Frugal, Actually: My Five Latest Money Wins

My Five Frugal Wins This Week

Hello, hello! I’ve had a few money wins lately, so here’s a quick life update from me today.

1. We Cancelled Cable!

Well, my husband did. It’s a huge administrative win, and I feel such a weight off our shoulders. Cable was one of those things we never used enough to actually justify the price we were paying.

I was supposed to cancel months ago, but wasn’t looking forward to the song and dance of the customer service rep trying every script in the book to get me to not cancel.

And then it never seemed like the right time. My husband is a sports fan. If you live with a sports fan, there’s a small window when it’s acceptable to cancel cable. “Peak” sports times are:

  • Fall – Winter –> Football
  • Winter – Spring –> Basketball
  • Early Fall –> Baseball

The perfect time to cancel is summer. There was a weekend in June I had earmarked to cancel, but then my husband said, “But now my dad’s coming over this weekend.” His dad needed TV for entertainment.

August rolled around, and with football season right around the corner, my husband recognized the danger of getting sucked in again. He had to remove the temptation or else we’d still be paying for cable through the next year. One day we were Gchatting, and he casually dropped that he cancelled the cable himself!

The cable bill was $134, then it went up to $140 for a few months. Now it should be about $60 for just Internet, so we should save about $960 per year.

But I’d still like to find a way for my husband to watch his beloved out-of-market football games. I swear I’ve read every article about how to watch football without a regular cable subscription, and I never seem to understand what I’m reading. Sports and TV together is like a different language to me.

Can someone just tell me what to do? How do you watch out-of-market football games without a satellite dish?

2. Took Advantage of Chase Freedom’s 5% Cash Back Promo

*Some affiliate links below

I’ve had the Chase Freedom card forever, over a decade now! One reason I keep it around is for the 5% cash back categories that rotate every quarter. Right now you’ll earn 5% cash back on gas stations, Lyft and Walgreens. Well, I don’t drive, don’t use Lyft unless I’m going to the airport, and what would I buy at Walgreens besides chapstick?

Gift cards.

What I like to do is buy Whole Foods and Amazon gift cards. I don’t shop at Amazon much either, but I can use Amazon gift cards to then order Airbnb and gift cards. For spending I will be doing in the future anyway. To test things out, I bought a $50 Amazon gift card, and a $100 Whole Foods gift card. With the Amazon gift card I bought an Airbnb e-gift card and have already added it to my Airbnb account. I also checked to make sure I did get the five points per dollar. Success!

So over the next few days I’m going to buy more gift cards from Walgreens until I reach the 7,500 point limit. I’m then going to transfer those 7,500 points to my Chase Sapphire Reserve account so I can use them for flights or hotels. Every little bit helps. For example, you can transfer Chase points to the Hyatt hotel program. A night at the Park Hyatt Saigon costs 15,000 points (or $280 cash per night), so with my little points run I’m halfway there.

If you’re interested in getting the Chase Freedom card, you can get $150 cash back after spending $500 within the first three months. I’m banking on the Q4 5% cash back category to be department stores, because then I can make out like a bandit.

3. Saved $280 on a Car Rental and $100 on a Hotel

I booked our car rental for Iceland ages ago for $612. I thought, OK, I don’t like this price, but this is just what it costs. Shrug.

But then I found Autoslash (thank you reader who mentioned it!). It’s a price-tracking service that e-mails you if it finds a better deal. Finally, two weeks before the trip I got a notification that the best price it found was for $328. I couldn’t believe it! I read over the entire details a thousand times just to make sure everything was right, especially as so many car rental options in Europe are stick shifts, which I don’t know how to drive. But everything checks out, so I’m psyched how these savings significantly helps our whole trip budget.

I’m also in hotel-booking mode for our Southeast Asia trip. There was one premium hotel room we booked for about $200 per night, because that room was all that was left. But I randomly decide to check again the other day and I see a cheaper room is available for $150 per night. Then I couldn’t decide because the $200 per night room has a balcony view of the Mekong River, and the cheaper room only has a view of trees.

Let me repeat that: Paying $50 per night for a view of a river…

What the heck? Am I really going to pay $50 per night for a possible riverview when I can just walk outside and see it? That’s whack. I re-booked the cheaper room. Glad I came to my senses on that one.

4. Made Some Impulse Buys, Then Immediately Realized They Were Impulse Buys

I was doing my usual blog browsing one morning, when I saw a post that mentioned some cute Old Navy dresses.

I never shop at Old Navy by myself.
And I never buy cute dresses.

But somehow two dresses fell into my cart. I thought I could use an inexpensive dress for Southeast Asia, and I fell into the trap of thinking I need stuff for vacation when I actually don’t. And the cotton vintage dress I already have would work just fine.

After the accidental purchase, I e-mailed Old Navy right away and asked if I could cancel the order. They said it was too late, because they process orders right away for a better customer experience. I was afraid that would happen. The consequence is that I have two dresses I won’t even bother to try on and now have to spend time to go return in person.

Sometimes when I want something new, a better way to satisfy that craving is to stop and think of what you already have that you could use instead. Ninety-nine percent of the time there’s a solution right in front of you that doesn’t cost a thing. Although I legit do need a new backpack…

5. Saved $55 on Pet Sitting

Our usual cat sitter moved away, so every time we go on vacation we scramble to find people to feed the cats while we’re away. This time we need someone for six days, which is a lot to ask as a favor from friends or neighbors. So I decided to check out professional sitters on Rover.

I found a new customer credit for $25, which anyone can find by Googling. Before you sign up for a new service or account, it’s always a good idea to check if there’s some kind of referral promo or new customer discount.

Earlier I saw my American Express card is offering a deal where you get $20 back from a $75 Rover purchase. If you have an American Express card, you can check your deals by logging into your account and scrolling way to the bottom.

And lastly, I checked the cashback portals. Befrugal gives you $10 back for booking a sitter through Rover (and $10 for new signups). If all these promos went through correctly, then we would have paid $105 instead of $160.

If you’re new to Rover, you can get $20 off your first booking here.

What about you? Have you had any money wins lately?

Feature Image: Unsplash

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