Late February is a weird time of the year. Winter has been around for so long and yet we aren’t nearly to spring for quite some time. This seems exacerbated for us in the Pacific Northwest this year because we got snow in November and now again in the last part of February.

The extra sun lately has been nice, but I’m over lows of 26-28 degrees. Next year, maybe we should wait to take a vacation to somewhere warm until the later part of the winter, because our trip to Hawaii and being warm enough to walk around outside in shorts seems forever ago now.

And finally to this week’s Frugal Five, now that’s I’m past the stereotypical Northwesterner topic of the weather.

1. I received our quarterly Ebates check in the mail this week. While $32.53 isn’t a crazy sum of money by any stretch, I’ll take it since it was earned through purchases that we would have made anyway.

Not much to else say here, except if you haven’t signed up for Ebates yet, you totally should. If you use this link to sign up, you get $25 deposited into your account as a sign up bonus (and I get $15 as well for the referral, so thanks!). Just a note, Ebates only pays out 4 times a year, so you don’t get the money immediately like some other rewards programs. However, you do get a check with cash instead of a gift card, which is nice.

If you want to know more about my feelings on coupon clipping in general, read this recent post by Mrs. Kiwi; this is almost exactly how I feel as well.

2. Since Monday was President’s Day, our son’s preschool was closed (they follow the school schedule). My husband and I both had to work that day, which is typical for our industry, but, thankfully for us, my mother in law’s job has all “bank holidays” off, so she was able to watch our son for the day.

While I have no problem with taking off a day to hang with our kiddo, there are so many “holidays” that mean preschool closure (and there are more of them to come once kindergarten starts). For families with two parents with full time jobs, or families with single parents, these extra days are a real hardship. I’m so thankful we have my mother in law to watch him because otherwise we would have to burn all our vacation on those days or find a (very expensive) alternate childcare option. Even so, at least we would have those options that aren’t available to many families.

Without getting too far off on a tangent regarding the realities that come with growing a family, let’s just say we are very very fortunate to have the family support we have. It makes all our lives better.

3. I made chicken teriyaki for dinner this week because it’s one of my son’s favorite meals. It’s significantly cheaper to make at home though, especially when the teriyaki sauce is made from scratch as well. And healthier because I sautéed up some carrots and broccoli to go with the meal.

Teriyaki is one of our go-to take out meals as it’s one of the few restaurant options within walking distance from our house, so I consider it a big win whenever I make it at home instead.

4. My last haircut was well over a year ago, but I just haven’t wanted to take the time to get it cut. Lately though, it’s gotten long enough to where it’s entered into the realm of really annoying. I still didn’t want to spend the money or the time to go to a salon though, so it’s just gotten longer. Eventually, I badgered my mom enough to cut my hair (she’s done it a couple of times in the past). She’s never confident in what she’s doing, but she also realizes I’ll just get sick enough of the length and hack it off myself if she doesn’t just do it. To be fair, she has fair reason to feel this way because I’ve done it once, and it wasn’t pretty 😉

5. I returned The Simple Path To Wealth* (along with a number of other books) to the library before the because overdue. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to reading it, so I now need to do the long wait on hold again, so just buy it outright. Yes, I’m a personal finance blogger who hasn’t read the book yet. I mean to, but then life gets in the way and it doesn’t happen. Funny enough, I did buy the book for my 18 year old brother for Christmas before reading it myself, so maybe I should just go ask to borrow it from him.

Another book that I had returned about a week ago was still showing checked out though – and now overdue – so I talked the librarian about it today. I know it was returned, because it was one of just four books that were due at once and I made sure to grab all four and return them together. The other three showed checked in, but this one didn’t register for some reason.

Apparently, the library has an option to mark a book “claim returned” in this case, which takes it off your account without paying for it. This is fine, except there’s a limit of five of these for the life of your library card, so that means this book is one of my five. If this had been at a retail institution, I would have been pretty insistent about them just taking the book off without marking it as one of the f be because I know this one was returned. However, this was the library, and I love libraries and think they are very important institutions, and I know they don’t have huge budgets, so I let it go. It still irks me, but I didn’t feel like I could argue about it the same way because hey, the books were still free.

What do you think? Should I have treated the library situation differently? Or does it not matter because I have four more “freebies” anyway?

*Affiliate link. I earn a small amount if you use it, but as always, I always recommend looking at second hand / free options first 🙂

46 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 8)

  1. You had me laughing at ‘hack it off’ with DIY hair cut. I did that a few times when I was younger, the results weren’t pretty either. My first foray was cutting my bangs. Simple enough you’d figure but I gapped out and cut ABOVE my hand instead of below. So it was months of too short bangs.

    Another time I let a neighbor give me a ‘layered’ cut. Picture a scene out of bad 80’s hair, but worse 🙂

    After that, I decided to spend money on haircuts cuz it doesn’t look good long. Otherwise I’d probably just trim it myself.

    1. Yeah, I tried trimming bangs a couple of times because my hair grows SO fast (hence some *lovely* college photos of slightly uneven, slightly too short bangs. Ha)

      The upside of hair that grows so fast is that it fixes mistakes pretty quickly 😉

  2. Sometimes things get reshelved without getting checked in. Sometimes it is worth it to go find the book on the shelf and point it out to them.

    On the hair cutting thing….I have been cutting my own hair for a year or two now. I watched several youtube videos about it, but found following Sarah Nourse’s step by step video was the most helpful. Best to do when a little one is not tugging at you or interrupting though.

    1. The problem is that the book was a hold from a different library, but apparently they checked both branches and it wasn’t there. Oh well.

      And yes. Bonus points for my mom doing it meant my kiddo just sat and watched because it was fascinating. Don’t think he’d have been quite so patient if I’d tried to do it myself lol

  3. Goo job being frugal.
    I used one of my claimed return a while back. I’ll have to check if we have a limit at our library.
    Can’t you renew online?
    Cutting your own hair is much easier as a guy. I just buzz it every couple of months. 🙂

    1. I can renew online, unless there’s a hold placed on the book, and then it has to go back when the time is up. Makes sense, but makes it harder to get through a book sometimes when there’s a short time limit on it.

  4. The only thing I trust myself to do with my hair is trim my bangs, and even then I’m horrible at it!

    Alright, I’m going to admit I haven’t read through The Simple Path either. I’ve read the stock series. I own the book. But I haven’t actually read the book itself. Maybe one day when I get through the rotating cast of 20 library books sitting on my shelf haha.

    Late winter is the worst. I hate having my birthday in February, and now that I’ve done a birthday weekend trip to somewhere sunny, I have to say I’m a big fan of that approach and will probably start making that a regular thing!

    1. Apparently we need to make an agreement to finally read that book in March then haha. And yes, since our son’s birthday is in February too, I think we need to start planning a short – warm – getaway around then every year!

    1. Ha that is exactly my perspective! Easy to put it up and hide a slightly less than perfect cut 😉

  5. Yay! I’m so glad your MIL was able to cut your hair, I know you had wanted it done for awhile! Yes, So much savings and time when one can do it themselves, or other’s hair as well.

    It’s hard to let the library thing go – because for me that did happen too and it’s almost like a negative hit to your reputation and integrity. In my situation, I randomly saw the book like a year later (double checked to make sure it was the same one I had checked out and couldn’t believe it!)

    And I didn’t bother fighting it. I figured what you concluded as well, they just need to make money somehow and can’t afford to wait until it’s eventually found (in their own library…grrrr!).

    1. Yeah, getting a hair cut was definitely on the to do list for waaaaaay too long. It feels so much better now though!

      So, did you march that book up to the front and let them know you’d found it??

      1. You know – I thought about it! but when I saw it was the same crabby lady I went up against…I wasn’t ready for the battle and tossed it back in the basket and walked out. lol!!! #librarianscanbeintimidating

      2. Hahaha nice. The bigger part for me was feeling guilty fighting with the library over money, because you know they need the extra dollars more than we do.

  6. We are incredibly lucky to have a preschool-daycare that follows PiC’s work schedule, or else I would have my work interrupted a lot more. Actually that’s not fair. I bet that we would split the forced days off down the middle, like we split everything else (as fair as we can) but it would annoy me to burn his precious vacation days. Mine are “unlimited” but I still have to get my work done. It’s just a different system.

    #4 I’ve hit that point, too! I’m about to go to Supercuts for a $17 (if I can find a coupon) cut to have our lady take off several inches. 8? 10? Who cares, just lop it off 😀 But I probably won’t cut it myself. I’ve been trimming JB’s hair to stretch out our time between cuts and my scissors aren’t sharp enough to cut all of my own hair. I wouldn’t mind but I’m due in for a work meeting in the next week or two, best not to look like a weedwhacker attacked me 🙂

    1. My work schedule is a lot more flexible (and most of it can be done from home), so it’s usually me who stays home on the days where we don’t have any backup. However, there is a day next month it will be my husband’s turn! He’d honestly love to take more of the days but he just hasn’t been able to take the time off, regardless of vacation days.

      I’m lucky to have my mom to help with my haircuts, because I’m not sure how well I’d do on my own haha

  7. I’m so ready for spring too! The warmer weather is always nice, but also underrated is the longer days starting back up and with daylight savings the sun sets later!

    Up until a couple years ago I had never spent any money ever on a haircut. I used to have a buzz cut growing up (especially useful with sports) but since then have grown it out and will get it cut every 3 months usually.

    I feel like eventually I’ll go back to doing it myself again!

    1. I wouldn’t call the longer days underrated at all. My very least favorite part of winter is the early sunsets (just after 4PM here in December).

  8. I somehow managed to misplace my haircutting scissors, so I am in desperate need for a cut, but can’t bring myself to buy a new pair. Hopefully they turn up when we tear out the carpeting in our master bedroom in a couple of weeks.

    And our library has a similar policy, but we only get to “lose” two books. Unfortunately, I used up my two, but I swear I returned the books in a similar situation. I’m not too stressed about it, and we can always start using my hubby’s library card if I “lose” another book. I figure for the amount of use we get out of our library it isn’t worth fighting them on the issue.

    1. Yikes – only two is seriously tight for a lifetime. But you’re right, even paying for a couple of books outright is still a heck of a deal for all the use we get out of the library. I’m fine with paying for something that’s my fault, but it irks me to no end when I KNOW it wasn’t me.

  9. The teriyaki looks delicious! I feel the same about making restaurant style meals at home. Tonight we had pasta carbonara, way cheaper than at an Italian restaurant!

    Re the library, I think you’re pretty lucky to have the 5 ‘benefits of the doubt’. In our local libraries here, they ask you to go and check the shelves yourself for it and if you can’t find it, and neither has another user attempted to check it out in the meantime, you simply have to pay for a replacement book and can’t borrow any more books until you do. So I would jump at the chance for a system like yours!

    1. Yikes! That’s a really strict policy at your library. But no matter what, even paying for a couple books a year would be more than fair for all the value we get out of the library – I’d just rather it be a donation of my choosing than because they lost a book 😉

    1. Realizing that apparently I have nothing to complain about with our library’s policy! Frustrating that I’m getting the ding against me, but no big thing.

  10. I am the same with hair and hair cuts – I also don’t like going to the hairdressers or paying the massive price tag. My top used to cut it for me as well but since we moved halfway down the state, she can’t really anymore haha! So I feel your pain <3.
    Also, the library situation sounded very frustrating and I think you handled it very gracefully!

    1. If only we could make hair stop growing so we didn’t have to keep going back to get it cut haha. Except not really because I would eventually get sick of it being one length 😉

  11. Ebates is the shizzle isn’t it? I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t use it. It’s like credit card rebates or points, if you’re spending the money anyway, then…

    The one thing I dislike about ebooks is that you can’t loan them out, I’d be glad to loan you my copy of SPTW, but it’s through kindle. It’s a great read!

    1. That is definitely the downside of ebooks. It’s a little strange you can’t do that, since the libraries can, but I guess it makes sense because they make more money that way. Though I’m definitely not against supporting authors (my mother is one).

  12. You’re a braver soul than me–I need a hair cut too but will go to a salon (reluctantly). I do my own color so that helps with the costs!

    1. I dyed my hair from ages 13 – 21 (the last time the day before my wedding). I loved the variety but honestly it’s so much less maintenance leaving it my natural color. Hoping to just allow the grays to come when they do.

  13. I still go to the hairdresser about once a year. I hate spending the money but at least I look good for one day:)
    Maybe if I had someone to do it for free I would skip it too.
    I just made $15 on Ebates!!! 🙂

    1. Yeah, I’m definitely lucky to have my mom to do mine! Once a year still doesn’t break the budget like the quarterly cuts a lot of people get. And YAY! Free money!!

  14. I cut my own hair and call the resulting uneven mess a pixie look. It helps that I genuinely like the short unruly style 🙂

    1. Awesome – own it 🙂 You get some serious savings that way too because short hair needs a LOT of trips to keep it that way.

  15. I haven’t had my hair cut in way too long. I really need to go in and have it done. so thanks for the reminder! Getting my hair cut at a professional salon a couple of times a year is one of my only indulgences, plus we go to a small local one owned by a good friend of ours who I am glad to support! I am sorry to hear about the library book! I have a copy of “The Simple Path to Wealth” that I have been “reading” for months if you want to borrow it!

    1. Oh maybe I will borrow your copy! Though I should probably make sure I have to time set aside to read it first. Ha

    1. We have a “you scan” check in, but I’ve never gotten a receipt before. Think I may need to start taking one for exactly this reason.

  16. I tried to sign up for ebates using your link, but it led me to an error page—any tips?
    Thanks, love the blog 🙂

    1. Okay – I THINK it’s fixed now. Glad to have you following along!

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