Pursuit of Frugal December 2014

Welcome to the Pursuit of Frugal.  November was another spendy month.  Some of it wasn’t my fault.  Some.  pursuit of Frugal December 2014 Messy Money

Needs and Wants

Need: A giant crack formed in the foundation of our house.  It ran from the top of the foundation to the footings in the basement.  It was big and scary.  We hired a company to dig up the side of our house, seal the crack to make sure it is waterproof.  Fortunately, the crack was not affecting the structure of the house, so no major engineering work was required, but the fix did set us back over $1,300.  An ounce of prevention….

Need (?): We also received a quotation for orthodontist.  The youngest needs braces and the total quote…$7,000.  Ouch.  We do have dental benefits so some of it will be covered but we will have to work around the reimbursements.  Next week I will be paying for the first $1,500. Our orthodontist has a really nice car.  Are braces a need?  I think so.

Want: The third spendy thing is I bought a new camera.  A fancy smancy Cannon DSLR. I will have more to say about this in a future post.  This was emotional spending at its finest.

Want: In March, we have a hockey tournament and we have started paying for some of the costs associated with the trip. $232 so far.  More to come.

Frugal Fail

I decided to experiment making our own windshield washer fluid.  I used a mixture of alcohol, water, food coloring and dish detergent.  I set the bottle outside to see if I had the right mixture and it froze.  I am sure with some more experimentation with the ratio of alcohol to water I can find the right mixture however based on my calculation we won’t save any money.  Back to store-bought windshield washer fluid for us.

Frugal Wins

Considering our spending this month, this list feels a bit like pouring a bucket of water into the ocean.  Every little bit helps I guess.

Refund – A parcel I shipped, did not arrive within the guaranteed deliver window so I was eligible for a refund of $26.11.  I wonder how many eligible refunds go unclaimed?

LacesMy son insisted he needed new boots this year.  Closer inspection revealed that the boots were fine. They just needed new laces.

Scrap Metal – $9.70 in scrap

Snowblower – Our 16-year-old snowblower will see another season despite the fact my husband backed over it with our car.  He hammered out the dents and lubricated the moving parts.  It still works.  Hurrah.

Loyalty programs – Cashed in $130 worth of loyalty points at various stores.

CableWe are still cable free.  We have been using Netflix and I am enjoying it.

I recently watched the documentary The Queen of Versailles and I could not look away. Guilty pleasures.  Watch a billionaire navigate the great financial crisis.  Rich people have financial problems too.
Here is the trailer.

29 Comments


  1. I totally agree on Orthodontics. It is one of the best investment I made to myself as I gained significant amount of confidences throughout my career. It is an expensive investment but it is worth it. Try to look for company insurance that covers some percentage of it. My company insurance company paid $2,000 of it.

    Cheers,
    BeSmartRich recently posted…Net Worth Update- January 2015 +7.1%My Profile

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    1. Thanks BSR – I appreciate that my parents paid for my orthodontics everyday. Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. Good to hear! I had braces too and I am thankful my parents provided them for me.

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    1. It is expensive and I will be talking to them this morning to make sure I understand everything that is included in the treatment. I have been comparing notes with coworkers in the same situation and the cost is inline with theirs. My kids are the product of a long line of poor dental genes. I think I had every orthodontic treatment under the sun – including jaw surgery. I have a million dollar smile now but oh my poor kids.

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    1. yes it is – not always easy to separate -but important.

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  2. I think the windshield washer experiment was interesting, but whats the reason for the food coloring?

    Cool on that snow blower. Quite impressive! Now if only fixing the kid’s teeth was so easy (and cheap). 😛

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    1. Great question. The food coloring is optional – and I added it so that people would not think it was water and potentially ingest and so that it won’t get mixed up with other fluids like antifreeze etc.

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  3. You win some and lose some as seems to be the case. I think it’s great that you’re keeping track. We have a partially finished basement and as such, about half of the walls are completely covered. Kind of scary to think that there could be some sort of crack like that and I’d have no idea.
    Money Beagle recently posted…Reasons To Consider Leaving Your Job (And Reasons Not To)My Profile

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    1. I really should post a picture of the cracked foundation. Our house if fairly new so we were not expecting it at all. I guess it is true that you should add 2-4% of value of house to budget for repairs. Roof is next….

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  4. Ran over a snow-blower? Must be a story behind that one. Wow I need to watch the documentary The Queen of Versailles, looks like a train wreck.
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…PassionMy Profile

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    1. backing over the snowblower was actually pretty funny. The poor thing. Hubby was moving one of the vehicles and couldn’t understand why he was having such a hard time backing up.

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  5. I am new to your blog and find it very enjoyable. We seem to be on the same path. I will be following along on your financial journey. I am just finishing up the last payments of my daughter’s braces. It seemed intimidating at first, but with the monthly payment plans it went pretty smooth.

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    1. Thanks and congrats on finishing the orthodontics. The monthly payments sure do help. Appreciate you coming by and commenting.

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    1. No machine left behind LOL – wish I had thought of that.

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  6. Braces are a need but $7000 for a child…that’s daylight robbery! I guess your orthodontist has a really big house too….

    It’s when I hear about things like this that I am eternally grateful that we have the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK – braces are free for under 18s.
    weenie recently posted…What’s in a Name?My Profile

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    1. Great to hear that you have universal coverage for braces. We are lucky we have benefits that will cover some of it. I don’t know how some families do it.

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  7. Every drop in the bucket counts, right? A small win is still a win.

    We managed to spend less on groceries and a bunch of other things last month. But we were still a bit cash flow negative last month.
    Jenna recently posted…Brooke’s December Budget PreviewMy Profile

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    1. I read your budget – and I feel your pain on the business expenses. Its great that they get reimbursed (hurrah!) it can make it challenging to budget.

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  8. I am planning on going cable free beginning January 01, 2015 and I am so scared. I have decreased my TV watching time to about 3 hours a week because of my blog, and my daughter has been enjoying Netflix for about a month in a half. I am hoping by then cutting the cable will be an easy transition for us. Isn’t it amazing how addicted to cable we are?
    Petrish @ Debt Free Martini recently posted…Financial Ignorance Can Cost You MoneyMy Profile

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    1. I won’t lie – cutting the cable has been a bumpy ride but so worth it. We have started streaming and that has saved the day. I am confident we can get through without it. Good luck and you will have to let us know how it goes.

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    1. Fingers crossed it makes it through the season. We get lots of snow and I don’t know how we would manage without it. I would hate to have to buy one in the middle of the season (and pay top dollar.)

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  9. Money is only as good as how you use it. 🙂 That’s an interesting movie. I like how non-judgmental it is. It shows its characters being both thoughtless and thoughtful, and it gives them a fair chance to represent themselves to the camera. I do feel kind of bad for the kids though, growing up in that kind of environment. 😐
    Liquid recently posted…Growing Household DebtMy Profile

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    1. The movie was interesting and I agree with you – I think the filmmakers did a good job of staying (mostly) neutral to let everyone form their own opinion and it is interesting to see how the .01% live.

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