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Happy 2016!

January 1st, 2016 at 01:58 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 08:16 am

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 12:41 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 01:00 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 5th, 2015 at 05:29 pm

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 02:31 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 08:14 am

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 03:53 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 12:40 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 02:15 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 01:22 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 12:05 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.

Article on spending more in 2014

January 16th, 2014 at 01:37 am

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

Spendy Sunday...sort of

December 8th, 2013 at 01:58 pm

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.

Suze Orman would be upset

November 10th, 2013 at 04:31 pm

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 two weeks have been a blur

November 1st, 2013 at 08:24 pm

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.

A freeze is a'comin'...

October 20th, 2013 at 01:48 pm

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!

What I have learned...

September 2nd, 2013 at 04:43 pm

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.

Facebook Findings

July 28th, 2013 at 03:00 pm

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.

Points to Ponder

July 7th, 2013 at 01:20 pm

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.

Thursday Thoughts

June 27th, 2013 at 07:23 am

It's supposed to be a hot day here in Central Illinois. We have received quite a bit of rain and I imagine within a day or so, things will be drying out. Hopefully, by the weekend, it is supposed to be cooler.

I have two meals to plan today, both using leftovers. We are going to have a frittata for one meal using up some sausage and cleaning out the vegetable bin. For another meal I'm going to make spaghetti using up the leftover sloppy chicks (sloppy joes made with ground chicken). DH has lettuce growing and fortunately our bunny troubles seem to be in the past so I will make a salad with the lettuce and radishes, as well as some of the tomatoes we bought.

We did find some things to put in our booth yesterday. I need to wash things up...I don't understand why people do not wash things to sell, but I guess they are too busy or too lazy.

We did go to the library yesterday and I checked out some magazines and a DVD. We watched a DVD we had checked out earlier and I will enjoy the magazines...our library changed the checkout period for magazines...they used to be for two weeks, but have been cut to one. So, I always check to make sure I get them returned on time.

I will be making a meal plan for the next week so I can then make grocery lists for the two stores we frequent. I kept the Sunday ad for the one to check what is on sale. The other is Aldi and although they have a weekly ad, most of the stuff they advertise is not stuff I usually purchase.

Hope you have a fine day.

Booth update

June 21st, 2013 at 02:35 pm

We checked in on our booth and we have made enough to cover the booth rent for this month and a little besides! Yay!

I have decided it is a game...what can we buy that truly interests others? DH is having to learn that just because he likes something, doesn't mean a lot of others do. I bought a couple trinkets that he questioned me on last week. I put them in the booth and they both sold over the weekend. It was luck, shot and simple, but it wasn't something I would particularly like for myself. So, it is learning to think beyond my own likes and dislikes.

Antique booth update

June 16th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

We are halfway through the first month of this antique booth. We have not quite made booth rent yet, but I am hopeful. It is a learning experience...things we thought would sell immediately haven't and stuff I added for filler have sold. Go figure!

Today they are supposed to have a vintage car show in the parking lot and they are supposed to sell food with the profit helping a homeless shelter. I certainly hope we have good weather for this to bring in lots of customers. I know not everyone will buy, but I figure if we have lots of folks going through the antique mall, the better our chances are. They were supposed to have an outdoor flea market a couple of weekends ago and because of the bad weather, they cancelled it. This place isn't quite a year old so the foot traffic isn't great...I hope activities like the car show help bring in other people.

I'm going to post some photos of some of the stuff in our booth so you get an idea of the stuff we are trying to sell.

Thank you to everyone who comment on the previous post about the booth. I am taking your advice that was generously given.

Taking the plunge

May 30th, 2013 at 07:36 am

Well, we did it. DH and I have discussing this for a few months and we have been buying items very reasonably and ... we put down rent for a booth in a local antique mall.

I am both excited and frightened. My folks always did something for extra money. When I was a kid they had a furniture store and when we moved they had a small antique shop. I am, by no means, an expert on anything, but I am hoping we can make some money as well as have some fun buying and selling.

Our booth is very small and therefore fairly reasonable. I have a variety of items, priced differently. DH has argued with me over this one item...it is a very large candle with a primitive beaded ring around it sitting on a glass plate. He says it is too ugly and I say for $2.00, someone might buy it just for the candle and the plate. We shall see.

We set it up this afternoon. The place is supposed to have a flea market on the grounds this weekend so hopefully it will bring in more customers. I hope we have a nice weekend for it.

Any suggestions for a successful booth?

Wish us luck!

Growl...and a new recipe

May 24th, 2013 at 06:17 pm

After supper tonight we went to the grocery store. We actually frequent two: Aldi and County Market. DH went to Aldi yesterday with a substantial list and then I make out a list for CM to fill in for things we either couldn't get, or like better at the CM.

The last couple of weeks, Aldi's bananas have been very ripe, so we have bought them at CM. I have noticed that it seems like the bottom of the bananas have seemed bruised. I kind of wondered why two weeks in a row just the bottom ones were bruised, but I think I discovered the reason.

The cashier who my husband has gone to the past two weeks is not exactly gentle. Tonight I witnessed him pretty much manhandle our groceries. He set the bananas down pretty roughly to weigh them. So I imagine we will have ones bruised on the bottom again. He basically pitched our loaf of bread to the side. I was so appalled I didn't even say anything.

To top things off, one of the local schools had their football players bagging for groceries. I understand they need money, but can't someone give them a few tips on bagging? We use reusable bags and some are larger than others. In one of the larger ones they put three boxes of tissue and something else very thin and very light. But in one of the smaller ones, they put two half gallons of milk and a bottle of grape juice, a can of olives and a couple of other heavier things. Sheesh. Everything was a jumbled up mess.

Oh, well, I told DH we are not going into the cashier's lane again. I think part of the problem is he doesn't feel well a lot of the time so he probably doesn't care. I'm sorry about that and I don't want to cost him his job, especially in our town with a huge unemployment rate.

I found this recipe we are going to try tomorrow night:

Tilapia Rice Cakes

8 oz tilapia
1/2 cup broth
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Panko crumbs
1/2 c cooked wild rice
1/4 c chopped onion
2 T finely chopped bell pepper
2 T mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T Worchestershire sauce
1 t lemon juice


Rinse fish, pat dry. Pour broth into a 2 quarter baking dish. Bake at 450 4-5 minutes per 1/2 inch thickness of fish until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Drain and break into pieces.

Combine fish, egg, panko, wild rice, pepper, mayo, mustard, Worchestershire and lemon juice. Shape into 6 3/4 inch patties. Chill for 2 hours. Heat oil, cook patties until golden brown, about 10 minutes total.

Sure hope they turn out.

Odds and Ends

May 18th, 2013 at 05:09 pm

Each week I fix a fruit salad. Same fruit. During the winter it is pricey, but we pay for it anyway because we believe it has helped us stay healthier. Our fruit salad consists of grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries and sometimes I get wild and add an apple at the last minute or kiwi. Each night I slice a banana and then put the fruit salad over it. It's pretty and yummy, and we like it. That being said, this week DH found strawberries on sale so we had leftover salad. I took the remainder of it in my lunch. The ladies I eat with were amazed that we have fruit every night. Cleaning the fruit and cutting up strawberries doesn't take that long. I know folks are busy, but THAT busy?

I've blogged about the bread making and so far, the kids have loved it. I do have some left at the end of each day and I hate for it to go to waste so I offer it to staff. One lady who I know cooks quite a bit was shocked that it was a recipe and not a box mix for the bread machine. I told her those box mixes about $4 each and why spend so much when with 6 ingredients, you can make basic white bread? So, she asked for the recipe.

We hit a true thrift shop today and found some great bargains. I found two small American flags, made in America, a small Howard Miller clock with a picture frame, some linen napkins, a small blue and white candle holder, and an unused candle...total cost: $6 for all. I did not need any of this stuff, but the candle will go in my stash when I need a quick gift. The candle holder is for me...I like blue and white stuff. We will use the napkins, and the flags are going in our yard. The clock is going to go next to my chair in the family room because I take off my watch when I get home and we don't have a wall clock. It had been a gift to someone who works for a large milling company here in Decatur...there is a small (less than an inch wide) logo on it, but it looks news. Fine with me. Howard Miller is a famous clock maker so hopefully the clock will run for a long time...it had a battery in it and it was working.

About a month and a half ago a university offered an online course to any teachers in our district on financial matters and retirement. You are to sign up, agree to take the coursework, and they pay you $25 for signing up and $25 when you finish. I signed up not only for the money, but also, I hoped to learn some things. I have taken three modules and I can say I have learned a few things about vocabulary and such. Some of the things are common sense like emergency fund and savings accounts. But, it never hurts to learn new things and get paid to do it besides. I don't think many signed up. Oh, well.

It was a beautiful day here in Central Illinois. After hitting the library and the thrift shop, we went to Lowe's and bought some plants. DH has been busily planting tomato plants, bell pepper plants, and herbs. We sure hope for a good harvest!

On the news tonight part of the midsection of the country is forecasting tornadoes. Hope they don't get them and hope they don't come here either.

Hope you had a great Saturday as well.

No, I'm not crazy, well not carb crazy anyway!

May 12th, 2013 at 01:35 pm

Currently I have two bread machines whirring away in my kitchen. No, I have not gone carb crazy...I bought both machines used and need to see how long it takes to make a loaf of white bread. I intend to take them to school and make bread with some of the classes. So many of our students have no idea that bread can be baked...if you ask them where bread comes from, they say from the store. It is sad they have little concept of how bread is made.

We had our usual Sunday brunch of scrambled eggs, sausage, cheesy grits, and toast today. I have leftover sausage so it will go into another dish this week. Probably a fritatta. I have a stew simmering on the stove for tomorrow night's supper. We had leftover pork roast from last night's supper. There's enough stew for supper and a lunch or two. I figure we will have some of the bread that is currently being baked. I plan on giving away the second loaf.

Our church will be getting a vicar in June. In our denomination, a vicar is like an intern or student teacher who works for a year learning the ropes. The ladies guild put out big plastic tubs and are encouraging us to help fill the pantry for the vicar and his wife and soon to be born baby. I think it is a lovely gesture. It reminds me of when I married almost 23 years ago. The staff of the school I worked with went in and bought a toaster, a paring knife, and a recipe box and they all included recipes, then they filled a laundry basket with canned goods and nonperishables. It was so thoughtful and practical. A few years later one of the ladies I worked with was getting married and she and her soon to be husband were going to buy a house. I bought bags of groceries to help fill their pantry instead of some of the fancy cookware she registered for. She was disappointed. She was polite, but I could tell she wasn't thrilled. One of the other teachers who was like a second mom to her told me she thought it was a great gift and she would appreciate it a little later. She was correct...after they ate all the cans of soup and pasta and used most of the stuff, she went to the store and tried to replace it. She later told me she didn't realize groceries were that expensive and that was over 15 years ago. I suggested to her then she needed to check the grocery ads and buy things on sale and stock up.

The hubster has been busy in the garden. He planted herbs and has also planted green onions, lettuce, radishes, and carrots. He said he's thinking of getting tomato plants this week. Tonight it is supposed to be pretty cool, but temps are going to be in the 80s starting Tuesday.

We hit Walgreens after brunch today. They had some things on sale that I also had coupons for. A couple of things we didn't need, but decided to stock up since they aren't going to go bad. Plus, I found a couple of things to put in the pile for the vicar's pantry. According to the receipt, we saved almost $30 with specials, coupons, and the loyalty card. Other than a couple of things I bought for the vicar's pantry, everything else was stuff we use. I will never achieve the Extreme Couponing success as they do on the television, but figure if I save a few dollars here and there, I'm doing decently.

It is sunny and a lovely day for all the mothers and grandmothers to be celebrated. Hope your day is wonderful as well.

Garage Sale Grumblings

May 10th, 2013 at 08:29 pm

On HGTV there is a new program where two families compete by having garage sales. They put out tons of stuff and get primo prices. Not sure how realistic is it for "reality TV", but interesting to see what they reuse and redo a d put out.

That being said, we went to some garage sales last weekend and most were, well pathetic. I am almost shocked at what folks think others might want. So many had clothes and most of the clothes were pretty tired looking. As for goodies, the term slim pickins comes to mind.

I know not every sale can have things that interest me, but I wonder if folks think ahead and realize in order to make money, they have to have some stuff to sell to make up for the ad and the trouble.

How are the garage sales in your area?

Did a little spending...

April 28th, 2013 at 11:46 am

Yesterday we did get to the bulk food store run by Amish and I bought some cheese, sausage, and some spices. Their spices are far more reasonable than those in the grocery. I commented the dried mustard in my cabinet was purchased when we married which will make it 23 years old come June 15. We didn't spent a ton, but I felt like we bought some things we would use.

We stopped at a local store and looked around the gourmet food section. DH was shocked at looking at the jars and packages of spices and spice mixtures and the prices of $8 to $15 after buying similar things in less fancy packages at the bulk food store.

Today, after church, we hit Walgreens for a few of their specials. I even had a couple of coupons to put towards the purchase and with the mark downs and coupons, we saved over 25% on our purchase.

All in all, we didn't spent a huge amount either day, I feel like my shelves have a few more necessary items, and I most certainly did not go in debt. I would say that was a success.

Buying in bulk

April 27th, 2013 at 06:34 am

I have perused many money saving or frugal living sights and so many say to buy in bulk. I get that it can save money, but I wonder where to put a lot of this stuff.

We don't belong to a warehouse store because we found two things: we really didn't save all that much after paying the yearly fee and we were tempted in buying things we really didn't need.

I try to keep things on hand and I have blogged that I keep my pantry fairly well stocked. For paper items I try to use coupons and hit sales and keep stuff on hand.

There is an Amish run bulk foods store near us called Beachy's and I really like utilizing it. They have a huge assortment of herbs and spices which are more reasonably priced than the grocery or speciality food stores. And, one can buy different flours and grains in smaller and larger quantities. I enjoy making bread and like experimenting with flour. I bought a half pound of rice flour to see if we liked the bread it made. And the storage isn't as much an issue since I am not buying huge bags of stuff and not using it all.

I am curious, do you buy in bulk? Are you realizing a huge cost savings if you are? And, where are you storing your purchases?

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