I talk about volunteering a lot. I read about opportunities all the time. Today I actually volunteered at a 10K trail race.
I love running so volunteering at a race seems like a perfect match. Hubby and I worked the water stop.
The benefits of my volunteering experience:
- It was a gorgeous day! And I spent all morning outside enjoying it.
- We hiked before the race started so I got in some great exercise.
- I met a lot of people. In fact, I am going for an afternoon walk with one of them tomorrow.
- Almost every one of the runners thanked us for volunteering. Talk about feeling good!
- We received free race t-shirts!
- The lady that made the fabulous pumpkin bars sent me home with a baggie of the extras.
I highly recommend volunteering and plan to do a lot more of it myself. I had a great time today and it didn’t cost me a penny, but the enjoyment was enormous! That’s my cheapskate reason for doing it! Oh, don’t forget the free t-shirt!
I subscribe to the Sunday edition of the local newspaper. My husband enjoys a relaxed morning reading an actual newspaper and I love the coupons and sales ads.
We recently received our renewal notice. It was $93.60 for 52 weeks of the Sunday newspaper. That’s $1.86 per paper. Yikes! Okay, I know it’s $2 if I purchase it individually so this is a discount, but it’s certainly not much of one.
I called the billing department to see if I could do better. When Monet answered, I politely gave my name/address and said that I received my renewal notice. I mentioned that it seemed expensive and asked if she had any promotions that could help me save some money. She paused for a few seconds and then told me she had a new subscriber discount that was $81.90 ($1.57 per paper). I asked if I could get that. Click click click…then I was told that she’d entered the discounted price into my account. Voila! Less than 5 minutes of my time and I saved $12.
My cheapskate reason is, well, I’ve learned it never hurts to ask for a discount. The worst thing that happens is the company says no. Try this with your newspaper, phone company, cable company, anyone. And always remember, it never hurts to ask.
It probably doesn’t surprise anyone reading this that I don’t eat out very often. When I do though, I like to make the most of it. Today I went out to lunch with a friend who happened to be in town for the day. I realized when I was ordering that I could get a salad with my meal for just over $1 additional cost. So when I ordered, I asked for the salad in a to-go container. Tonight, that was my yummy bargain dinner.
A few ways I save money when I do eat out:
- Order an appetizer – it’s less expensive than an entree and typically plenty of food
- Share a large entree – automatic half price for each of you
- Drink water – it’s free while soda costs $2 or more
- Check the internet for coupons – the restaurant’s Facebook page is a great place to check
- Order the with meal salad and take it home – just like I did today!
- Put half of your meal in a to-go box before you start eating – this is also an excellent tip to avoid overeating and gaining weight
My cheapskate reason for not eating out is clear – it’s expensive! When you do eat out, think of it as a treat but remember you can still go easy on the wallet with the tips above.
While I’m not a huge fan of Christmas shopping in October, the Christmas displays everywhere (mixed with the Halloween and Thanksgiving ones, of course) has started me thinking about what I’m going to get people for Christmas. The easiest and best gift is the one my husband and I give our nieces and nephews every year – money for their education fund.
The benefits of a college education are many. Higher earnings potential and better job opportunities, just to name a couple. The advantage of the education funds over toys is that this is a gift that will last them a lifetime. Money every birthday and Christmas for 18 years can really add up. When they were babies, they didn’t know the difference. Now that they are preteens and teenagers, even if they don’t appreciate it now I know they will in the long run. Besides, by now it’s sort of a tradition.
My cheapskate reason is money for an education fund is much more practical than toys or other gifts. Plus, it’s an intangible…like the true meaning of the Christmas holiday.
If you’re been reading, you know I love to garden. This year I’ve added something new, freezing my garden vegetables. Last Christmas my mom asked if there was anything I wanted for Christmas. Yes, a small freezer to put in the basement. (My mom is very generous with holiday gifts.) I got exactly what I asked for too!
The advantages of freezing your own vegetables are:
- garden veggies are healthier & have lots of nutrients
- the abundance of veggies aren’t wasted
- fresh veggies to eat all winter long
- saving money
Since I’m a newbie to freezing veggies I’ve started with things I’ve done in the past, just in higher quantities this year: tomato soup, stewed tomatoes & strawberries. More to come as I experiment in the garden with new vegetables and with freezing them.
Here’s what I have so far:
My cheapskate reason ultimately boils down to the money saving benefits. I don’t like cold weather, but a batch of homemade tomato and basil soup will certainly help me get through the winter!
I’m already having tomatoes with almost every meal and still have a ton of them. What do I do with all of the extra tomatoes? I make soup and freeze it for this winter. It’s not too difficult and will taste fabulous when it’s cold out. I’m not much of a cook so if I can do it, anyone can.
Tomato Basil Soup
- 1/2 mid-sized onion, sliced
- 3 tbs margarine/butter
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes with juice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 8-ounce cans of tomato sauce (or use 1 can and an extra 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- dash of pepper
Chop up tomatoes (approx 5-6)
Slice onion & cook in margarine/butter until tender
Add tomatoes, broth, sauce and spices
Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes
After cooling briefly, put 1/3 of the mixture in a blender & blend until smooth (approx 10-15 seconds); pour into bowl; repeat two more times. (Once blending is complete, quickly wash blender or it will stain.)
Pour soup into plastic freezer bags & put in freezer
My cheapskate reason for making soup is I hate to waste anything, especially garden tomatoes. And making soup in bulk this summer will avoid spoilage while providing lots of quick and healthy meals this winter. Enjoy!
What is an FSA? It’s a benefit where your employer deducts money pre-tax and sets it aside for you to use for eligible medical and dependent care expenses.
Many companies offer a flexible spending account (FSA) to their employees. On the surface it seems like a hassle so most people simple overlook it. That’s passing on an easy way to save money and here’s why:
Tax Savings – your money is taken out before taxes, which lowers your taxible income. Calculate your savings at https://fsacalc.ceridian.com/fsacalc/.
Automatic Deductions – your employer deducts a small amount out of each paycheck so it’s easy to do.
Debit Cards – many companies have FSA debit cards so your expenses may be automatically covered without having to submit receipts, except when requested. Again, easy.
Availability – your entire annual contribution is typically available at the beginning of the plan year for medical expenses (not dependent care). A big advantage if you have a large medical expense that won’t be covered by insurance.
Important to Know
Money not used during the year is forfeited. However, most employers offer a grace period (1/1 – 3/15 for calendar year plans).
It’s not difficult to calculate how much to contribute. I suggest you contribute conservatively in the first year and track your expenses that aren’t covered by insurance. After a couple of years, it’s fairly easy to estimate.
OTC medicines are no longer included.
There are contribution limits. Currently medical is $2500 per year and dependent care is $5000 per year.
My cheapskate reason to use my FSA is it’s an easy way to save money. During your open enrollment period, read about your FSA benefit and reach out to your HR and/or Benefit departments with questions.