The beach is a great frugal place to spend time. Oftentimes the most expensive part of a beach is getting there, but once you are at a beach, you can have hours or even days of fun just using your imagination so pack your sand toys and let’s go!
An obvious choice is to go swimming.
or to go for a walk along the shore and leave footprints.
I find that little kids attention span and physical ability tends to limit them to more terrestrial activities such as building sand castles.
and building bigger sand castles.
If sand castles aren’t your thing, then maybe getting or burying someone in sand is more appealing.
You can get creative and become a Merman
or a merman at a sushi bar
Or you can drive a sand car around.
or fly your sand airplane.
Just be careful that the land sharks don’t get you!
While this post is written for iOS/iPhone there is likely a similar feature on Android. I do not know the step-by-step process for that system, but if you do please leave a comment.
Ugh… telemarketers and robocalls are the worst. You have just drifted off to sleep or sat down to eat when your phone goes off. You don’t recognize the area code, it must be a telemarketer. If you are like me, you find it infuriating, but what can you do?
I have had my phone number for about eight years now. I shouldn’t have to change my number to avoid getting called two or three times a day.
Do Not Call Registry
“The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls”
This government run consumer protection program lets you register your phone number with the FTC. Legitimate telemarketers will check the government list and avoid calling your number if it is on there. You can check if your number is registered or not by going to donotcall.gov
I checked my registration while typing this post and it said I registered on 9/2/2009, but the screenshot I posted above with all those telemarketer/spam calls was taken just this week. So what gives?
How to Block Robodialers and Scammers
While the Do Not Call list is great for stopping respectable companies, it does nothing to stop unscrupulous scammers. If you block one number they just call from a different one. You need some way to only allow known good numbers through. We can do that by setting up a whitelist.
Here is how I put an end to scammers on my iPhone 4S running iOS 9.
First, go into Settings > Do Not Disturb
Then turn on “Manual” and set “Allow Calls From” to All Contacts.
Scroll down and set “Silence” to Always.
There. Now only numbers in your address book can call you and make your iPhone make noise. All other phone numbers will be silenced automatically.
That is all well and good, but what if you need to get a phone call from someone not in your address book?
Extra Bonus Step
Let’s say that you are selling something on Craigslist and you want strangers to be able to text or call you. How can they, if you don’t know their phone number to add it to the whitelist?
The answer is pretty simple. We just need to setup a free Google Voice number that forwards to your phone. While that may sound tricky it isn’t too complicated.
Create or login to your Google account. Go to https://voice.google.com
From there you can setup a new Google Voice phone number. Then you link your existing phone number and set the Google Voice number to forward calls and messages to your existing phone number.
Finally, add your new Google Voice number to your address book on your iPhone. Now you can hand out your GV number to strangers without risking your primary phone number. The best part is that GV includes a spam filter.
If you ever do start getting bombarded with scammers on the GV number and Google doesn’t automatically filter them out, you can change your GV number for a small fee. Your family and friends will always have your primary number which won’t have to change.
How many scam calls do you get a day? Have you found any other solutions to getting rid of them? Leave a comment.
This Spring we started tomato seeds inside to try and get a head start on yummy produce. We’ve done seedlings inside before with mixed results. Last year we took them outside too early and the cold weather stunted them. This year they seem to be off to a much better start.
We started by using an old egg carton filled with dirt from our garden to start a dozen seeds. Nine germinated in our chilly house and we repotted those to pint sized plastic containers. Each time that you repot tomatoes, you want to set them deeper into the soil. The little hairs/fuzz along the stem will turn into new roots and make the plant stronger and more drought resistant. Yesterday, I repotted the plants a second time from pint containers to quart containers.
I like to wet the soil of the smaller container first to help the dirt stick together. You want to be especially careful of the tomato plant stem. If it breaks, the plant is a write off. Clip or pinch off any low leaves on the stem and bury the plant up to the first true leaves.
The rule of thumb is to repot whenever the tomato is 3 times taller than the diameter of the pot. By doing multiple repotting, you can develop a large and strong root system that will keep the tomatoes from splitting during hot summer days.
Starting seeds inside is a great way to be frugal. You can reuse plastic pots almost indefinitely. I looked up quart sized cherry tomato plants at one of our nearby big box stores and they were selling for $4/plant. We currently have seven plants at that size, so the seeds pay for themselves. In a few more months we should have an abundant crop of delicious cherry tomatoes!
I have some more interesting blog posts in the works, but for now here are some pictures from our lives.
Here I am firing up the grill on the first nice day of Spring. I’m also imparting some wisdom to Frugal Boy who is perched on a five gallon bucket.
Later that night, Frugal Boy put together his very first banana boat.
A few days ago, we voted in a local election. Our mayoral race was not close, but the neighboring town was too close to call with only a 7 vote difference between candidates with 35 absentee votes still waiting to be returned.
Also on the ballot were school board members, the folks responsible for 62% of our property taxes. They probably have the biggest ratio of taxes to media coverage of any elected official.
Frugal Girl tried out a smile for size. It is hard to believe that she is almost a month old.
Frugal Boy and I went to see the circus. I don’t think he’ll be running away and joining them anytime soon. It was a bit of struggle to keep him interested.