whatever recipe you are using on any given night and freezing it for another use.  It doesn’t require much more time or effort since you are already making it once.  It is way better for them than fast food and much easier on the wallet.
  5. Both of our vehicles have needed new tires in the last 6 months.  Tires are expensive, but by shopping around we got our local store to match an out of town competitor’s price.  This saved us a trip out of town and kept our dollars local.  We also were able save up and pay cash for all 8 new tires, that is a great feeling!

What frugal things have you been up to?

How to Fix Car Scratches (Don’t Tell My Husband)

I’ve got a secret.  Can I trust you guys to keep it for me??  I had a very stressful day a couple of weeks ago and was not paying attention when I got to the parking lot of the hospital where I was going.  As I pulled in to one of the tightest parking spaces I’ve ever seen in my life I heard the sickening scrape of car meeting bright yellow concrete parking support.  I finished parking and decided I couldn’t even deal with the damage at that point and would look when I was feeling braver.  At some point in the late afternoon I finally walked around to look at what I’d done.  It was bad.  Yellow paint and concrete scratched ugly marks all over the rear passenger side of my car.  I could just hear the female driver shaming that would be taking place when my husband saw it.  He is a very kind man and gives me a lot of grace for these kinds of mistakes but with everything going on in my life right now I just didn’t want to hear it:)  It was dark when I got home that night and dark when he left for work the next morning so I knew my best shot at fixing it would be before he got home the that afternoon.  Here’s the before and after (the white streaks are snow!):

FullSizeRender (2) FullSizeRender (4)

Would you like to know the secret of how I pulled this off?  MAGIC ERASERS!  Is there no limit to what these miracle little pads can accomplish??  The time stamp on those two pictures is about 2 minutes apart.  I wet a magic eraser, used a bit of elbow grease scrubbing the paint off, and now it’s (mostly) good as new.  There were just a couple of deeper scratches that will need touch up paint but are hopefully not noticeable to the husband eye.  Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has worked for me.  I hit the side of my own house, yes my own house, this summer and was able to use a magic eraser to remove the house paint from the side of my car.  Give this a try on the scratches on your car and let me know how it worked.  The moral of the story – magic erasers are truly magic, and stay far away from me when I’ve driving!