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.
Viewing the 'Shopping' Category
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.
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!
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.
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! 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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!
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!
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!
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
Since I cannot sleep, I was looking for some articles. The new year always has a plethora of articles on saving money.
This one states there are 5 ways stores can get you to spend more money. Some of them I've seen before, but all kind of interesting and worth a second look so I can be prepared. One of them talking about the flooring and shopping carts...here I thought a noisy shopping cart was a way to drive me nuts,
But, overall a quick read and another way to prepare for battle in the marketplace: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/10/how-stores-trick-you-into-buying-more_n_4557369.html
Today was a bit of a spendy Sunday. Not horrible, but...
This afternoon we went to a Christmas tea at one of the major historical homes in our city. It is always nice and basically free unless you buy something or donate money. It is always pretty lovely and a good way to visit this historical home.
After that we stopped at Walgreens. A few weeks ago they had flour on sale, but had run out. DH had gotten a rain check, and we have checked off on and on, but it hadn't come in. They had it today. They also had peanut butter and tomato sauce on sale, and also some allergy medicine and there was even a $5 coupon on the allergy medicine so we did some money. I've been trying to restock my pantry has things go on sale. A few weeks ago one store had Del Monte vegetables on sale for 69 cents a can. We bought some. Then another store sold them for 50 cents a can, but there was a limit. But we stocked up and have quite a few.
After we came home I paid some bills and renewed our AARP membership.
None of this was super expensive, but it all adds up.
We had a dusting of snow this morning. It was a bit slick in spots, but fortunately nothing like other parts of the country have been having.
Last week about every meal had some sort of leftover in it. One day we had a pork stew made with leftover broth and pork. Another day we had spaghetti made with the leftover sloppy chicks. One night we had leftover mashed potatoes that I mixed with cheese and baked like a twice baked potato. And when we didn't finish that, I made potato patties and rolled them in Panko and sauted them to go with the fritatta I made with leftover vegetables and sausage. And, we finished up the turkey and gravy by mixing it with dressing for another meal. DH said he thought I got more mileage out of most of these leftovers than ever.
Hope it's a good week for everyone.
This has been a busy and spendy weekend. The expenditures were planned so I'm not going to beat myself up over them, however. Suze Orman might disagree, though!
We went to concert and I had purchased the tickets last summer. Since it was in a town an hour away, we decided to make a day of it. We had received our Christmas Club check so we did some Christmas shopping, had a nice dinner out, and went to the concert. It was a fun time, although a late night. It made getting up for church a little difficult, but we did it.
Today was spent cleaning and fixing. DH raked leaves and cleaning gutters. I did some housework as well and then replaced our mailbox. Seems the neighbor kids liked playing with the door a few years ago and weakened it. It finally fell off on one side. We bought the new mailbox last week as well as new towel rack that would replace the other one that we had tried to fix with no success. I have that replaced and clean towels. I also put peeled and cored apples in a Crockpot to make apple juice and applesauce, so I think it was a productive day.
My comment about Suze Orman...we watch her most Saturday nights and usually agree with her, but we have noticed she seems to want people to do nothing anymore, except save money. Or maybe that is just what we are picking up on. We have savings and investments, and our house is paid off and we don't carry balances on our credit cards. But somehow, I think she would say not to buy Christmas gifts, but invest the money instead. If we were in debt, I would agree, but I guess I'm getting to be a rebel to some extent. We think if we have money in the bank, no debt, we should feel like we can splurge and go out to eat once in awhile, take in a concert, and buy gifts.
The last couple of weeks are sort of in my memory, but...
Between attending a day workshop, working on paperwork for my job, doing lessons for classes, and then having to deal with an illness, I can say the past couple of weeks are a blur.
I am feeling better, but I seem to have taken a couple of steps backwards. But, I think with some rest this weekend, I'll be OK.
One of the ladies I work with put an offer in on a house. She said the people counter offered because they didn't want to owe money at closing. She was kind of confused. I told her it sounded like they were either underwater with their offer or they had used the house for home equity loans. She looked at me like I was an alien at first. I explained we have a friend who will never get his home paid for...every year he needs spending money so he takes out a home equity loan. She said it was crazy and I would concur, but that is what he does.
DH went to Aldi today and we went to the other grocery tonight. The store was having some incentive that if you spent $300 over a set amount of months, you get $10 off the next time you shop there. I wasn't spending money for that, but I guess I finall hit the mark because I have the coupon for the $10. Not a bad deal overall, if one isn't spending money on stuff they don't need.
If you are in the Midwest, don't forget to "fall back" tomorrow night.
Or so they say. By they, I mean the weather forecasters. It is inevitable, since today is halfway through October in the Midwest.
I had been drying herbs here and there to keep some available for the winter. DH decided we needed more so he brought in a bunch today and I spent a big share of the afternoon drying them and putting them in jars. I have more sage than I can probably use, but I was thinking of making gift baskets with biscuit mix in them for Christmas, so maybe I can add some sage in a small bag to use if they wish.
He picked all the bell peppers we still had, pulled all the carrots and onions, and picked all the ripe tomatoes. My kitchen looks similar to a root cellar. Which is OK.
Tomorrow while I'm at work, he's going to pick the green tomates and wrap them in newspaper so hopefully we will continue to have some ripening after the freeze.
The past couple of weeks have been very busy with work. Plus, I broke a tooth and had to spring for a crown. I have a temporary crown until the permanent one is made. That was an unexpected $821! However, the dentist did point out, it might have been a blessing of sorts...my tooth was also cracked right where there was a root and it hadn't broken off, but he said seeing where it was, if it had, I probably would have had to have a root canal, so maybe this saved me money in the long run. At least I wasn't in any pain other than the financial one.
I have a relative who asks to eat out with them at the spur of the moment. We usually turn this person down. Like many of you, I plan my meals for the week. Often I have taken meat out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge and I don't want to put it back in the freezer or waste it. He complains how they are having money problems, yet they eat out every day. Hmmm...wonder if there is connection there? Anyway, I have repeatedly told him we eat most of our meals at home. I don't mean to be rude or thoughtless, but I hate the thought of wasting food.
I did score a lovely suit at a thrift shop a couple of weeks ago. I had to hem the slacks and then had it dry cleaned since there was a stain on the slack and it was dry clean only. I normally do not buy dry clean stuff, but it was well made, and lined and I will wear a blouse under the jacket. It is for cold weather. So, with the cost of dry cleaning and the original purchase, I have a nice suit for $23.50.
DH brought in some cherry tomatoes...guess I better get busy making tomato sauce!
Well, we have three months of having the booth under our belts.
I finished doing the paperwork today to see how we did.
One thing I learned is people around here do not buy deviled egg dishes. I sold the ones I had for what we had in them to a kind lady who was going to give them to a friend to replace the ones he lost due to divorce. I feel fortunate I didn't lose money.
Another thing I learned is to look at what everyone else has in their booths and not buy the same stuff. If it isn't selling in their booths, chances are it isn't going to sell in ours. So, we usually do a sweep every month to see what everyone has and look for different items.
In an earlier post I told my husband that we have to buy things that we ourselves might not like, but because someone else might collect it. It is difficult to do this because we usually gravitate to those items we ourselves like, but I have some things in our booth that I personally would not want. But we all have different likes.
In a previous post someone suggested to buy in such a way you can mark the price up to three times the amount. Sage advice, I might add.
I have been listening to what my friends say they buy and look for those items. One friend likes snowmen so when I find them reasonable, I pick them up and am storing most of them for more seasonable shopping, although I have a couple of things out. Another friend likes bird items and she has been a very faithful customer.
I think another thing I've learned is I have to do what I call, "hustle." I post photos on Facebook each week of stuff. I email people when I have items I think they might like. I move items around in the booth and exchange things out every few weeks so it looks different. We have seen booths that have looked the same for months. I wonder how they even make booth rent.
Our booth is small. I have it pretty packed. In all honesty, it has been fun.
So, I'm pleased to report that for the first month we broke even. The second month we made about $24. And last month we made about $36 after paying expenses.
We are using the profits to buy more items, but I think the education has been a benefit as well. I have no desire to go into business for myself, but it has been enjoyable.
There was a story on the news the other day that people using Facebook may often find dissatisfaction with their lives.
Basically, the story said people see photos of others having fun, feel like they are missing out on life, and depression comes about.
I think there's a lot of truth to that. Maybe not full blown depression, but people feel like they aren't getting enough of what everyone else is getting.
I'm not saying people need to stop posting their vacation photos and family celebrations, but we need to stop and remember that a photograph is usually taken for one of two reasons. One is to help us remember something and two, to show someone else what we did. It is a snapshot in time.
I've been to some cool places and I've guilty of those vacation shots. But, my life isn't one big vacation, that's for sure.
But, I think human nature makes us feel like we are missing out on stuff.
One of my Facebook folks is constantly posting photos of her dream homes. Over and over, she makes comments about how she wishes she had this and that. The realistic side of me wants to say, "Get away from the computer and make your house more of what you like."
I guess that would be cruel, eh?
Last night had a couple for to join us for supper. It was a simple meal. The best part of it was the fellowship. I didn't have super fancy dishes or wine glasses and no flowers or big candlelabras. But I think we all had a nice time visiting.
And I realize how very blessed I am.
I haven't blogged much in the past week simply because I haven't had too much to say. We have worked on some chores around here and Friday and Saturday we hit some garage sales. I've cooked most meals and stretched things, but none of the recipes are anything new or exciting so nothing to share there. I made foccaicia bread last week, except I made it in glass baking dish and instead of putting the herbs on top, I mixed them in with the dough mixture. DH loved it and asked if I would make it again for this week. I think we ate it with 4 or 5 meals and since I subsituted some of the white flour with wheat, I think it was a little healthier.
July 4th has come and gone and I'm tired of the neighborhood fire crackers that have been going on for the past week. I didn't sleep well either the 3rd or the 4th because some one or ones were shooting them off late, and when I say late, I'm not talking 9 p.m. Some were still going off after midnight. This has continued for the past 3 nights.
I have decided that some of the folks that bought the most firecrackers and fireworks are probably ones who could least afford them.
In that vein, doesn't it seem like the people who can least afford it are the ones who have a zillion pets?
Doesn't it seem like the folks who can least afford it are the ones using their credit cards for rewards, bragging about what they earned, yet not paying the silly things off?
I know there are people out there who bought fireworks and are not hurting for money. Or who have pets and take good care of them without hurting their budget. I use a credit card. I buy certain things with it like groceries. I don't really use it for the rewards, although I get a paltry cash back. I use it because it is far easier at the grocery store to use the credit card than to write a check. I also use my credit card if we are buying a big ticket item in case I need some recourse. But, I pay that puppy off every month as well.
Maybe I'm just crabby from lack of sleep, but I'm a little tired of people complaining they don't have money and then buying many of these items or using their credit card.
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