Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter: Frugal Fashion Edition

Happy Easter, everyone!!!  I attend a contemporary church service, so I usually just roll out of bed and put on whatever clothing is comfortable and easily accessible.  However, I do try to make an effort on Easter.  This Easter outfit is all thrifted or cheap-o (except for the shoes), so I thought I'd share.  I also had to do a last minute sewing repair to a small hole on the shrug, so I felt very accomplished in my frugality today!

Dress: yard sale, $5
Grey shrug: thrift store, $3ish
Grey clutch purse: $2 (and new with tags!), yard sale
Bracelet: Cato clearance, $2ish
Shoes: Born via 6pm, $32 (a good price for Borns, but not cheap)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Frugal Shrink Spends: Avocado Delivery

This is NOT a sponsored post.  I do NOT make any money from this blog.

I am a fan of frugality for a purpose, not just for the sake of frugality.  Being frugal allows me to work less, have more freedom, save and pay down debt, give freely, and occasionally indulge in something fun.  

Let's talk about one of the ways that I am indulging in the "something fun" category.  Two words: avocado delivery.  The Avocado Diva is a small business out of California where a woman contracts with local avocado farms and ships fresh, in-season avocados to people who order or have a monthly subscription.  Did you know that California has over 500 varieties of avocados?  I didn't, but I'm getting to sample some of these varieties and they are SO MUCH BETTER than the sad little out-of-season Hass that we get in the grocery stores here.

I'm on the $30 a month plan and it is worth every stinkin' penny.  I'm going through my budget right now and slashed several other expenses...but I kept the avocados.  Here's the Avocado Diva Facebook page if you want more info.

The only down side is when I finish all my avocados early and have to wait a week or two for the next shipment.  First world problems!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Frugal Happenings: I Hate Leftovers Edition

* Received a $10 check from the consignment shop where I resell my clothing.  This was the last little bit from my winter sales.  I'm getting a big bag of summer clothes ready to send there next.  A friend will take the bag to the store, so I don't even use gas to drop it off.

* Made a profit on the antique booth in March (woo hoo!) so I'll get a check from that.

* I've been getting acupuncture for hip pain, which has been very helpful.  I've been using my flexible spending account for this, so I haven't actually spent any out of pocket money so far.  My only regret is that I didn't put more into my flex account for this year!

* One of the least frugal things about me is my hatred of leftovers.  I just don't like them, so I try to not make things that produce a lot of extra servings.  I did have some extra already cooked roast in the freezer, though, so I took it out and dumped it back in the crock pot with a couple of pouches of seasonings and a can of diced tomatoes.  It was SO good!!!!  I also made up a small batch of mashed potatoes to go along with it using stuff I had on hand.

* I haven't been shopping much lately.

* I bought some seeds to try to grow a small garden this year and some various landscaping supplies to freshen up the outside of my house.  BUT.  I came out of the store, loaded up the car, and realized that I had a flat tire.  On a Sunday afternoon.  Having had more than my fair share of flats, I knew I should try to air it up and see if it would hold air.  It did, so I made it the couple of miles to my home with no problems, which leads me to...

* Woke up early to have my flat fixed so that I could still drive out to my side gig that day.  The repair was free since I bought the tires at that shop.

* Submitted an invoice to my side gig.  There was an extra Monday in my billing cycle, so it will be a fatter check than usual.

* Decreased my car insurance cost by ~$23 per month.

* Cancelled a monthly subscription, saving $10 per month.

* I have really dry hands, so I use a particular hand cream from Avon.  I normally get it at a reduced price from the Avon outlet store in town, but noticed it was on sale on the website for the same price AND there was a free shipping code, saving me gas money and time.

* I've been refreshing my Spanish skills using the Duolingo website.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

To Quit or Not to Quit, That is the Question

Reselling, that is.

Several months ago,  I realized that I am sick of buying stuff and the need to always be out shopping, shopping, shopping for the booth/ Etsy shop.  I am also sick of having cluttered rooms in my house due to merchandise being everywhere.  Until last October, I had been thrifting every single week in an effort to update my merchandise.  

I started reselling in the spring of 2012 after thinking about it for a long time.  I had just left a miserable full-time job and was cobbling my income together with VERY part-time work at several nursing homes and a couple of teaching gigs.  I had more time than money, and it seemed right to finally start reselling.  I opened an Etsy shop which did fairly well as long as I kept it updated.  I should also note that because of the miserable job I had just left, I was questioning whether or not I actually wanted to be a psychologist anymore.  When you've invested a decade of your life for training and six figures of student loan debt into a life decision, it is rather painful to believe you've made the wrong choice.  

Slowly, I recovered.  Through my nursing home work I realized that I did still want to be a psychologist and that I was actually still pretty good at it.  Late in 2012 it became apparent that while I was super happy working VERY part-time, I needed to make more money.  The opportunity for my hospital position came up, and I added that into my rotation in early 2013.

In mid-2013, I decided to expand my vintage-selling empire (HA) by opening an antique store booth.  I have generally made a small profit each month, with the exception of the first month and February 2014, which was a bad month for sales.  This month (March) has been really good for sales.  I love the antique store that my booth is in and have only good things to say about it.

Unfortunately, reselling has become more of a pain than a pleasure.  I'm finding that I just have less time for it these days and my booth suffers because of it.  If I'm being honest, I think that I NEED it less now than I did in 2012 when I started.  At that time I desperately needed a creative outlet that had nothing to do with being a psychologist.  Reselling fulfilled that need and was an incredibly enjoyable hobby for me.

I shuttered my Etsy store in December, and will likely close my booth sometime in the coming months.  I haven't set a timeline for it because I'm just not sure when I will be ready to let go.  My goal has always been to someday have a small vintage clothing store, and that is still in my plan for the future.

So, I'm sad but also relieved.  I'll keep you updated as things move forward.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Frugal Shrink Decorates- Living Room Tour

I found some random photos of my living room on my computer, so I thought I'd share them with you, dear reader.  My decorating style is best described as eclectic, and I much prefer items that are both old and don't cost a lot.  Such a surprise, I know!!

Vintage art.  Can't recall a price on the top, middle is a paint by number that was $3, and the bottom is a print that was $1 at an estate sale.

Who doesn't have a duck hanging by the front door??  It was $1.50 at a thrift store and I bought it right when I moved into my house.  I also whack my head on it accidentally all. the. time.

Vintage framed print, record player (gift), table (gift), records (all $1 or less) and a vintage ottoman that was $30 at A Cricket in the House.

Vintage brocade chairs $20 each (!!!), cedar chest $5 at a yard sale and painted with free paint, rug was $20ish at Lowe's, storage cubes were free (thanks, Mom!).  How do you like my tube T.V.???  It works well and I see no reason to upgrade until it dies.

A better shot of one of the chairs.  The embroidered pillow was $5 or $6 at a flea market.  The chairs are just now starting to show wear.  I'm planning on having them recovered in green leather.  It won't be cheap, but I bet they will be gorgeous.  Someday soon.

Clock was a gift, Happiness print was $20 during a Hobby Lobby sale.

The couch is not vintage.  It was purchased new for around $500 during the last time I received a tax refund.  RIP tax refunds- may we meet again someday.  It is extremely comfortable.  I find vintage couches to be too low to the ground and difficult to rise from (I'm 5'8" with bad knees).  My mom made the afghan (thanks, Mom, again!) and the leaf print pillow was $7 on clearance at Target.  I have some gorgeous flowered fabric that I intend to make throw pillows from and will get rid of the factory pillows.

This wooden stool sits to the left of the couch.  Not frugal at all, it was $50 at Marshalls.  I LOVE it, though.  It is quite heavy.

To the right of the couch.  Vintage table a hand me down also from my mom, ceramic bowl was $2ish at a thrift store, coasters were .10 at a yard sale, shoe form was a gift, vintage lamp was $30 also from A Cricket in the House.  The arm you see to the right is my recumbent bike.  Not very decor-friendly, but if it's near the television I'm much more likely to use it.

Vintage metal curtain tie-backs!!  I think I paid ~$8 for the pair.  The curtains were made by my mom (I evidently have her to thank for a bunch of stuff!).

And finally, the book nook.  This is technically in the dining area but I thought I'd show you anyway.  

Hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of my decor.  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I'm Still Not Dead

But I'm watching you...ha ha ha!!!

The Frugal Shrink is in a funk, friends.  This winter has been TOO LONG and TOO COLD and I am a whiny baby.  Little motivation + lots of procrastination= no blog posts.  I'm heading to acupuncture on Friday for a variety of reasons, but I'm mostly hoping that I will just feel better in general.

Be back soon.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Frugal Happenings

                       Random photo from when I was in Florida in November.  Much better view than the snow outside my window right now!

* Received $5 back from Ebates.  I use Upromise more than Ebates now, so it took a while to get to the $5 cash-out minimum.

* Requested that the $30+ in my Upromise account be sent to me via check.

* Received a $12.99 check in the mail from a rebate.  

* Organized and cleaned out my clothes closet.  I'll sell the cleaned out items at a consignment shop, and a few things will go on Ebay.  Listened to Judy Garland Live From Carnegie Hall (1961) on vinyl while I did this, making it way more fun than your average closet cleaning adventure.

* Enjoyed a copy of Dwell magazine.  The subscription was free using Recycle Bank points.

* Made some homemade laundry soap.

* Finally bought a dang dishwasher.  Now, this wasn't frugal in itself, but I did find a $50 coupon to use online, received $12 back to my Upromise account for clicking through their link, and will get another $12 Upromise bonus from using my credit card.  At least I saved a little bit!

* Photographed a J. Crew coat so that I can put it up for sale on Ebay.  I have been procrastinating this task, but J. Crew always sells well on there.

* Thought about going to J.C. Penney yesterday to use a $10/$25 coupon and to snag some of their clearance deals (I also needed to return a pair of pants).  Decided not to get out in the cold, snowy weather.  Based on today's closet cleaning adventure, it was a good thing that I didn't buy any more clothes.  Good grief.

* Organized my Paperback Swap list.  Took some books off that had been lingering for a couple of years (will donate them).  Listed 18 more books, 12 of which already were on people's wishlists.  Woo hoo!

* Bought a gift for a friend whose birthday is in May- it was deeply discounted and something she will love.

* Started making a gift for a friend whose birthday is in March.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Car Fund Update

$3262 saved as of today, or 27% done.  I'm making progress!!  Taxes will need to be completed soon, though, and there is a real possibility that I'll have to pay in...which will come from this account, if needed. We shall see!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dollar Tree Tales

I went to visit the Dollar Tree today to look at their Valentine's Day supplies.  For the record, I bought Valentine's cards for my niece and nephews (2/$1), a package of stickers to decorate the cards, faux OxyClean, a bottle of Coconut shampoo, lime juice, peanut M&Ms, and two pairs of socks with cutesy heart patterns on them.  For me.  I'm not even sorry about it.

While at the store, I did a bit of people watching.  Any shrink who tells you they're not at least a little bit of a voyeur is a lying liar.  That's at least half of why we get in the biz in the first place.  Anyhoo, a couple of people/ money stories:

The senior lady (80+) in front of me purchased ten of the .50 greeting cards and a package of corn muffin mix for a total of $6.43.  She paid cash.  I love talking about money with and snooping on the purchases of those aged 70+.  I feel that they have a level of frugality that just isn't present in any of the following generations, and I'm always learning something from them. 

Two younger ladies behind me (in their 20s) had a small cart full.  I overheard them debating items and whether or not they were a good deal.  Young Lady #1 asked Young Lady #2 if she wanted to buy an item (not a Dollar Tree item) and #2 responded, "I'll have to wait until I get paid tomorrow and see how much I get.  Gotta pay bills first."

Snooping on money talk is always so interesting!!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thrifted Suit Jacket and New Head Shots

I had new head shots taken at work today.  Nay, fair reader, I am not a model.  But when you are a provider in the world of healthcare, you generally have head shots taken so that they can be put on the website and used for various marketing materials.  No one prepares you for this in grad school. 

I had new head shots taken today because I am vain  I wanted my patients to not be terrified if they should Google me  I feel that I actually have a neck and separate chin, not a combination of both okay, okay I had them retaken because I am vain and didn't like my last pics.  They were really, really bad.  Not the photographer's fault- he is quite good.  But I looked stressed.  And mildly constipated.  And I'm really not sure what was happening with my bangs, but it WAS NOT GOOD and approximated a comb over.  So anyway, the photographer redid the photos today and let me preview them on his camera and they are thankfully much, much better.  

I realized that the top and suit jacket I wore for these photos were both thrifted for a grand total of $3.50.  I also wore some lovely Brooks Brothers faux pearl/ rhinestone earrings which, along with a necklace, cost about $5 after coupons several years ago.  I tried to take pictures for you, dear internets, but was thwarted yet again with dead camera batteries. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Frugal Beauty: Cuticle Cream

I have had terrible cuticles since I was a child- dry, cracking, lots of hangnails.  When I was little my mom bought me a special cuticle cream which helped a lot...until I needed to repurchase and found they had reformulated and it just didn't work any more.  Enter plain ol' Nivea Creme in the blue tin.  The travel size is around $1 at most stores and will last you forever.  Put a small amount on your cuticles right before bed and I promise that in the morning they will look better.  Do this for a week and you will see some major healing and improvement. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Nice Frugal Evening

This evening I...

* Ate (a delicious) dinner at home.

* Transferred $750 to savings for the car fund.  This was from my side job, the clothing consignment shop, and...I can't remember where the third check was from.  Hmm.

* Downloaded a free book to my Kindle.

* Printed a coupon for a free bagel from Einstein Bros which is good for tomorrow.  I may or may not use it since I have an early morning meeting and have a rough time getting around in the morning as it is.

* Received an email from a company telling me they were sending me a coupon for a free product of my choice!!  I had emailed them yesterday to say how much I like and use said product.  

* Received a free $20 gift card from L.L. Bean!!!  As I previously mentioned, they sent me three $10 off any purchase codes in November and December.  I used them to get a shirt for my brother (paid $6 after coupon), two water bottles (free after coupon) and a knit hat (free after coupon).  The $20 gift card was an apology for my order not arriving in time for, it wasn't actually a Christmas gift.  I'll take it, though!!!  Very excited!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I'm Not Sure Why My Embarrassing Moments Have to Be in Front of People...

...but they always are.  Like today when I took out the entire windshield washer fluid display at the gas station with the front of my car while trying to get my car in a lane to get gas.  It was a whole scene of plastic shelf tipping over and bottles rolling everywhere.  Thankfully it was a small display and none of bottles burst open or rolled too far away.  The guy getting gas in the lane next to me was REALLY nice and reassuring as he helped me reset the display, "It practically jumped out at you!"  No sir, it did not, but thank you for being kind.  I really needed to BUY some washer fluid but was too humiliated after my little display so I finished getting gas and drove on to the next station near home to get it.

I did save .10 per gallon, though, so it wasn't all a loss!!! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Check Those Receipts!

And not just for pricing errors, although that's important, too!!

I read the fine print on every piece of mail and receipt that passes through my hands.  Probably more because I'm obsessive than frugal, if I'm being honest.  BUT.  My obsessive ways often save me money.  Have you noticed that receipts are often printed with a website where you can take a customer feedback survey?  They aren't worth my while if they're just a contest entry or something similar, but I will certainly fill them out if they are a $ off a purchase coupon or if I can get fuel points for doing so.  

I don't often spend enough money at Dillon's (Kroger) to get the fuel rewards (usually .10 off per gallon) but these surveys put give me enough points so that I do qualify for the discount.  Just filled one out tonight that will give me a discount on fuel next time I'm at the store.

Little bits add up, so keep those eyes open!  Or become more obsessive.  Either way. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Frugal Shrink's 2014 Financial Goals

I love goal setting!!!  I set goals every January and evaluate progress around my birthday in June and at the end of the year.  Setting and completing goals is admittedly one of my strengths, and I tend to flounder and waste time without having clear, defined goals.  I completely bungled my 2013 goals, however- forgot I even made any as my main focus was adjusting and surviving in my new job.  I did manage to "accidentally" accomplish 2/8 goals.  Yikes!!  Normally I do a much better job at this.

Ah well- new year, new goals.  I have divided my goals this year into five categories: spiritual, work, health, financial, and lifestyle.  I'm going to share my financial goals and my lifestyle goals with you as some of those have to do with finances.

1) Finish car savings ($12,000 total, need $9800 to complete)- I am saving 100% of my side job income and any extra bits and bobs that I get from resale, consignment, or rebates.
2) When car savings is complete, begin working on emergency fund of 3 months worth of expenses- I will just use the car fund for any emergencies in the meantime.  This will be ~$8000 when complete, but I don't anticipate completing it this year.
3) Continue retirement savings of at least 10%- currently at 12%, I may reduce this to meet other goals.
4) Set up automatic savings from my regular paychecks- I am surprisingly terrible at this.  I do a great job of saving all extra monies, but it's time to get a savings plan going from my regular paychecks.  I'm starting small at $50 per paycheck and will adjust up as I feel comfortable.
5) Reduce household expenses- I have a pretty tight budget and there isn't a lot of fat here to cut, but it is a never-ending search to figure out new ways to save.

1) Practice sewing 1x per week- Ugh.  I hate practicing anything, but I am determined to get better at this and be able to make things for myself and others.  
2) Make more things, particularly presents- I'm already 70% done with a green and gray crocheted scarf.  Also thinking of making homemade vanilla, brooch necklaces, scarves made of knit material, and tote bags. 
3) Buy less of everything, and buy used whenever possible- This is a big goal for 2014.  I need to work on this.
4) Simplify grocery shopping- Why am I buying so much stuff at the grocery store???  Lately I haven't feel like cooking, so I'm just buying ingredients for good sandwiches and smoothies.
5) Reduce food waste- I feel like this will come naturally when #4 is in full swing.

Anyone else set goals for 2014??  I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Debt Update- December 2013

Time to revisit the Frugal Shrink's financial picture!  I started my current job partway through 2013, and managed to make some headway in savings and debt repayment.  I was underemployed in 2012 (but very happy!) so there was quite a lot that I needed to catch up on financially.  My debts at this time are student loans and mortgage only.  I do not carry a credit card balance and don't have a car loan.

Student Loans: 
 $5290 @ 2.35%
$38,998 @ 1.62%
$31,082 @ .1% (I love this number!)
I know that 75K is a lot of money to have outstanding for student loans, but with my crazy low interest rates they don't worry me like they used to.  Also remember that I graduated with my doctorate and $146K in student loans in 2008. 

$102,998 @ 5%
I have a great little house that is ten years old and quite energy efficient.  No major worries with the mortgage.
I managed to sock away ~$2500 in savings and ~$4000 in retirement funds.  I started with 6% savings for retirement (enough to get the match) and have since amped it up to 12%.  I may drop this to 10% in 2014 or may keep it the same.

Goals for 2014 will be forthcoming in another post.

Friday, December 27, 2013

How I'm Paying for Christmas 2014

I recently had an idea for how I will fund future gift-giving.  From now on, I will be using the cash back from my credit card.

I know many frugal people are anti-credit card, but I am definitely not one of them.  I use my credit card to pay for ALL of my bills and spending each month, with the exception of my student loans and mortgage (because they don't allow that option).  Here's what I love about this:

1) Paying for everything with my credit card provides an easy way to track spending.  I do not have the patience for entering every expense into an Excel spread sheet or spending program, but I still am able to track each purchase by simply looking at my credit card statements.

2) I get cash back.  Since May, I've gotten $309 back just from using my credit card for normal purchases and bill paying.

Obviously this is not recommended for people who freak out and can't control their credit card spending. I am a person who spends way more with cash in hand than with debit or credit, so this works for me.  I know there are studies that say people spend more with credit cards than they would with other forms of payment, but I haven't found this to be true for me.  I monitor my credit card balance daily which provides a reality check for how much I'm spending.

I've already moved my cash back to a savings account that is earmarked for gifts.  I'm excited to already have a great head start on next year's gift budget!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas From the Frugal Shrink

             "We celebrate a baby born from Spirit into man."
                                                                  -John Denver, Christmas Like a Lullaby

Yes, indeed, John Denver.

I'm wishing you all a most happy Christmas and hoping that you all have  a wonderful day.  If you are spending the holidays alone, please take time to take care of yourself.  If you are spending the holidays with family, please don't punch anyone in the face.

And now I leave you with a photo pilfered from my mother- a baby Frugal Shrink and her older brother on a visit to Santa.  Rumor has it that the older brother was a bit scared of Santa and didn't want to visit him until baby Frugal Shrink came on the scene...I was working my shrink-y duties at a young age.

Merry Christmas, dear readers!!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Frugal Happenings and a Non Frugal Happening

* I received a $100 check from my side-job as a Christmas gift.  They did this last year, too, which I think is so nice!! 

* Also received my usual check from the side-job and submitted an invoice for another check.  It's kind of a never ending cycle, but a happy one that results in checks!  

* Had a free lunch at work.  Will also have a free work Christmas party tomorrow night, weather permitting.

* Went Christmas shopping with my friend and her baby, largely to help wrangle the (adorable/ perfect/ brilliant/ feisty) baby.  I was impressed with how my friend had a very clear plan for shopping, stuck to her list, and used two coupons for the gifts that saved her more than $20.  She also bought me a very pretty OPI nail polish and lunch.  I spent nothing.

* Received two books from Paperback Swap.

* Received three (!!!) $10 off any purchase coupons from LL Bean on the back of catalogs (always glance through your junk mail!).  Shipping is free right now.  I bought a t-shirt for my brother for Christmas with one (paid $7 after coupon), and ordered two free water bottles and a free knit hat with the other two.  

* I plucked my eyebrows, dyed my hair, gave myself a chemical peel, bleached my teeth, and trimmed my bangs.  Will also give myself a pedicure this weekend.  Doing this stuff myself saves me thousands each year.  The chemical peels alone would be a minimum of $150 each, and taking a DIY approach means they only cost about $6 each.  Seriously.

* Found a cheaper source for my daily sunscreen (face).

And a non-frugal happening:

* I was faced with a mountain of gifts and no gift bags due to how cheap frugal I am- I remember that the gift bags weren't as cheap as I wanted in the after-Christmas sale last year.  The frugal thing would've been to use wrapping paper that I already had, but I took my happy self on over to the dollar store (Deals) and bought 30 gift bags and boxes for $20.  I bought some pretty silver bags, ten two-packs of white bags with handles, and four large boxes.  SO HAPPY that I did this!!  May not have been the frugal decision, but it was the right decision for my mental health.   ;) 

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Different Ebay Selling Strategy

As much as I whine and moan about Ebay, there's a time and a place for it...namely when I am decluttering items that will bring in a decent amount of money.  I recently sold ~$160 worth of stuff on there- mostly protein powder and exercise DVDs, of all things!  

In making my listings, I decided to NOT set up anything as an auction but to make all of my listings exclusively Buy It Now and to include free shipping for most items.  This was massively successful and I quickly sold all everything.  It had occurred to me that I only look at Buy It Now listings nowadays, so I wondered if others were doing the same thing.

I have a few more pricey items to sell in January, so I'm going to set up the Buy It Now listings again to see if I am as successful a second time.  If you have things to sell, give it a try!!