My bank has a coinstar that doesn't take a fee. It prints out the amount and you bring it to the teller to add to your account. Might be another option? Or use the gift card option without the fee. I do Amazon since I definitely use it.
But if I pay for groceries in cash I lose out on 6% AMEX cashback
I've never seen a coin slot like that in a grocery checkout machine. Ours are just tiny slits, one coin at a time.
this is actually a LPT I might use (though my bank has a fee-free coinstar-like machine, so I never pay the fee anyways)
You've done a fine job on your hair, but you've smeared your mascara something chronic...
still cant believe how expensive haircuts are for women, good job!
It's a hell of a mess!
It looks great!
I've been doing this for years. Luckily I have really curly/wavy hair, so any unevenness won't be very visible.
I only recently bought a hair-scissor though, and even though I only bought a really cheap one on ebay, it makes a big difference. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who's considering cutting their own hair.
That is a really great improvement. Now your kitchen looks modern and chic. The black looks so nice with the stainless appliances. Excellent choice.
Why didn't you paint the island?
We're doing the island today.
Rust-Oleum makes a kit... No sanding needed. It's s 4 step process, very easy however it does take some time. $75 for the kit... With everything finished you see in the picture we only used about half of what comes with the kit... That $75 will take you a long way.
How to Travel in Japan cheaply - quick notes.
I read a lot from people about how expensive Tokyo and Japan in general is... we went to several cities, saw lots of sights, and while I would say it is far more expensive than, say, Mexico or something, it was still really cheap. So I thought I'd put together some quick tips to save money while out in Japan:
Biggest expensive is the flight itself. Use Scott's Cheap Flights if you are a frequent traveler (or sign up for free and get occasional emails if not) to help find cheap flights to the country. We bought our tickets for $450 round trip.
Use hostels, APA Hotels, etc. Hostels are the cheapest way to stay in Japan, and they are quite nice. We stayed in several, and if you book early you can get some really amazing ones that are gorgeous for cheap. They also have the benefit of local knowledge and lots of flyers of local events coming up. We attended a festival our second day we had no idea was going on. We actually browsed on hotels.com as well, scored an APA hotel in Kanazawa for less than the price of both of us staying at a hostel--and it came with roof-top bathing. (EDIT: It has been pointed out that APA hotels may be owned by some unsavory people. Business Hotels in general, something APA is, are cheap nice hotels that get the job done, so if you want more ethical purchases, you might steer clear of APA.)
Pack LIGHTLY. A backpack should be the most you are carrying because there is LOTS of walking in Japan; if you want to visit several cities like we did, you'll have your work cut out for you. You can get taxis and such, but that's part of what drives the cost up, and you don't want to be lugging tons of luggage on trains either. Hostels have laundry services many times, so you can wash clothes during the trip.
Get a Japan Rail Pass. This is THE BEST way to tour Japan and it is super cheap for tourists to do so. Taking a bullet train from Kyoto to Tokyo takes literally ZERO more dollars thanks to this pass, you can flash it as you walk by like Leeloo Dallas. It can seem expensive up front, but once you get there and realize how much it would cost just to wander around Tokyo, you realize how cheap and valuable this thing is. (EDIT: There is a lot of controversy apparently about this pass! I absolutely found it worth while and worth the money spent. It took a lot of the "I need to plan everything right to spend my money accordingly" out of the equation, and I didn't worry about catching the wrong trains or if we could afford to go to x city last minute or not. If train travel is an anxious thing for you, I definitely recommend this as it makes everything much easier.)
Konbinis are everywhere. Convenience stores (shortened to Konbini) have cheap food and we mostly used these for breakfast (if the hostel did not have one) and lunches. We got dinner at ramen shops, street food, conveyor belt sushi shops, small mom-and-pop shops, chain curry shops, etc. but you can shave a lot off of your food expenses with these. They actually have LOTS of healthy food in them. Many Americans are wired to think 'gas station style' stop-and-gos are full of fried food... these have that, but also healthy sandwiches, onigiri, etc. We kept our food costs waaay down thanks to these shops. The key is, Eat Japanese Food. If you eat specialty foods they will cost more than bento boxes, onigiri, etc.
Gardens are everywhere, and free to do for the most part. Small donations are encouraged (and we always did) but it costs very little to go see gorgeous quiet gardens. If your travel buddy wants to see the hustle of Harajuku and the noise and crowd is just too much, a HUGE garden is literally across the street and is somehow instantly quiet.
Carry cash on you. You need lots of it in Japan, and everything is very much so still cash-based wherever you go.
There are cities that are less expensive than others too! Takayama, for example, is gorgeous, thriving culture and community with SO much to do, and it is far cheaper than the heart of Tokyo. You can even get a cheap Ryokan ($75ish a person vs over $150-200 as the standard price) there (look up Nomadic Nerd's article on it as that's how we found it) there and have a beautiful luxury evening and meals included. I think we would have spent more if we stayed in just Tokyo. Kanazawa has lovely Geisha and Samurai districts. Matsumoto has one of the oldest castles ever. etc.
Stay away from Tokyo's big tourist traps. Robot Restaurant, for example, is a big one, but there are a lot of tourist traps in Tokyo where those areas tend to jack up the prices. This is true for most tourist areas of course. (EDIT: Hahaha this was ALSO a big point of debate! Some people really liked the outlandishness of it all, some people found it uncomfortable. For me, definitely, the whole area it was in + the RR itself was awful and a waste of money.... Thoough, I more enjoyed the gardens, temples, street vendors, etc. So take it for what it's worth and try it out if it sounds good to you. Don't take my word for anything, I may have different tastes than you!)
The airports and train stations actually have some cool souvenirs. If you're waiting to buy souvenirs or seem to have forgotten some last minute, the airport (and the train stations) actually isn't totally overpriced like you'd find in the states. You can get insanely cute cakes and such that make great take-home souvenirs without having to carry them everywhere with you the whole trip.
If you're looking for a cheap Yukata or Kimono to take home, consider stopping by Chicago second hand store in Harajuku. I bought 2 yukatas for $20 each and 1 obi that matched both of the for around the same price. Tokyu Hands is an insane department store in Tokyo (EDIT: Rightly pointed out, not JUST in Tokyo, but there IS one in Tokyo) that has floors of cool gifts and stuff--I bought a couple terrific bento boxes from there.
If you have a job where you use pens a lot, consider buying some in Japan! Im a nurse, and use different color pens to help organize everything, and Japan had my back with awesome professional looking combo-color pens.
Anyways, that's all I got, feel free to add more here in the comments too!
EDIT: There absolutely IS a whole subreddit about traveling to this amazing country and I recommend checking it out before you go.
EDIT 2: People were asking about my budget.
It was $3,500 for 2 people for 2 weeks.
I only spent $2,500 in Japan itself including the flights.
The flights were $450 each from San Fran to Narita. A small part of why the flights were cheaper was because we got free flights to San Francisco from the East Coast (I have a friend that works in the airport and I did her a solid, so she repayed me with that.) However, South West has cheap flights in country in the US, and I would recommend catching a flight to the West coast and trying to fly to Japan from there to save loads of money on the flight. We were going to do this and book the flights for around $100-200 (I can't remember, somewhere between those numbers) one way when we got the free deal as an option. Still, $1,300 for both people to fly is pretty cheap! We did spend slightly outside of that budget in China, but we had overnight lay-overs in China 2 nights (one there, one back). I did not include that in here because we chose that lay-over over direct flights, and we could have slept in the airport, but opted to get out and sight see.
The hotels/hostels costed around $10-20 a night depending on where we stayed.
We spent around $10 (mostly close to $10) a day each on food. I count some odd ball luxury items food-wise as 'entertainment' if we were there for other purposes (historical site, or something like that) so some of that IS in our activities fund, but this is probably 10/14 days worth. Hostels with breakfast included FTW.
The JRP was ~$200 a person.
Regarding rail passes, research to find one that suits your needs (if you're spending a week just around Tokyo you don't need JR pass, for example). Pay attention to things like when it activates/expires (JR pass needs to be activated at designated locations such as the airport, 3-day Tokyo subway pass activates the first time you insert it at a gate).
If you do something like Airbnb check the listing for perks like free Pocket Wi-Fi. There are cheap international call options like loading Skype with a few dollars and calling through Wi-Fi.
EDIT: As an alternative/supplement to buying souvenirs, ask friends/family if they need anything that's cheaper in Japan (skincare products, exclusive amiibo/merchandise, duty free cigarettes, etc;) and have them reimburse you.
EDIT2: As others have kindly pointed out JR pass does not need to be activated immediately at the airport. Also, if it ends up being incompatible (like if it turns out to not be the best deal by some significant margin, or you bought the wrong kind, or there was a schedule change out of your control) don't redeem it at all to get a refund minus a small penalty (15% of the price?).
For the convenience stores and grocery stores, their lunch boxes are made fresh daily and start to be put on sale around 6,7pm everyday (starting at 20% or so and going up to like 70% as the evening continues).
Also, most restaurants will have lunch specials which are significantly less expensive than their dinner options, and will sometimes come as a set with soup, rice, and maybe a sweet. So, you can easily nab a discounted lunch box for dinner/breakfast and spend a bit more on lunch and try a lot of really typical Japanese foods.
As a frugal person living in Japan, this is my advice: 1. Be careful with conbinis, don't rely on them too much. Food is always more expensive there than at a supermarket. 2. Shop at Cosmos if you need any day-to-day items.
Cosmos is a large drug store chain found across the country. You can find almost everything there and it will always be cheap. If you need anything, try and look up google maps to see if there's any Cosmos nearby.
Japan is dirt cheap. People just do it wrong.
The ultamite frugal grocery list - what would be on yours?
Seasonal fruit and veggies, basically anything around $1/lb. A sweet onion, cillantro, pasta, rice, oatmeal, sugar, flour, a block if cheddar cheese, tomato paste, ground beef, breakfast sausage, eggs, tortillas, a loaf of bread, peanut butter, dry milk, cooking oil, vinegar, mayo, bologna, chicken base, and bulk bin spices.
I figure that's $30-35ish and it will make tacos, pb&j sandwiches, bologna sandwiches, salad & different types of dressings, pancakes or waffles, biscuits & white gravy, egg & sausage biscuit sandwiches, spaghetti, chicken soup, tacos, and cheese enchiladas at least.
Rice, beans, bread, american cheese and butter. Apples. Broccoli. Water (free). This covers all your food groups, vitamins etc with a few meals options so you are not eating the exact same thing.
An entire week of food for less than $20. This is how my husband and I lived for a year when we got married. When we had extra we would get chicken (beef was never an option - too expensive).
This list got rythem. Should be a song.
With time: baking basics such as flour, sugar, baking soda, cornstarch, etc. You can create pancakes, waffles, pita bread, sweets, and an endless amount of foods that you can freeze as well.
Rice, oatmeal, lettuce, potatoes, bananas, frozen veggies, seasonal bulk fruit, chicken thighs, whole chicken (use everything down to the bones for broth), pasta, beans, cabbage, carrots, eggs, cheese, curry paste, diced tomatoes, sardines, cucumbers (can also make quick fridge pickles), onions, Portuguese sausage, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, molasses, spring roll wrappers, bulk cereal, tea, soy sauce.
We did it!
As of last night (at about 11:15 local time) my wife and I are officially debt free! Just wanted to share and encourage everyone trying to get there. It can be done!
Good for you. Now take the money you were using for debt service and save it.
There are few better ways to start off a new year. Congrats!
My husband and I are debt-free as of this morning (well, technically tomorrow when the banks process our last payment). Happy debt-free 2018!
Yes time to head over to /sub/investing and start the next leg of your financial journey!
Getting to zero is my short term dream.
This is why I make my own student loans at home.
Nice. Well done. I still have the damn 60k looming over my head at 39
Hey you should get an Ally or Synchrony savings account they yield 1.25/1.30%a year, way better than Chase .01%
I could have used this info about 2 hours ago.
Haha I was thinking the same thing. Except "yesterday".
But how do you know how much paper to use?
Does anyone else love thrift stores?
A lot of people have shame in purchasing clothing and other stuff from thrift stores, but I don’t get why. It’s so exciting for me to find absolute treasures inside you’d never find elsewhere.
Fun fact: I got my Taylor Swift shirt at a Purple Cow for $2.
Don't think many people on /sub/frugal think it's shameful to purchase clothing at thrift stores.
Jeans, sweaters, coats. Things like that are practically silly to pay full price for.
My only issue about thrift stores is that I can and will spend an entire day in one because I know there's more cool stuff. Now if there was one with a small coffee and sandwich place inside, I would go there almost exclusively.
There is in fact A LOT of garbage in thrift stores, but with diligent digging and a bit of luck you can actually find something worth the effort. Every once in a while tend to find some art for $5 that can be flipped on ebay for $100+.
My one that got away was a set of All-Clad cookware for ~$50 (retail ~$500) that just needed a good scrubbing. I picked it up, then ultimately ended up putting it down. Was about 3 years ago, still regret that mistake a bit.
As far as clothing - there's something to be said about getting a new shirt. I'll hunt for deals at retail stores all day long, that's one category I generally avoid at thrift stores.
There's a Goodwill in Colorado Springs with a cafe inside. It's just the best!
There is an exercise where people write down everything they buy each day for a couple of weeks. A lot of people are shocked by what they spend.
The book Your Money or Your Life goes into this and you find out how much of your life energy is burned at work to pay for those things.
On top of what you spend, you need to add taxes. Not just sales tax, but your net income after you pay into Medicare an Social Security and so on.
Like the Chinese takeout that you got this with?
It was Poke, and I split one dish with my girlfriend, but yes, I do appreciate the irony.
That book title sounds like it’s going to hold a dagger at my throat and demand my coin purse as I walk the cobblestone road back home.