Every year, around this time, which is coincidentally around my birthday, these mystical and wonderful things happen to me. I call them ‘birthday gifts’ from the great unknown (i.e my mom). I like to think that my mother, God rest her soul, hasn’t forgotten me, even if from the great beyond, and showers me with presents. Is it a fact? Is it coincidental? You decide. I already have.

  1. I found this small, lightweight 14K bracelet in one of my old drawers. Probably a gift from one of my long lost boyfriends. I didn’t remember. Anyway, I couldn’t read the caption on the end clasp so I brought it to my favorite jeweler. He told me it was 14K but lightweight. Anyway, I had him weigh it out and it was worth $40. The cash went directly into my savings account. Score!
  2. I did a balance transfer to a zero interest account, as I do every year when I buy a large purchase. Unbeknownst to me, this new credit card gave me reward points even on a balance transfer. That never happened to me before. I scored $31.80 cash, which I also transferred to my savings account.
  3. A new friend recently called me to tell me she had two tickets to see any movie in town and would I like to go with her, no charge. It was a movie night-out freebie. We’re going to see Spencer (a movie about Princess Diana).
  4. I haven’t purchased any new clothes in quite some time. Yet, I got this personal flyer in the mail from Chico’s, my all time favorite clothing store, with an attached discounted card worth $25. All I had to do was buy $50 worth of Chico’s clothing and I could use the $25 off card and get everything half priced. So, I searched their clearance section and bought three beautiful, discounted tops for $50.32. I applied the card and got the three shirts for $25.32. That comes out to $8.33 a top, which is almost the same price I would have paid at a Goodwill. Only this time, I got three brand new, designer shirts instead!

Those are the freebies I got so far this month(it’s only the 9th !!). I also got a few frugal hacks in:

  1. I used my Dunkin’ Donuts Reward gift cards twice so far this month. Each time I ordered one small regular coffee for hubby and one small pumpkin latte for myself. The total only came to $5.71 each order ($11.42 value) and it was a delight NOT to shell out any money and take some time off, sit back and enjoy a perfectly scrumptious gourmet coffee (that I would never have purchased ever for myself!)
  2. I had a $15 reward gift card to Panera. Yesterday hubby and I found ourselves out and about without anything to drink or eat and we wouldn’t be home for another hour. So, it was a lovely, warm afternoon (60F degrees!) and I asked hubby why don’t we use the Panera card, sit outside in their patio dining section and have a lovely lunch? We did. Hubby had a roast beef sandwich. I tried the new Mac n’ cheese in a sandwich (strange but won’t ever be ordering it again). I also ordered a 16 oz cappuccino (which we split). Total bill came to $18.11 of which I only paid the $3.11 difference.
  3. I’m starting to master loss-leader shopping. Yesterday I went to Shop Rite and only bought the loss leaders I liked and would use. That was the tuna fish, lasagna noodles, ricotta and mozzarella (I make lasagnas as gifts during the holiday season). By just shopping the limit and for what I needed and would use, I saved $15.57.
  4. We calculated our true heating costs now that our new pellet stove is almost in full winter mode. We went from paying $7.50 a day to the propane company for heating our home down to $2.50 a day by switching to wood pellets. That’s a savings of 67% over the year. So, instead of paying the propane company $2500 a year, we now will get a reduction of $1675 and only pay the propane company $825 a year. We estimate the pellets will cost us between $250 and $500 for the year. We’ll know that cost savings at the end of the winter. Till then, we’re warm AND we’re saving money each and every day.
  5. Lastly, we’re saving a lot of money on our grocery bill by simply doing this one, free, inexpensive thing: portion control! We started using smaller plates and eating less. No second helpings. Note photo of roasted turkey breast with gravy, smashed potato topped with sour creme and home-made cranberry sauce. Hubby also mastered the art of Egg MCMuffins for breakfast, so there’s no need to eat out. We also save our meals as leftovers for the following days’ lunch! I’ve noticed we have no food waste. We’re using up everything and our prepared meals are lasting longer. We’re saving grocery money all around.