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.

Not a fancy house, but we love 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.

Wednesday night dinner at my parents’ house

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.

One more photo of our trip – Bucksport, ME

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.

Running Update

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? 

43 thoughts on “Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 24)

  1. 4 runs is great and a 10 minute run is so much better than zero minutes. i got out all but one day but only with the dog, so it’s stop and go, but better than nothing. gotta build into the routine heading over to the work gym for anything each day. it’s right there!

    mrs. smidlap cuts my hair and her own. i feel like we should put 20 bucks cash in a can every time she does a haircut. i cut up and grilled a whole turkey last sunday and we’ve been eating it all week. we had it straight up, on salad, sandwich, and last night i turned the last of it into a huge pot pie. i gotta go post that pot pie picture now. if “5” is here then it must be the weekend! enjoy.

    1. I like the idea of putting $20 aside with each haircut! With some of the frugal choices we make they are just so “normal” to us that we don’t think about what we would be spending otherwise.

  2. I think I’ve mentioned this before but I used to buzz my hair up until a couple years ago. You save a lot of money that way! (When we were younger me and my two brothers all had buzz cuts so my mom would always just do it. I’m sure that saved a lot of money over the years for them!)

    That new card sounds like it might be one I want to look into for my next one 🙂

    1. What do you do for your hair cuts now that you don’t buzz it? And I just couldn’t pass up the card – sooo many free hotel nights!

      1. Yea that many hotel nights is so useful! I’ll get my haircut about once a quarter now with a guy someone at work recommended. It’s $27 each time so a little over a $100 a year, but he does a really great job and I think it’s worth it instead of going a bit cheaper and not getting as good of one.

        Eventually I may go back to a buzz cut but I like it as it is so keeping it longer for now!

      2. $100/year seems really reasonable. It’s easy to spend that at one go.

  3. Finally sleeping and getting to exercise every day and it is gloooorious! I didn’t know Bing gives money for using them, that’s great!

  4. Tell your husband that I want more quail pics of your son so it’s not time for a buzzcut just yet! 😉 That said, I wish I had the Salon of Nana or something. I time my haircuts around visiting my parents so I can get my haircut there for much cheaper than I can here, but that’s not going to happen for another few months and my hair is just too long right now to be going into summer…

    I suppose I can deal with consistently losing to you on Fitbit challenges if it means you’re getting to run so often <3

    1. The quail look is soooo freaking cute! I’m going to be so sad when he finally decides he wants short hair.

      And I barely beat you out with Fitbit even with the running! I’m impressed how much you walk every week.

  5. Chase Sapphire is one of our favorites, too. I have used it to redeem Southwest points and Marriott points and the transfers are pretty much instantaneous. I had the Marriott card in the past as well, it came in handy when I used to travel for work and stay at a Marriott.

    1. Southwest is one airline we don’t fly (they don’t do a ton out of our area), so I decided to skip those cards, at least for now.

  6. I am going to try Bing, I haven’t done that yet! I need to get running again as well, I am intimidated but need to remind myself that starting slow is ok. Like you said, ten minutes is better than nothing. I always tell myself I don’t have the time or energy, but need to make myself a priority . Kind of like paying yourself first with money…

    1. Don’t be intimidated! Even 30 seconds with walk breaks is awesome to start with. It gets better with time 🙂 It’s so hard to “pay yourself first” when it comes to time, but health is such an important part of life.

  7. Great insight as usual. The last time you mentioned the Bing rewards they weren’t available for Mac – now they are and we both signed up. Thanks. Hate to say how many searches we do when home. My wife is a Marriott member but doesn’t have the card – will take a look. We just booked five nights in Budapest this Fall for free. Keep fighting the good fight.

    1. Not a huge number from the rewards, but every little bit adds up, right? And awesome on the five free nights this fall! Might double it with that card sign up 😉

    1. Thank you! We are outdoors plenty but nothing replaces a run for me.

  8. I’ve had the same credit card for years and just keep hoarding the points. I need to get on this cc switching train, but not sure where to begin!

    1. travelmiles101.com is a great resource, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred is pretty much hands down the best all around travel rewards card.

  9. Discovering a home fix has a free (or much cheaper) choice than you want feels like all sorts of win! Just like free food and whiskey tasting we stumbled on yesterday while walking to meet up with friends. Suddenly dinner out became free!

    Running 4 times a week is great, no matter how long it’s for!

    1. Free food and whisky tasting?? Sounds like a serious win! How did you manage that one?

  10. First of all, “just a ten minute run!” Haha that’s fast for me! Good for you for running so many days in a row. Always makes me feel so good to run more. We’re also not great with food prep, but when we do it I’m so glad. Yes, I think making extra meat on the grill is a great tip. We’re not quite ready for another card, but when we are I’ll look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Sounds like a great option! We used points for the four of us to fly down to NC and look at houses, just from some of the points we’d collected this year. So fun to get “free” stuff!! I’m so happy for you that you have more time to be home and do the home routine. Sounds like you have a really good balance right now (hate to use that word but you know what I mean!).

    1. Ten minutes, but slower than a ten minute mile pace 😉

      We used to be able to just travel more or less on the points we accrued from normal use, but as we’ve been wanting to travel more (and bring along an extra family member or two), it’s been a big deal to be racking up some extra points from sign up bonuses.

    1. Hooray! Funny how awesome that $5 can feel just because it’s a totally free thing.

  11. This lady is taking names… Great FF this week! With your running, I highly recommend the book “Born to Run” to stoke your running fire. One of my all time favorite non-fiction reads.
    On the credit card front, I also jumped on a new one this past week – the Chase British Airways with 100K. Figure I’ll convert those Avios to American Airline miles. Great recommendation on the Sapphire card – it’s our “keeper” card.
    Good to know that you’re the one single hit I get from Bing every so often. 😉

    1. I’ll have to add that to my Goodreads list! Haven’t read it but you aren’t the first to recommend it to me. I think I’ll have to look into the British Airways card as well after we’re through this one. And those Bing hits aren’t from me – I just go straight to your site 🙂

  12. I am so jealous of the sign up bonuses in the US. Maybe I would try harder at travel hacking if we had such great incentive!
    Congrats on the running, I am still working on my 10,000 steps per day!

    1. Yeah, the US definitely seems to have hands down the best options for travel hacking! And 10,000 steps a day is a great goal. Hard to do when you sit at a desk all day to be sure, but super important as well. A short 10 minute walk around lunchtime definitely helps me.

  13. I love his long hair, it’s cute that he wants it long and doesn’t want it cut!

    And well done on the running, glad to see you are getting the awesome runners high 🙂

    1. I love his long hair as well! Hope he won’t want to cut it for a long time yet. And the running high is the best 🙂

  14. Man I wish we had such fantastic sign up bonuses! The most is around 20,000 points in Canada. I had no idea Bing paid you for using their search engine, that’s really cool.

    1. I hadn’t realized until recently that other countries don’t have near the travel hacking opportunities as the US. What a bummer.

  15. Loved this weeks Frugual Five! I have had my eye on the Marriot card as well now that it has 100K points. I just have not pulled the trigger yet.

    Soon I’m going to start just doing a buzz cut on myself. I spend roughly $50 a month on haircuts so it would be a nice $600 in yearly savings.

    1. I just read that the 100k bonus is only through 7/12, so I’d suggest signing up soon if you decide to go that route!

      It was during his time in the Marines that my husband started doing his own hair. The time and money for weekly haircuts was something he just refused to do.

  16. This is a great roundup! I’m bad at slowing down to try to fix problems, too…good for you actually doing it and having success! I’ve considered the Marriott card too, but I have a couple of other Chase cards I’m wanting to get, so I’m not sure it’s going to work (I’m all about those UR points). You’ll have to let us know your experience!

    And yayyyy on the running! I’m also bad at the “it’s only 10 minutes” thing. It feels like you’re getting back in the habit though, and sometimes it’s the doing, not the how long you’re doing that matters. Keep it up 🙂

    1. We are pretty slow about opening up new cards, and as there are two of us (so really 10/24), I’m not terribly concerned about maxing out our Chase sign ups. And yes – finally getting past that mental road block of “just” 10 minutes.

    1. It’s such a weird thing to be a heated issue! Hair grows back. Not sure why we care what color/style any kid has, tbh.

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