1. Earned a net profit of $47.06 at the farmers market this week. I also talked to a retailer about selling my soaps. I'll have to re-work my formula in order to be able to give her a wholesale price, but otherwise I think it will be a good deal.
This week was my first Saturday selling in June. Instead of waking up at 7:00 am like I had in May, I woke up at 5:30 in order to have strawberries picked and still be there before 7:00 am so I could park easily. The night before I actually loaded up the car (except the strawberries and eggs, of course) so I could pick the berries, hop in the car and go the next morning. After I got in bed, I felt myself getting nervous. What if I don't hear the alarm? What if if doesn't go off? What if I don't have time to pick all of the strawberries? Of course, being so nervous made it hard for me to get to bed. Which made me even more nervous, because the hours of sleep I had left were ticking away. Even though I was tired and needed the rest, I couldn't fall asleep!
I did end up getting to the market in time, with all of my berries, and my phone was the only thing I forgot (still plugged into the charger at home). When I arrived, only a few people were even parked, let alone set up. Even the Rhubarb Man was still getting his booth set up. Like last year, it was 8:40 before I made a sale, and that was to another vendor. My next customer came at 9:23 am- almost 1.5 hours after the market officially started. Business was markedly slower than in May, or so I felt.
2. Made napkin rings to go with my free cloth napkins. These were made by wrapping some twine string (that I found in the craft stash) around rings made from paper towel tubes. I really liked the way they turned out, especially for being completely free. The only problem: if you accidentally set something on them, they flatten out!
Because they're not too sturdy, I don't think these will be my "forever napkin rings", but they will certainly do the job until I find some real ones that I like at a garage sale or thrift shop.
4. Sold a used book on Amazon.
5. One night we were going somewhere and Hubs wanted to stop at Subway. "Hey!" I exclaimed, "I think I have a coupon for Subway!" Sure enough, I found a coupon for one $4.00 foot-long sub. So, we saved a couple dollars on food we would have bought anyway.
6. Used rebate apps to get $0.25 off a 10lb. bag of potatoes, and used $0.50 of rebates to get a green pepper for $0.18.
7. Continued to dry rose petals, peppermint, lemon balm, and chamomile for tea.
8. We opened a Vanguard brokerage account for buying mutual funds. I've had a Vanguard Roth IRA for a long time (since I was in my teens), and I really like it. If you opt to receive statements by email, there are no fees whatsoever. Hubs' retirement account costs $50.00 per year with a financial adviser, so having no fees is a big deal.
Neither of us are really stock market savvy, but Vanguard is a great place to learn. Explanations for different terms and concepts are available by clicking on the word, or offered below the article/chart. The mutual funds are easy to browse through and compare with each other. As we were looking through one possible fund to purchase, Hubs started to groan. "Oh noooo..." he pointed to the screen- "Spirit Airlines!" We like to complain about how terrible Spirit is, even though we always use them because the tickets are so cheap. I laughed.
"I guess that's the one we should get then!" I replied. "They say you are only supposed to invest in companies that you're familiar with and use regularly."
I can hear some of you now. There goes Bethany, all high and mighty talking about the stock market. It must be great to have so much money to just dump in mutual funds. The good news is that most Vanguard mutual funds only have a $3,000 minimum, with some that have $1000 or $10,000 minimums. When I was a teenager I bought one of the cheapest that they offered. Barring a medical or other crisis, I believe that any working-class American should be able to invest. Of course any debts should be paid before that happens, but most debt (credit cards, student loans, car loans, large mortgages) can really be avoided.
Frugal Doesn't Equal Poor
Frugality is what makes recycled napkin rings and the stock market show up in the same post. The blogosphere is full of "frugal" people who are just waiting to have enough money to remodel the kitchen, or buy some more fruit trees, or buy organic produce. That is NOT BEING FRUGAL!!! That is just pretending to act frugal until you can spend money again.
There are "frugal" people out there who will spend two hours darning socks (saving perhaps a couple dollars), and then go buy Mountain Dew at the gas station. Even while reading The Tightwad Gazette, I came across four articles on what to do with juice can lids. If you are truly frugal, why are you buying canned fruit juice?? I mean, shouldn't you be drinking water? I also read about how to make a volleyball net with the plastic that connects 6-packs of pop or beer. I hope I NEVER buy enough pop to make a volleyball net out of the packaging. Just saying.
In contrast to what many frugal blogs imply ("we are frugal because we HAVE to be"... husband in the military/working minimum wage/out of work, wife at home with ten kids, paying off $500,000 in debt, saving to buy a house), eventually the truly frugal folks will start getting ahead. I look forward to having a nice kitchen, for example, but instead of having a nice kitchen as soon as we can afford it, I would rather wait until a time when the kitchen won't be a substantial percentage of our net worth.
So yeah... frugal does NOT equal poor. And frugality is not limited to making stuff out of trash (though that is always an option. LOL!).
Goals for This Week:
Make a batch of soap.
Weed & mulch garden.
Tattoo goat kids.