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Five Frugal Things | Of FSAs, Insurance, Slow Shipping, and more

Last Thursday, I did miscellany, so this Thursday, it’s time for a Five Frugal Things post.   Saddle up, pardner!

1. I paid bills with our FSA card.

Our health insurance is a high-deductible plan, and it comes with a Flexible Spending Account card.   We put some pre-tax money onto the card every month, but Mr. FG’s company also loads it with some money, which is pretty nice.

Not my actual card, obv.

Not my actual card, obv.


The card hasn’t had enough on it to cover all of our medical expenses for the year, but we’ve been able to pay a fair amount of them with it, so, yay.

2. I paid our car insurance bill for the whole year.

Our car insurance company offers a discount if you pay for a whole year in advance, so of course, that’s what we do. 😉


I keep an account open at Capital One 360 for this purpose, and   money gets funneled into that account each month.   That way, we have the right amount to pay the bill when it comes once a year.

3. I got a refund for late shipping.

Mr. FG and I had to overnight a document for Saturday delivery a couple of weeks ago, and it didn’t get delivered until Tuesday afternoon.


Luckily, The UPS store was very nice about apologizing about the delay, and they refunded the whole $42.

I have nothing but good things to say about the customer service at The UPS Store…every one I’ve been to has been staffed with helpful, friendly people who do their best to take care of my needs.

(I’m not paid to say that, just fyi. The UPS Store doesn’t know me from Adam. 😉 )

4. I modified a dress for Sonia.

My kiddos are all rather slender, which means that sometimes often, clothes off the rack don’t fit.

So, although I’m not trained as one, I need to put on my tailor’s hat pretty often.

photo (3)

This time the problem was a sleeveless dress that was gaping on the sides by the armholes.   Luckily, this was a pretty easy fix, involving a new side seam that erased the gap.

5. I got two non-food things at Aldi.

You all know I love Aldi for the super affordable food they carry, but sometimes the non-food Special Buy items are pretty handy too.

(See some of my household items from Aldi here.)

Yesterday, I popped in to buy a few things, and found a hamper (Lisey’s been needing one) and a trash can (Sonia and Zoe have been needing one).



How about you?   List your own Five Frugal Things in the comments so we can high-five you!

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Friday 8th of July 2016

We're on vacation in Iceland.

1. We're eating almost all meals in our home exchange where we're also doing laundry for the price of detergent. Save cash for excursions! 2. Even still, groceries are outrageous, so we're indulging our always-picky five year old and letting him get his fill of grilled cheese at every. single. meal. We are on vacation. It's nice to see him just sit and eat without a fight or negotionation. 3. We reserved a car before we arrived and got a great rate. Now we can explore outside of Reykjavik without buying into a pricey tour. 4. Our souvenirs will probably be chocolate, volcanic rocks, and photographs. No pricey sweaters or cheeky do-dads. 5. We went on a whale watching tour today. It was worth the expense, and we happily avoided the gift shop and the snack bar.


Friday 8th of July 2016

Oh, how fun! I hope you guys have a wonderful time in Iceland.

Jody S.

Friday 8th of July 2016

My husband found puddle-jumpers at Aldi just when we were about to buy them somewhere else. Cheaper by several dollars at Aldi!


Thursday 7th of July 2016

Although FSA (Flexible Spending Account) and HSA (Health Savings Account) have some similarities they are two different things. It is true that for an FSA, you can spend the total for the calendar year before you have contributed it. So if you sign up to contribute $1000, you can spend it before it has been deducted from your paycheck. However, the disadvantage is that with most employer plans you must use the FSA money by year end or you lose it . About 2 years ago the IRS changed the rules a bit and now if the employer sets up the plan in this way, you can carry forward $500without losing it. (Another FSA secret is that is you quit your job and haven't put in all the money you committed to for the plan year, but you already spent all of it, your employer really can't do anything to recover what has been spent.)

An HSA is the type of medical spending account that is connected with what the IRS defines as a high deductible plan (usually $2,600/person or higher). The HSA is owned by the employee and is essentially a bank account that belongs to the employee regardless of whether the person stays with their employer or not. This is the type of account that employers often provide a match or other funding for, and the money the employer puts in belongs to the employee. Individuals can build up considerable balances in their HSA account and many accounts allow for tax free investment within the plan. (It has some of the features of an IRA.) Another advantage of HSA accounts is that they can be used for any expense after age 65 without a 10% penalty. (The penalty applies to younger folks who use the money for something other than allowable medical, dental and vision expenses.) You can only spend what is currently in your HSA account, not what you will put in during the plan year.

Kim from Philadelphia

Thursday 7th of July 2016

We have a super wonderful UPS store by us, too. The woman who's there most often is so great that this past December, in front of a packed store, I told her that she is one of the most helpful and pleasant people I've ever met! Then everyone cheered. Made my day!!


Thursday 7th of July 2016

This may be slightly off topic, but I saw something recently that said Aldi is expanding to add 500 stores (hoping Denver is on their list) and that they are switching all of their house brands to all organic! Apparently this includes the produce. Just wondering if anyone out there knows anything, and/or if they'll somehow be able to keep up the bargain prices once it's all organic.

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