Thursday, January 30, 2020

Money and Avocado are both green. I would rather look at avocado toast with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning – yum! Plus, here is a great example of saving money by making this at home!

Want to talk about money?  This is a topic I have not really broached here – except when talking about my shopping habits and purchases maybe.  Why do people shy away from talking about money?  I currently read a couple of blogs about frugality and I love a good personal finance book from – where else?  – the library!  I love to hear money saving tips and I’m curious/nosy and like to hear how other people manage their money, too.   I guess this is a pretty personal topic.  I respect that different people will choose to spend their money in different ways.  

January seems to be a good month to become more frugal.  I know many people make financial resolutions, plus, after the excess of the holidays, I just feel yucky money wise; it’s time to reign in the spending, right?  

I would call myself selectively frugal.  I try to save money where I can so I can splurge on things that matter most to me.  

I have always loved working and making my own money.  I babysat from the time I was able, I was a lifeguard, a pool manager, a language lab instructor in college, a college reporter and photographer for the newspaper, a waitress at Pizza Hut, a waitress on a floating barge restaurant on the river, a law office receptionist, a stock room person at a clothing store – Talbots Surplus store, and a Spanish teacher!  I worked every summer as a beginning teacher and even worked the summer I was pregnant with twins.  I love to work and want to use my money wisely.  

Here are some ways I have enjoyed a fabulously frugal (in my opinion) lifestyle getting to enjoy the things I enjoy in life without spending too much money…

I love clothes, shoes, and accessories. I love searching at consignment stores for treasures and have found amazing finds – not so many lately, though. Also, for 3 years I tracked my clothing spending. I learned so much from doing this. I would re-evaluate purchases at the end of the year and see the good purchases and shopping mistakes I made.  

I love reading – but I don’t need to own the books because I won’t read them again. The library is my best money saving tip ever!

I love being outside in nature – sometimes hiking or walking and sometimes just sitting. Parks are free and I must live somewhere with an outdoor space – I have a wonderful patio and will have an additional deck soon.  Even better if I have people to join me and a coffee or a cocktail!

Back in the fall – candle, coffee, homemade bread – the simple pleasures of life.

I love being with people and talking over a meal with them at a home or a restaurant. (This is what I save my money for during the week – I take my breakfast, lunch, and coffee to work with me and rarely spend any money during the week from Monday-Thursday on ANYTHING – except for gas, maybe.  I try to do all the grocery shopping on the weekend so I don’t have to go back to the store during the week.  

Always splurge on restaurant guacamole!

I love cooking and trying new recipes.  This is a pretty cheap hobby because I am not buying filet mignon or lobster and you can argue that it is a money saving hobby because you spend less cooking.



Gifts -I love to give gifts and love finding the perfect gift for people.

Nails– I love having nice looking nails. I am spending about $10 a week on these dip treatments right now ($35 every 3-4 weeks). I have cut down on Starbucks to justify this. I used to treat myself once or twice week to the tune of $5 a coffee and now it is rare when I get one. So, this has been worth it to me. The dip nail treatment has made me happy and been worth the money.

Hair – I space it out as much as possible and only go to the salon about 5-6 times a year.

Travel – We have taken some amazing trips on a budget. I did lots of research to find good deals on lodging and we camped on one of these trips (along with other camping weekend trips). We also drove rather than flew on all the trips except Germany. I packed food for snacks and some meals. There are lots of ways to save on travel. From the time our boys were 2-14 we traveled most spring breaks and summers. It has gotten more difficult in high school with homework, camps, activities schedules, etc. We did Myrtle Beach, Okaloosa Island, Assateague and Chincoteague, Colonial Williamsburg, Washington DC, Disney, Universal, The Keys, The Everglades, Asheville, Nashville, Panama City Beach, Destin, Michigan multiple times, Hilton Head, Chicago, Dauphin Island, and Germany. Fun fact: On every vacation my boys got a t-shirt and I am making them into a quilt for them soon.  I am so excited to do this!  

Education and Books for my kids – We spent money on opportunities to learn – extra classes, camps, lessons and books our boys wanted. They loved the library, too, but wanted to own books that they loved. We felt this was a good use of our money.

Museums and Experiences for my kidsI guess I could lump this in with the above category.  I never skimped on things like this and would always pay full price if I had to, but I have always been good about finding free things to do in my city.  I have researched free days or ways to get in for reduced fees.  We have gone to festivals and done some really unique things.

BoatingBoating is a big splurge but we had dreamed of being able to boat since before we were married.  We also live near a body of water and have family members with a boat business.  We took the plunge and bought a used boat 5 years ago and it has brought us so much fun.  We used to belong to a pool in the summers so I guess you could say this has replaced that – in a much more expensive way!  


So, that’s all I can think of for now!  If you lasted that long and are still reading, what are your saves and splurges?  What type of spender are you?  Remember I’m very curious about this topic!  Lol!  



19 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Money $$$

  1. This is interesting! Great post! You and I are very similar (that’s probably why I like your blog so much!). I just payed this month’s bills, and January is never fun… All insurances for the year, two trips, Christmas gifts, electricity for heating the cabin… wow! It’s expensive to live!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s especially interesting to compare between US and other countries! Do you think expenses are lower in US?
      That’s so cool that we are similar! I forgot that many people pay for Christmas in January! We only had a few things on credit cards and paid mostly cash.
      It sure is expensive to live!


      1. Well, taxes are much higher over here, but at the same time a lot is free (because of the taxes :-)); like free maternity health, free healthcare for children, free dentist up to 21 (yes, even braces), cheap healthcare for adults… VAT is 25 % over here (!) which makes it cheaper for us to buy stuff in the US, although the dollar is very expensive for us right now.
        Yes, we mostly use credit card (American Express of course!) because it’s actually quite advantageous, not because we have run out of money!…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes – similar to Germany where we have family.
        Credit card rewards can be great if you don’t get into trouble and charge more than you can pay! We have gotten lots of groceries for free!


  2. I love saving money when I can and it becomes a game to me sometimes. Checking out library books has really saved me some money over the last year. I love to cook too and entertaining in my home is a favorite. Working is also something I like doing and like you I have always worked. Even when I stayed home with my boys I worked part time at WW as a leader – I just had to be doing something for me and it felt good. I think everyone has their own opinions about spending and debt but we are firmly a family of no debt. Our house is paid off (as of last month – yay!) and we owe nothing. That feels good, I’m not sure I could sleep at night if we had credit card bills!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m the same – it is a challenge. I realize there is some privilege in being able to look at money that way. Working and being with people is rewarding. What a great job while your boys were young. Congrats on your house being paid off! That is so exciting! We are not comfortable with much debt either. Our challenge now is to help our boys not accumulate much debt in college – I’m sure you know a great deal about that!
      Have a wonderful day!


  3. The only things that we are willing to put on credit cards are big ticket items, like new furnishings, appliances, etc….items that are expensive, but know will be in use and part of our lives for many years. Then, we try to pay them off gradually. I recently got a new car…and I hate car payments…so part of the money that I am making from subbing will be going to paying this debt off as quickly as I can. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is how we are but we have a gas and grocery credit card that we really like. It helps us track those and we get between $80-$100 back in rewards every couple of months! It is the Kroger 1-2-3 card?
      We don’t like car payments and went several years without one but had to have one again. It will be nice to pay it off and then I’m sure we will start that cycle again! It is expensive to live but it is important to find a balance I think!


  4. I’ve always had a bad habit of getting the daily Starbucks but when I was in college I started getting black coffee from Yvette because it was cheaper and years later I still do this. I also don’t go every day anymore. I dont spend a lot of money on clothes for myself. I DO spend a lot of money on clothes for the kids because I find the quality is better, they last longer and I can resell them. The one thing I do spend too much money on is skincare products.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But if you enjoy coffee that’s ok! Good point about kid clothes! I love makeup and have to be careful. It’s enlightening to record spending for a month or so, isn’t it? Thanks for commenting!


  5. These are great tips for living a frugal lifestyle and splurging on the things that are important to you and your family. We have very similar thoughts about this topic! I like to save by going to the library, not dining out during the week, cooking at home, etc. Travel is our big splurge, and of course college tuition coming soon. It’s good to find a balance between saving and splurging when we can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I could do better but I do really try to be a good money manager without affecting the quality of our life!
      Oh – college tuitions! Have a great day!


  6. Good topic-it’s not easy to tackle, but everyone thinks about money! In 2008 when the stock market and the housing market dropped, I made a pact with myself not to buy anything that I still had some of at home for 3 months. Beauty products, cleaning products, clothing, shoes. It was an eye opener for me, an impulse buyer. Even my husband noticed after a month! It changed my perspective, I guess you could say I’ve been more mindful ever since.
    We have a Southwest credit card that we put most every purchase on and pay it off each month. It’s a no brainer for us as we have family all over and fly often. We have earned a companion pass for the last 10 years which allows me to fly free with my husband and he mostly flies on points and that’s a huge saving for us.
    Most of all we believe it’s very important to save for retirement and for many years our vacations were super low key. Think motorcycle and cheap hotels! We saw so much of the Southwest that way! Now we have retired early and have gone to Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland, Costa Rica and 2 cruises. That said we research, stay mostly in B&Bs or local hotels, drive on our own route and eat with locals. (There have been a few splurges!)
    Also we believe in giving back, that is by volunteering and donating to causes that we believe in.
    Whew! I guess I had a lot to say, forgive me for going on and on!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is all so admirable! So you were frugal so you could do all these things. A Southwest card is a great idea. I only have one credit card. I think it’s more fun to research and do your homework when traveling.
      Love your tips, Nancy!


  7. Great post! I am very similar–very frugal on some things (like making my own coffee, budget grocery shopping and inexpensive travel hacks) but I also like to spend on others (clothing, taking trips and experiences for my family). I should track my clothing purchases for a year–good idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I think this works and is smart to save for what matters most! I’m always curious about other bloggers who “seem”
      to shop all the time!
      Thanks for reading! Happy Friday!


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