Pinching Dimes….even on vacation!

frugal tips, vacation, tours, airbnb, groupon

We just got back from a great trip to Virginia Beach, and I thought I’d share some of the tips we’ve used over the last several years to save money on our beach trips. It’s always nice to get away, but you don’t want to spend so much in getting away, that you’re doubly stressed when you get back.

BUDGET

First, I’d recommend setting specific money aside through the year just for traveling. It could be money you set aside from your paychecks that goes into a separate account…my bank actually has a vacation club account that has some sweet features! Or you could use money from a specific side hustle just for vacations. The point really is to have certain funds designated just for that purpose so you have a budget to work with.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Next, when it comes to accommodations we’ve been exclusively using Airbnb. There are so many reasons we keep using it, but we started with Airbnb just for the money savings on places to stay. We’ve rented some amazing spaces. One trip we stopped for the night and stayed in a tipi! Yes! You read that correctly!

frugal tips, vacation, tours, airbnb, groupon

It was such a fun experience. You just never know what you’ll find. To be able to stay steps away from the beach for just $80-90 per night is remarkable. We’ve also learned that staying with Airbnb, especially at the beach, means that you get to be in residential areas where there are far less people on the beaches, and there are lots of restaurant options that are very unique. I just think the “tourist” experience is so different from being in the areas where folks are that actually live there!

frugal tips, vacation, tours, airbnb, groupon

ATTRACTIONS

Another tip is to look for deals on the attractions you want to take advantage of in the area! On this trip, we wanted to take a dolphin watching tour, which was something on my mom’s bucket list, and after taking a look at a few companies that offered the tours we found one that offered an early bird discount on tickets for the first cruise of the day! We saved $5 per ticket for just getting up and getting going early! Bonus…we saw so many dolphins!! It was so freaking cool to be up that close and to see them riding the waves as the boat left!

DINING

A fourth tip is to look for restaurant coupons before you leave. Because we’ve been to Virginia Beach before, we do have some restaurants that we like to go to each time and we know the area…so that helped in my deal search. I ended up finding an offer on Groupon, a few months before the trip, for a restaurant that we’d talked about, but hadn’t tried yet. I got a $20 gift certificate for $9! It was definitely a good call and saved us a little cash on food.

frugal tips, vacation, tours, airbnb, groupon

Another way we save on food is by bringing food for lunches and some breakfasts along. We just load up a cooler and have fixings for sandwiches and snacks! This also keeps us from having to stop for lunch on the drive there and on the drive back. I do wish we’d taken more drink options this last time. I paid for some rest area beverages a couple of times and could have bought a whole case of water for what I spent on two drinks. I guess it never hurts to have some variety.

So those are just a few ideas for some great ways to stick to your vacation budget! I can’t wait to go back to the beach next year! I can never get enough time in the sand! 🙂

Summer Garden Series – Post #4

Summer Garden Series, plants, seedlings, seeds, Pinching Dimes, asparagus, lettuce, peas, tomatoes

I’m a little delayed in getting this post up…as I actually got the garden planted about a month ago! The last four or so weeks have been filled with many, many trips between the rental and the new house, but I’m finally all moved in and all unpacked (Thank you, Jesus!!). So it’s back to updating you on how our garden is going!

Summer Garden Series, plants, seedlings, seeds, Pinching Dimes, asparagus, lettuce, peas, tomatoes

It was actually a mad dash to get our little seedlings in the ground. I was starting to get worried that the plants would be too weak if they stayed in the cartons much longer so we got the garden tilled. It took a couple of days to get everything prepped the way we wanted because of the sod in the new section. It wasn’t the easiest thing to till up. We had to take a few passes and then wait a bit for the dirt to try out before taking a few more passes. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy with it.

Summer Garden Series, plants, seedlings, seeds, Pinching Dimes, asparagus, lettuce, peas, tomatoes

As you can see we added some plants since I put together the first design plan so I took the original layout and penciled in the things we added and the things I’d forgotten! 🙂 We added some squash, lettuce, and peas. We also put in a couple of store bought tomato plants to get to the goods a bit quicker! I planted one vegetable at a time and added the compost in the holes or trenches along with the seeds and seedlings.

Summer Garden Series, plants, seedlings, seeds, Pinching Dimes, asparagus, lettuce, peas, tomatoes

Summer Garden Series, plants, seedlings, seeds, Pinching Dimes, asparagus, lettuce, peas, tomatoes

The stepping stones I wanted to put in actually came from the new house. The previous owner had used them on the ramp into one of the sheds, but I didn’t really care for them in that spot. They are a rubber material and very durable. I think they’ll work well to give us access to everything.

I thought since it’s taken me so long to share, I’d also give you an update for how things look now! To keep the weeds down, I juggled between using mulch or straw…straw ended up being the more affordable route so we’re giving it a shot. As you can see everything is growing well! I’ve fertilized once with blood meal fertilizer so far. I’m not sure if we’ll need to add any additional fertilizer as we go …that will be a wait and see.

The only plants that didn’t transplant well from seedlings inside to the garden were the melons. I had to add more seeds in, which I don’t really think will be a problem. I also added a sprinkler to make things easier on mom in terms of watering. My hope is that she’ll be able to just turn it on and let it go and then turn it off…must easier than dragging the hose around.

How are your gardens coming along?

…ways I’m striking out in budgeting…

blog logo, pinching dimes, ways I'm striking out in budgetingThere’s one thing that consistently pushes me over budget…eating out!

I don’t struggle to say no to grabbing a quick bite on my own…but I hate passing up an evening out with friends!

I’ve been trying to brainstorm some ideas for spending less on these social necessities I so love! I’m hoping to find a way to stick to my budget while still savoring the fun!

Here’s my plan…

…coupons…In our city we get flyers in the mail with coupons for all sorts of local places. We also have Entertainment books available with coupons for lots of nearby areas. The key will be to see what coupons I have before choosing a place to go. It seems like it’s always taking awhile to decide where to go anyhow…so this could make that process a little easier and be a way to save!

…ordering the cheapest meal…It used to be that you could get appetizers cheaper than entrees (Am I dating myself here?), but that’s not necessarily the case anymore. Honestly though, once I sit down with the menu I’m typically more concerned with what sounds good rather than with what has the best price. I suppose I could also try just ordering side dishes. Those are typically some of my favorite parts of the meal and ordering a couple of veggies has to be more affordable than ordering an entire meal.

…don’t order alcohol!…I know! I know! That should be a no brainer! Heck! I could buy the fixings for like 20 margaritas for the price I pay for one at some places. This one really needs no explanation.

…entertain at home….When I was house hunting I tried to look for a space where I’d be able to more consistently provide a space for entertaining. I’ve been renting a house that just doesn’t lend itself to that. It’s awkward layout works as a living space…but not for much else. So once I get settled in at my new place, let the parties begin! 🙂

I’ll keep you updated on my progress! Do you have any tips for saving when it comes to eating out with friends?

Work Wardrobe #2

 

A little update on my goal of upping my work wardrobe game….

Shopping the Closet

So since I decided that I should do that adult thing (or is it??) and not just run out and buy stuff…more exciting but far less budget friendly…I started the process by “shopping” my own closet!

I got in the habit a few years back of picking out my outfits for the week on Sunday. It kept me from wearing just the same outfits over and over. Confession…I have A LOT of clothes…so much so that I turned a spare bedroom in my rental into a closet! Its sort of my thing. I firmly believe that you can never have too much to choose from! 🙂 So when I pulled this week, I stepped it up and tried to match some outfits with accessories!

Here are a few of the things I put together. It’s amazing how much an outfit can get pulled together by a great pair of shoes or a statement necklace!

 

Shopping List

I also put together I shopping list of sorts…hoping to narrow down what exactly it is I’m on the hunt for…

a long silver necklace…something simple, basic and long-

some professional-ish sandals…something with a heel and an open toe-

brown and gray, well fitting dress pants

a white button down with character…nothing plain and boxy-

black blazer…trendy, not pants suit-esque-

I’ve put some links in to show you just what I was aiming for! My style board on pinterest has some inspiration as well!!

So the list put a guideline of sorts around my shopping trips…kept my eyes on the prize which kept things as affordable and frugal as possible…of course!

Shopping Trips

My first finds were at a local consignment shop called Worth Repeating. I happened to go on a day when the entire store was discounted! Bonus!!

Work wardrobe, shoes, tops, blazers, pants, pinching dimes, frugal

I paid $7.80 for the white button up! It was originally $9.75. It’s from Maurices and has a great stretch fabric. It fits so well!! Very comfortable!

The second patterned top is from Alfani. It wasn’t on my list, but I couldn’t pass it up. It was originally $9.75 and I spent just $7.80 on it! It’s super cute and stylish!

The third piece was the long silver necklace with the white pearls. It was originally $5.50, and I spent $3.52. It’s from Express so I think it’s a steal.

The next purchases on my list came from Goodwill! Very excited about these finds! I found a great blazer and some Ann Taylor (…I LOVE Ann Taylor!!…) dress pants. The plants are black, which isn’t exactly what I was looking for, but for that brand at that price and with that fit…how could I possibly pass up? They just need to be taken in a bit, and I’m good to go!

Work wardrobe, shoes, tops, blazers, pants, pinching dimes, frugal

I scored the pants for $4.29 and the blazer for $5.99. The blazer is from Maurices and offers a trendy look and a good fit. My shoulders are a bit broad so blazers can sometimes be too tight across my back and can become uncomfortable. This one is slightly big…might be a good one to have altered eventually. You’ll also see in the picture a blue Gap shirt I picked up to try to flip. Goodwill has a $0.99 deal on Sundays, and it was such a good price that I thought it would be worth a shot!

My latest purchase off the list was some shoes! My favorite and the priciest by far! I searched through multiple sites trying to find a deal on what I was looking for. Most of the shoes that were the style I wanted were in the $40-$70 range. I ended up purchasing this pair from Target…and they had a buy one pair got one pair half off at the time. Of course, I didn’t pass on the chance to get a second pair!

Work wardrobe, shoes, tops, blazers, pants, pinching dimes, frugal

Work wardrobe, shoes, tops, blazers, pants, pinching dimes, frugal

I also got 5% off for using my Target red card! In the end I got both pairs for $44.81 and saved $16.20 on the purchase!

I think I’m well on my way to updating my look! Where do you look or shop for some wardrobe updates?

 

Check out the first post in this series!!

Work Wardrobe #1

 

 

Shark Rocket Vacuum Review

Shark Rocket, vacuum, review, Pinching Dimes

This may sound super weird…but I really like trying out new vacuums. I really like vacuuming actually! Odd ball. I know. My mom is the beneficiary of such nonsense though so I think it’s ultimately a win!

Shark Rocket, vacuum, review, Pinching Dimes

Mom got a new Shark Rocket around Christmas last year, and somehow, months passed before I got to try it out, but once I did, I ended up vacuuming and cleaning all sorts of random things around her house. Once I started, I couldn’t stop without trying out all the different features.

 

Shark Rocket, vacuum, review, Pinching Dimes

Now I’m a Dyson girl all the way. I swear by the things! But this Rocket is really pretty epic!

It’s super light weight and so easy to maneuver! Look how it can bend around corners! It would be perfect for someone with mobility or stamina issues. It’s slightly self propelled so that really helps you move it along.

Shark Rocket, vacuum, review, Pinching Dimes

With one click you can switch to the hose feature…another click and you can from carpet to tile! Another click and you empty everything you’ve picked up into the garbage! Its chord is even a great length.

Shark Rocket, vacuum, review, Pinching Dimes

And for the hardest test of all, it works super well on dog hair…and shredded dog toys! 🙂 That’s a true test!

I really like it, and would definitely recommend the Shark Rocket! Mom’s floors are looking great!

Yard Sale Extravaganza!!

Yard Sale, pinching dimes, frugal yard sale tips

I mentioned in last week’s post that I’m in the process of moving! I’ve been looking, mostly very casually, for probably about a year or so. The market here is a bit cray – definitely a sellers’ market, and houses go very very quickly for very high numbers.

At some point in the process, I felt the draw to just peek at what buying options might be like at the lake…and much to my surprise the value there was so much better.

So the prayer process began about whether or not this might be a step the Lord was leading me to take…and now I’m about to own a house near the water! 🙂

Naturally, I find myself in a mad dash to get rid of some things that cannot make the trip with me – hence, a yard sale!

Yard Sale, pinching dimes, frugal yard sale tips

Pricing was a little hectic, as the packing process has also begun and space is a bit limited. I started with just a pile of things as I sorted through each room and closet in the rental. I ended up deciding to create a $0.50 table and put the majority of the small items there. I also thought it’d be simplest to just make each item of clothing $1.00.

As I was getting ready, I read a really great blog post with some sale tips that I thought were really insightful! You can check out the post here. Some of the biggest takeaways for me were about having music playing to create a comfortable environment and about greeting everyone. I hadn’t really thought of a yard sale as a business opportunity of sorts (even though I know that’s essentially what it is), but the better you can serve your “shoppers” the better your sale will go! I also made sure to have bags available to anyone that needed one and offered to carry any purchases to my shoppers cars!

Frugal Tip #1

To save money on signage, I cut one of the smaller boxes I had for packing into two flat pieces and used those as signs. I live on a street between two roads that are pretty busy so I hung one on each end of the street. Very cheap and very effective! Two “shoppers” specifically mentioned seeing them.

Yard Sale, pinching dimes, frugal yard sale tips

Frugal Tip #2

I’m currently fundraising for a mission trip, mostly through selling pop and water…so I thought having drinks out at the sale would be a great opportunity to earn some for the trip as well, but I didn’t want to waste money on ice. I decided to get creative and fill some plastic cups with water to freeze and used that instead. It lasted pretty well in the cooler! However, temps were fairly cool – so I sold no pop! Doubly glad I didn’t buy the ice!

The Sale Results

My first purchase happened before things even started…I was actually still trying to set things out! I made $21 on that one alone. Though I think the lady asked me at least one question per dollar spent. There were definitely some real characters that dropped in…some arguing couples, a guy on a motorcycle that walked around with his helmet on (which made the banker in me have to fight not to ask him to take it off so I could see his face), and a stray dog that insisted on running back and forth through my yard. Cinder wasn’t thrilled with anyone of it! 🙂

In the end, I got rid of lots of stuff and made about $95! Not too bad for a quick one day sale!

I’ve also been selling items through facebook and craigslist too, so I’ll share more about that soon!

Summer Garden Series – Post #3

We’re definitely making some progress on prepping for this summer’s garden!

summer garden series logo, pinching dimes

Growing Seeds

Look how far our little seedlings are coming along! We’re basically *THRILLED*!! I was doubting that it was going to work…as you might recall I was even thinking about talking to the seeds just to get them to start growing. The only thing that didn’t grow was the cauliflower, but I’m planning to soak the seeds first and then plant them straight into the garden soil. Maybe the second time will be the charm on those! 🙂

plants, seedlings, egg cartons, pinching dimes

Garden

We haven’t gotten the garden tilled yet, but we do have the extension portion marked out…and we have a plan for how to lay out the plants. I did some research on companion planting that I tried to follow in the design. It seemed like a lot of the designs I saw, that were the most helpful in picturing how best to do it, left you with lots of plants intermingled. I feel like I’m too Type-A to handle that disorder though…I’m torn between the potential for a better yield and a total hate for disorder…not surprisingly the hate for disorder is going to win. A compromise of effectiveness and orderliness (which is always much nicer to look at in my fantastic opinion) is going to be called for. 🙂

garden layout, pinching dimes

We also have our compost ready just as soon as we get the soil prepped! I’m in the process of moving (I know!?!? Right!??! More details to follow.) and I won’t have the space to take my compost bin with me….which means I’ve already sold it…and I needed to clean it out. Therefore, we have some buckets waiting to be used.

 

Upcycled Randomness

While trying to clean out some flower beds at mom’s, I came across  this hose that didn’t work anymore so I turned it into a couple of wreaths. Once we add some flowers or some gardening tools from the dollar store they will be super cute! I think I’m going to try to sell them on facebook or craigslist once I get it all put together.

Another upcycle is this piece from an old bed frame we had as kids. It’s been sitting in the basement for years. Time to let it see the light of day and to grow some veggies on it!

We’ve also started using this little milk jug as a watering can. The one we were using was letting the water come out with a little too much force for our little plants so we snagged this jug from Grandma’s!

I can’t wait to get things in the ground and really get the garden season started! I’ll update with pics as soon as we get it together!

Quick Takes – 3 Frugal Tips

frugal, tips, everyday tips, Pinching Dimes

Here’s a few quick things I do to pinch dimes in my everyday…my own little frugal tips, if you will! 🙂

 

Frugal Tip One..

This one I started because I thought it was a joke…really! I totally thought it would fail – regrowing lettuce in water. You leave a bit left on the romaine stalk, stick it in a bowl of water, and wait. I used butter knives to prop it up, but skewers would probably have worked a bit better! You just keep refreshing the water every few days! It’s pretty remarkable. It will just start growing up from the center. It’s fun, and it saves! Win win!!

romaine lettuce, frugal, tips, Pinching Dimes

 

Frugal Tip Two…

I rip my make-up removal cloths in half or in thirds. Some may say that the fact that I buy the things is a waste of money as compared to bottled soaps or homemade cloths…but the soap doesn’t work as well for me, and I’m convinced that tugging at the skin under my eyes will give me wrinkles (or will worsen the ones I already have…). And those cloths are from Walmart and come in box of like 125 for $10.00 give or take. So for me it’s worth it because it gets the job done and is easy on my skin. I just do my best to stretch it a little further.

make-up removing cloths, frugal, tips, Pinching Dimes, equate

Frugal Tip Three…

I let my shower water warm up by running a small stream out of the faucet and not a full stream through the shower-head. It takes just as long either way, and I waste far less water this way. In the city I live in, the price of water is equivalent to the price of gold…leaves me always looking for ways to conserve. I suppose this one is more about just being conscious about how much water I’m using at any given time.

 

Do you have any ways that you try to save money in the day to day?

Work Wardrobe…stepping up the game!

“Creative professional wardrobe” –

that’s been my recent search of choice on pinterest.

I decided that it was time to step up my work wardrobe game so instead of just running out and making lots of purchases, I thought it might be  best, and much more budget friendly, for me to make a plan for exactly what I’m looking for.

pinterest, work wardrobe, my style board

 

My last job was casual- just it was jeans and the occasional dress…so when I started a job that needed a business wardrobe, I started from scratch and began mostly with thrift store buys. I love the cost, but it doesn’t always guarantee the best fit – especially with the dress pants…which are one of my own personal forms of hell.

 

Another issue is that I’m super warm blooded so layering isn’t my thing, and once I get hot, it’s all downhill.  The girls I work with can attest to my consistent desire for the AC to be turned on! 🙂 Finding sandal options that are both work appropriately dressy and that cover my tattoo, is an uphill battle!

 

My plan is to begin with looking for accessories and shoes and blazers that will be lightweight enough to keep me from cooking. I also want some better dress pants. I’m filling up my style board on pinterest with ideas (Click here to check out the board and to follow me!), and then I’ll head to some of my favorite stores for the hunt. Until I figure out what my version of professional style is, I’m basically going to “dress the mannequin” (copy off the display)…fake it ‘til I make it!

pinterest, work wardrobe, my style board

 

 

I think I’ve put together some semblance of a shopping list together.

-a long silver necklace…something simple, basic and long

-some professional-ish sandals…with a heel and open-toe

-brown and gray well fitting dress pants

-a white button down with character…nothing plain and boxy…I’ll know it when I see it

-black blazer…something trendy and not pant suit-esque

 

So since I decided that I should do that adult thing and not just run out and buy stuff…more exciting but far less budget friendly…my first step, after hours pinning (of course) has been shopping my own closet.

 

I got in the habit a few years ago of picking out my outfits for the week on Sunday. It kept me from wearing just the same outfits over and over. Confession…I have lots of clothes. It’s my thing. I turned a spare bedroom in my rental into a closet…back to reality.

 

So when I pulled for this week, I took it a step farther and tried to match outfits with accessories. I feel like a good necklace or the right pair of shoes can take a good outfit up a notch.

 

Here are a few of the things I put together…

 

 

 

Next comes some well planned out shopping…in the most frugal way…of course!

 

Now it’s back to pinterest for more ideas.

Summer Garden Series – Post #2

Just a quick update on our seeds and garden planning…

summer, garden, seeds, asparagus, blog post logo

 

It’s been two weeks since we planted the seeds…and so far…NOTHING.

 

Literally nothing…so we’ve planted a 3rd seed in each spot and added more dirt.

We also decided on cauliflower for the final row. I picked up some asparagus, too. Mom grew some years ago, but we kept mowing it off…so here’s hoping that stops happening.

summer garden, seeds, cauliflower

 

So we’re on “take 2” with the seeds and we have asparagus planted. And I got to make a fantastic fashion statement in a dress and rain boots. It was straight fab! If you’re thinking to yourself…”Now that’s a fashion statement I want to make…” you should totally check out some of the sweet rain boots on amazon. I think I need like 15 new pairs! 🙂

summer garden, boots

 

We’ve also started talking about companion planting. I’ll definitely need to spend some time researching that more and coming up with some next steps if another week goes by with no seeds sprouting. I might try talking to them…that’s a proven thing…right?!?!?

 

Check out the first post in the Summer Garden Series!!