Sometimes the words just flow when I write blog posts. Today is not that day. I started these Friday Frugal Five posts pretty early on in this blog as a way to get inspired when I didn’t feel like writing or that I didn’t have anything to say, so I guess it’s serving its purpose once again 😉
1. We reached the minimum spend on the last billing cycle on my new Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card, and the 50,000 sign up bonus has finally hit my account! I also used this referral link to have my husband sign up for his own card, so we’re well on our way to 110,000 Chase rewards points before factoring in the normal points earned through our regular spending (50,000 sign up bonus for each card plus the 10,000 referral bonus).
If you go this route as a couple, make sure to sign up for the card individually because you earn over double the points doing it this way. Our 10th anniversary is coming up at the end of next year so I’m currently stockpiling points to use for a big trip then (though we’re also talking about going back to Hawaii this coming winter when the weather isn’t so great here).
In another month or two I’ll open up another Chase card to continue the points accumulation. At this point, we’ve only used rewards for plane flights, but as we have the three of us (plus a babysitter in the form of a family member we bring with us on trips), it takes quite a few miles to fly us all anywhere.
Military Dollar has done an awesome series on her experiences with travel hacking, so if you want to know more from a personal perspective, I’d highly suggest checking some of her posts out. Though I am totally jealous of the waived annual fee from AmEx Platinum for being active duty military.
2. I had left my car over the weekend at my parent’s house before we headed out for our camping trip and discovered one of the tires had gone completely flat over the three days we were gone thanks to a nail I’d driven over at some point. My husband got the spare tire on my car for me, and I drove it home since the place I got the tires from just a few months ago was in the complete opposite direction. (Note that I can change my own tire – and have in the past – but my husband did this as an act of love for me because I absolutely hate having to deal with anything car related. This goes for even just pumping my gas.)
I dropped my son off at preschool and then drove over to the shop that’s on the way to work. I had expected I would have to drop the car and then bus to work so they could work on it, but the guys there just pulled the flat tire out of my trunk and told me just to come back after work and they’d have it fixed for me, which was really awesome because I barely had time to get to work on time as it was.
When I got back early that afternoon, the place was packed, so I asked the guy at the front counter how long he thought it would be. He knew I was headed to pick up my son from preschool, so he squeezed me in and within 5 minutes I was driving away with the repaired tire, no charge.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I spend the $27 to get my oil changed at this place instead of doing it myself, and this is part of the reason beyond just time savings. I’ve been going there for 6 or 7 years now (a lot more frequently with my old car), and they always take fabulous care of me – and often don’t charge if it’s something minor. In previous situations, they’ve let me buy a part elsewhere and just done the install so I could save some money.
I always try to be super friendly and nice, no matter how busy they might be, and creating a real connection and longevity with an independent auto shop has served me well. Plus, it makes it nicer on my end as well when I go somewhere and the people are happy I’m there because they know me. Makes our not so small town feel a little bit smaller.
3. I earned another $5 Amazon gift card through Bing rewards. Basically all you do for this is to sign in and then use Bing for any online searching you do instead of Google. I honestly don’t care what search engine I use most of the time, so I may as well get a (tiny) bit back for something I’m doing already. I get about one of these $5 rewards every month, so just $60 a year, but I’ll take it. I add the Amazon gift card to my account and then it’s like getting $5 off my next purchase, which I’d make with or without the gift card.
4. We’re not ones to do much to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I’m honestly not sure if we’ve ever been out to dinner for the holiday – but my husband hates crowds and I’ve gone partially deaf in my right ear, so there’s not a big draw for us to go out on busy restaurant nights. We also spent our first Valentine’s Day “together” on opposite coasts, so we never made a tradition of it.
However, we did make chocolate chip pancakes from scratch for dinner this year, which made our son very happy. He made us a valentine at preschool earlier in the week, so he had some sense that it was a special day. And for us, special days tend to mean making something extra tasty at home.
I had all the ingredients I needed already, so I didn’t have to do any shopping, which meant Valentine’s Day was a no spend day for us.
5. Again, I didn’t buy lunch all week (though one lunch was definitely just a couple of oranges and some instant oatmeal because I was too lazy to pack a real lunch). Amazingly, I’ve kept this streak up since at least October since I started documenting Friday’s Frugal Five.
At this point, I’m not sure I’d be willing to buy lunch out because then I’d have to report back here and ruin my streak. Maybe I can go a whole year without buying lunch at work. That would be some serious savings right there considering last year I spent an average of probably $10/day on work lunches, which would have worked out to about $200/month. Yikes. Goes to show how little habits can really add up and cost you a lot of money.
So maybe I had more to say today than I thought. Sometimes, just like when I’m going for a run, it just takes a little bit of time to get in the flow and then it gets easier and more fun.
How was your week? Any fun and frugal events to share? How did (or didn’t) you celebrate Valentine’s Day?