Prime Ribmas – our easy, lazy Christmas

Christmas has always been a draining time to me.  From having it be my birth month, my years in retail, and family things always being a bit difficult…in the past it has been an exhausting time.  I think I am finally out of my retail/consumer hatred enough (after 6 years of being out of retail) that I can de-Grinch a little and get in the spirit.

My dad and I have been doing Prime Ribmas for the last few years….where we get together and eat prime rib and just hang out.  We exchanged one gift with each other and they were practical and greatly appreciated.  We did this last night so I now get to hang out at home for the rest of the day and enjoy the three-day weekend.

Pictures from my Instagram

My boyfriend is in the basement staining wood from a $25 shelf we got at Philly AIDS Thrift and I’m on the couch snuggling with Wally and working in Swagbucks and InboxDollars so I can cash out by year end and be done with them for awhile.  Tonight we’re going to a thai restaurant with his mom and aunt (one of the few things open)

Happy Whatever!  The holidays are almost over!

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Investing in My Community – the South Philly Food Co-op

Last night I went to a very informative happy hour for the South Philly Food Co-op – a local grocery store that is slated to open in 2017.  They have been working on this for several years and are up to over 700 member-owners.  I threw my cash down to be a part of this community.

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What is a Co-op?

The International Cooperative Alliance defines a co-op as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.” A co-op is not a charitable organization or social service agency.

Why did I join?

South Philly has had an interesting landscape over the last decade – particularly in the Easy Passyunk Avenue section.  When I first moved to the city in 2011 nobody went to East Passyunk as there was nothing there but a few local shops.  Now it’s a thriving food hub and up-and-coming neighborhood for the next generation to settle down and grow some roots.

I bought a house less than a mile from where this new grocery store would be.  I want to support my community and spend my time with like-minded people so it makes sense that I would buy into an all-natural organic market that gets its products from local sources.

I also do miss non-profit life and this would be a great way to volunteer and be proactive in my community without putting a lot of money forth.  You pay a one-time fee and you’re a member for life so now that they got my money (thanks, bonus!) I don’t have to worry about paying dues or anything.

How do you support your community?

 

Five Frugal Things

A la The Non-Consumer Advocate:

  1. Yesterday we went to BJ’s and as you may have seen – I wrote the amounts of savings on each .  One of the things I got was 36 eggs for $6.23 (after in-store coupon and iBotta) Today we had a hearty breakfast and I just made a batch of Tollhouse cookies.  We go through eggs like crazy in this house so it was a good investment.
  2. I am working on earning a big amount in December on my earning sites and plan to stop using them next year to create more art.  Now that I’m 30 and live with my partner I am qualifying for more surveys.  Alas, these sites aren’t earning what they used to so I need to look at other income options.
  3. We finally hung some things today on one of our wall – including the beautiful mirror my boyfriend re-did!
  4. I’m writing this blog post and am looking at other blog ideas for 2017 – this is frugal because it is free to do and may build up to better things!
  5. I didn’t buy anything stupid.  We’ve eaten at home for every meal.  Snuggling with my dog and baking instead of turning the heat up!
BJ's List for Today.

BJ’s List Hack – why haven’t I thought of this until just now?

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I’ve gotten very sick of trying to rustle through the coupons and trying to do math at the same time in the aisles – so I’ve made it slightly more idiot-proof!  I have this list and I will not deviate from this list.  Everything we need to get through the winter without ordering delivery every night.

The IB circled next to some is for iBotta – it’s a cash back app where you unlock rebates, scan the items you buy and take a pic of your receipt, and then when you hit $20 in rebates you can cash out to Paypal, Venmo, or other types of gift cards.  Sign up for iBotta with my referral link and get a bonus.

Five Frugal Things – Birthday Edition

  1. I have been taking advantage of the free coupons you get for signing up for e-mail lists.  I ate lunch twice last week for free thanks to coupons (and a third lunch thanks to a coworker buying me birthday lunch)
  2. I also got a 20% off coupon to our local thrift store and went with a friend for some girl time.  I got two work-appropriate tops and an ugly sweater for work’s ugly sweater party…and I will use this for every ugly sweater party henceforth.  I was gifted a $50 Visa card so I didn’t touch my credit or actual money for this fun.  We also bought a collapsable hutch made of iron and wood….and carried it home on the subway instead of getting an Uber.  In hindsight, that wasn’t so smart….but we got it home for almost free.
  3. My friend drove up from Maryland to celebrate and we spent yesterday at a free, local event.  We spent no money and enjoyed a stroll down Easy Passyunk Avenue looking at ice sculptures.
  4. I went to Aldi on my birthday.  Just because I’m “celebrating” doesn’t mean I should completely break my routine and leave myself set up for failure for the rest of the week.  We know I’m not grocery shopping after work!
  5. Instead of going out to one lavish, overpriced birthday meal, I opted for many small, cheap/moderate meals over a full weekend.  I’m happier this way and will get a fancy meal at my company’s holiday party next week.

Here’s to 30.

Today I celebrate my 30th birthday and am one of the few that get excited about it.  I’ve had a FANTASTIC weekend with a few close friends and have done a bunch of things that make me happy.

What did I do on my birthday weekend?
Well, I drank and ate!  A lot!  With great people!  I enjoyed being with my people at Taproom on 19th, the East Passyunk Arctic Ave , Black Cat Tavern on 12th, SouthHouse, and Philly AIDS Thrift.  I also took off tomorrow to recover.

I GOT A PAINT SET! My wonderful boyfriend went above and beyond and got me a full painter’s box with both oil and watercolor with plenty of accessories.  I will get to paint!

 

I am a better person than I was at 20.  I’m finally learning the balance needed for personal growth – positive influences, personal management, and reflecction.  I’m more healthy, confident, and responsible.  One could say I thrive on adulting.  I am thankful to shed my awkward twenties and march Beyonce-style into a more confident and stable decade.

 

November – How’s that Kitchen Fund going?

The trouble with my goals is that they always end up organic.  I have a hard time sticking with long-term goals becuase I need some instant gratification and then I spend my time hurrying up to wait.

I tried a new app recently called Qapital.  Like Digit, it takes small amounts from your checking account and puts them in a different account.  The biggest difference is that Qapital makes withdrawals based on sets of rules that you can create – both in your everyday purchases AND using social cues.  Currently, I have $1.00 going to a Kitchen Fund every day that I hit my FitBit step goal, repin something to my Money Pinterest Board, use the hashtag #wallydog on Instagram, and a few others.  In 2 days, it has racked up $5.35.

The Pros: Transferring more small amounts of money based on social media stuff – I LOVE that.

The Cons: It takes them a few days to make withdrawals and your savings account does not have any interest or incentives (Digit gives you something like 20 cents every couple of months depending on how much money you have there)

The biggest con was probably the fact that it made me realize that keeping my Kitchen Fund makes it difficult to earn any interest on the money I’m saving.  So I’ve transferred the PayPal earnings to my savings account and have set my goal to $100 on Qapital so that I can get interest.

Want to earn $5 for trying Qapital?  Click here and use my referral code.

How’s that Kitchen Fund?  Well, in 30 ebay transactions I have net exactly $60.  In the amount of effort I put forth, I am not sure I’m doing this right.  I believe I will just throw the remaining stuff on a Philadelphia Yard Sale and then donate by the end of next month just to get my space back!

Sundays are for Sidegigs – The New Kitchen Fund.

Sundays are usually my day for getting ready for the week and hanging out at the house making extra funds.  Things have definitely been different now that my boyfriend has moved in, but he gets my groove and has even assisted!

eBay Listings
I’ve been listing small, easily-shipped items on eBay and relisting them when they don’t sell.  Click Here To See My eBay Shop!
And my wonderful boyfriend set me up with a better setup for taking good pictures of my items for sale!2016-11-06-11-15-39

….but then once I was done taking all of the pictures, we realized that neither of us have an SD card reader and that his is missing in the mass of basement boxes that he hasn’t gotten to yet.  So this week’s round of eBay auctions are just going to be relists from the last few weeks and some craft kits I have pictures for.

My eBay sales go into my paypal account.  My PayPal account typically pays for Spotify, GrubHub, and my Gym Membership (that I use!) but I have recently cancelled Spotify and haven’t ordered more than once a month.  With these cuts and some cash going into this account – I hope to start a New Kitchen Fund out of it!

What is the New Kitchen Fund, you ask?
My kitchen is a bit rough.  The old fridge leaked behind the oven and cabinets and the floor needs to be repaired and my cabinets are actually disintegrating because they are old particle board.  So far, the only quote I’ve got from a contractor was for $9,000 and that didn’t even include the floor.  I am confident that I can do this for half that with some extra manpower and reclaiming some things.

What else goes into Paypal?
iBotta Rewards
InboxDollars Rewards
eBay Sales
Swagbucks Rewards
Click the links for Referral Codes!

I can transfer the funds to a savings account with interest easily when it becomes substantial.  I wonder how long it will take to get $4,500 in there?  Maybe you should stay tuned!

Well….I can’t edit pictures so I’m going to watch Netflix and earn some Swagbucks!

 

 

Sunday Five Frugals

  1. Drinking coffee at home – one Starbucks iced venti caramel coffee is $3.19 and my bag of coffee at Aldi is $3.99.  In 2014, I spent $1,000 on Starbucks alone….so far in 2016 on all coffee shops I’ve spent about $150 of my money (this does not include bagged coffee as that is actually a grocery budget).
  2. I’m staying home watching Cops and trying to prepare my home for next weekend when my boyfriend moves in!  I’ve been able to reevaluate a lot of my possessions and have a good ebay/craigslist horde going in the basement.  I have a HUGE STACK of comics and everytime I do a load of laundry I go down to the basement and organize a bit more.   This will be most of my day.
  3. Went to a friend’s house last night and came home with a bag of pork.  Chicken thighs in the crockpot right now.  I need to find the bag of pasta I have somewhere in the kitchen and then I will have meals for the week!
  4. I’m meal prepping and handling all of my home business today because I took up a part-time job and will be working a few 14 hour days and most weekends.  It ends December 7 so it’s not forever and will bring me an extra $200+ per week!
  5. Spending some time on Swagbucks and InboxDollars while I’m having my breakfast and watching Cops.

5 Frugals August 21

  1. So far tonight I have listed 34 items on ebay!  Most of it is stacks of comic books from 2011-2013 and whatever doesn’t sell will get a week to go in a lot on Craigslist – then off to the thrift store!
  2. Someone in my office building that knows I moved recently just gave me a new plate set and I love it!! I didn’t have any dinner plates and now I can entertain.
  3. I have chicken marinating in teriyaki sauce to easily bake tomorrow after work.  I have coffee, breakfast, and lunch ready for tomorrow!  Today I also took the 5 minutes to take stock of what’s in my pantry that needs to get used up and took one expired can out.
  4. I’m about to pack my bag so I can hit the gym tomorrow – health, nice showers, and eventually it will be reimbursed.
  5. Did quite a few surveys on InboxDollars today and made it a bit closer to that $30 cash out goal.  I also hit my first goal on Swagbucks and am *almost* to that 2,200 monthly personal goal so I can cash out for a discounted gift card.  Amazon?  Starbucks?  Lowes?  WHO KNOWS!