Friday, February 3, 2012

Fabulous Frugal Friday

(Unrelated photo of the week: a tin heart purchased from a favorite Etsy crafter, Cottage in the Sun.  She makes these awesome decor pieces out of salvaged tin ceilings.  Lots of hearts in time for Valentine's day!)

This hasn't exactly been the week of frugal at the Back Fence house.  First the Frugal FAILS, of which there are many.  The most heartbreaking was last night's discovery that some or all of our saved grass fed beef in the freezer has turned.  The only bright spot is that we made good use of most of it, and the cuts that were left were the fattiest cuts, which frankly we don't need to be eating anyway.  Still the waste is deplorable.  Next, although we mostly stuck to our meal plan, I did cave one day this week and take the kids to McDonald's (which husband calls "McCAFO's" and refuses to eat.)  I guess it was because the elder son had been home sick that morning, and when we picked up the kindergartner at noon I just had no energy.  Whatever that means.  

Next up, another FAIL.  I decided to make a poster of this lovely photo from thanksgiving, and headed to my local craft retailer for a frame.  Said frame was on sale in a 2 pack for $6, and an additional 25% off with coupon, bringing it it about $2.25 per frame.  I somehow managed to break one on the way home.  Still a decent price, but what a waste.  On top of that I didn't check my inbox before ordering, and if I had would have found a code to get free shipping on the poster.  The moral of this story: this is what happens when I rush through things.  The further fail: while in said craft store, I lost all resolve and bought a bunch of scrapbook embellishments.  Most of them were on clearance, but none of them were needed.

Another fail, but sort of worth it involves the movies.  I hate to pay for them because I spent ten years working for a major movie theater chain.  That's ten years of free movies, prior to marriage and kids, so I literally saw everything.  I am now very picky about what I watch.  That combined with the sticker shock of modern movie prices (an evening adult ticket when I quit was just $5.75, twilight was $3) makes me pretty much hate paying for movies.  So I cashed in some points on my credit card to get a $25 gift certificate, and took the boys and a friend to see "Hugo" last weekend.  Oh boy was I surprised to have the girl say "that will be $42.00" for a 4pm movie!  I had to be grateful at least for the $25 gift card to defray the expense.  The movie was great.  I gleaned two things from the experience: one, the 3D upgrade isn't worth it.  3D scares my little guy and my older guy, because of his eye issues, can't even see it.  Two, I would never recommend relying on your credit card for the free stuff they give you unless you're paying the balance every month.  We get quite a few freebies or cash back, but this is the kind of gimmick that would have perpetually sucked me in back in the old days when I was deep in debt.

Frankly I could go on and on, so let's get to the FABULOUS stuff: we did mostly stick to our meal plan, and we did NOT have to go to the grocery store at all this week!  So our grocery expenses are 0 to start the new month, which is great.  Plus we have plenty of good stuff to get us through the weekend.  Another good thing: I survived not one, but two trips into Target without going off the list.  This is hard for me, as Target and I, we have this, you know, history.

Things I thought about this week:

1. Even though I am upset about possibly having to relocate, there is no excuse to run out and just buy stuff.  I can't buy stuff or overeat or drink too much or any other overindulgence just because I'm sad.

2. The beef thing.  It has been awesome getting "happy meat" from our farmer friend, but we just don't eat as much of it as we used to.  We are eating more fish, turkey, chicken and meatless meals than we used to.  Going forward we either need to get a lot less beef, or just stop it altogether and get our beef elsewhere.  There is a great little market that sells the grassfed meats.  Yes more expensive, but since we are eating some much less, it will balance out I think.

3. Frugal living is all about the everyday things.  Surviving the Target trip and making a great meal plan and sticking to it are real victories.  There will be slips, but just like dieting it is important to get back on the train and keep moving forward.

4. I think this winter has been the laziest winter ever for me, which often turns my thoughts to things like retail therapy and eating out.  It really is time to wake up, get the house in order, and get the garden cleaned up for the new season.

Have your frugal efforts been yielding good things? Share!
Happy Friday!


  1. I wish you wouldn't call these things FAIL, Shannon! Look at that poster! That is not a fail, it is awesome and you just ran into a few snags getting the frames.

    Going to McDonalds? Ok, not ideal, but you had a sick kid, another hungry kid (I'm guessing) and no energy. I'll assume they didn't eat milkshakes for lunch. (although sometimes that happens, too)

    And if you get the beef again, could you split it with a friend? We'd be in for half if we lived closer.

    It all sounds like lessons learned, not failures.

    Glad you ended on a happy note, though! A win at Target is a big victory.

    One of these days we'll have to meet in person. :)

  2. You bring up a great point Vicki. Bear in mind it is all tongue-in-cheek and I'm not really beating up on myself. Though this Friday I have a doozie, and I will lash myself with a wet noodle, as Dear Abbey would say :-)