Frugal Fridays: The Progressive Snapshot Program

Everyone wants to save a little money here and there, right? Especially on things we legally HAVE to pay for, like car insurance. Purchasing car insurance can be a giant pain in the ass: you have to search for hours and compare prices and hope the coverage is close enough so that the comparison is actually apples to apples. This blog is not about that.

I’ve been with Progressive for more than 5 years, and I’m pretty satisfied with their service, but this isn’t about that either. This is about their Snapshot program. (No they are not paying me a cent to write this.)

20160320_084425So what IS Snapshot? Well, it’s a device that looks like a weird, awkward USB drive. You plug it into your car and it sends data about when you drive, how long you drive, and if you make any hard breaks. You plug it into your car’s data port and drive normally. If you break too hard, it beeps at you to let you know, like that annoying back seat driver you know.

20160320_084405It comes in this cute little box with some paperwork. So I plugged it in, which was pretty easy. My port is on the underside of my steering wheel and easily accessible. I drove my normal route for a month. At any time I could log into my account and see my most recent trips. The report clearly showed when I was traveling and for how long, and how many hard stops I had.

snapshotreportMy one complaint is that the Snapshot’s “hard stops” are focused solely on deceleration speed, and don’t seem to take into account how fast you were actually moving at the time. So if you’re driving a mere 2 miles an hour (basically just coasting before even setting foot on the gas) and you have to stomp on the brakes it counts against you as a hard brake. Kinda silly.

snapshotdiscountAnyhow, apparently I’m a fairly decent driver, because after the first month I received a 7% discount on my policy! I’m supposed to continue to use the Snapshot throughout the policy term to get the maximum discount available. Now as you can see, I don’t drive very far for the most part. My commute is less than 7 miles each way, and I almost always drive during the day, and very rarely late at night. This works to my advantage here. The good news is, even if you’re not a great driver, your rate won’t go up, so the worst that can happen is…nothing. 🙂

I’m pretty happy with the program so far, and I’ll update as the policy period continues.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Recycled Protein Powder Planters

20160411_145356I…drink a lot of protein shakes. Hey, I work out a lot, people. Don’t be judgy. But the bad part of drinking lots of protein is having giant plastic containers left when you’re done. But, there’s good news, there, too, if you are frugal and you like to grown some of your own food. They’re the perfect size for planters!

You, too, can turn your used protein tubs into planters. And it’s actually pretty darn easy. Here’s what you need:

20160411_152512Not pictured: paper towels, soap and water.

The first step was getting that darned label off! I tried to peel it off, but that didn’t work very well, OF COURSE. But the adhesive remover did the trick. I saturated the remainder of the label, let it sit for a minute, then scraped it off.

20160411_135323This still left a residue, so I used some more adhesive remover and a paper towel to get it all off, then gave it a good scrubbing with some dish soap. I rinsed it and dried it.

20160411_140411Next, using a utility knife VERY CAREFULLY, I cut off the top of the tub. Isopure has a convenient seam I could follow. Tasty and helpful!

20160411_141408Now, you have two options. You can recycle the top of the tub if you want, or, if you want to help keep some moisture in your soil in the warmer months, you can flip it over and tuck it back inside like I did. I didn’t attach mine because I’m going to be using mine for herbs outside, but if you glued it in you could easily use this as a vase!

20160411_145407Look how pretty!

I plan on leaving mine plain because a) no one’s going to see them but me and the Hubs, and b) I’m going to be growing food in them and not pretty flowers, but you could totally decorate these any way you liked! I can imagine them painted or tied with ribbons. I may even make little chalkboard plaques to write the name of what’s in them.

Have you recycled and old plastic container like this before? Let me know in the comments!

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Gardening on a Balcony: Recycling and Seeding

I live in an apartment on the second floor, but I’m super lucky to have a pretty large balcony (6′ x 12′) and a nice view of a golf course.  We get a lot of great light so every year I at the very least grow some tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes, on a balcony! There’s nothing better than fresh off the vine, still warm from the sun homegrown tomatoes. Some years I start from seed, and some years I start from plants, it depends on if I get started early enough. I’m started a bit late this year because IT SNOWED IN APRIL but today I got my seeds started.

20160411_150050I’d been hanging on to this awesome plastic egg carton since mid-winter, and I was itching to use it to start my seeds. You don’t need any fancy equipment, and if you use the recycled cardboard egg cartons, you can plant the seedlings right in their tiny cup! I, however, had plastic, so that’s what I used.

I dampened some potting soil and layered it in the egg trays.

Then I set the seeds, labeling them with wooden clothespins (CHEAAAAP and you can reuse them as long as you don’t mind hanging your clothes with “scallions” clothespins).

20160411_145428Bingley, of course, stood guard while I worked.

20160411_152411Then, since it’s unseasonably chilly in April here in The Jerz, I brought them just inside so they could be in a warm, safe place. Now it looks dark here now, but we get morning sun, so I’ll prop them up on a box so it gets a nice amount of light.

Most of those seeds were from the dollar store, except for the tomatoes, and they weren’t expensive either. The most expensive part here was probably the potting soil, and since it was leftover from last year or the year before (last summer was not good for me) I can’t even remember how much it cost. I’ll need to get some more this year when I transfer these babies to pots!

Do any of you grow your own food in a small space? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned because I have another recycling planter project in the works!

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