Week two of back to work after our vacation, and I’m still doing catch up from the time away, at least when it comes to work. Another bonus to a reduced schedule though is that I’ve had enough time to get things in order at home so we can get ready to go out of town again this coming weekend for a Father’s Day camping trip. Besides getting to have slow wake ups with my son during the week, the second best part of less than full time employment is the ability to get general house chores and errands done during the week so our weekends are open to do as we please.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. I continue to use Bing as my search engine, and every month or two, I have enough credits in my account to “purchases” a $5 Amazon gift card. While this may only add up to $40-$50 dollars a year, they’re tax free dollars that I really didn’t do anything to earn. Once I get the $5 gift card, I credit my Amazon account and it just sits there until I have a regular purchased to make, and then it’s like I got an extra $5 off whatever that item is.
For whatever reason, those $5 credits make me really happy because I feel like I’m getting something just a little bit cheaper for no effort on my part. Between Bing, Ebates*, and Ibotta*, this total adds up to maybe a couple hundred dollars a year, which isn’t huge in the grand scheme of things, but it’s also a couple hundred dollars extra that I can stick in savings and have grow in investments over the long term. I purposefully take anything earned from these rebate programs and stick them immediately into an investment account so that the savings is realized instead of slipping away and just being spent on something else instead. (*affiliate links, bonus to you to sign up as a new user).
2. For the longest time we thought that our front door knob needed to be replaced because it would stick badly every time we tried to unlock the door. Our home is old (built in the early 1960s), and quite a bit of it will need some work over time, so we just expected it was time to replace it but just hadn’t taken the time to get around to it.
My husband finally took a look and decided to try and oil the doorknob, which took all of five minutes, and now it works great again. In fact, I thought we had actually left the door unlocked when I came home one day because the lock turned so easily it felt like it must not have been locked. Goes to show that sometimes it just takes a few minutes to slow down and look at the problem before you automatically throw money at something in order to fix it. A doorknob itself doesn’t cost a ton of money, but obviously not needing to buy a new one is the cheaper (free) and more sustainable option.
3. We knew this would be a pretty busy work week, so we (really my husband) prepped a couple of dinners on Sunday afternoon while grilling the meal for that night. Monday night we had bowls of our fancy ramen and Tuesday night we had grilled chicken and bacon Caesar salad. Both meals aren’t terribly complicated or time consuming meals to begin with, but by prepping the meats ahead of time, it was almost the same as just pulling out a premade meal and heating it up. We don’t do terribly well with meal prepping far in advance because our preferences change week to week, but doing a mini meal prep for just a couple of dinners works really well for us and meant that we didn’t pick up take out on a day where creating a full dinner seemed too daunting.
4. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I finally decided on and signed up for a new Chase credit card. From Military Dollar’s suggestion, I now have the new Chase Marriott card, which has a 100,000 sign up bonus – enough for 2 to 16 hotel nights, depending on how you decide to use them. While I love using credit card points for airplane flights, we do more travel within the northwest, and that many hotel nights was too good to pass up. I’m sure I will go back to another airlines credit card next, but as this is a new credit card with an extra good sign up bonus, I decided to grab it while it had such a great redemption.
Since we don’t usually spend very much time in the room while traveling, I expect we will get somewhere in the 12-16 night range out of the 100,000 bonus because we would rather have more nights for free than just a couple of really fancy nights in a hotel that we wouldn’t spend much time in anyway. If you’re looking for a new credit card sign up for travel outside of just airline miles, I’d suggest looking in to the new Marriott card.
If you haven’t yet jumped on the credit card travel hacking train in general, I would highly suggest starting with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which gets you 50,000 points (40,000 is enough for a round trip ticket to Hawaii, and 60,000 is a round trip ticket to Europe). Other than the Alaska Airlines card that we’ve had forever, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the card we started with and we absolutely love it for the myriad redemption options. If you decide to apply, here’s a link to the card, and I would be forever grateful for the referral points. **As always, if you sign up for a credit card, BE SURE that you will pay off that card in full, every single month. At the point you start paying interest, you negate the savings that you’d get from the sign up in the first place.
5. My mom cut our son’s hair again this week as it was getting really long. It really could have been cut last month before we went on our trip as it was getting in his eyes, but he told her he didn’t want it cut. He can have his hair as long as he likes, but at the point he does want it cut, he will go to the Salon de Nana, because it is free – and she does a great job. My husband keeps trying to convince him to buzz his hair (like my husband does to himself), but so far he’s resisted. Personally, I love it longer, but it’s his hair, so whatever he says goes.
Since I committed to running more regularly, I’m going to continue to update you all each week during my Friday post. Just like with my monthly financial updates, I find public accountability to be really helpful in making sure I follow through on my goals.
This week, I’ve actually run four days in a row (Monday – Thursday) for the first time in who knows how long. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve even run three days in a row since having my son three and a half years ago, but it feels so good to be back in a routine that involves running more than just a couple days a week. Thursday was just a ten minute run, but even that is a heck of a lot more than zero. I’ve finally broken through the excuse in my head that it’s only ten minutes – or that I need to not take time for myself – and am just making it happen. And it feels awesome.
What do you keep telling yourself you need to make time for during the week? What could you do to change the narrative and make it happen?