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Delayed Gratification Can Be Frugal

December 8th, 2017 at 08:04 pm

A number of years go we would peruse Pier 1 and there was a set of dishes I had my heart set upon. I really, really wanted them. They were made in Italy and I thought they were simply beautiful. But, alas, we couldn't afford them. I finally gave in and bough one plate. I hung it up on our wall so I could enjoy it.

So, fast forward way over a decade. I still have that plate on my wall. I take it down every so often and wash it and put it back up. I still like it.

Just about every week we go through four thrift stores around us. The past two weeks I've seen a set of these same dishes. It's funny, I still like them, but I have no desire to own them. I think that waiting probably showed me I could live without them. And now I could buy that set from the thrift store. I will admit, I was tempted. Then I thought, where would I put them? Would I really get a lot of use out of them? A number of years ago I donated the fancy China I had simply because I rarely used it. I have the blue willow dishes that I really like and I use them for everything. Plus, We don't have fancy dinner parties. I'm not a gourmet. I cook simple nourishing meals and they are served just fine on my dishes I have.

I am amazed at the kinds of things that we find in the thrift stores. Sure, there's the glass vases that everyone seems to donate. But, I'm talking the good stuff. At least the stuff I like. Most of my blue willow has come from thrift stores and second hand places. All of our drinking glasses come from there. Why pay big prices for a drinking glass when I can get them for 25 or 50 cents and if I break one, I'm not out a lot of money.

Anyway, I tell DH that I guess waiting has taught me a number of things. We see things that I had wanted years ago and couldn't afford...wait a few years and it pops up at thrift stores for a lot less and then I can decide if I really needed it or not. Instant gratification isn't very frugal is it?

Thank you, Bluebird!

December 3rd, 2017 at 09:13 pm

A big thanks to Bluebird for the generous gift to my church's knitting group! The ladies were amazed that someone that didn't know us was so kind and thoughtful!

This has been an interesting week.

On Thursday we took a bus trip to Arlington Heights Race Track (Chicagoland) for the Lambs Farm Craft Show. We weren't sure of what to expect since we have not been to the race track or the craft show before. Apparently Lambs Farm helps developmentally disabled folks and the craft show is a huge fund raiser. The track buildings were quite large and two floors housed the craft show. It was all inside. We were intrigued by the track and I looked it up online and apparently it is owned by Churchill Downs...you know, Kentucky Derby fame. The craft show was huge. We didn't buy much and we didn't plan to. We really wanted to go for the experience. I did find some crocheted things and I was shocked at the high prices...hats like the ones we make were around $12 to $15. I saw crocheted flower pins for $8. It was a fun day and I'm glad we went. I don't think I would do it again simply because I'm not much of a shopper.

I have had a ongoing frustrating experience at our Kroger. We used to buy a certain bread and they would usually not have it. So, we found a store brand that we liked as well. Except, they now have problems keeping it on the shelves. We have to find someone to go in the back and look for it. We usually shop on Thursdays, and the trucks come in early morning Thursdays. It would usually depend on the clerk on whether we would get the bread. Those that cared would bring some out; others we think just said they went back to look. Well, we wound shopping Friday of this week due to the bus trip. Friday right after lunch before it gets crazy busy. Well, we get there and no bread. And most of the bread section was riddled. We asked someone and he claimed there was no bread. I was fed up. We paid for our other groceries and came home. I did the krogerfeedback.com thing with the id number and complained that for a store that has a computer inventorying system, they shouldn't have a lack of bread right before a weekend and whomever is in charge of stocking the bread should check it more often so it isn't half empty of all the different breads. I heard from a manager and she called on Saturday morning and said she was sorry and they had the bread in the back (how interesting it appeared less than 24 hours later) and she hoped we would return. Well, we went back yesterday and the bread section was riddled again and the kind we wanted wasn't there. Of course there was no one near that section. We went to the diary section and the nice young man said he would find someone. Well, he must have had as much trouble finding someone because he came back out and asked exactly what we wanted and he came back out with the two loaves of bread. We thanked him, especially since it wasn't his grocery section. We go to the checkout and I commented to the cashier about how frustrating this has become. Apparently the manager was within ear shot...she gave us the bread free. Guess it pays to complain.

The other thing that happened this week actually started a couple of weeks ago. DH and I really like English murder mysteries and we have been enjoying Midsomer Murders on Netflix. Anyway, a few weeks ago I discovered Midsomer Murders has a Facebook page and I liked it. They held a contest to make a bingo card with things from the show. I made one and it was a real fun thing to do. I didn't expect to win, but thought it was something interesting to do. Well, a couple of days later I get a private message through Facebook and they said I didn't win, but they wanted to send me a tea towel and I should include my address in a reply. I did, but to be honest, since I live in the United States, I didn't really expect to receive a towel. Well, I received it a couple of days ago. That was a nice surprise! Here's a photo of the towel:

A Good Tired

November 19th, 2017 at 10:45 pm

This has been a whirlwind week and I'm tired, but it is a good tired.

It started last Sunday with a blessing of the hats that were knitted by our group at church. Then after church, a friend and I counted out hats to the two schools that would receive them. One had over 220 kids and the other over 440 kids. Plus, we needed to count out the gloves.

On Monday we made our first delivery. Our Pastor and some of the ladies went with us and we walked around to the rooms and showed them a sampling of the hats and showed them the knitting looms we made them on. After we left, the ladies and Pastor were shocked at the poverty so many of our children live in. They said they realized why I had suggested this project. We did the same on Thursday for the other school. Again, the folks were surprised at the poverty and how many kids had so little. I guess if you don't work in this environment, you don't always realize it is there. On Monday the local TV station came out and did a very short story and on Thursday the local paper did a story. Here are the urls if you wish to see these:

http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/stitches-of-love-delivers-a-load-of-hats-to-franklin/article_30e028e5-fd19-5af2-a10a-7a3ef2cf8ba0.html

http://www.wandtv.com/story/36834283/decatur-church-helps-keep-kids-warm

I know I've been blogging a lot about this project, but it has been near and dear to my heart. I just wish we could have done more. We are a small church and I feel at least we helped some children.

In other things, DH and I had two day trips this week. One was to St. Louis and the Italian neighborhood called "The Hill." Part of the bus trip included the lunch. We had a grand time exploring the Italian groceries and other shops and bakeries. Yesterday we had another bus trip to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. DH usually picks out some clothes he wants at the Penneys there. We no longer have a Penneys locally. So, we came home exhausted from that, but it was a great time.

Pastor stopped me at church today and said that because of the publicity on the hats, we have had phone calls to church and that people are wanting more information about joining out knitting group. So, that made me happy...maybe we can reach more kids!

I'm still tired from everything this week, but it is a good tired. It was all good this week, from the knitting, the delivering, and the eating and shopping.

Keeping Busy

October 7th, 2017 at 07:54 pm

It seems that DH and I keep pretty busy.

Today we attended an estate sale. Pretty ritzy place and pretty nice stuff. I scored a pair of leather insulated gloves for $2, 4 chair cushions for dining room chairs for $16, and an embroidered hand quilted quilt (queen size) for $30. I have a pair of gloves like these, but I often forget to move them to my dress up coat and wind up in my dress up coat with no gloves. The chair cushions were far nicer than the ones I normally buy and although I didn't need them, I thought they would be nice to have. As for the quilt, again, not a need, but it is lovely and I use the quilts I own.

A put a Facebook post asking if anyone had baby food jars with lids. I guess I never noticed that most baby food doesn't come in glass jars anymore. Well, someone contacted me and had 22 of them and I picked them up. I felt very fortunate to have gotten them. I spent a lot of time trying to get the sticky glue from the labels off. That stuff should be used to glue anything you never want to come apart. Sheesh. But, the jars and lids are clean. I'm going to put candy corn in them, glue a green ribbon along the rim of the lid and have kids glue black construction paper faces on them to look like miniature jack-o-lanterns.

Yesterday we hit the thrift stores and I found a lot of great yarn. There are certain types i like to use when making the hats for the school kids. One place had just put out a bunch of it in colors I thought the kids would like. We bought 9 skeins of yarn for around $18. All of it still had the labels on it, so felt that was a good deal.

I'm getting really tired of the mailing and phone calls from many of the places wanting donations. One is a university that calls about every day. I earned my master's degree from it. I received no financial aid, I paid the money out of our savings for the classes, and had to pay an athletic fee on top of it. I thought that was a rip off...I attended class either one evening a week or twice a week during the summer and drove 45 miles one way to attend...I wasn't planning on taking advantage of the athletics. Well, I guess I"m a cheapskate, but I'm not planning on giving them a donation. I've told them that on the phone before, yet they still keep calling. I have more address labels and calendars than I know what to do with from these organizations that send them. I don't give them money, so I don't know why they keep sending them. I usually save the calendars and give them to a primary teacher. She uses them as rewards for her kids who can recite the calendar months.

Aldi had apples on sale so I bought a bunch and made applesauce and apple juice to add to the pantry. A friend gave me some apple butter she made so I gave her a jar of tomato preserves.

DH's garden is still going strong. He brought in 4 huge bell peppers yesterday. I will be using some of them to make bell pepper soup. I make a large pot and then we eat some and I freeze the rest.

I'm attaching photos of some of the canning I've done so far and my husband with the peppers he brought in.

Hope the weekend is going well for everyone.






What a spendy day

October 3rd, 2017 at 09:53 pm

Today seemed to be a spendy day. Not huge, huge amounts, but here and there.

Our spigot on the house was leaking and has been for awhile. It has gotten pretty bad so DH said we needed to have it replaced. The bad news is it isn't cheap, but the good news is the plumber came out this morning and it is taken care of.

I had a hair cut scheduled for today so I went to that. Fortunately my gal is very reasonable ... under $20. When I looked at my calendar, I hadn't gotten my hair cut for months, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

The other spendy thing was I needed to get the oil changed on my car. I know it is a necessity and it helps keep the car in good working order. I take it to the dealership for a variety of reasons -- they keep my service records, are very helpful and friendly, and I feel safe there. They do a thorough check up on things and make sure the tire pressure is where it should be and unlike some places, they aren't always trying to sell me something. I haven't had the oil changed since May and I wasn't quite there on mileage, but decided I better get it done and not have to worry about it if the weather starts to get bad.

In non spending activities, I finished cleaning the house and wrote two letters and worked on publicity for our church's Christmas bazaar. Supper is going to be leftover pork roast. DH teases me we don't let many leftovers go uneaten and why should we if they aren't spoiled? That is like throwing money away!

Being Crafty

September 21st, 2017 at 09:08 pm

A friend emailed me that he was a little irritated at his wife. She is very talented when it comes to crafts and sewing, but she has the bad habit of going to the craft/sewing store and buying things because she thinks she's going to do the project. She said she was going this week and he asked why when she had so many things already in her sewing room.

I know the temptation. Every time I go, I want to buy this and that and this because it is fun thinking about doing them and then having a finished project. It doesn't help that this chain also sends out coupons about every day in email. Fortunately this store is across town, so that helps curb the temptation. DH probably wouldn't care, but I care. I don't want to buy a ton of stuff that just sits around. I recently bought two skeins of yarn and some buttons because I crocheted coffee cozies for a class to give our local police department. I sewed the buttons on the cozies. The school's mascot is a star and since police officers used to have a star, I figured this would go along. It was a nice little project and then I used the smaller star buttons and glued them to index cards for the kids to write messages to the officers.

I will admit I have bought some things at the thrift stores lately for some personal projects. I bought some crochet thread that came from France -- really nice stuff -- for 99 cents a skein. I saw a towel pattern on Pinterest I thought I could use. I recently purchased a piece of material for a dollar at another thrift store and used it to make a pillow case for a pillow I have had for a long time. The other case was pretty ratty. And I also have some other crochet thread I bought at rummage sales and thrift stores that I hope to use to crochet some ornaments.

Last summer I bought a pair of pillow cases that were to be embroidered and I worked on them and have them finished. I plan to give them as a Christmas gift. They were still in a sealed package. I was delighted to get them and it was fun working on them.

Our church group is continuing to knit the hats on the looms. So far we have 680 hats made. Our intention is to adopt a couple of schools and give them the hats as well as tissue, wet wipes, and pencils. Fortunately people have donated a lot of yarn so I have used a lot of that besides buying some to fill in. I try not to bring home more yarn, either the donated stuff, or the stuff I buy, than I think I'll use. I did run out of yarn a couple of weeks ago. I use the yarn to work on the hats and then if there is some left I use the remainder to make dish cloths. I'm trying to adhere to the "Use it up" slogan.

As much as I enjoy crafts, I think they can be a hit on the budget if one would let them. I have tried to pick stuff up at rummage sales and thrift stores as much as possible. I did buy the knitting loom, but I think I've made more than a 100 hats on it since I bought it over a year ago. I had the crochet hooks so that wasn't an added expense.

My mom used to crochet and I remember she always had a ton of yarn around the house. Then, in her 60s, she decided she didn't want to crochet, and instead taught herself to quilt. No small feat by any means, but she was very talented when it came to sewing and crafting. I didn't want the yarn so we wound up donating it to the school where i worked. When she died, she had so much material that it was just a shame that she never got to finish all the quilts she had some day hoped to make.

I would prefer to use up everything. I don't know if that is possible, but that is my goal. I don't want a bunch of stuff sitting around. So, my goal is to limit myself to only having the stuff I will actually work on and finish. It sort of saves money because then I'm not as tempted to go out and buy a lot of other things.

Anyway, here is a photo of a completed cozy on a coffee cup. Sorry it is so dark, but I never can get the light to be just right.


Change

June 18th, 2017 at 07:48 pm

Every year we take our change into the credit union. We are fortunate that they have a change counter, but you have to have an account there for them to use it. This year we had $162.49 in change. DH uses cash for just about everything so he has far more change than I do. I use some cash, but often I'm paying for things like groceries or stuff at the home improvement store so I use the credit card. If I find change I put it in our trusty pickle jar. I was cleaning the other day and moved a chest and found a penny so you know where it wound up. We would have had more change, except we used quite a bit of quarters in January when we went to Tybee Island - Savannah. You pay for parking everywhere and according to the locals, the meters are strictly enforced. We also did laundry there since we were there almost two weeks. We put the money in our Christmas Club Account from our change jar. This gave us over $900 in our Christmas Club account.

Speaking of Christmas, I'm happy to report I've bought two gifts this week. Yay, me! LOL I have also made a few gifts so far. Plus I bought a gift in January too when we were on Tybee Island.

The knitting group I belong to at church has over 300 hats made so far. Most of us are making hats outside of the 4 hours a month we meet. Our intention is to give them to classrooms in high poverty schools in our area.

I used to enjoy doing crafts like crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, etc. Then for awhile between work and my hands going numb, I gave it all up, even after having surgery on each hand. I started crocheting again a couple of summers ago -- I made star ornaments out of crochet thread for every staff member at my school for Christmas. Our mascot was the Super Stars so I thought it was appropriate. I discovered if I didn't overdo, my hands didn't hurt. So, I again have found the pleasure in crocheting and now knitting on the round loom. My goal for this Christmas is to crochet a small ornament to put in our Christmas cards. I do one or two here and there, but I have a ways to go. We send out a lot of cards. I thought it would be something nice anyway and keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. Smile

I found a brand new package of pillowcases at our church's rummage sale. These are the kind you embroider upon. I'm looking forward to working on these. I know they aren't popular, but for $3 and my work, they will do. Some of those sites on the Internet talk about how out of style Baby Boomers are. Guess I fit that bill. Who needs to be in style anyway?

Not much to report

June 2nd, 2017 at 07:51 pm

It's a warm Friday down here in Central Illinois.

My church was having its annual rummage sale. We dropped by and found a few things. I bought an unopened box of stationery. I write to three shut ins and I try to find nice cards and papers. My husband says that I'm probably one of the few people who still write letters. I also found packages of sheer curtains that had never been opened. I have been looking for some for a window, but didn't want to pay big bucks for them. I spent $6 for both of them and they were new in the package.

We do a weekly tun through the thrift shops and I found a summer dress and jacket for $5. My husband reads to classes during the year and he found a kid's book for 45 cents that he wanted for his library.

I finished book #49 last night. I have been keeping track of all the books I read. I belong to a Facebook book club which we just tell the title and author and if we liked the book or not. The goal is to read 17 books since the year ends in 17. That is one of the joys of being retired...I can read far more.

Yesterday we received a bunch of calls from an unknown number. My curiosity got the better of me and I answered it today. I was greeted with "grandma" and the guy started in on his sob story. I could tell he was calling from a call center because when I answered, I could hear all the other callers in the background. He went on to say he didn't sound like himself because he has a broken nose. I asked him how he broke it and he told me he was in an auto accident and that some lady ran into him. I asked him where he was and he said Fort Wayne and that he was going to his friend's, Mark Fisher's brother's funeral. The brother had leukemia. I asked him why he left town with his ankle bracelet because he wasn't supposed to. I think I stymied him for a couple of seconds and he said he knew, and he was sorry. I asked him if he had told his dad and he said no and I asked him why not and he hung up on me. Some rude "grandson." I make light of this because I don't have grandchildren and I knew it was a scam going in. I think he realized I was messing with him. Hopefully they will quit calling. I'm tired of all the calls we get and there are so many. I bet we answer the phone maybe once every couple of days or so because most of the calls are basically scammers or people wanting to sell us something. Personally, I think it is darn rude of them to even think to waste my time. Although I do think the ones calling from Microsoft and are pretty bad. The second to last one he was telling me my computer was sending him messages and it needed to be fixed. I asked him which computer and he said what did I mean and I said which one, we have more than one and I need to know the ID from it so I can use the right one. He asked to speak to my husband which is even funnier. My husband doesn't touch the computer. What scares me is he knew my husband's name. I told him that my husband hates computers so it would be a bigger waste of his time and he hung up. The last call I just said we don't have a computer and hung up. I'm sure they will call again.

Hard to believe it is May

May 10th, 2017 at 08:14 pm

Here it is May 10th. Can't believe it is almost a year since I retired. I've enjoyed it and I love the life I have. I have been so blessed to be able to retire and not have to do without things.

DH and I were talking. I guess we have become used to a somewhat frugal lifestyle so we don't have huge things on our want list. Well, we would like to get a new driveway and we are saving for it. A couple of summers ago when we met with our financial guy, he wanted to see our budget. I have all these different accounts...money market, savings which is our home improvement account, vacation, Christmas club, and then regular checking. I thought sure hew as going to tell me these accounts were ridiculous, but he asked me about them and we told him that we save up for stuff. For example, the savings account is for home improvements. We put in a set amount every month and have a goal in mind. Back then we were working on a new roof because we knew we would need one. Last May we had that new roof put on and paid for it with cash. He said that was wonderful because so many of his people want to take money out of their investments to buy a new car or do home improvements.

The saga has continued with the neighbor and the kickball. It came to a head last week when I saw the kids playing, so I opened the front door and stood behind the storm door and watched. He saw me, kept looking up to see if I was still there, and when he thought I wasn't watching, kicked the ball right into our yard. I went out and told the kids that this kid's dad needed to come over and get the ball. The dad refused. DH and I walked it over there (dad was working the garage) and explained that this is not the first time the kick ball has wound up in our yard and many times it has been in the flowers and the vegetable garden and we don't want kids tramping down the plants. It isn't like the ball can roll into our yard. We sit on a bit of a hill so it has to be an upward kick aimed at our yard. The dad didn't say too much except they were done playing today. I just said my husband works way too hard in the yard and garden for it to be torn up. The little boy never apologized or anything. I finally commented that I knew he was watching me in the doorway and it just makes me wonder what happens when we aren't home. I suspect I know because there have been plants broken off and one of our solar lights has been crushed. Anyway, for a week no kickball and then this week the kids gathered to play basketball. That's how it starts. Then they get tired of basketball and start kickball. So, I had a little yarn project so I sat out on the front step for an hour and a half working on my project. No kickball that night! I'm sure this kid thinks I'm the meanest thing on two feet, but I feel I have to be the adult here since the parents apparently don't want to be the bad guys.

We have started purchasing the materials to update the master bathroom. Let me tell you, master bathroom is certainly misnomer because it is tiny...the only thing master about it is it is right off the master bedroom. We ordered a new vanity and medicine cabinet and had them custom made by the Amish. They are beautiful. I need to order a new light. We bought a new countertop and faucet and I've decided that I'd like new towel racks and shower curtain rod. I realized the last time we updated this bathroom other than the floor was over 17 years ago. Fortunately the shower surround and stool are OK. We did update the floor a couple of years ago with a piece of leftover vinyl from another project. I'm kind of excited about having some new stuff. I realized my toothbrush holder is over 18 years old. There's nothing wrong with it, but I'm kind of tired of the color. I paid $1 for it. I think we got our money's worth as far as it goes. The current vanity and medicine cabinet are still OK as is the countertop and faucet so we plan to donate them to one of the thrift stores. We did that with the other ones from the hall bathroom and they sold within a couple of days. They aren't the highest quality, but they look decent. We try to take care of things.

Health wise I have struggled with allergies and asthma the past few weeks. I think the mold and tree pollen are high and with not having a super hard freezing winter, I think a lot of stuff didn't die off.

Sunday Musings

March 12th, 2017 at 06:14 pm

Sunday afternoon here in the Midwest. We didn't get the snow they predicted yesterday. It wasn't going to be much, but still glad it missed us. Overall, we haven't had too bad of a winter so far, but we do need some precip. I would just prefer it wasn't snow or ice. Picky, aren't I? There's a chance of snow tomorrow. Fortunately if there is snow, we don't have to go anywhere.

We went to a small town near here (Arthur) for the Home and Garden Show yesterday. Other than the money for gas, we didn't spend anything at the show. We go most years because we like to look at the booths because many of them are Amish businesses. Some of the handiwork is nothing short of amazing. We did stop by the Amish bulk grocery and buy a few things. They were planned. We stopped at a thrift store too, but didn't buy anything.

After church and brunch here at home, I usually pay bills, and update our church's Facebook page and then head over here. It seems like I'm visiting old friends as we keep up with each other.

Not much to report new really. Last night I fixed a pork roast and we will have pulled pork sandwiches from the leftovers for a lunch or two. I also made chicken noodle soup for tonight's supper. I bought some whole chickens on sale about a month ago and fixed one that week and put one in the freezer. It made it's appearance this week for a couple of meals and I used the leftover chicken and broth for the soup we will have tonight and probably for lunch one day this week. I did our weekly grocery shopping on Thursday (one big advantage of being retired) and I planned meals for this week before going. I just can't imagine not planning meals to some degree.

I don't miss packing lunches for work. I would often take leftovers, but I still don't miss that. I have a friend who is always complaining she has no money, but often puts on Facebook where she had lunch. Granted, she hits fast food, but even that can rack up quite a bit if you eat out every day. If she has to work overtime, she moans and groans on Facebook how hungry she is. I really want to tell her to grow up. She knows she has to work overtime on these occasions so why not pack something to heat up or eat later? Guess I'm kind of snarky. I have suggested she read stuff on this site when she has complained about being broke and she informed me she knows how to save money. She might know, but unfortunately she doesn't use that knowledge if her posts about being broke are true. That is the key, isn't it? Use what you know.

The newspaper came out to do a story on the knitting group at church. It is supposed to run sometime this week I think. We are making hats to donate to the public schools next fall. I counted the hats we have made so far on Thursday and we had 70 made. That's pretty good for just a few ladies working together. One lady joked if we keep up this pace, we might be able to adopt a whole school. Wouldn't that be something?

Hope you all have a great week!

A couple of no spend days

February 8th, 2017 at 04:36 pm

Today looks like a no spend day. Not planning on going anywhere. DH plans to volunteer at a school where he goes each Wednesday and then walk at the mall. I intend to stay home. We had a major weather change in the past 24 hours so my asthma has kicked up. We were 63 degrees yesterday and the temperature dropped almost 30 degrees last night and they are calling for a chance of snow. Yuck.

Yesterday we dropped off some things at the thrift store we donate to. The profits support the Lutheran School Association that is near and dear to us. We went to the library and checked out some materials so that was a good day. Fixed all meals at home. And a friend I hadn't heard from in awhile called and we caught up so it was a pretty good day overall.

Monday was a spendy day to an extent. The thrift store I mentioned before had just restocked and we bought a bunch of canning jars. I mistakenly thought I had enough last fall when I was canning, so I don't want to find myself in that situation again. I also bought some yarn there...50 cents a skein. I wasn't planning on buying anymore yarn until I had used up what I had. I was close, but not quiet. But the yarn I bought i wanted it to try and crochet a bathroom rug. We also met another couple we haven't seen in awhile for dinner so it was a nice day overall.

Tomorrow will be a day to spend...grocery shopping. But it won't be too much since we have lots of stuff in the pantry and freezer. It will mostly be fresh fruits, bread, and some dairy. So, not bad spending, I guess.

Busy Hands

November 16th, 2016 at 08:52 pm

Life has been busy around here. DH and I have worked to get the house ready for fall and winter. DH is still trying to take it easy after his surgery so things take a little longer. But, we've gotten many of our summer items put away. I finished drying herbs and have them ready to use as I cook. The hose is emptied and put up and the rain barrel has been dismantled and put away as well.

Each year my church has a bazaar for Christmas. In the past I've donated what I could, but time constraints have limited me somewhat. This summer as I went to thrift stores and garage sales I had a few items in mind as I shopped. I wanted some table top trees. I also wanted some crochet thread. I found both at different places very reasonably. So, off and on this summer I crocheted ornaments for these trees. The beauty of these ornaments is they don't take a ton of thread so I could buy already started crochet thread and make a few ornaments and not have a lot of money involved. I finished three trees and took them to church so they are ready for the sale. I also found a candle wick Christmas stocking kit new in the package for 99 cents. Candle wicking is a form of embroidery. I worked on it this summer too, finished the embroidery part and then sewed the stocking together. It will also be donated. I forgot to iron it when I ironed some other things the other day.










A couple of months ago I joined a group at church called Stitches of Love. This group makes a variety of things, but a couple of things everyone works on at one time or another has to be these knitted hats that are made on a knitting loom. They taught me how to do this and I've made both hats for preemies and then hats to donate. We've donated to three schools so far. In one of the closets there are tubs of yarn that have been donated so we can use that if we want. I had some odds and ends of the yarn I've used to make these hats, both from the stuff I've purchased as well as the free stuff and I wondered what I could do with it without waiting to make one big projects. I discovered a pattern to make a cover for the Swiffer. So, I made one for myself out of the scraps and tried it and it works pretty well. So, I went through the tubs at church and found bits and pieces of yarn and have been working on making these covers to donate to the bazaar.

All these projects aren't major things, but they have kept my hands busy and hopefully will help out either the bazaar or the children we donate the hats for. As far as cost, other than buying the looms retail, everything else has been bought used at thrift stores and garage sales or gleaned from the yarn tubs at church. I don't know if I'm saving money, but it is pretty decent entertainment for little money.

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2016 at 07:16 pm

Happy Halloween! We are ready for the trick or treaters tonight -Stocked up on candy. Our ranch house has a garage jutting out and unfortunately our good city doesn't believe in more than one street lamp per cul-d-sac so it is kind of dark for those little ones to walk around the side of the garage to the front door. So, we normally open our garage door and have our lights on and the kids just walk up our driveway and get their treats. My husband loves handing them out and seeing the little ones in their costumes. Although I try to catch candy on sale and use some of the coupons, it isn't a real frugal experience. But, we figure it is a neighborly thing to do, and in some ways, it is entertainment, especially being the kids dressed up. Each year I pull out this large plastic lighted pumpkin. I was just thinking we have had this thing at least 20 years. We had it our other house for a couple of years and we've lived here 18. Amazing how things last when you take care of them, isn't it?

Like most of you, I've always tried to hit the sales at grocery stores for this and that. I normally shop at Aldi for most of our items, but there are other things we pick up here and there. We have a County Market that puts out a coupon book every month and it goes for about two weeks. Usually there is only one or two items that we will get and sometimes it isn't worth it to make an extra trip. But this one had bacon on sale, butter on sale, as well as deli ham. Deli ham that is normally $8.99 a pound for $3.99 a pound. And, we were out on that side of town, so it wasn't a special trip. After we finished our shopping, I told DH what a pleasure it is to be retired and not have to scramble on weekends to do this sort of stuff. I feel we are truly blessed to be retired and be able to take advantage of sales like this.

Good bye, September!

September 30th, 2016 at 08:32 pm

I know the calendar says it is the final day of September, but wow, where has this month gone? Of course with DH's surgery and my colonoscopy, much of it was doctor's appointments and procedures.

I can say it was kind of spendy. I bit the bullet and bought a MacBook. My current cheapie laptop is about to bite the dust. I just finished copying files and photos. I was going to buy another cheap laptop, but DH said I should just get what I really wanted. We had the money so I did. Now, I am trying to get all the personal stuff of this laptop. If I revert back to factory settings, will it clear most of the stuff off or will I need to run a program to clear the hard drive?

DH and I volunteered at one of my former schools today. He has been reading to two classrooms for the past 8 years. So today he read to the two classrooms and I helped in one of the classrooms by working with a couple of the students who are behind with fluency words.

DH's brother is going to have surgery next month. They were talking on the phone and although DH always seems supportive about the canning and enjoys the food, he never really says too much about it. I had to chuckle yesterday. He asked me if I had a list of everything that was canned. I did so he wanted it to read to his brother, almost bragging about it. Too funny! DH's brother has always had a much larger garden, but his wife doesn't can. She says it is too much work. It is work, but most things in life are.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Hello, October!

Just checking in

August 28th, 2016 at 09:19 pm

It's Sunday. Can't say I have monumental happenings to report, but I have been busy.

My church has a small group of ladies who have a group called Stitches of Love. I asked about joining although my crocheting isn't super fancy and was told to come and they would show me what I needed to know. It's kind of a neat idea -- they make items and donate them. They use knitting looms and in the two hours I was there, I made and finished a hat for a preemie. One lady was working on an adult hat that will be donated to either a homeless shelter or a group home, and another lady was crocheting a lap robe for a nursing home. Other people were making different things too. This goes along with my challenge I posted about making a scarf to donate to a homeless shelter. I will admit it made me desire a loom so I did go out and buy a set (the box of looms were on sale). I have finished the scarf and even made a hat to go with it using the loom. I can now work on other stuff at home as well attend the group. The ladies told me not to buy yarn because they have a cabinet of it that has been donated so I look forward to seeing what they have.

I have also been crocheting Christmas ornaments out of crochet thread and I found a small table top Christmas tree that I'm going to decorate with them and donate them to the church for the bazaar. At a thrift shop last spring I found a brand new candlewick Christmas stocking and I finished it a few weeks ago and sewed the stocking and other than ironing it, it will be ready to donate to the bazaar this fall.

I have canned a little more this week. Since DH's garden is small, I get things in smaller increments, but I don't mind because I can a little at a time. It all adds up.

Ten years ago I visited the Teachers Retirement System to start the plan for my retirement. Because I had been hired and worked a number of years when the TRS deduction was lower, they had something that was a 2.2 upgrade. A number of years ago to help with the pension fund, the amount deducted was raised. It not only helped TRS, but also would help with one's own pension down the road. The lady I talked with suggested I pay the 2.2 upgrade for the years I worked before this rate hike. She said it was a good deal because if I didn't need it for my pension, I would get it back with interest. Not a lot of interest, but some. I received a letter stating that I would get it refunded to me and I could either take it as a payment or roll it over into a Roth. I, of course, rolled it over. So glad I paid that money a number of years ago. Although it was my money, it felt like found money when I heard I would get it refunded.

DH's birthday is coming up in September. I asked him what he wanted and one item he asked for was a pair of shoes like the ones he likes from Lands End. I scored a great deal...I had received a 30% off offer in an email and because we weren't in any hurry, also wound up with free shipping. I felt that was a very good deal. The shoes weren't supposed to arrive until the end of next week -- we received them a day after I ordered. I know that was a fluke because they probably aren't busy, but it felt like a bonus nonetheless.

Antiquing we will go!

August 23rd, 2016 at 09:36 pm

Yesterday DH and I went to a couple of big antique malls north of us. We bought a couple of things at each, spent less than $40 at both, but had a great time looking.

One was in El Paso, IL. It's a small town north of Bloomington. We've been there before and they often have different things than what we see around our town. Years ago when Mary Engelbreit was hot, DH would buy me small things for my birthday and Christmas. We didn't have a lot of places to shop for it. One vendor had more Mary Engelbreit stuff that we've ever viewed before. I didn't realize she had that much merchandise out. We didn't buy any of it, but it was fun to look.

The other antique mall was in Peru, IL. It boasts 30,000 square feet. I believe it. It was almost overwhelming to look at so much stuff. Again, we saw some different things. One thing we really liked was a Morris chair by Stickley. A big name in mission furniture. Pretty cool to look at. We didn't even entertain the notion of buying it -- it was priced at $2,500. A little much for our pocketbook. But fun, nevertheless.

It's funny seeing how things are being sold in cycles. My friend collects Platzgraff Villager stuff. Her grandmother bought her a set of it a number of years ago when it was a hot commodity to buy these dishes. I remember she broke a cup and when we were going around looking a number of years ago, she showed me one and asked me to find a replacement if I could. It wasn't easy. Well, it seems that most antique places now have tons of the stuff for sale. We found some unique items for her yesterday...I didn't tell her what, but told her she will have a surprise for Christmas!

It's wasn't a super spendy day other than the gas -- we drove a little over 200 miles for the round trip and we did eat supper out. But, a local told us a reasonable restaurant and our supper was about $20 with tip and it was a decent meal so we didn't feel like we were hurt. We also picked up an Illinois state publication that lists all the antique shops in Illinois by city. So that may be quite a find in and of itself.

Spent some, canned some

July 18th, 2016 at 09:13 pm

I haven't had too much to blog about lately. I'm not complaining, mind you. Just trying to figure out a routine that works.

I did wind up spending some money for a new exercise bike. We had been hitting thrift stores and garage sales, but couldn't find one. Yes, there were a couple out there, but the speedometer didn't work on either of them. I didn't care about the speed, but wanted to keep track of the miles. My former exercise bike's display quit working a couple of months ago and then it started having issues with the chain. Neither DH and I are mechanical enough to figure out the chain and since I had purchased it used a number of years ago, we figured I had gotten my money out of it. We did take it in to the place and since they sell both used and new, they gave me ten bucks for it. I felt that was a deal because I didn't have to pay the garbage man or think it would go into a landfill. Maybe someone else can fix it and get some use out of it.

Yesterday we went through kitchen cabinets and got rid of drinking glasses and mugs. DH wasn't thrilled with the prospect at first, but afterwards, he was OK with is since we can now see what we have and not have to stack glasses. I went through the pantry as well. We will be eating some things that are close to the use by date. I also got rid of some items that I could donate. A few years ago I bought a lunch Crockpot at the church rummage sale. It was handy to take lunches in. I still worked so I donated it. Donated a bunch of other stuff today as well as mugs and glasses. I like the fact the pantry is organized. I've been checking out Pinterest for ideas. The only sad thing is most of the pantries shown are walk in; mine is a reach in. But there were a few and I did get some ideas. It looks better and hopefully I can keep it tidy.

It's supposed to heat up this week. I know it is summer, but we had a hot and humid June. Fortunately we don't have any major appointments that we have to do this week.

Due to the extreme heat, no one at the Farmer's Markets has had green beans. One of the stores did get some in from Florida and they were on sale. I canned 12 quarts and one pint of green beans this week. DH dug up some of the onions he planted and I canned 7 pints of those. My pantry is starting to fill again. That makes me happy.

Odds and ends

January 30th, 2016 at 10:48 pm

Last Sunday I paid bills and then wrote out checks to different accounts. We have money in three different institutions. At one, we have a Christmas club, a vacation account, and a regular savings for house improvements. At another we are just putting money in it for reserve. I also wrote out a check for my Roth. DH informed me he took "my" money to all the places last week. I laughed and said when did it become "my" money since it is for both of us. He just laughed.

Before the holidays stores had quite a few things on sale we use so I stocked up. Our grocery bills this month haven't been very high other than fresh vegetables and dairy. It's weird going into the store and not buying a whole lot, but we aren't doing without so that is good. I'm trying to use up some of the things we have in our freezer as well. I have a pot of ham and beans cooking from the ham that was in the freezer and the broth I made from leftover bits and pieces from chicken. So other than the beans and a few spices, basically an almost "free" main dish.

School has been hectic. We are doing district testing and some folks can't keep to a schedule which stresses me out when they inconvenience others with their disorganization. DH keeps reminding me it won't be long before retirement.

The house smells pretty good right now -- I made a blueberry crumble for dessert tonight. We are having a pork roast with carrots for supper. I'm also roasting potatoes and zucchini casserole. It should be a decent meal. I figure if I have to have the oven on, I might as well fix lots of things in it.

We hit the thrift stores today and I found a mini flag for $1 that was for Valentine's Day. We have one of those mini flag holders in the front of the house, but I hate paying big bucks for the holiday ones so I thought I found a decent deal.

Happy 2016!

January 1st, 2016 at 09:58 pm

Hope you all are having a great start to 2016! So far, mine has been very good.

DH and I went out to eat last night and then to church. We came home and relaxed. This morning was a relaxing morning as well. We didn't eat any of the foods that are supposed give us a lucky year; we had leftover vegetable soup. A friend gave us a Pike's Peak Roast and we had it for supper the other night and I used the broth and the leftover meat for soup. We've had three full meals out of it and I still had enough to freeze for another small meal.

We did go out and do a little shopping. Found a couple of things on sale and used a coupon to save a bit more. It was stuff we would have bought anyway. Just happened to find it on sale. We also bought furnace filters which weren't on sale, but necessary nonetheless. I figure maintaining the furnace is important and hopefully saves us money by not using a clogged, dirty filter.

We did go to the grocery store and pick up bread, milk, and fruit. We will be eating from the freezer and pantry for everything else. We need to use things up so they don't go bad or get freezer burn.

I know some make resolutions for the new year. I do not because I usually tend to "forget" them and do whatever. So, I'm just trying to make wise decisions as the days go by. I am trying to get things organized. I tidied up my closet today and believe me, it needed it. I have been going through drawers and areas so I can donate things. The other day I organized my thread. I have been buying spools of thread at estate sales and garage sales. I don't do serious sewing, but I do hem my slacks and I do some mending. I have amassed quite a few spools and it was getting to be a problem seeing what I had. So, I decided to put them in a shallow drawer on their sides so I can see their colors. It sure makes it easier to find what I need. Lately I seem to be mending quite a few things.

I did splurge yesterday and bought some crochet thread. I have an old bureau that I have had for over 40 years. I like it, but the top is narrow (it has three drawers on the top, two stick out further than the center one) and I have used a folded runner for the past few years over it. I decided to buy some pretty crochet thread and crochet myself a runner in the right width. Yep, I'm living dangerously, aren't I?

Hope your New Year is a fabulous one filled with many blessings.

Black Friday Doings

November 27th, 2015 at 04:16 pm

After a wonderful Thanksgiving, it is now Black Friday. We had stores open yesterday and last night and again early this morning. I guess I am not much of a shopper because I can't see missing out on Thanksgiving to go and buy more stuff. I have no desire to fight crowds and I'm not sure the "deals" really are deals. I think our society has become so skewed that we put shopping ahead of other things.

It's rainy, windy, and the temperature is dropping here. I'm glad it is just rain. We plan to do our weekly grocery shopping today. Normally DH does the Aldi run when I'm at work, but since I'm blessed with the day off, I get to go and then we go to the other grocery store to get the things we can't get at Aldi.

I have almost all of my Christmas shopping finished. I have one more thing to get and two packages to mail, but other than that, I think I'm good. I have either made or purchased things throughout the year when I found them on sale. DH picks out the majority of the stuff and we have a Christmas club account so what he picks out is within my budget. I also have addressed all of our Christmas cards and I purchased stamps on Wednesday. I did cut back on the cards this year. It is getting pretty expensive to send them anymore although I did find cards throughout the year more reasonably priced.

Lunch is leftovers. Not Thanksgiving, but from the other night.

I have some baking to do for our church's Christmas bazaar, but I bought the baking stuff when it was on sale.

So, did you face the crowds and the chaos to shop?

Spent some money...

March 8th, 2015 at 07:41 pm




Yesterday was a nice day here in Central Illinois. We decided to go to Springfield and do a little shopping. So, I'm going to admit, we spent some money.

There is a Kohls there which is larger than ours and they had something I wanted to purchase for a friend's birthday. Our Kohls didn't have it. So, I bought it and will give it to her in a couple of weeks. It was on sale and we had a $5 off coupon from the loyalty thingy the company has.

We went to an antique mall. I'm going to tell you upfront what we bought was a want, not a need. There was a beautiful hand pieced, hand quilted quilt. I looked at it, and walked away and then went back. It was the size to fit a queen size bed. It was marked $195 which is pretty cheap for hand made quilts here in Central Illinois. I started to walk away again, and I saw the sign said half off of everything in the booth. DH walked over, saw me looking at the quilt and said he really liked it. So, we opened it up to see if it had any tears or stains. It didn't. So, we decided to buy it.

Now, I could rationalize this and say we haven't bought a new quilt or bedspread for over 12 years. My mom used to quilt and I would order one from her and she would make it and I would pay her for it. I have some quilts and I paid more for these quilts than what I paid yesterday. Most of my quilts are over 20 years old. Most are in good shape. I did not need this new to me quilt.

But, I wanted it. It is a different pattern than any I own. We brought it home, washed and dried it, and slept under it last night.

I posted a photo of it on Facebook last night and someone even offered to buy it from me! I had to chuckle over that!

So, I'll admit I spent money. I like what I bought. I am not going to rationalize buying it. But, I don't want to get in the habit of doing this either.

Grocery shopping schedules

January 24th, 2015 at 09:00 pm

Thursday night after supper I commented our fridge looked bare. It usually does and by Friday, it is almost scary. Friday lunches around here (I take mine to work and DH fixes his at home) are normally what we haven't eaten so far and we are finishing up. During the summer Friday lunches often look like a poor buffet...a little of this and a little of that. I hate to waste food and I try to plan carefully so that we use what we have.

That being said (or written in this case), I posted on Facebook the query of when do you grocery shop...a schedule or when you run out of things. The answers were all over the place. A couple said before retirement they planned and scheduled it every week. A few said they go weekly and shop by what's on sale. Then there were a few who go when they run out of things.

I am not a spontaneous person. I'm not sure whether that is good or bad. For me, I have to know what I'm doing and what we are eating and I look at the sales and plan my grocery lists by what is available, what we need, and what is on sale that we can stock up on. I then make my menu plan based on that list or lists. This week was a three grocery store shopping spree.

Every week DH hits Aldi for the basics...eggs, milk, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and chicken and pork roast. I supplement with the other two stores, County Market and Kroger. Well, between these two days, we bought something at all three, due to sales and need. I think I shop on a schedule for two reasons...I like to plan and know what we are eating and I like to save money by watching sales.

The late Mike Royko wrote in his Chicago newspaper column that he used to go the store and buy the same things each week, and he and the kids would fix the easy stuff and leave the harder stuff. He claimed he decided they wouldn't go to the store until all the frozen chicken was eaten, the flour used, and the eggs and onions were devoured. He said there were some creative, but strange meals, but he felt like he taught his kids something -- be creative or marry someone who can cook.

So, do you shop on a schedule or go when you run out of everything?

Not a cheap day

January 6th, 2015 at 01:29 am

Today has not been a no spend day.

It hasn't been a bargain day either.

It has been one of those days you save up for.

Today is my birthday. DH took me shopping at a clothing store that had sent me a 15% off card for my birthday. I found some items that were 40% off and using the 15% and then using my credit card, also received 5% off. That was nice, but it still cost money. But, I did find some new clothes.

We went to a pricey restaurant for my meal. No balloons, no singing waiters, just an excellent dinner with fabulous service. It was nice and relaxing and wonderful.

I didn't worry about the cost or saving money or feeling guilty. All those days I scrimped and saved...all those overworked leftovers...all those coupons clipped and sales studied...it enabled me to be like a queen today.

Now tomorrow...I go back to being ordinary penny pinching me!

A little this and that on a cold January day

January 4th, 2015 at 10:31 pm

It's cold here in Central Illinois with a few snow flurries. Guess it is to be expected since we are truly in winter.

Here are the books I've read so far in 2015:

Book #1: "Almost True Confessions" by Jane O'Connor. Murder mystery by the same author of the "Fancy Nancy" series.

Book #2: "Kitchen Organization Tips and Secrets" by Deniece Schofield.

Book #3: "Top Secret Twenty One" by Janet Evanovich.

I won't finish a book today. After church, spent most of the day doing housework. That darn maid, laundress, and cook did not show up at the house yet again! Smile

We did make it to the library yesterday and I checked out a couple more books and some magazines. I most certainly get my tax dollars' worth out of the library.

I did splurge this week. I wanted new curtains for my bathroom. It has a small window. I was very frustrated that so many places don't carry anything but 84 inch panels. I refuse to go to Wal-Mart because I consider it the evil empire. Our K-Mart is barely hanging in there, but they did have a set of two short panels and valance for the pricely sum of $13 with tax. I think I paid $9 for the ones I had been using over 10 years ago, so I think I got my money's worth out of them. I shoved them in the laundry and they will be washed, dried, and folded in case I want or need them for something else.

Last summer we went to a garage sale and someone had two sets of sheers for $1 each. They were just what I was looking for to put in my husband's den. I tend to re-purpose our curtains. The ones in our computer room had at one time been in the living room for a number of years. I still have some of them in the linen closet in case I need them for something else. A couple we know thinks we are super stingy when it comes to spending. I spend money, I just hate to spend it foolishly. They had their curtains custom made to the tune of $1500. Wow...I told them I don't think I've spent $1500 on all the curtains in my house, including the ones sitting in the linen closet. Of course this couple complains about not having money...golly, wonder why!

A friend of mine also does a lot of cooking like I do. We were comparing notes about menus and it was funny, we both planned a couple of the same meals. Maybe great minds do think alike!

Taking Inventory

December 23rd, 2014 at 04:14 pm

Christmas break began for me yesterday. Yay! Fortunately I can actually relax.

Throughout the year we put money in a Christmas Club account and saved what we thought we would spend. I also shopped sales for presents throughout the year and stowed things back. As for baking, I bought things on sale so I would have it in my pantry. And last week, one of the grocery stores had a special on flour (78 cents for 5 lbs), sugar (88 cents for 4 pounds) and powdered sugar and brown sugar (88 cents a package) so I bought one of each to replace what I used.

Last summer as we went to thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales, we found wrapping paper very cheap so I bought that. We also found Christmas cards reasonable. Yes, I'm one of those old fashioned fools who still sends Christmas cards. I like sending them as well as receiving them and although the postage is expensive, I think writing cards and letters has become a lost art.

We shipped our two presents to friends earlier this month, mailed our Christmas cards at the beginning of the month, and I baked and gave out baskets of goodies. I wrapped presents and other than one present we need to deliver, that is taken care of.

I have my Christmas Eve and Christmas day menu planned and items purchased.

I am not dreading the after Christmas bills because everything is paid for. It is a good feeling. I am very blessed.

Christmas Stash

December 13th, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Life has been hectic with work, illness, and Christmas.

We went last weekend and DH picked out his tree, brought it home, and decorated it. It used to be you'd choose the tree and they would make you wait for a ticket and then send you in to pay. This year they immediately send you in to the "showroom" with ornaments, Christmas decor, candles, etc. I guess to give you more time to be tempted.

Perhaps I've become a cynic, but all I said to my husband as I looked at the inflated prices was...just think, come June, much of this stuff will be at garage sales for next to nothing.

We hit garage sales and thrift shops last summer. I found brand new rolls of wrapping paper for 50 cents and a $1.00. I found Christmas candles that were new and in the package with the price tags still on them for less than a fourth. And I bought Christmas cards that were brand new and very reasonable.

As baking goods have gone on sale, I've been stocking up. Last weekend I created 5 baskets of goodies to give as gifts and I baked some more cookies today for gifts. Last summer a thrift store has a dime sale and I pick up really nice baskets. I make sure they are clean and I wash them out as well. They make for a nice presentation. I did repurpose a bowl like vase last weekend when I took some goodies to a friend in the nursing home. It was one of those bowls for fresh flowers that had a sponge in it and the bouquet in it. It was just the right size to put fudge and cookies in (with waxed paper on the bottom and the sides) and foil on top to keep it fresh and could tell her not to worry about returning the bowl.

To add to my "stash" we put in money each month for a Christmas Club. We received the check in November and DH and I went shopping when things were marked down, and things are paid for. No debt! Woo hoo!

I know the economy depends on major Christmas shopping, but my economy depends on my staying within budget. Having a Christmas stash has sure helped. How about you, do you have a Christmas stash?

Sunday Reflections

September 21st, 2014 at 07:40 pm

It seems like this week passed by quickly. Each night we watched the PBS program on the Roosevelts which meant I wanted to have supper finished and cleaned up and things ready for the next morning so I could sit and enjoy. Between home and school, and school has been busy, I feel like I haven't had any downtime.

One of our stores has had penny pincher coupons near the beginning of the month. If you spend $50 and use that coupon on one of the items, you get another coupon for 10% off your entire order during the last week of the month. I wouldn't buy something and spend $50 just to get that coupon, but it has worked out this month that what the coupon was for was something I normally purchase and I did spend over $50. So, I spent last week culling my other coupons and checking the sales ad and made a pretty extensive list to either buy things I normally buy during the week and playing stock up on things I like to keep on hand. DH was surprised at how many things we had in our cart yesterday, but he knew my plan.

We get to the checkout and everything goes through and then the clerk scans my loyalty card and money starts coming off, she starts inputting my coupons and again, the balance gets lower. I'm feeling kind of proud of myself and the person behind me gets irritated. She starts griping to the checker that she is in a hurry and she has some place to go.

This kind of irritates me because she saw how many things we had put on the belt to begin with. There were other lanes open and they weren't full, most just had one other person in them.

The checker never says a word. She just looks at a coupon, never says a word to me, then proceeds to "read" the coupon. I honestly think she was paying the person back for her bad attitude. I thought at first there was something wrong, but no, she just starts taking her time finishing the coupons and then running the 10% off.

It isn't extreme couponing, but for us, we thought we did decently: the original bill was $173. With everything we saved over $41. And we have a few more things stockpiled in the pantry as well as our regular groceries.

That was the good news. The bad news is my hand mixer died. I sort of thought it was having problems, but I thought maybe I just put too much stuff in the bowl last time. Oh, well. It worked for 12 years. My friend was telling me hers last over 25 and I wanted to say it was probably back before they made things to dispose of. Oh, well.

The Roosevelts program was certainly good and I'm glad we had the opportunity to view it. I learned quite a few things.

The maid didn't show up yet again (she never has) so I guess I better get busy finishing housework.

Planning and stocking up

August 23rd, 2014 at 09:15 pm

One of the local grocery stores had a penny pincher booklet earlier this month. They had coupons on stuff that went beyond the regular sale price. On three of them, if you used your loyalty card, spent $20 overall, and used one of these coupons on the advertised item, you could receive another print out for 10% off your total grocery bill later on in the month, excluding alcohol and cigarettes. Not too bad of a deal.

So, DH and I went through the ad last night since this was the week the 10% ticket was good for. We made a list and I pulled coupons for stuff. We did a little stocking up on things we normally buy anyway, but with the coupons and the 10% off, we felt we had a good deal.

Last night we hit Kroger's and Walgreens for some of their loss leaders and he went to Aldi yesterday morning for our usual shopping. I like the idea of having a full pantry and getting bargains besides.

Today after our little stock up run, I reorganized the pantry and put the new stuff in. It is crowded, but I can at least see things.

Someone posted on Facebook a photo of a wall of canned goods from someone's garden. I will admit it, I drooled. Someday I hope to be adept enough at canning and have the produce to do that.

Besides the house we have shelves in the garage where we keep some of our things. I'm getting quite a collection of things that we bought on sale or had a deal. Nothing like Extreme Couponing and their stockpile, but it makes it nice to have things on hand so I don't have to buy some of the same things every week.

A gal I used to work with used to go the store before every meal. I wonder if she still does that with three kids and a full time job. I tried to convince her she needs to look at the grocery ads and plan her shopping that way and and if something nonperishable is on sale this week, buy a couple of extra so you have them instead of paying full price next week or the week after. She thought I was nuts. I wonder if she has changed her ways.

Where do you store your extra things?

Getting around and gardening too

April 13th, 2014 at 08:22 pm

I had to share this chuckle before I write anything else...the neighbor was complaining that is seems like her kids' school is always sending home something for them to buy. I chuckled because every time these kids have a fundraiser, this parent sends them over to us to buy something...I believe the irony was lost on her, but I did get a chuckle out of it anyway.

We hit a bunch of different stores this weekend. Two are our regular haunts, but there were things on sale at others that we wanted, so we stopped and bought there as well.

I made out my grocery list for this week and planned the weekly menus:

Sunday brunch: scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, fruit
Sunday supper: sloppy chicks, salad, chips
Monday: chicken tenders with barbecue sauce, baked potatoes, green beans
Tuesday: pork tenderloin roast with carrots and onions, fingerling potatoes, green beans
Wednesday: pork stew made with leftover pork, carrots, onions, potatoes and zucchini and celery added.
Thursday: Salmon patties, cous cous, green beans, cottage cheese
Friday: Quiche made with leftover sausage, salad

Lunches will be made up of leftovers. I had scrambled eggs, sausage and pancakes leftover for two lunches.

Walgreens has eggs for 99 cents a dozen and they had canned salmon on sale. For Easter dinner we are going to have a ham; one of our extra stops was to buy a small ham before they are all picked over. Hence, so many stops.

DH planted onion sets yesterday. He had hoped to plant lettuce, radishes, and carrots today, but it rained pretty hard around lunch time today and things are kind of muddy. We don't have a huge garden spot, but DH uses what he has and I think it really helps with the grocery bills. We are starting some herbs from seeds too. Are you planting a garden this year?

We did our share for the local economy...

March 23rd, 2014 at 07:05 pm

There are some weekends where we rarely buy much except groceries and then there are weekends like this one! Yikes!

Kohls sent a 20% off card which I've been waiting for. I need a new pair of sneakers. No, not want, but need. Mine are over two years old and they are hurting my feet. I really wanted to find a new pair and get not only the sale price, but the percentage off. That was accomplished Friday and then we went to the grocery store.

Saturday was expensive, but not unplanned. Staples had an ad last weekend for 15% off one item. My printer ink needed to be replenished so, used that for that as well as took the empty cartridges back for a refund. Then we hit Lowe's to buy a few things. Last spring we had hardwood floors put in. I really like them and want to keep them nice. So, we bought some hardwood cleaner. We've used it before and like it so wanted to keep using it, but needed to replenish it. DH needed a new garden tool. The one he had cracked last year and was not repairable. We also bought a few odds and ends that we needed, but had put off buying since this store is aways from our house. We have also been looking at replacing the vinyl in our laundry room. Former owners of the home decided to put carpeting there. Why anyone would put carpeting in a laundry room that is also the go between the house and the garage is beyond me. We have lived here over 16 years and we have been replacing things as we can afford them. Since the room is small and we will have a bunch of vinyl left over, we are going to ask about having the remainder put in the small bathroom and kill two birds with one stone. The guy in flooring was really nice and suggested vinyl tile because it was more economical, but DH and I are not handy, so it is better to spend the money and get it done correctly.

Our local Penney's is closing in May and they are having 40-70% mark downs. I did buy four curtain panels at 60% off to replace some of mine. I am sorry to see yet another business bite the dust in our city; we have the highest unemployment in the state and it seems more and more businesses are shuttering their doors.

Part of me shudders to think of the money we have spent, but then part of me wants to keep things maintained as well.

We did peruse a store with home decoration items yesterday too. We had no intention of buying anything, but like to look around and see what is out there. As we walked out, DH and I said those were some nice things, but so much higher than flea market and thrift store prices. Guess we didn't help that particular store, but such is life.


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