Now that it’s finally really springtime in Chicagoland (I think), it’s time to make some smart seasonal money moves. Here’s what we did this weekend to help us gear up for sunny days outside and rainy days financially.
- Planted strategically. Zucchini, cucumber, and wax bean seedlings all joined the onions, radishes, carrots, and lettuce that are already planted in our raised beds. We made the decision to hold off on the tomato seedlings, as well as the banana peppers and heirloom peppers since they seemed just too teeny to weather, well, the weather. Not only will all of this background gardening shave some money off our grocery bills down the road, there are so many wonderful things that gardening can teach us about money.
- Sold shoes. That’s right. I’m back on Poshmark. While I’m being much more selective about what I even put the time in trying to sell, I am taking that 100 items in 100 days purge really seriously. In fact, we’re way past 100 items, and we’ve still got about 70 days until Half Penny’s arrival.
- Donated more. While I can’t even totally quite get the sunk cost of my closet out of my mind, I have definitely realized that many times, it is better to give than to sell. There are other ways to make more money with my time.
- Explored other income streams. I know. I know. I’m such an expert at talking out of both sides of my mouth. I just got done telling the world how stupid side hustles are, and then I spend time trying to line up some new freelancing writing gigs. But writing in my downtime is a lot less stressful than trying to cram in three hours of tutoring after ten hour days at work.
- Celebrated with friends. That’s right. I wore my dress and smiled for photos at my work baby shower. And I also stopped by a friend’s birthday in the city. It was the first and last 21-and-over show Half Penny will attend for the next two decades. And yes, we even got carded. Sometimes, it really does pay to forget about frugality for a while.
- Shopped smarter. We aced our $200 grocery budget in April even with a protein powder purchase for Mr. P, not me. I have no problem bulking up lately. So, I’m really determined to come in with similar numbers for May. Shopping from a list and frequenting Aldi help a ton. And I still use apps like Checkout 51 and Receipt Hog, too.
- Repurposed and composted. Mr. P gets most of the credit for this. He’s such a whiz at tinkering, especially when it comes to the outdoors. I spent time marveling at him all weekend as he found new ways to build plant supports and maintain the yard with things we already own. And so as not to shirk my responsibilities totally, I have been taking extra care to compost all the things.
- Soaked up the sun. We gardened, we went for walks, and I parked myself in front of a sunny window. Not just because it’s vital to soak up the blue skies when they’re actually blue, but because I am determined to kick this cold and boost my mood.
- Got some sleep. I’m really good at putting sleep last on my to-do list. Unfortunately, I’ve been sacked with a cold for the past two weeks, so it’s forcing me to reconsider my priorities.
- Focused on increasing our income. Mr. P is working on a new graduate course, and I’m still
thoughtfullyfrantically writing for National Board. Last week, I got the “submit next week or repay $4,000 email”, so to say there is some new pep in my step is an understatement. If it’s a little quiet on the blog for the next week or two you’ll know why. We are both working to be better teachers…and make more money.
So Tell Me…What smart money moves are you making this spring?
Ms. Frugal Asian Finance
Looks like a great list! I’ve been wanting to have a garden of my own but have failed repeatedly to grow something. The seeds either ended up dying or got eating by squirrels. @_@
My best garden year ever ended with A DEER. Turns out, they don’t care for tomatoes but love lettuce, greens, zucchini, and cucumber (the last two for the flowers, I think). Live and learn, I guess!
Mrs. Picky Pincher
Sorry to hear you were under the weather, but wow, what a weekend! Freelance writing honestly is an amazing side hustle if you know how to score the clients. Great job increasing your income. 🙂
As for us, we’re already harvesting quite a few veggies down here in Texas. It’s already reaching the 90s every day, so we’ve had some good weather for growing our garden. This weekend we harvested lettuce, planted some seeds, and ate a bit of the green onions.
I also weeded a bed and planted the hundreds of wildflower seeds I’ve been hoarding over the last few weeks. The best part? The seeds were all free. 🙂
Owen @ PlanEasy
Nice job on the garden. We recently started out garden too (although we’re in Canada so we’re a bit behind). I’ve got about 30-40 tomato and pepper seedlings in a cold frame getting ready for the last frost date. Can’t wait for those fresh cherry tomatoes (and for the reduced grocery budget). Congrats on hitting $200/month on groceries. That’s amazing!
We definitely need to build a cold frame for next year. We always end up planting too soon because the seedlings get too big for the starter cells on the kitchen windowsill.
Owen @ PlanEasy
They’re pretty easy to build and make growing from seed way easier. My plants usually sit in the cold frame for 4-6 weeks before being planted. For the most part they stay outside unless its going to be a really cold night, in which case I shuffle my little plant babies inside for the night 😉
Emily @ JohnJaneDoe
I hope you feel better soon. Sunshine and warm weather should help. I’m super impressed that you’ve stayed in your grocery budget, and that your decluttering is ahead of schedule.
We planted some herbs and veggies, and we’ve tended our blueberry bush. Maybe we’ll have enough berries for pancakes this year. I’ve cleaned out the rest of my clothing drawers, mostly of stuff that is too worn for donation (much less selling). Our weekend was mostly cheap activities…movie night at Little Bit’s school, a big free event Saturday at a local park, and a trip to the library book sale’s $3/box day.
That’s a great library day! I’m also so impressed when I hear of all the activities that schools put on for free. Our junior high does some, but it seems like elementary schools do a lot more! Fun family time 🙂
Colds seem to be particularly tenacious this year. Feel better soon.
I speak out of both sides of my mouth too. Give me a third side and I won’t hesitate to speak from that.
We’re kind of on keeping the status quo on money and new projects since we’re doing our land and/or house search. Fingers crossed on a property we hope to see later this week if Mr. G stops coughing.
Status quo is really beneficial sometimes…especially when it’s status quo like you and Mr. G have figured out!
Amanda @ centsiblyrich
Hope you feel better very soon! 🙂
I planted about 75% of the garden this weekend. I took a chance and planted the larger tomato seedlings, but am holding off on the smaller tomatoes and all the peppers. I hope the ones I planted weathered the storm this morning!
That’s awesome, Amanda. As always, our little seedlings are struggling now. We had one night where the lows were anticipated to hit 40. And they dipped to 36 instead. It was just enough to turn our green bean seedlings yellow. Back to the drawing board!
Gary @ Super Saving Tips
Sorry to hear about your cold, but I’m impressed by how much you’ve done even with being sick! Your garden sounds great. I’m jealous because my development won’t allow vegetable plantings, even in a pot. Anyway, today I’m saving money by stacking sales with coupons and loyalty rewards to get some great deals on supplies like paper towels and mouthwash. Even the on-demand movie I watched last night (Arrival) was paid for with reward points.
You can’t even have potted garden plants? Wow! Though I guess they do attract critters. It sounds like you’re making lots of smart money moves as always, Gary!
Started composting last year- got to put the ‘fruit’ of my compost on the garden for the first time this spring! Hopefully yields even yummier crop!
Get well soon!
That’s awesome that you’ve already been able to use yours! We keep adding to it. I’m hoping to top up the back beds in the next week or so when we get the rest of the garden planted.
I’ve been thinking of you and your shoes- many people increase a shoe size during pregnancy and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that yours will still all fit when the swelling recedes.
Best of luck on the National Boards and I hope you feel better soon.
Ha! Yes. That is on my list of fears, albeit towards the very bottom. Thank you!
Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life
I keep hoping that I’ll be able to plant a garden by the end of the year, and doesn’t that just tell you that I’m a native Californian who hasn’t experienced real seasons? Hi, no normal person plants a garden in December.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t think about it! I’d love to have a little garden of berries, and maybe a few other things we could use regularly, but need to decide which two other veggies to grow alongside them. Maybe tomatoes?
I hope you’ll have garden pictures to share sometime!
Berries would be awesome. We bought to raspberry bushes (they look like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, TBH) on a whim the other day. I have no idea if they’ll take or not. But for $6, I’m OK with that kind of experiment. Tomatoes would be awesome. We have a windowsill herb garden that we keep going all year. I love it when I’m cooking. And it makes the kitchen smell so nice!