Saturday, December 29, 2007

Clearing the Way to Simplicty

Our adventures into simplifying our surroundings seems to be going quite well.

Today I had 2 freecyclers come by to pick up stuff. A few hours later my parents came by and picked up even more stuff. We're left 25 items lighter (not to mention some other re-freecycled stuff that I did not count) and it feels nice.

This Weeks List:

1-5 5 teen purses
6 pig bank
7 stuffed bear key chain
8 belt
9 gorilla
10 pooh purse
11 Game of Life
12 Battleship
13 Pottery Wheel
14 Pefection Game
15 Visible Man
16 Bopit
17 big bear
18 popison chair
19 large sticker
20-22 3 sets of beads
23 mini blinds
24-25 rugs
26 books
27 Compaq CD
28 7 Coupons (Nicoderm)
29-30 2 magazines
31 Sunshine Felt
32 pair of sweat pants
33 sweatshirt
34 Bag style purse
35-36 2 candles
37-40 3 candles (angel)
41 teddy statue
42 little lamb
43-44 Crystal S & P shakers
45 pin
46-48 3 wire statues
49 clip on sunglasses
50 Journal Jar
51 star box
52-55 3 coats



I'm not finding it hard to get rid of 7 things each week. It seems pretty simple now but I can just see us counting out 7 toothpicks by next November!! Seriously though, since December 1st, we're down 314 items. This is a great thing right??

I was thrilled to find a card reader (new) on Freecycle this week. This means I can upload photos soon so stay tuned!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Project 55 Week Fling is Underway!

I have my items for this week all gathered up. Funny how you can't just stop at 7 items.


1. Set of lantern style lights
2 - 6. 5 small picture frames
7. New Drink koozie
8. New set of markers
9 - 12. 4 dragon statues
13 - 14. 2 dragon frames
15. Dream Kit (a new item purchased a while ago. will be used as a gift
16 - 17. 2 bunny pot hangers

So 17 items out of the house this week. I call that a successful week. Photos coming as soon as I locate the camera cord.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It Is Just Stuff - Project 55 Week Fling

The Shopping Sherpa left a comment on my blog telling me about The Seven Things Spring & Summer that they are doing. It is based upon the The Original Seven Things Project but took into account the items that are being brought into the home.

This is a great project and one that we definitely want to undertake. That being said, I guess I should start with some personal guidelines. Please note that if you decide to play along, you should make your own guidelines to fit your family.

  1. Items will be sold, bartered, or given away. Only as a last resort will items be sent to a landfill. The only exceptions to this are items such as shredded paperwork or personal clothing items (panties, bras, etc).
  2. I will track my weekly progress in my blog and will add photos or information about the items if I have any attachment to them whatsoever.
  3. If something new comes into our home that is meant as a replacement for an existing item, the original item needs to leave the home ASAP.
  4. If something new comes into our home as an addition, other items may or may not be removed at the family's digression.
  5. Gift items coming in to our house do not necessitate removal of an item.
My plan starts this week (December 15, 2007) and will end on December 27, 2008.

Ridding My Life of Stuff

Hubby thought my idea of removing 2,008 items from 12/1/07 - 12/31/08 was too lofty of a goal. He thought a more realistic goal of 208 items may be better. I agreed, knowing that if surpassed, the goal could be adjusted.

And with that, we began December and I started purging.

Here we are, 12 days into the month and already I've met the goal. In fact, I have surpassed it. I will be honest here and say that I was clearing out a room and got rid of a lot of items that the children had outgrown or had never used. I thought it was important for another child to have a happy holiday season and donated items to both a friend of my mom's and to families on our local freecycle board.

Without further adieu, I give you my list.

Item Number Description To
15 Elmo Collection Mom's Friend Nora's Gkids
4 Clown pics Mom's Friend Nora's Gkids
1 Baker's Rack Freecycle
1 Stationery Kit Freecycle
1 monkey beaded curtain Freecycle
1 Yamaha Recorder Freecycle
1 Kid toy Freecycle
1 Spinning circle disk Freecycle
1 Sunglasses Freecycle
1 Sunglass cord Freecycle
1 Perfume Freecycle
1 passie Freecycle
20 baby clothes Freecycle
1 Lunch Bag Freecycle
1 Set of Checkers Freecycle
3 Books on CD Freecycle
1 log for internet Freecycle
1 key chain Freecycle
1 kid toy keychain Freecycle
2 small jewerly box Freecycle
1 travel alarm clock Freecycle
1 butterfly necklace Freecycle
2 toe ring Freecycle
1 digital organizer Freecycle
1 Reading glasses Freecycle
1 Glasses Case Freecycle
1 Sunglasses Freecycle
1 Bug massager Freecycle
1 heart lock Freecycle
1 monkey beaded curtain Mom's Friend Nora's Gkids
1 frog beaded curtain Mom's Friend Nora's Gkids
1 jacobs ladder Mom's Friend Nora's Gkids
1 mokey full of hair bands Mom's Friend Nora's Gkids
1 gel pen jounal Freecycle
1 set of kids paints Freecycle
1 Ello Kids Set Mom's Friend Nora's Gkids
1 Set of fuzzy dice Freecycle
1 LOTR Collector Set Freecycle
1 candle & holder Freecycle
1 candle & holder Freecycle
1 picture frame Freecycle
1 black paper notepad Freecycle
1 set of headphones Kit
1 FLUKE multimeter Freecycle
1 27" TV Shamron
3 puffie tail pieces Kit
1 box of mini dolls Kit
1 small bag of beads, etc Kit
1 Roly Kit Freecycle
1 Stuffed Raccoon Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
1 Gift Box Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
1 ottoman (air filled) Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
1 Cabbage Patch Kid Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
1 wine glass w/candle Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
3 bath products Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
1 large batch of hair ties Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
2 posters Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
3 stuffed animals Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
3 books Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
2 paintable drums Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
4 hat Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
2 misc dolls Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
1 set of hair clips Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
1 heart box Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
1 set of baby doll clothes Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
2 Coloring posters Bobbie Sue - Freecycle
6 sweatshirts Russ & Beth
5 Nice Sweaters Freecycle
6 pairs of shoes Freecycle
1 Scientific Calculator Freecycle
50 Books (or more) Kayla
1 Mushroom Chair Kit
6 pairs of pants Cheryl - Freecycle
3 pairs of capris Cheryl - Freecycle
4 pairs of shorts Cheryl - Freecycle
1 skirt Cheryl - Freecycle
14 Shirts Cheryl - Freecycle

This totals 218 items!!!

I found, via a reader, the "7 Things" Project. I am going to be looking into that today. It may be a nicer way to go about this. Who knows, perhaps I could start my own project - "The Ten Things Project" because I love a challenge!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December!

Wow, we are already 5 days into December! I have had a busy couple of days helping friends move. We've also done some rearranging around here as well.

My friend gifted me with a nice armoire. We are going to use it in the "Whimsy Room" (what I call the bedroom that I use as an office and artspace where the children also sleep while visiting here) to hold the girls' clothing. They had a long buffet in there that I purchased for $30 back in June. I was able to re-sell it for the same $30 to another friend of ours.

As some people are thinking about holidays and spending tons of money, I am trying my hardest to have a lean December. My husband's family has decided to have a gift exchange where we draw names. The gift should be in the $10 price range. I am going to put together a small basket for the girl whose name I have (my nephew's 17 year old girlfriend). Jack has to get a gift for his nephew and I'm unsure what we can do for him. If you have any ideas for a 17 year old boy, please let me know.

My family is pretty simple. I buy for my mom & dad. Dad already has his gift - a TomTom. My mom? I think she is going to get something hand made by me. I may draw something for her and frame it nicely.

My goals for December - Spend as little as possible on gifts. Remember that it is the THOUGHT behind the gift, not the gift itself. Get my finances back on track. Cook meals at home every night. Plan life and make it wonderful!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Relaxation Has Its Price - FREE (or nearly)

I'm sure that many of you know that I suffer from Fibro. This winter has been extra hard on me. It is not yet truly cold out but what cold there has been is burrowing deep into my bones.

The past few days, after I take my evening medications, I have been spending around twenty minutes in my hot tub. This allows me to relax beyond any shower or bath ever could. After soaking, I snuggle into my terry cloth robe and settle into the couch for a little computer time. By the time I'm ready for bed, my body is so relaxed and I am able to fall asleep more easily. Believe me...this is a huge feat. I currently take 3 medications just to aid in sleep.

You may be asking how a hot tub can be frugal. If the extra sleep and as a result, the better health is not good enough, I also got the hot tub for free and the chemicals for quite a bit below cost.

The hot tub was one I found on Craigslist for free. It needed a small bit of work which my husband, a certified pool and hot tub person, gladly did for me. The chemicals were bought off of someone on one of the local yahoo groups. Her hot tub died so I got the chemicals for 1/2 of the price. I offered her 25% below her asking price with a guarantee of picking up that evening. She agreed and we were both happier.

It really helps to surf around on the web. I found the hot tub by being at the right place at the right time. I found the chemicals the same way.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Compacting in 2008

We are planning to participate in The Compact for 2008. Our initial goal will be 6 months. I have talked to hubby about this and we are in agreement that this will be our year to simplify our home and our lives.

We will also be taking on a crazy goal of getting rid of 2008 things in 2008. I am not sure if we will be able to achieve this goal but it will definitely be a fun challenge!

I've started my simplification already. I've removed a lot of 'friends' on my Live Journal and a few communities as well. I feel that a smaller, more intimate group of readers over there is for the best. This blog is my 'public' forum and as such, I know I have a potential for a larger reader base here. **Though right now, I wonder just how many people read this!**

Anyway, I think I will start planning my holiday gifts tomorrow. This weekend is when I need to get down to business and get started. There isn't much time left and I want to have a mostly homemade holiday. So, if you have suggestions for homemade items that don't "look" homemade, please leave me a comment!

Have a great day

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Free" Money

Hubby replaced an a/c pack unit at work. The old one worked fine, it was just too small for the home owners. They gave it to Hubby to dispose of and rather than toss it, he brought it home. I put it up on Craigslist and today it sold for $400! That makes me so happy. Not only did we save it from the landfill, but we also made some money off of it. Horray!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another Year Older

Saturday brought my birthday and nice gifts from my thoughtful mother, grandmother, and husband. I truly love that my mom allows me to pick out the gift she will be getting for me. I'm allowed to pick out something that would be truly useful.

This year she purchased a very expensive set of artist quality colored pencils for me (120 count Prismacolor Premiere) that is valued at $110 or so. We got a brand new set on ebay for $63 with shipping. These will allow me to create a lot of nice artwork!

Hubby got me a toy & a new stove! He was able to do this because he got a nice side job. I'm grateful for all of my gifts. It makes me happy to know that my gifts, while expensive, did not come from our household budget.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Working for a Living

On Monday I started my new job. Who would have thought that 4 hours sitting at hubby's desktop coter would make me so exhausted? I would much rather be on my laptop all day. Once we get my computer hardwired for internet, rather than using the wireless connection, I will definitely consider using the laptop.

Hubby has been working so much that when he finally gets home we just grab fast food for dinner. Our spending habits HAVE to change and soon. We're eating too much junk food.

Back. on. task. is the word of the day.

November is a new month and we will be making some changes in this household!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We were out at a local park camping for the weekend at a festival. I came home sick and am trying my best to recuperate before I start my job training on Monday. I'm getting excited about the new job. It is going to be nice working from home and working with others who have chronic illnesses and/or a disability.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eating to Live

I seem to focus much of my time on my financial diet, yet my time may be better spent on my food diet. To put it plainly, I eat too much, eat the wrong things, or eat at the wrong times. What is wrong with me? I know better. For my health, I am better off eating mini meals. I have done this in the past with great success. I must get my butt in gear.

I know that I will never be skinny. My physical limitations and genetic makeup make things harder for me. I have accepted this and will move on. However, I would like to FEEL better than I have lately. My entire system has been really messed up lately. Something is going to change.

Starting today, I will try to eat mini meals every 2 hours. I will also do my best to drink more water (I love water, I just forget to drink sometimes). Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Finding myself spending W-A-Y too much money on JUNK this week. My goal for this upcomming week is to curb ALL spending. I have to get groceries and I'm sure I will need gas this week since I'm taking my neighbor to the hospital for her surgery on Monday but other than that, I'm freezing my personal spending. No sodas out, no junk food runs, no fast food because we are too lazy to cook. It is all gone.

Today is going to be all about getting the kitchen back in order. My kitchen/dining room area is one BIG long room. At one time there was carpet in the dining room and paneling on the walls (ick) in an attempt to define the spaces. However, the previous owner flipped the house and put in ceramic tile throughout and we covered the paneling with the wallpaper that you can paint and painted the two areas the same color. I do have a roll around counter with storage under it that I use to define the rooms a bit.

Anyway, I said all that to say that when the kitchen is a mess, I cannot be creative in the dining room. My crafts are housed on one wall in that room. I need to do yet another load of dishes, clean the countertops and do a bit of rearranging. I also need to do a few loads of laundry.

Other than these tasks, I have little to do this weekend. Yay for the simple life!

Friday, October 12, 2007

19 Days til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween

Bonus points to those of you who remember that jingle! While I hated the Halloween movies, the jingle from the 3rd movie has stuck with me all of these years.

Wow What a Week!

It has been a pretty busy week. I'm ready for some relaxation but I am not sure I will get any before Sunday!

This week I had to complete all of the paperwork for my new job. Telecommuting makes doing paperwork a little more challenging (to say the least) so it took a while to get it all ironed out. It looks like I will be starting my training the first week of November.

I was supposed to babysit for KK and her little brother on Monday & Tuesday while school was out for fall break. KK ended up getting sick over the weekend so she was here most of Monday before going to the doctor with her mom at 2:00. They had a scare there & had to go through more tests on Tuesday (including an ultrasound of her kidneys). Thankfully KK received a clean bill of health on Wednesday.

Monday afternoon, while I still had KK's little brother (age 4) with me, my friend S called to see if I could take her to the ER. She has been having some ovary issues (one remaining ovary is now enlarged to 5 times the normal size) and the doctor sent her to the ER. We were there until after 7.

On Wednesday, my friend G & her teenage daughters decided that we would help with the local Jaycees' haunted house. It begins tonight and is Friday & Saturday nights until Halloween week when it is all week leading up to the BIG day!

Yesterday, I went to G's house to pick up her daughter and take her to fill out an application for a job. That took most of the day but hopefully C will get the job and all will be good.

Today looks like it is shaping up to be another busy day. I'm up early to take S to get her blood work done in preparation for surgery on Monday. When I get home, I need to get household work done and rest before going to get G's daughters. We have to be at the Haunted House at 5:30 to prepare for tonight. It should be fun!

Monday, October 08, 2007

I just joined Pay Per Post!


This week my blog was approved for Pay Per Post. I had joined a few months ago but never finished getting my blog listed for approval. Frugal Disney Mom posted a few days ago that she had joined and that spurred me into action. I went over to their site and after a few minutes, I had myself all set up and had submitted my blog for approval. Imagine getting PAID for blogging? I knew that I would LOVE making extra money by writing about things. Obviously I have a lot to say!

The basic premise behind Pay Per Post is that you post about the ideas presented to you by the sponsors. After your posts are approved, you are paid either via check or paypal. Of course, I chose paypal since it will allow me to accurately track my earnings.

I hope that I will be able to use the money I receive from Pay Per Post to supplement our income. All funds will be divided in half. Half will go to credit card bills immediately. The other half will be put into our savings account so that we can once again build up our security buffer.

I am really looking forward to this opportunity. Having the extra money will be nice however, for me at least, I can use this opportunity to learn more about products and services that are being offered. Who knows, I may be able to learn about something new!

If you have not yet joined, I recommend that you head over to Pay Per Post and get paid to blog!

Good News

I got a job! I am thrilled to say that I have been offered a position working from home (not as a contractor, but as an employee). I will be working for NTI. They only hire people with chronic illness or disabilities to do work on various contracts that they maintain.

I will be making pretty decent money working part time seasonal. If I'm very good, I may be able to get one of the year round slots.

I am so grateful to have been able to get this opportunity! When I lost my job as a direct result of my medical issues, I was determined to find a legitimate work from home job. It took 5 months but it was SO worth it!

I'm doing the paperwork today. Training should be starting soon!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Digital Photos

Who do you use to print your digital photos???

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Technorati

I set myself up with Technorati today. ( Technorati Profile ). I am not 100% sure how it works but it seems like a good way to get some traffic on my blog.

No Good Deed Goes Unnoticed

It has always been my belief that one should always do what they can for those around them. I am a true believer in Karma. I always do my part to help out those around me. While I don't get immediate repayment, I do get the satisfaction of knowing I helped someone in need and that, when the time comes I will get the help I need.

In the past few weeks, I have taken a neighbor to the hospital, pharmacy, and doctor several times. She is dealing with some pretty severe medical problems right now and will be having surgery this month.

I have also helped a dear friend through a financial crisis. While I won't divulge the situation, I will say that she is now on the road to financial recovery.

I have lent out a spare computer to a friend so that she could get on the internet (borrowing another friend's connection) while she is without cable/dsl at her house.

I don't really think about what I do really, I just do what needs to be done. It isn't until someone brings it to my attention that I notice. It appalls me to know that my behavior is not the norm.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Shopping Online

The holiday’s are coming. Before you know it, you will be surrying around looking for gifts for the kid’s (and big kids) in your life. This is where the people at Shopping.com come in.

Their electronic toy selection is quite large and they even have some obscure items. I’m pretty sure that Hubbyman would love to have a De Fib Ulator Portable Lie Detector! Can you imagine how fun that would be at parties?


Another great item that I found was Kid’s Computer Desk. I love the bright colors and the sturdy construction.

Shopping from home is so important for me. Having FMS makes going to stores some what taxing on my body. Using the computer and going to companies like Shopping.com makes life much easier!

Selling Myself

I'm am going to start selling my art. I am sure that I will be able to sell them. I was set up at a local festival last weekend and I got a lot of interested parties. We are going to another festival the weekend of October 20th and I plan to sell out there!

Green Thinking

From time to time I will do something that I consider to be normal and then when analyzing it will find that it is quite abnormal.

Today I spent 15 minutes watching television and cutting up 5 t-shirts into various sizes of rags. I used the discarded neck bands to tie them into 3 bundles. It is quite normal for me to grab a rag from under the sink to clean up most any mess, even the icky ones.

For example, our Husky threw up yesterday after eating more than his share of grass. I scooped up most of the mess in one rag and threw it away (after all, I have nothing invested in them). I used a second one to clean up the floor more thoroughly. The second one was rinsed and placed in the dirty clothes hamper.

In our family, one roll of paper towels will last for months. Paper napkins will too as we use cloth 99.5% of the time. I don't find this to be odd but apparently it is not the norm. When company comes over, they ask for paper towels or napkins and when I say we don't use them, I get the strangest look!

Back on Track

Hubbyman started a new job last week. This means we will have an income coming into our household again soon (pay is bi-weekly). It is going to take us a while to catch up and feel financially stable again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Getting a Routine

I really feel that I need some sort of routine. Since hubby has been home, it has gotten even worse. I have not been getting up on time or doing anything on any sort of schedule.

I think that hubbyman is getting stircrazy and that is making me on edge as well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, Sept 10-16, 2007, www.invisibleillness.com

I don't know if I've mentioned this here before but I have a chronic illness. Invisible illnesses are far more common that one may think. 96% of the chronic illnesses are invisible. Mine is. FMS (Fibromyalgia) is a debilitating illness that slowly robs me of my energy and in essence, my life.

If you have a friend with an invisible illness, I encourage you to support them however you can.

September Already?

We are 1/3 of the way into another month and I have not yet posted. It isn't that I don't want to post, it is merely that I haven't much to say about my life. We're moving along at a snails pace around here. Our bills are paid for the month and we're hoping that hubby will get a job before this month is out. I'm grateful for this.

I'm going to concentrate on being frugal and on filling my blog with tips & tricks that I have learned over the years.

Friday, August 31, 2007

On Family Vacations

School has started back for most of the United States. Soon Halloween will be here and before you know it Thanksgiving and Christmas will be upon us. Holidays almost always mean travel and travel with kids can be "interesting", to say the least. Finding family friendly hotels is hard enough without having to think about the activities that you will do while on vacation. That is where Kango comes in.

While I have not used Kango myself, I can say that if we were to plan a family vacation in the future, we would certainly check them out!

We like to plan our vacations in the off-peak months since it is easier for Hubby to take off of work. It would be great to be able to plan a trip that is interesting and fun, not only for the kids but for the adults as well!

While planning your next vacation, I hope you will check out Kango too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Could things be looking up?

Hubby went out on two interviews yesterday. The second one was very good and they sent him on to interview with their regional maintenance supervisor. He really wanted to be in more of a job with an HVAC or other maintenance company but at this point, I'm sure he will take whatever he can get.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Keeping on Track

We had a few opportunities this weekend to "splurge" and go out to dinner. However, we were strong and resisted the urge. Instead of going out to lunch Saturday with the inlaws, we bought lunch meat and bread before they arrived. We served sandwiches, chips, and iced tea. Then Sunday we ended up running an errand that took longer than we anticipated. We were walking through Target at 6:00 and were starving! We resisted the urge to go out to dinner. We did get a candy bar each but I think $1 is a lot better than $15 or $20!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Free is Nice

My folks came over tonight so I could sign some paperwork for them and mom could pick up some stuff I'd gathered for her sunday school class. They treated us to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. A free meal is very nice, especially when money is not flowing very freely.

Hubby went to the Evil Empire tonight to get some fabric softener and a mouse since his went kaput. He did not read closely and got fabric softener that is not concentrated. It was a big bottle but only 32 loads. The bottle I normally get is about 1/2 the size and is 72 loads. I'm going to pour this into the concentrated bottle and see if I can get away with using less. I happen to love fabric softener scent in my clothes and feel that it will be one of the last things I would ever give up. I'll be sure to come back to this subject and see how many loads I'm actually able to get out of the bottle.

We are still using the free Mexican detergent that hubby got from his work back in May. We still have enough left for another 6 - 8 months or more. I love that we're getting our clothes cleaned for a lot less.

I picked up 2 bags of clothes from Freecycle last night. All are name brands (Lane Bryant, Old Navy, etc) and 85% of them were my size. I have a bag full to share with a friend and another outfit for a second friend. I love getting free clothes!

I gave away some things on Freecycle this week as well: two pairs of name brand shoes (youth AMD and Nike brand) and two pairs of jeans. One little boy hugged me and told me that the shoes were his "dream shoes". Isn't that adorable?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yesterday I received some nice items from Freecyle: a large trash bag full of tshirts and 3 boxes of Mason jars. After hubby brought the shirts home, I went through the bag. I was thrilled with all of my "new" shirts and tried a few of them on right then and there.

I was left wondering why people don't love getting free clothing as much as I do. The joy I felt from my free clothes is not greater that the thrill one would get from those purchased. If fact, I think that I'm more in love with my free shirts because I have nothing invest in them. These are all very nice shirts, most are name brands from "mall stores" or new looking Haines Her Way tees. I saved at least $20 on these shirts (as compared to buying shirts for myself at $1 - $2 each).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I hate when I have bouts of insomnia. It is awful for me on many levels. I end up exhausted the next day, I cannot function, my pain levels increase, and I'm stuck suffering from horrible headaches.

Last night was one of those nights. I take two medications each night to help me sleep, both prescribed by my rheumatologist. Last night they did not work. I was up until after 3:30 this morning and woke up, unable to sleep, at 7:30 this morning. Sleep continues to evade me, napping has not happened, and I am barely functioning.

Bless his heart, hubby is making dinner and taking care of me so that I can rest. After dinner, I will take my customary medications and will add Ambien to the mix with the hopes of getting some sleep tonight.

Sometimes I really hate Fibro!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

An Overdue Update

Life is continuing on in the way that it always seems to. Hubby & I are settled into life without the kids here full time. He is looking for a job and working on getting his vehicle up and running (thank goodness he is getting unemployment). I've actually put out a few resumes myself. I'm not sure I physically can handle the whole full time job with a commute thing again but you've got to do what you've got to do.

I'm grateful for the fact that we are able to earn money to pay the bills. I trust that hubby will find a job soon and that things will return to their normal madness. :) Until then, we're scrimping and saving and making due with what we have even more so than before.

I'm going to start selling my artwork as well. I draw a lot of faeries and mythical pictures. Several acquaintances have been very impressed with my drawings lately and have suggested that I sell them at area festivals, SCA events, and online. I am going to give it a try soon. In preparation for this, I've been drawing a lot more lately. Today I did a belly dancer and a green man. I hope to get them painted and ready soon. My goal is to have 2 done per day so that by September 15th I can order prints and get them ready for sale.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Paying for the Past

We have some very old bills from hubby's past (as in 1982) that are biting us in the proverbial rear. We are paying two of them in full this week along with a down payment on a third. In a week we will have two more to pay off. The largest one will be there for years and there is little that we can do about it. At least we are doing something to eliminate the problem.

We learn in life and I hope that hubby has learned a major lesson here so that we can move on and move forward.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Financially Speaking

We spent $15 at thrift stores on Saturday and another $20 on supplies for a picnic I attended and sinus pills and deodorant.

Sunday, we went to lunch with my mom ($15) and then Hubby did a side job for a friend of theirs.

Monday, we went to lunch ($20 OUCH) and got fuel ($40). That day DID not go well.

Today, hubby has gone to get cheese and fruit ($7)

Goal - Spend $0 the rest of the week on eating out or other JUNK!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday's Financials

Total Spent today - $12.12
MTD Spending - $12.12

We went to Sam's and picked up milk ($2.70 - cheapest place around), two packages of turkey breast & two loaves of french bread.

Dinner was a freebie. I had a bad experience at Taco Bell so they sent me a free coupon for 2 menu items. We got taco salads. They are really expensive (nearly $6 each) and not that great, in my opinion.

Going Green(er)

I am taking babysteps toward living green(er). We do a lot of stuff already but I feel a conviction to do SO MUCH MORE.

  • We use cloth napkins instead of paper
  • We use dish towels/rags instead of paper towels
  • We use baking soda and other natural cleaners (need to do even more)
  • We hang dry all tshirts, work shirts, & anything stretchy. (need to start hanging other items)
  • We live in a smaller house than many of our peers
If you have any tips or ideas or would like to share what you currently do, please leave a comment!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

August: Making Changes

So far, I've spent -$0- this month, though I must remember that today is only the 2nd! I do need to do some grocery shopping but I'm trying to use up things in the fridge first.

I have earned an additional $20 from selling some old software online. It isn't much but every little bit helps.

Speaking of using things up, for hubby's lunch today I gave him the last of the cottage cheese on a bed of romaine (wilted but usable) and added some cut up peaches. It looked very appetizing and used up some of the stuff in the fridge.

For dinner, I'm making a stir fry with leftover steak, frozen veggies, and rice.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

August Already?

I really haven't done much this week. Now that the girls are gone, things are so very different here. It is quiet. Things stay where I put them. We are going through a lot less food than we were with two growing teenagers in the house. It is quite an adjustment.

My laptop hard drive has a glitch in it. If hubby is unable to recover it, I will have lost all of the photos I took this summer (over 1,500), not to mention all of the other things in my "My Documents" folder. Lesson learned here - don't let photos sit on a hard drive without backup. I'm praying that this stuff is all cleared up soon.

Our water bill was $60 this month. OUCH! I think we've had a raise in rates. I will have to check that out.

Feeling very sad lately. Depression is not a pretty thing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Frugal Birthdays

Today we attended the 1st birthday of a friend's son. This little boy is my "fairy godchild" and I love to spoil him. I wanted to have nice presents for him, something that would not stand out as being "cheap" when compared with those spendthrifts in the crowd.

On Wednesday I sat down and drew an artist trading card of a dragon for him. I scanned the artwork and sent it to Walgreen's where I had an 8 x 10 and a 4 x 6 made. Total cost with tax was $3.50.


Today I went to a yard sale and was fortunate enough to find two nice learning toys (Leap Frog toys) for 25 cents each. I also found a VERY nice frame with matting (had a picture inside of it that I removed) for $2.00. Batteries for the two toys cost $2 at Dollar Tree.

We cleaned up the toys with a magic eraser (I love those things!) and inserted the batteries. I created a little limited edition label for the back of the picture to make it look more professional. It looked REALLY nice.

Total invested into this gift was $8.00. I did not get a good photo of the gift before I took it to the party, however, this shows the birthday boy (& part of his mommy) with the gifts.

Summer's End

We have one week left of summer vacation with the girls. They go back to their mother's house in 7 days. This means making the most of the upcoming week. It makes me sad to think of them returning to their mom's house, especially since we will only see them about once every 6 weeks or so. I guess I have to remember that like all things, this too shall pass. Life goes on and we will once again get back into the normal routines of life. I'm sure that soon my blog will once again return to its normal frugal-ness. Until then, enjoy the last of your summer!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Somewhat Professional Pictures


I took the girls to Chatanooga this past weekend for my great uncle's 80th birthday party and a mini family reunion. The pictures above were taken at the rest area at the top of MontEagle. The pictures looked professional so I uploaded them to Walgreen's and got wallets made. For $2.00 I got 8 of each pose to send to family members. That is a lot less expensive than taking them in for professional pictures.

I think I may have loosened my thrift belt a little TOO much this past few weeks with the kids here.

Our utility bill came. Gas & electricity for the month was $203! I know that it has been a hot summer but that is crazy! I need to see about getting a few things in order so that our bill is not that high again.

One thing I want is a timer for showers. I would like everyone to take 7 minute or less showers. The kids are taking 20 minute showers every day. Since I don't want to upset them, I don't normally say anything about it.

Another thing I have to do is make a makeshift drying rack. Hubby says he is going to put up a clothes line in the backyard but until he does, I need to do something.

I hate feeling like the utility company is getting all of my spare cash. It is time to do something about it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Something to Think About

"Some people think they have bad luck when the real problem is that they took bad chances."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Where have I gone?

The girls got here safe and sound on Sunday. It has been a very chaotic week trying to allow them to get acclimated to our house and our rules. Nothing bad, it is just that our rules differ from the ones that they follow at their bio-mom's house.

Earlier in the week, we took a walk to the park. Well, it really is the playground for a now closed elementary school, but it has monkey bars and swings so that makes the kids happy.





I took Rhiannon to Aldi's with me on Monday night. We got two weeks or more worth of groceries for $109. She was shocked by this as her mom spends more than that on dinner food only for one week. Of course, I need to run out and get bread and milk this week but that is about it.

Yesterday I took a neighbor to the doctor. This was a major act of kindness since I do not know her at all. We had to wait 4 hours in the office. It was a long morning. We were able to get into the pool yesterday afternoon. It was the first time we've been in during the day. Of course, being the kind of person that I am, I took a few pictures!




Thursday, June 14, 2007

3 Days & Counting


I have been so busy this week. In order to make more room in the house, I had to sell my desk. While I liked the desk, it was not the end of the world. Especially since we had been given the desk, a nice Thomasville piece, over 7 years ago for free. It was a piece leftover after they remodeled the local Ronald McDonald House. The desk traveled from TN to FL and back again with us and has served us well. We made $55 off of the sale so I am happy.

Our new glasses came in the same evening so after finalizing the sale, Hubby & I had to jump in the car and drive into the city. It was late before we got finished and we ended up grabbing dinner out. This was NOT the plan, however, it was justified by Hubby since the money was actually from the desk.

Because we sold the desk, I had tons of rearranging to do. I went through and re-organized my crafting items and was able to get rid of two boxes full of stuff. I freecycled these boxes to a homeschooling mom of 6 who I know can and will use them.

Today I have to finish rearranging the stuff in the girls' room. This should not be too difficult but tedious as I'm going to have to get rid of some of their older items.

My neighbor is having a yard sale next weekend so I may put a few things in there - such as the VHS Disney movies - we have all of them on DVD now so the tapes are just taking up space.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Countdown to Kids


The girls will be here in 6 days. I'm running around trying to get everything done around here. The above photo was taken of the youngest in 2003. She was searching for fae folk.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Doing the Math - Meals on Sunday June 10, 2007

Breakfast - Nothing for either of us
Lunch - The last of the sloppy joe mix for me with a dollop of sour cream - $0.10. Hubby has not eaten as he was at work and too hot to eat. He did have a bottle of gatorade $0.50
Snacks - 2 ice cream sandwiches - $0.17 each
Dinner
- Salad made with iceberg, romaine, and spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, & cheese. Topped with chicken tenders and salad dressing. - $6.50


Total - $7.44 This still leaves leftover salad for tomorrow. We like having leftovers.

LOL Challenge - Spending

Friday - $0
Saturday - $12 at yard sales where I got 2 gift items, a sheet set & duvet cover for the girls room, 2 outfits for the girls, 4 pairs of sandals, a keyboard for hubby, a curtain for our bathroom (block the sun & save on a/c cost)
Sunday - Bills only (electric/gas bill, water bill & phone bill due today) - $270

Doing the Math - Meals on Saturday June 9, 2007

Breakfast on Saturday was a English muffin for me - $0.25, Jack had a chicken sausage on bun - $1.00

Lunch was leftover sloppy joes for both of us - free

Dinner was $0.88 pizzas for both of us with added cheese and oregano - $2.26


The total for our Saturday meals was $3.26!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Doing the Math - Meals on Friday, June 8th

Breakfast today was 2 bananas ($0.25) & a glass of milk ($0.50) for me. Hubby does not like breakfast, however, he does drink soda each morning ($0.25). Total = $1.00


Lunch for both of us was a microwave burrito ($0.25), some cucumber slices (0.50), and some ranch dip (0.25) Total = $1.00

Hubby drinks a lot of tea and water during the day. We figure that it costs us roughly $0.25 for two quarts of tea. He drinks about $0.75 worth of tea each day Total = $0.75

I am going to start "doing the math" on our meals. Tonight I fed Hubby & myself, KK had half of a potato, and we have enough sloppy joes for lunch tomorrow AND about 18 half potatoes left for later meals.

Sloppy Joes -
  • 1 pound of ground meat - $1.50
  • 1 packet of seasoning - Free (from the free grocery thing) but if I had bought it, we would have spent $0.50
  • hamburger buns - $0.50
Total for Sloppy Joes - $2.50 or $0.42 per sandwich (with the full cost of the freebies)

Twice Baked Potatoes -
  • 5 pounds of potatoes - $2.00 (26 halves)
  • Container of sour cream - $1.50
  • Cheese - $0.50
  • Real bacon bits - Free (from the free grocery thing) but if I had bought it, we would have spent $0.50 for 1/3 of the bottle
Total for Potatoes - $4.50 or $0.18 for each half (with the full price of the freebies)

This means that dinner cost $7.00

Our totals for today's meals/beverages is $9.75. I guess that is a pretty good number considering all of the leftovers. I really would like for our total to be $5.00 or less.

The Congressional Food Stamp Challenge

I found out about this via a link today on the Hillbilly Housewife website. I must say that I am quite amused by the whole thing. Who would have thought that the amount of money I spend on groceries each week would be considered a hardship? We routinely spend around $85 per month at Aldi and $50 on Angel Food each month. I do have a few local runs to Save-a-lot for milk but we still keep our budget under $150 for the month. $3 per person per day would average out to $91.25 per person, per month or $182.50 for a family of 2. We don't even spend that much when we have the children here for the summers and they eat quite a bit!

I guess that just goes to show you that perspective is everything. I don't see myself as "poor" or as being "below the poverty level". I suppose one might say that we are since our typical take home right now per month is $2,300 per month (after child support and with my unemployment calculated in). We are not rich people but we have nice things, a nice house, and are happy. What more could a person want?

I think we may add the "Food Stamp Challenge" to our LOL in that we will try to keep our food budget to $182.50 or less per month for a family of 4.

Living on Less

From June 8th until August 3rd, my family will be facing "A Living on Less" challenge. We will be evaluating each purchase to determine if it is, in fact, necessary. We will not allow outside factors to determine how we spend our money.

Our biggest factor will be eating out. The Hubbyman & I will grab fast food rather than fixing something at home. We MUST stop this. If any of you have any ideas as to how to reach this goal, please share them here!

We're eliminating retail stores except for groceries from Aldi. Toilet Paper, generic soda, and trash bags are from the evil empire. But that is it. We do not NEED clothing or toys or games. We don't NEED anything right now except for food.

Needs Versus Wants ... Must evaluate that on every purchase. We will be keeping a track of our spending too so that we can see where the money goes. If anyone wants to join this challenge, please let me know.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Financially Speaking

One would think that by having your oldest daughter turn 18, your child support would go DOWN, however, we are faced instead with an increase of $33 per week. That may not seem like much you but to us that is a large bit of our budget. $33 is more than our weekly grocery budget.

This is not a complaint about child support or anything like that. Please don't think I'm wanting to start a flame war or anything. I'm just being forced yet again to re-evaluate our budget. I'm praying that we can financially afford for me to stay home. My health really depends upon it.

And so, once again, we're going to be tightening our proverbial "thrift belt". It seems impossible for us to tighten it anymore. I'm simply going to be selling more stuff online and promoting myself as a professional organizer. Where there is a will, there is a way. I'm going to find the way!

Friday, June 01, 2007

They're Coming!


Hubby's youngest two girls are coming to spend the summer with us. They haven't been here in two years so we are both very excited.

The girls are 15 and almost 13. They will be here on June 17th. Rhiannon is the middle child and is Daddy's little girl. Jada is 13 and so independent. I am very happy that I'm going to be able to be home with them this summer.

I went shopping in the attic tonight for clothing for them. I found enough jeans & teeshirts for them both but they need shorts and bathing suits. I'm going to scour the yard sales this weekend just for their stuff. It makes me happy to know that the things I've been saving for the past two years will finally be used.



Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Works for Me: Chopsticks

While making tea in a recycled juice container, I use a funnel to put in the sugar. Sometimes, the sugar sticks. When this happens, I pull out the handy chopsticks from a trip to a Chinese restaurant. (I keep a few of these in a container on my windowsill.) They are the perfect size to get the sugar going through the funnel again!

These chopsticks are used for everything except eating in our house. The kids paint them with nail polish and make them into hair sticks. I use them to turn a tube of fabric inside out. We stir craft paint or glue with them.

The next time you get "disposable" chopsticks, think of all of the great uses for them!

Please visit Rocks in My Dryer for more great ideas!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Returning to the Nest

Since I started my new life as a SAHW (stay at home wife), I've found that I'm constantly looking for ways to make more and save more. I've had pretty good results with selling things at home. I'm cleaning out our cabinets and closets and selling off the un-needed items. I'm keeping a spreadsheet that lists all of the money I've made each month. Since I am a very visual person, this shows me the benefits.

I'm also doing things like planning to put up an clothes line to further benefit from line drying (I already hang dry many things inside). I'm cooking at home a lot more and making use of the things that I currently have on hand.

Hubby says he is happy that I'm home and this makes me happy!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Imaginations

KK had a lot of time playing with her stuffed friends today. I asked her what they were talking about and she looked at me like I was NUTS! Apparently mom & dad don't ask those kinds of questions. Well, in my mind, it is a chance for her to express her creativity! She is really a bright child and needs to express herself often.

I met a really great lady named Cindy from our local Freecycle group. She and I have a lot in common. We're going to get together soon and craft.

The weekend starts in just a few minutes for Hubby. We're going to enjoy a very laid back holiday weekend. Tomorrow is Angel Food pickup and yard sales. Other than that I have very little planned.

It's Here

The time has come, the Walrus said...

KK is here and we're busy planning. She is in the kitchen making a list of the things she would like to accomplish this summer. We have a few requirements: read 60 minutes or more per day and do 30 minutes of math. Other than that, the summer is wide open. She is looking through her craft books for ideas right now. If any of you have links to great sites or any ideas we would love to have them!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cleaned Up Messes

After 4 hours in the hall bathroom yesterday, I'm happy to report that it is back in good order. I still need to get a curtain rod for over the closet door. Since the room is too small for the door to work effectively, we removed it some time ago. I have a second shower curtain of the same style that I will be putting over the door. I'm embarrassed to show these photos but I am so proud of the results that I'm willing to show off just a bit.



Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Man Made Messes

I don't know how to handle this. Hubby has become a slob. He has sole use of the hall bathroom and it is disgusting. Hair all over the floor (from shaving his head), hair in the corner of the bathroom (from the previous hair cut, swept up don'tcha know), and stuff everywhere.

We don't have a large house. The bathroom is not equipped with a large countertop or tons of drawer space. I've tried to organize that bathroom hundreds of times and each time he messes it up worse that before.

Today I vowed to clean that bathroom. However, after just 30 minutes, my back is aching (FMS) and I'm grumpy. He came home and got frustrated with me. He raised his voice and made me angry. I hate when things like this happen. He is of the mindset that since I am home I should clean the house. I do agree with this statement. However, I do not think I should have to pick up his bandaid wrappers and put them in the trash. He is a grown man. I would not accept this behavior from a child and I don't feel I should have to accept it from him.

I have to find a way to get this clutter filled room cleaned up. I need strength to get through this day. I need wisdom to know when to stay quiet. I need so many things.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Works for Me: Baskets

WfmwheaderIt seems like we all have storage issues. Some people use shoe boxes, some use plastic totes. What works for me is baskets. I have big baskets and little baskets, round baskets and square baskets.

If you're looking for additional storage, baskets on a high shelf around a room are decorative and are also a great place to store items. As you can see in my photo, I have shelves like these around the perimeter of my dining area. I store dry beans and rice up there in canning jars and also keep a lot of my baskets up there.I use these to hold everything: my husband's rivets, craft items, office supplies, and anything else that is just sitting around. I even have two large baskets that I use for laundry. Items in a container look much neater to items spread out all over the place.

I pick these wonderful baskets up at yard sales for pennies on the dollar. I get them from family members and as gifts. I cannot remember a time that I bought a new basket. There seem to be so many of them at yard sales. This weekend alone, I saw two great ones - one of which I picked up. It is an old English hamper that I'm now using to house a large portion of my ATC items.



For more WFMW tips, go to Rocks in My Dryer.

**I have to add that I wrote this last night BEFORE I saw Shannon's post!**

Summer Vacation



The schools in our county get out on Thursday for summer vacation. This means that beginning on Friday, I will start watching Neighbor Girl, KK. She really is a sweet girl and is well behaved when she is at my house so watching her should not be that difficult.

We are going to spend 1 hour per day on reading and 1/2 and hour per day on math. KK is an extremely bright girl who gets into a hurry on her work so we're going to work on math to make sure that she remembers to slow down and actually DO it. As far as reading goes, I firmly believe in having children read during the summer. When Hubby's girls would spend the summer here, they were required to read daily. This helped them to gain confidence in reading.

Other that that, KK will probably want to spend time in the pool and on crafts. She is a great kid and having her here will keep me busy for sure.

Looking for Life Insurance

As many of you know, I recently lost my job. With this, I also lost life insurance benefits for myself and my husband. I learned a lesson though this and will not be getting life insurance solely through an employer in the future.

I started looking for life insurance online and I found a great company today, Sleightholm Insurance. The company provides what they call "One Stop Insurance Brokerage", which is auto, home, business, and life insurance as well as other things like annuities.

While I am not a Canadian resident, I was impressed with their website. Sleighthom Insurance is the life insurance brokers for Chatham-Kent Ontario . It is well set up and concise. They even offer an online mortgage calculator that shows amortization schedule calculations free of charge. By using this, I was able to see that my house will be paid off in 18 years, 4 months rather than 20 years just by rounding up on my payment by $50.

If you live in Ontario, please consider Sleightholm Insurance.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wow, What a Deal!


On Saturday, Hubby & I went to yard sales. We got tons of good deals for $10 including a nice area rug, a brand new copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales, a picnic basket, and more. At the last sale, we found a great deal for Hubby's workshop. They had a brand new tool/work bench for $100. This is easily a $300 bench with a butcher block top, light, pegboard, and drawers. We bargained with them and got the price to $60. Hubby brought it home, added a piece of metal to the top of it so he could use it for welding without damaging the top. It has really has neatened up his workshop and has given him a great space to work.

Free Food!

Last weekend, my husband and I were fortunate to be able to shop in a mini-grocery store for free. You see, Hubby works for an apartment and commercial management company. They owned a small grocery store here in town. The renters moved back to their home country, skipping out on the rent and leaving the place full of foods. After all of the court related stuff was taken care of, Hubby's employers allowed the employees to go shopping in the store for free!



We got everything in the photo above. The rice ended up having some little bugs in it so I threw it away. Everything else has been great! We got enough to share with the neighbors and to give some on Freecycle as well. Needless to say, we got a lot of things we don't normally buy, like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, energy drinks, and individual sized sodas. These will be nice treats over the next few months. We also got LOTS of beans, like 20 pounds of dry black beans and 3 pounds of white (navy) beans just to name a few. Everyone else was grabbing the sweets and junk while Hubby and I were getting dry beans, pasta, and stuff that will last a while.

This was a great freebie and it makes me feel good knowing that we kept stuff from the landfills as well.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Staying Home

I've been enjoying my time at home. Hubby and I are eating better meals made at home, rather than dashing out or eating quick stuff. I've re-discovered the joy of cooking (Hubby usually cooks since he does a quicker job of it).

I have been searching out work-from-home opportunities and I found a site today that matches up the disabled or have a chronic illness with work-from-home employers. I don't what will come of it but I am hopeful.

In the meantime, I am getting unemployment so we will be able to get by. I also have a small part-time job babysitting my neighbor's daughter this summer. It won't put me above the amount to affect my unemployment but will give me a little extra.

I'm also selling things on our local For-Sale type websites. So far I've made $35 by selling some too small clothing and a science encyclopedia. I plan to get Hubby to drag some stuff from the attic this weekend so I can continue to post and sell.

I am of the belief that every little bit helps. Even $2 or $3 can add up!

Up next, I plan to post about the FREE food we got this weekend!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

couponing?

A good friend of mine does the whole couponing thing. She suggested that I try this while I am not working. She says she spends less than 10 hours per week on average and this includes shopping time. I don’t know where to start. Of course, I do understand that I should start by getting a newspaper and cutting out coupons – DUH! – but I’m not sure what to look for. What coupons do you cut out? How do you find the best deals? Stuff like that.

Something to think about!

Funny...

Hubby & I are driving home yesterday & we drive past three, yes three, opossums on the side of the road. I made a comment about opossums liking to play dead. Hubby's response?

"Well, opossums can play dead but they can't play dead AND bloated!"

Lean Times Ahead

On Friday, I lost my job. Basically, after 2 years on the job, they say that I don't fit in well enough. We personally think that because I was diagnosed with Fibro, they decided to cut their losses as soon as possibly. Whatever the reason, I'm currently without an income.

I'm heading to the unemployment office on Monday. After that, Hubby has asked me to take a little time off. He would like for me to find a job from home. I have to look into this further. I have found a few legitimate places that are incoming call centers. I'd love doing something like typing or accounting or something from home. Who knows, I could just be dreaming.

Any suggestions that you may have on ways to make money from home would be greatly appreciated.

I'll post about my yard sale finds tomorrow

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Need a Thrift Store?

The Thrift Shopper lists thrift stores by city or ZIP. It is a nice site especially if you're going to be visiting another town.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nothingness, Nashville, and Side Jobs

It has been a very laid back sort of week at our house. We have not done much in outside of working this week. Hubby is getting a little frustrated and is ready for a vacation. We are both looking forward to our mini-vacation to Nashville, TN tomorrow. We will be leaving home at noon tomorrow and won’t do much other than dinner out and the concert. On Saturday, we hope to get in some shopping. We don’t want to go to the mall or anything. Our main objective is to find a few interesting thrift stores and check out their goods. This is a far cry from my past life. When I was married the first time, my then husband and I went to Nashville for our honeymoon. We spent two days shopping in every single mall. It exhausted me and he loved it! To say I am not much of a shopper is an accurate statement!

On a financial note, Hubby has a few side jobs lined up. Both of them were by word of mouth. I love that he did one job for a lady off of an online group and she has referred him to two other couples. One of the couples had him to paint the front porch and as a result of this, they sold their house quickly. Now they have called him again to have him come out to do a few minor things that the realtor wanted repaired. He has to give one bid this afternoon and another on Tuesday. The first job will probably be done on Sunday afternoon. This is a good thing. We want to build up our funds again.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Agenda, Yard Sales, and Eating Out

I cannot say that this weekend was particularly fruitful for me. I really did not accomplish the goals I set for myself. This week, I will try to find the time to make granola and laundry detergent!

Mom and I went to yard sales on Saturday morning. I got 13 books (4 of which were for my mom), a cool diffuser necklace, a set of Pilates cards and exercise book, some kitty toys, and my mom bought me an Eeyore bubble blower (these sold at the Disney Store for $20 or so!). I spent a total of $8.

We went back out after eating a light breakfast at 10:30 and we hit a few more sales. None of these had anything worth getting, except for one. We stopped only because it was next to another sale. There I found a big bag full of t-shirts. They were all the same (grey Reebok tees) in M, L, and XL sizes. I casually asked the price. The lady said $1 each. These were priced $15.99 on the tags! They bought them for a ball team and ended up not using them after all. I snagged all of the ones in a size L (6 in all) and paid $5.00. My mom got 3 of the XL ones for herself. The 6 I got are for my husband to wear to work. I could not buy him the generic thin tees for that price!

My total spent for the day was $12. This is more than my norm but is still very good.

Hubby was working on the car most of the weekend. On Saturday evening, he said he wanted to go out to dinner. I know he was trying to be nice to me since I’d had a trying day. However, I also knew that $25 or so for dinner was not in the budget! Instead I went into the kitchen and cleaned it up some (it was a mess from Hubby’s cooking earlier in the week) before making twice baked potatoes and defrosting chicken. We ended up eating chicken fettuccini and saving the potatoes for snacks (Hubby loves these). Dinner cost less than $3 instead of $25.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Frugally Speaking

This week has been an expensive one for our little family. $340 for two new front tires on my car yesterday is going to make for even leaner times ahead.

I have decided that I have to stop beating myself up over the little things. In life, we have to have faith that things will turn out right. My worrying won’t make the money magically appear. Meditation and prayer will calm the nerves and the rest will fall into place.

I’ve been looking around on the internet while at work (it has been a slow week) and found a few things I can do to save some money.

-- I would like to try my hand at homemade granola. I love granola on yogurt and I also like it as a cereal. The stuff isn’t very cheap and I never see coupons for it. Also, I don’t like dates or nuts in mine so if I make it, those can be eliminated.

-- I think I’m going to attempt to make homemade laundry detergent.

Any suggestions for these two items or other money saving ideas can be left in the comments!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Free Pearl Earrings

Pearls and more Pearls

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

List O' Freebies

Do any of you keep track of the Freebies that come into your life? I have found that it is very rewarding to see these things listed. The last page in my paper journal is reserved for these little things. Be it a donut at work or a book from the local freecycle group, whatever it is, I will write it down.

On those days when I’m feeling particularly low or when I feel like I am beating my head against a wall with these frugal endeavors, I like to read over the list. It makes me feel good.

I also keep a list of the random kindnesses I do for others. This forces me to focus on being kind and generous to my fellowman.



Today, my boss took us out to lunch for a co-worker's birthday. We were treated to P.F. Changs and had so much food that I have enough left over for dinner tonight for Hubby and myself!

Thoughts on Debt Reduction

I have gotten some advice from people on fine tuning our budget. I will be considering some of their opinions such as cutting down on Hubby’s soda and trying to get our credit card debt down to just one card.

Another thing I did not mention is that Hubby does earn money from time to time on side jobs (painting, drywall, HVAC, etc). This money is split 50% to credit cards, 25% to savings (emergency fund), and 25% is his ‘extra’ money. We use this for little things we may want but certainly do not need.

Hubby also makes armour. This money is split in a similar way but 25% goes back into materials or supplies for his workshop.

I am trying to get a Free Checking account. We want to go with Univest but will need a local bank to deposit Hubby’s check since his company does not offer direct deposit. Mine could be directly deposited into our main account. We would gain a small interest amount which is higher than we currently get on our savings account. I’m also changing our savings account to one without a fee. This one is charging $5 if you get below $500. Normally this does not happen but this month, for the second time ever; we’re getting hit with this fee. If I can get the accounts changed over, we will have put an additional $120 in our pockets. That money can go straight to the credit card bills. $10 may not sound like a lot but it really can add up!

In theory, by July, we could be putting an additional $50 per month on the credit card bills. This would really help to get the amounts down.

I found this great calculator for debt reduction (http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/debtplanner/debtplanner.jsp) from CNN. Based upon their calculations which are so much better than my own estimations, we will be debt free in 1 year and 8 months! This gives me an incentive. I would like to get it paid off sooner by making payments when we have extra funds available.

Hubby is on board with this too. He wants to get it paid off as soon as possible. This is a good thing because if we both have the same goal, we can encourage each other!

My Current Budget

Take Home – Bi Weekly = $690

Outgoing – Bi Weekly
House Payment - $375 (1/2 of the total)
Credit Card - $75
Angel Food - $25 (food package)
Soda/Beer (Hubby) - $20
Groceries - $75
Household Expense - $25
Pets (food & litter for 2 dogs and 4 cats) - $30
Yard Sales (clothing, gifts, etc) - $25
TOTAL Outgoing = $650

Take Home – Bi Monthly = $895

Savings = $100

Outgoing – Bi Monthly (Last Day of Month)
Car Insurance - $85
House Insurance - $65
Home Phone - $30
Internet - $45
Water and trash removal - $40
Property Taxes - $75
Gasoline - $150 (based on one tank of gas per week for me and one every other week for Hubby)
My nails - $20 (I have gel nail overlays)
Credit cards - $175
Medical - $50
Stop Smoking Aids - $40
TOTAL Outgoing = $791

Outgoing – Bi Monthly (15th of Month)
Bank Fees - $10
Call Phone - $112
Curves $32
Electric and gas - $225
Satellite - $55
Gasoline - $150 (based on one tank of gas per week for me and one every other week for Hubby)
SCA (Our Hobby) - $50 (this goes in savings until we need it for event fees)
My nails - $20 (I have gel nail overlays)
Credit cards - $40
Medical - $50
Stop Smoking Aids - $40
TOTAL Outgoing = $784

I can see a few things that are not frugal:


  • My nails for one. However, I have razor sharp nails that have actually cut my scalp and face while sleeping. The gel makes them not so sharp and therefore safe.

  • Curves - I'm in a contract for one year. The doctor prescribed exercise and I thought this was the best option at the time.

  • Soda & Beer - Hubby does not ask for much. He just likes the occasional cold beer and would like soda to be avaialble.

Need Your Advice Please

Today I calculated our take home income. It isn’t very pretty. Both of us work full time jobs and yet, after taxes, child support, medical insurance, and life insurance, our household income is roughly $38,000. This is roughly 63% of our combined wages.

Straight away, we put $2,400 aside for savings. This money ends up being used for our property taxes each year ($1,065 for 2006). I want to change that if I can. I would like to find ways to pay off our credit card debt (around $5,500) and save more money for emergencies.

I feel as if I am already doing most all of the things posed by other people as being frugal. I already use cloth napkins, shop at Aldi or Save-a-Lot, make food from scratch, etc. We wear yard sale or thrift store clothing 99% of the time. I'm already paying an extra $50 to principle on our house payment each month. In fact, the way we've set up payments, we also make an extra payment each year.

I've been a thrifty person most of my life. I don't really know of any other places where I can cut my spending (besides the item I’m mentioned in my previous post).

My challenge to you is for you to suggest ways that we can tighten our financial belts and save more money.

I will be posting all of our saving techniques here and will let you know if they work or not.

Smoking Away Our Cash

At our house, we are trying to find ways to cut costs even more.

The first thing we are doing will actually cost us money for a few weeks. Hubby is going to quit smoking. He had gotten to where he was smoking a pack of cigarettes each day at a cost of roughly $2.20 per day. (OUCH!) He decided that he would like to quit.

I was sent a 2 week supply of the nicotine patches a few months ago. He is starting out on these. We were also given about 10 coupons for $7 off a box of the patches. However, upon doing a cost per patch analysis, I found that it would be cheaper to purchase the patches in generic form from Sam’s Club. It will cost just about $2.50 per patch for approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Two months of spending more will be worth it once we begin reaping the benefits of an additional $15 per week ($800 per year!!). I will be putting this money into a glass jar at home for a while so that my husband can see just what he is saving by not smoking.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Frustrations

We have Dish Network at our house. I know it isn’t the most frugal thing to have but we have it. About a month and a half ago, someone called and offered us a special on Showtime. We agreed as long as we could drop Starz at no cost. Did you know they charge $5 to change your service?! We got the bill. It was $88! We were charged for two premium packages!!

Hubby called them today and got nowhere. The phone employees are all overseas (India? Pakistan?) and they have language barriers. While I realize that they are just doing their job, don’t they realize that I do not want to pay them that kind of money for services I do not have?

We really enjoy watching television at our house. However, after the treatment we received from three employees today, I do believe that when our contract is up with Dish Network, we will cancel our service.

I sent a complaint email today. They are supposed to respond within 24 hours. I’ll keep you posted!