lessons learned

Frugal Wall Art With Engineering Prints

May 8, 2013

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to blow up some photos for our walls.  I had ordered some poster-size enlargements a few years ago for our living room, and although we love how they look, they definitely weren’t cheap.  This time around, I went looking for a way to get some personalized wall […]

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Refinancing Our Mortgage

January 21, 2013

About a year after we bought our house, we considered refinancing.  At the time, we were being offered a rate of 3.75%, and we owed about $152k on our house.  After doing the math, we decided that it didn’t make sense to refinance, and we kept our 4.625% loan.  But now, two and a half […]

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Starting A Business With $100 – Resources To Help You Do It

April 30, 2012

Over the last couple years, I’ve participated in getting the word out about Only72 sales (they last for 72 hours – hence the name) run by Adam Baker and Karol Gadja.  There have been a few other similar sales in that time (like the one about simplifying your family life earlier this month), but Baker […]

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Being Able To Pay For Something Isn’t The Same As Being Able To Afford It

April 20, 2012

A few days ago, I got an email from a reader named Kate who shared how her attitude towards money has changed over the years.  She mentioned that in the past, she would have spent a lot more money than she does now, simply because she would have considered so many more things to be […]

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Our Frugal Home Version Of A Montessori-Style Preschool

November 14, 2011

Over the last few months, several of our son’s friends have enrolled in Montessori-style preschool and daycare centers.  The parents have had nothing but good things to say about the switch, and my curiosity was piqued.  Our boys are home with us all day, and we have no plans to change that.  But I was […]

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How We Established Our Own Business

August 22, 2011

In my post asking what you’d like to see me write about, two readers asked me to address the specifics of how my husband and I set up our home-based business, and I’ve also had numerous emails about this subject over the years.  So I’m going to lay out the basics of what we did, […]

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Inside-Out Simplicity

July 30, 2010

It’s very rare for me to purchase a book, but I was inspired to buy Joshua Becker’s new e-book, Inside-Out Simplicity, and I just finished reading it this morning.  In so many ways, it echoes my sentiments exactly. Minimalism and simplicity have become quite trendy lately, but quite often the people who are attracted to […]

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Frugal Shopping For A Baby Shower

July 16, 2010

I’m going to a baby shower this weekend for the wife of one of my husband’s cousins.  I’ve known her for years and we get along well, but we only see each other a few times a year and aren’t super close.  In situations like that, I tend to stick to buying things off the […]

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Just Because It’s Free Doesn’t Mean I Need It

July 13, 2010

Last week, a good friend came to visit, and she brought a huge bag full of clothes that her son had outgrown.  Many of them were hand-me-downs for her, and she’s passing on the love.  She knows that I only buy clothes used anyway, and hand-me-downs fit right in for our family. But these days, […]

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Letting Go

June 10, 2010

Thanks for all the great feedback on my last post.  I especially liked the comment from David, who said I’ve found that the problem with comparing ourselves to others is that you’re usually comparing your strength to their weakness or vice versa. Either way, it’s not fair. Exactly!  That is so true, and a good […]

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Getting Off The Frugal High Horse

June 8, 2010

I’ve been blogging here for almost four years now – time flies! – and sometimes it’s fun to look back at posts I wrote back in the day.  It makes our debt-free (except the mortgage) life feel even better when I remember the days when I was keeping track of all of our debts on […]

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Creating A Life That Needs No Escape

June 2, 2010

Now that the summer vacation season is underway, I’ve been pondering the idea of vacations.  My husband and I have been self employed for years now, so technically we can go on vacation whenever we want.  We do have to continue to work while we’re away, but our job can be done from anywhere with […]

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Continuing To Purge

May 27, 2010

Over the last several months, I’ve made numerous small changes in my life, and I am thrilled with the results.  It all started last fall when I began making the bed every morning.  I had never done that before (I used to make the bed about once a week, at best), but now I can’t […]

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Focusing On What We Want Most

March 10, 2010

Somewhere recently I came across a quote that went something like this: Never sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now. This really resonated with me, as I think it can be applied to just about anything in life… money, exercise, diet, personal relationships, jobs, etc.  We all have things that are […]

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Happy Stress-Free Holidays!

December 28, 2009

The first year my husband and I were together, I remember going shopping for Christmas presents for just about everybody we knew.  Family, friends, coworkers… we did some serious shopping.  We did most of it at outlet stores and off-retail places, but we did a lot of shopping.  A few years later we hosted my […]

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New Eyeglasses For Twenty Eight Bucks

December 18, 2009

The last time I bought glasses – in 2001 – I think it cost me about $200 for the eye exam and the glasses. I only wear them when I drive or watch a movie, so they don’t get a lot of wear and tear.  But I could tell that the prescription wasn’t quite right […]

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Not Loving Things That Can’t Love Me Back

September 15, 2009

I have loved clothes for as long as I can remember.  I’ve always purchased them second-hand (even as a child, since my family only shopped at yard sales and thrift stores), but it always gave me a thrill to get new clothes.  Not so long ago, I would relish a quiet afternoon in one of […]

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Putting Things Into Perspective

July 8, 2009

Once we finally got our stuff moved out of our old house and into storage, we slept for a couple hours and then got up at 5am so that we could get our UHaul returned by 7am (again, thanks for nothing UHaul).  We had forgotten our cat’s food at our old house, so we took […]

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How To Lose A Sale

May 1, 2009

In 2002, when my husband and I went house shopping the first time around, we used a Realtor who was recommended by the mortgage broker we were using.  He had impressive credentials.  He had been in the business since 1986, was Realtor of the year in this area at least once, was in the ‘hall […]

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When A $45 Hair Cut Is A Bargain

April 1, 2009

I got my hair cut yesterday.  This would not normally be a newsworthy event, but in my case it had been 14 months since I had a hair cut.  Last time, I went to what I consider to be a pricey salon (I think I paid about $50), and got a really great hair cut.  […]

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Credit Karma

March 23, 2009

Back in January, when I wrote about paying six bucks to get my credit score, I got a comment from Kacie about how I could try Credit Karma next time if I wanted to get a credit score for free.  Checking this out was on my to-do list ever since, but I never quite seem […]

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Very Disappointed In Wells Fargo

January 30, 2009

An open letter to Wells Fargo and anyone else who cares: Dear Wells Fargo, I have been banking with you for six years.  My husband has been with you since the mid-90s.  When we bought our house and consolidated our finances, we decided to merge my bank accounts with his and move everything to your […]

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When I Found Out Guns N Roses Isn’t The Name Of A Song

September 20, 2008

I remember one day in 6th grade our teacher asked us each to tell the class our favorite song, and he wrote our answers on the board.  I don’t remember what the point was – probably something about opinions and diversity.  It was 1988 – Big Hair bands were huge – but I was mostly […]

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August 22, 2008

Well shoot.  I forgot to pay our HOA dues this month.  They’re due by the 15th, and if they’re not paid by then, there’s a $25 late fee.  Which I will be paying tomorrow, along with the actual dues.  That is a big fat bummer, but it’s also shown me that we’re in a much […]

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Moving On And Letting Go

August 12, 2008

I’ve always struggled with tossing stuff and getting rid of things.  If I spent money on it, I somehow feel like I have to keep it, even if I’m not using it anymore.  I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but it’s something I’ve been working on, and lately I’ve been making a lot of […]

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The Bill For Our Fence

August 6, 2008

Last week, we bought vinyl fencing to replace our old wooden picket fence that was falling apart.  I had estimated that the total cost was going to be about $600, based on an earlier trip to Home Depot to get prices, and the measurements we made in our back yard.  My husband picked up the […]

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A Jewelry Gift Card Giveaway

July 25, 2008

Last year we sold my engagement ring and put the money into our HSA and my Roth IRA. Since I still liked the look of diamonds, but not the price or the ethical issues, we bought a new ring from Diamond Nexus Labs. It cost $231, and looks just as good a year later as […]

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A Stupid Human Trick

July 19, 2008

Yesterday we bought a VitaMix blender.   I’ve wanted one for years, but could never justify the price.   Yesterday we were in Costco, and they were selling them for $50 less than the online price.   We had our laptop in the car, so my husband went out and checked Craigslist again (we’ve done […]

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Breastfeeding And Life Lessons

June 9, 2008

Our baby is five weeks old today, and we’ve settled into a pretty happy little existence with him at the center of it all.   Can’t really remember what life was like before we had him, and that’s just fine.   In the last five weeks, we’ve spent very little additional money compared with what […]

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Ten Years Gone By

May 22, 2008

JD at Get Rich Slowly has posted an article about what his life and finances were like ten years ago, and has invited other bloggers to share their stories as well.   I think it’s interesting to look back over where we’ve been and to think about where we’re headed, so here goes… Ten years […]

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Credit Card Rewards Glitch

December 30, 2007

I was looking at our business credit card statements today, to make sure that everything was in order after our fraud incident last month.   They had cancelled my husband’s card and issued a new one, which was done as soon as we reported the problem.   We paid all the legit charges on the […]

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Progress In Preventing Credit Card Fraud

November 27, 2007

An update on my attempts to better secure our credit card:   I called our bank yesterday and got them to make a note in our file saying that balance transfers cannot be made from our credit cards to any bank account, regardless of who is asking for it.   We would never do this, […]

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Financial Things We Need To Do

September 24, 2007

Money, Matter, and More Musings has written  a great pollwith 20 questions everyone should ask themselves regarding personal finance.   I feel like I’m pretty much on top of our finances, but I was not able to answer yes to every question.   There were five questions that made me realize that I still have […]

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Medical Bill Woes

August 22, 2007

Earlier this summer, my husband had a dermatology procedure done in a local office.   We had picked that office because they offered the best price – we knew nothing about them beforehand.   Over the last few months, we’ve gone back and forth with them about the bill.   Basically, they quoted about $300 […]

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More On My Crafty Cards, and Consignment Adventures

August 8, 2007

I just got back from taking my card samplesto the store I found on Sunday… now I have to wait a week for them to look over my stuff and get back to me about whether they want to carry my cards in their store.   I decided to hold off on the other two […]

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Our Debt Story

July 18, 2007

EDIT:    during the three years that we’ve been paying off this  debt, the highest total  before-tax income we ever had was $56,765 for the two of us together.   That  was in 2006, and was considerably higher than the previous two years.    We paid off the debt by being frugal, not by earning […]

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Safety Nets

July 10, 2007

Yesterday I read an article in a magazine about people who had been getting by just fine until a serious illness put their finances into a tailspin.   (sorry, I can’t remember what magazine I was reading – it was during my break at the library and I looked at several) Every one of the […]

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It’s OK To Spend A Little Now And Then

June 20, 2007

We have a huge maple tree in our front yard.   It’s a great shade tree, and sitting on our front porch feels like being in the forest since the tree obscures most of the street from view.   But it’s getting a bit out of control.   My husband has climbed on the roof […]

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Smells a Little Fishy…

June 16, 2007

One of my best friends sold her house yesterday.   About 18 hours before the closing, my friend got the final numbers from the realtor and bank, with closing costs, mortgage payoff info, etc.   She had taken out the loan 2 years ago for $118,000.   She’s made all her payments since then, and […]

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Pondering Investments and College Costs

May 10, 2007

NCN has posted a list of questions he has about money (he is one of the original PF blogger gurus, so it’s reassuring to know that even he still has unanswered questions). I found myself asking the same questions on number 1 (what’s in your retirement account) and number 2 (saving for college). My IRA […]

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