Once or twice a year for the past four years I’ve had the pleasure of hosting an online “Savings Challenge” here on the AARP website. Members of the Savings Challenge group – now more than 5,000 strong – compete in weekly challenges throughout the month-long contest, and then three overall winners are selected at the end of the Challenge.
Savings Challenges are one of the true highlights of my year. I get a sort of cheapskate high during them, like a combination of triple-coupon day at the supermarket, finding a hidden treasure at a yard sale, and putting on my summer shorts for the first time this year only to find a forgotten $20 bill in the pocket. Every time around I learn a lot from my fellow frugalistas, and we always have some cheap laughs along the way.
In the latest Savings Challenge which wrapped up at the end of April, I learned about how to “repurpose” everything from bleach bottles to gift boxes from Victoria’s Secret. Group members also shared some great stories about things they’ve scored at yard sales and thrift stores, and tips for how they found them (remember, “Always check the free box”).
We also had a lot of fun swapping stories about the oldest pieces of clothing we own – and still wear – and I was comforted to learn that the T-shirt I got at the Grand Funk Railroad concert in 1974 is still very much in fashion… if you’re a Savings Challenge member. The final week of the Challenge we shared tips and tales about spring cleaning, including how to decorate with free paint samples and how to keep track of things you donate to charity so you can deduct their value on your taxes.
The three top prize winners of this edition of the Savings Challenge were gailcats (3rd place), lizard40 (2nd place), and JeffW84 (1st place). It was JeffW84 who shared with fellow group members those immortal words of cheapskate wisdom, writing: “Ask not what to do with this junk, but ask what this junk can do for you.”
Thanks to everyone who participated in this Savings Challenge, and I hope to see you – and lots of new group members – next time around.