Lazy Budget Chef: 5 Easy Frugal Hacks that Saved $700 and Two Spectacular Money Saving Fails

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

5 Easy Frugal Hacks that Saved $700 and Two Spectacular Money Saving Fails

I disagree with people who claim you have to work extra hard or give up things you like and use to save money. If you like watching cable TV/it is the only way you can stay connected to the outside world, depend upon that subscription meal box because you stink at meal planning (raises hand,) as long as you can afford it (or are willing to shift other things in your budget to keep it if things are tight,) there is no budget law that says you can’ t keep it.

Personally, I knew there were several of those habits and expenses I can afford but aren't using them, they didn’t fit anymore, or more realistically on the Someday We Need to Find a Better Option When We Have Time to Get Around to It list. Once I decided that today was Someday, I saved more money than I expected that I can happily put toward other things I like, want, or need.

5 Simple Ways I Saved Money Without Really Trying


Consider this a list of budget trimming ideas and not absolutes. If you disagree or have a better money saving idea share them with us in the comments below!


5 easy ways to save money
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1. Finally canceled subscriptions we weren’t using and saved $132 a month.  Most of this was cable TV we weren’t watching live and an office phone we no longer need. We kept dragging on feet on cord cutting because we were trying to pick the best streaming options (DirectNow, AT&T, etc.) to add to Hulu and Netflix which we knew we wanted. Finally we decided to just rip the band aid off, cancel cable and go with the two services we knew we wanted in addition to buying two of these recommended indoor digital antennas (this is an affiliate like to the exact TV antennas I bought) while we decide on extra streaming services. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links in this post for your convince.)

Our free month of Hulu and Netflix is almost up and so far haven’t missed 99% of the channels we dumped with regular cable although I am subscribing HBO through Prime Video Channels (learn more about it here) for a couple of months because is it cheaper than buying the last season of Game of Thrones

Since most of what we watch were movies On Demand we finally got around to upgrading to a new to us Jumbotron TV when I found out how easy this exact recessed TV mount  allowed us to upgrade to a TV bigger than our recessed TV nook can hold.



2. Read the store sales flyers like a magazine each week to plan my shopping accordingly. This is easiest and cheapest way to eat in season produce and protein because those are the items that usually go on sale according to the local and national growing season.

After awhile I started to notice trends on what seasonal items go on sale, which helps when thinking ahead on big and small purchases. For example, I have several post Saint Patrick's Day sale corned beef in the freezer waiting for an impromptu dinner party or day that ends in a Y. I shopped the Lenten fish specials like a boss and filled the freezer with fish we don’t typically cook all of the time – scallops, tuna and sword fish steaks in addation to our normal salmon and talipa (love ya Aldi prices!)

On a very good day I am able to pair the sale with an Ibotta rebate (learn more here) or a store coupon if I remember to check those apps first.

This strategy doesn’t only apply to groceries. I rarely pay full price for fabric at Jo Ann Fabrics especially when I made a deal with my small craft room long ago to only buy supplies for projects I plan to do (actually finishing them is sometimes another story.)  And while it is too cold and wet to work in the garden just yet, I bought all of the mulch I need for $2 a bag during a Spring Black Friday garden event.  My husband and I saved $400 on work clothes for him and a concert black dress for me by keeping an eye out for Nordstrom’s annual sale (which also applies to Nordstrom Rack.)  Shopping a consignment store for the clothing may have saved more money but they didn’t have what we needed and I have a thing about not buying used shoes. Sorry frugal friends, I am a weirdo about that.


3. Didn’t buy sale plants during a Spring Black Friday sale before our frost date when I went to buy mulch. I was extremely tempted to throw caution and wind to plant my patio herb garden early but am very glad I decided to hold out for a better selection because it was cold enough to snow and kill everything the following day. In other words, sometimes a sale will cost you more money if you don't have a plan or buy the item at the wrong time.

4. Got free clothing by decluttering the clothes I already have. I l listened to Marie Kondo’s book The Magic of Tidying Up for free on Auidable (learn how here) while I reorganized my messy clothes armoire. My goal was more of tidying the mess and finding a better way to organize the stuff in it since I semi regularly declutter. Even though I got rid of some stuff I feel like I have more clothing not less because I can find and wear those “I always liked that but I can’t find it” items that still spark joy.
- I have a box of items to donate that I can take the value of as a tax deduction as long as I get a receipt from the charity thrift shop. I can also make some quick cash by selling it on consignment.
- I used shoe boxes from our Nordstrom spree and takeout containers from our recycling bin as temporary KonMarie drawer organizers similar to these as she suggests until I can find the right size and shape baskets to fit my armoire’s deep shelves because I need a bunch.

- When my husband recently announced he was going to go through his big dress shirts that are too big the first thing I did was look out the window to check if it was the end of the world – it wasn’t, whew! I’ve been pinning men’s dress shirt makeovers to my Pinterest boards (follow me @condoblues on Pinterest pretty please?) but never quite made to a thrift shop to buy the shirts, which I now have for free. So far, I’m working through the items I want to make over and so far have about $50 in cute new clothes for myself. I’ll post the tutorials on my DIY blog Condo Blues soon.

5. Saved $46 by switching to a less expensive gym. Everyone says you have to dump your gym membership to save money but those financial “gurus” never talk about what to do when you actually use your membership or participate in an activity that you can’t (or in my case don’t like to) do at home alone. In our case, the new gym is in a closer location and offers things that fit our needs better, the lower membership fee is the icing on the cake.

Two Spectacular Frugal Fails that Cost More Money Than They Saved


1. Sometimes the cheapest option turns out to be the most expensive. I bought this Courant stick hand blender because I was trying to save money where I could when I bought soap making equipment to get started with a new hobby. It broke the second time I used it.

I chose to make hot process soap because I can repurpose one of the slow cookers I no longer use now that I have an electric press cooker (learn more about them here.) Also it makes me look like a mad scientist!


When I contacted Inspire to get a warranty replacement it was clear from the broken email links and forms to nowhere, telephone runaround, and the rude and vague Customer Service representative I finally got hold of that the company doesn’t really want customers to actually use the free replacement warranty. Instead they want to change me half the price I paid for the blender under a “labor warranty” which the Customer Service person confirmed is just a guy in the warehouse shipping me a new stick blender, which under the one year replacement warranty should be free. Annoying, am I right?

I bought this all metal Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender . I tried buying one on eBay but the bids kept driving the price past the $30 price of a new blender. Still worth it for the quality and customer service though.

2. Wasted time and money because I fell for Lenscrafters deceptive sales and pricing tactics. I needed 2 pairs of glasses and contact lens. Lenscrafter signage of sales and discounts made me believe they would be less expensive than my eye doc (and truthfully I wanted cute designer frames.) After a three hour eye exam, being forced to select frames (without assistance which were the wrong size and color for my face) while disoriented after having lights flashed in my dilated eyes, they made me read and sign items I couldn’t see to complete the sale. I ended up paying over $1000.00 for new frames and lenses, new lenses in frames I supplied, and contact lenses after my eye insurance.

WHAT?!

I got more help in selecting new glasses from Instagram (follow me @condoblues on Instagram pretty please?) than I ever did from a Lenscrafters salesperson. Also you can see how crazy my eyes look after the dilatation and flashing lights.

Lenscrafters lies about their sales and discounts. They say eye insurance is a “discount” so they don’t honor sales prices if you have it. Good luck seeing that information posted in a way that is unreadable after the eye exam.

I got an itemized receipt and checked in with two different eye care professionals to double check if I was being as ripped off as I felt.

Yes. I was.

The first was my eye doc until she retired who said my prescription isn’t that expensive and she’d charge me around $200 for the glasses (although I’m family so that was probably her cost.) for reference,  I paid around $500 for contacts, 1 pair of new glasses and frames, and a new pair of lenses in frames I already had the last time I went to my new eye doctor, who specifically works with musicians and was recommended by a dozen friends.

The second eye care pro filled me in that Lenscrafters not only has a 200% markup for lenses but they are also a low quality proprietary lens that won’t last.

Lesson learned. After waiting over an hour to pick up two pairs of glasses that they said where ready, being sold more contact lenses than I could possibly need, not to mention paying for a pair of designer frames glasses I grew to hate, and a doubtful eyes exam I returned everything except one box of contacts and the pair of frames I already owned and asked them to put the new prescription n as a backup.

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1 comment:

Dee said...

Try Zenni OPtical! They have beautiful frames for SUPER cheap prices and they often have sales too! Quick delivery. You can upload a picture of yourself and put the frames on to see what you look like! It's WONDERFUL! All you need is your prescription for the lense. HOpe this helps!

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