I am so excited summer is finally here in DC. In my mind, summer means picnics, potlucks, ice-cream cones, community activities, and FUN!
It was still freezing cold in the city just 2-3 weeks ago. Now the sun is scorching hot in the 95 degree weather, making me enjoy the AC maybe a bit too much (oops!).
Now on to our frugal wins and frugal fails of the past two weeks.
5 Frugal wins
1. Buy used toys and books for Baby FAF
As summer is here, many of us are decluttering our house after a long winter.
Mr. FAF and I re-organized our storage shed a couple of weeks ago and gave away a lot of items to our neighbors.
We had a yard sale in our community this past weekend.
Since Baby FAF turned two a couple of months ago and is ready to learn the alphabet and numbers, I have been checking educational toys at the store but balked at the prices.
We already got a lot of hand-me-down toys for him like cars, trains, and superman figurines. I wanted to buy games that can teach Baby FAF something new and are useful for his development. In other words, I wanted to invest in toys that will yield an educational return.
The community yard sale was a great opportunity for me to get what I needed at low prices. And it didn’t disappoint.
I got a Fishing for Phonics game, a domino set, and six books for $8.5. I consider this a frugal win since I can easily drop that amount on a brand-new book at the store. I used soap to wash all of the toys.
Books & toys for $8.5 displayed on a hand-me-down couch
My uncle taught me how to play dominoes and chess when I was about 4, and I really enjoyed the logic and different strategies of playing those games. I want Baby FAF to have the same experience.
2. Not do grocery shopping
Mr. FAF and I blew our May food budget with a series of restaurant dinners. But a good chunk of the expenses also went to groceries for June.
I didn’t go grocery shopping at all the first two weeks of June since I had lots of food in the fridge. I also tried to finish what we had in the pantry. It’s summer – decluttering time!
It also saved me about 3 hours I’d normally spend on two shopping trips. It takes me about 40 minutes to walk to the nearby grocery and back, not to mention at least 30 minutes at the store.
3. Prepare food for road trips
Mr. FAF and I had two big road trips last week: one to Philly and one to New York. And as any other frugal couples would do, we prepared food to eat on the way.
We prepared the following:
— Corn: We got 8 corn heads from Costo and boiled 6 of them in the morning before we left.
— Trail mix: I got the low fat generic brand from Shoppers in case we got tired of the other foods. We ended up not eating it at all. I guess we can save it for the next trip.
— Croissant: We got a big box of 12 counts from Costco for $5.99 but didn’t eat any. We had a big breakfast that day, and it definitely helped curb the craving for snacks.
— Water: Simple and healthy drink.
We had to drive through lunch time, so we heated up the food at home before the trip and ate it in the car in a rest area.
Some people saw us eating through the glass windows of the car. Mr. FAF and I joking said they might have thought we were a weird Asian couple not wanting to spend money at the food stalls nearby (i.e. McDonalds). We were totally fine with it because that’s exactly what we are: married, Asian, weird, and frugal.
4. Fix the soap holder in the bathroom
The soap holder in one of our bathrooms fell off the wall. This is the second time it’s happened. With Mr. FAF living more than 10 hours away and not being a handyman, I took the matter in my own hands.
The first time the soap dish wanted to say good-bye to the wall, I freaked out. As a new homeowner who’s clueless about home repairs, my first thought was to call a maintenance man.
Then I started thinking about how I’d need to spend at least $100 on the job and decided to look up an easy fix on Youtube. A light bulb went on in my head. I used the construction glue I had gotten from Home Depot a while back to stick the dish soap back to the wall.
Construction glue & the soap holder covered in plastic for the glue to dry (blue tiles, I know)
5. Wedding at a country club
Mr. FAF and I went to a wedding at a country club this past Tuesday. It was three hours away from our house.
Beautiful scene at the country club golf course. Even the bathroom was pretty.
At first, we thought about taking a bus and then Uber to the wedding venue since Mr. FAF had driven almost 20 hours the previous 3 days. I was willing to spend a bit of money to not undermine his health.
However, as a frugal family man, Mr. FAF decided to drive six hours both ways (he wouldn’t let me drive since my driving skills are not great for long trips). We had a great time meeting old friends, catching up, and sharing the special moment with the bride and the groom.
Though frugal, Mr. FAF and I sometimes fancy visiting luxurious places and eating delicious food we normally can’t afford. We had never been at a country club before. For us, it’s a place for wealthy people, and we are not one of them.
I remember picturing the fancy amenities and food at a country club a long time ago, thinking hopefully I would be able to check it out one day. And it happened this past weekend.
Seafood & duck with jam
Salmon & steak (main course)
I consider this a frugal win because we waited until the right occasion to enjoy what life has to offer. We enjoyed the great company, the good food, and the beautiful scenery at the venue.
We could have tried to create a similar experience ourselves, but it would have cost us an arm and a leg. And I’m not sure if it would be as memorable as us being at our friends’ wedding.
2 Frugal fails
1. Waste food
I threw away one whole cucumber last week. I cut the cucumber into small pieces and put it in the fridge at work.
I totally forgot to eat the cucumber for 3 days. When I opened it, the cucumber was slimy and just wasn’t good for consumption anymore.
Remember the corn we brought on the trip? I threw away 3 corn heads since we had forgotten them in the bag.
When I checked on them, they just didn’t smell good anymore. Forgetfulness costs money!
2. $8 WiFi on the plane
Mr. FAF purchased a $66 one-way ticket from DC to his city and left DC two days ago. He had driven for almost 25 hours within one week, so we both agreed that a plane ticket was a good option this time.
Mr. FAF later told me he spent $8 on WiFi connection on this 2-hour flight back to his city. I was not super happy when I heard that. What could he possibly do on the plane with such expensive WiFi service?
Mr. FAF said he watched documentaries about Putin on Youtube during the flight (?!). I have suggested he bring a book with him next time he flies somewhere.
I’m pleasantly surprised to see that we had only two frugal fails these past two weeks. Wasting food wasn’t something I wanted to do, but I had to since I couldn’t deal with the discomfort that it would cause. However, I need to be more careful about saving leftovers after a trip next time.
Overall, I’m happy with the 5 frugal wins that we had. I hope you had a lot of frugal wins these past weeks too! 🙂