Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!
I’ve bought my daughter a Leapster (sadly, no hand-me-down one for us). I read in your blog that Zoe received a Leapster game for her birthday and Christmas, so I am wondering whether you have any frugal Leapster tips! Here in Australia, Leapster games are $50 each at major department stores
Also, I know you wear glasses or contacts (like me – I have very bad eyesight) – do you have any tips for making new glasses and contacts more affordable?
Dear me! $50 for a Leapster cartridge is a lot (unless I’m missing something about how Australian dollars relate to U.S. dollars).
My best suggestion is to look online to see if you can get a better deal. I don’t know how shipping costs are for Australian, but could you order something from Amazon and save money? Or perhaps you could find some second-hand games on Ebay.
Or, if there are good yard sales in your area, perhaps you could find some Leapster items there.
Do you have Freecycle in Australia? Leapster items might show up there every now and again. And do you have children’s consignment stores in your area? The ones near me do sell some children’s toys, so they might have some Leapster games.
I do indeed have dreadful eyesight. I’ve needed vision correction since I was 6 or 7…I wore glasses until I was 14, and then I got contacts.
I currently wear soft contact lenses, and thus far, I’ve bought them through my eye doctor’s office. When I buy a year’s supply, I get a discount, but the main reason I buy through him is that I get fittings and adjustments if the lenses don’t work.
Last year, we thought we had the right lenses, so I bought a year’s supply, and a month later, my left lens wasn’t working for me at all. Something about the way my astigmatism lens settled in my eye was causing me not to be able to see properly. If I’d ordered my lenses through a third-party, I’d have been hosed, but since I bought them through my eye doctor, he was able to work something out with his supplier, and I got to exchange my un-used lenses for the proper type.
So, long story short, buying through my eye doctor seems to be the right choice for me because my eyes are somewhat complicated. If you have a simple prescription, though, it may be worth checking into prices online or at other stores.
As far as glasses go, I do keep a pair around because I don’t always have my contacts in. To save money, I keep my frames as long as possible, just exchanging the lenses when my prescription changes. You could probably save money by purchasing glasses online or at a discount store, but I get free glass lenses when I purchase my contacts, so it makes sense for me to get them at the eye doctor’s office.
So, I’m not super helpful with discounts for eyewear, I guess. I’m sure my readers will be able to offer some good suggestions, though!
I’ve been married for a year and a half and was wondering…when you and your husband were starting out what were ways that you saved on money? I’m still learning how to cook meals for my husband and I that taste great and are healthy but don’t take a ton of time. Any great meal ideas for two people that aren’t too time consuming? Also any thoughts for saving money for two 26 year olds?
When Mr. FG and I got married, we were definitely living on a lean budget. We rented a $400/month basement apartment, Mr. FG was working in a warehouse, bringing home $300/week, and I was teaching piano and working part-time at Nordstrom making $8/hour (that’s the only time in my life I ever worked for someone other than myself!). Because we knew we wanted to have children at some point and we knew we wanted me to stay home with them, our goal was always to live on Mr. FG’s income and keep my income as optional. So, we did our best to survive on only his warehousing income.
That was 13 years ago, so my memories of that first year and a half are a little bit fuzzy. I do know that we ate at home almost every night and that we spent very little money on clothing, entertainment, and any optional purchases.
Because of our frugal living, even on our meager income we were able to stay debt-free, pay for some significant dental work, pay off Mr. FG’s car loan, and save up enough money for a down payment on a townhome (we moved when we’d been married for 2.5 years, and Joshua was a baby).
If there’s one piece of advice I have for people who are in the before-kids stage of life (this reader didn’t say if they’re planning on having kids or not, though), it would be an encouragement not to waste these years financially. Usually, the before-kids years are less stressful financially, and so they’re a great time to build up some savings for the future. So, eat at home, forgo some new electronic gadgets, skip some movies, have potlucks at home with your friends instead of going out, and put that saved money in a savings account.
I don’t think any people have ever regretted building up their savings when they were young, but there are plenty who regret not having done that!
On the meals for two people front, I’d suggest cutting regular recipes in half, or making regular recipes and freezing half for later. Mr. FG and I ate a lot of stir-fries in those early years because they’re easy to make in a small scale, and they’re fairly cheap and healthy as well. Also, sandwich-type meals (quesadillas, paninis, subs, etc) are great for two people.
Readers, hopefully you can share some helpful eyewear advice, and I’d love to hear your input on the other questions too!
Today’s 365 post: Wondering why my vent cover is in the sink?
Joshua’s 365 post: My Stamp Collection