Thursday, November 21, 2013


Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Last year, about this time, I recapped what I'd found out over the year about saving money - a constant pursuit on Tortuga Flats. Now, let's see if the same is holding true this year.

Food. Years ago, I diligently combed the newspaper and junk mail ads for coupons and found that they did me little good. Even before we grew our own veggies, I gave some thought to what went in my mouth. Most coupons were geared toward packaged foods that we didn't eat. It's cheaper to make your own and much healthier. No change from last year.

Whether or not you grow your own or shop organic, you can often get deals in the fresh foods section. You might eat only bananas for a fruit that week or have squash as a side dish five meals in a row, but hey, you can save shopping the specials.

Our freezer is full of frozen squash, peppers and cabbage. Our jars of tomatoes and green beans are overflowing the cupboards. We have an extra refrigerator full of carrots. You can do the same even if you don't grow your own. Shop the sales, stock up when it's cheap and can or freeze.

Some grocery stores give seniors a discount everyday (such as New Frontier in AZ) or have one day a month for senior discounts (such as Frys in AZ).

Other Shopping. There are several stores that give veterans a discount. Be sure to ask. Some stores have  buyer rewards programs. Get the card. It's free. Build points and get $$$ off on future visits.

Hair. After paying around $150 a visit for the last few years, I tried to make some changes. I went the beauty school route and never paid more than $20 a visit. But I couldn't keep it up. The inconsistency drove me nuts and my color was...yellow. After a couple of attempts, I finally found a local lady that knows what she's doing. I'm still coming in under the $150. Last time it cost me $80. I just don't go as often.

Entertainment. This encompasses a lot. What we discovered still holds true, and I haven't found anything new this year.
Senior movie discounts - you can't beat $5 movies. That is the cost of our two theaters here. At restaurants, ask for your senior discount or the senior menu. Nearly every eating establishment has some sort of senior discount. Hey, a free drink is worth it! Hotels often have senior discounts too. Ask. If you're not a senior, then travel on the cheap days. Example: During the week, Laughlin, NV has hotels that charge $10-$20 a night compared to $45-$75 on the weekends. Parks, both state and federal have a couple of ways to save. Seniors get discounted lifetime passes. For $10 we get into any federal park. If you're not a senior, check on yearly passes which are much cheaper than paying for each trip.

Wherever you go, ask if discounts are available. Often, they aren't advertised.

A little disclaimer here on senior discounts. I'm lucky that Frank is always able to get them, but there are places that go as young as 55 for discounts. You have to ask.

Gasoline. We all look for the cheapest stations. Up here it's Maverick or Costco. Another way to get cents off is to trade at a supermarket that gives points. Safeway and Frys in Arizona do and have their own stations.

Charge card benefits. We charge most things and accumulate points. The trick is to pay the balance off every month. Don't charge if you can't pay it off. We've used our points for food, a Visa card for gasoline and gifts.

Sharing expenses. We couldn't do what we're doing if we didn't share a house and the land with my son and daughter-in-law. It's working for us so far. Financially it's a win-win.

I hope I've been of some help or given you some ideas!


  1. Hi, and you do have great tips! But the hair...I did cheap haircuts for forever--well, until the unwanted ones began appearing. Then I began the coloring. I figured I earned it and am not going to skimp there.

    1. I think I had the most trouble with color. That and having to switch stylists as they came and went. I like building a relationship with a stylist too.

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  3. Thanks for the money saving tips. Those always come in handy!

    Want to suggest that buying a dehydrator is also an excellent way to preserve food without having to worry about your power going out in a storm. I've dried both vegies and fruits and they last very well! I've made my money back on both the unit and electricity used - and the food tastes great!

    1. Right, Ashantay. It's on our list for the next purchase!

  4. Hi Bren,
    We are great Costco lovers here in Wisconsin. We buy our gas there 99% of the time. We have an executive membership so everything we purchase...3% goes toward our yearly rebate which in turn is more than the cost of the yearly membership. Have not paid for the renewal membership since joining 5 years ago. We find brand name products deeply discounted there as well and lots of organic choices on food. Great place to shop and it is about 1.5 miles from our home. Nice!

    1. Hi Chris! Nice on the 3% rebate. I am always surprised by how much organic you can find at Costco.

  5. Sorry I did not sign my is your friend Chris!