Halloween for Frugal Folks – Low/No Cost Costumes :)

This is it – the big weekend of Hallows Eve.  With Halloween being on a weekday, most parties will be taking place this weekend.  For those of you last-minute costume people,  I took to Pinterest to find some great frugal ideas for your costuming delight.

Obviously, money related first…Parents, you can be bandits and make your kid the loot!

Low budget?  I found just the thing!

This creative superhero:
Love this!  via

Continue reading “Halloween for Frugal Folks – Low/No Cost Costumes :)”

Cutting Cable, Tiny Homes, and Frugal Fatigue – Weekly RoundUp

After last weekends heavy topics for posts (9/11 and Suicide), I took a few days off writing to reflect and gather my thoughts.  I’ve also spent some time commenting on others posts.  Commenting is one of my favorite parts of blogging because it makes the whole process seem so much more interactive than when I am writing and it’s all about me, me, me.  I love the interaction when we are able to comment back and forth.

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So thanks to my fellow FI bloggers, this week I have been mulling over a few thoughts.  Here are the top three that got me thinkin’…and drinkin’…

Continue reading “Cutting Cable, Tiny Homes, and Frugal Fatigue – Weekly RoundUp”

Frugal Friday – Tacos With Teens

Can you believe Friday is here already?!  The weekend has crept up and I’m still reeling (and weeping 😦 ) from my unexpected expense of the week.  Turns out having Muffy dying did not make it into the forecasted car budget for the year.  Someone once said to budget $50 a month to unexpected car repairs…this year the 01 Honda got new breaks, a new radiator, and now a new muffler.  I’m no mechanic but I think that $50 was a gross understatement in terms of budgeting…then again, I heard it over 10 years ago and my car is rounding out her 16th year.  Well, I just did a quick google search – apparently the new rule (probably not so new) is to budget $100 a month for car repairs.  Huh.  Don’t worry – the doctor mechanic assures me going forward she is fit as a fiddle.  Yeah, right…

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Pretty Sure My  Mechanic is Behind This…

Anywho, this weeks spending fiasco has led me to want to shine the spotlight on the flip side of the coin.  The saving side.  I would like to start a weekly series showcasing my (and yours!) frugal tips from the week.  What I saved, how I saved, and any kind of household updates that help to contribute to our financial bottom line.  I hope you will join me in posting your own frugal wins in the comments section so we can all help each other out.

This week, Frugal Friday is focusing on food.

Despite that tiny car repair issue, I saved major dough on meals.  Not my dough – but dough none the less.  You see, my BF and I are at the delicate stage of expanding our relationship and the responsibilities that go along with that.  He has kids.  And not any kid of kids – TEENAGE BOY kind of kids (ages 13 and 15).  Yikes!  This situation is not entirely new to me – I nannied for a family of two boys for 7 years – but they weren’t teens.  There’s a whole set of rules that go along with teenagers.

  1. Don’t ask them direct questions – they shut down (true for all teens not just boys).
  2. Don’t expect them to understand the full cycle of “cleaning up”.  Getting dishes close to the sink or garbage near the trash can is close enough.
  3. The toilet seat now belongs in the up position.  If it is down, it deserves to get peed on.  Pay no mind to the fact that they too have to sit while doing certain “functions”.
  4. Never, ever, ask the about girls.
  5. Never try to use slang terms like “On Fleak”.  We just aren’t cool enough.

And the biggest lesson I learned this week was:

Continue reading “Frugal Friday – Tacos With Teens”

What’s in the Box? Saying Goodbye to Things to Make Room for New Experiences

On this edition of “Questions Not to Ask on a 22 Floor Elevator Ride” we go straight to the man on 23 who just couldn’t help himself….

whats in the box box brad pitt highqualitys se7en
Still one of the best movie scenes of all time!

Though Mr. 23 kept his question PG – the moment we stepped onto the elevator I knew it was coming.  He couldn’t help look at the box in my hands which, I will add, was clearly marked air filters.  I’m not sure what he thought might be in there but the tone in which he asked seemed a bit devious…like I was planning some kind of slumber party with hair braiding and pillow fights and he was hoping for an invite.  Anywho, here we were at ground zero, with the elevator doors slowly closing, about to make our way to the top of the building…

Mr. 23 –  With a smirk that raised the corner of one side of his mouth he asks, “Whats in the box??”

Me“My wedding dress.”  Simply stated.

Mr. 23 – “Ohhhh”  Spoken in a way he which was clear to me he didn’t know what to say as a follow-up.

Me – I eased his pain by replying, ” Yes. I sold it on E bay.  I figured I wasn’t going to wear it again so why not let someone else?”

Mr. 23 – Still staring while searching for his next words…

Me – “Funny how the remnants of one day can fit into one square foot box” I said quite matter of factly.

Mr. 23 – Now wishing to God he had never asked and silently cursing the remaining floors until he could get off the elevator.

It’s funny – in that moment I had absolutely no feelings about selling my dress beyond; 1. Relief that it would no longer take up space in my closet, and 2. Joy that I would be $100 richer.  It wasn’t until seeing Mr. 23’s somber reaction that I thought about the emotional implications of what I had done…I had broken a tie that led me to that day.  But the day still exists in my memory…so why do we need the physical reminder? Continue reading “What’s in the Box? Saying Goodbye to Things to Make Room for New Experiences”

5 Frugal Ways to Bust the Summer Heat

A heat wave is crashing down on my home sweet home Chicago for the next few days…and when I say heat I don’t mean that dry heat that all those Phoenix folks are always bragging about.  I am talking about the humid wet blanket kind of heat that wraps itself around you and smothers you to death.  Yes.  It is that brutal.  On the up side, as a long time resident of the nary-a-wind-in-sight city, I have found some frugal ways to keep cool whilst the city melts around me.

Must be wicked hot outside….



1.  Go to the Library!  Free fun for the whole famdamily…books, movies, CD’s, free wifi and interent, magazines, story times, and the list goes on.  One of the best features of the Chicago Public Library system is their museum passes.  You check them out like a book and they give you free entrance to local museums provided you have at least one child under 18 with you.  More info in the link provided above.  Which brings me to #2…
Come visit me!

2.  MuseumsWe have so many great museums in Chicago.  Of course, I have been to most many times over but there is always something new to see or do.  My favorite of the locals are the Museum of Science and Industry (they have a wall of babies, seriously), Chicago History Museum (I love the Chicago fire diorama), and the Art Institute (Picasso’s The Old Guitarist from his blue period is a real treat!).  
Yeah…not me…

3.  Hit the Beach We don’t get much use out of Lake Michigan come once Winter is Coming so it’s best to utilize it during our 90 days of summer.  Find some body of water you live by, wether it be a pool, pond, lake, or ocean, and get your butt out there!  I tried stand up paddle boarding (SUP for the cool kids) for the first time last year and had a blast!  Don’t forget the sunscreen and lots of water…or other types of frosty beverages.  😉
Also not me… 🙂

4.  Netflix and chill…literally…turn on the AC.  Haha – yes, this one is quite obvious to most, however, to my frugal self it is something I rarely do!  You can really adapt to most weather if you’re willing to be uncomfortable for a short time.  I love fresh air so having the windows open is important to me.  Bubba, on the other hand, loves to wear her fur coat year round…even in the house!  I’ve tried to get her to take it off but she is quite insistent and therefor we have had to come to an agreement.  Once the thermostat on the wall says 80 we close the windows and through the AC on.  
5.  Catch up on the 40+ pending posts you have started and not finished…  Oh, wait, that last one was for me!  I will definitely be busy in the next few days building content for my spankin’ new blog.  I hope you enjoy what I come up with and feel free to throw any ideas my way!  I can add them to my soon to be shorter list… 🙂
AND – Things NOT to do when it’s blazing hot outside…
Go to the Mall.  Seriously?  Don’t do this.  You will spend money you don’t have on shit you don’t need and be none the better for it.  If you have an abundance of cash you are looking to blow might I suggest you take your self down to the nearest grocery store, buy a slew of Popsicles, a bag of ice, and a rolling cooler, and roll that puppy down the street handing them out as you go.  If that sounds like too much trouble, try one of these:
  • head to a shelter and help pass out food to the homeless.  
  • Donate an AC unit to a family in need.  
  • Volunteer to walk a dog at a shelter.
There are so many better ways to spend your time and money than a day at the mall.
** So, what are you up to this week?  Dodging any weather bullets like I am?  Have any tips for the hottsy’s (that’s a new term I am coining for the hottest days of the year)?  Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you’re up to!  🙂 **

The Power of the Penny – 1 to 1 Million in 27.5 days!

Some people like to joke that they are worth more dead than alive.  Ummmm, no – no you’re not.  No matter how much insurance you have on your life, when you are alive you still have the power to make money and money MAKES money.  Perhaps your financial worth is less at this moment but it wont always be so…

Think about currency in our country’s smallest form – the penny.  One single cent.  Oh man, the poor penny gets a bad rap.  People leave them behind in tip jars, couches, and tossed on a floor.  I know many people who won’t bend over to pick one up…even when said penny is heads up!  Shame, I say!!  This is FREE MONEY from The Money Gods!!

Ugh… Regardless of what those people may think, the penny has great exponential power – let’s consider it as a jumping off point.  There are so many things you can do with pennies…

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But let’s talk money.  There is a simple concept of taking one penny and doubling it each day.  How long will it take to get to 1 million dollars?  1 month, 1 year, 10 years??  Feel free to do the math but I’ll help you out with the quick answer – somewhere between day 27 and 28 you’ll have reached one million.  Here it is in black and white:

Day 1: $.01
Day 2: $.02
Day 3: $.04
Day 4: $.08
Day 5: $.16
Day 6: $.32
Day 7: $.64
Day 8: $1.28
Day 9: $2.56
Day 10: $5.12
Day 11: $10.24
Day 12: $20.48
Day 13: $40.96
Day 14: $81.92
Day 15: $163.84
Day 16: $327.68
Day 17: $655.36
Day 18: $1,310.72
Day 19: $2,621.44
Day 20: $5,242.88
Day 21: $10,485.76
Day 22: $20,971.52
Day 23: $41,943.04
Day 24: $83,886.08
Day 25: $167,772.16
Day 26: $335,544.32
Day 27: $671,088.64
Day 28: $1,342,177.28

Not bad!!  Again, that is precisely why I stick with my money mantra – a million dollars starts with one cent!!  The power of the penny is HUGE! 

So, what have we learned today?  With the ability to earn money, you are no longer aloud to make the statement that you are worth more dead than alive.  Take this little idea and build on it.  Go find a side hustle or work some extra hours.  Build upon each penny and be mindful of how you invest it.  After all, Einstein was on to something when he said:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t, pays it.”
Now go out there and earn it!!

** What math tricks have you used to motivate people to save?  I love how simple this is but how huge the impact!  Share with me a tip or trick you’ve learned along the way. **

Being Thrifty With Spendy Friends

Ugh – I made my friend cry.  And not the single tear shed type of cry but a weepy, snotty, high pitched squealy type of balling that can make some recoil in horror.  Mind you, these tears came a flowin’ after her polishing off a bottle of wine so regardless of the topic I am pretty sure the end result was inevitable…

Anywho, here’s how it went.

Her – Girl, I miss you!!  We need to hang out like this more often!

Me – Yes, we do!  But, I have to be honest, as much as I love seeing you, I can’t afford to hang out with you!  Every time we go out I come home with a spending hangover that takes me days (sometimes weeks) to recover from. 

Now her eyes start to tear up…

Me cont… – Well, that’s not true.  It isn’t that I can’t afford to go, I just choose to spend my money in different ways.  And that’s ok!  I have asked several times if you want to go for a walk or Ill bring wine up to your pool deck and we can hang and chat, but you always want to go out instead.  Going out like you do (everyday) is a major splurge for me and my lifestyle so it is something I have to limit myself in doing.

Her eyes are spilling over and the lip is quivering…here it comes!

Her – But we all have the same job and make the same amount of money!  I am sick of people saying they can’t afford to go out with me!!!

Apparently, I am not the only one telling her this…

Me – Yes, we all make the same amount.  But we all choose to spend it differently.  You like your nice centrally located apartment with the finest of furnishings, lovely labeled clothing, and fine meals out.  I love hanging with my dog, travelling on a dime, and my small Ikea furnished condo off the beaten path.  I love to cook and drink wine from a box (it’s a new thing I’m testing and although I love the environmental impact of less bottles and packaging, I am still not sold on the wine itself).  So we have a lifestyle conflict.  Of course, we are still friends, but I need to be more ME in this friendship.  

Now – if it wasn’t for our other friend at the table backing me up, I am pretty sure she would have gotten up and walked out.  But she didn’t and so the conversation continued.  We assured her that we love her no matter what but we were making choices in our financial lives that no longer align with hers (not that mine ever did but softening the blow in these situations is a more effective approach).  Our friend just had baby #2 and I am within 6 years of financial independence.  Those are OUR priorities.  She took a moment to listen and then declared:

Her – Well, I have chosen to live in the moment.  

Me – And I LOVE that about you!!

End scene.

All she needed was to realize that she was making a choice as well.  Now that she has a mantra, she will be able to go out and feel good about the choices she is making – regardless of what others think.  And besides my favorite money mantra, A million dollars starts with one cent, I have adopted a revised version of hers…

I will live in the moment provided I won’t regret it in the morning.  🙂

** Have you made a friend cry or do you have any spendy friends you are avoiding?  Have you made it work with them in another way?  Share your knowledge!!  I feel I may be up for round two with this friend in the months to come! 🙂 **