Frugal Living Archives - Simple Is Good For You

When Spending More is Sometimes not an Obvious (but Best) Choice

I enjoyed a couple of more peaceful days at work this week. My boss has been in back to back meetings which accounted for much more relaxed (and more productive) staff. My colleague Jenny stopped by at my desk a few times and we chatted about personal life, past vacations and plans for the weekend (both of us will ‘play it by ear’). Jenny showed me most recent photos of her children and I pulled out some shots of my nieces and a brand new, two week old nephew. Jenny also shared with me a super cute story about a five inch long, flying cockroach that she saw in our kitchenette area. Well, it actually flew out of one of the disposable cups as she attempted to make herself a cup of coffee.

As we enjoyed our rare chit-chat, another colleague stopped by –

“hey guys, have you seen that video about the Chinese fake rice? It’s all over Facebook”


” You know, when they put plastic bags into a rice making machine and make fake rice out of it”

“Wow, great”

At which point I had to pick up a phone call, temporarily missing out on the fake rice story.

Well, since I remembered it later that day, I googled it and it seems like other countries are guilty as well, not just China. I am posting if below for your convenience so you do not need to search for it.

Enjoy –

Anyway, it’s just another fiasco adding to all the GMO, fake Chinese eggs (yep, you’ll find them on YouTube as well), fake green peas and fake sweet potato noodles. It actually turns out that all of these is just a GMO and pesticides loaded corn.

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We Are Travel Monsters

This weekend we are away in Florida celebrating T.’s birthday, our anniversary, and me getting US citizenship last week 🙂 Normally we celebrate locally, most of the time at home, but this time is different. T. has a few meetings and his employer is paying for a hotel here in Palm Beach. Spouses can tag along so we are making a weekend out of it. 🙂 And while we had to purchase our own flights, it’s turning into the most frugal vacation we’ve ever taken.

Let me start from the beginning. So we are sitting on a plane on Friday at 8 AM at JFK and hear the announcement that our fuel tank needs to be refilled. Then, an hour later we hear that there is an issue with the engine. After that, the wings needed to be de-iced. To make a long story short, we got to sit six hours on a plane without moving. Frustrating?  Sure. But after we called  Delta and complained, we got $400 each to make up for it. I shall also say that we only paid $97 per person per ticket. We made $606 right there in flight credits and still made it by 4pm not missing a thing. :)! This will be a return flight somewhere for the both of us.

If you ever get delayed for more than 3 hours (or possibly even less, depending on airlines), make sure to check what compensation you are entitled to.

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Frugal accomplishments and No Spend Month – week 4

January came and went (well, almost). To me, it was a long month, on one hand, and a super quick one on the other. I am literally counting days till spring already so I do not mind that the weeks are literally flying by.

My sister is giving birth on Tuesday so we are all on pins and needles. After three girls, finally a baby boy is joining the family. Everyone is thrilled and cannot wait to meet the little guy next week. And me? Well, since I am a few thousands miles away, I am extra thankful for WhatsApp and Skype!

I am still going through a bit of a ‘down’ time but trying to lift my spirits with small things that give me pleasure. Whether it is a bubble bath, hot cocoa, yoga (to the tunes of YouTube) or re-organizing my fabric stash again – I am doing all I can to get myself out of this winter rut. I am also trying to be a bit more social, although all I want to be doing is literally cover myself head to toe with a blanket and veg out on my couch watching Gordon Ramsey. I do have a bit or crush on him though so I guess that’s fine, right? 😉

This is the winter rut I am talking about. This is what NYC has looked like for the last 3-4 weeks. This is a view from my desk at the office.

Money wise, I am not sure if I did well by all the frugal standards. I surely have been trying to literally buy nothing (except groceries) but had some not so frugal expenses regardless.

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No Spend January Update – Week 3

I am going to say this week has been semi-successful as far as no spending goes. Of course within our frugal community only, because as compared to a ‘regular Joe’ next door, I did absolutely amazing, basically I have been a super star.

On my way to work, while on a subway, I am giving myself a ‘frugal boost’ by reading morning posts from my favorite bloggers, getting myself motivated and excited about living life to the fullest, all while being joyfully frugal. It does not hurt to remind myself occasionally that the frugality is not just about saving money, it is a lot about happiness and contentment as well as the art of ‘stopping’ and not searching for more. I am 80/20 at the moment. While being more aware than most of the human population, I have my weaknesses and once in a while I am not able to resist a good sale or buy something totally unplanned (or needed), but that’s ok. This is an ongoing work in progress, I am blessed to be able to make mistakes while reaching for ‘perfect frugality’.

Frugal Living - Enjoy Free Art!

Let’s enjoy some free art. No ticket purchase necessary.

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No Spend January Update and Weekly Frugal Update

I have been enjoying daily encouragement emails from Ms. Frugalwoods (on ‘no spend’ January). I don’t do the ‘bare bones’ version of the challenge, I still do grocery shopping as usual but try to stay away from everything else. No coffee out, no clothing, no snacks or lunches. Basically no goodies, just needs.


Saying that, this week I spent more on the ‘extras’ as compared to the week before (which is when I spend $0). I probably could have held of with purchasing the items for the time being but I assessed that it was important that I just get them.

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I Made Turmeric Capsules (and why I did it myself)

I have heard SO much good stuff about turmeric for as long as I can remember, yet never used it in cooking or as a supplement. I think it literally has been named a ‘magic’ powder as it is believed to have many amazing health benefits and to name a few:

  • it is anti-inflammatory
  • it increases the antioxidant capacity of the body
  • may lower the risk of heart disease
  • may prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • it has benefits against depression
  • anti-aging, great for skin (may reduce wrinkles)

Well, my friend (let’s name her Betsy) who studies wellness and cosmetology recently made her very own turmeric capsules. Yep. This is serious business. I considered buying turmeric an old-fashioned way, namely at CVS or on Amazon to have it Prime-delivered, and here she is whipping out a batch all by herself. 💃

Why would she want to do it herself?

There must be a reason, I thought. Betsy is a health freak, big time. I am talking DIY deodorant from moroccan clay, bee wax and other organic, raw, vegan ingredients kind of a freak. Her Instagram feed is very specific, most of her hashtags are #natural #healthy #organic #DIY. Well, the reason turned out to be very simple –

  • If you make it yourself, you know exactly what’s in it. Duh.
  • It is literally like a bazillion times cheaper to do it yourself.
  • The capsules are really fun to make.
  • Once you have all the supplies, it is easier to continue to make the capsules (and take them) rather than remember to run to the store to get them (and pay again!). That’s Betsy’s philosophy and I agree. I usually take a supply of what I have on hand and then it takes me weeks to get a new batch. I am just bad like that.

I am awfully delayed with getting to it but after I caved in in early December and got all of the supplies, I finally made my very first capsules. 4 batches to be exact. That’s right:)

Turmeric capsules in the making. Please note an opened laptop on picture #2. While it is super simple to make the capsules once you know what you are doing, it was a bit tricky the very first time. Thankfully YouTube came to the rescue.

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No Spend January Update and my Weekly Frugal Recap

Seven days into January and I am going strong. I mean, not a big deal. The bills are paid, the fridge is full, the one kitchen cupboard that I use as a pantry is bursting at its seams. It would literally be a shame if I started complaining now that no spending money on unnecessary crap is depriving me of living the ‘good life’.

Can you tell yet that I am motivated to make the ‘No spend January’ a total success? I bet you I am!

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Super Uber Frugal January Challenge

Exciting! Today, together with a few thousands of other frugal families, I am joining the no-spend, frugal January challenge. T. is NOT joining with me. Actually I did not even tell him about it since I just know what his reaction will be. Moaning and whining, crying at a thought of potentially being deprived of whatever goodies his little heart desires. While I will try to spend as little as possible for this entire month, I actually wonder if he will even notice that I am doing anything differently.

frugal challenge

Well, I am already pretty frugal and careful with money but I am challenging myself to really give it my best to focus on everything else that brings me joy rather than buying things.

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Frugality is a Work In Progress

I am pretty sure that I am saying it on behalf most everyone – money-wise December is HARD (Holidays expenses being the main reason for most). Even with having all MY FRUGAL ON money is literally flying left and right. Out of the wallet of course, not into it…

While one could say if $$ is budgeted properly then all shall be staying under control, it does not seem to be the case here this month. In this Queens household we have decided NOT to budget, instead, we simply live on frugal autopilot. It has been working well but this month we surely ARE feeling a pinch. Since I qualified for 401k at my new work sooner than expected, we are taking advantage of that, trying to put away as much as possible before the end of year. It is a blessing, of course, to be able to do that.


I got hit from the other side though.

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Open Yourself to Frugality

I am in awe sometimes how much it ‘all’ depends on one’s own attitude.

Positive spirit attracts positive things, peaceful demeanor makes your colleague adjust her voice to reflect yours, the frugal mindset will literally make it ‘rain’ with opportunities to save money or get things for free.

It surely does take a little effort but not as much as you think.

Open yourself to receiving:

1. Don’t be afraid / ashamed / embarrassed to be perceived as ‘frugal’

Come out of the frugal closet.

Yes, I will happily pack all the leftovers after work lunch. Hand me downs for my nieces; anyone? I will take them! Kitchen towels and half used toilet bowl cleaner that you won’t take to your new apartment? I will use take them too.

See what I’m saying? Make it known to everyone that you graciously accept things. Once you do, free goodies will just keep coming to you with minimal effort.

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