2. Ate kale and cilantro from the garden. It has been a while since I harvested anything from the garden, which has been mostly dormant for some time now. However, I did find some cilantro out there, and the kale will probably be usable as long as there isn't snow on it.
3. Dug up gladioli bulbs from the garden and brought them inside for the winter. These are bulbs that I will be able to plant next year for free! I also saved seeds from one of the mini pumpkins I bought as a decoration.
4. Went to the Volunteers of America 50% off sale. It is worth the call to see if your local thrift store has a 50% off day. Ours has a monthly sale. Although it was busier, I thought they still had a lot of items. I bought some books for $0.50 each, as well as two shirts for $1.00 each and a badly needed purse for $2.00. If that weren't enough, I saved the trashbag that the cashier put my stuff in, to reuse for trash. Frugal bonus points!
5. Regrew some green onion tops that I had purchased for Thanksgiving.
6. Knitted a shower scrubbie out of an old sock. Lately I have been trying to find ways to recycle clothing that is too worn out to use or donate, instead of just throwing it away. In particular, we have a lot of holey socks. Normally I just use these for cleaning, but they have been piling up fast. I discovered a way to cut the sock into one long strip. When you stretch the strip, the knitted fabric curls up and starts to look like yarn. So I knitted it. It took about 45 minutes from cutting up the sock to getting a finished scrubbie (for cleaning the shower... not myself!). I know some of you are thinking I have way too much time on my hands. But think about the possibilities! You could knit an old sock into a new sock!!!
7. Purchased a wireless speaker on clearance for $12.00. It is one of those small circular bluetooth speakers that can recharge with a USB cable. I use it for listening to podcasts while doing dishes. Previously I had to use my computer, but when the computer is open I usually get sucked into surfing the web or doing other non-productive things. Now I listen to podcasts from the Stitcher app on my phone. I spend 5 minutes adding to my "listen later" list, and then I do housework while all of the podcasts play from start to finish, without me having to stop and find new ones to listen to every half hour.
8. Did some couponing. I am going to do a separate article about couponing at some point, but for now I will just give an overview of some of the things I bought this week.
White Rain shampoo and conditioner: $0.63 each (these would have been cheaper as well, but my coupon malfunctioned)
Head & Shoulders shampoo: $1.79 each (normally we buy cheaper brands, but this one is good for winter use)
Name brand deodorant: $3.00 (this was for me... not as good a deal as last time, but better than full price).
9. Sold a dozen eggs.
10. Used Ebates for some Christmas shopping.
11. Filled out two McDonalds surveys. If you fill out the survey on a McDonalds receipt (scan the code at the bottom with your phone, then fill out the survey online), the receipt functions as a B1G1 free quarter pounder, valid for the next 30 days. Of course, the truly frugal person would just order from the Dollar Menu. But wait, there is no longer a dollar menu!!
During the same trip, I also used a McDonalds gift card that I purchased on Gift Card Zen for 11% off. So I actually got 11% off AND a B1G1 coupon with our meal. (Note: The first gift card I tried to use at Red Robin didn't work, but GCZ refunded the money and it was not a big deal. I will continue to order gift cards from them in the future.)
12. Made a wedding card. I used some paper quilling supplies that I already had, as well as a notecard and envelope purchased at Joanns with a coupon ($0.13 for the pair). It took about an hour to do, because my glue had dried up and it took forever to get it to come out of the bottle. Savings were only about $1.00 from what we usually buy (cheap-o Walmart cards or Dollar General), but the quality was much better. Plus I had fun making it. After I made the card I ordered some more quilling supplies and glue on Ebay for $6.00. Thank you, China.
During the months of November and December, my goal has been to acquire more shopping skills. That is, how to shop sales and use discounts, coupons and rebates whenever possible. A few tricks I have learned are 1) buying discount gift cards, 2) using rebate apps, 3) using coupons, and 4) using rebate sites like Ebates. All of these things can save a small percentage almost effortlessly. They are easy, mindless ways to save money on items I will buy anyway. December is a good month to practice shopping skills because we are shopping a lot more than usual.
Swagbucks- A Winter Side Hustle
One last thing I have signed up for is Swagbucks. I signed up for Swagbucks as a teenager, but got tired of using their inferior search engine and switched back to Google after earning one $5.00 gift card.
A few weeks ago, I learned that Swagbucks will reward you for other things besides just using their search engine. You can earn points (swagbucks- 1 SB = $0.01) for answering a daily poll, filling out surveys, entering swagbuck codes or watching movies on "Swagbucks TV".
In the beginning I wasted a lot of time trying to fill out surveys. I would spend five or ten minutes filling out a survey, and then a screen would pop up that said, "Sorry, you did not qualify to answer this survey. Here is 1 SB for trying." Let's see, $0.01 for five minutes of my time... that means I was "earning" $0.12 per hour for answering surveys. FAIL!!
Now I have a daily system for earning swagbucks. Usually I can earn at least $0.25 per day, if not more. First I answer the daily poll ($0.01). Then I open up a new window and start playing videos on their website. Of course I turn the volume down on the computer, then do other stuff. Watching random videos is a complete waste of time. However, if I can earn money by leaving my computer open, I will do that. If I am working on the internet with other tabs open, sometimes the videos will stop or not run fast. However, I can still work on Microsoft Word, Excel, or other non-internet programs while the videos run. I try to pick video playlists that are under 30 minutes and earn 3 SB (the maximum for video playlists). If I walk by the computer and see that a list has finished playing, I find another video playlist to run. I will do this until I reach the "daily goal", which is usually 40 SBs. If I want to earn even more, I run videos on my phone using the Swagbucks TV phone app. I only do this when I'm not using my phone for anything else though (like podcasts or couponing!).
In the summer, my little side hustle is collecting beer cans alongside the road and recycling them. During the winter, though, I collect precious few cans. Swagbucks is a nice alternative to collecting cans.
What frugal things did you do this week?