Thursday, August 14, 2008

Funding Special Treats

For our family, leading a frugal lifestyle does not leave room for daily, or even weekly, treats. However, like everyone, we do enjoy special treats for ourselves and our children on occasion. Our frugality has led to finding different ways to fund those special treats though, with out dipping into any of our other designated money categories.

Money from bottle deposits is a big one for us, although I know this isn't an option available to everyone. We do not drink pop on a regular basis at all. Usually we only buy it if Eric's family is coming over, or if Eric has really been craving some Pepsi and it is on sale. And since we live in Michigan, we pay a 10 cent deposit for each bottle of carbonated beverage we buy, which in turn gets refunded to us when we take the bottles back to the store. It's like a little savings account.

Typically, it will take us a few months to collect enough bottles that make returning them worthwhile. But when we do, that deposit money is always ear-marked as treat money. Last month, we used it to buy root beer and vanilla ice cream for floats. (And we bought root beer and vanilla ice cream again this month, although that was for Isabelle's birthday request and not considered a special family treat.) Sometimes we will use it to pick up a $5 pizza from Domino's on our way home from the store.

Another way we like to fund our special treats is an oldie but a goodie - the change jar! When we are not saving all our pennies, etc. for a specific goal, like a vacation, we will grab a handful of change to treat ourselves with something fun, whether a box of donuts or a few videos from the library. (Our library charges $.50 for the more current videos that are not "kid-only.")

I have been trying to come up with other ideas for funding this special splurges. We do have a set amount of money each month that goes toward "entertainment/dining out," (around $30), but I want ways to fill in the gaps without crossing into any of the other budgeted areas. We've already had to do that with gas and groceries.

Rebates are one area I've been thinking about, but I've yet to take that leap. If you've had success with rebating, I'd love to hear about it.

You can find more Frugal Friday over at Crystal's blog.


Laura 10:18 PM  

Wow, your library charges for some of your videos? Well, 50 cents is still not very much, and WAY LESS than a regular rental place! Do they have a nice selection of recent movies?

Sonshine 10:32 PM  

Because of the 10 cent deposit, my family back in '85 saved enough popcans/bottles from what we used, and picked up along side the roads to fund our gas out to CA and back! My parents would go every week and cash in the cans/bottles each week and put in our "vacation fund".

As for rebating, I am not sure how well that might work. I know that several stores you can do your submitting online where you don't have to worry about the postage stamp so you would be saving some in that regard doing rebating. However, places like Menards when they have rebates--you get your refund in a merchandise check which means you have to use it at the store and not for what you want like your "treat fund".

My MIL will send us $$ every once in a while for us to use on a special treat for the whole family. She says that she does it because it is cheaper than her coming to visit us frequently(she lives out of state about 7 hours away).

If I think of anything that might work to fund your "treat fund", I'll let you know! :)

Calina 10:16 AM  

We too sell pop cans, but also "treat money" comes from rebates (make sure you make a copy of them) and doing several online survey companies.

I try to save back a gift card from a company for when I get that MUST SHOP feeling.

Carlie Faulk 11:17 AM  

We love our change jar. We save all year for Fireworks on the Fourth of July. :)

Brenda 3:35 PM  

Great ideas for frugal treats! We don't have bottle deposits in our state, but I imagine it is a good way to save some extra money.

Audra Krell 8:19 PM  

These are great ideas. The special treats are doubly special when they have been worked for like this!

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